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Sep 16, 2016

P.M. Says a Bi-Cameral Committee Would Have Enlarged Scope of Investigation

Dean Barrow

So, was it difficult for PM Barrow to backpedal on his original position?  He says no, but holds firm that a Joint Select Committee would have provided a broader scope in terms of the investigation.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I thought the bicameral might have been, not more effective have given the impression of a larger sort of canvas.  Ultimately it doesn’t matter, once the public gets a fair and transparent exercise of ventilation of the report and questioning and probing, the public interest would have been served and so we are happy for that.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, was it difficult for you to relinquish that position of the Joint Select Committee?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No.  Because as I indicated from the Friday, nothing especially turns on the bicameral, as opposed to the unicameral Senate Committee, I just thought it, as I indicated just now, would be a larger canvas.  But it was clear that the majority of stakeholders, and while nobody did a poll, more likely than not a majority of the public preferred, for whatever reasons, the Senate unicameral inquiry.  So we embrace that and move on.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, back in the 2005 era of the S.S.B. scandals, you and your party when you all were in opposition wanted to firewall these inquiries away from the influence of the government which was being scrutinized.  That same issue is being brought up and you are being criticized…”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There was no fire walling and remember, the difference with S.S.B. is that that was not anything that arose out of any audit by an official of the Government of Belize, such as the Auditor General.  That was not anything that arose out of anything being laid on the table in the House.  So that was not organically the purview of the National Assembly at all and, in fact, when the Senate proceeded with its inquiry, as you know there was a challenge and the court said maybe a little bit dicey but eventually ruled in favor of the Senate having the ability to conduct such an exercise.  That is what led to the changing of the constitution providing specifically for a senate role in that sort of a scenario.  But the difference now is that this is a report of the National Assembly.”

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