PNM Tobago Council political chief Tracy Davidson-Celestine says the findings of an audit into the finances of the Community Products and services Affiliation (PSA) supply proof that its president Watson Duke really should not be viewed as to hold a portfolio within the Tobago Residence of Assembly (THA).
The audit, which was purchased by the Superior Court in January 2020 for the a long time 2014 and 2015, was accomplished by chartered accountants E Augustus Alexander and Co and claimed on in a Guardian post previous Sunday.
It revealed questionable economical tactics in the PSA’s functions, which includes overspending that exceeded the PSA’s profits by $6.3 million in the last four a long time, questionable procurement techniques and a higher frequency of reimbursements to Duke, among other discrepancies.
Duke, who is also political chief of the Progressive Democratic Patriots and the party’s applicant for Roxborough/Argyle in the December 6 THA election, has not however spoken out on the conclusions of the audit.
Talking for the duration of a walkabout in the Persistence Hill/Signal Hill electoral district, which she is contesting in the future election, Davidson-Celestine reported, “The individuals of Tobago seriously need to talk to on their own if they can support a Watson Duke, primarily when we have viewed how Watson has managed the affairs of the PSA.”
She included, “If you ended up to examine that posting in the newspaper, it offers you a crystal clear picture and indication of what has transpired about the final decades in conditions of the leadership of this individual, who is now placing ahead himself to be secretary of finance and the economic system in this place referred to as the Tobago Household of Assembly.
“And so, for me, the individuals have to question themselves, ‘Do we trust the leadership of Watson Duke? And, additional so, can we trust the management of Farley Augustine, who is the deputy political leader of the party as very well? For me, the upholder is even worse than the thief.”
Davidson-Celestine scoffed at a social deal the PDP’s candidates signed in advance of the election promising accountability and transparency.
“What we viewing as well is Farley hiding Watson Duke in the candidates of the PDP and articulating that they have a specific contract that will speak in the direction of integrity, honesty and individuals of great character.
“But when you glance back again at what has took place inside the PSA, you will certainly see that all those items that they are hoping to put out there in the public domain to mamaguy the people today of Tobago, it is in fact not going to take place.”
In an earlier assertion, the PNM’s Tobago Council alluded to the “not-so-startling” allegations of fiscal impropriety within just the PSA.
“The audit of the General public Services Association’s funds was requested by the Large Court in January 2020 soon after former PSA common council associates, who served through the economic decades 2014 and 2015, accused Duke of bypassing the union’s constitution by producing fiscal choices with out month-to-month general council meetings, fiscal committee meetings, or the once-a-year convention of delegates.
The Tobago Council reported Duke was at the centre of controversy following acquiring around $521,000 in pension payments from the PSA, when he promised to resign as president in 2019.
It recalled Duke reneged on his promise and contested and won the PSA election in December 2020.
The PSA has extra than 80,000 users, from extra than 100 organisations, with about $26 million in described belongings.
The Tobago Council quoted excerpts of the audit report, which explained, “Continued deficits will adversely have an affect on the liquidity position of the affiliation, negatively impacting its capability to discharge its obligations to lenders and in the end, the ongoing functions of the association.”
It asked, “The question Tobagonians ought to ask by themselves is, hence, really easy. ‘Do they want to hazard placing an personal like Duke in charge of $4 billion of their island’s revenue?”