On Friday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, a new Contractor General was named. Omar Mitchell will be filling the position, which has been vacant for almost two years. In today’s Sitting of the Senate, the motion was discussed once again. A number of senators showed their support for the new Contractor General, but they also expressed their various concerns.
Osmany Salas, Senator: “Looking at the qualifications and after reviewing the CV I feel confident enough to say that Mr.Mitchell has the expertise and experience and we should give him the opportunity to serve as contractor general. “
Isabel Bennett, Senator: “My concern would be are the individuals intuned and abreast to best practices because if we’re establishing an office of this importance then that individual must be able to meet global standards as it relates to anything concerning our country. We should be a country of forward thinking, having to plan trajectories that will impact over the next 50 years.“
Ashley Rocke, Senator: “I’m very familiar with Mr.Mitchell because when I worked at BEL he was a contractor there as well. My concern also was the concern that he had the age limit, and I wonder how government will address this issue. I’m certain that when we were talking about hte Contractor General the whole issue of disclosure was very key to this person being employed and so I was interested in that as well.”
Elena Smith, Senator: “In terms of the work that that office has to do we do feel that the office needs strengthening and so we need to have additional personnel to assist Mr.Mitchell in carrying out the functions of this office. Again as was said, because of the credentials that he comes with we do not expect that he will be left there to fail as such because he doesn’t have the support that needs and so our concern is the fact that he needs to have more support and we trust that the government is going to provide the support that is needed.”
Senator Mark Lizarraga had the most to say, not about Mitchell himself, but rather about the inefficiency of the office. According to him, due to a lack of support, Mitchell will not be able to do his job properly.
Mark Lizarraga, Senator: “Knowing him I have to ask myself if he’s really aware of what it is that he’s getting into. We have an office that we set up, that we promote as being one of these checks and balances in our system, one of the many that we purport to have, that sees over one thousand contracts or should oversee over one thousand contracts. He cannot physically do his job. No care how much he wants to do it, he can’t. He doesn’t have the staff, because he’s not Superman. He can’t look at an average of three contracts a day and do a proper job – he just cannot. He doesn’t have the legal expertise like needs like my good friend and colleague mentioned just now. He doesn’t have a lot of the support staff that he needs.”
The Attorney General had made known time and time again how necessary it was to find a new Contractor General. In a previous Senate Meeting, Michael Peyrefitte stated that the work of the Contractor General had fallen on his Ministry. He stood up in defense of Mitchell, stating that his fellow senators should give Mitchell a chance to prove himself.
Michael Peyrefitte, Senator: “This is the classic case I’ve said before; if the UDP government under the leadership of the Right Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow were to find the cure for AIDS, his opposers would say “well what happened to cancer?” without giving no credit for curing one major disease. We’ve been crying for months over a year or so as a matter of fact to have a contractor general in place. We could not convince most of the people we asked to be contractor general, we changed the law so that if you were once in the public service you can leave to become the Contractor General and go back to the Public Service. Low and behold you have an outstanding Belizean with impeccable credentials who has agreed to be the Contractor General of this nation but you can’t attack him, you can’t attack him, right in this moment Mr.Mitchell knows exactly how a pancake feels when it has syrup poured all over it. Oh love for Mr.Mitchell, Mr.Mitchell is the greatest thing Cassius Clay. So you can’t attack him so what you have to do now if you are just an opposer for an opposer’s sake? You have to attack the past, you have to attack the previous Contractor General and of course you have to attack the government that’s the easiest thing to do. Give the man a chance. We’re evening questioning if the man is too old. What is the man’s age ? Had we put somebody young you would have heard we’re trying to put somebody young because we want to influence them, you put somebody old you hear that person is too old. What will satisfy these people ? What?”
Omar Mitchell’s contract comes into effect on February 3.