Senators representing the country’s social partners are urging the chairperson of the Joint Public Accounts Committee (JPAC), Hon. Tracy Panton, to convene a meeting “at the earliest practical date.”
BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 11, 2022
Four senators representing the country’s social partners have written jointly to the chairperson of the Joint Public Accounts Committee (JPAC), Hon. Tracy Panton, to urge her to convene a meeting of the committee as soon as possible. Only one meeting of the JPAC has been held so far for this year, the senators said, and a meeting scheduled for April 4 and rescheduled for the 25th of that same month was also put off.
“We feel this situation is concerning and rapidly becoming unacceptable,” the letter from the senators state.
The senators whose signatures are affixed to the letter are Elena Smith, who represents the country’s labor unions; Moses Benguche, a representative of the nation’s churches; Kevin Herrera, a representative of the business community; and Janelle Chanona, who represents the country’s NGOs. Those members of the JPAC pointed out that if the meeting is not called at a reasonable time, they will move to call a meeting on their own, citing the provision in Standing order 74 1(A) which allows two members to call a meeting in cases where the chairperson fails to do so.
“…the Standing Committees established in that paragraph shall have the power in respect to all matters assigned to them, other than proposed legislation, to hold meetings on their own initiative without having the matter referred to them by the House, and for that purpose, a meeting shall be duly called if a requisition under the hand of the Chairman, or, if the Chairman is unable for any reason to do so, under the hands of any two members of the Committee is sent to the other members of the Committee,” the letter states.
The first JPAC meeting since the PUP administration entered office was held in July 2021. Since then, only two other meetings have been held, and the social partner senators are now calling for the fourth. There has been no indication whether Panton has responded to this request by the senators yet.