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Sep 20, 2016

P.U.P. Contends Government Cannot Name Composition or Chair of Senate Committee

John Briceño

Last Tuesday Cabinet caved in and the Prime Minister announced the government was prepared to support a senate select inquiry into the Special Audit Report of the Auditor General on the Immigration Department. The change of heart from its initial push for a bicameral investigation came after various social partners as well as the public and the P.U.P. applied pressure on the basis that the senate is the only body constitutionally mandated to conduct such an inquiry. But after announcing support for a senate investigation, the government laid down some terms.  According to P.U.P. Party Leader John Briceño, the Prime Minister does not have the authority to determine the composition of the senate select committee nor its chair.


John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“The Prime Minister is doing anything and everything possible to avoid a serious investigation into the criminal activity in the Department of Immigration; too many of his people have been exposed. No less than thirteen ministers and former ministers have been named in this report and countless other U.D.P. operatives. So the Prime Minister cannot afford to have an open, transparent and full investigation as to what has taken placed. So he has been fighting every step of the way, putting all sorts of stumbling blocks. He finally caved in to a senate investigation—not because it was a change of heart simply because he cannot do any better. He was being forced by the public, by the private sector, the churches, the unions, the Opposition…by everybody. So he finally relented and said yes okay we are going to have a senate investigation, but yet he’s saying that he still has to have a majority because he is a government that has the majority. But that’s not the tune that he and Godwin Hulse were singing out in 2004 when we were going to have a senate investigation under the P.U.P. government. And the P.U.P. government did what was right. They had three members from the social partners—the church, the private sector and the unions—and then had one member from the Opposition and one member from the government. And then we allowed them to be able to elect who is going to be their chairperson; we did not determine that. Now here we have now, fast forward to 2016, where the Prime Minister announce okay the cabinet finally agree that we are going to do a senate [inquiry]—like if you know he is doing us a favor—but then he is already saying what the composition is going to be for the senate [inquiry]. He does not have that power; and to determine that it cannot be the senator from the private sector. That is something that is solely at the discretion of the senators themselves.”

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