Senator Kevin Herrera Addresses Transparency and Accountability in Public Office

Senator Kevin Herrera Addresses Transparency and Accountability in Public Office

Senator for the private sector, Kevin Herrera, was on The Morning Show today talking about transparency and accountability in public office.  The 60-minute conversation ranged from financial reports to the way we are governed.  One of the points he spoke on was the Joint Public’s Account Committee (JPAC) which he says is way behind on assessing government spending.

Kevin Herrera, Senator, Business Community: “What government does and how it handles our money has significant implications. One of those implications are increased taxation, that’s possible. Another one is increased debt which we will have to pay going forward. And so it’s important I think as a country we understand that and we become engaged in the process. Hold people accountable, your representatives, government, hold them accountable. Now there are certain oversights that are built into the system one of the most significant financial oversight we have would be the Joint Public Accounts Committee but again through the work of the Auditor General who goes in and audits those annual government statements. The committee meets to review that work but remember this we’re not working under normal circumstances. One is the Joint Public Accounts Committee is relatively new. I mean it just began in 2020 when the new administration took place and there was an amendment to the constitution I believe to make that possible. So now there are members from the House of Representatives and there are members from the Senate. We must understand that this was necessary because the then Public Accounts Committee was non functional. They couldn’t meet because they wouldn’t have chorum, the two parties just wouldn’t get together to make it happen or seldom came together to make it happen. So with the Joint Public Accounts Committee now the social partner senators can pretty much lead this process and once you have the chair there who is an opposition member can hold those meetings and can go on even if the current administration does not support that we could go ahead and have it. So that’s why it has been functioning now in terms of meeting on a relatively regular basis. Now there are challenges. People travel, people get sick you know that type of thing so we have faced those types of challenges but as well it’s not a normal circumstance that we’re dealing with because we have all this backlog and so we’re reviewing those reports I think the first one we were reviewing was 2012-2013 and going up to 2014-2015 so it’s that type of backlog that we were dealing with.”

The chair of the Joint Public Accounts Committee is UDP’s Tracy Panton.

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