Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, is to meet with the management of the six parish councils cited for breaches of government guidelines by the Auditor General, on Wednesday (February 1).
The six councils are also being requested to take along with them supporting documentation and provide the Minister with the appropriate responses to the incidents identified in the Auditor General’s Annual Report of 2010-2011.
In a statement to the House of Representatives on January 31, Mr. Arscott noted that while he welcomes the report, the Ministry was committed to “leaving no stones unturned in getting to the heart of the anomalies highlighted in the report."
“It strikes a low blow at the very foundation of the chief pillars of the local government reform process, accountability, transparency and fiscal prudence,” Mr. Arscott said.
He also informed that the Ministry will seek to increase the frequency of fixed and random audits; apply sanctions for the non-adherence to proper accountability processes; conduct a general assessment and review of the current monitoring mechanism employed by the ministry; and strengthen and bolster the audit unit within the ministry
“I along with a team from the Ministry will also be embarking on a series of familiarisation visits to the councils in the coming weeks, during which we will use the opportunity to deepen the dialogue on the issues and the way forward in preventing recurrences,” Mr. Arscott stated.
He added that the Lower House will be further updated, based on the review of the responses and the measures and controls that will be put in place to prevent a recurrence.
“Local Government is committed to sustaining that path of reform through responsiveness, accountability, transparency, capacity building and citizens’ participation,” the Local Government Minister noted.
Since the tabling of the Report on January 24, the parish councils were requested to provide a response to the incidents cited in the Report and attend a review meeting with a technical team at the Ministry.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter