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Nov 10, 2017

PAC Meets after Extensive Delay

Patrick Faber

The House of Representatives’ Public Accounts Committee’s last two meetings wound up canceled.  One was by its chairman Julius Espat because Auditor General Dorothy Bradley was not able to attend. The other happened after three members who are Government ministers caught the flu and viral conjunctivitis within days of each other. At that time the Government denied suggestions of a deliberate boycott and promised to be at the next meeting in full effect. That meeting was on Thursday, and today member Patrick Faber said he considered it productive. The meeting was with Auditor General Dorothy Bradley but did not get into details of the 2012-2013 Audit Report which found various irregularities in the Ministries of Education and Works, the General Sales Tax Department and Belize Defence Force. But Faber said it lays important groundwork for future discussions.

 

Patrick Faber, Member, Public Accounts Committee

“Rather than going on the negative, I will say that yesterday’s meeting was very, very encouraging. We looked at some of the major setbacks that managing the finances of the country has experienced over many, many years now. Without playing the blame game, the members were very professional and very, very productive in that session. We appreciate the contributions of the Auditor General yesterday to help us to understand better the role of various sections of the Government arm that deals with finances. We set a new schedule; the next meeting, we have decided to ask the Accountant General, who is an integral part of the whole process, to be present so that we can better understand her role in the audit process, so that from here on, I think we will have productive sessions. We haven’t really gotten into the portions of the audit yet that deal with the specific Ministries that were in the 2012-2013 report. But that is because we spent the bulk of the time yesterday trying to talk about the real issues that are there – the fact that so many parts of the system have not been working for so many years now, and we’re trying to get a greater understanding so that down the road we can make concrete suggestions and actions to fix these systems that have gone so terribly wrong.”

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