Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton has officially demitted office, following a two-year stint as head of the Belize Tourism Board. Her resignation from the post was formally confirmed via press release earlier today because on Wednesday night, we told you that she was on her way out from the lucrative job. Esquivel-Frampton’s tenure has been mired in controversy. Last week, a letter was sent to Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia signed by seven members of B.T.B.’s executive management team. Contained in that document are a number of issues pertaining to her management style which are described as both manipulative and egotistical. While Heredia says the letter never made it to his desk, he admitted to being aware of the problems and that he had met with both parties on separate occasions to address their discontent. B.T.B.’s G-Seven blasted her for failure to display the necessary leadership, honesty, transparency and integrity during the budget process. The sharp criticism has raised concerns of financial mismanagement and acute cash flow issues. But the release sent out today by the B.T.B. says Esquivel-Frampton resigned for personal reasons and she was credited for bringing her business acumen from the financial and marketing sectors to the organization. The minister spoke today to News Five of the turmoil at the oversight body for one of the biggest industries in the country.
“I met with heads [of department] and I met with the director and at the end of the day the director had something better that was offered and decided that she would rather go and tender her resignation and find a better environment to work and I have accepted the resignation. There is at no time is there anything that could be said that the director misused the funds of B.T.B. while she was there. I think you all know that B.T.B. is an institution that has excelled and has made this industry grow a lot and I have nothing but to appreciate what the director has done, in particular and personally I wish her the best in her new endeavor and whatever I can do to help her now or in the future I am more than willing to do so.”
“Minister were you in receipt of the letter that was presented or put together by the group of seven heads of department at B.T.B.?”
Via Phone: Manuel Heredia Jr.
“I will be very honest, I do not know of any such letter. If there is a letter that I understand that was in the media that is news to me. Everything that was done was verbal so all that I can say is that if the media has a hold of something like that it might be mischief on the part of someone. But I am not aware of anything like that and the content of that letter. Like I said, I barely have time to watch the news so ninety-nine percent of the time I will not see the news because I have things [that are] more important to do that has to deal with the ministries. I think you know I have three ministries and I am one of those ministers that like to be on top of my ministry. Whenever there are problems I like to address it as soon as possible with the least possible consequence, you know, and I think I manage to do that quite well.”