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Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2017. 11:15 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:  The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) issued a press release today stating that it acknowledges the Prime Minister’s decision to revise Government’s position regarding funding of the Senate Special Select Committee (“The Committee”) beyond November 2017.

“Equally deserving of recognition is the Prime Minister’s formal acknowledgment that The Committee’s work is “legitimate and necessary” and that its “expected findings and recommendations will be key in avoiding future mistakes and abuse,” the BCCI says.

The BCCI believes it is not unreasonable to call on The Committee to provide a practical timeline and associated budget estimates that they believe would be sufficient for the fulfillment of their Terms of Reference (TOR).

According to BCCI, the committee ought to provide a timeline in keeping with the spirit of Paragraph I of their TOR which states: “the Committee shall hold its hearings with due urgency and expedition, in accordance with Standing Order 75 of the Senate Standing Orders.” As expressed in our September 20 letter, we do not place even this Committee outside the ambit of “accountability and proper budgeting.”

The BCCI further calls on the Commissioner of Police (ComPol) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to leverage the work of The Committee to complete their own investigations with the aim of bringing criminal charges against all persons who have violated the law.

“To wait until The Committee concludes its inquiries before the ComPol and DPP initiate their own investigations would be a great disservice to Belize and a dereliction of the duties entrusted to them.”

As civil society assembles for its long journey towards a corruption-free Belize; as the Business community, the Unions, the Churches, and NGO’s press for accountability and transparency in government, the BCCI calls on GOB to openly support these investigative bodies and provide the necessary resources for them to perform their jobs with professional objectivity.

“ The fight against corruption is the one fight that we cannot afford to lose,” the BCCI further said.

The chamber says that it remains committed to its role as a social partner with the government and all relevant stakeholders in achieving this goal.

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