No meeting as impasse at PAC continues

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The government and opposition are yet to resolve the ongoing stalemate over attempts to merge the 2019 and 2020 Auditor General Reports for review by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

It was expected that the issue would have been discussed at Monday’s statutory meeting but that never got underway.

Opposition Parliamentarians on the Committee showed up for the meeting with the exception of Ganesh Mahipaul, who is currently suspended from Parliament.

But no member from the government side was present and failure to secure a quorum saw the meeting being postponed.

On the agenda was a motion to be tabled by Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira.

Teixeira had written Chairman of the PAC, Jermaine Figueira, last week asking that the motion, seeking to reverse the decision to merge the reports, be placed on the agenda.

Figueira told the News Room, via telephone, that no member asked to be excused, with the exception of Sanjeev Datadin.

“Her [Teixeira] intention was to bring a motion today at this sitting of the PAC to rescind the decision of Public Accounts Committee to merge 2019 and 2020 report and I facilitated that because that is her right,” the Chairman said.

Jermaine Figueira and Gail Teixeira

Figueira acknowledged that Teixeira and Juan Edghill are busy Ministers but said that continued postponement of PAC meetings for want of a quorum was undesirable.

This is the third consecutive meeting that has been postponed.

Figueira fears that with next Monday being a holiday and the following Monday a sitting of the National Assembly, the work of the PAC will be stalled until after the upcoming Parliamentary recess which ends in October.

“The work of the PAC is handicapped until Parliament comes out of recess… I am disappointed.

“If there are too many ministers who are too busy then put other people,” Figuera posited.

Calls to Teixeira’s phone went unanswered.

Last week she offered reasons for opposing the merger. Teixeira believes that since the period covers two years after the David Granger-led government fell on the passage of the No-Confidence motion and the protracted electoral process, the review should be done independently.

Figueira, however, argues that the merging of reports was done several times in the past even when President Irfaan Ali Chaired the Committee and said it is important now to address the backlog.

Neither of the two sides can say how the matter will be resolved.

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