Prior to last week’s sitting of the Senate, the Senators were given reports from the Contractor General spanning from April 2012 to March 2017. During the sitting, the senators were muzzled and were not allowed to debate the reports since they were ordered to lie on the table. Several government spending has gone unchecked and according to Senator for the private sector, Mark Lizarraga, the Finance and Audit Reform Act continues to be defied. Not only are Government institutions failing to report their contracts, some departments outright refuse to even acknowledge or reply to the Contractor General. Senator Lizarraga told Love News it’s time for Government institutions to become accountable to the people.
Mark Lizzarage Business Senator: “In the past presidents of the Senate have allowed us to talk about papers that were ordered to lye on the table, we are now tabled to do so and I think it’s unfortunate because in a time when our institutions are lacking in legitimacy and trust as the Belizean people we need to highlight those areas where people are in fact finally beginning to comply with the requirements and the law. The Contractor General has raised a number of very important issues in his report. One of the major issues that he has raised in his report is the fact that the Government and the Government institutions and Ministries continue to defy the Finance and audit reform act of 2005 in that that they are failing in their obligations to provide parlament with copies of contracts and the Contractor general has called them out on it on every report since 2012.”
Jose Sanchez: “Which institutions or departments do you find the offenders who are not reporting to the Contractor General?”
Mark Lizzarage Business Senator: “There are several that feature prominently in all the reports and I will highlight some of them but he has a whole section featuring prominently year after year of not providing any response to the gentleman because there are other departments that say they did not have a contract but the Contractor General highlights those that did not even provide a response and in this manner we see BEL for example, we see BTL for example, we see Belize Water Services as constantly not providing even a response to the general. I believe that BWS did for one year provide a response and give information as to how many contracts but for the other years they did not so we see the town councils featuring prominently on this list of those that do not even have the courtesy to provide a response so there are pages of people in here that do not comply again with their obligations for the spending of people’s tax dollars.