PM promises to reconstitute PAC

By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter In his New Year’s address, the Prime Minister stated that as part of the government’s Reform Agenda, they would be reconstituting the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
As it is now, the PAC is comprised of four government members and two Opposition members, of which, one is the chairman.
PAC Chairman Julius Espat had proposed structural changes to the PAC to include the social partners, but that move had been resisted by the government’s members.
The Social Partners had recently come forward to propose a PAC that would include the four government members, the two opposition members but would also include the three social partners: the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and the Belize Council of Churches.
PAC Pro-Tem Chairman John Saldivar proposed that the composition of the PAC be comprised of six government members, two opposition members, and the three social partners. The BCCI and the NTUCB have rejected this proposal and have instead proposed a recommendation, which would see the PAC, consist of four government members, two opposition members and all three social partners including the Belize Council of Churches. This proposal would also have the opposition retain chairmanship of the PAC.
In Belize, according to current Auditor General Dorothy Bradley, her office has struggled to establish and maintain any such relationship with the PAC. In her last report dated for the year 2011, Bradley stated that the office of the Auditor General in Belize was not an independent one since the Ministry of Works staffs it, instead of being able to choose its own employees.
Another reason the Office of the Auditor General has not succeeded in being an effective independent office is due to its dependence of finance from the government.
Bradley also stated that her office’s isolation from its main associate, the PAC, has also been an obstacle in achieving the type of effectiveness the office needs.

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