November 27, 2020
For immediate release to all media houses.
AFC calls on Parliament to convene all Standing and Select committees
The Alliance For Change, AFC, continues to call on the Parliament of Guyana to convene all of the Standing and Select Committees, in particular the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
General Secretary of the AFC, Mr. Patterson M.P. who is a member of the PAC, noted for the record that the Public Accounts Committee last met on August 6, 2018 – some 27 months ago, and at that time – they were about only 30% completed examining the 2016 Auditor General (AG) reports. In reality the PAC is some 3 ½ years behind with the examination of the Public Accounts.
In accordance with the Standing Orders, the AFC recognises that the Speaker must schedule the first meeting, which is simply to elect the Chairman of the PAC, thereafter it’s the Chairman responsibility to schedule and host meetings.
On behalf of the Alliance For Change, M.P. Patterson has written to the Speaker indicating that there should be no impediment to the hosting of the first meeting, since all that’s needed for a quorum is 3 Members and the opposition has four members. It is noted that the Chairman of the Committee must come from the Opposition – thus the attendance of the Government members, while desirable, is not necessary.
The AFC urges that should the Speaker be unavailable; the Deputy Speaker should be mandated to host the first meeting – note that a similar meeting in 2015 to elect the Chairman lasted all of 15 minutes.
The Alliance For Change stated that Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones was informed a few days ago that the Speaker intended to schedule committee meetings next Monday and Tuesday. Although the AFC welcomes this announcement, we must highlight that our Standing Orders require Members to have 3 days’ notice before the holding of a meeting, and as of today, no Member of the Opposition received notice for a proposed meeting.
Members of the Public should note that the PAC does not only examine the AG reports, but they can also request special audits or reports.
Mr. Patterson stated that whenever the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sits to meet, he intends to request reports on several troubling issues that have are developing under the fraudulent PPP Government.
These include, GUYSUCO announced that they will be single sourcing 44 tractors from a company in USA. Not only will the AFC be asking the Public Procurement Commission to examine this procurement, but we will request that the Audit Office perform a value for money audit on this procurement,
The AFC questions How and Why was this company selected? What investigations were performed to ensure that these tractors are suitable for the soil and climate conditions in Guyana? – We recall Indian tractors that were purchased but could not work. Does Guysuco has any experience in operating and maintaining tractors like these? Is there training for staff to drive and operate the vehicles and implement a maintenance programme?
In addition the Alliance For Change will be requesting a report on the distribution of the COVID-19 relief fund and observed that although the financial expenditure will be included in the AG 2020 report, several other issues with regards to the distribution programme have arisen. These include complaints that several persons and areas have been bypassed. Large families who occupy a single building have reported that only a single family or part of the building have received funds. We have also received report that sections of communities supportive of the Coalition have been bypassed and public Servants seconded to outlying regions have not been paid. While the matter of payments will be in the 2020 AG report, the AFC seeks an Operational Report before Budget 2021.