After a one-month hiatus due to the lack of a quorum, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met today to iron out a number of issues.
Today’s meeting, which was held behind closed doors, saw the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) using its one-seat majority on the Committee to successfully move a motion to scrutinize the Auditor General Reports for 2019 and 2020 separately.
The motion was tabled by PPP/C Member of Parliament Sanjeev Datadin and seconded by Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill. Though passed, it did not secure the support of the Opposition Members of the Committee.
Laying the foundation for the motion, MP Datadin submitted that Government’s expenditure for 2019 and 2020 was “without parliamentary oversight and budgetary debates” until September 2020.
It was explained that public expenditure, during the specified period, occurred after the No-Confidence Motion, and in the absence of the sitting of the National Assembly.
Today’s motion overrides a motion passed earlier at the level of the nine-member committee to merge the 2019 and 2020 Report.
Chairman of the PAC, Jermaine Figueira told News Source today that he was disappointed with the motion, and moreover, the government’s argument in support of the motion.
“Their arguments with respect to the no-confidence motion and such like are in my view most irrelevant to the findings of the audit general report. To suggest those years, require more time and special attention due the occurrences during that period gives the impression that the work the PAC has done prior was not giving to those years,” MP Figueira explained.
According to him, the motion is intended to delay the work of the PAC.
“We see this as another deliberate action by the PPP administration to stall, stymied and hinder the work of the PAC, all in an effort to lengthen the time in reaching their years of performance. The findings of the Auditor General report from the embryonic stage of the PPP being in government the worrying levels of corruption and misappropriation of the people’s resources,” he told News Source.
He said already the PAC is experiencing significant setbacks due to Government’s decision to amend the quorum for the PAC.
Using its majority in the House earlier this year, the Government amended the Standing Orders governing the PAC to change the quorum required for the sitting of the committee.
Under the new rules, there must be two Government MPs, two Opposition MPs and the Chairman present for there to be a quorum. Under the old rules, only three Committee Members were required to be present for there to be a quorum.