The Region Six Administration had reportedly spent $2 million in seven days to transport school children from the region to Georgetown for rehearsals and Independence Day flag-raising ceremony.
This disclosure was made to the Region Six RDC by Zamal Hussain, a member of the Regional Tender Board (RTB), who explained that the Board was made aware of this huge sum spent only after the money had already been spent.
A document seen by this publication indicated that two million and eighty thousand dollars ($2,080,000) were paid a particular person for transporting children from Berbice High School to Georgetown between May 17 and 24.
The funds came from the Education Department’s budget, and were not budgeted for when the 2018 budget was prepared.
The RTB’s Hussain said he enquired from the Regional Educational Officer about the spending, and was told that it is a policy of the Education Ministry to have Cadet Corps attend training in Georgetown for the Independence celebrations.
“We at the Education Committee did not see anything in writing. I am puzzled to find out how we can get the Minister of Education to direct the Region to spend $2 million to hire buses to take students to Georgetown,” Hussain said.
Regional Chairman David Armogan advised that the Education Minister should write the regional administration to justify the $2 million spending. “So that we know that it is done by an instruction of the Minister of Education, and not by discretion excised by anyone in the (Region 6) Administration.”
Also commenting on the issue, Regional Vice Chairman Dennis De Roop questioned the process of hiring the buses. He noted that a large sum of money has been expended, and opined that even if the administration had to hire buses, the process should be transparent.
“How many buses were hired, and what is the cost? A proper procurement transaction should have been carried out. They should have gotten quotations, and all that paperwork should have been done before the activity. You can’t utilise the buses and do the business and then after bring the documents to the Tender Board,” DeRoop noted.