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Apr 20, 2018

Another PAC Meeting Canceled

During the Budget debate in March, member of the Public Accounts Committee Patrick Faber made note that the last three meetings of the Committee to that point had been canceled. It prompted a response from chairman and Cayo South area representative Julius Espat. Now comes news that a meeting scheduled for Thursday, April nineteenth, including the participation of Auditor General Dorothy Bradley, was scuttled for lack of quorum when none of the Government side showed up. Member Tracey Taegar-Panton sent her regrets and the Deputy Prime Minister, as we reported earlier this week, was on his way out to South Korea. But there has been no indication of why the other government members, John Saldivar and Frank “Pawpa” Mena, were absent. Today Espat told News Five that the government is going to have to do better and we must all hold them accountable.

 

On the Phone: Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee

“It’s a concern, because it’s not that we called the meeting without anybody being aware. We’ve had cancellations in the past – like the one before was canceled because it coincided with the Budget presentation. And therefore both sides had to prepare, and therefore we all agreed we wouldn’t have the meeting. But this one was agreed to. And it’s a concern for us, because this is a very important committee. The work of this committee is extremely important for good governance in this country. And I understand that it hasn’t functioned in the past, we have been trying for so long. But we all have to be responsible to be able to ensure that the only committee that is designed for check and balance functions. And so I’m pleading to the country, I’m pleading to anyone that wants to listen, to give us some support, so that we can ensure that all members participate. If the government members who are there don’t want to participate, or can’t participate, then let them appoint somebody; it is in the Standing Orders that they can appoint somebody to replace them. I’ve been doing this from 2012 and I’ve gone through all different avenues to make this committee work; but we are still where we are right now.”

 

Espat says he has written the clerk of the National Assembly asking to set a date for another meeting.

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