Moses Kirkconnell held his first meeting as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, less than 24 hours after being appointed to the role.
Legislators passed a motion, moved by Premier McKeeva Bush, to appoint Mr. Kirkconnell as chairman of the committee that reviews audits of public spending at Wednesday’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Kirkconnell, the People’s Progressive Movement representative in the Sister Islands, takes over as chairman from North Side independent MLA Ezzard Miller, who resigned in March citing the repeated absences at meetings of committee members as one of the reasons for his decision to step down.
The former Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts will join the Public Accounts Committee as a new member. Mr. Kirkconnell was already a member of the committee.
Mr. Bush told the Legislative Assembly that Mr. Kirkconnell and Mr. Tibbetts had been nominated by the Opposition and the government had accepted those recommendations.
Mr. Kirkconnell told the Caymanian Compass that Thursday morning’s meeting entailed receiving an update from Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick on the current audit report situation, as well as discussions on how the committee would move forward.
“I think that the Public Accounts Committee is an extremely important committee. It’s the committee that watches after the people’s money … I asked for a meeting as quickly as possible and the members agreed to it,” he said.
He said he and the members would work towards dealing with the issues of attendance at the meetings that so frustrated Mr. Miller when he was chairman.
“Some of the other members have a lot of commitments and it has been difficult for them to be involved with the meetings. We have to understand how we can work around that to ensure we have a quorum,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.
The Public Accounts Committee has five members and needs a quorum of three, including the chairman, to meet. As well as Mr. Kirkconnell and Mr. Tibbetts, the committee consists of the United Democratic Party’s Ellio Solomon, Cline Glidden and Dwayne Seymour. Mr. Kirkconnell said Mr. Miller had done “an excellent job as far as the time and effort he put in to the Public Accounts Committee”.
Thursday’s meeting was not a public one, but Mr. Kirkconnell said he intended that the work of the committee would continue to be transparent.
“The more information we can give the public, the better it is,” the new chairman said.
He said he hoped there could be monthly Public Accounts Committee meetings. “I would hope to have a PAC meeting once a month, based on the workload I’ve seen over the previous two years [as a member of the PAC].