– Union says books are available for scrutiny
An audit into the management of the finances of the Guyana Teachers’ Union [GTU] is underway.
This is according to Auditor General Deodat Sharma, who in an invited comment to this publication yesterday revealed that a move in this direction was prompted by a letter sent to his office. The letter in question was authored by an anonymous writer.
When contacted by this publication, Sharma acknowledged receipt of the letter in question and added, “I will be looking into the matter…I haven’t started as yet, I think it was only yesterday [Tuesday] I received the letter.”
The letter, purportedly written by a ‘concerned teacher’, has as its subject ‘Request for audit into the management of funds paid to the Guyana Teachers Union’ and describes remarks by GTU President, Mr. Mark Lyte, as “flippant” when he sought to give account of the union’s finances during a recent meeting with teachers.
Based on the details contained in the letter, it is clear that the writer was spurred into action because of the union’s initial disclosure that it was not in a position to offer strike relief to teachers.
In detailing concerns about the union’s finances, the writer even recalled the action taken by government to take control of the Public Service Coop Credit Union after it was discovered from investigations that members did not abide by the law and mismanaged funds.
“I draw reference to that matter to re-emphasise that unions ought to always be held accountable for all actions, including those of a financial nature,” the letter writer stated.
In appealing to the Auditor General to take action, the letter writer added, “based on the information provided, it is very necessary that your office intervenes to review the financial practices of the GTU in accordance with the requirements of the Law.
Any findings that may be adverse to the requirements of any Act, Rules and/or Regulations of Guyana governing the functions of unions like that of GTU, I trust would be handed over to the relevant authorities to be dealt with appropriately.”
However, the GTU, following its General Council meeting on Tuesday, announced that its financial situation will allow it to provide teachers on strike with financial support. In fact, Lyte said that the union is in a position to support its teachers even if strike actions were to continue for months.
When asked to comment on the letter writer’s appeal for an audit, Lyte yesterday assured that “our books have been audited internally every year …we have internal auditors, we have auditors who audit for the purpose of our conferences.”
As such Lyte said, “we are ready if they want to come and check it out. If they want to come and audit the books, the books are there; we have nothing to hide. If the Auditor General comes and he sees that the content of the books require auditing he can make that decision, our books are always available.”
Even as he expressed the GTU’s preparedness to be audited by the Auditor General, Lyte questioned the credibility of the letter writer who opted to remain anonymous.
“Can the Auditor General really respond to an anonymous letter? Is that a legal position?” asked Lyte, who nevertheless said that the union is not opposed to scrutiny.
Adding to Lyte’s comment yesterday was GTU General Secretary, Ms. Coretta McDonald, who said, “the GTU’s doors are always open and teachers even can come there at anytime to peruse our books.”
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