Again we have seen how misguidedly Clement Corlette has stepped out of his authority as Regional Chairman by attempting to usurp the authority vested in the Finance Secretary within the Ministry of Finance to surcharge a public officer.
Unfortunately councillors of the People’s National Congress Reform, PNCR and Alliance for Change, AFC on the RDC sided with his determination supposedly out of not knowing that Corlette or the RDC has no such authority.
The law does not permit the Regional Chairman or councillors to either make a determination or to impose surcharge penalties on any public officer.
The February statutory meeting of the RDC unanimously decided to surcharge the Regional Executive Officer, REO Region 4 for moneys he expended on the annual Christmas social 2008.
In the previous meeting Corlette had strongly condemned the REO for the expenditure which he said did not have his approval as Regional Chairman.
There is a constant fight between Corlette and officers of the region over his strong view that everything should be channelled through him.
The Regional Executive Officer, (REO) who heads the regional administration is permitted to expend sums on any programme or project for which moneys have been appropriated in the national budget specific to that agency. The Christmas social is generally a routine annual budgeted expenditure.
There is no precedent that suggests there was any such law, regulation or modus operandi that required the REO to seek approval from the Regional Chairman to expend money on a Christmas social or any other project or activity.
The Financial Management and Accountability Act, (FMAA) empowers the head of a budgetary agency to supervise and manage the finances of the region utilizing sound judgment in keeping with the financial regulations.
The FMAA, Section 11 (1) states, “Each Head of a budget agency shall manage the affairs of that agency in a manner that promotes the proper use of the public resources for which that Head of a budget agency is responsible.”
Section 11 (4) states, “For the purposes of this section, ‘proper use’ shall mean efficient, effective and ethical action in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Regulations, and the Finance Circulars specifying accepted financial management practice.”
This clearly demonstrates Mr Corlette’s misunderstanding of his role, functions and authority. Some people have argued that his misgivings might be deliberate blunders to challenge the system of local governance that does not favour his power streak. It is obvious he is discontented with the system as demonstrated by his constant imposition of decisions outside his ambit as Regional Chairman. He remains faithful to the introduction of policy directives to surreptitiously change the system to suit his liking.
PPP/C Regional Councillor