Features — 14 December 2012

In a short meeting held at the National Assembly in Belmopan, the members of the Public Accounts Committee finally agreed this Monday — after debating divided positions — that it would make its meetings open to the public.

PAC Chairman, Julius Espat, informed Amandala that the five committee members present agreed, however, that the first two PAC meetings, slated for 2013, at which they will sort out procedural matters, will be private.

The next meeting is scheduled for January 14, 2013.

Espat also noted that there may be exceptional circumstances, such as for national security reasons, when PAC sessions would have to be private.

Espat said he is happy to have gotten what they were lobbying for from the beginning – open meetings.

Espat is one of two Opposition People’s United Party members on PAC.

The ruling United Democratic Party has four of six seats.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow had said publicly that he has no problem opening the PAC meetings to the public.

Espat had emphasized that under committee rules, the public should be involved and given sufficient opportunity to express their views to the committee.

PAC is the only committee chaired by the Opposition, although the ruling party retains majority control and therefore also retains veto power.

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