“Scheduling issues” have prevented the early convening of meetings for several of the parliamentary committees. Speaker Manzoor Nadir in an invited comment explained that there has been some issues with scheduling the timing for members of parliament who were nominated to sit on these committees, “we are looking at convening the meetings of all the committees,” the Speaker said, “so that they can get on with the business of electing the chairpersons and commence their work,” he told this publication.
Last week, chairman designate of the Public Accounts Committee, Member of Parliament David Patterson bemoaned the slothfulness in convening the meetings of the various committees including the PAC. Patterson said he has written to Speaker Nadir suggesting that meeting for the PAC be convened adding that the opposition with its four nominees, holds the quorum and the chairman of that committee comes from the Opposition. Patterson told the media that another suggestion is that Deputy Speaker Lennox Shuman could convene the meeting for the election of the chairman of the PAC so that the committee can start its work.
Speaker Nadir assured that the meetings would be convened “very soon” as he said his office “wants to give everyone an opportunity to be present at the first meeting”. The Speaker explained that among the challenges is ensuring that members of parliament who reside in outlying regions are present as he said he has asked the Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Issacs to explore the possibilities of bringing those MPs a day before or make arrangements for them to remain in the city after the next sitting of the House. The Speaker said too among the other solutions being explored is their virtual attendance of these meetings.
Even as preparations seem to be underway for those meetings, already MP Patterson predicts that the PAC is in for heavy workload, as he explained the last committee met in August 2018 and was still examining the 2016 Auditor General report. The 2019 Auditor General report which will be presented to the Speaker on the 10th December will have to be examined by this committee also. Patterson said once the committee is convened there are a number of issues his party plans to examine, these include the “single sourcing of 44 tractors” by the Guyana Sugar Corporation,” and the distribution of the COVID 19 relief funds.