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Mar 31, 2009

Patrick Tillet named as new Financial Controller for Citco

Story PictureIn December, the Barrow administration passed an amendment to the Belize City Council Act. The amendment empowered an independent financial controller to manage the money matters of the Belize City Council. This afternoon the new financial controller was introduced to councilors at a meeting at City Hall on North Front Street. Patrick Tillett, brother of former senator Ambrose Tillett, was appointed by the Minister of Local Government. Tillett said he will review the financial condition of the Council and make recommendations to move forward with pursuing its objectives. Tillett spoke to News Five’s Jose Sanchez about how the financially strapped council will manage its bills.

Jose Sanchez
“How were you received because you are coming at a time where there were some decisions that were not publicly well received? So how were you received at today’s meeting?”

Patrick Tillett, Financial Controller, Belize City Council
“It was very cordial. I look forward to working with the council. They seemed very happy to have me to work with them. It’s free consultation in terms of helping them to resolve some of the issues that they face. I’m sure we’ll work very well together.”

Jose Sanchez
“Despite your expertise, there is always going to be a problem with collection of taxes so the council will always be a bit behind. So how do you as the new finance person what will you do differently?”

Patrick Tillett
“Well I don’t know if we’ll do anything differently. Collections always take a level of consistency, a certain level of aggressiveness. We have to stay on top of the ball and follow up closely with the people that are in arrears. That is something that we have to do. But basically, I think if you put in a system and work the system and be consistent in pursuing your objectives then we’ll be able to achieve whatever we set out to do.”

Jose Sanchez
“How has the first meeting been with the Mayor?”

Patrick Tillett
“Very well, I am very happy with how the meeting went.”

Jose Sanchez
“One of the biggest issues that will come up will be when it comes to the collection of garbage. When the garbage companies don’t get paid, they go to the streets and protest or they might not even pick up the garbage and they will look to you. How will you respond to that if that occurs?”

Patrick Tillett
“Well, the garbage as we have seen in the news, has been an issue over the past years. I think that there will be no quick fix to it. We have to look at it, review it and do the best that we can. But I can’t tell you I have a magic bullet that will solve the problem. I think it will be with us for a while given the contracts.”

Jose Sanchez
“You’re in a very difficult position because one of the other issues that came with the previous council was also with finances again but regarding to Social Security funds. If you are faced with the situation where you have to pay Social Security versus something as important as garbage. How do you deal with that?”

Patrick Tillett
“Well, I think those kind of decisions will be made in consultation with all the parties involved. It’s hard to say which will be the most pressing today. The circumstances might change from month to month. So some months you may want pay something compared to something else, and the other time—your priorities will change depending on the issues at the time.”

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