After all the ‘pomp and pageantry’ in Parliament last Friday the issues pertaining to the Auditor General’s Report have still not been addressed.
That’s according to president of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Dr Ronnie Yearwood, who has again called on the Mia Mottley-led administration to come clean and account for some of the damning information revealed in the most recent report.
During debate in Parliament last week several ministers including Senior Minister Kerrie Symmonds and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan Straughn, along with backbencher Marsha Caddle, staunchly defended Government and insisted that the Auditor General’s Report did not point to any wrongdoing.
However, Dr Yearwood told Barbados TODAY that some serious allegations highlighted in the report needed to be explained.
“They are saying that the report does not indicate any malfeasance or any fraud. How do you know that? You haven’t even investigated the issues but you’re claiming it’s all fine when that’s also not necessarily the truth because you have instances in the report, for example the Clearwater Bay issues, Four Seasons, where the Auditor General clearly told the Government not to write off the $120 million on the land and now in an updated audit it is unclear who the property has been conveyed to. We know the property has been conveyed or sold, we don’t know who it has been conveyed to and we don’t know how much it has been sold for,” Dr Yearwood contended.
“That is unheard of. How can a $120 million bit of land literally disappear, because that’s what’s happened. Nobody seems to be able to tell you who now owns the land and how much it was actually sold for, so there’s actually still a lot of issues that the Government is failing to respond to in the Auditor General’s Report.
“…This is still a serious issue that has not been dealt with. Despite the bluster and the shouting and whatever else from the Government, the Auditor General’s Report is still a concern for the DLP and obviously a concern for the people of Barbados,” he added.
Dr Yearwood maintained that Government continued its worrying habit of not accepting responsibility.
He said this was evident even in Government’s handling of other issues including the rollout of the national identification cards.
“Barbadians have a right and remain concerned about the Auditor General’s report and the lack of proper responses from Government and you don’t need to look any further than the ID card project. It is nothing but outrageous that the minister responsible for the project and Government cannot tell taxpayers the current cost of the project and the project’s status.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the project is an issue in the next Auditor General report. Where are the ID cards? Is the computer programme working? What is the delay and importantly, the cost? And taxpayers should ask these questions about all Government projects and programmes. We saw cost overruns on Highway 1 and no one held accountable. We see projects announced but unless we are missing the tender notices, no tenders,” Dr Yearwood charged.
“This is why serious governance reform which I have called for and supported for more than a decade is important. I call on the Government again to accept the recommendations of the Auditor General and give him the resources and protections he needs. We call for open and transparent government for Barbadians and a new DLP is committed to delivering that for Barbadians, for our families.” (RB)