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…reaffirms commitment to Patterson
Any effort by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) to remove David Patterson from the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will be vehemently opposed, the Alliance For Change (AFC) said on Monday.
The statement was issued hours after the PPP/C, at the level of the Committee, attempted to move a motion against Patterson, however, the motion was left hanging after Patterson recused himself from the meeting, and with the Opposition Members of Parliament opting not to take up the chairmanship, there was no one to put the motion to a vote.
“Today’s attempt was of no consequence as no vote was put to the chamber. Patterson had recused himself from the Committee, and in accordance with the Standing Orders, – a member of the Opposition has to assume Chairmanship. All the other Opposition PAC members declined to assume the chairmanship,” the AFC said.
It added that the motion, which was tabled by Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, was bound to fail, even as it pointed to the fact that the Parliamentary Standing Orders provide for the Chairperson of the PAC to come from the Opposition. Further, it said the motion is an attempt to overturn Parliamentary regulations, customs and traditions, and is a dangerous sign of dictatorship, which will not be tolerated.
“Today’s ill-conceived motion by the PPP to remove Patterson was a blatant attempt to dictate the Opposition’s composition of the committee and was doomed for failure. It must be noted that the chairman of the PAC is appointed by the Opposition hence, it is only the Opposition that can remove the Chairman. The Government’s “no confidence” in Patterson is immaterial, of no consequence nor effect,” the AFC said.
The AFC, which forms a major part of the coalition, said it stands resolutely behind Patterson.
The party also alluded to the fact that there was never such a motion passed for the removal of a PAC Chairman. It contended that the decision by the PPP/C to table the motion is an indication that it is attempting to evade scrutiny.
“The AFC repeats its earlier stated position that the PPP is afraid of the level of scrutiny it will come under with Patterson as Chairperson of the PAC. It is clear that efforts to malign Patterson’s good name and character were all aimed at removing him from the PAC and weaken the effectiveness of that most important Parliamentary committee,” the alliance said.
It added: “It is clear that the PPP is preparing to continue its practice of mismanaging the public purse and is doing everything within its power to make a sham of accounting to the people of this country. The AFC will not stand idly by and allow this.”
The party also cautioned the PPP that such actions do not bode well for the country’s struggling democracy.
No reason was given by the Government side for the tabling of the motion.