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Mar 2, 2018

More questionable payments authorized by “Boots” Martinez; where was oversight?

Eamon Courtenay

Tonight, Minister of Human Development Anthony “Boots” Martinez remains in boiling hot water as scandals continue to erupt around him. New information shows that this week he personally approved almost fifty thousand dollars, processed through the Government’s SmartStream system, as payment for seven individuals. The largest payment was of eight thousand, three hundred dollars. The second largest was not even for a resident of Belize City: one Ken Arnold of Roaring Creek, Cayo, was paid eight thousand for “community service.” The nature of the community service was not explained, although it was listed under the Human Services Department portfolio. Government’s chief executive officers are responsible overall for the Ministry’s spending, while accounting officers are delegated the tasks of directing payments and accounts. It is all intended to separate politics from the business of the government and public service. Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl as to whom exactly former caretaker Kirk Lamb was working for when he was given contracts to build and repair houses under the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project. Lamb has admitted he never built houses and that his account at Saint John’s Credit Union was used to deposit and withdraw funds amounting to one hundred and ninety five thousand dollars, ultimately for Boots Martinez. This week’s revelations have left many, including attorney Eamon Courtenay, asking: where was the oversight?


Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Legal Advisor

“It’s not a matter of slipping through the cracks: it is the deconstruction of oversight, parliamentary and legislative oversight over what the executive is doing. Don’t forget, we have been pushing – Honorable Julius Espat has been pushing for the Public Accounts Committee to operate effectively for these things to be checked. Don’t forget that the Contractor General has not filed any report in the Legislature for years. So we have no oversight. And what you have is a Government that is deliberately turning a blind eye to these things. And I am calling on the authorities to once again investigate this matter. But, based on their track record with the Belize Airport Authority and [Edmond] Castro; on Penner; on Vega; now we have Montero. You can expect nothing from this Government.”


Payments were also made to one John Emmanuel Pollard for six thousand; William Henry for seven thousand four hundred; Yanique Smyle for four thousand; Alston Leon Young, and Jeffrey Gerald Joseph for seven thousand six hundred. The listed addresses all appear to be in Port Loyola with the exception of Arnold; Henry, who is from Mahogany Street, and Young, whose listed address is the St. John’s Credit Union on Basra Street, in Mesopotamia. We contacted Financial Secretary Joseph Waight for comment but he was not available this afternoon. Likewise C.E.O. in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche, was in a meeting.


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