The Government of Belize will now audit itself, as the opposition, People’s United Party’s members on the Public Accounts Committee say they’ve decided to boycott any GOB-led PAC meetings.
Chairman of the PAC, Hon. Julius Espat, said that neither he nor the member for Dangriga West, Rodwell Ferguson, would attend any of the scheduled PAC meetings approved by pro-tem chairman, Hon. John Saldivar, the United Democratic Party’s Belmopan area representative.
Without the PUP’s members, the Barrow administration will serve as its own check and balance when reviewing the Auditor General’s reports and any other reports as mandated by Standing Order 74(11) of the House of Representatives.
According to Standing Order 74 (1A), any two members can call a meeting of the PAC, and only three members are required for a quorum under SO 72(2).
The committee can, therefore, continue to meet, since it currently has a total of six members, with four of them representing the government.
The Standing Orders also make it possible for the remaining members of the PAC to elect a pro-tem chairman for the duration of each meeting.
That provision was used on September 4, after Espat walked out of that meeting in protest of the government’s majority decision to outvote him and Ferguson on whether to review Auditor General Reports spanning as far back as 2003.
After the meeting, the government issued a list of dates for the PAC to meet and review those reports, beginning on September 23, and running into July 2014.
Espat has maintained that the agenda voted for by the incumbent is a violation of democratic, principles because it was a directive from the executive arm of government.
Espat has since taken the affairs of the PAC to town-hall-style public meetings, beginning in Corozal West on September 8.
He said that he is scheduled to begin touring southern Belize later this month.