Minister Teixeira dispels accusations regarding PAC meetings

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, has once again emphasised how intriguing it is that some media outlets consistently repeat, without any effort to ascertain the truth of the assertions, the accusations made by the opposition members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) regarding its meetings. 

The minister made these remarks in a press statement on Friday in response to accusations levelled against her and government members on the PAC.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira

Minister Teixiera continued by saying, “Much liberty is given to conclusions accusing the Government members but regrettably for the critics, the functioning of the PAC in the 12th Parliament has not been diminished in comparison to the 10th and 11th Parliaments, quorum or no quorum.”

The information was presented on January 10 at the ministry’s ‘2023 in Review’ press conference, according to Minister Teixeira.

Additionally, she indicated that Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, also provided insight on the subject in Parliament, comparing the number of PAC and other committee meetings in the 10th, 11th, and 12th parliaments.   

This information, she stated, was obviously overlooked.

Currently, the Annual Auditor General’s reports covering the tenure of the previous APNU+AFC government are the basis for the PAC’s evaluation of government agencies.

“But the number of violations of the Procurement Act, missing documents, the refusal or non-cooperation of former Permanent Secretaries and Regional Executive Officers to appear before the committee have been of little interest to some media houses which have full and complete access to the PAC hearings for these agencies,” she expounded in the release. 

In fact, the minister highlighted that the PAC had issued two reports and met more frequently now than it did in the 10th and 11th Parliaments.

Under the direction of President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who chaired the 11th Parliament’s Procurement Advisory Committee (PAC), three reports were generated in 44 meetings during the 11th Parliament, and the first Public Procurement Commission (PPC) was established.

“Further, the insinuations made by the APNU/AFC that Ministers of Government should not sit on the PAC is hypocritical and preposterous as during the APNU+AFC’s tenure in Government during the 11th parliament, two of their members on the PAC were sitting Ministers of Government. Those were Mrs Volda Lawrence and Mrs Valerie Patterson,” she said.

According to the minister, the key problem, though, is unavoidable – the APNU and AFC were unable to effectively manage the government during their tenure and fulfill their promises to the people because of widespread corruption, which greatly displeased them.

The PAC’s work, she emphasised, reveals this at every meeting.

She continued by saying, “I have no intention of resigning as a member of the PAC as l am very aware of the analysis and skills l bring to the meetings, regardless of how much willful haste the Chair and opposition exercise to rush through paragraphs at one time in an effort to hide the corruption which hallmarked the 2015-2020 period.”

The PAC’s responsibility is to provide the National Assembly and the populace of Guyana with a critical evaluation of public spending, including tax-payer revenues.

Therefore, government members of the PAC will spare no effort to evaluate the annual accounts, from 2015 to 2020 and beyond, since the opposition’s haste will only serve to intentionally harm the interests of the Guyanese people.