(Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News)
“What are they trying to hide,” Leader of the Opposition and Eighth District Representative, Hon. Marlon Penn questioned as he announced that he is perturbed that the House of Assembly did not form the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is one of the committees within the House of Assembly.
The PAC is tasked with examining public audits and has the power to invite ministers, permanent secretaries or senior civil servants before it for questioning.
During a media interview, the Leader of the Opposition stated that the PAC is a very essential feature of the House of Assembly and noted that it was one two committees that were not formed when the House of Assembly met on June 3.
In the House of Assembly last week, Premier Hon. Andrew Fahie moved motions for the formation of the Services Committee, the Standing Orders Committee, the Committee of Privileges and the Regulations Committee.
Noting that the PAC was not formed, Speaker of the House, Hon. Julian Willock explained that this formation would be done shortly. He told the House, “Members just on a point of information, there are two outstanding committees remaining – the Public Accounts Committee and the Register of Interest Committee, and I trust that we would have consensus at least on the Public Accounts Committee, so that in the not too distant future that very important committee of this House can be formed.”
Nonetheless, Hon. Penn said that he is bothered by the decision to delay the constituting of this necessary body.
He told reporters on June 4, “We have a situation where committees were formed – the Public Accounts Committee, a very vital committee to good governance, to accountability…that was not formed in the House of Assembly yesterday (June 3). What are they trying to hide? Why are they trying to stifle the work of the Opposition and the people of this Territory? People need to know,” Hon. Penn said.