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Nov 2, 2017

The 2 Sides of PAC Boycott Controversy

The minister responded to a letter from PAC Chairman and P.U.P. Deputy Leader, Julius Espat, saying that cabinet ministers did not boycott a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee last Wednesday. Two of the four ministers on the committee contracted conjunctivitis and a third the flu, ruling them out of the meeting in which Auditor General Dorothy Bradley was to have been questioned on the 2012-2013 Audit Report. But the Opposition felt they disrespected the proceedings and seemed to attempt to derail the session – a view echoed by the Belize National Teachers’ Union, which questioned in its own press release whether the government was serious, or simply taking Belizeans for fools. Faber claims to be disappointed at, but not surprised by the reaction of the B.N.T.U.  But in response, President Elena Smith maintains that the coincidence is still too suspicious for her and that the Government needs actions to back up its words on the issue.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“I’m not surprised, but I continue to be disappointed. When that release was put out by the B.N.T.U., they didn’t bother to check with the government. I don’t know that they contacted the clerk or attempted to ask anybody who is on the committee whether or not there was a boycott. They determined that based on the report or the release put out by the opposition members. So it has to beg the question and we all suspect this has been the case that they are wrapped up very, very tightly with the opposition party. In fact, you will see that their favorite lawyer in all their deliberations, all of their protests is with Eamon Courtenay, who you now see showing his true colors all over the country. They are wrapped up very tightly with the opposition and that is something that I believe that the teachers of this country are now observing as well.”

 

Elena Smith

Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“The PAC was one of our eight demands and the P.M. wrote to us not too long before that meeting to say that the PAC. was having meetings and therefore it was functioning. How can the PAC be functioning if meetings are being called and these persons don’t show up to the meeting?”

 

Aaron Humes

“For whatever reason?”

 

Elena Smith

 

“For whatever reason; whether it is pink eye, whether it is flu, whether it is stomach-ache, whatever they had. It is not functioning. And how it is that coincidentally, three of them are absent on the same day? And when we put a press release out, you are going to accuse us of doing so just because the Opposition put out a press release? There has to be something wrong with that kind of thinking.”

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