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Indigenous Affairs Ministry unable to account for distribution of its resources- P.S

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Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, Alfred King has unearthed several “alarming” cases of the Ministry being unable to account for its resources.

King who was at the time conducting an assessment of the Ministry’s performance by the Financial Management Association’s (FMA) standards and the procurement Act standards, said “there are queries as it relates to the Ministry not being able to account accurately and efficiently for the distribution of its assets and resources to support communities work.”

He was at the time addressing Community Development Officers (CDOs) at their annual meeting today (Wednesday, May 10, 2017).

“I found that distressing for two reasons, when we were trying to find answers to respond appropriately to those queries, what we found was that there were gaps as it relates to people who should be informed and persons who should be taking action to correct those deficiencies….there are lots of gaps and parallel programs. Things are happening and people are operating in silos when in fact, we should be operating as one ministry,” he pointed out.

The Permanent Secretary also highlighted a number of challenges being faced by hinterland residents but are not addressed by the CDOs. As such, he urged them to be better at their jobs and make an effort to work in tandem with all departments of the Ministry.

Moving forward, he notes that works will be done to reorient persons with the right skills for the sector and develop the right monitoring tool to account for resources.

Minister with responsibility for the sector, Sydney Allicock, told the Officers that they have a critical role to play. The officers’ role is to coordinate the ministry’s programme within the communities and provide feedback between the ministry and village council.

“Across the country, we have CDOs in every region, but what I’ve noticed is that they lack the willpower to excite new ideas, to give guidance to the Village Council or even to be able to attract funding for the communities or even to develop sustainable cottage industries. These are activities, that if you have the will, they are reachable, ‘doable’. It will help in the economic standing of the communities,” Minister Allicock told the participants.

The Minister also emphasised the need for proper management and accountability as well. “You need to help us to plan better…we have seen tractors and buses and ATVs laid up and not working, and they are relatively new. We get the equipment, we break it and then we are hustling to train people, we cannot continue like this and that is why you are there on the ground to observe and make recommendations,” Minister Allicock told the officers.

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