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Sep 22, 2017

O.W.’s Kevin Bernard Refutes “Erroneous” Integrity Commissions Statement

On Wednesday, the Integrity Commission announced that it forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution the list of persons in public life who failed to submit their declaration of assets, income and liabilities to the Commission by the required time. As also required by law, the names of those not in compliance is published in the Gazette. This was done in its July fifteenth issue. Along with P.U.P. Orange Walk South area representative Jose Abelardo Mai and U.D.P. Senator Macario Coy, Orange Walk Mayor Kevin Bernard and the majority of his current councilors appear on the list. But the mayor maintains that the Wednesday release was misleading and erroneous on the Commission’s part, as all but one of his councilors submitted when reminded at deadline time. He spoke to News Five about it via telephone.


On the Phone: Kevin Bernard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“We had received a letter in July, and immediately I received that letter I informed my councilors, ‘Listen, the deadline has passed; you need to make sure you submit.’ So I wrote the Commission, telling them that within the week we should have submitted our declarations. Now when I refer to councilors, I am talking about all councilors except for Louigi Gomez, because he was the only councilor who said that he had not submitted. For example myself – I personally took all the ones for our councilors to Belmopan, to the Integrity Commission; and that was right after we received the letter – a week later, we all got our documents together and submitted our declarations. Now that letter said it would have appeared in the Gazette; it is surprising to me that our name was still submitted in the Gazette when we had already declared our submissions. What I had issue with was that the release came out and referred back to the same Gazette list, so it was taken as if we had not filed our declaration.”


Mayor Bernard says he expects the Commission to correct itself and make clear whether it is referring to a different list than the Gazette of July fifteenth. Meanwhile as Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal told us on Wednesday, she is awaiting a response to her request for supporting evidence on the list of names she received from the Commission.  Section seventeen of the Prevention of Corruption Act prescribes fines to those unable to reasonably say why their declaration was not filed, with prison a possibility for a second offense. There are a mix of current and former area representatives, senators and mayors and town councilors listed as non-compliant by the Commission.

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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