Progress being made in resolving issues facing PAC – House Speaker

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Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir on Wednesday assured that progress has been made in resolving the issues affecting the work of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The PAC was not able to meet on Monday because there was no Parliamentary Clerk willing to attend the meeting after the substantive Clerk reportedly feel ill because of the high level of stress she developed at the meetings.

Nadir had asked for a meeting with PAC Chairman Jermaine Figueira and Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira who is also a PAC member.

That meeting never materialised because Teixeira was unable to attend, according to the Speaker. He hopes to meet with the two before the next PAC meeting which is likely to be next Monday.

Nadir said he has been working along with Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs and they have been “making good progress” with regard to the appointment of a Clerk for PAC.

Last week Isaacs had said that several Parliamentary Clerks refused to work with the Public Accounts Committee.

“It is still a bit fluid. Sometimes when the staff reassess, there is a challenge but the Clerk and I have been having conversations on how to ensure that the meetings of PAC go on and they continue to meet,’ Nadir told the News Room.

He assured that the meetings will go on even if Isaacs himself will clerk the meeting.

But even when meetings reconvene, the PAC still has before it a motion presented by Teixeira to have the Committee meet only once per week instead of twice.

Teixeira’s motion would rescind an earlier motion piloted by committee member Ganesh Mahipaul.

But while Teixeira insists that it is extremely difficult to meet twice per week, the PAC Chairman believes it is practical, taking into consideration the five-year backlog that needs to be cleared.

The Public Accounts Committee is responsible for scrutinizing government spending. It has been faced with a backlog dating back to 2016.

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