Chamber steps up pressure on GOB; one day shutdown agreed

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016. 5:33 a.m. CST.

belize chamber of commerce

By BBN Staff: The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) held a business mixer at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12th, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, and members agreed to step up the pressure on government to implement various governance reform measures.

The Chamber’s membership decided that they are not in agreement with the present constitution and Terms of Reference of the Senate Select Committee to investigate the Auditor General’s reports into the scandals at the Immigration and Nationality Department.Currently the Senate Committee has two members representing the Government and one member representing the opposition, and the current Terms of Reference restricts who can be called by the Committee to provide testimony. The Chamber therefore decided that Mark Lizarraga, the business Senator, will not participate in the Senate Special Select Committee until the necessary modifications are made to its constitution and Terms of Reference.

In addition, the BCCI has decided that if the various governance reform measures are not implemented, then the business sector will proceed with a one day shutdown of businesses to show solidarity with the BNTU.

The Chamber is asking the Prime Minister to immediately sign the commencement order to bring the appointment of the 13th Senator into law, to immediately appoint and activate the Integrity Commission and to pass legislation to reform the Public Accounts Committee to allow it to function properly.

With respect to the signing of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the Chamber considers that the 2 months leading up to December 9th is sufficient time for the working group to complete the roadmap and that signature on the date proposed by Government would be symbolic. However the other governance reforms requested by the BNTU, and supported by the Chamber, need not wait on the signing of UNCAC.

The BCCI is expected to issue a formal release on Thursday, October 13th, where more information on the Chamber’s decisions will be provided. BBN will continue to monitor this developing story.

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