During the Fall of 2001 members of the Public Accounts Committee expressed concern as to how witnesses should be informed of there rights when appearing before the Committee. After much discussion, the committee met with the Chief Legislative Counsel and what the Committee now refers to as an Opening Statement was created. This Statement is sent to witnesses prior to their appearance before the committee. When witnesses appear before the committee they are asked on the record if they understand their rights and if they have any questions about the statement. Once any/all questions have been answered the committee meeting begins. The statement reads as follows;
Statement to Witness
Nothing that you say to us here today can form the basis nor support a cause of action, either civil or criminal. You are protected from interference, threats or legal proceedings on account of what you may say or do before this Committee. No evidence that you give as a witness before this Committee may be used against you or any other person in any other place without the permission of the House of Assembly except that, if false evidence is given by you under oath or solemn affirmation, you may be charged with perjury. You may be required to give your evidence under oath or solemn affirmation.
You are bound to answer all questions that this Committee sees fit to put to you. If you are unwilling to answer a question, you may, after stating the reason for desiring to be excused from answering, appeal to me as Chair of this Committee as to whether, in the circumstances and for the reason stated, an answer should be given. If you are not excused from answering, you may request that the whole or a part of your evidence be given in camera and not be published and the Committee will give consideration to your request.