Where is the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee?

by Jermaine River,

The absence of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, traditionally held by the Leader of the Opposition, raises concerns about accountability and oversight of government spending in St. Kitts and Nevis. According to the constitution, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, typically the Leader of the Opposition, is tasked with overseeing government spending and calling upon public officers to testify about spending within their ministries or departments.In the past, Mark Brantley, during his tenure as Leader of the Opposition, vehemently criticized the then Prime Minister Denzil Douglas for preventing the establishment and functioning of the Public Accounts Committee. However, when Brantley assumed the role of Chairman during his second stint as Leader of the Opposition in August 2022, there has been a noticeable silence regarding his duties.This silence is particularly concerning as the federation has recently implemented important anti-corruption and open government policies, such as the Freedom of Information Act and the Integrity in Public Life Act. The Public Accounts Committee plays a crucial role in complementing these policies by providing transparency on government spending.The lack of action from Mr. Brantley during Prime Minister Terrance Drew’s administration has raised questions about the effectiveness of oversight and accountability. Some speculate that Mr. Brantley’s disappearance from his oversight role may be due to concerns about losing monthly budgetary support for the Nevis Island Administration.As government spending continues, allegations of corruption linger, and policies impact the SKN CBI program, the absence of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee leaves a void in ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.The question remains: Where are you, Mr. Brantley?

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