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Govt backtracks on promise to present info to National Assembly

first_imgTransparency & accountability…Ministries of Communities, Public Infrastructure among culpritsWhile examining the 2018 Budget estimates, the parliamentary Opposition had demanded information from the Government on several line items. As some of this information was not at hand, several Ministers promised to have it laid in the National Assembly at a later date.Fast forward to 2018 and while some Ministries have presented information to the National Assembly on their spending plans for the New Year, other Ministries were not so transparent. During the Party’s end-of-year press conference, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Chief Whip Gail Teixeira identified the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Communities as the delinquent parties.“We have only received some of the responses… but mostly from some of the questions we asked at the Ministry of the Presidency,” Teixeira told media operatives. “The ones on Infrastructure, we have not received them.”“And remember Local Government (Ministry of Communities) was the one where a lot of questions were raised and we also put blame to the Speaker that this is the most delinquent Ministry (pertaining to) laying over information. We still have not received anything from Local Government and Infrastructure.”Earlier in December, over $6.5 billion was approved for the Ministry of Communities in Budget 2018. Of this sum, $1 billion was allocated for subventions to Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC) and municipalities. However, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan was at the time unable to provide all requested information on the budgetary allocations, prompting his request for leave to present the information within 48 hours.Teixeira had immediately complained to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, about Bulkan’s track record of failing to present information. This had caused Bulkan to complain to the Speaker about attacks on his character, but Dr Scotland scolded the Minister about the need to present information requested to the House.In the case of the Public Infrastructure Ministry, commitments were also given by the senior Minister (David Patterson) to provide certain documents. The parliamentary Opposition had acquiesced to this request on the condition that the information would be presented by the following week.Guyana Times understands that additional information was provided by the Ministry of Social Cohesion and the Ministry of the Presidency. In the case of the Social Cohesion Ministry, it provided clarifications about financing for the International Decade of People of African Descent (IDPAD).The Ministry of the Presidency provided information on its contract employees. This, however, led to more questions than answers as these workers were shown to be earning huge sums for jobs, some of which required no tertiary qualifications.One such instance is whereby contracted cleaners account for a net salary of over $206,000 per month, inclusive of gratuity and vacation allowance. A Typist Clerk is paid over $170,000 per month, inclusive of these benefits as well, while a contracted driver makes a total of $219,000.In the case of Administrative Assistants, their net salary range is $492,000, while an Administrative Officer makes $551,000 and the Administrative Manager makes almost $1.5 million, inclusive of gratuity and vacation allowance.The two highest paid contracted staff within the Ministry are Senior Executive Director of the Public Service College, Retired Colonel Lawrence Paul ($1.9 million); and Director of Training, Calvin Benn ($1.8 million).last_img read more

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