The second part of that motion brought forward by the Prime Minister is the reconstitution of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which would see the Government surrendering its majority in an effort to bring transparency and accountability in the way the public monies are spent.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: The second part of the amendment which is amending the Public Accounts Committee which is now going to be called the Joint Public Accounts Committee it is something that we have been clamoring for a long time and we need to give credit to the honorable member from Cayo South who for a long time along with the former leader of the party Honorable member from Freetown that they have been championing changing the composition of the Public Accounts Committee. For the public to understand, the Public Accounts Committee is the only committee that is chaired by the opposition. But then it is a committee made up of six members and the opposition has the chair plus one person and then you have four members from the government side and whenever you want to do any kind of deep analysis or asking some hard questions the government always frustrates the efforts of the opposition. The only way we felt back then to allow this Public Accounts Committee to really do it’s work and to be able to hold the government to task and could be able to bring in ministers and ask them the hard questions and looking at government’s expenditures is to change the composition and the best way to do that is then to bring in almost like an independent referee to be able to join the committee and it was felt that the best way to do that was to invite the Senators to join. But we don’t want to bring senators from either the government side or the opposition because then we’re going to be doing the same thing and it was felt that they best way we can achieve this goal to have the Public Accounts Committee to really do its job and hold the government accountable is then be able to invite the social partners senators to join the Public Accounts Committee. So the amendment that we’re doing today now is that we will allow them the three of the senators from the social partners to be able to join this committee therefore then it will mean that the government no longer has an outright majority to be able to control that committee or to frustrate the work of the committee.”
The opposition has appointed Area Representative Tracy Taegar Panton to Chair the Public Accounts Committee. She succeeds Julius Espat as Chairman.