A Special Sitting of the House of Representatives is scheduled for Thursday of this week, which means that a meeting of the Senate will follow. At that meeting, the People’s United Party’s Senator, the Hon. Lisa Shoman will introduce a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of the Senate.
The Select Committee will serve as inquirer in relation to the discharge of duties and the execution of function of the following units: the Auditor General, the Contractor General, the Ombudsman and any Chief Executive Officer in a Government Ministry. In addition, the Committee will be authorized to require the attendance of any Minister of Government. This motion comes in light of reports of improprieties and irregularities in the processing and issuance of nationality certificates, passports and visas at the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality.
“Such public disclosures and public allegations,” says Shoman, “are matters of public importance and require that the Senate exercise its powers and fulfill its functions under the Constitution of Belize.” In its first business of order, the Committee will require the attendance before the Committee of the Auditor General and the Minister and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality. The motion suggests that the meeting be made public and that at the conclusion of the hearings, a report will be issued to the Senate. In addition, that the Special Select Committee will be comprised of 5 senators, one from the Senators appointed by the Government, one from the Senators appointed by the Leader of the Opposition and the three Senators appointed by the Social Partners. At the first meeting of the Committee, a Chair person will be elected and the quorum will be three.
This motion follows a previous from the Senator on the appointment of a Senate inquiry into allegations of corruption at the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality. You may recall that the voting on that motion ended in a tie, with three Senators for the PUP and the three social partners voting in favor and six Senators for the UDP voting against. In a controversial casting ballot, the President of the Senate resolved the deadlock to a no for the Senate Investigation. The Government Senators contested that the duly bound personnel to carry out such an investigation at the Ministry are the Auditor General and the respective CEO and Minister, who for the past weeks have been doing just that. And so, the PUP is now asking for those persons to face inquiry. We will have to wait and see if Senator Shoman will meet the same adversity, but as stated on her Facebook page, she will be putting up a fight, she says “I am NOT going to be indulging in either pessimism OR passivity during the next two weeks of this season of nativity. I have WORK to do in the Senate, and I and my colleagues are not about to give up AT ALL” hash-tag, just getting started.