Nov 16, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – A move by the members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to collectively examine the findings of the Auditor General reports for the years, 2019 and 2020 is being opposed by the Government representatives of the Committee.
The issue came up at the meeting of the PAC on Monday. Chair of the PAC Jermaine Figueira explained that he received a letter from Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira, who emphasized the government’s position to have the reports separately.
Teixeira in her letter explained that since the period represents a time when the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government was regarded as a caretaker government.
Teixeira said with the caretaker government in place, the budgetary allocation were not legally in place.
As such, she noted that it was pertinent for the reports on the expenditures to be examined properly. However, in his response to the Minister, Figueira said that the reasons proffered by the Government do not hold merit and are seen as merely political in nature.
In a letter to the Minister, Figueira said “…The reasons you have posited for your government’s side, why the merging of the years 2019 and 2020 should be halted are immaterial to the business and concerns of the Public Accounts Committee.”
He continued “…Your identification of the years 2019 and 2020 as years that require much greater scrutiny and time, suggest insultingly, that the work done by the previous and present members, including yourself, on the years concluded, were not given such a degree of scrutiny and time that you now in a dictatorial fashion demand for these particular years to be treated differently.”
“…Your dictates on how the committee’s business should be managed and the reasons you have provided are not sound in logic in relation to the PAC’s mandate and therefore cannot and must stop be entertained.”
The Chairman of the PAC said that he hopes that the committee’s work is allowed to continue unencumbered, without these machinations designed to stymie the committee’s progress becoming unnecessary roadblocks.
Notwithstanding this, at the meeting on Monday, Government Member of Parliament (MP), Sanjeev Datadin presented a motion to counter the consolidated hearing of the reports.
In his motion, Datadin chronicled similar sentiments as Teixeira, emphasizing the need for the reports to be examined separately.
The PAC Chair believes that the government is bent on stymieing the work of the PAC.
According to Figueira, the PAC has never prevented or denied any member the opportunity to ask any number of questions in their scrutiny of the Auditor General’s report findings.
He noted therefore that he finds the reason for the motion absurd, ridiculous and of no relevance.
He added: “If one is to have a casual glance of the 2021 report findings then they will appreciate what we have been saying and will understand why the government is taking this obstructionist approach to prevent the PAC from doing its work with the tyranny of their one seat majority.”
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