03 August, 2010
Public Accounts Committee (PAC): We are considering the lack of accountability and transparency in the government of
Anguilla. We are looking at the three essential headings of integrity, accountability and transparency. We have finished with integrity, and now we are dealing with accountability. We have in the last post dealt with the first essential instrument for guaranteeing accountability, the Ombudsman. The second essential institution is a functioning Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Assembly.
The PAC is perhaps the most effective mechanism designed by our Constitutions to enable Members of the Legislature to question and investigate the manner in which public officers have spent the monies voted by the Legislature. Yet, we do not use it. In most of our territories no PAC has ever been appointed, far less functioned as it should.
We all know the reasons for this relaxed state of affairs. Those presently in government have no interest in setting up a tribunal that will expose the wrongdoings that they may have been engaged in. Those who are in opposition now have no desire to erect walls and boundaries that will limit their ability, when their turn comes to take power, to misuse public funds. Similarly, the British Governor wants to keep everyone as quiet and as calm as possible, so that he can go back to
at the end of his term to receive his pats on the back and other accolades. He has no interest in ruining his reputation by having an effective PAC reviewing unauthorised expenditures made by his Executive Council and public service. None of the institutions of government in London Anguilla have any interest in making sure that the PAC functions.
It is time for our legislatures to appoint and to work the Public Accounts Committees in the way that they are intended to work.