B.Q. Pitts Junior elected new deputy mayor for Belize City
B.Q. Pitts Jr.
According to Mayor Bradley, there are statutes within the City Council Act which prohibit councilors from prolonged, unexplained absences from office. In this case, Chang has not maintained sufficient contact with City Hall to keep the mayor abreast of his extended stay. The mood among fellow councilors during this morning’s meeting was one of uncertainty, leading to more questions than answers.
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“There are timelines in the council in relation to the number of meetings that a councilor can miss; the period in which a councilor could be out of the jurisdiction; the period in which a councilor could be on leave; or the period for which a councilor could be inexcusably absent. We have had periods in the past where councilors have been outside of the jurisdiction for extended periods of time even within our term. We had a councilor who delivered a child, she was on maternity leave. She was out the jurisdiction. Of course that was extremely different circumstances which everybody would accept as being valid and legitimate. Being outside the jurisdiction in these circumstances seems to be inordinate especially when you hold very critical and sensitive positions within the council; the position of works councilor and the position of deputy mayor. So in this regard we need a person holding those positions to be within the jurisdiction. As it relates to his general post as a councilor, if he continues to be outside of the jurisdiction and that absence continues to be unexplained, then there are certain recourses that are provided in law which is that he would be disqualified from his office.”
“In your last communication with him, I believe he either indicated to you that he needed more time or he may not have. What was that conversation like in terms of the reason why he has chosen to remain in Taiwan in face of what’s going on here in Belize with regards to the immigration scandal?”
“Well his reason was that he had certain personal family commitments in Taiwan and he needed to be there. I was mindful of that; he indicated that a close relative of his is ill and he needed to be there to ensure that the situation was okay. In terms of what he said, I offered my condolences, I offered my expressions of sympathies. I also explained to him clearly that in relation to personal obligations and public duties, there has to be a clear distinction. I am not saying that you cannot be with your family in Taiwan, I am not saying that you cannot for any reason outside of the jurisdiction…legitimate reasons, illegitimate reasons whatever; that is not our primary concern. Our primary concern is the administration of Belize City and moving forward on the work that we are doing in Belize City and in order to move forward successfully, we need to have all our officers here working and working to grow Belize City. We need a mayor and we need a deputy mayor. And if we don’t have a deputy mayor, for whatever reason, you can be out of the jurisdiction, but you can’t be out of the jurisdiction for an inordinately long period of time and then still hold the post and deputy mayor.”
So tonight, Chang, the first Asian to hold public office, is no longer the City’s Deputy Mayor. And while it is not confirmed whether he had a role in the Kim passport, Chang’s name came up in an investigation in January of this year when about a hundred visa foils went missing from the Belize Western Border. Two of the missing visas were traced to Chang. According to the investigations, the visas were sold for over nine thousand dollars.