I refer to the letter in the October 2 edition of the Stabroek News under the caption ‘Guyana Securities Council Annual Reports tabled in Parliament for 2007-2011,’ signed by Mr Shaun O Allicok, the GSC’s Legal Counsel/Corporate Secretary. This was in response to my column last Monday entitled ‘Accountability of statutory bodies -Part II.’ I wish to clarify as follows:
1. I do not dispute that GSC has tabled its reports in the National Assembly for the years 2007-2011. What I stated was that several entities are significantly in arrears in terms of financial reporting and audit and I had provided a schedule showing entities that are more than five years in arrears. GSC was not listed as one of them.
2. I referred to the law requiring all statutory bodies to lay their annual reports, including audited financial statements, in the National Assembly not later than 30 June of the following year. I then stated that as of 31 August 2013, the audits of four entities were finalised for 2012 but the related reports were not tabled in the National Assembly. GSC is not one of these four entities.
3. In respect of those statutory bodies that have laid their annual reports and/or audited financial statements in the National Assembly, I stated that there were several cases where multiple years were submitted at the same time. I
provided a schedule in support of my statement. It is in that schedule that GSC was listed as having submitted two years at the same time, ie, 2004-2005 which were laid in the National Assembly on 10 May 2007. I understand how the GSC feels having its name included in the schedule. However, the records of the National Assembly will substantiate this.
4. Having regard to the above, I find it strange that GSC could consider that my article indicated that the GSC has been in default in the timely submission of its annual report to the National Assembly. I may add that any statutory body that has not yet tabled their annual reports, including audited financial statements, for 2012 is in violation of section 80 (4) of the FMA.
5. As regards GSC’s conclusion about irresponsible journalism, I hope it will reconsider its position having regard to the above clarifications. Meanwhile, I leave it to the reader to be the judge as to whether I was indulging in irresponsible journalism in my article.