BELMOPAN, Thurs. Aug. 11, 2022 There seems to be some tension between the leadership and the councilors of the Belmopan City Council. Two opposing press releases were issued on the same day by the council—one sent out by the Office of the Mayor, announcing the appointment of a new deputy mayor, and another by “the Councilors”, who rejected the appointment. The issue is over Mayor Sharon Palacio’s decision to name
councilor Pauline Soberanis-Tillett as the new Deputy Mayor of Belmopan, to replace councilor Daren Swasey.
The issue is, however, that a vote was not carried out prior to the appointment, in accordance with the Belmopan City Council Act, Section 19 (2) (e).
“The Councilors hereby inform the residents of Belmopan that this decision was not made in accordance with the Belmopan City Council Act Section 19(2)(e) which, through a decision of the Caucus, decided that appointments must be made by vote of the entire council. Furthermore, the term of the current Deputy Mayor Daren Swasey is still in effect until September 2022. We vehemently oppose the dictatorial appointment of a new Deputy Mayor,” the release from the councilors stated.
Interestingly, the person named as the appointee to occupy the Belmopan deputy mayor post, Pauline Soberanis- Tillett, has also declined to take the post. “We did not have a meeting, voting or anything for me to have been elected; therefore, I decline,” she has stated.
There is currently no indication what led Mayor Palacio to make this announcement regarding the appointment of Soberanis-Tillett, but it is a decision that has so far backfired. Among a flurry of comments posted by the public on social media following the announcement, was a statement by Simeon Lopez, the former mayor of Belmopan, who remarked, “The Mayor has no authority to unilaterally appoint the Deputy.”