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Public Accounts Committee Finally Meet

On October 26, the Public Accounts Committee was scheduled to meet; however, the UDP members did not show up, citing illness. The People’s United Party and the Belize National Teachers Union viewed their absence as a boycott. The BNTU went further by issuing a release saying quote “it is an obvious boycott of the process and blatant disrespect of the Belizean populace.” End of quote. Yesterday, PAC finally met and today, Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, commented on the meeting.

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“Yesterday in fact in our discussions on the role of the Auditor General we really got down to the nitty-gritty and we agreed that in fact there can be more regular contact between the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee even when matters may not be tabled in the house by the Prime Minister because something has been sent from the Auditor General to the PM. This closer relationship and looking at the figures of the government, keeping the government on track does not always bode well to be public because of course, you see how things are, people pick up things, they might have a part of the story and little bits and pieces and then it is blown out of proportion and taken the wrong way. We’d prefer to meet in the confines of the committee room of the house and later once we have discussed what has transpired and we get the views of experts including the Auditor General, the Accountant General and others who are very intricately concerned with the work that is being done then the work is taken back to the house where we can  talk about it, we can debate about it and we can then give interviews  we can do whatever kind of exposure needs to happen and that is simply the position of the UDP and the government.”

Faber believes that yesterday’s meeting was fruitful despite not being able to discuss the specific ministries that were in the 2012-2013 report, which will have to be done at their next meeting.

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“The Chairman, Honorable Espat really demonstrated yesterday what we have heard him say time and time again that listen this is not a witch hunt this is not a shame game for the government, well we are not trying to  hide anything; maybe there are things that need to be exposed that are in that audit but he has maintained that this is about getting things right and trying to fix the system so I at this point after engaging with him and the other member of the opposition Honorable Kareem Musa I really feel that we gained some ground in terms of working together to really address the causes of these irregularities that have occurred rather than try to play the shame game.”

Faber said our system faces a myriad of other problems.