Opposition seeking to hide truth from the public with PAC stalemate
– Min Edghill
– says Gov’t committed to transparency and accountability
Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill says the stalemate of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is the Opposition trying to withhold the truth from the public. That truth is their gross mismanagement while holding public office.
Minister Edghill made this statement during his guest appearance on “The Parliamentary Agenda,” hosted by NCN on Wednesday. He said the PAC is the parliamentary oversight body to hold the Government accountable, and any Government that subscribes to transparency would facilitate the functioning of that body.
“The longer the Opposition allows this stalemate to continue, they are seeking to hide the truth from the people of Guyana because every day that the PAC sits and examines an agency, we are examining what the APNU/AFC did in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
And you know what the APNU did in those years were not very pleasant things that people want to hear about,” he said.
Minister Edghill said the Government has lost confidence in PAC Chairman, Hon. David Patterson. He said the Committee is examining the Auditor General reports of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the years of the Coalition’s tenure. The Minister pointed out that Mr. Patterson is examining the years during which he served as a Minister of the Government.
Minister Edghill said it is public knowledge that the former Minister acted inappropriately while holding public office. Additionally, he said, the report cited several instances where the law was breached under Mr. Patterson’s watch.
“Mr. Patterson and his colleagues know the danger of that so they have now found a reason of how they could seek to shield and obfuscate and prevent that kind of a scrutiny. But you know what, they cannot hide from their record,” he said.
Minister Edghill noted that the Coalition spent over $1.1 trillion while they were in office with little to nothing to show for it. Added to that, he said Mr. Patterson spent $100 million on scales that were never delivered, money which could have been used to build a nursery school, a health centre and roads in communities in need.
Nevertheless, Minister Edghill, who is also a member of the PAC, said if Mr. Patterson does not step down as Chairman, the Government will bring a motion in the National Assembly to have him removed.
“I can say to you that the PPP/C is in no way a weak administration. While we have had two aborted meetings and the razzle dazzling of Mr. Patterson, a time will come when we will have to act decisively to ensure the business of State goes on and that we get the public accounts moving.
As a Government we are committed to financial accountability, transparency and good governance and we want a functioning Public Accounts Committee. It is provided for in the Constitution. It is provided for in the Standing Orders of the Parliament. It is a convention of every part of parliamentary democracies in the English-speaking Commonwealth and we have to get things moving in this regard,” Minister Edghill said. The Opposition had refused to entertain a motion brought by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Hon. Gail Teixeira in the PAC to remove Mr. Patterson.