Features — 28 January 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Eric Chang: MIA again!

Former Belize City deputy mayor Eric Chang has pretty much remained out of the public spotlight for the last few months since he was named by multiple highly-placed sources as the man who brokered the deal in last September to get the South Korean fugitive, Kim Won Hong, his bogus Belizean passport which, in turn, resulted in former Minister of State, Hon. Elvin Penner, being sacked from Cabinet.

He had left the country on September 3, 2013, for an official visit to Taiwan, and after a seemingly unwarranted, extended stay – which eventually cost him his position as deputy mayor and his City Council portfolios – Chang returned to Belize 12 weeks later, in late November of 2013. At the time, he had stated that his prolonged absence was due to an illness in his family.

Since then, the media has made many interview requests of Chang in order to give him an opportunity to clear his name and respond to the allegations against him, but he has either refused or ignored all of them.

Well today, we spoke with his boss, Mayor Darrell Bradley, who informed us that Chang is out the country yet again. When asked whether Councilor Chang is doing his fair share of work at the Belize City Council, Bradley said, “Councilor Chang presently is not in Belize, but he has returned since we had our difficulties with him; he has participated in Council meetings and has participated in our Christmas program and has attended several meetings regarding projects and consultations, so he is functioning as a councilor. He is performing his responsibilities as a councilor, but currently he is out of the country.”

Bradley mentioned that he is not aware of how long Chang will be out of the country. When he was prodded for a reason as to why Chang did not report on the duration of his trip, the Mayor said, “I think a lot of people should do things that they don’t do. What am I going to do? I can’t lash them; we’re all adults. Every person takes an oath of office; they must know what they are accountable for. I must account for my own conduct and I can account for only myself. I would hope that our councilors would do certain things differently in terms of the discharge of their public duties, but I can’t force them. They were voted there by members of the public, so all of us as a community bear responsibility for holding those people accountable. As Mayor, I am ensuring that I am discharging my functions and that I hold them to some basic degree of acceptable conduct and to ensure that there is no corruption or untoward behavior going on at City Hall.”

After stressing that his responsibility is to carry out the functions of Belize City Mayor, Mayor Bradley went on to state that he will leave it up to the authorities to determine whether Chang was actually involved in any wrongdoing in regards to the Penner Passport Scandal. He maintained that as Mayor, he ensures that Chang performs his duties as a councilor.

The Mayor stated that they are monitoring the situation, and can do nothing else right now.

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