BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 26, 2021– Last week, Andrew Marshalleck, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into the fire sale of government assets, told local media that the commission’s stalled proceedings will resume on August 16, after five months’ adjournment.
On April 15, during one of the commission’s sessions, Luke Martinez, the president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) who was serving as the Public Service Union’s (PSU) representative on the commission’s panel, called the proceedings a “mockery” before revealing that a fire sale of government assets was ongoing, under the new PUP administration, even while the proceedings were taking place.
Former area representative and UDP minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez and two others were set to appear on that day before the commission, but the proceedings were adjourned indefinitely after the unexpected remarks by Luke Martinez, during which the live stream of the session was cut and deleted, presumably by the Government of Belize Press Office.
The Commission of Inquiry into the fire sale of public assets commenced on February 15 of this year. Former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow; Mr. Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary; and Mr. Ruperto Vicente, head of the Vehicle Care Unit, were the first to be called before the three-member panel.
For approximately three months, the Government of Belize streamed the proceedings before it was all brought to an abrupt halt after Martinez’s remarks.
At the time, Marshalleck had told the media that they agreed that all members of the commission must be present for quorum and they would have to wait until the Public Service Union (PSU) and the Government of Belize reached some type of reconciliation.
That relationship between GoB and the PSU is not necessarily mended, however, since just last week the president of the PSU, Dean Flowers, told local media that the government was acting like an “Animal Farm”. He made those comments in response to a leaked letter from Cabinet Secretary, Stuart Leslie which provided proof that CEOs in the various government ministries were exempted from the June 2021 salary cuts.
Either way, Chairman Marshalleck has said that they are finalizing the drafting of the documents to facilitate the resumption of the hearings on August 16.