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Feb 26, 2009

Former City Admin says mayor knew about S.S.B. arrears…

Story PictureAfter days of back and forth, there is a smoking gun in respect of arrears in workers contributions to the Social Security Board by City Hall. Mayor Zenaida Moya on Monday made it clear that she did not know that the council neglected to pay over three hundred thousand dollars which was owed to the S.S.B. On Wednesday, Duane Davis, the Director of Financial Services at Belize City Council backed the mayor’s claim and said that she was unaware of the situation. The former Human Resources Manager Christine Perriott, for her part, said the Mayor wasn’t telling the truth. That left one other person in the equation and that is the former City Administrator, Englebert Perrera, who along with Perriott was fired by Moya. Perrera came by our studios today with documents, to back his assertion that the Mayor knew that the council wasn’t paying the Social Security Board.

Jose Sanchez
“The City Council elections is next week. Some people may believe that all this is just political tricks. But withholding the funds is illegal. Who did you have discussions with at the social security board?”

Englebert Perera, Former City Administrator
“With regards to discussions, first of all Social Security Board called Davis about it. Davis called me just after I got into office. After he informed me about it, I personally called the mayor and informed her about it and the mayor told me that we need to take care of it do what we have to do. I told her that we were not in a financial position to pay and as a matter of fact I went to the city council in May, and the City Council didn’t pay from January.”

Jose Sanchez
“When it comes to the benefits of the city employees, were they in any danger because they weren’t being paid?”

Englebert Perera
“I met with a number of people, not just Belize Social Security Board. To answer that truthfully, I don’t recall that particular issue. But, nevertheless, what we discussed if Social Security didn’t pay, then the council would have to pay.”

Jose Sanchez
“Whose decision was it to use the Social Security funds for the other purposes, these bills that you are talking about?”

Englebert Perera
“I just mentioned earlier that it is low season. We could not afford to pay Social Security and income tax because of the financial position of the council. It isn’t that we are using the finance to do other things, we were pretty much strapped for cash.”

Jose Sanchez
“Now we are going to show you a video of Mister Davis and he is saying something different from what you are saying regarding the situation.”

Marion Ali (25-Feb-09)
“And you held this meeting with Social Security officials unbeknownst to the Mayor?”

Duane Davis, Director of Financial Service, CitCo (25-Feb-09)
“Yes, we did because at the time I reported to the City Administrator, not directly to the Mayor, but directly to the City Administrator who at the time was Englebert Perera. So, of course, he would have been the person I report to and dealt with this. He then would have dealt with the Mayor with it. I don’t know what he did. As far as I know, the Mayor wasn’t aware of that meeting and the decision that we had taken there.”

Jose Sanchez
“The mayor didn’t know about the meeting?”

Englebert Perera
“The mayor knew about the meeting. The mayor has to be honest with the Belizean people and stop pointing fingers at other people. For once in her life, be truthful and honest to the people of Belize. After Davis called me and told me about the social security and income tax because I was asking him about payables, the same time Social Security informed him about it and he did his job; he informed me about it. That is Davis’ job. I will then inform the council about it which includes the Mayor and ten councilors. And that is what I did. I picked up the phone right after I spoke to Davis. I informed the mayor about the Social Security issue, and the income tax issue; not just the social security issue that it wasn’t being paid from January. I got there in May and I also informed her and the council is in a financial position to pay and she understand. I told her this is how we are going to pay when high season begin. We have high season from December to May we have to make sure that we have to pay social security, all the arrears in that time period.”

Jose Sanchez
“When you look back at Davis’ interview again he made a contradicting statement. He said he did not know what you did, but he’s also saying the mayor wasn’t aware. Why is he saying that?”

Englebert Perera
“Because he’s covering for the Mayor. Anybody can look at it. You don’t have to a U.D.P. or a P.U.P. or on the mayor’s side or on Christine Perriott’s side or my side or Davis’ side. Look at it, deal with the facts. He first said that the mayor didn’t know, then he came back with another story that he informed me and he did know if I told the mayor. If he didn’t know that, how will he be saying the mayor didn’t know. Just add one and one, he’s covering for the mayor, that’s the bottom line.”

Jose Sanchez
“The mayor says she’s telling the truth and to prove it she can swear on a bible. Can you also swear on a bible?”

Englebert Perera
“I don’t have to go that road.”

Jose Sanchez
“Do you have proof then?”

Englebert Perera
“I have proof in black and white. The mayor will say anything to get re-elected. At the end of the day the mismanagement of the council is what caused this to happen. I have proof in my hands right now. This is an email I sent to the mayor because I explained to them, remember first I spoke to the mayor, then I told her I will send an email with regards to the forecast as to how we are going to pay social security and income tax and in this email the attachment, the forecast, Davis did it for me and then I sent that to the Mayor because I told Davis I needed to inform the council. And that is my duty and that is what I did; I informed the Mayor. On the second page of the attachment, it shows you when we should pay social security and income tax starting December, which should have been sixty eight thousand a month in high season.”

Jose Sanchez
“No one called you to come here and do this interview. Why was it important for you to share this information?”

Englebert Perera
“The information, I believe that the Belizean people need to know the truth. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have been here if the Mayor didn’t call my name. The mayor pretty much said on the news I did not do my job because I did not inform the council, I did not inform her. And that is wrong; she is lying to the Belizean people once again.”

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