The retirement age of the Director of Audit is to be adjusted from 55 to 60 years, to bring it in line with the rest of the Public Service.
The adjustment was facilitated by an amendment to the Audit Act passed in the House of Assembly on Thursday 10th October, 2019.
According to Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves who tabled the amendment, Parliament can change it, but the current occupant of the post can either say, “Well, I accept that change as it relates to me or it has to apply to the person who comes after me.”
The amendment was supported by the Opposition although Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday raised concerns about the independence of the Director of Audit’s office, as it relates to its role in the accountability process in the Government.
Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves responding to the concerns of the Leader of the Opposition noted, that, “No Government in the history of this country has been as protective of the independence of the office of the Director of Audit and provided the Director of Audit with all the resources that the Director has ever asked for.”
He assured the House that the independence of the Audit office will be maintained.
The post of Director of Audit is enshrined in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Constitution under Section 82.10.
The amendment passed affects Chapter 245 of the Audit Act.
My worry would be to the question why do the want to keep the current auditor for another five years. The idea why it was kept to a short time in the constitution was to ensure that fresh people looked at the accounts with a fresh mind and outlook. Much less chance of someone being corrupted by the government.
Any changes to anything that this government brings forward should be viewed with deep suspicion, any law, any rule. Look how removing the PACE Act has allowed the police to beat people they arrest into making false statements. It is common practice to brutalise people in the interview room or police cells, they frequently appear in court with black eyes and mangled faces. That’s only the ones they beat with clenched fists, those that suffer the rubber pipe about the body are never seen in court. The Magistrate should ask every prisoner to lift there shirt.