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Aug 27, 2013

The opposition continues to seek for the restructuring of the PAC

The new and improved Public Accounts Committee is still just a proposal which never made it past the floor of the House of Representatives. The Opposition is seeking the restructuring of the PAC to take away government’s majority and include participation by the church, business sector and the unions. The Prime Minister has been scathing of the proposal, but it has gotten some support. Both the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry have jumped on board to some extent. Today, the P.U.P. Parliamentarians ratcheted up the heat a notch by holding a press conference at the foot of the National Assembly. They have signed on to a declaration condemning the government for what they say is game-playing, as opposed to dealing seriously with the people’s business where the PAC is concerned. Mike Rudon was in Belmopan and has the story.

 

Today most of the PUP’s parliamentarians gathered in front of the National Assembly to present a declaration to the Belizean people. The move is one of condemnation of the government’s dismissal of their PAC proposal and also an expression of solidarity for what they say is necessary reform.

 

Francis Fonseca, PUP Leader

Francis Fonseca

“We the fourteen duly elected members of the House of Representatives and the three senators of the People’s United Party hereby declare as follows. We stand united and firm in our absolute condemnation and rejection of the stated objective of this UDP Prime Minister and Cabinet to undermine and erode the role and function of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives. The attempt by this UDP government to usurp the functions of the committee is unlawful and undemocratic. We will not participate in or accept any effort or attempt by this UDP Prime Minister and Cabinet to undermine the legitimate authority of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.”

 

Fonseca says that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are just playing games.

 

Francis Fonseca

“It is clear to us that the government is interested in playing politics on this issue and not serious about working with us on reform and that is why we are taking this stand today. To draw a line in the sand and say listen, let us get this work done on behalf of the Belizean people and lets stop playing games.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has stated that the PAC will now focus on scrutinizing Auditor-General reports pre-2008 and post 2008, with or without the support or participation of PAC Chairman Julius Espat.

 

Francis Fonseca

“The United Democratic Party chaired the Public Accounts Committee for ten years when the P.U.P. was in government from 1998 to 2008. If they failed to do their job when they were in opposition they should not expect the current chairman and the current opposition to do their job for them. The current chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has a mandate to move forward with the accounts that have been tabled before him since he became the chairman of that committee and that is what he intends to do. We will not play this game political game which is exactly what it is. I am talking about what happened 10 or 15 years ago. The Belizean people are interested in what is taking place now.”

 

Both the unions and the business sector have openly expressed support for the restructuring of the committee, and Fonseca says the church is also on board, even if not openly.

 

Francis Fonseca

“The church has not obviously come forward with a public release. But all the discussion that we have had with them they have indicated their support for the process moving forward, they believe I think certainly in terms of their conversation with us. They believe that there is a need for reform they are not conclusive in terms of the exact nature of that reform but they believe in reform and that is all we are asking for. All of us who believe that there is a need to reform the work f the committee, we need to join forces.”

 

PAC Chairman Julius Espat has called a meeting of the committee for next Wednesday, September fourth. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

Late this evening, News Five received confirmation that the Clerk of the National Assembly has approved September fourth, 2013 for the next meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

On Monday, the BCCI issued a release in response to the Prime Minister’s recent position on the Public Accounts Committee.  The release urges both government and the opposition to ensure that the committee remains fully functional and that it operates according to the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.  The chamber is primarily concerned about the reports of the Auditor General in order for corrective measures to be taken as it regards government expenditure.

 

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3 Responses for “The opposition continues to seek for the restructuring of the PAC”

  1. Billey Love says:

    When we see a small 8″ x 10′ security guard house contract being signed for $90,000.00 DOLLARS, and $25,000.00 more is requested to finish it, WE KNOW THERE IS NEED FOR REFORM, BECAUSE that amount of money can build a 4 bedroom mansion. When we hear of a colbert being built, and money is paid for materials and labor, but if you go to the spot after the contract have been completed, there is no colbert. Where did all that supplies and money go if it is not corruption. When we hear of people bringing goods into the country, but they bring in half the purchase, pay customs the tax on that half, and return the same day to bring in the next half of the goods, just by flashing the receipt paid earlier with some blue boys, we know there is need for reform. PM get with it and help curb this rampant corruption.

  2. Billey Love says:

    By the way, these people who have been getting away with these kind of actions for years have become exorbitantly rich!

  3. Concern Citizen says:

    A minister said, the purpose of government is to win election! By that he means, rake in all the $$$$, keep the poor poorer, dumb and begging. While the big boys take the riches home, and the richer they get, the more powerful they feel like they are. Some guys just become caretakers for the government, and in one year can get a mansion. “Check it out”! What do you think about the mansions the ministers have acquired, and what they are raking in? The people want to know if these ministers and caretakers are declaring how they are getting these huge sum of monies, since the banks turn us upside down for a trump change of a measly two thousand dollars, or the big boys never take the money we know they are raking to the bank?

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