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Oct 19, 2016

P.U.P. About-Face: Opposition Will Name Last Member of Senate Committee

John Briceño

When the immigration inquiry resumes, the P.U.P. will be back as part of the select senate committee. The Opposition withdrew over the composition and terms of reference of the committee. But today, they have had a change of heart. Leader of the Opposition John Briceño explains why the P.U.P. will now be in the investigation.

 

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“Our party decided this morning that it is very important for us to participate.  Again, provided that the other two senators from the social partners, be it the unions and the private sector participate. So, we are going to be participating. I will be meeting with the three senators for us to decide who is going to represent us in that committee. But we are also appealing to the Government and to the senate, the full senate, that we still believe that this senate select committee must have an adequate budget, so that they can do the work properly in the way the Belizean people expect from them.  They need a budget so if they need to hire an accountant or hire an attorney; if they need to hire experts in immigration that can go in and look at the records; if they need to get computer records that they can go in and study the hard drives because we have been informed that a lot of data has been, they have tried to erase data or incriminating evidence. It is important for them to have the adequate budget so that they can do a proper and thorough investigation into exactly what happened in the immigration department. We also believe and we are going to hold the President of the senate to his word, that the senate, this special senate select committee should be allowed to call in any and all witnesses that they think would be important to their investigation and move away from this nonsense that you can only call the people that are in that report. Because we know that there are a lot of other people who have been involved in what has taken place in the immigration department that would be very important to call to the committee so that we could get to the bottom of what happened and to ensure that this would never ever happen again in this country.”

 

Reporter

“Those two outstanding issues, which is the allocation of funds for the senate and the freedom to call whosoever they choose, if those remain in place that the Government is saying we will not so move. What then will the P.U.P. do?”

 

John Briceño

“Well, first of all, what is important to note, all along we were concerned that the UDP Government had set up this select committee for them to control, even after they reduced the numbers from three to two. Obviously they have managed somehow one way or the other to coerce Senator Rocke to join their side. So I think that when there was going to be any important vote that quite likely Senator Rocke would have been voting with them. They didn’t do their homework properly because they thought then the chair would have the casting vote and they would have the majority. But somehow, somebody messed up and when they checked the standing order of the senate, it was found and confirmed by the clerk of the national assembly that the chair doesn’t have a vote. He would only have a casting vote. So in this case then there would only be five people that are voting. So, Senator Rocke could vote as much as he wants with the Government and if the other two social partners work along with our senator to do the right thing. Because it is not a matter that we want to go and hurt anyone but to be able to ask the right questions, to bring the right people in front of the senate, to ask the right questions so we can get to the bottom of it. And that at the end of the day, the senate can make the right set of recommendations.”

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