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Sep 15, 2006

New S.S.B. chairman vows to be transparent

Story PictureOn the first of the month, attorney Michele Chebat officially assumed his appointed post as Chairman of the Belize Social Security Board. Chebat’s predecessor Yasin Shoman resigned following recommendations of a special Senate Select Committee that he and then General Manager Narda Garcia be removed following more than two years of investigation into irregularities in the management and investment portfolio of the S.S.B. This afternoon Chebat vowed to improve the fund’s tarnished image.

Michel Chebat, Chairman, S.S.B.
?We welcome scrutiny, we have nothing to hide and I can guarantee you that as long as I remain chairman that our actions will be transparent. As I said, we have nothing to hide, we are dealing with public funds and I think along with that must be a lot of public scrutiny, so it is something we welcome. I have spent most of the last couple weeks trying to get up to speed with the issues currently facing the board and trying to familiarize myself with them. Meeting as much of the board members as I can and trying to meet the staff of the social security board. So since my appointment on the first, I have actually been trying to catch up and make sure that I am fully abreast of the situation.?

While Chebat is the new chairman, former G.M. Narda Garcia rejected the findings of the Senate committee and has promised to seek legal redress from the S.S.B. over her dismissal. Garcia was fired by the Board at the request of the Prime Minister, who in turn was following the recommendations of the Senate Committee. Garcia had four years left on a five year contract, the terms of which have not been made public. The S.S.B. has advertised the post of General Manager in the media but no announcement has yet been made on who will fill the position.

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