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Line-up of Public Accounts Committee named before planned addition of Senators

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Posted: Friday, February 5, 2021. 2:00 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Albert area representative Tracy Taegar-Panton of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has been named Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, as the groundwork was laid today for its expansion to a joint Committee of the National Assembly.

Taegar-Panton is joined by colleague Hugo Patt, but is currently outnumbered by the Government members, including former Chairman Julius Espat; Kareem Musa, Kevin Bernard and Dolores Balderamos-Garcia. The addition of three Senators from the social partners tips the balance.

The new chairman says she will direct the committee not to “witch-hunt” but to form recommendations where necessary while remaining open to GOB’s budgetary proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. While there is some unfinished business to which the Committee must attend, her focus will be on making meaningful changes.

Predecessor Espat, meanwhile, in his own statement, gave thanks to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for following up on this long-time promise under its plank of governance reform. “This is vital for oversight and good governance. We are also ensuring that all hearings of the Public Accounts Committee be held in public, so as to ensure transparency,” he further explained.

Prime Minister John Briceño moved the motion as an amendment of the House’s Standing Orders, citing the need to remove gridlock in the Committee’s workings and make it more effective in its doings. The motion was combined with plans to allow for virtual meetings of the House “in the interest of public health, public safety, national security or public emergency.”

 The motion is before the relevant Committee for examination, consideration and report, and was not moved through all its stages today.

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