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Jan 20, 2020

Senators Raise Concerns Over Contractor General Appointment

Osmany Salas

The motion to appoint Omar Mitchell to the post of Contractor General was today ratified by the Senate but not before several senators voiced concerns. Mitchell succeeds Godwin Arzu who was axed when the Senate would not ratify the renewal of his contract after he failed to produce reports for many years. Mitchell’s appointment will be for a period of three years with effect from February third. Sixty-seven-year-old  Mitchell, a civil and structural engineer by profession,  returned to Belize in 2000, after living and working in Trinidad for an extended period of time, was employed with the Central Bank in that country.  In the Senate today, senators questioned if Government adhered to the age restrictions given that Mitchell may be in his late sixties. They also challenged Mitchell’s ability to carry out his duties with limited resources.


Osmany Salas, Senator for N.G.O.s

“In the CV, I noticed that he graduated from Saint John’s in 1968, the year I was born. I dated myself now which would put him in the mid to late sixties. I tried to get his age from him but I decided to put the question late and I haven’t received a response. Why I mention that is that we have to be aware of the age limitation for the post. Section subsection two refers to vacating office at attaining the age of sixty-five years. And sub section three of that same section effectively says that it could be extended up to the age of seventy years. I know the appointment would be for a three year period. We want to make sure that it does not become an issue.”


Isabel Bennett

Isabel Bennett, P.U.P. Senator

“Besides the age, my concern would be are the individual in tuned and abreast of best practices because if we are establishing an office of this important then that individual must be able to meet global standards as it concerns anything with our country.”


Ashley Rocke

Ashley Rocke, Senator for Churches

“My concern also was the very concern that he had the age period and the age limit and I wonder how government will address this issue. I am saying that when we were talking about the contractor General the whole issue of disclosure was very key to this person being employed and I am interest in that as well; the age and disclosure.”


Elena Smith

Senator Elena Smith, Senator for Unions

“In terms of the work of that office needs to do, we do feel that the office needs strengthening and so we need to have additional personnel to assist Mr. Mitchel and help to carry out the functions of this office. Again as was said, because of the credential that he comes with we do not expect that he would be left there to fail, as such, because he does not have the support he needs. Our concern is the fact that he needs to have more support and we trust that the government is going to provide the support.”


Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for Private Sector

“Knowing him I have to ask myself, if he is really aware of what it is he is getting into, if he is really aware of what it is that his responsibilities are. It may be address to you, but I will take this opportunity – speak of the devil, he is calling me right now, but you raised a legitimate concern.”

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