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Feb 22, 2017

Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett Summoned to Senate Inquiry; Will They Appear?

Patrick Tillett & Eric Chang

It appears the Senate Special Select Committee is convinced that Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett can contribute to their investigation into the circumstances of eight missing visa foils that they sought to have authenticated at the Immigration Department in Belmopan, which turned out to be stolen. Chang, the former Deputy Mayor, has been implicated as well in the Won Hong Kim passport and nationality caper. But both men declined invitations to attend earlier this month for testimony, and now the Committee, according to Chairman Senator Aldo Salazar, has moved to summon them under a 1962 law. The Committee is not willing to bet on whether it will work, but the power does exist, according to Salazar.

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“We have, as far as I understand issued the summons. I’m not sure if it is today’s date, or yesterday, but we have issued it.”

 

Reporter

“Is that in relation to both persons?”

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar

“Yes.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, explain to us how does this Act from the 1960’s assist the Committee in this particular instance where these people are refusing to accept the invitations?”

 

Aldo Salazar

“The 1962 Act gives the legislature certain powers and privileges and part of that speaks to the powers of the Senate to call witnesses, et cetera. How it directly affects us is that when these laws predate the Constitution, there is a Constitutional provision which saves all the laws that existed prior to the Constitution, except that where there is an inconsistency with any law, then that law must be modified, so that the Constitutional provisions are retained. A summons is a document that compels the attendance of a certain witness; if the person fails to attend who has received a summons, then there is a further procedure where the person may be detained and brought before the Senate. I’m not sure if the language calls it a warrant at this time, so I wouldn’t want to say that it is; I’m not sure. But there is a process by which Police can bring somebody to appear before the Senate.”

 

Reporter

“So when is the date by when Mister Chang and Mister Tillett must appear before the Senate inquiry?”

 

Aldo Salazar

“I can’t say for sure because there is a certain time period that must elapse from the day between when you are served with summons and the date when you are to appear, so that really depends on when service is effected.”

 

As we reported, Tillett issued a statement to the Public Service Commission on his role with the visa foils in January of 2016 but so far both men have resisted any other overtures. 

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