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Dec 8, 2017

Auditor General and Colleagues at War; Can P.M. Intervene?

Dorothy Bradley

Auditor General Dorothy Bradley appears to be at war with her own colleagues in the Supreme Audit Institution. Today, News Five received reports that employees staged a “sick-out” in protest of the alleged heavy-handed ways of the top watchdog. Her office has been in the spotlight in recent weeks for its handling of audits in the Immigration Department and other government departments. The bad blood has been spilling for months and Prime Minister Dean Barrow now feels he may be ready to intervene – but he warns that these are uncharted waters.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I’m not too sure what can be done from my point of view. I will have to look carefully at the situation, but I was reluctant even to do that for as long as the Senate inquiry was continuing. I did not want for anybody to suggest that any review of the complaints made by the Audit staff against the Auditor General was being conducted by the Executive as a way of trying to either influence her, or punish her. And I confess, because I haven’t even looked at it, I’m not even sure of the extent of my authority: she is constitutionally protected in the same way as I believe the D.P.P. is. But that can’t mean that with respect to her administrative remit and the discharge of her administrative duties that she can’t be questioned. And it is obvious that, to try to put it as neutrally as possible, her staff does not get along with her, there is no love lost between them. And there have been various efforts over the past year or so by the Public Service Union to try to get in there and see if there can be any way of pouring oil on troubled waters; that clearly has not worked. For a while, the bulk of the staff there is up in arms, I had understood they would be protesting or picketing this morning – they’ve sicked out. And so now, certainly, with the Commission’s work now having come to an end, I believe that we in the Executive and perhaps I in particular, must seek some legal advice as to the options, and try to make some effort to see if we can bring some sort of solution to that long-simmering problem – a problem that has been on the boil for these many months and now seems to have kind of exploded.”

 

The Prime Minister denied any suggestion of political interference, calling the issue “organic” to the organization.

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