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EDITORIAL – October 14th. 2018

EDITORIAL – October 14th. 2018
October 14
21:08 2018

Heartiest congratulations to Mr. Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City, for rejecting and exposing what appears to be a bribe left for him by a Chinese businesswoman.

The woman apparently has a running contract to supply the Belize City Council with garbage bags. The envelope with the money stuffed inside – fifty 50-dollar bills, was left on the office desk of the City Administrator, Stephanie Garbutt.

Mayor Wagner was generous in his rejection letter to Ms. Nan , describing the money as a “gift”, when in fact, it was a bribe. We do not know whether or not he has reported the matter to the Police, but he should.

This is the first time that we know of any public official reporting this kind of illegal activity, although the practice of bribery is believed to be widespread in Belize City and Belmopan.

The Prevention of Corruption Act, Ch. 105 at Section 3( 2) states that “Every person who, by himself, or by or in conjunction with any other person, corruptly gives, promises or offers any gift, advantage or consideration whatever to any person, whether for the benefit of that person or of another person, as an inducement to or reward for …..any public body doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction whatever, actual or proposed, in which the Government or such public body as aforesaid is concerned, shall be guilty of a misdimeanour.

The penalty for such an offender, if convicted, is imprisonment for no more than two years or a fine of $2,500, or both. Bribes of this kind are odious to the public good because they destroy fair competition and lead to inflated prices.

If Ms. Nan can afford a gift of $2,500 for a contract involving garbage bags, one can only speculate that the price the City Council is paying for those barbage bags is highly inflated .

This is why the Reporter congratulates Mayor Bernard Wagner for his principled stand in refusing to accept bribes in the performance of his duties as Mayor.

If he has not already reported the matter to the police, we urge him to do so without delay.

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