At the top of our newscast, we told you how the discussion went in today’s house sitting as it relates to the Auditor General’s reports. The media met Minister Patrick Faber outside the National Assembly where he granted us an interview on several issues including the reports. According to Faber, he was the one who requested an audit when the two Ministers of State were re-assigned. Faber spoke on why the request was made and he categorically denied Patrick Henry’s allegation that he had received five thousand dollars from him.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education Youth and Sports: “What you saw and what was reflected and as our response that was generated by the current director of the Sports Council points out, that there were many suggestions made even before the release of that audit to our Ministry we were aware of some of these bad practices and in fact there were many efforts, many accomplishments even from right after that point of my taking over the reigns if you will that we put measures in place to correct those things. So I can assure you that what you see in that audit is not the common practice today at the National Sports Council.”
As it relates to the audit of the Julian Cho Technical High School in the Toledo District, Faber says he is still reviewing the report. He also added that it may not be as bad as it seems.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize: “That is one that I have not really delved into in any great detail but from what I’m advised it is not the kind of thing that people purport it to be and so I will reserve my comments and come back at a later time to speak about that. Evidently the people who wanted to raise it in the House this morning they have an agenda and clearly our colleague from Toledo West clearly has an agenda because this is the man who of course is now his opponent and who is giving him a rocky time to be reelected. So he will try to stir the mud and make things seem as bad as they can be but I can assure people that certainly from what I have been privy to it’s not that kind of mess that he would want you to believe and the opposition would want you to believe.”
With the revelations coming out of Julian Cho Technical High School, Education Minister says that all schools should be audited.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize: “But I will say this about all government schools and I will take it further to say even grant aided schools and by that I mean for the sake of your viewers schools that receive the tax payer’s dollars and are owned by either the churches or communities- it is a great deal of not monitoring and watching what goes on with these monies and in fact that is because we put very little into monitoring these schools and their finances once this is done. In fact I will tell you that a move by the Ministry of Education now to ask for financial statements and for these monies to be explained in terms of spending and so on is being rejected big time right now. So while it is that for some good reason the ministry or the Auditor General decided to Audit Julian Cho whatever the issues that arise there are probably very alive in other learning institutions in this country that receive the tax payer’s dollars and it is assigned to me and I’ll make that statement now.”