Following a caucus meeting at City Hall Thursday morning, the Belize City Council has confirmed that Eric Chang has been stripped of both his post as Deputy Mayor and his portfolio of works. Mr Chang has been fingered as the alleged courier in the immigration scandal, who made contact with Kim Won-hong in a Taiwanese jail to deliver his fraudulently obtained passport. Chang was on a trip to Taiwan with Mayor Darrell Bradley in September but asked to stay on for a “vacation,” which was to have come to an end on October third. Two weeks later, despite orders to come home, Eric Chang has not budged, insisting that he needs to stay with his sick grandfather.
Mr. Darrell Bradley- Mayor of Belize City
“On the last City Coucil meeting, the city council…we discussed this matter, and they indicated and we took away from that meeting that we would have written Councilor Chang, which I did. I wrote him; I gave him a dead line to return into the jurisdiction. That deadline was last week Friday. He did not meet that deadline. He spoke to me on the phone. He asked for additional time. I indicated to him that in the workings in the city, we need a Deputy Mayor to be in-country, we need our works councilor to be and we can’t have a situation where somebody cannot give an indication as to when they will return to the jurisdiction. So that we approached this issue from two points; yes, you have the passport scandal and you have that which he must respond to members of the public because the public wants to know and that will be for him when he comes into the jurisdiction. But we have massive works as you just asked me about, in the city going on, and he occupies very critical roles in our organization and we need to move on”.
The Mayor noted that Eric Chang still remains a city councilor, having been elected by the residents in that municipality and that no action is currently being considered in that regard, until a thorough and proper investigation into his possible involvement in the passport scandal is conducted.
Mayor Darrell Bradley
“He’s still part of the Council. He was elected by members of the public. He is still a Councilor. One of the things that I want to indicate is that in relation to what is going on with Immigration. There are investigations going on. I’m sure that those investigations will be through. Those investigations are not conducted by me. They’re not conducted by the city. We are awaiting whatever outcome comes from that, whatever report will be generated, whatever will be responded to, and then at that stage – because part of the hesitation in my acting was the fact the Councilor Chang was not in the country – our review process which we conducted included him being a part of that. He has to be here for us to get responses from him. But in relation to his post and position as a Councilor, I think in relation to us moving on that, we need something more substantial, like a report, and like concrete evidence as it relates tio what has transpired with this, which we are not directly a part of.”
Eric Chang was first elected to office on the ticket of Zenaida Moya in 2009 and his political star rose to the point where in 2013 he was named Deputy Mayor. This 30-something immigrant just missed on topping internal polls in 2008 and 2011 and topped the election list in Belize City in 2012. But it appears that star is now falling, and rapidly. Eric Chang’s replacement has been identified as first-term councilor Bernard Q. Pitts, Jr., son of the attorney, former Attorney General and current head of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Mr Pitts will serve as Deputy Mayor until October of nest year. Chang is the first Taiwanese-Belizean elected to public office, even as Elvin Penner was the first Mennonite Belizean elected in 2008. Mayor Bradley indicated that Eric Chang has yet to provide a date for his return to the country.