House of Representatives recommends new Ombudsman

Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced in the House of Representatives last Friday that they have finally recommended a new Ombudsman: Mr. Lionel Arzu, a teacher at Julian Cho Technical High school.

Arzu, who has a Masters of Science in International Commerce and Policy and a Bachelor degree in Management and Computer Science, will serve as the Ombudsman for three years, 2013 to 2016.

He also has a wealth of experience in both public and private sectors dating as far back as the late 1980’s.

He has worked as an adjunct Economics and International Business lecturer at the University of Belize, an extension officer with the Department of Agriculture, and more.

On Friday, Barrow said that after reviewing Arzu’s curriculum vitae, the House feels that he is a “fit and proper person to be appointed as Ombudsman” and recommended him to the Governor General.

By law the functions of the Ombudsman are to investigate incidences in which authorities abuse their authority or engage in any other form of corruption or wrong doing.

Mr. Arzu replaces former Ombudsman, Cynthia Pitts, whose contract expired in December 2011, and was not renewed because of a technicality.

While Part 2 section 7.1 of the Ombudsman Act, Chapter 5 of the Laws of Belize, makes provisions for a temporary Ombudsman to be appointed on recommendation to the Governor General, no such recommendation was made and Belize was 11 months without an Ombudsman to serve the people.

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