SUE STATE COMPANIES AND THE THA FOR AUDITED ACCOUNTS

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The Editor,

Along with other commen­tators, I have been banging on about a matter of great concern without success. A great deal of our money has been spent with­out the accountability of audited statements over many years. Tens of billions have been spent by HDC, UDECOTT, Petrotrin and the Tobago House of Assem­bly to name some of the promi­nent culprits.
We had been led to believe and accept that there were no statutory or regulatory options available to us that could force the decision-makers at those entities to mend their ways and account to us via a demand for effective audits. I even inquired directly with senior people at various ministries only to be met by a resigned look and explanation that nothing could be done. The Tobago House of As­sembly bizarrely and brazenly claims that the failure to produce audited statements in more than ten years with roughly thirty bil­lion of expenditure was not their fault but that of the Auditor Gen­eral Department.
It has come out of the blue then to discover that we can indeed hold leaders in those organizations to account. To quote a report in a local newspaper – “a High Court judge on Friday ordered the PSA executive to commission an audit of the union’s finances by month-end”.
It would be difficult to exagger­ate the impact of this newly found ability to demand audits at public­ly funded entities on pain of legal action. I look forward to seeing the appropriate authorities now using this power at the entities men­tioned above and ultimately at ev­ery state-controlled entity.
This may well be the most significant door that has been opened to us in our quest for ac­countability in the financial af­fairs of the nation.
Should we expect this newly found power to be used more widely than against Mr Duke? And if not, why not?

David Walker d.walker@alcindorwalker.com