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PAC sittings should be open to public - Hon Julian Fraser RA

- said territory should emulate the practice of societies such as the United Kingdom
- Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA believes that the sittings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be open to the public as a way of ensuring transparency. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Fraser was speaking during the Fourth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Third House of Assembly yesterday November 2, 2015 under the agenda item of Any Other Business. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Fraser was speaking during the Fourth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Third House of Assembly yesterday November 2, 2015 under the agenda item of Any Other Business. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Archibald C. Christian and Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) are the Government members on the PAC. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Archibald C. Christian and Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) are the Government members on the PAC. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Member Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) is also a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Member Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) is also a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA believes that the sittings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be open to the public as a way of ensuring transparency.

Honourable Fraser was speaking during the Fourth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Third House of Assembly yesterday November 2, 2015 under the agenda item of Any Other Business.

The Opposition Leader, the incoming Chairman of the PAC, is fresh from a Public Accounts Committee symposium held in London from October 19 to 22, 2015 and which focused in the theme of ensuring accountability which centred on the role of a modern Public Accounts Committee.

"Through case studies and discussions with leading practitioners we discussed key topics such as transparency and security of public finances, the Public Accounts Committee's relationship with the media, and how to proactively tackle issues of governance and accountability.”

He said societies such as the United Kingdom have embarked upon a practice of modernising the way Public Accounts Committees function.

No witch-hunt

Honourable Fraser said that it is essential for the PAC to be able to unite the services of the Auditor General in order to get its work done.

"It is not a witch-hunt Madam Speaker. It is a means of having the Government function in a more transparent and accountable manner. Going forward Madam Speaker I think, in order for our government to be as effective as it intends, it has to work with the recommendations of a modern Public Accounts Committee," he argued.

The Opposition Leader said that it was found to be mind-boggling during the symposium that the Virgin Islands House of Assembly's Public Accounts Committee meetings are held in camera.

"This is something that I want to be a strong advocate of seeing changed Madam Speaker, where all committees are open to the public, even in the care of committees of the whole House," said Honourable Fraser.

"It is high time that this House in this territory starts benefitting from what is taking place in more developed societies. The sooner we do it the better, Madam Speaker."

PAC  Members

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, during the continuation of the Second Sitting of the First Session of the Third House of Assembly on July 14, 2015, named the members of the Public Accounts Committee as Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) Honourable Archibald C. Christian and Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8).

However, Hon Fraser had questioned the composition of the Committee having two of each side’s members. He had said that the Committee has always had more members from the Opposition and asked that in the case where there are just two of them, whether the Government side should only field one member on the Committee.

Premier Smith, in wrapping up the debate on the motion for the Committee, said in response to Hon Fraser’s concerns that the Chairman does have a deciding vote if there is a tie. Further, he said that if the Government members’ numbers are reduced, it means that the Committee could sometimes have meetings without a member of the Government present and this was not acceptable.

8 Responses to “PAC sittings should be open to public - Hon Julian Fraser RA ”

  • wize up (03/11/2015, 08:31) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    that's what I talking bout; turning up the heat in the kitchen: the people should be made aware of how the tax money truly being spent more over the public should be able to ask a question or 2 for their clarification: right now we only have a voice during an election campaign after election day we out the picture as to how the country is being run....nice to see the member speaking and speaking on a very serious and important matter
  • ccc (03/11/2015, 08:37) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ndp will hate this!
  • change (03/11/2015, 08:39) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thats good. Once it doesn't change when government changed.
  • Yes (03/11/2015, 08:56) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    You mean Marlon Penn still work for government? When last any see him?
  • eclipse (03/11/2015, 09:17) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    NDP promised us government in the sunshine.
  • qc (03/11/2015, 17:18) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    No one gone jail yet


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