Public Accounts Committee First Meeting Of 2021

February 11, 2021

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Public Accounts [the PAC] held their first active meeting in 2021.

A spokesperson said, “The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Public Accounts [the PAC] has gotten down to work with its first active meeting in 2021 after the appointment of Members to the Committee by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. Dennis Lister, JP, MP in December last year following the Convening of Parliament.

Public Accounts Committee Bermuda Feb 2021 (1)

“The PAC plays a leading role in Parliamentary oversight on Government spending and activities, which is one of the primary functions of Parliament, in addition to legislating new and amending laws.

“The PAC holds the authority of the House, and its mandate and powers are outlined in the Parliament Act 1957 and the Standing Orders of the House of Assembly. By long-standing custom in Westminster style Parliaments, the PAC Chair is always a leading member of the Opposition, most often the Shadow Minister of Finance.

“The new PAC is comprised of the following Members of Parliament:

  • Hon. N.H. Cole Simons, JP, MP – Chairman
  • Mr. Neville S. Tyrrell, JP, MP
  • Ms. Susan E. Jackson, JP, MP
  • Mr. Dennis J.R. Lister III, MP
  • Mr. Vance M.E. Campbell, JP, MP
  • Mr. Jarion C. Richardson, MP
  • Mr. Jache A. Adams, MP.

“The Auditor General of Bermuda serves as an ex officio member of the Committee and will actively assist and advise the Committee in its deliberations as required by the Members.

“The PAC met in the temporary House Chamber at Veritas Place on Tuesday, 9th February 2021. At the opening of the meeting, Members were presented with some insightful observations on the scrutiny process and the work of oversight committees by Baroness Kay Andrews of the UK Parliament.

“Baroness Andrews has enjoyed a long and accomplished career in the political arena, and she currently serves as the Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chair of Committees in the House of Lords. She has recently been in Bermuda on an extended stay with family residing here, and she paid a courtesy visit to the House of Assembly and met with Speaker Lister, Senate President Joan Dillas-Wright, The Clerk to the Legislature Shernette Wolffe and MP’s Cole Simons and Neville Tyrrell in late January. The Speaker and Chairman Simons invited her to present some remarks at the PAC Meeting, which had just been scheduled.

Public Accounts Committee Bermuda Feb 2021 (2)

“PAC Members made note of Baroness Andrews’ emphasis on the attributes of a strong and effective PAC, and had several questions on her experiences of parliamentary scrutiny. The Baroness highlighted the UK House of Commons PAC’s current focus on the British Government’s emergency expenditures relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, including procurement issues surrounding Covid healthcare equipment and supplies.

“In addition to the remarks by Baroness Andrews, the PAC had several other items on their agenda, including a briefing by the Chair on the Committee’s mandate, its practice and procedures and the conduct of meetings. Members agreed to review the Auditor General’s latest Annual Report just recently tabled in the House for matters that the Committee could consider examining at future meetings.

“The Chair and Members also discussed the scheduling of meetings and several areas of Government expenditure and programmes which they will work to agree on for further investigation and report to the House going forward. The Committee will also meet with the Auditor General so that she can directly apprise them on the Auditor’s role in the parliamentary oversight process and the working relationship between the PAC and the Auditor General.

“Chairman Simons and Members were excited to begin their work and look forward to being a strong and effective team in achieving the objectives that they set for the PAC.”

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