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Nominees for 13th Senator to Be Submitted by NGOs

The process to select the thirteenth Senator that will represent the non-governmental organizations continued yesterday at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan, Cayo District. Twenty two NGOs recognized by the Attorney General for their good standing with the law elected a Steering Committee during yesterday’s meeting that will facilitate the election process. The Steering Committee is comprised of its Chairman, Janelle Chanona of Oceana; Vice Chairman, Osmany Salas of the Belize Tourism Industry Association; Treasurer, Armando Aban of the Belize Scouts’ Association; Secretary, Amanda Acosta of the Belize Audubon Society and Media Relations Officer, Froyla Tzalam of the Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management representative.  Of one hundred and forty three NGOs working in Belize only twenty two have been deemed in good standing with the law under the NGO Act. Taking that in mind, the Steering Committee has as a priority to ensure equal representation among its members. The Steering Committee will ensure that as many NGOs working in Belize are recognized as being in good standing and can participate in the selection of the thirteenth Senator. A deadline of December 16, 2016 was set for NGOs to comply with requirements by the NGO Act.  The committee is urging NGOs to contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Steering Committee to discuss the reasons their NGO is not listed.  The meeting yesterday also served to draft a list of criteria for the Senator that will represent the NGOs. The Senator is asked to be a Belizean that has lived in Belize for at least one year and has no allegiance to any other country; be an active member of an NGO in good standing for at least three years and possess a letter of endorsement from the NGO they are attached to.  Other requirements include excellent written and oral communication skills and must comply with all constitutional requirements to become a member of the National Assembly. It is of importance that the Senator be non-partisan with no affiliations to any political party. With January 17, 2017 being the deadline to submit the name of the NGOs nominated Senator to the Governor General of Belize, acceptance of nominations from NGOs will close on January 3, 2017.