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Parliament shut down as staff withdraw services

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament was a short while ago shut down in the midst of a meeting with senior officials of Petrojam and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, as Parliamentary staff have been ordered to withdraw their services.

The staff, including Hansard recorders withdrew following the receipt of a memorandum from House Leader Karl Samuda which stated that the staff should immediately discontinue services because the sitting was convened without the agreement of a majority of members.

Committee chairman Mark Golding says this is yet another attempt to cripple the oversight function of the committee and that the House Leader has no authority to so instruct the Clerk or staff.

He said the move is disrespectful to the Auditor General and her staff, and the other senior civil servants appearing before the committee, and committee members. He said any such instructions to staff must come from the House Speaker.

Golding told journalists a short while ago that “this is a shocking development” and that Samuda was wrong in attempting to subvert and put an end to the proceedings that were already over an hour underway.

Government members did not show up at this morning’s meeting. Three members sent apologies for absence.

Alphea Saunders

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