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Jul 5, 2017

Senate Being Thrifty in Committee Spending; Hearings Will Continue Past July

Elena Smith

The Committee has usually been reticent in outlining where the inquiry is going in terms of calling witnesses, for fear of giving too much of the game plan away. It has now been several months since the Committee was convened and there are reports that it may be another few months yet before a stop point is reached. Opponents of the inquiry have been making noise that the money being spent is a waste, although Prime Minister Dean Barrow has committed to continuing the inquiry as long as is required. But exactly how much has been and is expected to be spent? Fanciful figures of five hundred thousand to a million dollars were dismissed today by acting chair Elena Smith.

 

Elena Smith, Pro-tem Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“That’s a tough question to answer. I cannot say how many more we have because as we go along, we may need to recall some of these persons who are before us already. So I cannot tell you how many more, but I can say that it will not conclude in July for sure.  If you are spending money to do something that might shed a bad light on them, of course they will find excuses for us to not continue with the hearings. I can tell you that we have not spent half of five hundred thousand. That has not been spent as yet. I don’t see that we will reach that amount by the end of the inquiry. We’ve heard where it has been reported that the inquiry has been costing us fifteen thousand per week, five hundred thousand you said, some have said a million; none of the above are correct.”

 

Reporter

“What is the actual value? Are you able to say what’s the running tab at this time?”

 

Elena Smith

“We have spent less than two hundred thousand so far and that includes everything that we’ve done from the start up until the end of this month.”

 

Next week’s witnesses are Ministers Rene Montero and Manuel Heredia Junior.

Late this afternoon, the P.U.P. in a statement, strongly condemns the contemptuous and disrespectful behaviour displayed by Martinez and Castro. The P.U.P. further states that their behaviour showed a complete lack of respect for the Senate and for the office which they hold since they refused to answer most of the questions put to them by members of the Committee, becoming progressively contentious and hostile when faced with queries about their roles in the rampant corruption in Immigration.

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