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Aug 21, 2013

Office of the Prime Minister takes position on restructuring of the PAC

Julius Espat

Both the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Chamber of Commerce have recently expressed support for a motion to restructure the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives. The motion, crafted by chairman of the PAC Julius Espat, proposes the removal of a government majority and the inclusion of representation from the churches, the business sector and the unions. In the face of that support for the new, improved PAC, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a release today. The statement offers a judgment on the proposal, the declaration of how the PAC will now work…and there’s even an insult to Espat thrown in for good measure. First the judgment…the release states that Cabinet has looked carefully at the proposed restructuring and has determined that it would be too expensive, since the costs to hold committee meetings would increase. Then there’s the declaration. The release states that the PAC will now operate differently, in that meetings will be spent looking into pre-2008 Auditor-General Reports, and post 2008 Auditor General Reports. And, if Chairman Julius Espat does not agree, government will use the provisions of the Standing Orders to get it done. And finally, there’s the insult. The release states that Espat is merely involved in game-playing and grandstanding, and it is his behavior which is causing the committee to malfunction. Late this afternoon, Espat called a press briefing to respond to the release.

 

Julius Espat, Chairman, PAC

“I expected something like that from the Cabinet and the Prime Minister but I don’t see how you can be grandstanding and game playing when you have the support of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Trade Union Congress. Is he saying that they are grandstanding and game playing? We are talking all the public servants of this country and all the business community and shortly I assume we’ll be having the same support from the churches so I don’t see the relevance to that. The way our democracy works, you should have independence and clear separation from the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. What the Prime Minister has given here is an instruction from Cabinet telling the Legislature how…he is telling the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee which should be an independent body within the Legislature what to do and how to do it. The mandate of the Public Accounts Committee chaired by myself is from 2012 forward. That is my mandate. That is my responsibility. The U.D.P. when they were in Opposition from 1998 to 2008 it was chaired if I remember right by the honourable John Saldivar and the honourable Erwin Contreras. The P.U.P.’s term in opposition 2008 to 2012 was chaired by the honourable Mark Espat. The three gentlemen failed horribly in their responsibility to do what I am trying to do. I cannot under my mandate check what is not my responsibility. I am not saying that it shouldn’t be checked. But if the Prime Minister wants it to be checked he has to use another vehicle, not the PAC. The PAC’s responsibility is what is tabled in the House, the budget that is presented to us and to check the problem NOW. If it is not done within the constraints of the National Assembly then we will do it here, or we will do it on the streets or we will do it at the footsteps of the National Assembly, but the information will be given to the people of Belize.”

 

As to the assertion that the new composition of the PAC would make committee meetings prohibitively expensive, Espat pointed out that they are not paid to attend meetings, but only given a small stipend for fuel.

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5 Responses for “Office of the Prime Minister takes position on restructuring of the PAC”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    After ruining the Belize economy, I don’t think that Barrow and his Cabinet have a brain to make decisions. The Cabinet is gathering of grotesque, hideous, incompetent subspecies whose only purpose of existence is to steal taxpayers money and sell the country’s natural resources to enrich themselves and their families.

  2. Concern says:

    PM, I don’t know what’s going through your skull, but 2008 gone almost seven years ago, and they, the PUP, were punished by the people for what we thought they were doing. From 2008 you have been the leader of this ship, which you promised would be based on transparency and accountability, and we want to see how you are spending our monies FROM 2008 TO NOW!!! Even your two year old minister, who we didn’t vote for is showing her riches in the house she is building DOWN SOUTH. Let us start with 2008 so the people can see how clean, transparent and accountable you guys have been! At this point we don’t care about 2007 or before and we CERTAINLY don’t want to waste the next 3 years going over that, so THAT the hustling can continue.

  3. Billey says:

    PM: You promised us that you would act immediately at the least whiff of corruption surrounding your Ministers, Cronies and Friends. Alas! what a lie, the WHIFFS of corruption have been upgraded by the people to “STENCH”. You promised the people reform, accountability and transparency… another lie. The PUP has paid for their sins, what you need to do now is restructure the PAC supported by the Bze. Chamber of Commerce & Industry and NTUCB and let the new PAC give you your report card so that the people can grade you. If you have nothing to fear, let the PAC do their objective job and assess 2008 to current….PUNTO FINAL!!!

  4. Guerra says:

    PM, the people think you lost your two sided machete with which you were going to chop off heads at the slightest whiff of corruption. The margin that have you in government is so slim that if you have to chop off heads, maybe only one or two persons would be left standing, and the government would change IMMEDIATELY. Maybe that is why we don’t see any heads rolling. lol If we go to Belize City we smell the stench, Belmopan , we smell the stench, Cayo, we smell the stench, Orange Walk the rotten, but only your nose have become immune to the stench. lol We ask politely, nothing happen, we cry, worse, so stop play games and let PAC do its job from 2008 to present. We want reform NOW! Can you even understand what we are saying?

  5. Alexjr says:

    once the PAC stands firm and in place as it should be, Barrow n d cabinet are afraid caz all the corruption n scandal will be exposed. dats d main reason why they r refusing to restructure it.. wake up Belize.. only the ministers and cronies r getting richer n richer while we d ppl r being ignored n getting poorer by d minute.

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