By Alexis R. Milan
A Senate motion introduced Wednesday, which would have required the Chief Executive Officers from seven Ministries to appear before a Senate investigating committee to account for PetroCaribe loan funds, was struck down.
The motion, introduced by Senator Mark Lizarraga had the support of the three People’s United Party senators as well as the Senator representing the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association, Father Noel Leslie, but it was not enough.
All six government senators voted against the motion, defeating it by a majority vote of 6 to 4.
The Senator representing the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), Mr. Ray Davis, chose to abstain.
The motion called for the CEOs in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Ministry of Works, the Ministry responsible for Sports, the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, the Ministry responsible for Rural Development, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Ministry of Education, the Financial Secretary and the Auditor General to appear before a Senate Committee.
Each person summoned would have been questioned to explain and provide as much detail as possible relating to the borrowing and expenditure policies of PetroCaribe funds. The motion called for all sittings to be held in public.
The motion called for the inquiry because “there is absolutely no information” provided to the Senate other than what is stated in the pre-amble paragraphs of the government’s motion, which indicated that a total of US $114,307,356 has been borrowed so far.
Lizarraga explained that the Standing Orders allowed him to introduce the motion immediately after the topic was discussed, exempt from the usual four-day notice. He reminded, that all senators have a legal and fiduciary responsibility for overseeing Government spending of the people’s money.