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Feb 16, 2018

Ombudsman Gets Second Chance; Contractor General May Not

Godwin Arzu

As we reported Contractor General Godwin Arzu is out of his post. He has failed to produce the annual reports from his office as part of his obligations to continue in the office he has held for several years. So for now, there is no one to vet government contracts being issued.  While Ombudsman Lionel Arzu is slated to get his contract renewed, according to Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, Godwin Arzu must either fulfill the terms he has been lacking in to be re-appointed, or the Government may be forced to seek someone else.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“All I know that the contract has not been renewed. We keep working on trying to get a new contractor general. I believe the media had asked me about that this week and they asked me about the contract of the Ombudsman. I know that we have voted to have a renewal of his contract; that is the Ombudsman. But I don’t know that we have the same kind of situation with the Contractor General and we will keep working to ensure to we can have a Contractor General in place as quickly as possible.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is there a reason why the contract wasn’t renewed?”

 

Lionel Arzu

Patrick Faber

“Well, as far as I know there were complaints, primarily from the Opposition, about reports that ought to have been filed with the National Assembly on the contracts that have been issued on the part of the Government and that hasn’t been forthcoming. So, there are those and even in the Government there are those who have very serious concerns about that. If we are going to be transparent and upfront with how we operate, then those reports are very important. So, until we are able to get that kind of production from a contractor general then we might have to look somewhere else or if we agree to work with the same guy then that discussion will need to be had very sternly.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, the concerns I have had so far about this particular situation is that Contractor General who served has not produced reports on the use of public funds in different contracts and the concern is why is this particular oversight mechanism not functioning as intended. Your comments on that?”

 

Patrick Faber

“Well, you are aware that there are quite a good many oversight functions that have not been functioning and in fact it has been the effort of this Government to try to get things functioning. Every time we take a step forward we take a step backward. There are many steps that we are making to improve on oversight but sometimes it is on step forward and two steps back. I want the Belizean people to understand that we remain committed to get all these oversights up and running because we remain seriously committed to transparency and accountability.”

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1 Response for “Ombudsman Gets Second Chance; Contractor General May Not”

  1. Al Katyl says:

    The fact that the Contractor General (CC) of Belize failed to submit many annual reports raised the question of whether or not this particular individual knew his duties and responsibilities stipulated in his contract and the Laws of Belize.

    It is clear that his professional training did not prepare him to determine costs of infrastructural works, in addition to, costs of equipment, materials and supplies for the various ministries, in order that he can reliably evaluate and approve government contracts.

    My point is the Ombudman must be an individual versed in the Laws of Belize and capable of determining whether the accused or defendant breach or contravene a regulation or exceeds one’s authority that may have triggers a complaint by the plaintiff.

    Similarly, the CC must be an engineer capable of evaluating CIVIL works estimates, that makes up the bulk of GOB expenditures, in addition to determining costs of equipments, materials and supplies of all ministries of government. The CC must be also knowledgeable of Time and Motion studies , in order to, be able to determine labour time and labour costs.

    It’s is clear that the last appointmented CC came from the wrong profession and not able to truly evaluate and approve government contracts.

    I am still baffled that the Integrity Commission needs an accountant rather than a professional versed in economics, actuary science or engineering, that is capable along with the other members of the commission in detecting bloated activities, misuse of public funds, sniffing out rotten potatoes, catching hand in the cookies jar, detecting predators and bullies in public life.

    It amazes me that no early warning system of Report/ Request Logging and Tracking (RLATS) exits to sound the alarm and reminds the CC that his annual report was overdue.

    I am sure a system exist in the meticulous colonial government of past years but have since been eroded and discarded.

    Let’s reintroduce the RLATS system to hold our CEO’s, General Managers, Comissioners, Commandants, and Judiciary accountable, responsible and responsive to the people they are paid to serve.

    Far too many public concerns,complaints, and requests go unnoticed, unprocess, and unanswered
    By our leading CIVIL servants.

    Let’s publish their RLATS quarterly in the Gazette and newspapers in the spirit of REFORM, ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY.

    Let their humongous backlogs and excessive time to complete the public tasks serve as an indication of their performance and basis for their continuing tenure of service or contract renewal.

    Let’s cut the crap, waste and losses, currently permeating all sectors of our Belizean society, that is sliding us closer to the S’hole.

    Remember the simple equations:

    Input = output + losses
    and
    Efficiency = output / input

    Let’s improve our efficiency as a people, by cutting the losses due to neglect, ignorance, sabotage, indifference or politics

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