Auditor General-Finance Minister impasse “an unnecessary, dangerous bacchanal” – PM

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Auditor General-Finance Minister impasse “an unnecessary, dangerous bacchanal” – PM

An “unnecessary, dangerous bacchanal.” 

That’s the way Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley described the imbroglio involving the Auditor General and the Finance Minister.

Rowley, speaking with the media at the Piarco International Airport yesterday said, “I am quite surprised at this development and very disappointed that it would have happened. There is an investigation taking place and I, like everyone else, would want to see what the investigation says because this is not the kind of thing that I anticipated.” 

He added that he was first told of the issue in early March. With decades of parliamentary experience, he said auditor reports are not something that normally “turns the country upside down.” 

“As Prime Minister of the country I don’t take likely a public official, especially one in audit, that says to the rest of the world that the Finance Minister is engaged in backdating the books. That is a very, very serious allegation with far-reaching consequences,” he said. 

He recalled a few years ago an international rating company threatened to downgrade the country after an error was detected and later corrected. He said the body found that the corrected error suggested there was something untoward.  

“You could imagine when the Auditor General is saying to the world that the Minister of Finance has backdated the finances and all kinds of interpretations being put on that alleged action?”  

He said he was forced to look on “helplessly” after learning of the disagreement in March which became public in April. He said throughout the ordeal he had no input in any of it.  

Rowley said a problem required a sane and sober response but instead, it descended into “unnecessary, dangerous bacchanal.”