Answers to Commissioner of Inquiry in a single box

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Andrew Marshalleck
Joseph Waight

The Commission of Inquiry into the sale of government assets got underway on Monday, February 15. The first witnesses to be called included, former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight and the manager of Government Assets, Ruperto Vicente.
The entire exercise was, on the very first day, confirmed to be nothing more than a witch hunt. When Financial Secretary Joseph Waight took to giving his testimony, he told the commissioners that he had brought along with him a box containing all the files that pertained to the period in question from November 2019 to November 2020.
As has been said all along, any and all information that was required for an investigation was readily available to the commissioners without having to burden the Belizean taxpayers with the expense of an inquiry.
Even as all the information was available in a single box, what was made clear was that there was no fire sale of vehicles. In fact, the Financial Secretary was categorical when he stated that there was a decision made by the Prime Minister that there would be no sale of vehicles to CEOs or ministers. That decision was made from in July of 2020, four months before the General Elections. Prime Minister Barrow had earlier stated that he “launched a preemptive strike” in which he said there would not be any sale as there was simply no money to purchase replacement vehicles. He did say that there were really only three running vehicles sold during the period in question. One was to Former President of the Court of Appeals, Manuel Sosa on his retirement, another to Senator Carla Barnett also on her retirement and the third to then Deputy Prime Minister, Hugo Patt. PM Barrow was clear on these sales saying he had approved two of them after receiving valuation from the Customs Department. These sales happened at above the customs valuation. While he said he was aware on the proposed sale of the vehicle to Hon. Patt, he did not approve that one.
During questioning Waight stated that there were a total of 112 vehicles sold for some 300 thousand dollars. Among the sales were nine laptops as well and a set of specially retrofitted furniture which was specifically reinforced for Hon. Sen. Michael Peyrefitte. Again, all the information was inside a box, which the Fin. Sec. handed over to the commissioners.