Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, Miscellaneous, People & Places, Politics » Integrity Commission Named; Can Partisan Appointees Be Neutral?
Nov 30, 2016

Integrity Commission Named; Can Partisan Appointees Be Neutral?

Tanya Santos

The Integrity Commission was finally named today. The names of Marilyn Williams for Chairman; Armead Gabourel; Lisbeth Delgado; Wilmot Simmons; Nestor Vasquez; Melissa Balderamos Mahler and Claudet Grinage have been submitted to participate in the Commission for a period of two years from December first, 2016. Quite a few of the names are well known political partisans. Marilyn Williams is a former, though short-lived political candidate for the United Democratic Party and former head off the Financial Intelligence Unit.  Gabourel was a member of the Airports Authority Board during the time of the Edmond Castro cheque scandal. Vasquez has held numerous appointments in successive U.D.P. administrations and remains chairman of Telemedia and also sits on the Social Security Board. So should politics play a role in the appointment of these persons of integrity and high national standing? It came up during the debate with regard to Gabourel and Simmons, with Government and Opposition Senators trading blows.

 

Tanya Santos, P.U.P. Senator

“The Prime Minister would have us believe that Miss Gabourel opposed the decision, or the decisions of the Board of this Authority to continue the political support to Mister Castro, using public funds, my money and your money. But what good is your opposition to corrupt acts if you continue to be a part of it – if you continue to be one of those that Mahatma Gandhi speaks of, who watch evil without doing anything? The right thing to do was to resign from that Board before you were forced to do so, not after the matter became a scandal and made the news. I know there are many competent Belizeans faced in situations like that with Boards straying, who stepped down from the Board. It is people like that who we need to serve on this Integrity Commission, Mister President; people who will boldly, bravely stand and act against corruption, which is choking this country.”

 

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson, P.U.P. Senator

“If we are to adhere to the guidelines of UNCAC, it requires that we promote independence, impartiality and integrity in public life. The UNCAC and Integrity Commission are married at the hip. The Integrity Commission is a body that is set up to prevent corruption in public life; that is a major pillar of the UNCAC. Both institutions should be autonomous bodies that are independent, far removed from the influence of the people who they may someday have to investigate. Now the Government appointees to the Integrity Commission are persons who leave no doubt where they stand in terms of their political views. I will use one person from the Government side, Mister Wilmot Simmons, as an example. This is not to pick on Mister Wilmot Simmons; I do not consider him to be a bad person, a member of the evil empire, anything like that. I have known him most of my life; but there can be no question where his political loyalty stands.”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“The Act is clear; the appointments, one cannot argue, will have political alignments because clearly that is what it said: Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister, with concurrence and with consultation, and that is what is being done. I have listened, but I don’t want to – because the motion is really to appoint Miss Gabourel, I would not have wanted to interrupt the honorable Senator, but I have not heard, and indeed I do not know, of any clear-cut legal or otherwise situation where the lady Miss Gabourel was involved with, or cited to be involved with, or charged, or brought before any court or tribunal or anything, and therefore we have to be careful. Yes, when the Integrity Commission meets, it meets as a body, and when it meets as a body, there are going to be persons there, who are going to be privy to the information of lots of people. Yes, I am concerned that those people do have high integrity – integrity not only in their action and behaviour, but integrity in their ability to call these things out, and we trust that that is what is going to happen.”

Be Sociable, Share!


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*