UDP newspaper drubs AG, describing her behavior as “unforgivable;” PM Barrow refuses comment
“That doesn’t move us one way [or] the other,” Auditor General Dorothy Bradley told Amandala this evening, in responding to an article published in last weekend’s issue of the ruling United Democratic Party’s newspaper, The Guardian, which, among other charges, said that Bradley “…has failed miserably, and has deliberately chosen to feed this nation erroneous information of the worst nature and not qualifying [her 2010-2011 audit] report. Such behavior is rather unforgiveable.”
Bradley, who was appointed by the UDP administration to succeed Edmund Zuniga, was out of the country when the story appeared in the newspaper, and she told us that she only had a chance to read it today.
“This is garbage,” she said, saying she wished that the author of the article would have called her office, because the article, in certain parts, appears to contradict itself.
Bradley heads one of the oversight bodies in government. The office says: “The Supreme Audit Institution of Belize is an independent and reliable source of the objective, fact-based information that Parliament needs to fulfill one of its most important roles: holding the government accountable for its stewardship of public funds. The Office audits Ministries, Departments and Statutory Bodies.”
“Everything we do is based on facts,” Bradley told our newspaper, adding that they have documents to support what appears in the audit report.
The audit in question, which is available online at www.audit.gov.bz, has already been tabled in Parliament, and it may be up for review by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
PAC Chairman Julius Espat has indicated that he would like the PAC to probe the 2010-2011 audit. He said that it is a shame that the government is now attacking the Auditor General.
The Guardian article ends saying, “Most noteworthy, however, is that while [the audit] has sensational value, no way no how can any wrongdoing be attributed to any politician. Happy hunting, Julius!”
“I never met this man,” Bradley told us.
This morning, Amandala asked Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, leader of the UDP, about the article in The Guardian, questioning whether the views expressed in the article are those of his administration.
“I am here as the Prime Minister, the head of the government, not as the head of the UDP and certainly not as anybody having anything to do with The Guardian. I won’t comment. I don’t think that’s my place,” Barrow replied.
The Auditor General’s office lies within Barrow’s portfolio.
We asked: “So distance should be placed between what that article said and your administration?”
“That’s your formulation. I’m not going to quarrel with you. I said what I said and everybody heard. I won’t take it beyond that,” Barrow responded.
Later on in the press conference, the Prime Minister did entertain political questions from 7 News Jules Vasquez, and understandably, he had to put on his “party hat” to do so. So, we took that opportunity to re-address our question to PM Barrow, asking whether the article reflects the view of his administration.
“I put on the party hat in a different context, though,” Barrow said, still resisting comment on the article at the press conference.
“With the greatest possible respect, Miss Adele, and the largest measure of courtesy I can summon up, I still am not prepared to comment on that,” he asserted.