The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports was brought under the microscope yesterday at the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) where it was challenged to provide clarifications on a number of issues.
One of the most glaring was that of $35M that was taken from the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of establishing a religious station. The money taken was not used. This money, however, still remains in an account under the Ministry of Culture.
Permanent Secretary of the Culture Ministry, Mr. Alfred King told members of the Committee that while the money was taken for the purpose of establishing a religious television station, several issues were encountered along the way. Since this was the case, the Ministry was not sure of its next step and opted to wait on a definitive answer on the way forward from “those in charge.”
Chairman of the PAC, Carl Greenidge then informed that while the act was a breach of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, the money was not spent and as such a resolution should be provided.
Greenidge noted as well that the matter is one that the agency should have dealt with on its own and not have allowed to reach to the level of the PAC.
Nevertheless, Committee member, Ms. Bibi Shadick noted, “We are told that the money is drawn from the Consolidated Fund but it was not used and the money is now in an account of the Ministry of Culture. If it is not spent then it should go back into the Consolidated Fund. Why is the Ministry still holding on to it? I would like to be educated on the issue as to how it can be held over from one year to the next.”
King was unable to provide a satisfactory answer on the matter.
In the face of the situation, Greenidge then i that the money be refunded as it is not in keeping with the regulations.
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