Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has said he intends to lead what he described as a “very active” Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when it is formed.
“There are a lot of things that we need to look at; a lot of issues as it relates to public spending that needs to be addressed,” Penn told BVI News recently.
“I know that I will lead a committee that looks at the specific financial expenditures of the government. Projects that we feel need to be looked at; we will look at those and we’ll do it in a fair transparent way,” Penn said.
While Premier Andrew Fahie served as Opposition Leader, the PAC was virtually inactive because he was unable to achieve a quorum, which is effectively defined as the minimum number of committee members needed to conduct the business of that body whenever meetings are called.
While invited to say how he plans to prevent a repeat of that problem under his tenure, Penn said adjustments have been made to the PAC Standing Orders to enable a vibrant committee that functions.
He added: “It’s our intentions to have a four-member committee which gives us the ability to have more members. [Only] one member from the government [will sit on the PAC] because of the fact that they have what you call five ministers and two junior ministers. Based on the Standing Orders, ministers cannot sit on the Public Accounts Committee.”
Penn also said that he does not anticipate any issues which should result in the PAC being non-functional.
He said: “We’ve met as an opposition, we’re focused on making sure that the committee works, making sure that the committee does its work and I don’t foresee us having any problems as it relates to a functioning committee.”
Nearly nine months have elapsed without a PAC, despite it being the body responsible for monitoring government and its handling of the public’s purse and accounts.
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