On Wednesday, four years after the Senate Special Select Committee first met to investigate the Auditor General’s findings on irregularities at the Immigration and Nationality Department between the years 2011 and 2013, their report was tabled and accepted by the Senate. The Senate Special Select Committee was formed after considerable pressure was put on government by the social partners, particularly the BNTU, and the country’s main opposition party, the PUP.
In 2013, Junior Minister, Elvin Penner, was kicked out of Cabinet for reportedly facilitating the acquisition of a Belizean passport by a South Korean, Won Hong Kim, who had never set foot in Belize and at the time was resident in a jail cell in Taiwan. That scandal was the tip of endemic corruption in the immigration Department.
Interestingly, or intriguingly, at the Senate meeting on Wednesday, Senator Peyrefitte defended the ministers whose names were damned in the report. Peyrefitte said that government ministers don’t have any power to do what they have been accused of, that while they can make recommendations it is public officers who execute.
Senator Pere said that public officers know their responsibilities, and that they are more secure in their jobs than government ministers are, so no one can accuse a government minister of bullying them into doing anything contrary to government regulations. It’s funny, I haven’t worked for the public service, but I’ve heard public servants express dread about getting brushed (exiled), passed over for promotion, demoted, humiliated, by these powerless government ministers.
Senator Peyrefitte also used his pulpit to take a very petty shot at the Auditor General over a minor error in her report. Really, Pere, if your government had given the lady all the resources she needed she could have, while digging into the skullduggery of your friends, got some hired staff to go over all the dots on the little i’s and all the crosses on the little t’s in her report. On that you blew hard, but it amounted to nothing. Ms. Dorothy Bradley is a hero!
Hn, let me belabor the point. Indeed, Mr. Pere, you’re trying to score cheap points because the Auditor General wasn’t fully apprised of your position as a House member — that noh right.
Good Senator Godwin Hulse spoke lengthily about all that has been done to tighten the system, to make it a thousand times better than it was before. Hulse said that a lot had gone wrong in the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality, but no public officer could claim they acted out of fear of any government minister who was making recommendations that they knew were contrary to law, because “they could have come to me.” Boy, did he “drop the hammer” on GoB’s employees!
Poor Senator Aldo Salazar complained that all the work was thrown on him, and now the job is done. Senators were jumping up and beating their chests. Salazar said the whole thing was about politics, but he also said all of us should be concerned about what is in the report, because it is a story of bad things that have been with us throughout administrations. My comment to the brother is that I feel no sympathy for him, none at all, because he is daam well-paid from the public purse.
Ai, the Senate meeting also reviewed the appointment of Mr. Estevan Perera as Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, to replace Mr. Doug Singh who resigned after his wild, distasteful interview with Brother Aaron. The appointment of partisan Mr. Perera, who is on retainer for the defense of young Vega in the land compensation deal, was approved narrowly, 7 for, 5 against, with one abstention.
The 13th senator abstained, after Pastor Rocke, who represents five of the four hundred odd churches in Belize, had sealed the deal for the government side. Rocke couldn’t see the need for the Head of the Elections and Boundaries Commission to be non-partisan, and the UDP side said, all of them…. you guessed right —that the PUP hired their people too.
If we had AV the PUP wouldn’t be singing so brightly
I see the PUP playing a little jingle, and it makes me think that they must think that we have forgotten 1998 to 2008. Hmm, I do feel happy for Vaughan Gill and Wendy, you know how their spirits must be soaring about their prospects, but I can’t help thinking that if we had the Alternative Vote (AV), they might have to be very, very careful about being so joyful over UDP woes.
For the sake of Belize, Faber had to win, and I’ll forgive every member of John’s family and all those who are in dire circumstances and so depend on the various tranches, but for everyone else who voted for him I have to say that you don’t care for our country, you only care about yourself. John might yet be PM, yes, someday, but there are things, major things, he has to clean up before he gets that nod.
Coming back to the PUP, of course I’ll vote for Julius, and if he and his party win I’ll be a very fierce critic. I might even think of asking Ramon Witz to step aside so that I could run next time, because it looks like anywho kud run.
If we had the AV I might still give my first vote to Julius in 2020, because a man who talks soh big deserves a chance to prove that he isn’t just palabras. But a dynamic candidate from the middle might get serious consideration from me. Bobby Lopez is a big mouth too, and if he ran in Cayo South I would have to think some.
As it stands now, it remains the lesser of two evils, those two evils being the PUP, and the UDP which the PUP made into a set of scoundrels. Daam right, the PUP did us so wrong we were weak, and the so-and-so UDP took advantage and ran over us. Di UDP chaans wi, Ramon, and so I have to vote PUP and pray that dis ya crowd is not like the one before.
UDP convention was an exhibition in bad leadership
The Chairman of the UDP said that there’d be no congregating at the convention, that delegates would come, vote, and go. That was the only thing that went well on the health front. Physical distancing wasn’t the best, but because only a small number of people were allowed onto the grounds at a time there wasn’t much opportunity for the ignorant among us who are smarter than the doctors to exhibit their brilliance.
There was this minister who was selling smoked beef. He is to be congratulated for trying to promote tilapia and other “grow our own initiatives” that unfortunately didn’t work out. No, I won’t say anything about the optics of a minister selling beef when his party is going through the serious exercise of choosing a leader who could become the prime minister… wait, mek a seh lee bit about that.
I told you these people get A for electability, but they ain’t worth a daam on leadership, ain’t worth a daam about motivating people to get the job done. Darrell Bradley, ah, he who spent the people’s time thinking up how to mek contract for the young lady so that she had a fat job when he went permanently into law practice, told the good people of Belize City that their pay was chump chaynj when he donned a black robe and went to court to work in the evenings.
I say, Braa, If you are so brilliant you completed your paperwork at City Hall by noon, you should have donned some work clothes in the afternoon and gone around picking up stray paper, and mending the fences of your constituents who didn’t have the money to buy fence board and nail, and paint.
This Minister selling beef, are there no young men in the villages with any kind of charisma, and is he prettier than all the village girls dem? Good initiative, but a good leader would find these young people and set them up in these projects. Teach them how, sell them the beef on consignment, connect them to micro-credit, and if you want to promote them further, then wear a shirt at the convention saying “support our young entrepreneurs”.
Oh, and teach them respect. Tell them to wear a face mask when they are serving the food because since COVID-19 we’ve found out that chatter produces a lat a spittle.