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Senate debates reappointment of Chair of Integrity Commission

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2020. 1:11 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government has brought a motion to reappoint attorney Deshawn Arzu-Torres as chairperson of the Integrity Commission for another two years.

First appointed in 2018 after Marilyn Williams’ departure, Arzu-Torres indicated to Churches Senator Ashley Rocke that she was willing to serve again, and would be prepared to work with any political party.

In supporting the motion, Senator Rocke relayed the contents of a recent conversation with Arzu-Torres in which they discussed the understaffing, under-resourcing and public-facing of the Commission, all of which Arzu-Torres said she wanted to work on.

Rocke also called for efforts to make the Commission fully independent of the Government, supported by Opposition Senator Louis Zabaneh.

The Integrity Commission Office currently occupies a single room on the upper floor of the National Assembly, but is to be moved to the former premises of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) in Belmopan.

NGO Senator Osmany Salas pointed out that the annual report of the Commission, due at the end of May, has not been laid before the National Assembly, which has officially been blamed on COVID-19 (though as pointed out by Business Senator Mark Lizarraga, the National Assembly has met multiple times during that time).

Senator Lizarraga pointed out that the Budget section for the Commission listed that about 140 declarations of 450 had been returned for 2019, and it was projected that fewer would be returned for 2020.

The motion is before the relevant Senate Committee.

 

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