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Sep 22, 2017

Support for PAC Expansion and Lands Reformation

Dean Barrow

The Government faces no end of scandal in many of its Ministries, from Immigration to Health, Education to Works to Finance. But the hot button issue of the moment is what Prime Minister Dean Barrow himself has called “the hotbed of corruption” – the Lands Department. Former deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega oversaw a veritable takeover of many land parcels by members of his family, resulting in his own firing. The Prime Minister emphasized the change in leadership that he said has gotten the Department moving again during his Independence Day address. But there was no mention of what will happen to the various lands obtained by the Vega family during his tenure. As to the Public Accounts Committee, there has also been a hue and cry about the composition being lopsided in favor of government. The P.M. says it will be expanded to a bi-cameral entity of the National Assembly, calling for some assistance on the necessary instruments to engineer the change, though said nothing about making the meetings public.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Government, let me make clear in this context, is still agreeable to the expansion of the Public Accounts Committee, though the logistics of its conversion from a House to a bi-cameral entity are proving challenging. I invite the Chamber of Commerce again: help us; you have a number of lawyers. Our draftsperson is overwhelmed. Help us to draft the instruments that can produce this transition. (Applause) I concentrate rather on the fact that long before any public disclosure, long before any revelation we instituted leadership change in the Lands Ministry. And since January of this year, in a further effort to demonstrate the seriousness of our reform purpose, I have myself assumed Constitutional responsibility for Lands. Day to day oversight has been given to Minister of State Doctor Carla Barnett. And her competence, managerial and technical experience plus reputation for honesty, make her absolutely the right choice. (Applause) Results have already been forthcoming both by way of additional human and financial resources for the Department, and by way of new legislative and administrative measures. Matters have been moving and over a thousand National Estate instruments have been signed by Doctor Barnett. The ministry therefore expects to have its entire backlog completely cleared by year’s end. In other words, when things go wrong, this Government takes action. (Applause) When things go wrong, this government takes action, and the difference with the past is clear.”


P.M. Barrow covered a number of other social justice and anti-corruption issues in his address, from marijuana to oil, UNCAC to the Integrity Commission.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Support for PAC Expansion and Lands Reformation”

  1. Rod says:

    Hip hip hurray for this corrupt pm and gov.

  2. carlos says:

    What will you do about the land grab by the Vega family? This is what the people want to know.

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