Why PM Rejects both Senate Inquiry Into Passport Scandal and13th Senator

cuvil servants building, BelmopanHulseThe motion tabled by the Opposition at the last meeting of the Senate for a Senate-led inquiry into reports of corruption at the Ministry of Immigration was struck down by the Government’s side of the floor. Six Senators voted in favor of the investigation, while the remaining six – all Government members, voted against. That led the President of the Senate to make what has become a controversial casting vote, breaking the tie which rejected the motion. Leader of Government Business and Minister of Immigration, Hon. Godwin Hulse maintained that such an investigation would be premature without the guiding tool of the Auditor General’s report. That was pretty much the echoing argument coming from the Barrow administration and today, at a press briefing held in Belize City, Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow for the first time since the motion was brought to the Senate, spoke on the matter.

vlcsnap-2013-11-08-08h15m31s57Belizean Passport imageThe motion tabled by the Opposition at the last meeting of the Senate for a Senate-led inquiry into reports of corruption at the Ministry of Immigration was struck down by the Government’s side of the floor.  Six Senators voted in favor of the investigation, while the remaining six – all Government members, voted against.  That led the President of the Senate to make what has become a controversial casting vote, breaking the tie which rejected the motion.  Leader of Government Business and Minister of Immigration, Hon. Godwin Hulse maintained that such an investigation would be premature without the guiding tool of the Auditor Gen

vlcsnap-2013-11-27-20h26m06s106Hon. Dean Barrow- Prime Minister

“Hold your horses, man.  Why do you want a senate inquiry?  On what platform will you form that inquiry?  You are auditors?  You are examiners?  You wait until the Auditor General  who has the expertise and who has the staff,as completed her report, handed it to parliament, debated that and then talk about possible next steps.  So, we say plainly we don’t agree with the merits that there is any merit to the notion of a senate inquiry at this point; we think it is premature”.

Persons who were upset about the outcome of the voting contested that if there was a third Senator, the voting may have gone in favor of the Senate-led investigation. And this has once again sparked the discourse of the need for a 13th Senator. Barrow was queried on the prospect of such an addition; his answer was clear-cut.

Reporter:  “Do you intent to see that 13th senator?”

Congress in sessionvlcsnap-2013-11-27-20h01m42s117Prime Minister:  “No.  Do you see what is happening in the United States where they have a system where paralysis is able to be engineered because of the way the republican model works, you can have one chamber controlled by the party that doesn’t  found the administration…and another chamber, one chamber, Democrat, one chamber, Republican?  Do you see the difficulties they’ve been having with debt ceilings and shut downs there? No.  The 13th USA mapSenator would then mean that the senate would be controlled by the Opposition and non-government senators and they would have the power to paralyze the government.  I am very sorry; I was the one that in fact put that in a UDP manifesto.   This government pushed it forward in terms of constitutional reform, but then I quickly realized that it’s a wonderful ideal, but in practice, it will make no sense.  The Opposition is there to oppose, the so called social partners sectors are not there to be friends of the government, and if you give control of that chamber to that combination, I am telling you:  There will be paralysis!   Other people might have a different point of view and I respect that”.

Later on in this newscast, we’ll tell you exactly what he says about Elvin Penner and Hon. Edmund Castro as it relates to allegations in the passport scandal. 

 

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