By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is facing criticism from the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) for not appointing an Integrity Commission even as the visit from OAS Commission evaluating anti-corruption compliance nears.
VIP’s Public Relations Officer, Robert Lopez told The Reporter it is regrettable that the Prime Minister who came to power on a campaign full of anti-corruption promises, has yet to meet his legal obligation to appoint new members to the Integrity Commission.
Lopez said that it is a shame that the Prime Minister has taken so long to perform a task as simple as appointing an Integrity Commission and has used excuses like being too busy to do so.
Lopez said the failure is an indictment against the Prime Minister and his administration and that it reflects poorly on our government’s political will to cooperate with the OAS Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
The VIP also issued a release reminding all public officials that, according to the Prevention of Corruption Act 2007, March 31 was the stipulated deadline for financial disclosures to be filed.
The OAS Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC) is scheduled to conduct an on-site visit to Belize from April 23rd to the 25th.
Lopez told The Reporter that the VIP hopes to meet with the OAS commission when they arrive.
The commission gathers information from multiple oversight bodies as well as the civil society to assess how these structures are functioning alongside the OAS Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (CAC). The results of the review will be included in the MESICIC report at its meeting in September.
Belize has not appointed an Integrity Commission despite the Prime Minister’s promise of “remedying omissions such as the failure to appoint the Integrity Commission,” in his New Year’s address to the nation.
Although former Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) director Marilyn Williams was named as the new chairperson for the Integrity Commission in January, the appointment of the Commission members has stalled since two of the UDP’s nominations declined to be involved on the basis that they would be considered Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and be required to disclose private financial information.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has since declared publicly that he is having difficulty in finding r suitable eplacements for the Integrity Commission
“I have been. too busy really to have conducted any search for replacements of the Integrity Commission,” he explained.