McClean: Gov’t scandal free

Senators Jerome Walcott (left) and Maxine McClean.
Senators Jerome Walcott (left) and Maxine McClean.

The Freundel Stuart Administration can boast of being scandal free.

That’s the assessment of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, who said the Auditor General concerns about poor decisions and poor governance general had vanished in the last five years.

But she acknowledged the state auditor’s observation of the need in some instances for accounting officers to conform to new systems instituted by the Government.

“I have not seen evidence of large sums of money not being accounted for, large sums of money being disbursed for dubious causes… In essence, let me put it very bluntly, the last five years of the Democratic Labour Party Administration was one which was marked by the absence of major scandals, or of scandals, and I think that is something that we have to recognised,” the official said today as the Upper House debate the 2013-2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.”

“And it is not by accident, it is part of a commitment to good governance, we have put legislation in place etcetera.” McClean said Government’s focus in the next five years would be on continuing in an environment “characterised by good governance”.

“I want to laud this administration because in respect of our efforts to not only function in an open and transparent manner, and of course to broaden our involvement, we can say that in looking at the several initiatives there is something which was missing and I can tell you I was happy to see it missing,” she stated.

“I cannot recall … my perusal of the annual reports of the Auditor General for the last couple years, and certainly I can tell you I have not finished reading 2012’s, but I have gone a long way into that report, and it is in the Auditor General’s report that we see evidence often of poor governance, of poor decisions in ministries, poor decisions probably of ministers, of senior public officers etcetera.

“What I can tell you is that as I peruse the most recent report what I see is a number of failures in terms of accounting procedure… I can tell you having served on the boards of several corporate entities, including some of the largest in Barbados and as a volunteer in the credit union movement, I know what it is to see where errors of that type are made.

“We are having to adopt new financial standards and I am clear from what I have seen so far that a lot of what is reported is the need to ensure that persons understand the implications of the new standards and that they are followed,” McClean added. (SC)

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