Senate Misled in Naming Integrity Commission Chairman

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Updated: December 6, 2016

The appointment of Nestor Vasquez as a member of the Integrity Commission was highly criticized by Senators during the last Senate Meeting.  So much so that Senators questioned his integrity. According to the Orders of the Day for the November 30 Senate Meeting, Vasquez was appointed to the Integrity Commission as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Belize. The problem is that Vazquez is no longer a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Belize. With this in mind, PUP Leader Senator, Eamon Courtenay wrote to the Minister Godwin Hulse, the Senator in charge of Government Business. In his letter, Courtenay asserts that the Senate was misled, as Vasquez’s certificate of membership has expired.

EAMON COURTENAY

“The certificate is from 1985, I wrongly assumed that what that certificate was saying was that Mr.Vasquez was a member of the institute from 1985 and continued up until now, the resolution itself says that Mr.Vasquez is a member of the institute. As we all know the resolution was false and the certificate was expired and so I have indicated to the leader of government business in the senate that as a result of the resolution that he has moved he has mislead, certainly he has mislead me and I believe other members of the senate took the resolution for what its worth and stated. Now it would seem to me that the evidence is very clear that Mr.Vasquez is not a member of the institute and section 3 subsection 3 of the prevention of corruption act says that you must be a member of the institute to be in the Integrity Commission. Mr.Vasquez clearly does not qualify. I suggested to the leader of government business that he should take steps to correct the situation, if I don’t hear from him I have been authorized by my party to file a motion in the senate which I intend to do tomorrow if I don’t hear from Senator Hulse, rescinding the approval which was fraudulently obtained from the senate.”

According to Courtenay, Vasquez has not renewed his membership since 2009 and is not in good standing.

EAMON COURTENAY

“I had objected to Mr.Vasquez being a member of this integrity commission on a different basis because clearly he contravenes the United Nation Convention Against Corruption which they are going to have a big signing ceremony on the 9th. So here it is, a person who does not qualify under the United Nations Convention is being put forward now we find out that he’s not even qualified under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The point of the matter is why is the government of Belize insisting Mr.Vasquez be a member on a commission that ought to enjoy the confidence of the Belizean people and the confidence of people who are going to be making filings before him. He is unqualified from the word get go, yet the government is pursuing a fraudulent appointment, a fraudulent approval, they lied to us and yet they want us to believe that this is above board? It is not above board, it is crude politics, it is illegality and Mr.Vazquez a man who I’ve known for many years ought not to allow himself to be used as a pawn in this game. Something is radically wrong when the government of Belize seeks the intervention of the Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Chartered Accountants to come up with a name, they go through the process and come up with a name and before the senate meets to do the approval the name is put forward and it is rejected by the government, it shows that this government is on a political appointment of an integrity commission it is just simply wrong.”

A special Sitting of the Senate has been scheduled for December 15.