Attorney says Rosewood sale is a conflict of interest

vlcsnap-2013-04-09-20h20m22s203The Rosewood Amnesty  decision taken by Cabinet  has not been met with much acceptance by many sectors of the society. The fact that one of the major exporters of the coveted Rosewood is the brother of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega has also been met with cries of “Nepotism” and “conflict of interest” from some.  But Cabinet has maintained that the decision is for the good of the country as there will be a fifty/fifty split of profits between the exporters and the Government of Belize on the sale of the once confiscated rosewood. Yesterday, Minister Godwin Hulse, in his defense of cabinet’s decision for the amnesty, made the following comments to the media.  “So I will not stand here and say there is corruption in the matter. I will simply say that the government took a decision, people may not have liked the decision, but the decision was to get rid of the rosewood that was on the ground, get some money for the people of Belize and seize and desist thereafter.  You have to put this in proper perspective and I want to lay this right out, I continue to maintain—and let me start with myself. If I have a business or my brother has a business or my son has a business and it is a legitimate business dealing in an enterprise that is not illegal, then I don’t see a problem with that and I wouldn’t countenance that as corruption.”  That statement sparked further discussions on today’s airwaves. On Rise and Shine this morning, Attorney at Law Audrey Matura Shepherd called in to say that she believes it is a conflict of interest and went on to further define what the term “conflict of interest” means.

Audrey Shepherd – Attorney at Law:
vlcsnap-2013-04-19-21h11m45s149There’s a thing called conflict of interest, that our leaders are forgetting. Let me tell you what conflict of interest is.  It is a term use to describe a situation in which a public official, our fiduciaries, meaning a person who has a fiducial obligation to someone, that they contract to that obligation an absolute duty to ask, for the benefit of the public, our designated individuals exploit the relationship for personal benefit, or typically for some kind of fiduciary benefit. And when they say for personal benefit it doesn’t mean them personally, it could be for a family, a friend, or someone connected with their business partner, or stuff like that. 

According to Shepherd, Belize can still fight against Cabinet’s decision on the rosewood decision by taking a legal recourse.

Audrey Shepherd – Attorney at Law:
Ask the court to review the way they’ve made the decisions. 

The Rosewood amnesty ends next Friday on April 26th.

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