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May 18, 2017

Is Senate Inquiry Done? Top Members Disagree

Aldo Salazar

Has the usefulness of the Senate Special Select Committee come to an end? Since November more than fifteen persons have been called to testify, some more than once, but only Elvin Penner was of Cabinet rank at the time and other Ministers of Government whose names have been called in the report have yet to sit in the hot seat. So it came as a surprise to reporters when in an interview on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Committee, Aldo Salazar, said he was close to being ready to write a report for the Inquiry. Needless to say, at least one other member of the Committee, Senator Eamon Courtenay, disagrees, believing that many more persons need to be called. We share their differing views.

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“I want to signal that I feel that this Senate Committee is coming to the end of its usefulness. We are tasked with a certain duty. I feel that I am prepared to write most of my report at this point. For me I feel that there are a few witnesses left, and then I can write my report or we can start to work on the report. I think that to allow it to drag on any further is really going to undermine the entire process, the entire objective, which is going to cause exactly this: it’s going to become a political [circus]. I believe I was the first to say that this is not a soap opera; it’s a serious thing.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“There are a lot more witnesses that need to be called before we are finished. The terms of reference for the Committee are wide and I think we have a duty to ensure that we call all relevant persons to give their testimony, to ensure that what has happened does not happen again. For political reasons, people want this inquiry to end very quickly, in order to stop the haemorrhaging; that cannot be the reason you extend or shorten this inquiry. This inquiry is inquiring into evidence and we should do so until we have completed our task, regardless of the political consequences.”

 

Former Ambassador of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan), Cherie Nisbet, and whistleblower in the Edmond Castro visa recommendations case, Alvarine Burgess, are confirmed to be next week’s witnesses.

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