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Nov 10, 2017

Julius Espat Says ‘No Excuses’ to Miss Meetings; Continues Fight for Public Hearings

Julius Espat

Espat told us that with respect to the past absences, he has made it clear to his fellow parliamentarians that he will tolerate no excuses for future absences from meetings. The issue is important enough that a united bi-partisan front is critical to solving the myriad issues with the government and public service. And while there has been agreement on that, the chairman still cannot get his colleagues to agree to public hearings, but that will not stop him from trying.

 

Julius Espat, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“This is a very important Committee; this is a Committee that has to do with oversight; and it is a responsibility for any member to be present. If they cannot be present, then they have the responsibility to appoint somebody to represent them. So I will not take any excuse and I have not taken any excuse and I will not take any excuse in the future, because I believe it is that important that we show up and do our jobs. So we had a little back and forth over that, but in the end I think everybody understood that we’re not playing games and we have to be serious. It is the people’s money that we are dealing with and as the chairman right now I take the responsibility very serious and I am emphasizing that to the other members that they should take it serious. And I must say that even though it was testy in the initial stages of the meeting, throughout the meeting and at the end of the meeting, I think we all understood how important it is that these meetings go forward. We did not agree and I think we will never agree as to if it will be private or public. They have their reasons – I suppose because of being the status quo and old-style politicians, they believe that everything should be done in private and I am totally opposed to that. I believe that a hearing, when it pertains to oversight, should be public. And it has been public in countries that are more developed than us or are developing at a faster pace than us. And it shows that once a Public Accounts Committee is functioning properly in the public domain, you get better results, and the economy seems to move better and move faster than if you don’t do it.”

 

The next meeting, at which the Accountant General will be called, is set for November thirtieth and another for December seventh. Meetings are expected about once every two weeks.

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