21 February, 2008


Proposed New Public Accounts Committee for the Falkland Islands. We all know by now that we do not have a functioning PAC in Anguilla. There is no one in Anguilla exposing maladministration in the use of public funds. There is no one even looking at the way that the different government departments are spending public funds. Except the internal audit department and the external auditor. The internal auditors are professional civil servants just doing a job. No offence intended, I have no idea who they are and even less what they do. They do not report to us, so how can we know? The external auditor is no doubt very professional, but he would be mainly concerned to ensure that the government spenders look good. He would make suggestions for improvements. His concerns would not include exposing mis-spending when he finds it. Nobody wants to rock the boat!

So, it was with great interest that I read how the Falkland Islanders are planning to set up their PAC in their proposed new Constitution. Their discussions include some of the features that various Anguillians said they wanted to see in any new Anguilla Constitution. In particular, they plan to appoint three members of the public to sit on the committee, with two members of the Assembly, making a PAC of five persons. A majority will be from the public! Additionally, they plan to bring in experts to give advice in their own particular area of skill. They are considering giving this new PAC authority to scrutinize companies with government-sanctioned monopolies.

That would include in Anguilla such entities as ANGLEC, the new Water Authority when it comes on stream, and the Health Authority of Anguilla. These are all desperately in need of supervision of how they spend public monies. We already know we do not have a functioning health service in Anguilla. And, now the rumour is that we are about to lose the initiative to develop a Health Fund. The whole kit and caboodle of the Anguilla health sector appears to be collapsing. A lot of exposing needs to go on. No one in Anguilla is willing to take on the job.

The Falkland Islanders say they are going to look to see how the PAC functions in other overseas territories.

I only hope they do not take their lead from Anguilla.

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