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Jan 7, 2021

Board Appointments Raise Questions of Nepotism

Julius Espat

The appointment of several close relatives of elected P.U.P. officials to statutory bodies, including the Social Security Board, has raised many eyebrows, as concerns about nepotism have arisen. Jose ‘Pepe’ Garcia, the husband of Human Development Minister Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, sits as a member of the newly constituted board of directors for Belize Water Services Limited. On the S.S.B. board of directors, Michael Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde’s sibling, also sits as a member.  Over at B.T.L., Marconi Leal Jr., whose father is the Belize Rural North area representative, is both C.E.O. in the Ministry of Public Utilities and a board member. Those are only a few of the appointments. When asked about the issue of nepotistic appointments, Deputy Party Leader Julius Espat attempted to answer by drawing examples of similar appointments in the United States.

 

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure

“It’s difficult to answer, I have no decision-making when it pertains to that.  I can only explain it at the basis of the international level and that doesn’t mean that I am justifying anything.  But nepotism at the international level is graded by layers, some countries accept certain layers of family members to be hired under the supervision of a family member.  I can give you examples, in fact the United States because every state has a different rule about nepotism.  Some states ignore it totally, so it is not a factor, it is not legally binding.  Other states recommend a first layer which is a brother or a wife or something like that.  Other states go to the second layer which is maybe a grandfather or a grandmother and other states go to as far as a first cousin.  If we are serious about tackling nepotism then I believe, as legislators, we will have to make necessary proposals to the House of Representatives to determine how we will handle nepotism.  Right now nepotism is just a fancy word being used because there is no legal ramification, there is nothing in the law that disallows it.”


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