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Jan 14, 2021

U.D.P. Senator Says G.O.B. Did Not Consult P.S.C. in Appointing Customs Comptroller

Estelle Leslie

There was some controversy about who would succeed Collin Griffith as the next comptroller of customs. There were two frontrunners, senior customs officers Ian Haylock and Estelle Leslie. Both have the same qualifying skills, training, and education, but Leslie’s interview was successful.  She was named the first female Comptroller of Customs. During the Senate’s Sitting on Wednesday, Lead Opposition Senator Michael Peyrefitte revealed how the government managed to appoint Leslie without any backlash in the department.  The government made the Office of the Comptroller of Customs fall under section one-zero-seven of the Belize Constitution, which gives the Prime Minister the power, through the Governor-General, to appoint the Comptroller of Customs after having consulted with the Public Services Commission.  But, Peyrefitte says that the Government failed to consult the Public Services Commission.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Lead Opposition Senator

“You look at number three and this is where Madam President I want to point out something to you the motion is already ringing hallow for the government. “At all times, faithfully uphold and defend the Constitution and Laws of Belize”. Madam President under section one zero seven of the constitution of Belize. If you permit me to red section one zero seven of the constitution. It says this section applies the offices of the solicitor general, secretary to the cabinet, financial secretary, CEO, Commissioner of Police, Commandant Belize Defense Force, Commandant Belize National Coast Guard Service, Superintendent  of Prisons, ambassadors, high commissioners or principals representatives in Belize in other country or accredited to the any international organizations and subject to the provisions of this constitution designated by the Governor General acting on the advice of the Prime Minister given after consultation of the public services commission. So you can add to that list by the governor general so acting upon advice of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Public Service Commission. On the thirtieth of December 2020, a person, a position, an office was added to that list Madam President and the position added to that list was the comptroller of customs. Now you see Madam President, the current government was in a quandary. The government had to decide which of those people it wanted to appoint to be the comptroller. What they did was to avoid any backlash within the customs department they created the comptroller of customs as a one zero seven  appointment which means whoever  the Prime Minister wants can go in there without question because that person would be going there under the constitution. But the point is this Madam President. The constitution says that the Prime Minister cannot advice the Governor General to create or to put the comptroller of customs under one zero seven until the Prime Minister has consulted the Public Services Commission. I have been in contact with the Public Services Commission and they have informed that they have not been so consulted.”

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