Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris has announced that he has officially invited the St.Kitts-Nevis Opposition to nominate two members for the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee including the chairperson commitment. The Prime Minister stated that in the Team UNITY’s government quest to vigorously pursue accountability and full transparency the Government wishes to move with dispatch to establish a Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
PM Harris during the sitting of the National Assembly on Tuesday May 23rd stated “I have written to the Leader of the Opposition for him to propose two nominees to be part of a five (5) member Public Accounts Committee. The Government has already nominated its three members. We therefore await the nomination from the Opposition, one of whom will be the chairperson for this committee.”
The Prime Minister indicated the fact that there is no legal requirement for the Chairperson of the Committee to be nominated by the Opposition. However in the government’s pursuance of fairness and balance they afforded the opposition the privilege of nominating two members including the Chairperson.
“Although there is no legal requirement, my Cabinet has determined that we will give the privilege to the Leader of the Opposition to nominate someone to chair the Public Accounts Committee. Once received, I shall, as Minister of Finance, bring the appropriate resolution to the National Assembly, for approval,” declared Prime Minister Harris
Prime Minister Harris concluded his reference to the establishment of the Public Accounts Committee by stating the government’s desire to give that committee all the necessary support required to ensure a renewed, vibrant and active committee thus giving the group a fresh start in pursuing its constitutional and or parliamentary mandate.
PM Harris said “Mr. Speaker, my Government intends to have a fresh start on the functioning of this extremely important Committee. Unfortunately however, there is little to guide this activation process, as there has been no history of a functioning Public Accounts Committee.
There has been no identifiable record of a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ever functioning in St. Kitts and Nevis. In fact, the clerk of the Parliament has been unable to find any Public Accounts Report that has ever been submitted to the National Assembly.
The Members on this side of the House intend to correct this regrettable situation. To consecrate the future, we will bring legislation that would provide a better framework within which the Public Accounts Committee will operate.”