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Oct 12, 2016

Senate Special Select Committee holds first meeting

Lee Mark Chang

The inaugural meeting of the Senate Special Select Committee to investigate the Immigration and Nationality Department was held this morning in Belmopan, on the heels of a special report by Auditor General Dorothy Bradley which exposes a hustle of visas, nationalities and passports.  The first session, a portion of which the media was allowed to cover, essentially dealt with housekeeping matters.  The first order of business should have been the appointment of the chair but there was no consensus, among the participating senators from the churches, the private sector, the unions and government, minus the opposition senator. Each explained why they cannot assume the post.  While business senator Mark Lizarraga attended today’s sitting, he did so in protest and, in principle, was unable to participate fully in the various discussions.  President Lee Mark Chang opened the session by addressing the panel.

 

Lee Mark Chang, Senate President

“Due to some unforeseen circumstances that we had discussed, of course we’d want one of the persons who would be chairman or chairwoman of this special select committee of our first select committee.  But we have had some problems in terms of coming to a consensus, so that topic will be off the agenda today.  But another topic that we will be discussing and I will allow each person to make a brief comment on what they need to say but we will definitely need to proceed with the process for the budget for the select committee.”

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for Business

“Mr. President, am I to understand then that the agenda has been changed and we will not be seeking for the election of a chairman of the committee today?”

 

Lee Mark Chang

“Yes, we will not be selecting a chairman or a chairwoman for the committee today but we will do it at the next sitting which we’ll also set today and if one of the social partners will not take it then we will be forced, the government will be forced to take up the seat.”

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