Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Serious about accountability

Published:Wednesday | October 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: Further to the column, 'A failure of Accountability', by A.C Countz, the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) wishes to point out that we responded to a request from your librarian to submit documents related the agency's management of the functions as per your request - 'to support a weekly column on entities who receive public funding, who are fully or partially owned by the Government of Jamaica'.

Among the documents requested were the agency's last audited financial statements, the last three annual reports, management accounts up to December 2013 and a list of directors and management team.

The agency complied with this request and submitted our last audited financial statements/annual report (2007-8), along with the list of the advisory board directors and Management Team.

Some documents requested were not sent because of the following:

The management accounts up to December 2013 were not sent as, until these accounts are audited, the agency is not at liberty to disclose its financial information to the public. All management accounts are up to date and the agency is in full compliance with the Financial Instructions to Executive Agencies (FIEA).

All annual reports for all financial years have been prepared by the agency and are sent to the relevant parties (minister, auditor general, Ministry of Finance). These cannot be sent publicly until the financial statements are audited.

Additionally, the agency is required by the FIEA to submit a quarterly performance report to the Ministry of Finance and the auditor general, which includes a report on its performance as an agency, in addition to the financial statements up to the quarter being submitted. This agency is in compliance of this requirement.

The auditor general has been working with the Agency to ensure that all accounts are up-to-date, and the audit of the 2008-9 fieldwork is almost complete and the agency is awaiting certification of that financial year's accounts so the other years can also be worked on.

PICA takes its role as a an executive agency accountable to the people very seriously, and we are deeply disappointed that The Gleaner published an article in a manner to give the impression that the agency and its advisory board do not account, in any way, for the funds that have been entrusted to it.

Additionally, the agency was not asked to clarify any misunderstandings prior to the article being published.

We also wish to point out that the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Ministry of National Security, are aware of the agency's challenges with the audited financial statements, as well as the work that the agency is doing to bring its audited accounts up to date.

Jennifer McDonald

Chief Executive Officer,