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Nov 13, 2012

Former clerk says bungled PAC meeting was an administrative fiasco

Conrad Lewis

What should have been a productive meeting among members of the Public Accounts Committee to strategize a way forward, turned out to be a clerical disaster on Monday. The meeting was highly anticipated in light of an unfavorable report by Auditor General Dorothy Bradley, which highlights the fleecing of government’s finances. But before the meeting could get underway, the issue of public attendance, which PAC chairman Julius Espat says he had previously requested, created a rift with the committee members from the government side. According to Eddie Webster, Clerk of the National Assembly, there was no invitation extended to the public, despite Espat’s insistence that there was an initial agreement. During a press conference this afternoon, Espat sought the expertise of Conrad Lewis, the former Clerk of the National Assembly.  Lewis told the media via phone that Espat’s request to have the public, as well as the media, sit in on the meeting, should have been communicated to the members of the committee to get consensus on the matter.  The former clerk noted that Webster failed to carry out his job effectively.


Via Phone: Conrad Lewis, Former Clerk of the National Assembly

“The chairman can call a meeting of the committee at anytime, but the clerk’s role now is to facilitate the process.  If the chairman wanted to invite witnesses the clerk should have easily contacted other members of the committee, relay to them what the chairman’s intentions are, get the consensus and then move from there.  So, in my view, it was an administrative bungling that created that whole fiasco yesterday and, as clerk, even though we have our own political views etc… we have always divorced ourselves from the back and forth between the two political parties.  Once we are there as clerks, it is our duty and it is our sacred duty and responsibility to perform our duties without fear or favor.  We are obligated not to get involved in the political wrangling between political parties in the House of Representatives.  So, ladies and gentlemen, the whole fiasco yesterday is a direct result of an administrative failure and the failure of the clerk to have done his job as expected, as a clerk should do his job.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Former clerk says bungled PAC meeting was an administrative fiasco”

  1. Storm says:

    They are public officials, answerable to US, the people.

    THEY MUST LET US WATCH, OR RESIGN. What do they have to hide from us?

  2. it's just that simple says:

    “turned out to be a clerical disaster”

    This is becoming so routine.
    It could be major news in Belize when avoidable disasters are actually avoided.

    Highlight some role models for a change, instead of the same old stable of pathetic losers.
    “Oh gee, the dog ate my report and I lost my left shoe, can’t run the government now.”
    “Oops, gotta go, crapped my pants, real emergency happening now, later” (then shakes your hand)

    How about these as exceptional lead news stories:
    The guy who picks up garbage, he does his work correctly as a professional and is a voting citizen.
    The gas pump attendant who can actually pump gas, count money, and does not growl or hustle.
    The medical doctor who can read a thermometer, knows what it means, and does not beat his wife.
    The lawyer who can read and write, thinks clearly, and can speak so clearly that others do understand, and believe, what is being said is solid fact.

    Find them if you can!
    Somebody called me today saying they were going to move to Belize.
    I said: are your crazy? Go read the news before jumping off that cliff.

  3. it's just that simple says:

    “the whole fiasco yesterday is a direct result of an administrative failure and the failure of the clerk to have done his job as expected, as a clerk should do his job.”

    au contraire!

    It is way beyond that, he has some power, but the committee members rule him, period.
    It is way beyond that, this meeting is about government accountability.

    Every member, regardless of party, should be thinking, “How do we restore the public’s confidence in our government?” For those clueless members who are on that committee, the answer is not secret meetings!

    These are the type of meetings that should be televised, end-to-end. Show us the accounting!

    So Eddie Webster, as a matter of GOB policy:
    1) By default are all government meetings secret?
    2) Are you the appointed enforcer of those secret meetings?
    3) Who do you work for?

    For democratic countries, secrecy is the exception not the default.

    So what do we got coming to Belize? secret meetings, fleecing of government’s finances, and the avoidable disaster of being a failed country.

    Which leads to more crime, another lost generation of youths, reduced life span, poverty, and a miserable way to live.

    If you can’t trust your government because the government is untrustworthy; well it ain’t rocket science, do the math.

  4. Rod says:

    As soon as the pm comes back from his 30 vacation this year he should be held at the airport and put in jail until all this mess is investigated now all the news organization are pouring into Belize so that all belizeans can see and find out exactly what’s been going on in this corrupt gov. Where is the opposition in all these matters you are also pathetic for not speaking out for the people of this country you give us no reason to vote you in eighter get with it and start showing the people of this country that you deserve to be restored in the gov. .i want all to know that I only care about this country and the people of this country period.

  5. Bmp man says:

    rod u sound so stupid

  6. Seletar says:

    @It’s just that simple for PM.

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