The Auditor General’s 2017 report on public institutions countrywide revealed many finance-related issues, some which placed the Region Eight Democratic Council (RDC) in focus.
Regional Executive Officer, Carl Parker, said that he is currently working on measures to minimise and prevent these irregularities from occurring.
However, the REO is of the opinion that many local government leaders are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts on the coast. He said that auditors and the press must understand that areas like Region Eight are “very difficult to work in” because of the cost of living in the region and the state of infrastructure necessary for transport.
Parker says that his region is currently prioritizing work to upgrade roads, in next year’s project, so that tractors and four-wheeled vehicles could traverse the region more freely.
He said that councilors have had to walk for hours at a time to go about the region. Transportation, he stated, is very expensive, because areas in the region charge much more for gas than on the coast.
The REO said that public servants in these areas are paid the same as those in Georgetown, and are expected to operate as well as they do, while working in much more difficult conditions.
The REO made these remarks after being asked what is being done to correct financial irregularities, among other issues, in Region Eight.
The region is in breach of national procurement laws and has now come under public scrutiny after the Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, stated in the 2017 AG’s report that the RDC granted a contract for the construction of an incinerator to the highest bidder, and could not explain why this was so.
The contract was awarded in a sum of $9.866M, with the lowest bid having a $3.811M difference. Other irregularities included overpayments of $210,000 which the RDC said will be recovered.
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