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November 13, 2015
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November 13, 2015

Challenge to The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry to democratize the selection of the “Business Senator”

Friday, November 13, 2015.  By:  O.J Elrington:  First and foremost congrats to all the Senators who were today sworn in as members of the National Assembly.

However, as a member of the business community, I must write to express my utmost disappointment with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and the Business Bureau in their selection process of the Senator that is to represent the business community. 12248668_10153121638176561_1378108103_n

My problem does not stem from the personality selected, but rather with the process used to select the Senator.

According to the Chamber, they have vigorously and actively campaigned for greater transparency, accountability and enhancement of the Belizean democracy.

Senator Mark Lizarraga himself, in an interview, said the Chamber will continue to vigorously lobby for the greater “democratization of institutions”. Yet, hypocritically so, the selection of the senator was done in a manner which contradicts those very tenets.

Firstly the nomination and election does not include the wider business community, the Chamber represents only a minority of the Belizean business community.

Secondly the nomination process is not even open to it’s own wider membership. A committee of a few people provided the two nominees, basically handpicking and as such stifling the democratic process.

Last but not least, the membership was provided with less than 24 hours to select the candidates hand picked by the committee. By doing so this disenfranchised almost 1/3 of its own membership. Yet they complain of Bills being brought at the final hour to the House?

This for me is unacceptable, socially so in light of gravity of the responsibility of the person selected in our democracy.

This to me is unacceptable for an institution that claims it is clamoring for “greater democratization of institutions.”

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Belize Media Group.

O.J Elrington is the former chairman of the Belize Coalition of Service Providers.

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