Government Will Retain a Majority on Public Accounts Committee

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Updated: October 8, 2015

In the 2012 General Elections, Julius Espat won for the first time, a seat in the House of Representatives for the Cayo South Division.  Following that victory, Espat was selected by the People’s United Party to be the representative of the opposition, who holds the post of Chairman.  But it hasn’t been a smooth ride for Espat as over the last few years he has been very vocal on the lack of cooperation from the Government representatives in holding meetings and producing documents.  Espat has explained to the media time and time again that the Barrow administration has been hampering the progress of the Public Accounts Committee as a way to hide how they were spending the monies and the corruption within.  But that is not how the Prime Minister explained it to the media today as he made it clear that while he is all for the PAC and its expansion, he is not for the majority being from the opposition as the PUP has been lobbying for.

DEAN BARROW

“We’ve not been able to reconstitute the Public Accounts Committee because we are at odds with the Opposition and the social partners where that is concerned. I made no apologies for saying right from the start that I do not support a Public Accounts Committee on which the government is in the minority, that’s not the way it operates in any of the Commonwealth models that I have looked at. To me, it is quite enough that that committee is chaired by a member of the Opposition. I do acknowledge that it should be broader based and that, in fact, the social partners should sit on the committee but I will never concede that we need to give way on the issue of majority composition of the Public Accounts Committee. The majority on that expanded membership still must belong to the Government.”

Despite, who is to blame in not having a working committee, Kay Menzies, in her capacity as part of the Belize Chamber of Commerce, told the media that it is one of the things that the chamber has been advocating for.

KAY MENZIES

“The chamber has been very vocal about the Public Accounts Committee indeed and yes, we would like to see it functioning. The point for us is that it is a major factor in the checks and balances of government in terms of fiscal responsibility. As far as we are concerned we need to see it get going and we would like to see the social partners involved.”