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May 31, 2023

Ombudsman is Asked to Investigate Dubious Signing of Definitive Agreement

Gilbert Swazo

On Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Ted Peralta, on behalf of the Port of Belize Limited, wrote to Ombudsman Gilbert Swazo requesting an investigation into the circumstances of the signing of the Definitive Agreement.  The request is based on reasonable grounds which were presented by way of evidence that former Minister of Economic Development Erwin Contreras committed a corrupt act with the signing of that agreement.  As many as ten reasons were cited for an investigation to be launched by the Office of the Ombudsman.  Interestingly, Retired Major Gilbert Swazo is also the former Ports Commissioner.  Earlier today, we sat with him for his take on an investigation of this nature.


(Ret.) Major Gilbert Swazo, Ombudsman

“If it is that there is any individual or persons, corporate or not, who deem or believe that they have suffered any injustice, abuse or subject to any corruption, may lodge a written complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman.  Once that complaint is lodged at the Office of the Ombudsman, the ombudsman is to determine the validity and the veracity of that case.  The validity and the veracity of the case will determine whether an investigation of that matter will continue, will start and/or will end, depending on the determination of the ombudsman.  If it is deemed that the complaint is valid, it is not frivolous, if the complaint is not in any way or form appears to be vexatious and not made in good faith, then it stops.  However, if it is determined that it is not frivolous, it is not prejudicial, then the ombudsman may commence and investigation.”


Isani Cayetano

“What weight, if any, does the outcome of the ombudsman’s investigation have on such a matter going forward?”


Gilbert Swazo

“Well, there are a number of things.  One, the recommendation that is made is just what it is, it’s just a recommendation.”

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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