The Village Council Election (VCE) results of this past June-July has really wobbled the United Democratic Party. Sincerely they are down and out and waiting for the end of the 10-count. Their problem is that they are counting too slowly. The VCE made them to be lighter than a feather.
This mid-July we saw a UDP male incoming Chair assault a female outgoing, and also UDP, chair. During, or one might say after the swearing-in ceremony, it is necessary to hand over financials, keys and the likes. That scene in Santa Clara has been replicated at other villages with some soberness but nonetheless it has exposed how the United Democratic Party representatives had been condoning the lack of accountability within their held Village Councils. Here are some of the gravest issues.
Ladyville Village Council: No Accountability
Last week, on another Newspaper, reported on an interview with Bernardo Bennet the newly elected PUP Chairman in Ladyville. The largest council was only handed $560 dollars. No documentation was provided for this. The chairman will be providing to the Belize Times a report as to where money was spent. The council does not seem to have done much in Ladyville so the spending of almost all the funds seems unimaginable. As with the other councils, the liquor licencing is the major income earner for Village Councils and it seems that this has been plundered. We will be reporting much more on this as concrete information comes to us.
Sarteneja Village Council: UDP Outgoing Council No Financial Report
August 13, 2019
Posted by Sarteneja Village Council
Good afternoon fellow Sartenejeños, today we were officially sworn in as the new Sarteneja Village Council. Unfortunately the official handing over did not happen today. The former chairman and councillors were not present, hence, no report on the financial status has been made available. According to the rural development department, the outgoing village council received approximately $17,000.00 since their swearing-in up in 2016 to April 2019 and no monthly financial report had been made available.
Such monies are supposedly from the liquor licenses collected from the village. We are not certain of this information because no bank book was handed to us today. We are unaware on how this money was spent and if funds remain in the bank account. This present village council guarantees to the people of Sarteneja that we are going to demand a full audit and question the financial report concerning the expenditure of public funds. We are expecting a full report on the Easter event, including donations received, profits made and any other form of income.
The $17,000.00 cannot be spent if nothing new has been done in the community. We also take time to remind everyone that if at any point the village council shall not provide any contract or agreement, for any reason, for over a period of three years, which is the time granted for a village council to manage a village, and if done so, such contract shall be considered null and void. We can assure you our people that if we need to undergo court action in order to have a transparent handing over we are prepared to go that way to ensure a positive development for Sarteneja.
We will keep Belize informed as soon as a handing over date is made available.
Independence Village Council: Grader and Lands
Another story that was exposed on the Whip morning show is of a grader that the past UDP chairman is still refusing to hand over. The evidence is clear as was clipped from his FB page. The grader was even labelled IVC. He has now taken the grader and re-labelled it GVC. This is one that definitely will end up in court.
Add to this was a land issue that is much more serious, if you can fathom such ‘faciness’ and corruption.
The UDP Village council surveyed some 2000 lots before the people voted in another chairperson. In cahoots with the UDP standard bearer for Stann Creek West, Ivan Williams, they are now selling them as personal property and not as a part of the Village Council.
The conflict of interest, the corruption and, most importantly, the illegality is blatant. The Independence Village Council should be given the handle of these 2000 lots.
Guinea Grass Village Council: 10 Thousand plus dollars unaccounted for
August 14, 2019
Posted by Hon. Jose Mai, Area Representative for Orange Walk South
(Translated from Spanish)
The past and outgoing UDP Village Council received, up to the month of May, $10,250 from liquor licenses paid by village establishments. But, on 2nd day August at the handing over they were transferring $140 to the new PUP Village Council. Additionally, with all the liquor license money in hand they did not pay the light bill of $188 for the multipurpose auditorium. The service was cut this past week. What a shame! Here is the proof(excerpts).