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Jul 15, 2020

Attorney Deshawn Arzu-Torres Reappointed as Chairman of Integrity Commission

Deshawn Arzu-Torres

Attorney Deshawn Arzu-Torres’ appointment was also before the senate. She was reappointed to the post of Chairman of the Integrity Commission. Arzu-Torres was first appointed on June first, 2018 for a two-year term. She succeeded Marilyn Williams who vacated the seat to take up an appointment at the Supreme Court.  In 2018, Arzu-Torres’ appointment was met with mixed reaction in the Senate and that was the case again today during the Special Sitting in Belmopan. Arzu-Torres, for the past two years, has been in charge of a seven-member taskforce instituted to investigate declared statements of assets and liabilities of persons in public life, particularly for elected officials. While a few senators supported Arzu-Torres’ appointment, others questioned her vision for the next two years and her work in the past two years. Other senators queried Government’s seriousness in establishing a fully functional Integrity Commission, citing that the commission’s office is a small room in the National Assembly Building, staffed by three persons working with minimum resources.

 

Ashley Rocke

Ashley Rocke, Senator for the Churches

“I called the candidate because I wanted to hear from her precisely what her experience had been over the period that she came in to the office. One of the things that I found talking to her was that what she found herself coming in to was a very undirected environment where there were a lot of things that had to be highlights, lots of things that had to be put in place, there were a lot of procedures that were not in place so that report for the first years really, really was hard because the processes were not there to make the report accurate or meaningful. The second year she did tell me that she was able to come up with a report and that the report was supposed to the forwarded to the National Assembly however because of the whole COVID situation none of that got done.  When I spoke to some other people in my area they agreed with me to let’s give her chance to continue what she started and see where that goes.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for Business Community

“We’ve seen too many people go from rags to riches when they are in public office with no justification. We know that their salary scale is not that high to explain their physical display of wealth and we know, we’ve heard, we’ve seen who these individuals have gone from one financial strata to another, become landlord. They own huge peoples, many buildings of the same color. From having come in to political with nothing and we know what their salaries are because their salaries are published in this book. They promised to begin enhancing their capacity to deal with misconduct with people n public office. Noble endeavors but again, the question is: can they do this? Can they hire the people that they need? Can they hire those people that they need to hire as per law for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year? The answer is no. We had spoken about that in this house before. You are setting these people up to fail. You are only giving lip service. You are not serious. We have no basis in which to really evaluate her performance other than what I have already quoted from the budget. Perhaps it is unfortunate but we cannot support her reappointment.”

 

Elena Smith

Elena Smith, Senator for the Unions

“That commission is really and truly not properly staffed. If it is that that commission is properly staffed, then we believe that they would be able to do much more. You can’t not give me the tools that I need and expect me to perform at a hundred percent. And then the final matter that we are concerned about is the matter of reports from the Integrity Commission. It is very important because we need to know what it is happening.”


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