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Feb 1, 2017

Whose Names Are On Senate’s Witness List? Elvin Penner’s, For Sure

Elvin Penner

A total of four witnesses have been called by the Committee so far: Auditor General Dorothy Bradley; former deputy director Maria Marin; former Director Ruth Meighan; and former Officer in Charge of Nationality Section Gordon Wade. Chairman Salazar says their list is being made up as they go along, but generally speaking that list will include all whose names were called in the Auditor General’s Report. The one person everyone expects to see is former Minister of State Elvin Penner, who has been silent for nearly five years about his role. Salazar says the Committee will almost certainly expect him to break that silence.

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“No, we haven’t finalized the number of persons yet, to appear. We have an idea and we usually discuss that in the morning in our private session and after we complete the public hearing. But we don’t have an exhaustive list at this point; so I can’t say whether we are half-way through or whether we are two-thirds; the answer is that we don’t have a full list of everybody we want, because it is a fluid situation; meaning that we may feel that we have persons who we want to appear based on the Report itself, but then as the testimony progresses, we may want to advance somebody, we may want to include somebody new, based on how the testimony is going, so I can’t say that we really have an exhaustive list. It’s a fluid situation and we must adjust, we must adapt to meet the requirements as they come up for persons to appear.  If you can note, the people who are prevalent in the report – as you know, former Minister Penner is prominent in the Report, so I would think it can be expected that he will be called at some point. But that is not my decision; that is a decision of the Committee. And as you all know, I don’t have a vote; so I am the chairman, I don’t have a vote.”

 

Salazar says the Committee has yet to decide how it will compel any recalcitrant witnesses to attend and will cross that bridge when it comes to it. As for funding, the budget for the Committee has been approved through the end of the current fiscal year, that is, in March, and talks continue for further budgeting. The chairman said he was not inclined to go back to the Senate for an amendment to the terms of reference to include newly appointed N.G.O. Senator Osmany Salas on the Committee, pointing to the fact that he was not originally included and would be catching up quite a bit with his colleagues. A hearing is planned for next Wednesday but the witness to be called has not yet been named.

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