The first hearing of the new Public Accounts Committee has been deferred for one week to allow Ministry of Finance staff to complete their work on the PACT government’s inaugural strategic policy statement, PAC chairman Roy McTaggart has said.
McTaggart, speaking with the Cayman Compass on Tuesday, said the committee had planned its first hearing for tomorrow, but that session has been postponed.
The Opposition leader said the ministry staff needed the time to complete the strategic policy statement “that is to be tabled in Parliament in the coming weeks”.
The hearing was set to look into the auditor general’s report entitled ‘Improving Financial Accountability and Transparency, Financial Management and Reporting‘.
“The report that we will be examining is the second of three reports that the auditor general is doing around the subject of financial accountability and transparency,” he said.
The report found that the Progressives-led government and wider public sector had “significantly improved financial management and reporting. Of the 18 recommendations aimed at improving financial management and reporting, that we made in our 2013 report, five had been fully implemented and six partly implemented,” it stated.
It added that financial management had improved significantly since 2013 and can be further strengthened.
“Our assessment of the Government’s actual financial performance against the principles for responsible financial management for the five years 2014–15 to 2019 shows that core government has performed well against most of the principles,” the report stated.
Potential conflict of interests
McTaggart was the finance minister at the time of the report and, as such, he acknowledged that poses a conflict for him in his current role as chairman.
However, he said that will not be an issue.
“I have had discussions with the auditor general regarding the conflicts of interests that I would clearly have in relation to this report and we have agreed that while I will chair the meeting as customary, I will not participate in any questioning of witnesses in regards to this report and the third and final one that is to come,” McTaggart said.
He added that these two reports are likely be the only reports out of the auditor general, “where I can see I would be conflicted in any way from fully participating in any public hearings or other meetings conducted by the Public Accounts Committee,” McTaggart added.
The PAC hearing has been rescheduled for 10am on 16 June.