Eric Chang, Patrick Tillett No-Shows at Senate Inquiry
As we reported earlier, the Senate Special Select Committee has called multiple witnesses on several occasions for public hearings in the past few weeks. While there have been rescheduling of witnesses due to various circumstances, only one invited witness, Immigration Clerk Ady Pacheco, has been unable to attend due to complications of pregnancy, and no one has flat-out turned down a chance to appear. That is, until today, when reporters at the National Assembly learned that both former Deputy Mayor of Belize City Eric Chang and financial controller of the Belize City Council, Patrick Tillett, turned down the Committee’s invitations, “after consideration.” The question now is…can they be compelled to come forward to recount what they know of the eight missing visa foils that are known to have wound up in their hands a few years ago? Here’s what Committee’s chairman, Senator Aldo Salazar, said during a break in proceedings.
“Have Mister Eric Chang and Mister Patrick Tillett indicated that they will present themselves before the Senate, sir?”
Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee
“No, they declined the invitation. I should explain that we don’t have a lot of history with Senate inquiries; so, the convention as I understand it, the practice is that you invite persons to attend – they have declined the invitation, saying that after consideration they declined the invitation, so they won’t be here today.”
“Can the Senate compel these gentlemen to present themselves before you all to answer these questions?”
“The Senate can exercise certain powers; that is a particular issue which the Committee is currently contemplating. The powers of the Senate are given or created in legislation which predates our Constitution, and then the Constitution also speaks to certain powers of the Senate. So the Committee is going to determine whether it is going to compel or to issue any further documentation to them in that regard.”
“No, I did not.”