BELIZE CITY, Wed. Oct. 26, 2016–On Monday, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) named Senator Eamon Courtenay as its representative on the Senate Select Committee, appointed to investigate the Auditor General’s Special Report into the Passport, Visa and Nationality Departments for the period 2011-2013.
Church senator, Ashley Rocke, had tabled a motion which was passed, granting the Government two representatives, while the other parties to the Senate — the church, the unions and the Opposition — would be granted only one seat each.
The Opposition grew furious following that meeting and withdrew its participation in the committee, dubbing its composition, “bogus.”
However, at the last committee meeting, Government senator, Aldo Salazar, was elected as chairman of the committee.
As chairman, Salazar can only vote in instances where there is a tie caused by the absence of a member or when committee members abstain from voting.
Realizing that the government had lost its voting advantage and may only be able control two votes on the committee of five, the Opposition decided to participate once again.
However, at this time, only four of the five voting members on the committee have been named, as there have been no updates on the participation of Senator Markhelm “Mark” Lizarraga, who represents the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Belize Business Bureau.
At a special meeting held by the Chamber almost three weeks ago, it was voted by these bodies that Lizarraga would not participate on the committee given its Government-led composition and limited terms of reference.
The Chamber has not made any announcements on his participation, even though the hearings by the committee are scheduled to commence on November 9.