This is not the first time that the Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat has rallied under the banner of transparency and accountability. One of his bigger campaigns has been to depoliticize the Public Accounts Committee and its functions. Espat, who serves as the Chair of the Committee says that his fight has not really advanced anywhere and will probably not.
Julius Espat: You won’t get the changes in this government but it’s necessary. You have to understand the public accounts committee is the only committee under the legislator that allows for checks and balances to be done and so the fundamental structure is flawed in that you have the Ministers having a majority role in the PAC and then the same PAC supposed to be investigating those ministers. You can talk to anybody out there and that would never be the case so that structure has to change; the proposal we had made was to bring in the senators which to a large majority would be the social partners in the senators to be able to join the political partners on the PAC and so you get a little bit more independence and you depoliticize the roll of checks and balances and so I believe that is the direction in which have to go because you cannot have the ruling party ruling over PAC. The executive is to design to set policy, the executive is not to design for checks and balances. Checks and balances in the legislator is the public accounts committee and in the branches of government it is the judiciary and so you have to be careful as to how you separate those. We have failed our people by not even addressing the issue of checks and balances within the legislator and that’s another fight that I have and that is a national fight so the first step we made was to make it public, it was agreed to and then election was called and then the same people but new mandate said they didn’t agree with the agreement we made and so the new PAC decided not to make it public anymore because they have the majority and we are failing our people. We are clamoring within our party to have link minded people that are interested in reform to continue that pressure, to continue that fight so that is not only lip service, that it eventually happens. I would hope that the United Democratic Party would see it fit for them to do it now. That would be a great thing but I haven’t seen them willing to reform, I haven’t seen them willing to accept change. Only minor times they have done it is maybe when maybe Oceana and environmentalist pressured them for the situation of the reef which we all agree to.
And while Espat is convinced that the changes in the PAC will not happen under the current UDP Government, he expressed confidence that it will work under the PUP once in office.