Public officials are required by law to submit annual financial disclosure statement which is reviewed by the Integrity Commission. The Belize 2020 Human Rights Report states as of July only 28 percent of government members required to declare their assets to the Integrity Commission had done so for 2019-2020. A report was sent to Director of Public Prosecution for further action to be taken but the Report notes that as of October 2020, no actions had been taken. During his appearance on The Morning Show today, Prime Minister John Briceno was asked about it.
Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: Can you say how many of the members of parliament have actually submitted to the Integrity Commission?
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “I wish I could answer you, I don’t. I know that the majority have, certainly on our side we have been behind everyone to submit their files but I could that from members and get back to you.”
Rene Villanueva, Host, The Morning Show: Have you done so sir?
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Yes.”
Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: Another question in particular as it relates to government- let me ask this question very quickly, will the government and the union go back to the table at some point in time ?
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well we’ve always said to the unions we’re open to talk to them. The budget has passed and the Senate is going to have their debate but as you know the Senate cannot stop a money bill so the budget has been passed. The ten percent unfortunately has to be implemented but we continue to speak with the unions. We see them as partners and even as friends I mean like in every family you don’t agree with everything but that does not mean we become enemies and so we continue to reach out to the unions.”
Documents obtained by Love News show several members from both political parties did not submit their annual financial disclosure statements. Persons who have failed to do so for 2020 are former PUP Senator Paul Thompson, former UDP area representatives, Edmond Castro, Frank Mena, and Elodio Aragon Jr. On the municipal levels, those who also failed to file their records for last year are, Shamir Alpuche, Dilan Cassanova, Dr. Jimenez Paharasingh, Oscar Arnold, Gary Grief, Severro Guerrero, Ian Cal, Isidoro Galvez, Erica Jang, Aaron Gongora, Gary Francisco, Alexander Joseph, Earth Lopez, Franklin Polonio, Raynel Tate. New members who have not done so for 2019 and 2020 are Denise Barrow, Carolyn Sandiford, Oscar Mira, Luis Balona, Anthony Mahler, Collet Montejo, Bevington Cal, Magali Marin, Bishop Benguche, and Kevin Herrera. Out of 53 new members elected in town council not one has filed. They have up to June 2021 to do so.