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Jan 17, 2017

N.G.O. Act Has Nothing To Do with Swearing-In

Osmany Salas

While the N.G.O. community is fully aware of government’s position to amend the N.G.O. Act, it maintains that the N.G.O. Amendment Bill has nothing to do with the swearing in of the thirteenth senator on January twentieth.

 

Osmany Salas, Senator-Elect

“We don’t see what is that urgent that can’t wait a couple days.  So it really begs the question why don’t they want us?  Why don’t they want me to participate in the first senate meeting for this year?”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Have you sought legal advice with regards to either the language or the stipulations of this proposed amendment to the N.G.O. Act?”

 

Osmany Salas

“Well I have sought legal advice and the amendment speaks to two key things: one, that organizations need to be registered under the N.G.O. Act to represent the interest of N.G.O.s or to speak or represent the interest of N.G.O.s and to benefit from tax breaks under the N.G.O. Act.  You need to be registered under the act.  That doesn’t say anything and I can’t see why that provision needs to be passed before I am sworn in as a thirteenth senator.  We have followed all the guidelines from the Office of the Attorney General when she convened with the N.G.O.s in good standing in late last year and she actually gave us a date that we were to have elected a senator, I believe by the seventeenth of January.  So all the dates that we set were backtracking from that to ensure that by January seventeenth or before that we would have a senator elect in place.  So we followed the guidelines and it was all N.G.O.s in good standing that participated in that.  N.G.O.s in good standing means that these N.G.O.s registered under the N.G.O. Act with all their paperwork in order, right; the financial audits having been completed and all of that in good standing.  So we did that and we really believe that it is disingenuous on government’s part to say that this amendment which has nothing to do with me being sworn in, needs to be passed before I can be sworn in.”

 

The N.G.O. community is of the view that it can be seen as a breach of trust of the Belizean people, as well as the N.G.O. community to deliberately hold the inaugural senate meeting prior to the Commencement Order coming into effect.

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