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Nov 13, 2012

Julius maintains PAC can hold meeting before open audience

According to Espat, a personal review of an audio recording of the committee’s inaugural meeting will be done on Wednesday, after which another meeting will be scheduled for December third.  Espat further stated that he sought advice from government’s legal advisor, Gian Ghandi, on the matter of public attendance at the committee meeting.  Ghandi, he said, cited and then interpreted the Standing Orders which make it clear that the Public Accounts Committee can hold its meeting before an open audience.

 

Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee

Julius Espat

“There was a meeting called on the first of October.  At that meeting, myself was present, the honorable Rodwell Ferguson was present, the honorable Finnegan was present and the honorable Patrick Faber was present.  Legal counsel for the Ministry of Finance was at the meeting, Mr. Gian Ghandi.  The meeting was opened and the first item on the agenda was to elect a chairman.  That was done and I was duly elected as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.  What I did at that meeting was to ask a question to the legal advisor that was there.  And, the question was, “Mr. Ghandi, is the Public Accounts Committee, is it a public committee?  Can the public attend?”  And, he took out the Standing Orders and he interpreted the law the same way Mr. Lewis has just interpreted the law and he made it clear, the meetings of the public accounts committee are to be held in public. I purposely asked that question at the first meeting to make sure that the public was invited because it is about time that the public becomes aware of the finances of this country.  It is within the law, we are not asking for the legislation to be passed so that the public can have an understanding as to what’s happening with our finances.  It is our right. It is important that the days of doing things behind closed doors, we have to stop it!  The Belizean people and this government, from 2008, came on a platform of transparency and accountability.  All we are asking is to go back to what you had promised the Belizean people transparency and accountability. What I will do now, is because I was never given the exact minutes of the meeting, tomorrow I will go to the National Assembly and I will sit down and listen to a recording of the initial minutes of the meeting and I am requesting publicly a transcript, not what was given to us, but a transcript as to what happened during that meeting so we can confirm.  I am hoping that delete buttons do not exist in that institution.  I am hoping.  With that said, I will propose that we have another meeting, with heads clearer, for the third of December.  I won’t wait for January, I won’t wait for February and I won’t wait for 2017.  I am requesting and I will send a letter again to the clerk on the third of December, hopefully we can agree to move forward.”

 

In a late press release issued by area representative for Belmopan, John Saldivar, states that it his opinion that the chairman of PAC erred in inviting members of the public and the media without a resolution of the committee and in directing the Clerk of the National Assembly to invite the Auditor General and the Financial Secretary to appear before the Committee without the prior consent of the members. Saldivar says the Chairman, misapplied the Standing Order in presuming to give to himself an authority that explicitly resides with the entire membership of the committee and not the Chairman alone.  Saldivar also lamented that the Chairman has called into question the integrity of the staff of the National Assembly by suggesting that there were some deliberate omissions from the minutes of the previous meeting. 

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9 Responses for “Julius maintains PAC can hold meeting before open audience”

  1. freegial says:

    Faber, Saldivar and Finnegan and their 3 ministries should all be the subjects of a full audit in view of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that their Ministries receive for all belizeans, but instead these monies are misappropriated and re-directed to their respective constituencies simply so that they can be re-elected. They give away the Belizean people’s $$ like it belongs to them. They should go to jail!

  2. Storm says:

    WHY IS GOB AFRAID OF THE PUBLIC KNOWING WHAT IT HAS DONE?

  3. Rod says:

    This is just plain thief thief thief thief saldivar and all the rest of this theaving gov. All should be put in jail the belizean people are being raped by their own pm and gov. And now they want to change the laws of the country to protect themselves they should all be put in jail fu thief.

  4. Bmp man says:

    Why are we giving silly Julius so much air time????

    All he is doing is making a fool of himself and trying to make a mockry of this Committee.

    He needs attention and he will do all that it takes to get it!

    Why didn’t he step up to the plate to defend Dr. Hegar when they dissed him last week?????

  5. Seletar says:

    I’m not generally a fan of Julius, but I’m with him this time, government meetings like this should be OPEN. We are supposed to have a democracy.

    Transparency in government is a HUGE issue here, and doing things behind closed doors is the essence of tyranny.

    I wish our UB students cared more about our government, because in most struggling nations the students are the first to organize and protest and bring light into the dark corners of despotism. After all, it is their future being decided in secret.

  6. subKonshus says:

    Its good to have an idiot in the House who does not give a damn about interpreting all the legal technicalities about the standing orders that these political goons use to evade public scrutinity. When it pleases them, they haul out all the manuals and rules they could find to try and prevent transparency and accountability to the people of Belize. But Julius is an idot elected by the people and is willing to err on the side of the people, the people will love and forgive everytime! Go Julius Go!

  7. Buju says:

    But Seletar the name says it all PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE but at the same time there are rules you have to follow!

    Julius completely refused to acknowledge the rules or he doesn’t understand them whatever the case may be he seems to enjoying making a fool of himself!

    A agree we need to know whats being spent and on what but with Julius chairing the committee all that will come out of those meetings will be arguements then Rodwell and Finnegan are in the mix!

    lol

  8. Seletar says:

    Closed meetings about ANY government business should be the RARE exception. The rules themselves are the problems, put in place by people with mischief in their eyes.

    As for Rodwell, he’s a separate problem all to himself.

  9. Sw@gville says:

    These are the men we call out ministers and people who are supposed to lead us?They are acting like little boys.It is like when you were young and you went to play ball,once you don’t play you will run home with your ball.They are a bunch od dictators.And we are supposed to be a democratic country,government for the people by the people.This is the opposite this is government for the government.If they have nothing to hide why are they afraid of having the press in there.This always happens in Belize.I hate this damn country but i have to live and struggle in it.I work but the cost of living continously goes up and my pay stay the same.That is why we have a high crime rate because only a selective group of people get all the ends from this crooked government.This shat will be like a fary tale soon when Robin hood comes to steal from the rich and give to the poor.Some people drive some really nice and fancy cars,and you have children on the street begging for food.Where is the balance.Belize is a small country how can one side have so much and the other have so little.One of these trees needs to be chopped down so that they now a lot of people are starving out here.

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