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While there is more in the report, today we sought comments from Hon. Julius Espat, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the oversight body which should carry out a review of the report and submit recommendations for taking action. While Hon. Espat had not reviewed the report comprehensively, he did take note of the financial mess at the Placencia health center.


Screen_Shot_2019-06-19_at_8.01.58_PMHon. Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee


“It is total chaos when you have somebody in charge of an area that doesn’t that can’t collect money on his behalf and he believes that by collecting monies in his behalf that is totally cool, you understand me, that’s a culture it not that person, you know, is not Placencia specifically it is a culture in the government service that nobody cares because there is no consequences and there is no disciplinary measures and there is nothing in place to correct wrong doing and they see the ministers doing it everyday and its’ not that it’s gossip we have instances that we have documented by you guys, it is documented in the house of irregularities and unlawful actions being done by ministers and by CEO’s an by government officials and nobody does anything the Prime Minister himself just treat it like if it is insignificant and so how can you expect somebody at a poly clinic in Placencia to try to do good when all he has learnt in his time as a member of government is that he can do what he wants and its fine and so culturally it is a problem and so I am not blaming that specific person yes he did an error maybe for him he didn’t even know it was wrong for him to even tell the Auditor General that I am collecting money and that is cool, it shows you that he doesn’t understand that his actions is not wrong he is justifying it in his own way and so I’ll repeat myself total chaos in how the UDP government is administering the people’s money and you cannot expect anything positive from chaos.”

 

According to Hon. Espat the issues raised by the Auditor General should be dealt with by the PAC but this has become difficult since the majority members of the Committee are Ministers appointed by the UDP Government and they cover up Government wrongdoing. Espat, who has made various attempts to ensure that PAC can do its work, shared that the only way for this to happen is for a PUP Government to take charge in 2020.


Hon. Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee


“Well, first the people of Belize have to decide if they want a change and if they want a change the People’s United Party will form government in 2020 and that is what I believe the only way that a positive change can happen within the Accounts Public Committee, you have to have a change of government because you have to have a change of administration so that’s number one, number two, we have been lobbying, I just came out of national executive meeting where I have been lobbying to set policies in place and I am championing on behalf of the party leader, the good governance policies and the most important part of that is basically based on what we have been proposing as chairman and member of PACT and the Auditor General has been proposing and it coincides the independence of the Auditor General’s office is critical, the restructuring of PACT is critical, the having the Public Accounts Committee is critical and then you have to have disciplinary measures, is not that I am reinventing the wheel, you know, this thing happened before it is within the laws of Belize, we are even fighting for that ministerial discretion to be taken away from a lot of the laws of Belize, I don’t know if everybody agrees with that one but I fundamentally with it and we have to put strong systems in place so that you don’t rely on personalities, you can’t have one person because he is the minister making the decision you should have systems in place where it is merely automated.”

 

We will have more on the Auditor General’s report in tomorrow’s newscast.

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