Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2021. 8:31 am CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The Auditor-General Dorothy Bradley and Central Bank Governor Joy Grant should be replaced upon the natural expiration of their contracts, according to the joint union team negotiating cost-cutting measures with the Government of Belize (GOB).
The joint union team made up of the Nаtіоnаl Тrаdе Unіоn Соngrеѕѕ оf Веlіzе (NТUСВ), Рublіс Ѕеrvісе Unіоn (РЅU), Веlіzе Nаtіоnаl Теасhеrѕ Unіоn (ВNТU) аnd Аѕѕосіаtіоn оf Рublіс Ѕеrvісе Ѕеnіоr Маnаgеrѕ (АРЅЅМ) said that the posts need to be held by people who are competent and able to perform the vital oversight functions of those posts.
PSU Vice President Dean Flowers took issue with the level of reporting coming from the Auditor General’s office, questioning why there haven’t been audit reports coming from ministries like the Lands and Surveys Department, which has been categorized as a “hotbed of corruption” by the former Prime Minister. He also stressed that various staff members from the treasury department have been caught over the years making out pension payments to people who have died and that there are numerous “ghost employees” on the government payroll.
“You have dead people not only on government pension but dead people collecting salaries every fifteenth and ending,” Flowers said.
He noted that the Auditor General should be the one auditing the Belize Tax service to ensure that there are no leakages that would cause the government to lose revenue; however, that has not been done.
“When last have you seen an auditor general’s report of the tax department we are $67 million in arrears of which I believe $167 million of it are current arrears the rest is penalties and interest,” Flowers added. “I am saying, let’s get serious. You’ve held the position, you’ve failed, you’ve failed miserably in my humble opinion and so the joint unions have decided that that’s time for the Auditor General to go.”
Flowers’ words were no kinder to Grant’s position, as he stressed that she was appointed out of “cronyism” and lacked the ability to properly carry out her role. Flowers said that the unions have no confidence in Grant’s experience and competence to make fiscal and monetary policies for the country and that if the Government is serious about making the kind of reform that will see Belize in a better financial position in the future, then Grant needs to go.
The demand that the Auditor General and Central Bank governor be replaced forms a part of the good governance reforms that the unions presented to GOB as part of its counter proposal for cost-cutting measures.
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