Turnquest responds to PAC

Turnquest responds to PAC
From left: Leader of the Opposition, Philip Brave Davis and Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Turnquest.

“Government has nothing to hide,” said Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest who on Thursday responded to the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) summons of Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Education officials.

The committee, headed by Opposition Leader Phillip Davis, met Wednesday and reported that they awaited word from the MOF on the question of the deficit figures and from the Central Bank.

“The Central Bank responded but the Finance Ministry claims that the committee has no jurisdiction to review the matter,” Davis said in a statement.

The committee also had asked for the Ministry of Education (MOE) to come and explain the contract for the building repairs to the Stephen Dillet Primary School.

According to Davis, the MOE ignored the request and subsequently a summons has been issued.

When questioned by members of the media on these matters yesterday, Turnquest said, the PAC is at liberty to request finances but he said, there is a procedure to do so.

“We had a debate about this, he (Davis) knows the rules.

“It’s interesting that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. We have no difficulty with requests for information.”

Turnquest added that there was nothing that the MOF was “concerned” about in regards to how the country’s finances have been managed since coming into office.

Meanwhile the PAC also revealed that they plan to open an investigation into the fact that the Government spent reportedly some $1.7 billion in the first six months of the its first fiscal budget – $500 million more than the same period during the previous year.

From our election and appointment until now we have reported to the Bahamian people clearly and accurately all of the financial statistics of the country,” Turnquest said.

“I have done it already at least three times answering directly questions that have been raised directly by the opposition I don’t know what else they want from us… we have no difficulty appearing before the committee if the process falls within the Financial Administration Audit Act.”

Turnquest added that unlike the Opposition the current administration will not hide.

“This is the people’s money and we have a responsibility to be transparent with the Bahamian people and the institutions of parliament, we will live up to our responsibility.”