Chevon Campbell reports

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, chastised the opposition of failing to provide proper parliamentary oversight for various committees in previous parliamentary terms.

His rebuke came after, the Opposition raised concerns that a long-standing convention which saw the opposition chairing certain sessional committees, would be breached.

However, the Prime Minister says the convention would remain in place for two key committees, namely the Public Accounts Committee, PAC, and the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC.

Speaking in the House of Representatives last evening, he, however, cited what he saw as a poor track record of properly holding sittings for other such committees by the Opposition.

The Leader of Opposition Business, Phillip Paulwell, immediately raised an objection upon hearing that the Internal and External Affairs Committee would be chaired by members of the government benches.

Mr. Paulwell also objected to members of the executive sitting on sessional committees due to a conflict of interest.

Leader of Government Business, Edmund Bartlett, acceded to removing the said ministers from the committee but stated the lack of efficiency in how committee meetings were previously being held as reasons for the change in convention.

But, South St. Catherine MP, Fitz Jackson, resisted that suggestion and called the move a retrograde step by the Prime Minister.

In response Prime Minister Holness stated that the PAC and PAAC would remain under the chairmanship of the Opposition.

He says the convention put in place by Prime Minister Bruce Golding was a noble gesture.

However, he questioned the allocation of time to the various committees by the opposition.

The Prime Minister also rebuked the Opposition for what he sees as their hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness says the backbenchers in parliament will work in the new Parliament.

He says during this parliamentary term, all statutory agency reports will be sent to the proper committee for review.

He says oversight is the responsibility of all Parliamentarians not just the Opposition.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

He was speaking in the House of Representatives last evening.