Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Public officials urged to gear up for parliamentary committees

Published:Monday | June 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter

Professor Trevor Munroe, executive director of the National Integrity Action, is concerned about the unpreparedness of public administrators who appear before parliamentary oversight committees to answer important questions related to administration.

Last week, Floyd Grindley, general manager at Petrojam, was scolded by members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) for his inability to provide information related to major contracts and standard operating procedures that guide the state-owned oil refinery.

"I believe that the recent performance of the PAAC and the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) have been very, very positive. What is required is for the public officers who appear before these committees to be far better prepared to answer questions from the people's representatives," Professor Munroe told The Gleaner.

He added: "Corrective action needs to be promptly instituted when irregularities are unearthed or discovered."

PAC member Dr Morais Guy said last month that the problem of unprepared public officers forms part of problematic management in the public sector.

He contended: "It doesn't matter which [political] administration. In the public sector, this seems to be the status quo. This sort of laissez-faire approach to managing the affairs of the country cannot be allowed to continue."

Professor Munroe reasoned that the committees should continue to probe and monitor issues related to expenditure and governance.

He continued: "It is of the utmost importance that the process and the convention begun by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding where committees of Parliament are chaired by members of the Opposition be continued across the board."

brian.walker@gleanerjm.com