City Hall passes motion to establish Audit Committee
In a bid to build transparency and erase the question marks that still exist as a result of unaccounted-for cash, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown on Tuesday passed a motion which will pave the way for the establishment of an Audit Committee.
The motion was brought to the table during Tuesday’s sitting of an extraordinary statutory meeting. It was moved by Councillor Denroy Tudor and seconded by Councillor Eon Bollers, who touted the need for the Committee.
Tudor said he saw the move as the first step in the right direction, which would guarantee that the Council started on a fresh page to ensure transparency in accounting.
The Committee is expected to provide the necessary oversight and focus on
providing clarity to auditing practices.
“On January 1, 2019, some of us would have become Councillors for the first time, so we want to ensure that with that same fresh air that we would have brought to the Council when we were sworn in, that we can truly start afresh, that we can ensure that this Council is one that ensures that transparency and best practices in terms of accounting will be offered,” Tudor posited.
Bollers explained that the auditing committee was intended to be an oversight committee within the M&CC.
“This oversight committee would ensure the accuracy of all financial records, regulations and transactions or contracts that they are in perfect order or the best order, comparable to both international and local accounting practices and standards,” Bollers explained.
He said that the present Council has taken note of the past controversies the Council was involved in as a result of lack of transparency and did not want to follow those footprints left in the sand.
The Councillor said he was aware that City Hall was plagued by shortage of funds and this committee would ensure that funds were properly managed.
In debating the motion, Councillor Bishram Kuppen argued that he had an issue with the terms of reference of the motion while highlighting that there were still matters to be ironed out. Mayor Ubraj Narine chimed in here, saying that should the motion be passed, the committee members would make a determination on those.
Committee members are expected to soon be appointed on the board.
Two other motions were also passed to aid in promoting transparency at the Council on solid waste and tendering which will also allow for two separate committees to be set up to oversee the sectors.
This will be the first time that tender and solid waste committees are established by the Council.
City Hall has been accused in the past of failing to account for funds and even sole-sourcing contracts to associates. The Tender and Procuring Committee would be responsible for ensuring that the Council gets the best value for money, garnered from residents of the city.
The announcement of these groups comes at a time when City Hall has been accused of lack of transparency.
In fact, it was only late last month that Town Clerk Royston King was fired following a Commission of Inquiry which found that he was guilty of gross misconduct.
Retired Justice Cecil Kennard, who presided over the case, said: “I’m convinced that the Town Clerk and the Mayor are not working in the best interest of the city…To sum it all, most of the woes of the City Council have been due to neglect and mismanagement by the top officers of the Council”.
Justice Kennard, in his report, had stated that the former Town Clerk was guilty of gross misconduct, abuse of office, and misappropriation of funds. He also stated that King performed the duties of Treasurer and other officers of the Council, which were not his designated duties.