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Dec 1, 2016

Is Net Vasquez Fit to Serve on Integrity Commission?

Nestor Vasquez

Is Nestor Vasquez qualified to serve on the Integrity Commission? The question provoked a furious back-and-forth during Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate in Belmopan, despite the Upper House ultimately voting by majority to accept his nomination by the Prime Minister. Section three of the Prevention of Corruption Act states that, “At least one member of the Commission shall be a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Belize.” The Government Gazette for the week ending November twenty-sixth, 2016, however, has a published list of the accountants who are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in good standing, and those who are non-practicing members. Vasquez’s name does not appear anywhere on that list. Now, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry had asked the Institute of Chartered Accountants to nominate a member; they selected Warren Coye, but when the Institute wrote Prime Minister Dean Barrow to inform him of the nomination on November eleventh, the Prime Minister responded tersely six days later. According to the PM their nomination took so long in coming that G.O.B. went with someone else – Net Vasquez. Leader of Government Business Senator Godwin Hulse conceded that Vasquez’s nomination will have to be reviewed when and if a planned amendment to the Prevention of Corruption in Public Act goes through. But that was after Labour/Civil Society Senator Elena Smith and Courtenay went after Government’s rationale.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator [File: November 30, 2016]

“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.”

 

Elena Smith

Elena Smith, Labour/Civil Society Senator

“At our last meeting we had with the prime minister when we were going through all of our points he made it clear to us when I asked the question. When you get those names from that body, will you be selecting one of those persons, or will you decide that you don’t want anybody from that list and you will go outside. He was clear in his response, ‘no, ma’am, I will select a name from the list, and it was clear that a name was given to the Prime Minister based on what Senator Courtenay just shared with us. Yet we went outside of that ,and we are saying we have been waiting and no one was willing to be to say a PEP, nobody was willing, nobody came forward. All of a sudden now we find this knight in shining armour coming forth to save the day and we accept. So what are we to believe now?”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Senate Leader of Government Business

“I will push for an amendment in concert with the Convention, to the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act, which would include all public officers. We haven’t done it yet; it hasn’t even been looked at yet; it was a suggestion I made. At this time the Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act, deals with persons in public life, which is defined clearly who those are and Mister Vasquez – none of the people we are appointing is one of those persons. At that time, when and if that Bill is presented and passed into an Act, we will have to reconsider person or persons who may or may not be on that.”

 

Vasquez’s long C.V., dating back to 1951, shows him serving on multiple corporate boards since 1984. He has been a director and vice-chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of Belize; chairman of Belize Telecommunications Limited and Belize Electricity Limited simultaneously between 1993 and 1998, and concurrently serves as chair of Belize Telemedia Limited’s board; the Investment Committee of the Social Security Board; and a director on the Board of Alba 

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1 Response for “Is Net Vasquez Fit to Serve on Integrity Commission?”

  1. Mike G. says:

    This thing is already beginning to stink.

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