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Auditor General: “I had seen contracts issue & bush not cut”

Many of the District Representatives routinely give out bush cutting contracts. During the 2011 elections campaign, the NDP was critical of the programme, but has continued it since taking office. The Auditor General has said in a "general statement" that she had seen contracts issued and bush not cut.
Minister for Education and Culture was reported to be allegedly very active in giving out bush cutting contracts both in December and recently, and his Ministry requested in December that cheques be sent there for distribution according to the Ag. Accountant General.
Minister for Education and Culture was reported to be allegedly very active in giving out bush cutting contracts both in December and recently, and his Ministry requested in December that cheques be sent there for distribution according to the Ag. Accountant General.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The Virgin Islands’ Auditor General Mrs. Sonia Webster appearing before the 2012 Standing Finance Committee (SFC) to defend her budget when asked by the Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn what were the reasons for an audit being conducted, told the Members that at the beginning of the year each high risk area of each Ministry and Department was looked at and a spending plan was prepared.

She further stated that based on the plans audits were conducted to avoid wastage of Government funds.

The Auditor General (AGen) also informed the body that once an audit report was completed, copies were sent to the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Secretary and complimentary copies were sent to the Governor’s Office.

She also informed that the Constitution laid out how the process was to take place to lay the reports on the Table along with the time-frame for it to take place.

The Minister for Health and Social Development Ronnie W. Skelton wanted to know, if any audits were done on any major government projects over the past eight years. The AGen informed Members of the SFC that several audits were conducted and the most recent ones were done of the incinerator project, the Biwater project and an interim audit of the Johnson Ghut project as it was ongoing.

Minister Skelton asked, if the aforementioned audits were conducted via special instructions or were they conducted as part of the general process. To this Mrs. Webster informed that the audits were conducted through general audit process.

The AGen also told the SFC appointed by the House of Assembly (HOA) to examine the draft estimates that her office does not have some of the expertise required to audit the new hospital project.

Territorial At Large Member Archibald C. Christian stated that the hospital project was one of the largest and most expensive projects which government had undertaken and he thought that an audit would have been conducted despite there not being certain expertise within the Audit department.

The freshman Member of the HOA expressed that he would have liked to see that an audit conducted and that the necessary expertise should have been made available to conduct the audit as the public had a right to know how those funds were spent. To this the AGen informed the Committee that a number of audits were conducted on the health services, the hospital services, as well as the hospital annex.

Bush cutting and the Minister/Ministry of Education

This news site was informed by its sources that during the December 2011 bush cutting exercises that Territorial At Large Member Myron V. Walwyn was allegedly very active along with others in giving out bush cutting contracts in many districts.

This news site was also reliably informed by three persons who took part in the December exercise but spoke to this news site on condition that their names not be used, that when they went to the Treasury and Public Works Departments to enquire about their cheques they were told to go to the Ministry of Education and Culture to collect their cheques.

The Ag. Accountant General confirmed that a request was made by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) to have the cheques sent there for distribution and she ensured that the necessary log book was sent for those collecting to sign for accountability. The Ag. Accountant General told this news site in an interview that it was not unusual as Ministries and Departments do make special requests so that the departments can maintain their own internal controls.

It is unclear why a Ministry that does not usually deal with bush cutting contracts will make such a request and not the Ministry of Communications and Works knowing that the programme is run through the Public Works Department.

The Ag. Permanent Secretary in the MEC could not be reached up to press time for comments.

However, during the 2012 SFC deliberations before the Auditor General, Minister Walywn had seem to distant himself and sought clarification. He told the committee the he wanted the record to reflect that it was incorrect to say that contracts were issued and bush not cut in the last bush cutting exercise under the present Administration.

The freshman member of the HOA noted that according to his knowledge the Public Works Department had to verify that work was done before payments could be issued. The Auditor General confirmed that was the procedure.

However, the AGen noted that she did not state that she saw payments and bush not cut, but she stated earlier that she “had seen contracts issued and bush not cut”. She informed the Members in responding to a question from Walwyn that she was not necessarily referring to the last exercise under the present Administration but “it was a general statement.”

13 Responses to “Auditor General: “I had seen contracts issue & bush not cut””

  • critic (03/04/2012, 07:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this means that we will have bush cutting as a new subject in our schools? what the minister of education doing messing with bush cutting?...we gone from bad to worst and it sounds like a lil boball going on
    • HELLO (03/04/2012, 14:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Shut your trap Critic..This mess started under your government. If you ask me, it needs to be stopped. Give that work back to the retired old men in the district so they can earn the extra money.
  • tek your time (03/04/2012, 08:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This bush cutting thing is interesting dats why the school children say two NDP district representatives had to tell him keep the hell out of dem district and dey one from the 7 district took off some of the names…Myron boss slow down! you have ah good future but take time last long!
  • farmer brown (03/04/2012, 08:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    since when at large memebers get so involved in this? Myron need work to do that is he probelm...he better keep the hell out of the 7 & 8 districts....
    • uk mp (03/04/2012, 10:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      He is new and has something to prove that the at large members are not useless! But we all know the at large system is broken and needs to go it was a plan by the uk to get rid of lavity and the vip.
    • the rock says (03/04/2012, 11:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      u need to know your role and shut your mouth...he is an at-large rep..he can go anywhere he chooses to..and u cant do a damn thing about it!
  • MAD HOUSE (03/04/2012, 10:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think its a bunch of crap going on if you ask me. Walwyn is on a very fast pace and I think he needs to slow down. It's not even 1 year yet and he's on this speed going where??? He's appears to be the busiest politician in HOA. We can never meet with him, he's always out; he's always just too busy. struuups...
  • Real Talk (03/04/2012, 10:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    HAHAHAHAHAAA!!!! Grasping for straws all the way!! BOOOOOO!!
    • fAT HEN (03/04/2012, 15:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      REAL TALK AKA FUNNY MAN; Leave the bush cutting to the district representatives Myron…. Know your role. Be a statement like Dr. Smith or Ronnie. In all the years Dr. Smith in the House have you ever seen he getting SO petty to give out bush cutting contracts? And yes he still get elected every time. Mind Myron I old and getting ready to die but slow down….
  • fat rat we need a cat (03/04/2012, 16:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A request been madefor cheks to go to Myron Ministry….I smell a rat and big fat rat…
  • killer (03/04/2012, 17:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ... want to be in everything like a MELEE QUEEN that is why the NDP cannot finish anything... running around from pillar to post. When he not doing Kedrick work on the labour front, he trying to do Mark own on the bush cutting. Ronnie look out he coming for your subjects next!
  • positive vision (03/04/2012, 18:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    then most of the bush still not cut in oder for the tourist our you the belonger to see the ocean clearly from the hill side our the flat.

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