Power Struggle at Belmopan City Council: Acting Mayor Controversy Persists Despite Ministry Intervention
Tonight, the power struggle at the Belmopan City Council continues. Prior to leaving for COP28 in Dubai, Mayor Sheran Palacio appointed Councilor Hope Amadi as acting mayor. The decision was rejected by several of the councilors which subsequently led to the Ministry of Local Government intervening. Earlier this week, CEO Valentino Shal, clarified that the legal acting mayor would be Councilor Sanie Cal. Despite the ministry’s clarification, and Cal’s official appointment, Councilor Hope Amadi remains adamant about holding over for Palacio, and has since refused to leave the office. It’s a situation that Cal says could have been avoided if the mayor had met with the council before leaving the country.
Councilor Cal also spoke about the months of infighting at the council and says that the bad blood is one of the reasons Palacio did not meet with the council to re-elect another deputy when his term came to an end in September.
While Cal has refused to create further hostilities or confrontation, he is still abiding by the government’s decision. Meanwhile Amadi says he is sticking to his guns.
Hope Amadi, Councilor, Belmopan City Council: “I am very very disappointed that the CEO would say that, but at the same time, it is expected. Sometimes, I don’t know if I would say that some people have, you know, displaced amnesia like forgetting things sometimes not understanding what has been in place from the beginning of our, you know, city council while we are in city council. Yes I understand what the act said. The quoting that the CEO was always referring to I do believe that maybe he needs to read it properly to understand what the act is saying because the Ministry of Local Government is also acting outside of what the act is saying. I don’t see any part of the act that says that the Ministry of Local Government can come and impose anything to the council neither the act nor the act that governs the minister of local government. And I mean Belmopan is a Christian community where everybody knows that two wrongs cannot make a right. If you think that the Mayor is doing something wrong that does not give you the power to do something wrong in trying to fix what you think the Mayor is doing wrong but I’ll be honest with you the Mayor is not doing anything wrong. The act is specific on what it says. So let’s look at the act, what does the act say ? They’re quoting chapter 10 and we have subsection one, two, three, four and five. And we have other subsections in the same act or in the same place that I’m quoting and they are only saying we’re not following the act. They should read what the act is saying. The act in subsection the same ten subsection five says the Deputy Mayor may at any time during his time of office be removed from office at a meeting of the council, meeting of the council, by a majority resolution of the members of the council present and voting at that meeting and a new Deputy Mayor may be elected. It says may be elected it doesn’t say forced, it doesn’t say must be elected it says may be elected for the unexpired time of office of the council by the members of the council from among themselves. Member of the council from among themselves not Minister of Local Government, not CEO Shal, not the minister from Local Government, not Clifford King the director from Local Government they have no right to elect or to appoint any deputy mayor.”
Cal added that the next step may be for the government to take action to remove Amadi from the office.