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Chanona responds to concerns about PCC chair appointment

GeneralChanona responds to concerns about PCC chair appointment

“If this exercise is going to divide our nation on a very important work….then I would have to give this careful thought. I will not feed nor allow my family to be fed into a vicious cycle of tearing each other down in trying to build our country,” Chanona said in an interview on Monday.

BELMOPAN, Wed. July 27, 2022
On Monday, Anthony Chanona, former Belmopan mayor and PUP senator, pointed out in an interview with KREM News’ Marisol Amaya that he has only been nominated to serve as Chairman of the People’s Constitutional Commission, and no appointment has been made. He noted that two more readings of the legislation related to the post are yet to take place in the House of Representatives, after which full authorization would still have to be given by the Senate before the establishment of the post could be formalized by the Governor General and gazetted into law. Until then, Chanona

explained, no such position exists under the law.

He did acknowledge, however, that he was called upon by the leader of the country (Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño) to serve on the commission and that he answered in the affirmative, before receiving an official letter of his nomination.

“For the record, I received a phone call from the Prime Minister asking me if I would consider serving as Chairman of the People’s Constitutional Commission. I answered in the affirmative, because I say it is an opportunity to serve my country, and I received a letter from the Ministry of

Constitutional Affairs nominating me to that post. I have not been appointed. I can only be appointed under the law,” Chanona said.

Notably, Chanona, who is father of NGO senator Janelle Chanona and the father-in-law of Minister of the Public Service and Political and Constitutional Reform, Hon. Henry Charles Usher, was present in the capacity of a citizen and resident of Belmopan at a meeting regarding the formation of the commission which was held on Monday.

In reference to the public’s concerns that his appointment appears to be a conflict of interest or nepotistic, since he is the father-in-law of Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform, Hon. Henry Charles Usher, Chanona reasoned, “I don’t see why, a citizen of this country who wants to serve this country—and a nationalist pride burns deep in me – should be prevented from enlisting my talents, treasure, and faith in God to serve Belize.

Why do you say that that’s a conflict? Is my son-in- law trying, planning to [take] over the government of Belize? And I am going to aid and abet, and create a conflict to the constitutional reform of government? I don’t think that’s a proper way to describe me standing up to serve my country.”

He said that any questions about whether he was the only choice and was hand-picked or if he was selected from a list of qualified persons to hold the post would have to be directed to the Prime Minister.

“Why I was selected, I don’t know. All I know is that my public record speaks for itself, and if that is what attracted my name into a pool of other names, I don’t know, but I was approached,” Chanona said.

When the discussion with Amaya was nearing its end, he said, “If this exercise is going to divide our nation on a very important work….then I would have to give this careful thought. I will not feed nor allow my family to be fed into a vicious cycle of tearing each other down in trying to build our country.”

While Chanona’s public record has been impeccable, many believe his familial ties with Minister Henry Charles Usher—who as Minister of Constitutional Reform is spearheading the process of creating a modern Constitution—have tainted his appointment with an appearance of bias.

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