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Feb 4, 2021

Where Does the New PAC Pick Up From?

Tracy Panton

With a new constitution of the Public Accounts Committee, it is expected that the working group will hit the ground running.  But where does it begin and what is the scope of its responsibilities?  It’s a question that the incoming chairperson is also openly asking, in the context of moving forward with the work of PAC versus embarking upon what she calls a “witch hunt” of former government officials.



Tracy Panton, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“I think we need to look at, certainly we’d have to look to some degree of what work may have been unfinished from the point of view of how do we make recommendations.  It is hard.  If we really want to reform, if we really want to have proper oversight for government’s expenditure to go back to an audit report from 2008.  No changes have been made in the system, no recommendations for improvement have been done and none of these recommendations have been in them and so, you’re going to find some of the same issues.  Unless we’re able to really look at what’s happening on the ground in terms of how we audit each fiscal year, each financial year of the government, how timely those reports are provided to the committee, that kind of thing.  I know one of the proposals from the now administration is for the membership of the Public Accounts Committee to be expanded to include members or social partners.  And so, we will have to look at, as a group, I think, really what it is that we want to achieve.  Do we want to use the Public Accounts Committee to flag or to witch hunt or do we want to use the Public Accounts Committee to make meaningful changes in the system?  Prior to the General Elections, the Opposition had announced as part of its manifesto commitments some recommended changes to the Public Accounts Committee which I believe should be discussed sometime shortly.  Those proposals have not been shared with the Opposition as yet and it is a part of their reform agenda, but we haven’t had a chance to look at the proposals, to discuss the proposals for us to determine what proposals we feel will serve in the best interest of the role and function I would play as the chairperson.”

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