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Oct 4, 2010

Gov’t controlled Board of BNE Charitable Trust axes General Manager

One of the former directors of Belize Natural Energy, Shiela McCaffery, is wanted for less than twenty thousand dollars paid out in BNE cheques when she had already been removed from the company. But there is more trouble and it has to do with the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust Fund which was established in 2003 and managed by both government and BNE. About a million dollars is spent every year on projects for needy institutions. This year, the rotating chair passed over to government which, according to the partnership agreement, is allowed to cast an additional vote to break ties. Last week GOB charged that BNE broke that deal when trustees walked out of a board meeting and have since refused to attend any meetings. The fallout is because the contract for the General Manager post has expired and BNE wants to keep Deborah Sewell on board but the government representatives do not. It all has to do with politics, according to Sewell earlier today.

Deborah Sewell, Former General Manager, BNE Trust

“It was Sept. 29 when the chairman came into my office and handing me a letter saying that the G.O.B. appointees did not wanted to renew my contract; that they wanted to advertise my position. So I asked what was the issue. And he said, no there is no issue, we just wish to advertise the position and we don’t wish to renew your contract and that is something that we can decide that we don’t want to do. I found out later from him that the B.N.E. appointees, when this was mentioned in the September fifteenth Board meeting, walked out of the meeting because they were not in agreement with the appointees to hire a new General Manager.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know the chairmanship of the trust switches between the government and B.N.E. every two years.  Are they obligated to keep you on though?”

Deborah Sewell

deborah sewell

“Technically no. they are not obligated to keep me on. My contract did expire on September thirtieth. But it’s a bigger issue than that. The issue is about the sustainability of the trust; the issue is about really making sure the funds are given in a transparent and very objective manner.”

Jose Sanchez

“How much money is at stake right now? How many projects are on hold without a general manager?”

Deborah Sewell

“Well, every year we put approximately one million dollars on the ground, sometimes it is a little over. Last year, we spent close to one point two million dollars and then with additional resources that we brought in, it was an additionally four million dollars in resources. And so what’s allocated is a million dollars every year. So there are a million dollars worth of projects that are on the ground but there are some really. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of need throughout the country and it is very difficult to choose the projects that you will fund. So we really look for projects that are in dire need and people who desperately need help. And so these projects out there are some very, very critical projects. We have a lot of school projects, roof projects. We are in the hurricane season so a lot of these schools are waiting for their roofs to be replaced, their waiting for their projects to come on stream and you know, they’ve been waiting close to a year.”

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6 Responses for “Gov’t controlled Board of BNE Charitable Trust axes General Manager”

  1. Edith says:

    Another person being wrongly terminated so the government can put who they want there!

  2. conerned Belizean says:

    It’s really sad to see what this country is coming to. PUP and UDP do the same thing. They are all in it for personal gain but this current Administration is passing the mark. Maybe it has to do with the lack of “educated” Ministers. There are just a few smart ones running the show and everybody just wants to make money and they don’t give a damn about the people. Here is an organization doing good for the Country for a change and now the Gov’t is hearing a ‘millions of dollars’ being mentioned and all they hear is Ka-Ching! Now they want to put their cronies there to embezzle money for their personal uses and nothing good will get done. Its downright RIDICULOUS.

  3. daveyt says:

    I wonder which one of the Barrow family will get this job then???

  4. boohoo says:

    she didn’t get terminated. her contract expired.

  5. Earl Grey says:

    Does the BNE-Charity have a set of WRITTEN LAWS AND BY-LAWS?????

    That would be a good start……..

  6. rootsman says:

    The problem was choosing to have government co-manage the trust why? why? why? could they not have managed that by themselves or find some other way of managing it without including the government, of course they will try and put their cronies in there so they can tell them what to do and how to spend the money. The present administration have their hands in more than they can handle right now there should be a special NGO set up to manage those funds, then maybe the funds were set up in order to pacify the government so that they don’t pressure BNE for additional taxes from the oil and government will just do what they want with the funds having no accountability or transparency (remember Barrow’s Platform for election we are still waiting on it) and that fund will just keep getting larger every year without the public knowledge and just get siphoned down to the reported one million dollars which is all they will account for if that much.

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