Heads should roll
Official reacts to Auditor General’s report
A top official in the international business sector is suggesting that heads should roll following Auditor General Leigh Trotman’s adverse report on Government’s finances.
Executive Director of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Henderson Holmes did not say what action should be taken or who he felt was culpable.
However, he suggested to Barbados TODAY that someone should be held responsible for the staggering findings contained in the report.
In his latest report, Trotman pointed to millions in outstanding arrears, unauthorized transactions and misplaced funds, which together with a number of flawed contracts between Government and private entities paint a pathetic picture of this country’s public sector administration.
There was also the startling revelation that the accounts of 50 state agencies were not included in Government’s financial statements, as well as other evidence of blatant under-reporting by a number of state entities, in addition to consistent non-payment of taxes and loans by both public and private entities.
Holmes said these findings could have serious implications for the island’s reputation and should not be ignored.
“Unfortunately, the fact that no one is duty bound to answer the charges made by the Auditor General as to the lack of propriety in the use of public funds should be a cause for concern.
“We are not aware that this has affected the decision making of investors but it is possible that ultimately the perception of an entrenched practice of abuses in the management of public funds of Barbados is bound to raise questions that could adversely affect the image and reputation of Barbados,” Holmes said.
The BIBA head lamented the “little regard” which the Auditor General’s report is given here, stressing that in many other Commonwealth countries such reports were treated with “enormous respect and taken very seriously”.
“As someone who has worked in the Auditor General’s Department I am painfully aware of the fact that for many years the Auditor General’s report has been treated with little regard,” Holmes told Barbados TODAY.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eddie Abed had earlier described the findings as “extremely troubling”, while president of the Barbados Private Sector Association Alex McDonald has said the reported inefficiencies were nothing short of “embarrassing”.