GROS ISLET, St Lucia — The 65th Meeting of the Organisation of Easter Caribbean States (OECS) Authority endorsed the implementation of an audit committee, established by the OECS Commission, to provide unbiased and objective oversight to stakeholders – a requirement for many development partners to gain funding, such as the European Union and the Green Climate Fund.
The terms of reference for the new initiative were signed by incoming chairman of the OECS Authority, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, on June 19, 2018 in Saint Lucia. Gonsalves noted with earnest the importance of such a committee to the organisational apparatus of the OECS.
Director general of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules, echoed these sentiments confirming that the committee would be critical in attesting to the financial rectitude of the Commission.
“The establishment of the Audit Committee is a key governance initiative as we prepare to submit the Commission to the EU pillars assessment. A clean bill of health in terms of our financial, procurement, and governance systems would allow us more flexibility in our operations to manage EU grant support and also with respect to the receipt of funding from other sources of international support,” Jules added.
The Audit Committee has appointed Yvonne James, director of audit (ag) in Saint Lucia, as chairman. Chairmanship rotates alphabetically among the member states in accordance with the OECS Authority chairmanship.
Current members of the OECS Audit Committee include:
Dean Evanson, Director of Audit, Antigua and Barbuda;
Andrew Gumbs, Director of Audit, Anguilla;
Dahalia Sealey, Director of Audit, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines;
Yvonne James, Director of Audit (Ag), Saint Lucia; and
Anya Whitfield, Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce
James commended the OECS on the establishment of the committee.
“The tremendous effort in ensuring that such a comprehensive terms of reference has been adopted speaks to the commitment of the director general and the team to efficient monitoring, good corporate governance, oversight, accountability and transparency.
“We must now work together in order to achieve our objectives. The Finance, Procurement, Human Resource, Legal teams and Program managers are all integral to the success of this endeavour,” James noted.
Internal auditor at the OECS Commission, Mauricia Carr, also welcomed the initiative as the Commission seeks to be accountable and transparent in the management of public and donor funded resources to its member states and development partners.