Financial audit looms for some Amerindian villages following complaints

– Minister Sukhai

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai has pledged to pursue the audit of several villages due to concerns about financial impropriety.

This was revealed during a community consultation the Minister hosted in Baramita, Barima-Waini (Region One) on Tuesday.

“Many villages who have not supplied us with a financial update, we have selected a few based-on complaints for special audits,” Minister Sukhai said.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Hon. Pauline Sukhai addressing residents of Baramita, Region One

Additionally, she explained, some villages, including Baramita, have contravened the Amerindian Act 2006, concerning the production of financial statements.

“By law, the village council has a duty to supply the financial report to the Minister. Twenty-twenty has left us. We are now in 2021 and I have not seen a financial report from the village of Baramita. So, I would urge that the village council put their records in order and supply to the Minister a financial status of the village.”

Concerning the impending village elections set for May, Minister Sukhai urged the village council to liaise with the Community Development Officer, Management Development Officer and the governance department of the Ministry to select a nomination day.

Minister Sukhai said this is imperative for the nomination of candidates to be monitored effectively.

The Baramita Village Council recently received its $15 million cheque through the one-off COVID-19 investment fund. The Council intends to purchase an all-terrain vehicle, minibus and agricultural tools.

There are also plans to construct a fence around the village office, rehabilitate the village guest house and build a facility for the village’s ICT hub.

Minister Sukhai reiterated that all village councils are mandated to consult the residents prior to submitting projects to be done through the fund.

Under Budget 2021, $300 million has been approved for the continuation of the Presidential Grant fund. The investment would finance projects and programmes in all sectors of the 220 Amerindian villages so that their economies could be strengthened.