BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 16, 2017 The debate on the Public Accounts Committee came to an end on Friday (August 11) following an excellent and powerful rebuttal by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris on the said bill.
In his presentation, Prime Minister Harris said he was exposing the hypocrisy of the Denzil Douglas-led Opposition Labour Party, which held the levers of government for 20 years and had nothing to show as output from the Public Accounts Committee.
“Twenty years of dormancy occurred because the Denzil Douglas Administration had a disdain for public scrutiny and accountability,” Dr. Harris stated. “How else can you explain that the ex-leader of government could sit by for 20 years and do nothing for the PAC (Public Accounts Committee); no budget support; no meeting with the PAC on which he held a majority; no public urging of PAC for action; no support for PAC.”
Prime Minister Harris said with such a sordid history by the Denzil Douglas regime, the opposition leader was not a good spokesperson on the Public Accounts Committee and was hypocritical to be chastising his Team Unity Administration.
“They did nothing for 20 years and today rather than congratulate us, Team Unity, on a superb job, they who did nothing are choosing to criticize,” the honourable prime minister continued.
The prime minister said his Team Unity Government was consecrating the future of public accountability because it generally believed it is the right thing to find homegrown solutions to our country’s problems, 34 years after Independence.
He also dismissed as “ignorance” the lame excuses advanced by the Douglas-led Opposition Labour Party for not supporting “a progressive and landmark legislation on accountability.”
Dr. Harris, who is also the Minister of Finance, exposed the record of fiscal mismanagement of the former Douglas regime, which led the country to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the second highest debt to GDP ratio in the world, relegating the country to a failed state status.
Prime Minister Harris said the irregular fiscal management of the former administration resulted in $82.3 million dollars of unauthorized expenditure in 2014, which he had to settle in 2015, and in 2016, the Team Unity Administration paid off the remaining $117 million debt left by IMF.