Belize’s main opposition party has suspended the Belize Rural North standard bearer, Arthur Saldivar. That was the outcome of a national executive meeting of the People’s United Party which took place on Wednesday August 27th. Saldivar’s suspension from the PUP comes as a result of a serious accusation made against him for wrongdoing by one of his clients that he represented as their attorney.
Earlier in August, Saldivar was accused of taking $904,000.00 from his former client Melonie Coye and her family. Saldivar had represented the Coyes in a money laundering case that he won, and the court had ordered the return of the confiscated money. But the Coyes claim that Saldivar has some of their money and they have retained attorney Eamon Courtenay to sue Saldivar for the monies. While Saldivar has been taking pressure from the Coyes, the PUP is also getting pressure from the general public, who is criticizing Saldivar’s behavior.
As a result, the PUP called a meeting of the national executive to act on the accusation made against one of their 31 candidates. Leader of the PUP Francis Fonseca said that Saldivar was suspended from the party and all party functions pending the outcome of an investigation launched by the national executive. ”The PUP has discussed the issue of Belize Rural North and the candidacy of Mr. Arthur Saldivar, our standard bearer in that area… We had a very robust discussion and at the end, the party took the decision that Mr. Arthur Saldivar would be suspended as a candidate for the P.U.P in Belize Rural North, and from all party activities, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation that the party is carrying out into the very serious allegation that has been made in respect of certain monies which a client of Mr. Saldivar says he took and has not returned to her.”
To conduct the investigation, the PUP has set up a committee comprised of the party’s legal advisor Anthony Sylvester, the PUP Chairman Henry Usher, and two members of the Order of Distinguished service that are not from the Belize District. “That investigation has been ongoing; we expect that investigation to be concluded and a report to be delivered to myself and the national executive by September 12th. The party will then meet and convene a meeting at the national executive on September 17th, at which time a final decision will be made on this matter,” added Fonseca. He also said that as part of the investigation, the committee will be speaking to the Coyes and their attorney, as well as other interested parties on both sides of the issue. Fonseca also said that the party will also be looking at other complaints that are before the General Legal Council about Saldivar’s conduct as an attorney.
Present at the national executive was Saldivar, who was allowed to make a presentation as it relates to the accusation made against him. He emerged from the meeting after his presentation and was brief. Saldivar said that “Well the outcome is of no importance at this time. Just suffice to say the people of Rural North have a champion to fight on their behalf. When it’s time to talk, we’ll talk.”
Saldivar had come under the public microscope in the past. In 2013 two Americans, John and Cynthisa Englehardt accused Saldivar of charging for services which he failed to deliver. In July of 2012, retired US Attorney Richard Gentry also claimed that Saldivar had defrauded him of $13,900.00 which he handed to the Saldivar to pay stamp duty so that they could get clear title for the condo unit he was living on at Reef Village in San Pedro. In both cases, Saldivar had to return the monies.