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Former PM says COI’s findings not enough to get Peyre and Patt out of the National Assembly

The Commission of Inquiry, which also had Marcello Blake of the Chamber of Commerce and Luis Martinez of the PSU as members, recommended that the Finance and Audit Act be amended to expand regulations on how government assets are sold off. In addition, the commission recommended that the sale of the motor vehicle to Hugo Patt and the sale of land to Zhorong Li be further investigated. In Patt’s case, the commission says that investigation would determine whether Patt be prosecuted. It also recommended that there should be a determination on whether Patt, the Corozal North area representative and Senator Michael Peyrefitte can continue to be members of the National Assembly. Because of what the court has deemed serious missteps by the commission, which have resulted in rulings for Patt and Dean Barrow, we asked the former PM if there are enough grounds to have either Patt or Peyrefitte removed. Here’s what he had to say about that. 

Dean Barrow, Former Prime Minister of Belize: “Oh no, that’s gone out the window completely now, gone out the window completely so, it would be futile for any such attempt to be made. I am of the view that they will appeal in both cases, both the Patt matter and the one in which I was, myself, claimant but they are not going to be able, however the appeal goes. They’re not going to be able to reverse the findings as to wrong doings because those were findings that they accepted. That their counsel, both Mr. Smith and Mr. Mendez acknowledged as being utterly wrong and a violation of my rights and a violation of Hugo Patt’s rights. So, their appeal, and I gather the Prime Minister has said that he certainly wants to see an appeal, would have to be with respect to the quantum of the damages that’s been awarded to me and the quantum of the damages awarded to Patt. But, insofar as being able to rescue the position which has seen them condemned and excoriated by the court for having trampled over the rights of myself and Patt, they cannot. That’s irreversible particularly as I’ve said, because they have accepted, they are on record as acknowledging that that trampling of rights did occur.” 

The statement, which the Press Office released in the context of the Commission’s report, still sits on their website.