Senator Aldo Salazar was selected as the Chairman for the Senate Special Select Committee that has been tasked to probe into the Auditor General’s Report on Immigration and Nationality Departments. This is the second sitting of the special committee with the first facing issues in naming a Chairman. Subsequent to being named Chairman, Senator Salazar spoke of his mandate and the transparency that can be expected on the process.
“I think your presence here, the presence of at least seven cameras I can count at this moment should alleviate any suspicion that we are conducting the business in public not only in public but in front of what I expect would be live broadcasts so that I feel that that speaks for transparency. Also I would want to reiterate that the chairman as I know does not have a vote although it has been tossed around that voting is going to be a very important part of this I really don’t feel that there is anything to vote on. So that if in the event it comes to that the chairman does not have a vote so the government vote and the vote is only one person which is the same as everybody else. So the absence of those other parties really handicaps themselves not necessarily the committee.”
Notably absent from today’s sitting was the private sector representative, Mark Lizarraga who was later found to be out of the country as well as a representative for the opposition party. Senator Salazar says the absence of the two Senators should not hamper the process and that the inquiry can proceed. In selecting a Chairman, it was the Government’s hope that one of its Senators would not be named as Chairman but following the rejection of the seat by the other representatives, it ended up just that way. Senator Elena Smith for the Unions and Civil Society explained why she could not hold the Chairman position.
“At our meeting we went through the terms of reference that they had been given and we discussed all the matters as it relates to what will be our responsibilities and they felt that as one of the organizations pushing for this inquiry that was important that we have when the time came for a vote that we had a vote and they also felt that the scope of the terms of reference was not wide enough and hence the reason why they gave me that mandate that I would not be chair of the committee.”
At this morning’s sitting, Love News asked whether the work of the committee would prove futile as was the DFC hearing considering that remarks were made that natural justice was not served in certain instances.
Also on the agenda for today was the approval of the budget for the committee, approval of the rules for the committee and approval of the order of proceedings for the committee. The next meeting of the SSSC will be November 9, 2016.