On October 12th, a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, scheduled to review the Auditor General’s most recent audit of the Government’s finances, for the fiscal year 2012-2013, was called off when the Committee learned that the Auditor General was out on country. The meeting was re-scheduled for today but could not be held because neither of the four Ministers of Government appointed to the Committee presented himself. The absence has incensed the Chairman Julius Espat and Opposition’s newly-appointed member Kareem Musa, and they are accusing the Government of derailing democracy.
Julius Espat, PAC Chairman
“So this is not a surprise to us but we are duly elected representatives, we are parliamentarians we were appointed to this committee by our party leader and we are doing our job and it will not stop here because if it is not to be discussed inside then we will have to discuss it outside.”
Kareem Musa, PAC Member
“I am not surprised by the actions and the absences of these four government officials today, these four ministers who they came to power on this platform of transparency and accountability but their absence today speaks volumes, this is just another miscarriage of our government system, this is another stillbirth under the government of Dean Oliver Barrow, it is an embarrassment and all of these government officials who are absent and who have allowed this miscarriage to take place should be ashamed of themselves because this is the Public Accounts Committee, we are here to examine how our finances are being spent and if they are so dammed ashamed to come here that is telling you a lot that they don’t want to account for their misdeeds and you have seen the Auditors General report and it is nothing nice it is damming against Dean Barrow and this administration and some way or the other the honorable Julius and I and the People’s United Party will find a way to bring this to light we must because people deserve answers and there is total mismanagement, total misappropriation in just that 2012/2013 Auditor’s General report.”
Julius Espat, PAC Chairman
“We are not saying that government does not have the right to set policy or decide where the money will be spent or decide to what extent we ae not saying that we are saying you need checks and balances on our system to be able to question the act formally and legally and they are fighting with us at every level to do that and I’m doing this not only because the UDP is in government I’m doing this when the People’s United Party forms government we also need to have check and balances and you can’t depend on personalities you have to depend on a system but the system is not working its breaking in front of us its already broken and we Belizeans we kind of numb and then we realize why they shoot up themselves but because they don’t have faith in the system because the leaders of our country do what they want and get away with it every single day and then they come on TV and laugh at us or speak about it arrogantly and then you expect the youths to have any respect and that’s the problem.”
The Government members of PAC who were absent today are Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, Tracy Taegar-Panton, John Saldivar and Papa Mena. Another PAC meeting has been scheduled for November 9th, 2017.