From the press unit of the Office of the Prime Minister
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – With the proposed membership of the Public Accounts Committee comprising representatives from both the government side and the opposition bench, the prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, is urging members to conduct the affairs of that committee in a meaningful way.
Harris made this call during his presentation on the Public Accounts Committee Bill 2017 in the House of Assembly Aug. 10. There, the prime minister challenged the committee to “discipline itself to do meaningful work rather than attempt to engage in cheap and unproductive political grandstanding.
“The Public Accounts Committee then is a sub-committee of the Parliament as a whole rather than a partisan committee,” he said. “That is why the membership of the Public Accounts Committee reflects across the divide of the Parliament to include members from all sides. It is a committee working for the Parliament. It is not a committee set up for political grandstanding…and that is why you needed structure, and that is why you needed a proper basis to institutionalise its functioning.”
To strengthen his message, the St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister quoted the Right Hon. Harold Wilson when he was shadow minister of finance and leader of Her Majesty’s opposition in the United Kingdom: “I am sure that I speak for all honourable members – certainly I know that I speak for all members of the Public Accounts Committee – when I say that I do not regard this debate as one that should take on party lines.”
Harris added: “In other words, when you are member of the Public Accounts Committee, you are a member of the House and the partisan politics, by and large, is locked out of the deliberations of the committee and that is how proper Public Accounts Committees work and function in line with the best of these traditions.”