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Opposition Leader calls for “claim for misfeasance in public office” against Gaspar Vega

LettersOpposition Leader calls for “claim for misfeasance in public office” against Gaspar Vega

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Sir Edney Cain Building

1st September, 2017

Dear Prime Minister:

For too long, the good people of Belize have been fed a constant diet of corruption in the highest ranks of the Government you lead. You have presided, as Prime Minister, over a Government that facilitated and condoned the bucket sale of nationality, passports and visas orchestrated by your Ministers and their cronies for personal profit, the pillaging of the land resources of our country under the leadership of your colleague and former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega for his family and friends, and the wanton abuse and criminality lately revealed by the Auditor General in several ministries.

This criminality has been met with perfunctory acceptance by you: it’s “a hotbed of corruption”; with weak appeals: “for God’s sake stop it”; and callous disregard: “what it is, is what it is.”

We have witnessed undeniably criminal giving of national land on Mosquito Caye to members of the Vega family. This is but the latest in the litany of corruption in your Government. Misfeasance in office has been obvious over the years and you have done nothing. We have had enough.

Social partners have over the past two days publicly expressed their outrage at the latest scandals. They are right. But just as importantly, they have highlighted the fact that the Government you lead has deliberately undermined the institutions of oversight. The Public Accounts Committee has been undermined by your Government. The Integrity Commission has been rendered powerless, again by your Government.

The result is where we are today. A nation beset by scandal after scandal perpetrated by your Government. Basta, Prime Minister!

We are monitoring very closely the investigation by the police, which you have publicly announced. We call on you to immediately produce to the public, that indeed the land illegally given, to the Vegas on Mosquito Caye has been cancelled.

But that is just the start. We demand that you immediately do the following:

1. Establish a Commission of Inquiry into the hotbed of corruption in the Ministry of Lands for the period 2008 to 2015; 2. That you instruct the Attorney General to initiate a claim for misfeasance in public office against Gaspar Vega and ensure the recovery of all the ill-gotten gains by him and his family, and damages in the millions for loss suffered by the people of Belize; 3. That you instruct the UDP members of the Public Accounts Committee to vote in support of our call for meetings of the PAC to be public hearings; and 4. That you cause your nominees on the Integrity Commission to vote in favour of our call for all public officials to file returns beginning in 2012.

These, Mr. Prime Minister, are our minimum demands. You have allowed a culture of corruption to flourish under your watch. The confidence of the Belizean people has been betrayed by you and your Cabinet colleagues.

I look forward to a positive response.

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