P.U.P. calls for Change in Public Accounts Committee
The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives is the body tasked with examining and reporting on the monies spent by government. That’s a big job and an important – some would say critically important one. But the reality is that the structure of the P.A.C. ensures that the party in government spending the money is always a majority while the Opposition is always a minority. This allows for some spirited meetings and the traditional mud-slinging back and forth, but no real check and balance. It’s been that way for a long time now, but P.A.C. Chairman and P.U.P. Deputy Leader Julius Espat is looking to shake up things. There’s a special meeting of the House set for next week Wednesday, and the P.U.P. today sent submitted a formal request for the House to consider changing the structure of the P.A.C.
Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee
“Presently the composition is four members from the party in government and two members from the Opposition and it is chaired by an Opposition member. At the present moment I am the Chairman. What we are proposing is to have a seven member committee made up of a composition of the House of Representatives and the Senate. We are proposing two members from the House from government and those members…as much as can be we don’t want them to be Ministers because under the collective agreement that they have to abide by in Cabinet they cannot police themselves. And we’re proposing two members from the Opposition in the House. And then we’re inviting the Senate to participate with three members – one from the churches, one from the unions and one from the business community. This is the only way and it’s not that this is my invention. The party has sat down and we’ve done a lot of analysis throughout the commonwealth and the Belizean people are clamouring for true participation in how to provide checks and balances with any government in power. I am expecting the government to be mature about this. Of course my expectations are high but that’s my expectation. I want them to be mature about it and think of Belize and think of the future. In reality they will be in opposition sometime coming soon so it will be in their benefit to have us in check when we are there. So I see it as very positive. That will not take away from what happens in the House. I am hoping that there is a lively debate once it doesn’t become personal. And that’s another step we need to do apart from having a private member motion. We need to start elevating the House to a level that politicians and legislators are respected in our society. That is not me talking, when I go on the ground I hear that every day so it is important for us to move forward.”
The motion for the change to the structure of the P.A.C. was delivered to Clerk of the National Assembly Eddie Webster this afternoon with a request that it be included on the order paper for next week’s House Sitting.Email This Story