The Joint Public Accounts Committee is looking to meet in the coming weeks. The committee is tasked as an oversight body to scrutinize government spending. With the committee recently restructured Senator Osmany Salas says he looks forward to the meetings as it is a part of good governance.
Senator Osmany Salas, Belize Network of NGO’s: “On the side of expenditures, public expenditures it’s beyond the blue bonds initiative, parliament continues to have a very important role. Parliament comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate in which I serve representing the NGOs we will have to continue playing a monitoring role and something I’m really looking forward to is the Joint Public Accounts Committee, getting that started. Now a big development with that – and again kudos to the Government of Belize for this – the JPAC as we call it is now majority non government in its membership. It used to be four from the government’s side two from the opposition’s side so even though the opposition always chairs at the time the Public Accounts Committee the government representatives always outnumber them. Now to that we’ve added three social partner senators to that mix why we now call it a Joint Public Accounts Committee. So now for the first time – and it is chaired by the opposition, Honorable Tracy Panton is the chair of the JPAC, government now does not have majority membership of that committee. So that JPAC will play a major role in very closely communicating and coordinating with for example the office of the Auditor General and others to ensure that public expenditures are the way they should be. So there’s very important work coming along for the JPAC. The JPAC has only had it’s inaugural meeting, there are three training sessions that are planned for the JPAC members next month I believe we do that and I look forward to the working sessions of the JPAC there’s a lot of work to do. “