Whatever the case, the Senate chose one Senator from the PUP (Dickie Bradley); one Senator from the UDP (Arthur Roches); one Senator from the Council of Churches (Moises Chan); one Senator from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (Rene Gomez); and one Senator from the Chamber of Commerce and Belize Business Bureau (Godwin Hulse).
Roches was the only UDP Senator present. He is an expert in accounts, and it was announced by the Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Dickie Bradley, that Roches had accepted the assignment. Now the rhetoric on WAVE Radio had been so radically anti-the Senate hearing, and so hostile to Godwin Hulse for his role therein, that the absence of Tillett and Cardona Thursday morning did not appear to be accidental. Ambrose Tillett himself had said on the Kremandala Show Tuesday night that he would not be a part of the Senate hearing, so no one who concluded that the UDP were boycotting could be considered irrational.
The presence of Senator Roches, and his selection and acceptance, however, created an unlikely opportunity for the UDP, were they thinking clearly in those few minutes Thursday afternoon. Roches and Gomez would have been hostile to the PUP administration. Godwin Hulse would have ensured a majority of 3 on the 5 members Select Committee, a majority of Belizeans who would have performed on the basis of conscience, a majority of non-PUP Senators. But the UDP hatchet people had already mutilated Godwin and maligned his character, and the UDP must have, at some level of their leadership, decided to boycott the Senate Select Committee. Again, had Roches been informed? That is a very interesting question.
The radio broadcast from Belmopan indicated that Roches received a phone call from party leadership after he had sat through the sitting and immediately after he had been selected and accepted Thursday afternoon. He was instructed to withdraw from the Senate Select Committee, a committee which, if you believe Godwin Hulse to be a man of integrity, the PUP does not control! The UDP had criticized the Senate hearing decision from the time it was announced last Thursday, September 9, but this newspaper has no record of a formal decision on the UDP?s part to boycott the Senate hearing.
Senate President, Phillip Zuniga, informed Mr. Roches that he was already a formal, legal part of the Senate Select Committee, and so it was up to him whether he wishes to attend any of the Committee?s hearings.
At this stage, the situation is a confusing one where the UDP is concerned. As we said at the beginning of the editorial, we may be wrong, but it appears that the UDP shot itself in the foot at least twice, and maybe three times. Time will tell.
(NOTE: In our editorial in our Tuesday mid-week issue, we explained that the newspaper agrees with the UDP that an independent audit and inquiry would have been the ideal way to go. We also explained, however, that the PUP had numbers in the Senate and definitely felt more comfortable with the Senate hearing concept. It is quite possible that the PUP knows something that we do not, but on Thursday afternoon it seemed to us that an opening had been created for the UDP to get some things done. The bottom line is that we believe Godwin Hulse to be sincere, but the UDP had already decided to use their propaganda organs to tell their people that he was not.)