BELMOPAN, Cayo District, Wed. July 26, 2017–The UDP-led Senate Select Committee cancelled its session today and announced that it would suspend further sittings until September, the most festive month on the Belizean calendar, when hardly anyone would be paying attention to the hearings because they are held on Wednesdays, which in one case would be the eve of the September 21 Independence celebrations.
We asked the UDP-appointed Senator and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, Aldo Salazar, why today’s sitting was cancelled, although four members from the audit team who assisted in the audit of the Immigration Department were present.
The DPP will determine if anyone will be charged, says Salazar
“The witnesses who were to come forward are from the audit team that carried out the process in compiling the Auditor General’s report, and we really don’t have consensus that we should really interview those persons as opposed to the Auditor General herself, who has that constitutional responsibility to answer questions as to who has compiled the report,” he said.
“The analogy has been made, say, similar to me – I am an attorney, I give a legal opinion and I stand by that opinion. I sign it but, inevitably, we cannot do everything on our own. I have staff that help me with research, and then you go around me and question my staff when I am really the person responsible. I am, the professional. I am the responsible person for that opinion. So that is where we have that lack of consensus, so that is why we didn’t go ahead today,” Salazar further stated.
Salazar has previously expressed his desire to have the hearings brought to an end. His sentiments have been echoed by the UDP chairman, Alberto August, and UDP deputy leader, Patrick Faber.
Today, Salazar told us that the end is near.
“I only speak for myself when it comes to this. I think we are winding down … I can start to write my report … The rules require that I provide the first draft to the committee and then we deliberate. I don’t know what the logistics of that will be, but I will look forward to not having to prepare that draft on my own and to get input from the other members,” he said.
Salazar reiterated that it is up to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, and not the Senate Select Committee, to determine if any individual has been found in contravention of the laws of Belize.