President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Coretta McDonald has told this publication that the union is preparing to defend recent allegations of its accounts being in disarray for over three decades.
At his Thursday press conference, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, highlighted the union’s lack of financial transparency, emphasizing that the GTU’s accounts have not undergone a comprehensive audit since 1989. He said this raises questions about the management of deductions collected from teachers’ salaries.
Following his revelation, both the Audit Office of Guyana and the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority came forward yesterday to substantiate the claims made by Jagdeo. The Audit Office confirmed that indeed the last financial statement submitted by the GTU for audit was in 1989.
Similarly, the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority clarified that the GTU has not filed required annual returns since March 2005 for the year ending December 31st, 2004, as mandated by law.
When contacted by this publication for a response on the matter, McDonald noted that the union’s treasurer is currently gathering all necessary documentation and it intends to issue a statement addressing the claims.
She said it would be unwise to offer any comments without first gathering all necessary information. The GTU head she wants to avoid providing any inaccurate information.
The lack of repercussions faced by the GTU for its poor financial track record has raised broader questions about accountability and oversight of other public institutions. As educators continue to voice concerns over working conditions and remuneration, the integrity of their representative body remains in question, casting a shadow over efforts to improve the education system in Guyana.
What is more interesting however, is how the government of Guyana will proceed to address the situation now that two bodies have come forth to confirm that the union has not been financially transparent in over three decades.