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Aug 28, 2017

Why the PAC Must Be Non-Partisan

Julius Espat

Espat is hardly deterred, saying he will continue to fight for publication of the Committee’s work before the final report is laid on the House’s table at some point in the future. But today’s result has spurred Espat to once again call for a bi-cameral joint special committee, inviting members of the Senate, specifically the social partners, to serve as a real check and balance against the Government’s majority.

 

Julius Espat, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“It is a glaringly, in-your-face, reason for the Belizean people to clamor for the restructuring of the Public Accounts Committee – you can never have a committee which is designed to be able to provide checks and balances on how Government spends our money being presided over by four Ministers of Government that some of their Ministries are the ones that are being audited or have been audited. And that’s what we have been fighting for. Remember, when I took the motion to the House to restructure the PAC – which I believe is extremely important, and with the decision today now, even more gives you justification for that – it was ridiculed at the time because the Prime Minister does not want us to know how they do business; and they don’t understand that the business they are doing is our business and we have a right to know what is happening. So right now I am clamoring and will be clamoring and maybe you guys can help us, that we come together once again to force the Prime Minister to make sure that we restructure the PAC. But not restructure the way he wants it, by putting in more members of the Government; restructure the PAC by simply inviting the four social partners that we have in the Senate. That would give us a perfect composition – which would four members from the Government, two members from the Opposition and four members from the social partners. That would be a perfect PAC for any government, a P.U.P. government or a U.D.P. government, because it would be an independent PAC, a non-politically controlled Public Accounts Committee.”

 

The Committee’s meetings are scheduled for October twelfth, October twenty-sixth and November ninth. Other persons slated to be called in future hearings include the C.E.O.’s and heads of departments audited by the report, the relevant ministers of government and Financial Secretary Joseph Waight.

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