- Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has ordered an immediate audit of the Hanover Parish Council.
- The Minister said members of the council must understand that they are accountable to the people.
- Mr. McKenzie also said the Ministry will be looking at the operations of the administrative staff.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has ordered an immediate audit of the Hanover Parish Council.
“The Ministry of Local Government, with immediate effect, will take full control of all documents at the Hanover Parish Council,” the Minister said.
Addressing a special meeting of the Council on May 26, Mr. McKenzie said he is concerned that even after two reports from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG), the municipal body is yet to act on any of the recommendations.
Mr. McKenzie said he has already advised the Mayor and the Secretary Manager of the Hanover Parish Council that the team from the Ministry should be given uncompromising support throughout its investigation, which is expected to last for three weeks.
The Minister said members of the council must understand that they are accountable to the people.
“There must be checks and balances. You were not elected by the people to behave in a cavalier fashion and where you are answerable to no one. You are accountable to me and the Ministry of Local Government and it simply will not be business as usual,” he told the members.
He added that a team of senior officials from the Ministry, including the Chief Internal Auditor and Procurement Officer, will be in charge of the probe and that the team will also be investigating the issue of council-owned lands being sold to persons without approval from the Ministry.
The Hanover Parish Council has been under scrutiny ever since the OCG cited acts of irregularity in 2015, which led to the resignation of one senior official.
And, just a few weeks ago, the OCG released another report charging that two Councillors recommended contracts valued at millions of dollars to family members and political affiliates.
Mr. McKenzie also said the Ministry will be looking at the operations of the administrative staff.
The Minister said he wants to make it abundantly clear that this is not a political witch-hunt, but is something that has to be done in the interest of transparency and accountability.