Minister Issues Deadline for Parish Councils to Update Accounts


Parish Councils, islandwide have until October 31 to have their accounts updated and internal statements ready for scrutiny, as failure to do so could result in penalties such as disbursal of funds from central government being ceased.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with special responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, issued this warning while having dialogue with Councillors and officers of the Westmoreland Parish Council at a meeting in Savanna-la-mar on Thursday (July 10).
He said that an effort has been ongoing since January of this year to have Parish Councils bring their accounts up to date, with special permission given for them to employ additional persons to complete the task if necessary. Nevertheless some Councils have still been delinquent in this area, he noted.
“If you do a survey you will find across the local authorities a lot of them are late with their internal statements, not audited statements just normal house accounts. We are insisting that in order for any entity to receive government spending and funding their internal accounts must be up-to-date,” he said.
“Over the years this is something that has plagued the local authorities where their accounts have not been up-to-date. We started out in January we are giving them until the end of October to bring those accounts up-to-date, to employ the extra resources if necessary and bring the accounts up-to-date,” he insisted.
Mr. Montague pointed out that there will be sanctions against Parish Councils that have failed to satisfy this requirement.
“If you cannot give account for people’s money you must not get anymore. Because come the first of November any Council whose statements are not up-to-date are not getting more of government’s money,” he stated, emphasizing that in such cases only salaries will be paid.
The Minister told the Councillors that, being directors in the Parish Councils, it is in their best interest to ensure that the accounts of the Councils are up to date.
Mr. Montague is on the first leg of a tour of Parish Councils across the island, to update Councillors, officers and other community leaders and officials on the progress of the Local Government reform process. He is accompanied by Director General in the Ministry of Local Government, Devon Rowe.

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