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Improved financial oversight needed

alwynadamsA veteran educator who is one of Barbados’ newest senators sees a need for increased parliamentary oversight of agencies disbursing public funds.

And Independent Senator Alwyn Adams also wants some form of direct financial assistance to be provided to young men in Barbados, who are in need of training and the ability to earn a living.

He made the comments during a maiden speech in the Upper Chamber today as members debated and approved the Social Investment Fund Repeal Act 2013.

Adams said while he was not an expert on the subject and therefore could not speak with authority on the operation of funds, he did feel there was a need for greater accountability.

“In some ways it may be a situation where the fund which is being abolished needed oversight, and that when it is being suggested to be placed in one or two other existing entities that we would also need to ensure that there is a level of oversight, and that the persons who are given the responsibility to have oversight of these enterprises should be able to be answerable to someone,” the retired school principal said.

“I was thinking that perhaps … this Upper Chamber should in fact be given some oversight in one of our committees to actually summon persons in charge of using Government funds to come here and give us an explanation as to how these funds are being spent and distributed.

“It may not necessarily have to be under oath as is done in the United States, but I believe that we would be able to speak more definitely on the matters that have been raised here this morning,” he stated.

Adams also saw a need for “young men in particular” to be “given some positive discrimination in relation to helping them to be more productive in the society, and if the fund as originally set up did help such persons I would hope that the transferring of it to one or other entities would also take this into consideration”.

“For we have a situation where young men, having not done very well in primary and secondary school, are not actually getting to go on to university … because if they are not meeting matriculation every single year they will have a falloff in the entrance of the males,” he noted.

“But in relation to having them go through training and be able to have the requisite skills to be able to either get a job or be self employed would be a very noble end. So while I do not have any great misgivings about the abolition of the fund I would suggest that special effort be made to ensure that the entities to which the monies are now allocated would be answerable to some authority… It is really a matter of accountability,” Adams added. (SC)

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