Prime Minister Gonsalves in a letter dated May 8th address to the Leader of the Opposition on the matter of accountability said that the letter he received was stuffed with self-serving political polemics, irrelevancies, inaccuracies, and plain falsehoods.
Gonsalves said he enclosed in response a copy of an article, authored by him, and which was published in The Searchlight newspaper of Friday, May 05, 2017, under the rubric. Argyle International Airport: Accountability Assure.
The Prime noted to the Opposition leader that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government, which he is leading since March 29, 2001, has placed the issues of public accountability, transparency, and good governance at the centre of its praxis, particularly in respect of the appropriation and expenditure of public monies.
He also noted that Governments and agencies, internationally, have so recognised this and have applauded them accordingly.
SUMMARY OF LETTER BELOW
Successive ULP administrations over the past sixteen years have, among other things, ensured that the institutions of State which arc central to financial accountability have been strengthened considerably.
These include the Parliament; the Offices of the Director of Audit, the Director General of Finance and Planning, and the Accountant General; and the Central Supplies Tenders Board. The details of such strengthening are a matter of public record, but if you are possessed of a convenient amnesia about this beautiful record, I am prepared to provide reminders.
Indeed, the very Finance Administration Act of 2004 and the Audit Act of 2005 to which you referred in your said letter were piloted by me in the Parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
These two Acts have immensely bolstered financial accountability, transparency, and good governance. It is to the eternal discredit of you and the other parliamentary colleagues of your New Democratic Party (NDP) that you all boycotted Parliament, for some childish reason, on the very day when the Finance Administration Act was debated and passed.
In fact, you and your opposition parliamentary colleagues did not participate in the discussions at the Select Committee or at all on this vital piece of legislation regarding financial accountability and control. Your delinquency, then, is reflected in the continuing delinquency of you and your opposition colleagues at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The references in your said letter to the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Sections 75 and 76), the Finance Administration Act (Sections 4,5,49) and the Audit Act (Sections 2(4), 5, 11, 12, 15, and 19) do not aid you on the particular issue of any lack of accountability of the 1ADC, as alleged by you or at all.
Since your ill-fated Press Conference on April 19, 2017, at which you uttered a mountain of falsehoods, your twists and turns on the subjects at hand indicate that you are yet to grasp their full meaning and import.
I thus urge you to correct your profound misunderstandings/misconceptions and remove your partisan political blinders on the issues of accountability, transparency, and good governance.
I am sure that all the relevant institutions of State, have done, are doing, and will continue to do what is necessary and desirable to ensure public accountability, transparency, and good governance by the law and sound practice.
I am satisfied, too, that the Director of Audit, the Chairman and CEO of IADC, and the Independent Auditors of the IADC also know their duty as prescribed by law and sound practice.