Senator-elect Promises to Represent All N.G.O.s
Former executive director Greg Ch’oc, of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, had been tapped as the representative of the N.G.O. community in the House of Senate when the United Democratic Party took office in 2008. While that appointment never materialized, today’s outcome is widely viewed as a milestone in the fight for a thirteenth senator. The process employed by the steering committee, although not inclusive of all locally registered nongovernmental organizations, continues to raise concerns. Since it has been said that there are roughly a hundred and forty N.G.O.s operating in Belize, the small number of organizations in good standing that participated in the election is not representative of the entire community. According to the newly elected senator-to-be, the first order of business is to organize the N.G.O. community and work with the groups that aren’t in good standing to bring them into compliance with the terms of the N.G.O. Act.
Osmany Salas, Senator Elect
“To be a part of improving good governance we need to show that we are also transparent and accountable. There is an N.G.O. Act that we must abide by with requirements set out in that act and the Companies Act as well. So what transpired as Mrs. Tzalam and other members of the committee have mentioned repeatedly is that the N.G.O.s who participated in the process were the ones that were certified in good standing to participate in this process. There were a few that maybe didn’t file their papers in time and I am a little disappointed in that for them because I would have wanted them to be involved in the process. We have mentioned repeatedly that there are a hundred and forty plus registered N.G.O.s and it turned out that only twenty-nine were able to file their papers and get in good standings in time to participate in the process. Now, as we have mentioned several times, the first order of business will be to organize the community, to work with them, to find out why the others are not in good standings and help them to get there because we will have to work with them. We will have to work with the entire community which covers a whole lot of areas. Just within the twenty-seven or twenty-nine N.G.O.s that participated in this process there are huge numbers of areas of work and needs and other issues that they represent that are represented. So I would say that it is accurate to say that that small percentage contributed to making this decision, but we will be representing the senator and the support structure that will be put in place. We will be representing the entire community of N.G.O.s.”