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Jul 14, 2009

Financial controller to look over more CitCo files

Story PictureMuch has been said about the Belize City Council’s relationship with the Financial Controller who was appointed after the March fourth elections. And there is much more to be said now following the debacle of the past few days at City Hall. The facts are that Patrick Tillett made a report about irregular accounting practices and funds that were allegedly missing from the City’s coffers; a point that was echoed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow last Friday when he said there would be arrests for financial irregularities. The council held its own press conference on Monday and indicated that they had two weeks to provide the documents and the report was made before their deadline. Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers said that the practice of under depositing would be discontinued, and Tillett confirmed this. He also said he received the additional documents and he is in the process of reviewing those files. Though he was invited to yesterday’s press conference, Tillett did not make an appearance. The jury is still out on this messy situation but we found the following snippets from interviews News Five obtained with Tillett in March and Mayor Moya-Flowers in June about their working relationship.

Jose Sanchez (March 31, 2009)
“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.”

Zenaida Moya Flowers, Belize City Mayor
“At the end of the day it was something that did materialize and clearly we had to—including myself—look at in a more positive manner and look at it as a person coming in to give us—we say free because we’re not paying any money towards this individual—but free advice, free expertise in the area that he is trained in and we have tried to work on that basis to ensure that if he suggests or advises something that it works out. We have in turn, as a council, been very clear that we are elected persons. So whilst this person has come in, nobody voted for this person. Let’s be frank about it; people will always look at myself and the ten councillors and say you know what? We don’t care about nobody else. You are the ones who are held accountable, you are the ones we voted for and you are the ones that we expect to get certain things done. So there may be times when we may say we have to get things done. That person may advise against it but it all has to do with trying to work together and there definitely can be compromises I believe when you take that approach.”

It is known that Tillett will conclude his review of the additional financial documents in the next few days. We have been unable to determine how this will play out with any official police investigation.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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