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Minister of Local Government Meets with the Belmopan City Council

A meeting between Belmopan Mayor Sheran Palacio, councillors and Local Government Minister Oscar Requena was cancelled on Wednesday after Mayor Palacio informed Minister Requena that she would not attend. Love News was first to report that Palacio and councillors were feuding and that the feud had escalated over the past few weeks. Mayor Palacio has labelled the councillors as traitors and accused them of undermining her authority and disrespecting the Office of the Mayor. One councillor we spoke to told us that many of the councillors are extremely concerned over some administrative and financial decisions taken by Mayor Palacio. We are told that when they ask questions and seek information on several matters, they are met with aggressive resistance and are later victimized. In the letter to Minister Requena, Mayor Palacio says (quote)” I am yet to be invited to a meeting to air my side of the issues, rather I am being called to attend a meeting at the first cry of these councillors? I requested a meeting with Mr Shal at the onset of the challenges but was not favoured with an audience. I daresay where was the local government when this council and its resources were being prostituted? Where was the intervention needed to arrest the abuse and the malfeasance this council has been subjected to?” (end of quote) those are strong words from the PUP mayor to the PUP minister. But Palacio didn’t stop there. She tells Requena that she will not attend the meeting and (quote) to take time to visit my office at your leisure to hear directly from me rather than ask for a meeting only when instigated by these councilors.” (end of quote). Here is what Requena had to say about the matter:

Oscar Requeña, Minister of Local Government: “We had a meeting with the Belmopan City Council. The meeting commenced. There were certain things that we discussed and then the meeting was adjourned to a further date.”

Reporter: What was? Why so fast? What was discussed and why was the meeting adjourned for a further date sir? 

Oscar Requeña, Minister of Local Government:  “There are certain issues that we have to discuss and we felt that, you know, it was important that given the issues that arose that we had to adjourn the meeting.”

Reporter: Minister I saw the, Dickie Bradley, the lawyer here apparently representing the Mayor. Do you? Can you comment on that?

Oscar Requeña, Minister of Local Government: “No, no. At this point, all I can say is that we have scheduled another meeting and we will certainly convene that meeting.”

Reporter: More or less, like when do you expect to meet again?

Oscar Requeña, Minister of Local Government: “We are hoping we can do that very soon.”