CHRAJ: Hold open, transparent parliamentary hearings

 Mr Whittal

Mr Whittal

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has raised concerns about a number of reports parliamentary committee hearings held in-camera, have been dogged by persistent confusion leaving the public dissatisfied with the outcomes.


It foresees issues being raised by the citizenry if the committee goes ahead to conduct the probe in-camera and after.


The Commission said it was important for Parliament to carry the people along by holding open and transparent hearings in future for the citizenry to judge for themselves.


Joseph Whittal, the Commissioner of CHRAJ, urged Parliament’s Finance Committee to rethink its decision in future to hold in-camera hearings.


“Maybe from their perspective they think they are representing the people very well by shielding whatever may come in the open and teleguiding in-camera hearing but I think they ought to wise up.


“I think they are not representing the people very well if they don’t allow the people to participate actively, hearing for themselves the questions they are putting to the people because parliament is under scrutiny and they need to understand that.


“The Finance Committee needs to gauge the mood of the country very carefully and not draw itself into an imbroglio.


“It appears the decision to hold an in-camera investigation into the banking saga should have been held public, it is about transparency and the taxpayers’ money government has committed to use to bail out the affected banks, they deserve to know and participate actively.


“The committee must tread cautiously because the approach does not augur well in the current situation where people are losing confidence in the country’s banking sector both domestically and internationally.


“It is not about the personalities involved, it is not about the institutions, it is about a call by the people for accountability, we deserve to understand what went into the failure, how it happened, what steps should be taken to avert future occurrence of such nature and to breathe confidence back into the sector,” Mr. Whittal quizzed.


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