Patterson removed as Parliamentary accounts chair at 5:30 a.m vote

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At a Parliamentary sitting that started at 14:00 hours on Monday and ended at exactly 5:32 a.m on Tuesday, the government successfully managed to remove Opposition Parliamentarian David Patterson as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Members of Parliament (MPs) from the two sides of the House were engaged in heated debates during the wee hours of Tuesday in the marathon sitting of the National Assembly which also saw the approval of $23B in emergency funding.

The Motion, which was moved by Government Chief Whip and Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira, was passed after a 34-31 vote which saw only Lenox Shuman from the opposition voting in favour.

Patterson himself was present and voted along with the other 30 MPs from the APNU+AFC opposition against the Motion.

During the debates, Teixeira told the House that there was no entitlement of an individual for the Chairmanship of the PAC and that it was being held to ransom by the opposition who refused to have Patterson resign and as a consequence has prevented any meeting of the Committee.

She accused the APNU+AFC members on the Committee of engaging in bullyism.

“No chairperson is so entrenched and entitled to the point at he or she cannot be removed. Just like a government, if a government can be removed why not a chair of a committee? This is logical, isn’t it?” she questioned.

The government Chief Whip, who is also a member of the PAC, said she had hoped Patterson would do the right thing and resign.

His refusal forced Teixeira to file the June 3, 2021 Motion in the House.

According to the document, Patterson “has consistently and openly violated the Standing Orders and has introduced a level of bullyism unbefitting of a Member of Parliament, and, in doing so, bringing the image of the National Assembly into disrepute.”
It added: “That as a result of Mr. David Patterson’s conduct as Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee with respect to his open violation of the Standing Orders, among other things, in particular since February 1, the majority of the members of the Public Accounts Committee have lost confidence in him as the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.”

Patterson was nominated and declared chair when the PAC met on December 28, 2020. However, at its sixth meeting on February 1, the examination of the 2016 Auditor General’s Report revealed several concerning expenditures from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, which Patterson had led during the period under review.

A motion was first moved by Minister Teixeira urging him to step down as Chairperson. Following his refusal to do so, another was introduced calling for his resignation as chair while remaining a committee member.

The intention is that another opposition member of the PAC be the Chairperson instead.

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