PLP anger at suspension

HOLDING a press conference to protest the early suspension of Parliament yesterday, members of the opposition claimed the FNM is "frustrating the democratic process" and blocking the discussion of important matters - particularly the Public Accounts Committee report. Opposition leader Perry Christie said by suspending Parliament, the government is attempting to stop or delay the tabling of the report, which analyses the New Providence Road Improvement Project. "There is no doubt in my mind the government is trying to avoid, as long as possible, the second interim report of the Public Accounts Committee, arguably one of the most important committees in our Parliament," said Mr Christie. "We condemn what is happening and urge the government to act responsibly and allow the process to take place." Threatening to release the report in a public venue if not allowed to table the document in the House of Assembly, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Dr Bernard Nottage said the report will provide valuable information to the public on the completion, management, allocation of funds and costs of the road project. He said: "I put the government on notice, that if it is their intention to cause the report of the committee to die before the end of this session of Parliament, we will not allow that to happen. "If we can not do it in this building, we will do it in an open parliament of the people, where we will make the presentation and let the chips lie were they may." Dr Nottage said the road project has had a serious impact on Bahamians and it is the committee's responsibility to make the public aware of what is going on and how their finances are being allocated. West End and Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe said following two sessions of parliament the government has not allowed the opposition to speak out on various issues including debating the Freedom of Information Act and the Disabilities Act, which members of the opposition expected to discuss weeks ago. "The government is using the answering of questions as a form of filibustering and we are taking grave exception to it," Mr Wilchcombe said. Parliament is set to resume March 5.


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