Special Senate Select Committee Aims for Efficient Operation in Investigations
The recently formed Special Senate Select Committee is looking to set itself apart from previous committees by operating in an expeditious manner. Senator Janelle Chanona was appointed as the Chair of the committee this week, and spoke on how they plan to carry out their mandate.
Janelle Chanona, Senator: “We are certainly minded to work as expeditiously as possible. All senators have expressed that we really want to get this started and through, working towards recommendations. It was clear that we have a tradition to break, so to speak. We don’t want our report on this matter to sit on a shelf. We want that it can be acted upon and that it proves meaningful. And that is really the mandate we’re working towards and of course we will be keeping the public up to date on everything that we can keep the public on in terms of scheduling, etc. Certainly we have the powers of the Constitution are very clear in terms of what the Senate should be doing. This type of matter is a core function of the Senate and as Senators this is what we’re proceeding to do. The outline as referenced in the terms of the reference say that whoever can. and should be called to help the committee arrive at its conclusions as per the terms of reference will be called and that is what we will be guided by. I can only refer to the constitution which says any minister, any government official, anyone public otherwise and so once the committee determines that X person should appear then that is what we will move to do.”
Senator Chanona went on to say that investigations such as these should never be undermined or underestimated as elected officials are to be held to accountable.
Janelle Chanona, Senator: “As parliamentarians, we swear an oath to uphold the constitution and the laws of Belize and I think it is a given that the public expects us to follow through on that oath in all matters including management of taxpayer money. So I would hope that the public would reinforce the need for transparency, accountability good governance I know those are buzzwords but truly that that hold through for every issue, every instance because it is their money, it’s their business and it should be managed in a particular way and if they have sentiments in terms of exactly how that should be defined then I encourage them to voice that.”
A date for the first hearing of the Special Senate Committee is yet to be confirmed.