New Cabinet holds first session

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 10            March 20, 2003

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Cabinet held its first regular session for the 2003-2008 term of office on Tuesday, March 11th, 2003.The Office of the Prime Minister submitted the following items for public information:

Oath administered

    The Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State were administered the Oath of Secrecy and each signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing themselves to uphold a Code of Conduct during their tenure as members of the Cabinet. The Code requires Ministers to consider themselves servants of the people and to act accordingly, with humility and without arrogance. Ministers also committed themselves to abide strictly by the constitutional and legal provisions governing their performance and behavior in office.They pledged their support to the Government's commitment to continued political reform, especially as they apply to accountability, transparency, honesty and people's participation.

    The Prime Minister made a statement to Cabinet outlining his Government's policy objectives for the next five years.He urged ministers to regard their offices not as a right, but as a responsibility, which they must discharge diligently and honestly, and to act for the people of the country as a whole.He told ministers to resist all pressures to take actions that could be interpreted as partisan, victimization or favoritism.

    Dealing with the public perception, during the previous term, that some ministers and other public officials were engaged in inappropriate behavior or corruption, the Prime Minister stated categorically that he meant to abide by the commitment he made in the early hours of March 6th when he accepted the peoples' decision to entrust the PUP with the governance of Belize for the next five years:We will be tough on corruption and tough on the causes of corruption.He informed his Cabinet colleagues that he would be moving quickly to invite Transparency International, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank to send a team to Belize to assess the situation, to recommend measures to safeguard against corruption, and to establish procedures to avoid, monitor, expose, investigate and prosecute any corrupt acts.

Ministry CEOs appointed

    Ministers approved the appointments of Chief Executive Officers for the following ministries: Finance - Mr. Hugh MacSweaney; Revenue - Mr. Cresencio Sosa; Home Affairs - Mr. Alan Usher; Natural Resources - Ms. Patricia Mendoza; Economic Development, Tourism and Culture - Mr. Deon Pascascio; Works, Transport and Communications - Mr. Eberto May; Foreign Affairs and Cooperation - Mr. David Gibson; Housing  - Mrs. Sandra Hall; Human Development, Local Government and Labor - Mr. Roy Cayetano; Agriculture and Fisheries - Mr. Sergio Garcia; Defense and National Emergency Management - Mr. Anthony Sylvester; and Health - Mr. Henry Anderson.

    On March 18th, the Government Press Office released the following additional government appointments. Chief Executive Officers: Ministry of Public Service - Ms. Margaret Ventura; Ministry of Education - Ms. Marian McNab; and Ministry of Foreign Investment and Trade - Mr. Jose Alpuche.

    The Prime Minister's Office also announced the appointment of Mr. Dickie Bradley as Special Advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister. Mr. Bradley will be giving special emphasis to issues relating to urban youth and Southside Belize City.

    Cabinet considered chairmanships and members of the government side for the House of Representative Standing Committees. Appointments will be made at the first regular sitting of the House of Representatives. Cabinet agreed to hold the ceremonial opening of the National Assembly on Friday, April 4, 2003 in Belmopan.

    The next regular Cabinet meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 25th, 2003.
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