The debate continues to rage on over ownership of computers and furniture to equip Grenada’s 15 offices for elected members of Parliament.
Current Clerk of Parliament, Andrew Augustine was approached by THE NEW TODAY to comment on claims allegedly made by a private company contracted by the defeated Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration that those items belonged to it and not the State.
“A lot of what happened in the past I could only go by what the Service Provider had as a list of available assets,” said Augustine.
“I don’t know when it was transferred whether there was an assessment done and what the nature of the assessment was,” he added.
According to Augustine, he does not have any “prior knowledge” of the issue to make an informed decision on it.
“I can’t tell you what belongs to Parliament, what didn’t belong to Parliament so am not in a position to make a determination. I have my own opinion but without the facts I can’t really state that this is categorically the case,” he said.
The former government took away the responsibility of looking after the 15 constituency offices of MP’s from Parliament during the 2018-2022 period and placed it under the Office of the Prime Minister then occupied by Dr. Keith Mitchell who then awarded a contract to CJs’ which is run by an individual from his St George North-west constituency.
The then Opposition Leader Tobias Clement had slammed the move as another clear sign of the growing dictatorial tendencies of Dr. Mitchell to control the budget allocation for MPs in Parliament in violation of the Separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature.
According to Augustine, what he knows is that some offices of Parliamentarians definitely had more furniture than others but he did not know who owned them.
He said he believes that all offices should be treated equally when it comes to equipping them with furniture and other items in order to carry out their responsibilities to their constituents.
The Clerk told THE NEW TODAY that based on the contract awarded to CJs, he could not say whether the State had provided any of the funds to the Service Provider to purchase the furniture for the 15 offices.
The incoming National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has terminated the contract awarded to CJs.
A government insider said that following the June 23 elections, a number of furniture were removed from the offices of the previous Parliamentarians especially in St. David.
He cited a case on the sister isle of Carriacou in which the outgoing MP, former Legal Affairs Minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart was laying claim to a piece of furniture in the office but was told it would only be handed over to her on presentation of a receipt to show clear ownership.