Jamaica Gleaner / Newly minted chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Mark Golding, at his first sitting on Friday, shut down Everald Warmington for the entire proceedings, telling him that he was in breach of the Standing Orders by being present at the meeting.
Golding told the meeting that it would be useful to have the participation of the committee clerk, especially on matters arising from the minutes, and during the discussions, he included the clerk.
“Matters arising. Madam Clerk, matters arising from the minutes. Any issue that you wish to raise?” Golding asked.
Always quick to give lessons on the Standing Orders, Warmington said that the clerk was not allowed to participate in the meetings.
“You asked the clerk of the committee if there were any matters arising. It’s not up to her. She doesn’t participate in the discussion. Matters arising is for the members. She takes notes, so you don’t ask her about matters arising,” said Warmington.
“I will ask who I wish to participate in the …” said Golding before Warmington cut him off.
“No, no, no. The rules. The rules are, the staff of Parliament only assist the committee. They do not participate,” Warmington insisted.
“It’s quite useful sometimes for this … .” Golding said, before Warmington cut him off again.
Locking heads, the chairman and Warmington went at it before Warmington drew for the Standing Orders, telling him: “The Standing Orders are clear. We follow the Standing Orders letter for letter.”
Golding then used the same Standing Orders to shut down Warmington.
“Doesn’t the Standing Orders say that minister shouldn’t be part of this committee?” he asked of Warmington, who is the state minister with responsibility for works.
Taken aback, Warmington lost his voice momentarily before losing it for the next two hours.
“Look nuh. Notwithstanding sections so and so. And I have been asking for years for that clause to be removed because every government has breached the stuff,” said Warmington, justifying his presence.
According to him, the provisions in the Standing Orders served no purpose as every government breached them. Bunting, seizing the opportunity, told Warmington that since he knew that the Standing Orders so well, and knew he should not be there, he should take himself out of the meeting.