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Feb 24, 2014

PAC hearings take place in the Capital, but the P.U.P. remains absent

The Public Accounts Committee met in Belmopan today to continue its scrutiny of past Auditor-General reports. The hearings of the PAC have been all but lost in the outcry against the composition of that body. Currently government maintains a majority of four members, while the Opposition appoints two. In 2013 the Opposition tabled a request for a change in the composition of the committee, with the addition of three social partner members. That request was received well across the Board, with the only opposition coming from…you guessed it, the government. The Opposition ended up boycotting meetings of the PAC, and government moved on without a hitch, with John Saldivar being named pro tem Chairman. Today the Opposition continued its boycott, and the government continued its hearings. PAC Chairman Julius Espat told us that they are willing to engage the moment the government starts listening. Until that happens, says Espat, the hearings are just a charade, and they refuse to give it credibility.

 

Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee

“We have the support of the unions, we have the support of the churches, and we have the support of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and the Belize Business Bureau when it pertains to a proposed composition. We had made an initial proposal…the Chamber adjusted it a little bit, and it is a fair composition. It is nothing out of this world. We are leaving the composition the way it is right now with four government members and two opposition members…all we are doing is inviting three social partner senators to join it. If government cannot convince one social partner that what they are doing is in the best interest of Belize, then it is wrong. They should go back to Cabinet and reorganize or re-analyze. If the Opposition wants something to be pushed, we have to convince all the social partners to get the numbers to be able to challenge government’s position, and that I believe is also fair. We are Opposition and we have to convince everybody else. But government in the way the composition is proposed would only have to convince one social partner to get the majority vote. And anywhere in the world that is fair practice. So what and why is government afraid of participating with the people that drive this economy? The business community drives this economy, the unions are a part of it…they are the ones that are the workforce of government, and the churches are there to guide us if we are doing things morally right or wrong.”

 

Reporter

Julius Espat

“Somehow I thought that in past weeks, since the Opposition decided to step out, that there had been discussions between the church and social partners and government had seemed amenable to…”

 

Julius Espat

“Government came with a counter-proposal, and their counter-proposal was to increase government members. So it was a ludicrous counter-proposal. If you increase government members on the PAC you are doing it worse that it is right now. So it was a joke, in reality, what government counter-proposed. So the social partners are hoping the government sees the light.”

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2 Responses for “PAC hearings take place in the Capital, but the P.U.P. remains absent”

  1. Buju says:

    Julius betta stop worry bout PAC and start worry bout Raphy Huang

    Finally he has somebody to go against that is a real threat

    Lets see how he wa play this one out

  2. CEO says:

    If you establish a group to call attention to problem and the group is stacked such that the outcome is very predictable, are they really going to make a difference?

    For it to have any legitimacy it should be made up of members that do not have any direct party allegiance. The results should not be predictable every time and if so it should be on the side of right and wrong not PUP or UDP.

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