Phillips wants Finance Ministry to take control of JUTC

Mikael Phillips
Opposition Spokesman on Transport Mikael Phillips wants the Ministry of Finance to take control of the JUTC.
Mr. Phillips said this will ensure there is no further waste of taxpayers' money. 
The opposition spokesman, who was speaking Thursday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, argued that the performance audit of the JUTC by the Auditor General has confirmed the shortcomings which have been highlighted over the years at the entity. 
The audit report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, reported several weaknesses in the Transport Ministry's accountability standards and guidelines in relation to the bus company.
"So the recommendation is just for them (the Finance Ministry) to step in, to work with management to help to rationalise since the Ministry of Transport is incapable of doing it," he suggested.   
Mr. Phillips argued that the aim of the quick takeover would be to "act swiftly in ensuring that the JUTC doesn't die in a short while" rather than to "sit down and wait for another six months that the PAC sits and go (sic) through the report."
Among other things, the report stated that breaches identified by the Risk Manager and recommendations of the Internal Auditor were either ignored or not adequately addressed, and this added to the losses.
Mr. Phillips said many of the problems have been in the public domain for a long time but were not adequately handled.
He recalled that former Transport Minister Mike Henry had also spoken on the issue of the JUTC being overstaffed and had promised to do an analysis of the situation. 
"We haven't see the light of day of that report and persons are still being employed at the same levels (from) up to three years ago when he made that statement," Mr. Phillips lamented.  

The audit also revealed that human resource and administrative breaches resulted in the JUTC hiring unapproved staff at an accumulated cost of $1.15  billion between 2014 and 2019.
Mr. Phillips said with the audit findings now public, the government will have no choice but to fix the problems at the JUTC. 
Faced with criticism that some of the breaches at the JUTC occurred while the People's National Party was in office, Mr. Philips admitted that there were challenges but argued that "at least you saw a policy in moving forward and it wouldn't have happened overnight of repairing the breaches that were at the JUTC. It was not perfect, but what we're seeing now is that there has been no policy at all." 

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