Dec 04, 2012 News
Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Willet Hamilton, was grilled about why the Ministry spent $13M in 2009 and $10M in 2010 over the use of taxi services for staffers. Hamilton was called to the Public Accounts Committee to answer a series of questions relating to irregularities that were highlighted in the Auditor General’s 2011 report.
The Auditor General’s report stated that the Ministry spent a whopping $11.1 million on transporting activities. In 2009, R and T Taxi Service, received $7,471,000; Green Ice received $752,000 and Courtesy Transport received $5,538,000; a total of $13,761,000 to transport Ministry staffers for supposed work related purposes.
In 2010, Indian Chief Taxi Service received $144,000, R and T Taxi Service received $7,153,000 and Green Ice was paid $2,750,000; a total of $10,047,000 to again transport Ministry staff for work related matters.
Last year, for transporting purposes, Indian Chief received $5,089,000 from the Tourism Ministry. R and T Taxi Service received $3,046,000 and Green Ice received $2,979,000.
It was explained yesterday through the Permanent Secretary, that the Ministry staffers would have used taxis since vehicles are limited. According to Hamilton, the Ministry currently has three vehicles. According to Hamilton he has made the request to have more vehicles be afforded to the Ministry, but has not received any.
Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, asked Hamilton if there was a monitoring body at the Ministry to make sure that the service is not misused and what are some of the control mechanism if any, for people who use the taxi service.
Former Social Security Minister Bibi Shadick, asked Hamilton whether the Ministry would advertise for bids.
Hamilton, in response, said that the Ministry looks at the taxi services’ quotations, but will consider the issue of advertising bids. Hamilton sought to explain that during the months of such activities like GuyExpo, the calls for taxi would increase and the service is not misused. According to Hamilton all of the increases are related to the intensity of the events, especially the national ones.
APNU’s Jaigobin Sharma, questioned Hamilton about the systems in place for the use of taxi by staff members. According to Hamilton, staff members from every sector of the Ministry, including the Administrative Department, Small Business, Bureau and Consumer Services all benefit from the taxi service. Hamilton explained that staffers who use the taxi would have gotten a written request which is then signed by the requisite authority.
Central Executive Committee Member Ms Volda Lawrence, sought to find out first what was the budgetary allocation for the Tourism Ministry with regard for taxi services. Hamilton could not give an answer, but promised to have the information available. Hamilton was then asked if he could explain how the three vehicles which he said the Ministry has are assigned.
Hamilton said that one vehicle was used for the Ministry’s administrative staff; they include people from the accounts and consumer affairs departments. He said that the vehicles are also used to go out of town to gather prices, and this exercise can be an all-day affair.
Lawrence then requested Hamilton to tell the committee how did the Ministry arrive at spending all the money, when the line item in the AG report goes lower than the amount. Hamilton said that the Ministry has different line items which are for out of town travel.
“I want to know or I’m not sure if the taxi service was extended to office assistants, doing work such as delivering letters in a car” Teixeira said. Another question raised by Teixeira was, who was authorizing the taxi service for staffers who would work at nights?
Teixeira told Hamilton that he was yet to convince her that there is a system of monitoring by the Ministry. He was also asked by Teixeira whether there is a body that monitors the bills and if there is a query with something, the staffer who used the vehicle would have to repay.
According to Hamilton there was no such system, but noted that the Ministry could try this and also could consider the use of motorcycles for office assistants.
Overpayment of employees ….
On the issue of overpayment, Hamilton was heavily grilled as to why the Ministry still went ahead and paid employees who had their services terminated very early in the month. Four employees were overpaid salaries totaling $165,139. Their services were terminated with “immediate effect” while their salaries would have already been processed and their bank accounts credited.
When questioned about this Hamilton said that he did not agree with the wording that the Auditor General used. He explained that the persons mentioned had “walked off” the job.
PPP’s member Bibi Shadick told Hamilton that according to a letter which was produced by the Tourism Ministry the persons had left the job since earlier in the month, so it baffles the mind as to why the same Ministry would want to pay someone late in the month who didn’t work there.
Leaders prostituting Guyana
Mar 02, 2024Kaieteur Sports – The Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) wrapped up its second Developmental Boxing Championship on Thursday at the National Gymnasium with Ryan Rogers, Tiquan Sampson, Dwayne...
Mar 02, 2024
Mar 02, 2024
Mar 02, 2024
Mar 01, 2024
Mar 01, 2024
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – When the Foreign Ministers of the world’s wealthiest nations gathered in Brazil... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.