On Friday at a press briefing, the Prime Minister said he would not move National Security Minister John Saldivar unless he saw some credible evidence that suggested he had acted in a corrupt or criminal fashion. Well, today he removed the police department from John Saldivar's portfolio - leaving him with the Coast Guard and the BDF in what will now be known as the Ministry of Defence. The police department goes over to Minister Godwin Hulse, who leaves Natural Resources to Attorney General Vanessa Retreage.
So now that the Prime Minister has stripped Saldivar of the police department - does that mean that the PM has come upon some evidence directly implicating his minister? Today the Prime Minister held a press conference to explain why he moved Saldivar:..
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I said on Friday that at that juncture I was not prepared to move because optics aside, I did not think that anything that Minister Saldivar did amounted criminality or corruption. Nothing since Friday has occurred to make me depart from that point of view. But as was made clear in the question and answer session that we had on Friday, the optics also include the fact that while I have not run a poll and while I don't have any scientific evidence for saying this, the optics make clear that the public perception is that is untenable for Minister Saldivar to continue to head the police ministry in the current circumstances."
"Minister Saldivar has made clear that he terminated that relationship in September. He said this long ago at that first press conference. He has continue to maintain that position. He said maybe he is off by a few days, a week or so. But he assures me that contrary to some of the things that are being said he did not maintain a relationship with Mr. Mason through to as I have heard it the end of last year and some people say even extending into his year. I also indicated to you on Friday if that turns out not to be true, if in fact evidence and I mean evidence is unearthed, presented to me that would show conclusively that the minister continued in a relationship with Mr. Mason way beyond the point where he has assured me he'd stop, then that's an entirely different matter. I repeat what I'd said to you on Friday - if that ever happens, that's a whole different conversation."
"In fact let me be absolutely straight forward and blunt - the minister understands and accepts that if that were to happen, he would have to leave the cabinet entirely and he is perfectly at ease with that, because he insists that the facts are the facts and that those facts are that he did not continue his association with Mr. Mason."