If he had just a remote and a sliver of an interest in securing the truth about the financial administration of Urban Renewal, he would have invited the accountable officer, that is, the Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry which is the Permanent Secretary who follows the letter of the Financial Administration and Audit Act in executing the daily fiduciary affairs of Urban Renewal. The Permanent Secretary is the statute authority.
So there are no “unanswered questions” as Chipman is suggesting in the media, he simply refused to look in the right places to get the correct answers because he has absolutely no interest in the truth. His intent apparently is to mislead the public and promote ignorance in the public domain and in so doing, make a total mockery of the instrument of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
So the limited fiscal authority of the co-chairs of $10,000 is no surprise and is public knowledge. And why is Chipman even talking to the co-chairs about money when the laws of the country are very clear.
Urban Renewal is a government program like many others and funded from the public treasury like all other government programs and with donations. The Bahamas constitution empowers the cabinet to create programs and policies for the good governance of the country so to say explicitly that Urban Renewal has no legal basis is asinine and ignorant.
In terms of the structure and function of Urban Renewal, New Providence and Grand Bahama were divided into separate operational districts for practical reasons in the delivery of public services to Bahamians in need of them. Some Family Islands fall within the supervision of Grand Bahama and some fall under the supervision of New Providence. What is wrong with that?
The Urban Renewal Foundation was established, separate and apart from the central government, in the interest of transparency and accountability in governance; the question of influence peddling should not arise in its fundraising function. The Urban Renewal foundation should not be within Urban Renewal proper for very good reasons. The rationale behind its establishment and how it functions are matters of public record.
These explanations are necessary because the apparent intent of Mr. Chipman is to promote dumbness and ignorance in the public domain and the public is getting nowhere in being educated about how the $30 million to Urban Renewal was allocated to fund its 41 programs and 9 projects.
Chipman has abused his committee chairmanship and botched the administration of the PAC as it is intended in law for the very start. Everything he said to the media that he claimed was a surprise or “interesting” was public knowledge.
Chipman is reminded that the intent of the statutory Public Accounts Committee is to promote accountability and transparency in the governance of our country, not to be used as some witch hunt tool to further the selfish and narrow political agenda of Mr. Chipman and the FNM.