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Nov 30, 2016

Why Always Net? P.U.P. Knocks G.O.B. for Rejecting Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Nominee

Eamon Courtenay

New chair Marilyn Williams is being appointed in her capacity as an attorney, as provided for by law, while Nestor Vasquez is being appointed in his capacity as an accountant by trade. But that latter appointment had most of the upper chamber agog. In addition to his many conflicts of interest, the Prime Minister, with the concurrence of Leader of the Opposition John Briceño, appointed Vasquez despite the fact that the Institute of Chartered Accountants submitted a nominee to the Chamber of Commerce for its approval. Lead Opposition Senator Eamon Courtenay zeroed in on this when the motion to appoint Vasquez came up and in wrapping up that debate Senator Godwin Hulse conceded that they would have to review Vasquez’s appointment.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“On the twelfth of October, the Institute [of Chartered Accountants] made it clear that they were willing to help; they were going to go through an exercise, that required time, and they were going to inform. But they reiterated that they had members who were willing to serve. On the eleventh of November, 2016, Mister President of the Institute wrote to the Honorable Prime Minister: ‘On behalf of the Council, I am pleased to inform you that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Belize duly nominates Mister Warren Coye to be a member of the Integrity Commission. Mister Warren Coye is a member in good standing of the Institute. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions on this nomination.’ Well, he was contacted by the Prime Minister, and this is what the Prime Minister said on the seventeenth of November: ‘Thank you for your letter of the eleventh of November, 2016. We had wanted for some time to hear from you, after we had been told you were prepared to make a nomination. But it took so long in coming that we went ahead, on our own [and] found someone. Still, thank you for your willingness to help.’ You don’t pick up the phone and call the President and say we need a name. You don’t ask the Cabinet Secretary, please get in contact with the Institute and say what’s happening. You don’t call Mister Nikita Usher and say, where is the nomination from the Institute? No, we noh di wait pah you; we are going ahead and we are finding someone – for eight years we couldn’t find anybody – but all of a sudden, when an outside Institute is being asked by the Chamber to nominate someone, and that person is going to be nominated; that person is coming forward; you know that the process is ongoing, Government all of a sudden finds someone. And the person serves on state enterprises which violates the spirit and the letter of the Convention. And Mister President, the Leader of Government Business said this morning, that they are going to change the law to cover public officials as defined in the Convention. Now, no tek wi mek ‘cunumunu’, and I don’t want hear any semantics; I don’t want to hear any niceties. If we are truly committed to UNCAC, let us do the right thing.”

 

Vanessa Retreage

Vanessa Retreage, U.D.P. Senator

“The same can be said for at least one of the persons nominated by the Opposition; but that won’t be said by this side, because your political allegiance does not determine your capability of acting independently upon appointment, and I  wanted to make that point because it is regrettable that this is the tack which has been taken.”

 

The appointments are for a period of two years. The Governor General is now expected to swear in the seven members of the Commission.

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