(PRESS RELEASE) – From 21-23 January 2020, 31 Chairs, Members and Clerks of Public Accounts Committees from 11 Commonwealth countries across the region met to discuss their role in the scrutiny and oversight of public finances.
This workshop was led by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (UK Branch) and hosted by the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Delegates exchanged knowledge, learning and good practice with their counterparts from across the Caribbean and explored opportunities and challenges in a regional context. During the three-day workshop, key speakers included:
The Hon. Bridgid Annisette-George MP, Speaker of the House and Chair, Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
Senator Wade Mark, Chair of Public Accounts (Enterprises) Committee, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie MP, Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
Ms. Lorelly Pujadas, Auditor General, Trinidad and Tobago;
Hon. Julius Espat, Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Belize;
Senator Christopher DeAllie, Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Grenada;
Hon. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin JP MP, Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Bermuda;
Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn MP, Member, Public Accounts Committee, Jamaica;
Mr. David Christopherson, Former Chair and Member, Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Canada;
Nigel Mills MP and Layla Moran MP, Former Members, Public Accounts Committee, UK Parliament;
Technical experts from the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank sharing insight into the role of PACs in scrutinising disaster response and budgeting for environmental resilience;
A technical expert from the Caribbean Development Bank sharing insight into gender responsive financial scrutiny
The three-day workshop was part of a wider project delivered by CPA UK as part of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D). This programme serves as a platform to enable Commonwealth democracies to share best practice in promoting good governance. Previous regional CAPAC workshops have been held in Kenya for African legislatures (September 2018 – CPA UK-funded), Fiji for Pacific legislatures (February 2019) and in Malaysia for Asian legislatures (August 2019). A final pan-Commonwealth workshop will be held in the UK in March 2020.
Keiba Jacob, Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, commented:
‘This workshop was very fruitful. It gave PAC Chairs the opportunity to reflect on the work done and gain exposure to innovative ways to take Committee work forward. Clerks from Parliaments across the region were able to broaden their understanding of each other’s methods and procedures for preparing clear and analytically sound inquiries. The workshop also proved to be an excellent networking opportunity to create long term connections with my regional colleagues’.
Nigel Mills MP, UK Member of Parliament and CPA UK Delegation Leader, commented:
‘Throughout this intense and stimulating workshop, delegates worked collaboratively on themes such as achieving cross-party consensus, communication and outreach, and effectively engaging with witnesses. Delegates also participated in practical exercises to put their shared learning into practice.
As a Member of the UK Parliament, this was a unique opportunity for me to engage in meaningful discussions with colleagues across the Caribbean region and to learn from their expertise, as well as discussing the challenges PACs in the region face and the ways these are being met.’