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GECOM told to improve management of resources by Public Accounts Committee

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The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has taken measures to strengthen its security and clean up the clutter in its stores. This is according to Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield. He shared some of the progress of the autonomous body following unresolved matters in the 2015 Auditor General’s Report when he appeared for a hearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament Chambers on Monday.

The Chief Elections Officer told the PAC that GECOM has since beefed up security following a theft of cameras from its stores in 2005. Lowenfield admitted that the security arrangement back then was not adequate. “Currently we have improved the level of security; we have refurbished that area in the compound where these cameras were stored,” Lowenfield told PAC. These arrangements also include additional ranks to guard locations where sensitive information is stored, he added.

“The GECOM has also taken steps to remove clutter, obsolescence and the various unserviceable items at the stores in Coldingen,” he explained

Lowenfield noted there is an on-going process to get those items “written off” by the Finance Secretary Dr. Hector Butts, at the Ministry of Finance. “Every six months we do a submission of a list…to see that they are and indeed in fact obsolete and this process is on-going,” Lowenfield told the PAC. He added that there was “significant movement” in getting rid of obsolete items.  Additionally, the “fiscal infrastructure” at he further added, the ond was refurbished.

“We’re now striving to ensure that it’s computerised and we’ve started in the subset of obsolete items so that closure once and for all could be brought to this issue,” Lowenfield said.

Meanwhile, PAC member and Cabinet Minister Volda Lawrence raised concerns over the lack of resolution on recovering monies from one local supplier over Polaroid films from since 2007. Minister Lawrence pointed out that the company has since been dissolved but the matter continues to be flagged in the Auditor General’s Report, “I thought that GECOM would have sought advice first.”

Lowenfield explained that GECOM is seeking legal recourse to resolve the matter. However Minister Lawrence said the agency must know what the outcome will be. “Can it be an outcome that benefits GECOM or are we going to employ a lawyer and then we have to pay that lawyer and then we don’t get anything in the end,” Minister Lawrence questioned.

In closing, PAC Chairman, Irfaan Ali, encouraged GECOM to improve the management of its resources.

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