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Sep 16, 2016

Public Hearing on Immigration Could Still Work with Bicameral Committee

Dean Barrow

On Tuesday, Cabinet revisited the Auditor General’s Special Audit Report on the Immigration Department.  While Prime Minister Barrow was in favor of a bicameral committee, due to mounting pressure from various sectors including the public, social partners and the Opposition, a decision was taken that government will now support a Senate Select Committee investigation.  That aside, PM Barrow maintains the position that a public hearing is not exclusive to the Senate.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Remember I had told you from the, was it last Friday when we finished with the churches, at that press briefing, that I would ask Cabinet to, as it were, embrace what clearly was the emerging position in terms of the chamber and the churches having by that time already signaled to me that they were likely to reverse course and to withdraw their agreement for the bicameral and to say that instead they too would prefer the Senate Select Committee.  I did as I said I would, took it to Cabinet.  Cabinet had no problem and so we issued the release formalizing the position.  It was as I indicated then.  What we want is a public hearing, there is no way I could ever accept that that public hearing is the exclusive preserve of the Senate.  That is nonsense and the arguments made to try and justify that legally are spurious.  This an auditor general’s report which is by law given to me and I am obliged to lay on the table in the House.  Thereafter it goes to the Senate.  It then becomes a sort of paper of the National Assembly.  You can’t tell me that a National Assembly bicameral committee can’t hold hearings into that report in public, but it doesn’t matter.  Ultimately what we want is this public invigilation exercise as it were and the Senate Select Committee will do that.”

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