Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018. 6:30 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) today issued a statement demanding answers for the abrupt reshuffle of the Belize Cabinet.
This morning, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the portfolio of the Ministry of Natural Resources was being taken from Carla Barnett and given to Hugo Patt.
The PUP says that the reshuffle is evidence of ‘competency deficit in Prime Minister Barrow’s Cabinet.’
According to the brief release, Senator Carla Barnett will now be demoted to a junior ministerial staffer in the Office of the Prime Minister, while relatively junior Minister Hugo Patt will now be placed in charge of the very important Ministry of Natural Resources.
Barnett served as the third Minister of Natural Resources, preceded by Vanessa Retreage and Godwin Hulse, following the 2015 demotion of Gaspar Vega, now removed from Cabinet amid massive corruption scandals.
Barnett, according to the Prime Minister at the time, was just what the ‘hotbed of corruption’ needed, since he hailed her as a bastion of integrity.
The PUP now questions the move by the Prime Minister to demote Barnett.
“It is under the UDP that the Ministry of Natural Resources earned the dubious title of ‘Hotbed of Corruption,’ and we caution the Prime Minister against making critical moves for political showmanship and expediency rather than for efficiency and good governance,” the PUP says.
The party states that the Belizean people are also still waiting for the long-promised audit report on the more than seventy million dollars in compensation payments under the tenure of disgraced former Minister Gaspar Vega.
The PUP calls on Barrow to explain the reasons for this latest reshuffle in his Cabinet to the Belizean people.
“The Government must come clean to Belizeans, since Ministers are only the stewards, and not owners, of the people’s assets, and those assets are being mismanaged by those placed in positions of authority by the Prime Minister,” the release explains.
“The people of Belize, already burdened by crippling taxes and hardship, simply cannot afford any more incompetence or corruption from those tasked with governance,” the release ends by saying.
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