by Linda Straker
- DeAllie accepted to serve on PAC because there was no opposition elected
- Clement notes in terms of select committees, The Opposition must have representation
- Speaker of the House assured Clement that concerns are noted and promised resolution
Tobias Clement, Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament believes that Senator Christopher DeAllie — who served as the immediate former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), and currently serves as one of the members — should recuse himself from certain discussions and should be removed from the 3-member Parliamentary Committee due to conflict of interest.
“It was told to me exclusively that Senator DeAllie should not have been chairing the Public Accounts Committee. He is sitting as the chair for the Marketing and National Importing Board,” Clement informed the House during the 15 January 2021 sitting. He expressed his view on the slow pace of investigations into financial and other wrongdoings at the MNIB. “And what it was also told to me that if you are sitting on any board, as a Member of Parliament, you cannot be a member of the Public Accounts Committee.” Clement pointed out what he believes are other weaknesses in the appointment of Parliamentary Committees.
“Moreover, Mr Speaker it was also highlighted to me that in terms of the select committees, The Opposition must have representation on, even not all, but most of the committee because after all, it is the people’s business; it’s not one side again,” he said, offering to solve the concerns cordially.
“I will hope that we can address this in the future. Maybe I will meet with both you and the Leader of Government Business to address these issues.” Clement became Leader of the Opposition in April 2020 after crossing the parliamentary floor.
The appointment of Senator DeAllie who represents the business community in the Upper House to chair the PAC was at the time accepted as the “better option” because there was no opposition elected to the House of Representatives following the 2013 and 2018 General Elections.
The elected Leader of the Opposition will automatically chair the PAC, but because no one from a minor political party or opposition was elected, a decision was made to continue the functioning of the PAC.
The PAC refers to the committee in the Parliament that must study public audits by inviting ministers, permanent secretaries, or other ministry officials for questioning, and then issuing a report of their findings to the Parliament.
Michael Pierre who serves as Speaker of the House assured Clement that his concerns are noted and promised a resolution. “The issue raised regarding the committees will be addressed because it was already raised,” he told Clement.