PAC Chair rejects criticism

| 24/09/2008

(CNS): Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and PPM member Osbourne Bodden has accused opposition member Rolston Anglin, who also sits on PAC, of “not being truthful” in his accusations in Monday’s Caymanian Compass that the committee is investigating the Auditor General’s report on government’s financial reporting and jumping ahead of other important reports to the PPM’s advantage.

In the article, Anglin suggested that the PPM wanted PAC to put this investigation ahead ofothers because it reflected badly on government “and they want to look at that now so they can blame it on the civil servants”.

Furthermore, he said that when the PPM took office after the May 2005 election and installed Bodden as chairman, the government said the chairmanship of PAC would pass over to the opposition as soon as it had completed reviewing all of the reports concerning the previous government. Anglin indicated that, with Bodden still chairman this close to the next election, the PPM had reneged on their promise.

“Mr Anglin is simply not being truthful to suggest that the committee is rushing ahead with this hearing at the expense of older Auditor General reports,” Bodden said. “This approach was agreed in our admin committee meetings (in his presence) due to its topical importance for the general public.”

He said the committee had decided to call on all chief officers and chief financial officers of all ministries and portfolios to find out where they stood with getting the financials completed and to update the public through these public hearings.

“This is the one sanction that we as Legislators have and Mr Anglin was adamant that we do this. He and I even issued an earlier press release on the matter. It is in everyone’s interest to have this matter resolved and hence we would like to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem,” Bodden said.

“So to say I am surprised by his utterances in today’s paper is an understatement and I am disappointed that a past Chairman of the committee and a long-serving member would bring our actions into disrepute. This is political posturing if ever there was, and there is no need for this with a standing bipartisan committee of the House – such action only dilutes our effectiveness in the long run,” he added.

As for his remaining as chairman, he said this would continue until PAC was through all reports of the previous administration. Bodden maintained that to change over to an opposition chairman at this time would delay the consideration of these reports even further.

Answering a further charge that PAC had not met as often as it could have, the Chairman said, “The committee has met as often as possible and has been diligent in its work. Mr Anglin knows how difficult it is to hold meetings, and as he is often unavailable or late, he should be the last to complain.”

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