Government and opposition members of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC, clashed today over whether the committee is operating outside of its mandate.
The government members argued that according to Parliamentary Standing Orders, select committees should deliberate on issues referred to it by the House of Representatives.
However, opposition members countered saying that interpretation is a convenient attempt to muzzle the PAAC.
South Trelawny MP, Marissa Dalrymple Philibert, pointed to the standing orders of Parliament that matters must be referred to the PAAC by a minimum of 16 members of the House of Representatives. She, along with other government members, questioned if several of the issues examined at the PAAC fall within the remit of the committee.
She was joined by North East St. Catherine MP, Leslie Campbell. He called for the committee to be adjourned in its entirety until the matter is clarified.
However, North West Manchester MP, Mikael Phillips, described the government’s move as a ploy to stop the committee from sitting.
Committee Chairman, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, also expressed concern about any attempt to limit the power of the PAAC.
At this point, Dr. McNeill attempted to continue with the sitting of the committee. However Mr. Campbell angrily interrupted.
The committee finally agreed to seek legal advice on the issue, and refer it to the House as well as to deliberate the issues at its retreat later this month.