None of the accounting officers who were before the PAC on Monday were at the ministry in 2008

Dear Editor,

The Stabroek News article `Legal Affairs Ministry called to answer for tender irregularities’ in the July 13th edition is misleading as to why the ministry had to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

If the reporter had done some research that person would have recognised that the PAC is currently reviewing all the 2008 public accounts of Guyana hence it was not a case of the ministry being singled out as was portrayed in the article.

Further, the article did not adequately highlight that none of the accounting officers who were before the PAC on Monday were at the Ministry of Legal Affairs in 2008.

The accounting officer for 2008 at the ministry is now Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba.

As someone who is familiar with that ministry having had to conduct business with the state solicitor’s office I know how challenging it is to have to defend and explain decisions made by someone else.

In fact upon the appointment of the current Attorney General, Charles Ramson in February 2009, there was a complete shifting and reshuffling of accounting personnel.

To the detriment of the accounting memory of the ministry both the PAS (F) and PAS (G) were removed prior to the appointment of Collin Croal in April 2009 and the subsequent appointment of Edward Wills.

In 2009 the ministry experienced a new Minister, Permanent Secretary, PAS (G), Accountant and Assistant Accountant while no PAS (F) was appointed.

I commend these two gentlemen for participating in the process to help clarify for the PAC’s concerns.

Yours faithfully
Lisa R.Blackman

Editor’s note:

Stabroek News is well aware that all government departments, ministries and regions are being scrutinized by the PAC in relation to the 2008 Auditor General’s report. Whether the accounting officers were present at the Ministry of Legal Affairs in 2008 is immaterial. It is expected that all accounting officers appearing before the PAC would have apprised themselves fully of the matters to be enquired into.

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