DNA says politicians should not have oversight of Barbuda funds

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Joanne Massiah, leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), is urging politicians “to take a back seat” in managing the Barbuda relief funds.
She was speaking on OBSERVER AM yesterday, where she was alluded to Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s announcement in parliament on Monday, that the accountant general, the financial secretary and the chairman of the Barbuda Council are the signatories on the Barbuda account and that they may “need cabinet approval to pay out anything in excess of $50, 000.”
“I believe that there has to be an oversight committee comprised of not just cabinet members. Cabinet has a role to play but it should comprise a broad cross-section of other stakeholders who would work with this three-person committee in terms how monies are expended,” said Massiah.
 “This could be an opportunity where the politicians ought to really just take a back seat, except for any policy guidelines and initiatives. People the world over, even business people, are going to demonstrate their generosity, but we also want to ensure that the right systems are in place and adhered to so that every expenditure can be justified.”
Massiah said that the government’s handling of Barbuda’s reconstruction will put good governance, the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability on display in Antigua.
In that regard, she is also appealing to the government to reach out for technical support to assist with the reconstruction of the sister island.
“We have asked PM to recognize that he can solicit technical support because with all the money in the world if you don’t have the right kind of technicians and technical advice we may very well squander the money.”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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