Last week we reported that Minister Kareem Musa is a substantive member of the Joint Public Accounts Committee (JPAC), but has been absent from the J-PAC meetings. Musa explained that he wasn’t aware of the meetings as he was not receiving notices. Chair of the JPAC, Tracy Panton spoke about this topic in today’s discussion with the media.
Tracy Panton, Chair, JPAC: “The members that were appointed to the JPAC have a duty and responsibility to attend meetings. If for example a substantive member cannot attend a house committee meeting or a JPAC meeting they can appoint an alternate for a particular meeting. I don’t think it was the intention of the standing orders to have one alternate substitute for you permanently.”
Prime Minister John Briceno also chimed in and stated that although not all members attend every meeting, there is quorum. He explained that if at least three members are present, the work can be effectively carried out.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “The point is that them not attending does not stop them having a quorum. So they have a quorum and they can proceed with the work of the JPAC but if there is any minister in particular that is not attending then if I’m made aware of I am prepared to speak with them but it’s not impeding the work of the JPAC that’s what’s important. Remember under the UDP the UDP ministers deliberately did not show up so there was no quorum but we do have a quorum and the work can proceed.”
The JPAC membership has increased from five members to a total of nine members.