PLP leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
OFFICIAL opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis says there are “a lot of issues” surrounding how public funds have been spent during the Minnis administration’s term in office that need a closer look.
Mr Davis, who is the Public Accounts Committee’s chairman, said he had been waiting for House Speaker Halson Moultrie to rule in a manner that favoured the group.
Asked if he believed the Parliamentary body has sufficient time to properly delve into matters of interest, Mr Davis said: “Time matters not but there are a lot of issues relating to the (expenditure) of public funds and to whom it may have been expended to. This includes the choices in respect to expenditure that we need to look at.
“We intend to work until and before (the next election) and we’ll be able to uncover, and we’ll be able to report on anything that we found curious or otherwise unorthodox and take it from there.”
Mr Davis said he hoped to call a meeting next week with a view to set the PAC’s agenda.
“We have been waiting on that ruling for quite a while,” he also said yesterday. “We propose to put some things together. Hopefully, I’ll call a meeting next week.
“I haven’t fixed a date and time yet for the purpose of setting an agenda going forward.”
The PAC is Parliament’s most powerful committee.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Halson Moultrie, in his first ruling as an independent, overturned a controversial ruling that his predecessor had made that restricted the powers of the PAC.
Former Speaker Dr Kendal Major ruled in 2015 that the PAC could only examine documents that have been tabled in Parliament and could only send for persons, papers or records if a parliamentary resolution permits it to do so.
The consequence of this ruling has been that access to documents sought this session by the opposition-led PAC have been denied.
Previously, Speaker Moultrie said the opposition’s claims that the committee’s hands are tied were “misleading”.
On Wednesday, however, he said his first act as an independent speaker would be to connect the legislative branch to one of its key functions: to provide oversight of the executive.
“(I will) proceed to bring the legislative branch of government that is perceived to have under Article 72 of the constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” he said.
“The legislative branch of the government has basically three functions. It has a representative function; it has a legislative function, and it has an oversight function.
“The oversight function of the legislative branch has been diluted and diminished over the years by principally two areas. Number one, it has been negatively and adversely affected by the decision that was made on the 13 of May 2015 by the speaker of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“And secondly, it is being negatively impacted by the fact that for a series of administrations now, administrations have refused to be answerable to the legislature.”
Calling this “undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Speaker Moultrie said: “It is the ruling of this chair with respect to the decision made by former Speaker Dr the Hon Kendal Major on the scope and powers of the Public Accounts Committee made on the 13 May 2015, it is the ruling of this chair that that decision is now overturned and set aside.”