Expecting the Ivan Barrantes situation to go away quietly, President Luis Guillermo Solís is finding the opposite, especially after the advisor to the president told the media “I do not care if they say I am a son of a … I do not care about public opinion!”
Barrantes, as we learned earlier this week, was Solís’ political strategist during the presidential election campaign and was paid ¢75 million colones for his consulting work. Today he continues to provide consulting services to the President, pro bono, working out of an office at Casa Presidencial. Barantes confirmed on Friday the also provides consulting services to four paying clients.
The potential conflict of interest was brought to light by the founder of the PAC party, former presidential candidate and legislator, Ottón Solís, who asked President Solís to remove Barrantes from any official role in the government.
Saturday afternoon, the party that brought President Solís to power, asked the President to reject any collaboration with Barrantes.
“Clearly the actions contradict the ethical principals of this party,” reads the motion adopted by the members of the board of the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC).
So far President Solís has not made any public statement on the matter.
However, defending Barrantes was the Ministro de la Presidencia (Chief of Staff), Melvin Jiménez, who says that Barrantes does not offer any consulting services, only prepares a “diagnosis” for consulting proposals.
In defending himself, Barrantes said his work at Casa Presidencial is out of his own pocket, using his own cell phones, computers, tablet and uses taxis to move about, and with no use of government human resources. The consultant said that all he has is a designated physical space at government house.
Barrantes did, however, admit that he handles “sensitive information” and is linked to “strategic projects”.
He says that “I have no problem with people doubting, saying that I am a bastard. I have no problem with that. That does not affect me. I’n no politician, nor do I care about public opinion.”
Sources: La Nacion; CRHoy