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Tracy Panton Refutes Allegations in Gegg’s Senate Testimony

Belize, May 31, 2024 — Albert Area Representative Hon. Tracy Panton has raised concerns about the practice of witnesses being able to impute improper motives against individuals who are not present to defend themselves, following developer David Gegg's recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee.

Panton criticized Gegg’s claims regarding her alleged bias against his Portico project, calling them "categorically untrue." She emphasized that every project considered by the Cabinet subcommittee on investments, which she chaired, was given equal consideration based on its merits for national development.

Expressing her dismay, Panton stated, "It is clear in the Standing Orders of the National Assembly that you cannot impute improper motives on any member. What David Gegg did should not be allowed on record because the accused cannot respond."

Gegg had accused Panton of favoring another project, and that support is the reason, he alleged, for her obstructing his Portico development. Panton firmly denied these allegations, stressing that such accusations should not be permitted without substantial evidence.

Panton reiterated her commitment to fair and unbiased assessment of all investment projects and insisted that the Senate Committee should adhere to the rules of engagement outlined in the Standing Orders. She also mentioned her discussions with the Senate Subcommittee's Chair and the Clerk of the National Assembly, highlighting the need for proper mechanisms to address and rectify unfounded claims made during hearings.

Regarding legal action, Panton expressed reluctance to incur additional expenses to defend against what she termed "baseless allegations."

Instead, she called on the committee to ensure that testimonies without verifiable evidence are not accepted or recorded.

The controversy stems from Gegg's testimony, where he claimed that Panton and other notable figures, including former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, were aware of the Portico Definitive Agreement before its official signing and implied political bias in the approval process.

Panton concluded by underscoring the importance of integrity in the legislative process and the need for witnesses to substantiate their claims, ensuring that no one is unfairly targeted without the chance to defend themselves.

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