“Decision to use funds fulfilled dire needs in the region- REO Hopkinson
DPI, GUYANA, Monday, March 12, 2018
Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Rupert Hopkinson, this morning defended his council’s decision to use funds from the region’s current allocation to execute capital projects.
Responding to audit queries before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Hopkinson maintained that at the time the decision was made, the council had very little knowledge of the breaches of the regulation and that the move was simply to satisfy the dire needs in the community.
“We were all caught up in the fact that we saved a lot of money and so we each said that this is what we want to have done. We saved $250 million and so I can recall that the head of the program said I would like to have this done and all decided this is how we are gonna use the money,” Hopkinson told the PAC.
The projects undertaken, and which were under review by the audit office, include the construction of a bus shed at Dartmouth, work on the Anna Regina Health Centre, the construction of two fences at Unity Park Phase one and two, construction of a seating area in Cotton Field and a Landing at Liberty, Pomeroon. He said the council seeks pardon for any contravention of policy on the grounds that the region saved some $500 million from 2016 to date.
Finance Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Hector Butts said the use of Current allocation to fund capital projects is acceptable if it is authorized by the minister.
The funds were taken from the region’s 2017 savings of $250 million, following budgeted, capital and current projects were all completed.
The council said that the savings, which facilitated the emergency projects in question, were made possible through responsible spending and prudent management controls by the Regional Administration. It said the research found that in the past, such savings, which resulted from resulted from unrealistic but realistic but deliberate estimates for requirements such as fuel, maintenance, dietary, purchasing of materials and or supplies were utilized in government’s interest.
It went on to say that the large amounts of payments made to the highest paid contractors during the years 2010- 2015 should not only be a concern of the PAC but must be a reason for a swift audit.
By: Alexis Rodney