John Saldivar Confident of Belmopan Standard Bearer Convention Win (2024)

Feb 2, 2023

While we met Emil Torres on the campaign trail for a face to face interview, Saldivar was less open to talking with our newsroom. Instead, he opted to give one interview with our Open Your Eyes host on the morning show. From the questions asked this morning we were able to get some insight into Saldivar’s strategy and expectations going into this Sunday’s convention. News Five’s Paul Lopez filed the following report.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Three-time Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar is intent on once again representing Belmopan under the U.D.P. banner, following an embarrassing defeat in November 2020. One would have thought that Saldivar would bow out after his popularity in Belmopan fell from fifty-four percent in 2015 to an all-time low of twenty-nine percent in 2020. But, for John Saldivar, every low is like a stepping stone to rise up once again. And, with the spate of unhappiness that he has experienced over the past three years, Saldivar is hoping to return to the apex of his political career once again. And this morning, he appeared on Open Your Eyes where he had a mouthful to say about his Party Leader, Moses “Shyne” Barrow’s campaign against him.

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, U.D.P. Belmopan Standard Bearer Candidate

“My party leader has gone on the limb, against what the national party council decided and he on his own has embarked on this campaign against me. I am not worried about that, because one it is the people of Belmopan that has to make that decision. And two, in the general elections to come, it is still the people of Belmopan. So, they will say how they feel about john Saldivar, not what Shyne Barrow feels about John Saldivar. Having work hard to get the party leader now where he is as party leader for him to now without evidence try to push me out of politics, speaks to his character, not mine. I think the people of Belmopan know me, know who I am, know the lifestyle I live. And, that belies what is the narrative they are saying about me. People in Belmopan don’t know that John Saldivar, don’t know me to be that person.”

That narrative Saldivar speaks about has to do with the US State Department’s designation of him as a significantly corrupt individual. Also, back in February 2020, In the midst of the Lev Dermen scandal, former UDP Leader Dean Barrow requested that Saldivar step down from his position as Party Leader Elect only seventy-two hours after being voted into office.

John Saldivar

“I think the first thing I want to say to that and remind people, and this is what the Belmopan people have been saying to me, John in all that you are accused of it has never involved public funds, or tax payers money. You can’t say that for a lot of politicians, present and past, in terms of how they have treated with the people’s money. I have never been involved with any scandals at all that involves people’s money. What I am being accused of or have been accused of with respect to accepting funding from an American business man has been said from the beginning, is not illegal or against any law, and I don’t believe that the people of Belmopan will hold me to a standard of campaign financing law that is not existent that is what I am hearing from them. John you haven’t done anything that any other politician doesn’t do.”

April Martinez

“What I am trying to understand and this has been a question of mine, is why ally yourself with this man and what did he have to offer Belize?”

John Saldivar

“It is a good question and I have answered many times before. The last time I saw Lev Dermen was in 2015 and he was arrested in 2018. He was never known before that by me or anyone and any background check that was made by anyone or me none of these facts were there.”

And, Saldivar continues on his own campaign calling on the United States to bring the evidence they have on him. He certainly does not believe the residents of Belmopan view him in that light. Standing on his accomplishments as area representative for Belmopan, and there are many over his thirteen years, Saldivar says he still has fresh vision for the Capital City.

John Saldivar

“I want to start where I just mentioned with John just now, sports. It is practically dying in Belmopan under the new regime. They are practically having difficulties finding the funding to get it done, not just in football. There hasn’t been a basketball tournament. The people tennis tournament, all the things we use to do, volleyball. During the summer we use to have summer camps for all manner of sports in Belmopan and all of those things have come to a hault. We use to do two mundalitos a year. So, that is in sports. In infrastructure we constructed over a hundred and thirty streets, in Belmopan paved and cemented over a hundred and thirty. I don’t think they have surpassed ten. People noticed it and yes the people getting their streets paved are happy, but compare ten to a hundred and thirty. Isodoro Beaton Stadium it is my hope and still my hope that we can get an indoor basketball facility now where we can do basketball and volleyball, because obviously the UB Gym is not readily available to our community as we want it to be.”

Saldivar says he is committed to work with his party leader if he is to be successful on Sunday, despites Barrow’s support for Colonel Lovell. But, does the future hold an alliance between John Saldivar and Patrick Faber to oust Shyne Barrow?

John Saldivar

“Not for any bad motive, but certainly to try and make sure to fix the leadership issues we may persevere. But, not to try to out. I don’t like those kind of words. I have no ill feeling for Shyne Barrow. I believe his story is a great one and that is why I latched on to his leadership back in March of this year. I like his underdog. I like the second chance story. The rest is up to him how he fulfills his legacy. To the extent that he has turned on me, I am not sure that is helpful for his legacy.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

John Saldivar Confident of Belmopan Standard Bearer Convention Win (2024)

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