Lawrence urges national approach to reining in regional excesses

first_imgAuditor General ReportsPublic Health Minister Volda Lawrence used her seat on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to call for collaboration to effect reform of the regional administrations as she noted that these matters were of national importance.She made this call during Monday’s PAC sitting. At the time, the question on the floor was the staffing strength of regional administrations and how allocations for employment were being determined.Public Health Minister Volda LawrenceLawrence, a former Chairperson of the PAC, urged that both sides collaborate and focus on the issues. According to Lawrence, there has never been a time when collaboration was not a feature of the Committee’s work.“I have been the Chair of this Public Accounts Committee and there was never a time when the Public Accounts Committee has done its work without full collaboration with both sides of this House, and I say it without fear of contradiction.“Because we focus on the issues, we saw it as a national issue, and we had to address it, so that we can make the accountability within every agency in this country done in accordance with the rules and regulations.”PAC member Juan Edghill had been questioning Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) Regional Executive Officer (REO) Ovid Morrison on whose authority certain vacancies were being filled. Morrison noted that the vacancies were filled by the public service ministry.PAC Chairperson Irfaan Ali also questioned him on the number of staff actually required on the payroll.Lawrence had noted that during the course of the year, priorities change and if more staff was needed, permission could be requested from the public service ministry.Under questioning from Ali, Morrison confirmed that they did have approval for the 90 additional staff. Edghill questioned how many were new positions that were created. Morrison noted that there were no new positions.Edghill pointed out that at one time the authorised employment strength was declared. He lamented that this has been discontinued and because the Regions have ceased presenting their authorised strength, Regions could employ staff in an ad-hoc manner.Ali questioned how many contracted employees were in the Region. However, when Morrison balked at the question, Ali upbraided him for his lack of preparation. While Morrison admitted that there has been an increase in contracted employees, he promised to supply the actual figures at a later time.The considerations concluded with the Chairman reminding the REO of the information he has to return to the Committee with. Morrison gave a commitment to providing the information by the end of the week.last_img read more

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