Integrity Commission Delayed Due to PEP Issue

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Updated: October 8, 2015

As it relates to the Integrity Commission, back in February 2014, the Barrow Administration had put together a commission but there were some setbacks as towo of the businessmen who were asked to sit on the commission, withdrew their names as it was later found out that they and the other commission members would be classified as Politically Exposed Persons, meaning that they would be required to present disclosures as well.  The two who withdrew were Brett Feinstein and Steve Duncan; leaving Marilyn Williams as the Chairperson and two Government representatives in the name of Armead Gabourel and Wilmot Simmons along with Kevin Arthurs and Phillip Zuniga for the Opposition.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media today that the delay in having the integrity commission up and running is the reluctance of persons being labelled as Politically Exposed Persons then obligated to give disclosure.

DEAN BARROW

“In terms of the Integrity Commission, you know what the problem is. Just as with banking and de-risking, the powers that be abroad have come up with this question of Politically Exposed Persons and the wonderful appointees that we had proposed to make to the Integrity Commission backed out because they do not want to be, in fact, categorized as Politically Exposed Persons with all that that brings. Once we can find the, for example there must be an accountant, once we can find a Chartered Accountant who is prepared to serve, understanding that then that opens him up to scrutiny on the part of the US and others, we will proceed.”

In September 2014, a body of the Organization of American States tasked to follow up on the implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption issued a report on Belize regarding the country’s moves in implementing the treaty.  In that report Belize was urged to, quote, “Take the steps necessary to ensure the appointment of the members of the Integrity Commission, so that the Commission can begin to exercise its critical responsibilities as the oversight body for the financial declarations system in Belize.”  End of quote.