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Montserrat Legislative Assembly

The Public Accounts Committee: An Important Arm of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly

One of the functions of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly is to authorize expenditure for a given financial year.  The budget presentation and debate is part of this process, which culminates in the authorization of expenditure. Having authorized expenditure, it is incumbent on the Legislative Assembly to ensure that the funds have been expended in a manner consistent with its authorization. The Public Accounts Committee is set up by the Legislative Assembly to monitor the Public Accounts of the Country. 

In recent years, the Committee has added public hearings as a major part of its work.  This allows for greater transparency as it relates to public funds, and it allows the public to have a better understanding of what is taking place in particular areas of expenditure.  Post-expenditure scrutiny should result in recommend changes and improvements to the Parliament and the Government, in order to prevent past problems from recurring.  The aim is to encourage improvements in the way public resources are managed. 

The Public Accounts Committee (right) and the Clerk (far left) at a Public Hearing

Public inquiries have taken place on the Non-Utilisation of a Government Constructed House on Davy Hill that was Erected for Rehousing a Household from Little Bay, the Outsourcing of Cleaning Services and the State of the Social Security Fund. 

Membership of the Committee changes from time to time and particularly after a General Election.  This notwithstanding, the Committee consists of three members i.e. the Leader of the Opposition and two other Members, who must not be members of the Executive.  The Leader of the Opposition presides over the Public Accounts Committee.