Accounting officers from regions seeking to avoid appearing at Public Accounts Committee

Dear Editor,

The nation should be appalled that duly appointed Accounting Officers of the ten Administrative Regions of Guyana are seeking shelter through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communities from appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly. This Committee is where these Accounting Officers are ultimately held accountable for their actions.

Notably, of recent months Regional Executive Officers (REO) and huge delegations have attended meetings of the PAC to give an account of their stewardship and to answer queries, raised by the Auditor General, in his report for the fiscal year ending 31st December 2016. It is no secret to the public that some of these officers have been found to have violated the Procurement Act, the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA), stores regulations and even policies set by the Granger Administration.

The ineptitude and incompetence accompanied by the twin sins of ignorance and arrogance have been on open display in some of these sessions. More recently, the REO of Region Five wrote the Auditor General insinuating that documents would only be made available to the Audit Office when “He” approves it. It must have been a very humbling experience for the Granger Administration where two members of the Executive branch sit as members of the PAC, namely, Minister Volda Lawrence and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Valerie Yearwood. Notably, the Financial Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts, under whose signature these officers are appointed by the powers vested in him by the FMAA, sits as an advisor at the PAC.

Surely this is the type of incestuous relationship that occurs when cronies, party hacks and families are hired for public offices for which they are not qualified and or suited for. It is important to note that every Region before an appearance before the PAC has available to them the services of the Audit Office, the Accountant General and the Financial Secretary to assist with their preparation. It was disclosed that these services have not be utilized by the officers, thus resulting in them being unprepared for their appearances before the PAC.

While it is ultimately up to the majority of the members of the PAC, of which the Government enjoys, to grant this request, I’d like to put on public record my strong disagreement to this request and I further object to Public Officers stymieing the work of the PAC.

This shameful and dismal performance of Public Officers must be dealt with by President Granger and the Ministry of the Presidency because the buck stops at him, they are his representatives.

Yours faithfully,

Bishop Juan A. Edghill

PPP/C MP, Member of the PAC

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