Miller calls for PAC changes

| 03/09/2013

(CNS): Ezzard Miller has added his voice to that of Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and others that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, Roy McTaggart, a Coalition for Cayman (C4C) member of government, should resign from the committee as a result of his recent temporary stint as finance minister. However, the North Side independent member is finding no more common ground with the UDP leader, as he says Bush should not be on the committee either because most of the reports that the committee will scrutinize in the immediate future are based on problems presided over by Bush, the former finance minister. 

The controversies of who should serve on PAC and who should remain on it began on Swearing in Day, when the PPM selected Bush and three PPM members, as well as McTaggart, who was at the time on the opposition benches, as chair of the critical committee.

Objections over the weight of the committee led to Anthony Eden stepping aside and allowed Winston Connolly, another C4C member who had already agreed to sit in government, to be nominated. Ezzard Miller and East End MLA Arden McLean were both nominated by the opposition leader to sit alongside the two C4C members but the government benches rejected the two independent members in favour of PPM backbenchers, Joey Hew and Al Suckoo.

After McTaggart agreed to join the government shortly after the first day in the Legislative Assembly, the premier indicated that the committee’s line-up may need to change. However, Premier Alden McLaughlin has not yet addressed that issue, and following the swearing in of both McTaggart and Connolly as temporary Cabinet ministers, which triggered calls for the chair to step aside, McLaughlin told CNS he did not feel it was necessary. He said there would be no conflict created by the men serving as ministers because the committee would be focused on the work of the previous administration.

Miller, a former PAC chair, took an aggressive stance when he was in post and tried to force finance chiefs to follow the law or risk prosecution, but he resigned in frustration after his attempts to get the government accounts in order were not supported by the necessary agencies of his fellow committee members. He disagrees with the premier and has called for McTaggart to resign.

Miller said that after the C4C member joined government he should have already stepped down, but since being sworn in as a finance minister his position is even more untenable.

“I would never have allowed myself to be in that position,” hesaid, adding that McTaggart should not have accepted even the position of councillor in the finance ministry, never mind as a temporary minister, if he wanted to continue heading up the committee, the primary objective of which is to scrutinize government finances.

“Both the PPM and the C4C candidates ran on an election promise of integrity and transparency but I doubt that they are doing much of what they promised.”

The North Side representative also noted that the PPM's insistence that the former premier and UDP leader, McKeeva Bush, sit on the committee was inexplicable because of the obvious conflict, given the controversy surrounding his time in office and, in particular, regarding public spending and the management of cash. He noted that, despite the mess now facing government over PAC, he would not be offering to bail government out as long as Bush is on the committee.

“I was nominated and the government benches were all instructed not to vote for myself or Arden McLean, the other independent member who was also nominated, but for the former premier instead, so it is up to the new government to sort this out.”

Bush has also accused the new premier of skewering the committee and loading it with government members. He said the claim that the government members have to look at the expenditure of the past four years so they are not conflicted was a very “poor excuse” and was not relevant to the work of PAC.

“Unfortunately for good governance, the PPM made the same excuse between 2005-2009, when one of their members chaired the PAC and it was dominated by them,” he said. “And accordingly, what happened was that none of their accounts for that time got audited.”

Bush pointed to the difficulties that were then faced regarding the late audits and he auditor general’s position that the missing years’ accounts were irrelevant and a waste of time and public money to audit.

“Even though his predecessor, Dan Duguay, had said there was over $60 million that was unaccounted for in one of the PPM ministries,” the opposition leader recalled.

“There is no excuse for the premier, in the face of what is right and proper for good governance to be maintained, which he swore he would adhere to, in the appointment to and management of the PAC for government  ministers and or councillors,” who, he said, dominated the committee.

Bush also queried if it was the premier’s prerogative to dominate the appointment of committee members, adding that if he had set it that way people would have accused him of being a dictator.

Although the chair has not made any formal announcement about the next open session of PAC or if there are any planned changes to re-balance what is a government dominated committee, the opposition leader confirmed that he had been notified that PAC would be holding a public meeting at the Legislative Assembly on 18 September.

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  1. Bubba Conch says:

    Ezzard is good at blowing his own conch shell. But he can’t hold a note for too long. He has already resigned before from the PAC chair. It is always a game of pretending to get things done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Return of the Mac. ” Glad to see them back. Fair balance.

  3. Anonymous says:

    it appears Ezzard for whatever reason has no supprt for anything he tries, so why not just accept the fact fact that he is not wanted ?

  4. The lone haranguer says:

    Give em he'll Ezzard, you spoke well on the radio today.

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed 17.11, its the best thing he does. He should give up everything else and concentrate on that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately that’s all he is good at, "Giving em he'll", oh and riling up his followers

  5. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only tired of listening to ezzard flap his lips. All I hear is noise and nothing ever gets done.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Alden you have got to swallow your pride and personal differences and fix this. Remove Roy and McKeeva from the PAC, elect Ezzard and Arden and let us get on with the busines of the country.

    • SSM345 says:

      Why elect someone to PAC who removed himself / quit as Chairman in the previous administration because he was not getting his way?

      Ezzard rants all day long, everyday, that's all he seems to do. But for social media (radio and CNS) you would never hear a peep from the guy much like what's his name from West Bay, Captain Whogene.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s time for Ezzard to swallow his pride and resign along with Mr. bush, 

      Seems to me all Ezzard is good at is bickering and riling up the folks with the same level of brain power or less in some cases,

      I have yet to see him do something that actually made sense or was productive to the country in the long term

      • Anonymous says:

        Ezzard constantly runs his mouth – he goes on radio and runs his mount – on TV and runs his mouth – holds meetings and run his mouth. Does he actually do anything substantial?

        Empty Barrels making the most noise springs to mind

      • Wayasay says:

        I hope you are comfortable with your health insurance and pension as well as the labor laws. All were ideas spareheaded by Ezzard………

  7. Anonymous says:

    zzzzzzzzz… I don't care who "reviews" the accounts. Just let the public see them so we can do our own evaluation.