Audit report…Region 7 commended on spendingIn a rare occurrence, officials from a region were commended by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when they appeared to defend certain red flags raised in the 2016 Auditor General’s report.Officials from the Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) administration, including Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rodrick Edinboro and several of his regional officials, were questioned by the Committee on several fiscal matters.Opposition Member of Parliament Pauline Sukhai, who was acting as Chairperson of the PAC in the absence of substantive Chairman Irfaan Ali, noted the seriousness of instances where contractors were overpaid back in 2016.Opposition Parliamentarian Nigel Dharamlall noted that maintenance works in the region had amounted to $307.4 million, with almost all of that money being spent. Citing this and other examples, the MP enquired how the region was able to keep so close to their planned expenditure.In response, the REO noted that planning had much to do with it. At the same time, however, he disclosed at the prompting of PAC member Volda Lawrence some of the issues the region faces with clearing cheque orders.“The geographic location and distance to deliver plays a part in that,” he said. “We also have problems with the availability of the item, if it’s not within the local borders. We also have problems when seeking duty-free concessions.”“Also, there is the stringent adherence to the release of one cheque until another is cleared. By the time you’re ready for that one, there’s also a problem with that. But the cheque order system, as it is, was really designed to deal with cash payments to employees,” he related.Sukhai ultimately commended the regional authorities for the improvements they had made in their systems.“There seems to have been somewhat of an improvement in the region and I will ask that some of the areas that we have had some prolonged questioning,” she said. “That you, take note of those and make sure that you come prepared in the future because I am sure we will see you back in the stipulated time and thank you again for the engagement here, you and your team.”On other matters relating to expired drugs, the region also conveyed to the Committee it had a clean bill of health.For instance, the 2016 report had noted that audit checks had revealed there were 23 types of expired drugs in the regional administration’s possession, which are still to be destroyed. But since there was no value stated on the documents for the items, a total cost of all drugs destroyed could not be ascertained.PAC Member Juan Edghill had raised concerns over whether expired drugs were being distributed to hinterland residents. According to Regional Health Officer, Dr Edward Segala, however, the expired drugs were not being distributed. Dr Segala also noted that the drugs have been destroyed. But all is still not well with the system.“The system is a challenging one. For example, at the level of a hospital where you have a pharmacist… it is much easier to notice and to tell whether a particular medication is going to expire within a certain timeframe.”“The challenge though would come from the far-flung areas, in our case, Upper Mazaruni and Middle Mazaruni where there is no pharmacist… so supervision can be quite challenging,” he had noted.
…rejects Govt attempts to tarnish, discredit reputation of JudiciaryThe Supreme Court of Judicature, through its Protocol and Communications Unit, has issued a stinging rebuke to the coalition Government for using the photographs of two judges in a political campaign aimed at attracting youths.The two judges in question are Puisne Judges Justices Gino Persaud and Simone Morris-Ramlall. Their pictures were incorporated on a poster of 20 “young” public officials put together by A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) under the headline “Confidence in Youth Leadership” as part of their political campaign.Acting Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court Roxanne GeorgeHours after the advertisement was shared on social media, the Court in a statement said that it “firmly condemns the use of photographs of two puisne judges that have been published in a social media post captioned “Confidence in Youth Leadership—Promise Delivered”.The ad bearing the two judges’ images was published despite the fact that the Judiciary is autonomous in principle and keeps far away from politics to ensure judgements, when handed down, can be accepted as free from bias. The Supreme Court reminded the Government of this fact.“The Supreme Court of Judicature is calling on members of the public to refrain from associating Judges and Judicial Officers with any political party or activity. The Judiciary reaffirms its independence and integrity and rejects any attempt to tarnish and discredit its reputation,” the statement added.The advertisement featuring the Judges, who are highlighted by black inkThe Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled on June 18 that the Government was defeated by a No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018, which means that early elections must be called.Political parties have, for the most part, started their political campaigns. But the Government has faced persistent criticisms over the years about its ‘geriatric’ Cabinet of Ministers mostly over the age of 60. This criticism has extended to its Members of Parliament, which is dominated by middle aged to elderly parliamentarians, with the exception of a few token youths.In addition, the appointment of many elderly, and in some cases, known associates of the party, to head agencies that should in fact be led by persons trained and experienced in the agencies work, has also been criticized. It is therefore felt by observers that the ad campaign was aimed at hitting back at the criticisms.Justice Persaud, who has practiced before the bar in Guyana since 2001, was sworn in before President David Granger as a Puisne Judge in July of 2017, alongside Justice Morris-Ramlall. Persaud, who was 38 at the time, was said to have been one of youngest ever appointed Judges.Article 122 of the Constitution of Guyana states that “All Courts and all persons presiding over the Courts shall exercise their function independently of the control and direction of any other person or authority; and shall be free and independent from political, executive and any other form of direction and control.”Efforts to contact Justice Persaud were futile.
SOUNDS LIKE A STEAL TO ME: These items are hot, baby! At least they used to be. PropertyRoom.com auctions stolen and forfeited bicycles, jewelry and cars that police can’t find the rightful owners of. I spotted a 10k gold ring with a blue topaz stone with bidding starting at $1. Remember to check the return policy. WROUGHT IRON SALE: Laura Lee Designs in Burbank is having a sale on all the wrought-iron chandeliers, sconces, lamps and furniture in its 2,000-square-foot warehouse. Prices are 20percent below wholesale through Thanksgiving. 8a.m. to 5p.m., Monday through Friday only. Visit them at 527 N. Victory Blvd. in Burbank. 818-842-5300. VINO AND TURKEY: Get free shipping at Wine.com when you spend more than $100 before Thanksgiving. They have recommendations for each part of the meal and suggest fruity wines like a zinfandel or pinot noir to match the many turkey table flavors. Now you can sip vino while you gobble gobble. Visit www.insidesocal.com/bargain for the code. BATH & BODY $10 OFF: Here’s a great coupon that can be used for holiday gifts. Spend $30 online or in stores at Bath & Body Works and get $10 off. Good through Dec. 2. Visit www.insidesocal.com/bargain for the online code and printable coupon. TIMBERLAND $20 OFF: Get $20 off a $100 online purchase at Timberland (which isn’t too hard these days) through Thursday. Visit www.insidesocal.com/bargain for the coupon code. A pair of men’s Earthkeepers, which are made partly from recycled materials, is $160. Be green and save money = a winning combo. FREE HAIRCUTS: I don’t know how these folks pay their bills but Yossi’s Salon in Woodland Hills is again offering free haircuts for the rest of the month. Every day but Saturdays, by appointment only. Visit at 5349 Topanga Canyon Blvd. 818-825-3467. GO FORTH AND JAMBA: Everybody’s favorite smoothie place has restarted a deal that gets you a free smoothie every time you buy a $25 Jamba Juice card. This time you can only get the small size free. They redeem themselves by letting you chose the flavor. Unclear how long the promotion lasts. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre COLDWATER SAVINGS: Get $30 off $100 or more at Coldwater Creek online until Nov. 26, 2007. Visit www.insidesocal.com/bargain for the code. OUT OF BIZ BIKE SALE: The motorcycle store Cycle Trends in Van Nuys is having a going-out-of-business sale. Owner Stan is retiring, reader Marilyn says, and everything is 30percent to 75percent off. All sales are final. It is open 10a.m. to 7p.m. Monday to Friday, 9a.m. to 6p.m. Saturday and 10a.m. to 4p.m. Sunday. Visit the store at 14901 Oxnard St. in Van Nuys. 818-902-9253. BARGAINS IN YOUR INBOX: Get all the new sales by signing up for the daily digest. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included. Thanks! SNEAK PEEK: BFads.net lists the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales at about a dozen stores, including Target, Sears, and Best Buy. Great for shoppers who have specific items on their list and want to price-compare ahead of time. SEPHORA COUPON: Can you believe it? The beloved beauty store has a 20-percent-off coupon for online shopping for a limited time. Unclear when it expires but it worked at press time Friday! Visit www.insidesocal.com/bargain for the code.