BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 16, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has expressed his disappointment in Member of Parliament for Constituency Number two, the Honourable Marcella Liburd, who he said appeared to be “uninformed and ill-prepared” in the execution of her Parliamentary responsibilities, as it relates to her presentation on the Public Accounts Committee Bill, 2017.
During the Friday, August 11 Parliamentary debate, the Opposition MP stated, among other things, that the Public Accounts Committee Act restricts the powers of the committee of having oversight of Government programmes and projects and limits it solely to the report of the Director of Audit.
Prime Minister Harris strongly refuted the opposition member’s claims, while stating it is the case of the former government minister simply being misinformed.
“When the Member for #2 says there are no programmes, the member for #2 clearly has never read a Director of Audit Report,” the prime minister said.
The Finance Minister cited the findings of the Director of Audit’s Report for the year ended December 31, 2010, and 2014, which listed the results of the government’s programmes, and stated “clearly for her to come and to make that sort of presentation is an indication that she hasn’t read it [Director of Audit’s Report].”
The prime minister continued by saying, “If they were to look to the audit report of December 31, 2012, you have in it spelt out on pages 20, 21, 22 and 23, the performance audit done on the School Meals Programme and yet they say we’re not doing those things but they are part of the audit report.”
Dr. Harris said what his Team Unity Administration has done, through the introduction of this legislation, is to allow for the independent auditor to simplify the necessary accounts for the benefit of the Public Accounts Committee.
“He or she will provide you with her findings; you then scrutinize them as we would have done and you will find more than pictorials, you will find more than graphs, you will find more than totals, you will find their analysis, you will find their recommendations and you will find their opinions and that should guide you…they tell you the expenditure, what programmes, they tell you what was spent last year versus the current one under consideration,” Dr. Harris explained, adding that the Director of Audit’s Report is a significant and comprehensive document that covers the accounts of all government departments.