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Feb 4, 2021

New Chairperson for PAC, How will Hearings Proceed?

Julius Espat

The Public Accounts Committee will be expanded to include three social partner senators. The government will introduce a statutory instrument to reconstitute the membership in parliament on Friday. The Public Accounts Committee will now be comprised of four members from government, two members from the opposition and three social partners to be nominated by the President of the Senate. The Committee also has a new chairperson. The task force assigned oversight of government’s expenditures will be led by former U.D.P. minister Tracy Panton and will be renamed to reflect the addition of its new members. According to former chairman Julius Espat, the Committee’s sessions will be open to the public and will also be televised and to ensure transparency in the process. Insofar as the existing workload, Espat says that there are quite many reports dating back to 2008 that have not been reviewed. Those reports fall under the tenure of the previous administration in which the new chairperson was also an elected official.


Julius Espat, Former Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“Tomorrow, we will be restructuring PAC in the House of Representatives to allow three social partners from the Senate to now join the Public Accounts Committee.  And also, we will be making the Public Accounts Committee hearings be held in public, so now it will be called a Joint Public Accounts Committee.  Why am I saying it’s a gift?  Because now the new chairperson coming in will have all the necessary tools at her disposal to be able to do what is necessary to have oversight and I am just continuing in government now what I believe is important.  So we are not running away from our responsibility and I learnt all of this in opposition.  Now I have the opportunity to be in government and I believe our government is a mature one and all our leaders have agreed with the proposal to have this reform move forward.  So I am pleased and the Opposition, I hope they are pleased because we were never given this opportunity.  We haven’t reviewed anything from 2008, so they have lots of work.  We have the Auditor General’s Report from 2012-2013 that hasn’t had the opportunity to be tabled back to the House from PAC because the members of the opposition at the time did not give us that opportunity.  We had the 2013/14 Auditor General’s Report and we have all the subsequent Auditor General’s Report that have been tabled that have not come back to the House, so there’s heaps of work that this new chairlady should do and needs to do.”

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