Rapid assessment report of State agencies handed over to President

The high-level rapid assessment team, which over the past week has been assessing 19 State agencies, has handed over its report to President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday.

Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-Law Chris Ram

This newspaper reported on Tuesday that the team discovered gross mismanagement of financial resources at the various State entities they reviewed and were expected to present their report by Wednesday.
This was revealed by a source, who indicated that the review is completed and the team is in the process of compiling its report.
President Ali appointed the team days after being sworn in as President and tasked them with the responsibility of reviewing operations of Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Guyana Gold Board (GGB), the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), the Lotto Fund, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), the Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil), the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC), the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

Certified Public Accountant Nigel Hinds

The team, comprising of Certified Public Accountant, Nigel Hinds; Chartered Accountant and attorney-at-law, Chris Ram; Financial Consultant, Sasenarine Singh and Public Communications Consultant, Kit Nascimento, reviewed the operations, policies and programmes of the Department of Public Information (DPI), the National Communications Network Incorporated (NCN) and the Guyana National Newspaper Limited (Guyana Chronicle) as well as the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA).
The source told Guyana Times that almost all of the agencies reviewed were being financially mismanaged.
This newspaper understands that one of the reasons President Ali commissioned the review is to get a better understanding of the agencies’ functioning over the past five years while also looking at the management styles of those in charge. It is believed that there will be major shakeups when the report is tabled owing to the fact that many of the Board members for the State agencies are inserting themselves as managers.

Public Communications Consultant Kit Nascimento

Ultimately, the team was tasked with establishing whether the agencies have the financial capabilities to pay salaries for August, to ensure a seamless transition from the old Board to new, and to protect the assets of the agencies.

It was reported that there are several recommendations for each of the assessed agency. Among those recommendations is the fact that every State Board ought to be recalibrated to reflect the true needs of that agency.
It was explained that there is no adequate separation of functions from the Board and Administration and that is the major contributing factor to the current fiscal state of the agencies.

Financial Consultant Sasenarine Singh

After the APNU/AFC coalition had won the 2015 National Elections by a razor-thin majority, it had embarked on a process that saw many senior public officials being terminated on the basis of their perceived political allegiance.
However, senior officials of the PPP/C have repeatedly assured that they will not embark on this route once the party settles in to office.
The APNU/AFC had described the formation of the team as a “PPP Witch Hunt Squad.” Notably, however, some of the same individuals – Hinds, Ram – were part of an audit team for the APNU/AFC following the 2015 elections.