GSD MP Roy Clinton and the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, yesterday clashed over the issue of creating a ‘Public Accounts Committee’ to scrutinise Gibraltar’s public finances.
Exchanges came in the form of Private Members’ motions as Opposition Spokesman for public finances, Mr Clinton, gave notice of a motion calling on the Government to address the Principal Auditors report on Gibraltar’s public accounts.
In addition Mr Clinton asked for a resolution of Parliament for the creation of a Public Accounts Committee.
The role of this committee of MPs would be to ensure that public funds are well spent. Mr Clinton proposes that the committee consist of four members’ two Government ministers and two Opposition members, who shall be nominated at the commencement of every Session, and of whom two shall be a quorum with the Chair to be held by the Opposition.
“The UK has had a Public Accounts Committee since 1861 and as such a committee will have public meetings it can only enhance transparency and accountability in all areas of Gibraltar’s public finances,” Mr Clinton told the Chronicle.
However, Mr Picardo countered later the same day proposing a motion of his own. In the notice to the parliament he states that the Commission on Democratic and Parliamentary Reform reported to Parliament in January 2013.
The commission had unanimously expressed the view that “there is no need to establish a General Purpose Standing Committee nor a Public Accounts Committee, given that Opposition Members have every opportunity to examine Government expenditure in detail as well as debating the report from the Principal Auditor on the Government accounts for every financial year.”
Mr Picardo said he endorsed that view.