Sun | Feb 19, 2017

Shaw repeats BSJ audit call

Published:Sunday | December 14, 2014 | 12:01 AM

Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw yesterday repeated his call for the auditor general to carry out an urgent performance audit of the operations of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).

According to Shaw, this is necessary given the inadequate responses provided by the minister of industry and commerce, the managing director of the BSJ, and the chairman of the BSJ.

"In all their responses, they have carefully avoided the specific issues that I mentioned in Parliament, including a serious shortage of qualified technicians and inspectors to adequately discharge the full mandate of the BSJ, as well as the inactive status of the non-metallic laboratory leading to critical products not being tested, including textiles, plastics, toys, shoes, matches, and car batteries, among other things," said Shaw.

"Instead of dealing with the serious issues, the minister appeared more concerned about reputational damage, while ignoring the larger issue of public safety, which I raised in Parliament. And while the managing director made a cryptic admission that the BSJ was facing a challenge with 'some staffing issues', the chairman of the BSJ erroneously and disrespectfully implied on national television that the auditor general is not qualified to audit the BSJ due to the technical nature of its work.

"The chairman ought to know that the auditor general and her staff don't have to be technical experts to determine whether the agency is performing in accordance with its stated mandate and to ascertain whether the $500 million in annual standard compliance fees being paid by importers are being expended for the purposes for which they were intended," said Shaw.

The opposition spokesman argued that the auditor general has an "urgent statutory duty to carry out the performance audit at the BSJ in the interest of public safety".