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Sep 12, 2016

Chamber of Commerce Changes Course; Supports Senate Inquiry

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry today confirmed that it has officially reversed its position and is now joining the social partners, as well the Opposition, in the call for a Senate Select Committee to investigate the Special Audit of the Immigration and Nationality Department.  The decision was taken on Thursday and preceded a written letter to PM Barrow dated September ninth, following a meeting of Chamber executives. After meeting with its lawyers, it was acknowledged that the House of Representatives lacks the constitutional authoritative order to conduct an investigation.  In fact, the Senate is the only legally recognized body charged with that mandate.  B.C.C.I. President Nikita Usher, in an interview by telephone, told News Five that the constitutionality of a bicameral committee was called to question at Thursday’s meeting.

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher, President, BCCI

“It explains where the Chamber’s position is now and as we pointed out in the letter, we were agreeing to a bicameral committee, a Joint Special Committee that is, on the basis that was presented as the two options at the point in time.  We recognized very quickly the unconstitutionality of its purpose, not so much the select committee but so much insofar as its purpose.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“This is the result of legal counsel correct?”

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher

“Legal counsel as well as, primarily legal counsel, of course, yes.  Remember we also have legal counsel who are members of the Chamber as well.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“There’s a question with regards to the chair of this Senate Select Committee or this Joint Special Committee, whichever one goes forward, with regards to the eligibility of Senator Mark Lizarraga.  I know the PM has gone on record stating that they wouldn’t agree to have Senator Lizarraga be the chair of this committee.  Can you share with us from the Chamber’s perspective whether you are for this or against this?”

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher

“I would want to think that when the Senate [Select] Committee or the Senate itself in totality, amongst themselves they will be choosing the chair, certainly we would want one of the social partners holding on to the chair’s position.  Senator Lizarraga and I have had discussions on this matter and I don’t want to speak on his behalf but I certainly don’t know if he is totally inclined to want to be the chair as well.”

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