Following much scrutiny and public debate, Prime Minister Dean Barrow made major shifts in Cabinet today. According to a lengthy release issued late this evening, after much consideration and hearing from Edmund Castro, Cabinet was of the view that while there was nothing illegal in the actions of either the Belize Airports Authority or the Minister, there was poor judgment leading to a perception of abuse of authority on both sides.
In light of this, the PM took the following measures; 1. The portfolio of Civil Aviation, which includes the Belize Airports Authority and over which Minister Castro exercised day to day jurisdiction, will be removed from the Ministry of Transport and placed with the Ministry of Tourism. 2. The Solicitor General and Financial Secretary will meet with all statutory bodies to review operational protocols and advise on proper administration. And 3. The current Directors of the BAA will be asked to resign.
Other major shake-ups include the PM asking ex-minister Elvin Penner to turn in the Government vehicle that he kept, after removal from cabinet, as chair of the House Committee. The release says that Penner will also lose the chairmanship of that House Committee on Public Utilities, Transport and Communications. The PM also instructed the Financial Secretary to require of every Area Representative, to account for the 2,300 monthly allocations provided for constituency office rental and secretarial services.
The release ends stating that following consultations between the PM and the Leader of the Opposition, the new Integrity Commission, to be chaired by ex-FIU Director Marilyn Williams, has been agreed and will be constituted at next month’s Senate sitting.” End quote.
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