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 firstname.lastname@example.org