Posted: Friday, August 18, 2023. 1:33 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Government Minister accused of sexually harassing a female attorney by text and with explicit images has been identified as Minister of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, Andre Perez.
Now, the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) is ramping up the pressure to see Perez dismissed, especially considering that Prime Minister John Briceño was allegedly notified and has not yet taken any action.
Perez has since made a legal claim against the attorney for extortion and is planning a criminal complaint under the Cyber Crime Act, while apologizing for his own actions.
But the UDP’s women’s arm, the National Organization of Women (NOW), says he must immediately be dismissed from Cabinet, subject to police investigation (if a criminal complaint is made) and charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions. They also called on the Speaker of the House to send the matter to its Privileges Committee as an alleged breach of the code of conduct – although such a code is still being formally developed, though there is a section on conduct in the Constitution.
“Oftentimes, those in high positions assume that the laws of Belize do not apply to them because of the position they hold. We remind Minister Perez that being a person in one of the highest positions in Belize means he has a responsibility to all citizens on both professional and private matters…We once again call on the Special Envoy and all other PUP organizations, the PUP Women’s Parliamentarians, the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and BNN to join NOW’s call for an unbiased investigation,” NOW writes.
“Sexual predators should not be tolerated no matter who they are or what office they hold. Accountability is key if we are ever to achieve good governance and put an end to Ministerial abuse and misconduct,” they conclude.
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