To Barrow: "Demand the return of taxpayer dollars"

In his press conference held on October 15, 2008, the Prime Minister attempted to explain away allegations against Belize City Mayor Zenaida Moya that she misappropriated taxpayer dollars by paying herself an unauthorized $3,000 per month extra. According to the Prime Minister, the Mayor may have misunderstood the wishes of her Council.

Taxpayers are asking that Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow demand the return of the monies taken by Mayor Moya.

But the allegation remains, that without the knowledge or consent of her Council, Mayor Zenaida Moya paid herself an additional $3,000 per month, bringing her monthly salary to $9,000. Those allegations have been borne out by an audit of the Belize City Council carried out by the Ministry of Local Government, which confirmed that for the past two and a half years, Mayor Zenaida Moya has been receiving an unapproved, extra-budgetary salary payment of $3,000. The Belize City Council Act, Chapter 85 Revised Edition 2000 authorizes the council, by resolution, to fix an allowance to be paid to its members.

Mayor Zenaida Moya asked to return salaries that are alleged she paid herself.

On Thursday, October 2, 2008, the Ministry of Local Government convened a meeting with the Council to address this matter, and following that meeting, nine Belize City Councilors approved and passed a resolution at a duly convened meeting of the Council requiring that the unapproved salary payment “cease forthwith,” and that all unauthorized sums paid to the Mayor be repaid by her immediately, a clear indication that the Mayor did not have the approval of the Members of the Council and therefore acted illegally.

While the United Democratic Party Government seems inclined to dismiss this matter, the PUP is concerned about the Mayor’s abuse of power. The PUP therefore calls on the Ministry of Local Government to make the full report of their findings available to the public. The PUP also calls on Prime Minister Barrow to take action forthwith to ensure that there is full compliance with the findings and the resulting resolution passed by the Belize City Council.

The Party also calls on Deputy Mayor Anthony Michael and the eight other Councilors who approved and passed the resolution to take all necessary action to protect the interests of Belize City taxpayers, and to prove to all Belizeans that their actions were grounded in principle, as they claimed in the public forum.

The residents of the old capital deserve better from their elected managers, at the very least the service, accountability, transparency and integrity which were promised so feverishly by the UDP during their campaign.

- press release -

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