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Aug 7, 2015

What’s Up With Accountability of Water Boards?

Godwin Hulse

In the past three months, reports of accountability with water boards in different parts of the country have been reported in the media. Earlier this week, allegations surfaced that a cash pan with only two cents was handed over- from an account that had about thirteen thousand dollars- from the Maya Center Water Board in southern Belize. The discrepancies have raised the ire of the villagers, both in Buena Vista in Western Belize and Maya Center communities. Today, Minister with responsibility for Rural Development Godwin Hulse told the media that he was aware of incidents and that they are being addressed with urgency.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labour

“There are a couple of water boards that we have to be working with. You are aware of the structure of the water boards. There is a board appointed by myself, as minister, on the recommendation of the area representative, one person, no matter who that area representative is- whether from the governing party, our party, or from the opposition. Then there are two persons by law coming out of the village council and the other three persons I appoint on names coming from the village or other areas. So, we’ve appointed these boards, they are supposed to take over and they are supposed to run a system and we have been having many, many problems in terms of proper accountability and so forth. When we have them, we can only do what we do which is to send in the audit department which is charged with the responsibility for auditing and if there are persons to charge then we will do so. In the mean time, we appoint another board on the recommendation of people and we try to go again. As you know, from time to time we try to subsume some of these boards under BWSL and we have done so but BWSL doesn’t have the wherewithal to take over all of them, so we still have about one hundred and seventy nine boards, so it is a monumentous task.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“I believe that one that Hipolito is talking about is the one in the south. I know there was also one in the west. What is the ministry doing to address these accountability issues, generally speaking with water boards, to see where these monies are going and how the boards are operating in the villages?”

 

Godwin Hulse

“That is the responsibility of the rural development and I can assure that Mr Banner and his team are very active with that on a daily basis because we carry out audits, we have our RCDOs, which are our rural development community development officers, who are responsible for checking on a monthly basis the accounts of all these boards and to ensure that people are paying their rates etc. It is myriad, from time to time, some politics because there are representatives who may be encouraging people not to pay and water becomes a big issue.”

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