Phillips warns against changing Opposition-chaired parliamentary committees
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has warned that the Andrew Holness-led administration should tread carefully in trying to change the status quo allowing Opposition members to chair some parliamentary committees.
Asked how he would respond to a move by the Government to make changes to the chairmanship of committees usually headed by Opposition members, Phillips said that would lead to an impasse in the legislature.
However, he indicated that the Government and the Opposition are in dialogue to resolve the issue.
He said the failure to appoint opposition members of parliament to chair these committees would be construed as a retrograde step.
"If you want the Parliament to exercise its role as a watchdog of government, it really requires the committees to work and be chaired by the opposition," Phillips declared Thursday, at a People’s National Party press conference held at the party's headquarters, Old Hope Road, St Andrew.
He blamed the Government for “holding up the work of the country” by failing to appoint the committees with opposition chairpersons.
Under the Bruce Golding Administration of 2007, the then Prime Minister made changes to the structure of sessional select committees of Parliament, naming Opposition members to chair them.
The committees chaired by members of the Parliamentary Opposition were Public Administration and Appropriations, Public Accounts, Internal and External Affairs, Infrastructure and Physical Development, Human Resources and Social Development and Economy and Production.