Ministry Breaking the Law!
Submitted by Paula Sealy
According to Section 42 of the Charities Act mandatory audited financial statements are required of charitable organisations. According to subsection 6 any person who fails to do so is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1000 or imprisonment for 6 months and an additional fine of $100 for every day during which the offence continues after a conviction is first obtained.
This seems reasonable enough.
What seems unreasonable in comparison is how the boards of public secondary schools are getting away with murder where the public purse is concerned. According to section 10 of the Education Regulations the Board shall, not later than 30th September in each year, or such later date as the Minister approves cause its accounts for the preceding financial year to be audited, and prepared for that financial year, in such manner as the Minister approves.
There is no mention of any fine or imprisonment at all.
The last published report of the Auditor General revealed only two public secondary schools filed statements for the financial year ended 31 March 2020.
Will the chairmen of the boards of management of public secondary school boards be made to follow the law? Is it because they are appointed by friends and family in Cabinet that these boards can spend as they please? Are these boards exempt from the Financial Administration and Audit Act?
Why does Government want to punish crooked charities but not crooked boards and board members who are responsible for millions of taxpayers’ dollars each year?
The last DLP government published the Gazette free online but this BLP government wants us to pay to see the public information in the Gazette. Where is the Freedom of Information Act? God knows who is on the school boards since they were appointed. [Emphasis – Blogmaster]
Since there is one representative each from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, the Ministry of Education and each secondary school’s Parent Teacher Association on every board there are explanations to be made about how the money is spent in the schools by those members too.
Instead of ensuring the Education Regulations are respected the Ministry of Education allows taxpayers’ money to be spent with no reporting by the school boards. This was happening before the government changed in 2018.
What has been done to stop the slackness since then? Nuff money done spend and audits ain’t [wben] even start yet. This is financial slackness but then the same government wants us to tighten our belts. Does the Minister approve boards not reporting? Does Cabinet support the spending without account?
In the meantime, we can look forward to another report from the Office of the Auditor General to lay out the infelicities of the last financial year.
Over to you, Mr. Leigh Trotman.
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