P.M. Gives Thumbs Down to Eric Chang, Patrick Tillett
Three witnesses are to be called for Wednesday’s public hearing of the Senate Special Select Committee. But the testimonies of former Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Eric Chang, and former Financial Controller of the Belize City Council, Patrick Tillett, delivered last Wednesday, still resonate. While both men deny untoward involvement in Immigration activities such as the Won Hong Kim affair and the visa foils scandal, there are gaps and unexplainable actions in their recollections and both seemed on the defensive from the inquisition of the Senate panel. Prime Minister Dean Barrow added his censure on Monday, revealing for the first time that he personally blocked Chang from running again for the Belize City Council over Mayor Darrell Bradley’s objections because of the look of his actions following his trip to Taiwan that October.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I said, ‘Absolutely not;’ and I told Eric: ‘Don’t you put up your name, because I will personally go to the Ethics Committee of the party, and I will ensure that you cannot run for this party again.’ So without, as I say, suggesting that he was guilty of anything, the appearances alone convinced me that he couldn’t run for the U.D.P. again. In terms of Patrick Tillett, I don’t know what to say. You’re perfectly right: we put him at the City Council at a time when we thought things were not being well run, especially from the point of view of the financial administration, and we did so because – I know his two brothers better than I know him, Ambrose and Robert; I know these people to be rock-solid in terms of integrity – and I thought the same regarding Patrick Tillett. I haven’t looked in any detail of the revelations of Mr. Tillett’s involvement in this whole visa thing, but I certainly get the sense that he did not come out of it with his credibility intact, he did not come out of it smelling like a rose. The relationship between him and the Government, in terms of that assignment that he had been given, ended a long time ago, and was not renewed in any context or capacity at all. Nevertheless, he is a U.D.P.; I think Chang still is; and it does hurt me terribly when in fact the line of questioning and the responses that I have seen create a picture that leaves a great deal to be desired.”
We will have coverage of the Senate hearings in Wednesday’s newscast.