Upset that state corporations are draining the Treasury and keen to stamp out accounting irregularities and corruption, the Prime Minister was expected to read the ‘riot act’ on spending, hiring and book-keeping in a closed-door meeting with senior civil servants and other officials holding the purse strings of public agencies.
Flanked by Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn, Prime Minister Mottley chaired the meeting of nearly 200 Permanent Secretaries, managers and financial controllers at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC).
“It is an internal meeting. It is not like the normal meeting . . . I can’t comment,” Mottley told Barbados TODAY at the end of the talks.
The attendance list read like a who’s who’s in Government and parastatal bodies – chief executive officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) William Billy Griffith; chief executive officer of the Barbados Port Inc (BPI) David Jean-Marie; Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, the Creative Economy and Sports, Mark Cummins; and board member of the newly-established National Cruise Development Commission, Senator Lisa Cummins, among others.
Facing a mounting public debt, a huge deficit left over from the previous administration and persistent audit reports highlighting waste, fraud and abuse with the public purse, Mottley had said she would issue fresh instructions on financial accountability and governance to the assembly of officials.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is negotiating a balance of payments bailout with the administration, has zeroed in on the high cost of running agencies that provide a vast array public services and goods to Barbadians.
The IMF has appeared to back the Prime Minister’s three-phase plan to cut spending by ridding the state of some entities, cutting jobs and slashing transfers of money from central government, among other measures. firstname.lastname@example.org