Mayor says CCC used to be fa­mous only for R&C!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Ac­cord­ing to ru­mours per­sis­tent in some op­po­si­tion quar­ters, Sen­a­tor For­tuna Bel­rose was not al­to­gether happy with the op­er­a­tions of the Cas­tries City Coun­cil headed by the mayor Mr. Petersen Fran­cis. A let­ter in cir­cu­la­tion in­di­cated a re­view had been un­der­way since July 18, to look into cer­tain as­pects of the coun­cil’s man­age­ment.

But on Mon­day the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment’s PS, Don­a­van Wil­liams, told the me­dia: “I know when­ever the word ‘au­dit’ gets bandied about, per­sons tend to think there must be some wrong­do­ings. But it’s re­ally about as­sess­ing pro­ce­dures, poli­cies, mak­ing sure that the dic­tates of the Act are be­ing car­ried out con­sis­tently. From our stand­point, it’s a very rou­tine thing.”

Wil­liams also em­pha­sized that there is noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant about the tim­ing of the sched­uled au­dit ex­cept that the ten­ure of a new board at the CCC is about to be­gin. He added: “This is rou­tine, as far as the depart­ment is con­cerned. I think the tim­ing is op­por­tune; we’re at the end of the ten­ure and if we want to move for­ward with a new ten­ure it’s im­por­tant that we learn les­sons.”

Wil­liams went on to sug­gest that if Saint Lu­cia in­tends to re­form the sys­tem of lo­cal gov­ern­ment then all con­stituency coun­cils will have to be sub­jected to au­dits.

Mayor Petersen was Rick Wayne’s guest on He said: “The CCC was pre­vi­ously known mainly for two things—R&C.” The host asked him to ex­plain, and Fran­cis said: “Rub­bish and cor­rup­tion. Be­cause of that rep­u­ta­tion, I had lit­tle choice but to at­tempt to re­brand the CCC. I am quite happy that I’ve been able to do that after just one year.”

Re­gard­less of the re­sults of the au­dit, one thing is cer­tain: gen­er­ally Mayor Peterson Fran­cis is con­sid­ered to have done an ef­fi­cient job in his ten­ure. Wil­liams made sure to say, “We have seen a lot of very good work be­ing un­der­taken by the CCC and the mayor. I think the con­stituents of Cas­tries them­selves are very quick to tell us that as well. We are cer­tainly very pleased with their per­for­mance.”

There are a few ar­eas that the depart­ment of lo­cal gov­ern­ment might still want to en­hance. Wil­liams said, “This as­sess­ment will give us an op­por­tu­nity to work on that.”

But by Mayor Fran­cis’ books the gov­ern­ment may just end up tak­ing a few pages from it in­stead. When asked if the gov­ern­ment can learn any­thing from how CCC is op­er­ated, Fran­cis said, “Many les­sons. Prob­a­bly the gov­ern­ment will learn how to get things done. The re­view will show the suc­cess of what we are do­ing at CCC, so I wel­come the re­view.”

As to why an in­de­pen­dent au­dit was com­mis­sioned for the CCC as op­posed to the gov­ern­ment’s own sys­tem of au­dit­ing, Wil­liams said, “It is the gov­ern­ment au­dit depart­ment but it has de­mands placed on it by so many other en­ti­ties, and par­tic­u­larly when you’re talk­ing about statu­tory or­gan­i­sa­tions it is prob­a­bly bet­ter to go the route of an in­de­pen­dent au­dit.”

---Clau­dia Elei­box

Mayor Peterson Fran­cis has been widely com­mended for his re­brand­ing of the Cas­tries City Coun­cil and for his work in clean­ing up the city.

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