On Wednesday, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeria moved a motion in the National Assembly for the amendment of the quorum needed for a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting.
The new amendment to standing order 95 (6) mandates that five members need to be present before a meeting can be held. These members include the chairperson and two representatives each from the Government and Opposition.
Previously only three persons were required to be present and it did not matter which side of the National Assembly they represented.
The previous arrangement that the meeting will be chaired by the Opposition, stands.
While debating the motion, Opposition Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira backed by several other Opposition members accused the Government of proposing this amendment to delay the works of the committee.
“What the present concept does is compel all sides to be present because the work must go on. This is not what the PPP wants and it is quite evident. It thinks the committee meets two often and it should not meet the 2021 findings of the auditor general report in a very short time.”
However, Minister Teixeira said this claim by the Opposition member is a double standard as they have delayed the works of the committee.
“We met at the second meeting in November 2020, we met on the third meeting held in January 2020, we held the fourth meeting on March 17th 2021, the fifth meeting which was called on April 21st, 2021, June 16, 2021, June 23, 2021, July 28, 2021, October 20, 2021, December 15, 2021, where we all met but could not have a meeting because Opposition either had no representative or one representative. So don’t tell me about who can cause delay and stymie the work because you did it for the last year.”
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill also backed Minister Teixeira and accused Mr Figueira of allowing agencies to be scrutinised by the coalition administration when representatives from the PPP/C Government were not present.
The debate over this motion lasted for quite a period and in the end, was passed with a majority vote on the Government side of the Parliamentary house.