The Opposition is again accusing the government of stymying the work of the Public Accounts Committee after all Government members on the PAC failed to show up for the scheduled PAC meeting on Monday forcing a cancellation.
The Government recently passed amendments that changed the requirement for a quorum for a PAC meeting to take place.
Under the amendments, at least two members from the Government side and two members from the Opposition side along with the Chairman would have to be present for a PAC meeting to take place, whether virtually or in person.
During the debate of the motion for the change, the Opposition had argued that the move meant that Government members could stop the work of the PAC at any time by simply not showing up. Opposition MP Ganesh Mahipaul said that was exactly what took place on Monday.
“This action of the Government side to not attend PAC confirms and authenticates the Opposition’s position as articulated in the debates on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, and that is the Government’s attempt to dismantle the guardrails of our democracy, decide when PAC should meet and at what pace the PAC should be working,” PAC Member, Ganesh Mahipaul said in a statement.
Mahipaul said just before the scheduled start of Monday’s meeting, the PAC Clerk informed Opposition Members who were the only ones present that the Government side has asked to be excused due to the flood situation in Region Nine.
Mr. Mahipaul said half of the government members on PAC are not Ministers or have anything to do with flood response. He said the absence is setting a bad precedence.
“We must see this act by the Government for what it is and that is the Government wants to slow down the work of the PAC so that the PAC will not be able to examine the accounts of 2020 and 2021. The public perception about the Government’s spending of taxpayers’ dollars in 2020 after the passage of the budget in September 2020 and 2021 is shocking, marred with corruption, and flies in the face of transparency and accountability,” Mahipaul explained.
A few months ago, the Government had also used its majority to cut back on the number of meetings per week that could be called by the Public Accounts Committee which overlooks Government accounts and spending
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