The Government and Opposition Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are in disagreement over a motion put forward by Government member, Minister Gail Teixeira to have the Committee meet once per week instead of twice.
The Opposition members of the PAC want to meet twice per week to clear the backlog of work to be done as it scrutinizes the Government’s accounts. It moved a motion to that effect last week, but now the Government wants to rescind that motion and have the Committee meet just once a week.
In a statement, Opposition Member Ganesh Mahipaul accused government members on the committee of dodging scrutiny. He said the government members as well as the Auditor-General, Accountant General, Finance Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, and Ministry of Health have all failed to show up to a recent meeting of the PAC and he believes that proves deliberate attempts by the government to stymie the work of the body.
The Government members of the Public Accounts Committee are claiming that on the day when the motion was moved to have the PAC meet twice weekly, its members were ignored.
“On Monday 11th of October when the motion was moved by Mr. Mahipaul to meet twice weekly, Minister Edghill was in the meeting, virtually. This was pointed out to the Chairman by Member Seeraj. He was totally ignored, and Minister Edghill was not recognized to make a contribution or vote on the issue”, the Government members said.
The Government members believe the twice per week meetings will be too demanding of the officials and agencies that have to appear before the Committee since they’ll have to be there all day.
The Committee will meet again in a few days and the Chairman is expected to make a decision on the motion to have the Committee just meet once per week.
The Government has issued a warning to the Chairman to learn from his predecessor’s fate and stick to the Standing Orders.
The Government has indicated that he must put the motion to a vote. The Government has the majority of seats on the Committee while the Opposition holds onto the Chairmanship.