ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Opposition leader Lester Bird has dismissed accusations by government member Chanlah Codrington that he (Bird) is running the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament as a one-man show.
Codrington has also called for the PAC to be reformed, including provision for a deputy chairman to be appointed, so that the committee’s business can proceed when the chairman is unavailable due to illness or other unavoidable cause.
By convention, the leader of the opposition has always served as PAC chairman.
Speaking with OBSERVER Media yesterday, Bird said Codrington “should be the last one to speak because I have called about three meetings … and we can’t get a quorum because Chanlah Codrington is the only one who will come from the government’s side.”
He claimed that of the four or five PAC meetings he has called since becoming chairman in 2009, most of the government members “have absented themselves.”
As a result, Bird said, “We’ve been arguing as to what constitutes a quorum.”
Regarding Codrington, he alleged that “anything we try to discuss, he reserves his position. So I was amazed to hear him say that I am trying to run the (PAC) like my own one-man show. My function as the chairman is to try and get the information. I call the accountant general and the director of audit, because the director of audit says he has to wait for the information from the accountant general and then he will draft whatever it is and submit it to the Parliament. We have not been able to get it.”
Bird also trashed Codrington’s claim that the chairman has been trying to force onto the PAC’s agenda matters that do not properly belong there.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)