THE Parliamentary Opposition Group says the response by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) has failed to explain why the National Disaster Management Office (NMDO) submission was not considered by the Government.
In a statement yesterday, the Parliamentary Opposition said the fact that NDMO as the legitimate body was by-passed and funds diverted to MPs instead leaves more questions than answers.
The statement adds that the OPMC response and the action taken by Cabinet is simply a vote of no-confidence in the NDMO.
“Since when have MPs been mandated to manage disaster relief efforts? It is a well-known fact that MPs are not geared up – in terms of manpower, equipment and resources to take charge of disaster relief,” the statement said.
“Obviously Cabinet has been used again as a rubber stamp to approve this diversion of funds. Cabinet would and should know that the only appropriate channel to handle disaster relief is the NDMO.”
The statement added that these funds are most eligible funds for contingency warrants – which NDMO is the legitimate agency to deal with this and is the legitimate agency to manage.
As such the Government also needs to clarify whether the funds are from contingency provisions within the budget or not.
“This is obviously another diversion of funding from legitimate channels to go under MPs’ control. It is sad that Cabinet was led to believe in and endorse yet another example of public funds being misappropriated,” it said.
The Opposition Group said, the statement by the NDMO director Loti Yates in the media on Monday has hit the nail on the issue as the effect of the Cabinet decision has resulted in the halt of operations in all disaster stricken areas.
“These are the consequences and a classic example of trying to cover the basis for misguided and unjustified decisions and payments. Our people will be affected by this,” it said.
Meanwhile, the statement from the Opposition said the Opposition Group strives to play their role as the alternative government and watchdog with responsibility.
“The Opposition is not barking unnecessarily but playing an important role in providing check and balance on the Government of the day on behalf of the people of this country.”