Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014. 5:22 pm CST.
AARON HUMES Reporting: Former Deputy Mayor of Belize City Eric Chang is reported to be out of the country attending to family business in Taiwan.
Last September Chang went to Taiwan right around the time that South Korean businessman and fugitive Won-Hong Kim received a passport through former Minister of State Elvin Penner.
Chang stayed for nearly three months, until November of 2013, and lost his portfolios and positions as a result.
Chang, the first Taiwanese-Belizean in elected political office, has steadfastly refused to offer an explanation for his activities in Taiwan, and today Mayor Bradley told reporters that even he is not sure about his colleague’s innocence.
According to the Mayor, while it is standard to inform the office of when you leave, Chang has not done so, meaning that with a Council meeting planned for today, even the Mayor does not know if Chang will be there.
He stated that it is up to his wayward councilor to clear his name as it is affecting his relationship with the Council and the degree of trust the Mayor has for him.
As for any role in the scandal itself, that remains in the hands of the various bodies investigating the matter, none of whom have indicated that Chang is of interest to them yet.
Regarding his own political fortunes, the Mayor has already indicated that he will not go for a second term but he is still weighing whether to enter national politics.
Bradley has a team on the ground in Caribbean Shores and he has also been asked to run in Freetown, where caretaker Lee Mark Chang has stepped aside and PUP leader Francis Fonseca has held sway for four terms.
The UDP is presently holding conventions for seats which they do not hold in the House of Representatives.
While Bradley has yet to make up his mind, he maintains that he wants to be the most effective Mayor he can be in his time of office remaining.
The current council’s term expires in 2015 and though there are heavy rumours it will be called before then, the next general election is scheduled for 2017.
Finally, the Mayor addressed the scandal enveloping fellow UDP and Minister of State for Transport Edmund “Clear the Land” Castro, who is accused of obtaining thousands of dollars of public funds belonging to the Belize Airports Authority for his personal use in his constituency of Belize Rural North.
As an aspiring national politician himself, Bradley says he shares the Prime Minister’s distaste for the naked hustling of his colleague, and says further that the resulting furore from this and similar scandals is damaging the Government’s reputation and obscuring the good work it is doing countrywide.
The Minister of State has yet to offer a satisfactory explanation for his use of the funds, insisting that he signed no checks himself.
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