Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Davendranath Tancoo slammed officials from the Ministry of Finance for their failure to submit responses to questions from his committee on the National Lotteries and Controls Board (NLCB).
Speaking during a virtual sitting of the PAC on Wednesday, Tancoo said he was disturbed the ministry did not respond to the committee's questions on the board's affairs and operations. He described the ministry's lack of communication as "disrespectful," saying the committee was placed at a disadvantage without feedback from the ministry.
The absence of these responses led to an early adjournment of the sitting, after only 35 minutes.
"I think it is very unfortunate. More than that, I feel extremely disrespected," he said. "I feel the Ministry of Finance has disrespected the PAC by not having either provided the information – I understand you had some constraints but (those) constraints could have been indicated to the committee at a previous point in time."
The PAC had sent questions about to whether recommendations made in its 25th report had been implemented. Tancoo said the committee had asked for the information since December 4 on reports that should have been available to the ministry since 2019.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance Michelle Durham-Kissoon apologised for the delay and said the ministry was still in deliberations over the completed responses.
She said while she was mindful of the inconvenience, she and her colleagues still attended the sitting to answer the committee's questions.
"The expectation was that we would have been able to submit the completed responses. The deliberations with the Parliament staff last evening might have been too late to reschedule or put mitigation measures in place.
"As the business day drew to a close, it occurred to us that we might not have been able to comply with the submission of the completed responses."
Durham-Kissoon also said the ministry's responses were close to completion and told the committee they would be sent by Friday.
Tancoo said the committee would sit again on January 27.