On January 12th of this year, the Integrity Commission was finally sworn in following public pressure and as one of the demands of the BNTU during its 11 day strike. Today, the Prime Minister was asked whether the UDP area representatives submitted their records to the Integrity Commission. In responding, the Prime Minister said that what the Commission requested was illegal, where they were demanding that the Ministers file records for the past 5 years.
Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow, The Prime Minister of Belize: The Integrity Commission wrote us after it was constituted to say you got to go back 5 years, now I will tell you, straight off, When I have never, once there has been an Integrity Commission been even late in filing my declaration, in fact I have been, as brother Boots says it, as honest as I can to the extent where I keep saying there was that Amandala caption Barrow Five Times Richer than Musa, no man it is that Barrow is Five times more honest than Musa in terms of his statement about his assets. I don’t have a problem in the normal course going back as far as they would like, except practically speaking there would have been difficulties; but I am convinced that as a matter of law they had no authority to require that retrospective filing. I was not the only one; I am telling you that there were people on the other side, on Mr. Briceño’s side, who felt the same way; and – I don’t know if formally or informally – indicated to the Commission, ‘we are not going to comply, because you don’t have the law on your side.’ The commission reconsidered the matter – I believe [they] sought legal advice – and concluded that indeed, they could not go back, they could not have jurisdiction, over a time when they were not in office, they were not Commissioners, and that is all that it is. And I pointed out to Mr. Briceño – while initially the first decision was, I believe, a majority decision; when they reconsidered, and they reversed that decision, it was unanimous in terms of all the members present and voting. Ms. Balderamos-Mahler, as I understand it, was not at that meeting, but the other P.U.P.-appointed Commission member, the other Commission member chosen by the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs. Claudet Grinage – she voted for the new position, because obviously, the people genuinely have become convinced that under law, they are unable to require us to go back the five years that they had first cited. Now I’m saying you might disagree, some other lawyer might look at it and say ” I don’t think so” but it’s not fair to suggest that there is any hanky-panky funny business about this. The people are now convinced that they simply don’t have that authority.