Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has described the leaking of a $25,000 invoice by Dr Winford James for editing services provided on the THA budget presentation as “hypocrisy, and strong bad mind.”
He made the comment as he defended the payment at the THA’s post-Executive Council Meeting yesterday.
Augustine said the invoice was circulated in the media “as if something nefarious happened.”
Instead, he said it was standard practice across divisions and ministries.
The invoice stated Dr James was charging for “Editing of Budget Statement for 2023.”
“That is for language editing skills, because this is now going to become an official government document, it can’t be a case where I sit and edit it and you end up with some green verbs in there,” Augustine said.
He said it is a service the division will not need throughout the year, so instead of having someone retained on staff the THA pays as the need arises.
Augustine also revealed that in 2020 they received two invoices - one for $12,425 and for $23,850. He added that in 2021, there was another invoice for $33,750.
“So you will see that it’s very consistent, that this division, as with any Division of Finance, has to outsource this kind of editing, from time to time, the outsourcing will happen for budgets, the outsourcing will happen, if you have to do media review documents, the outsourcing will happen if it is we have to have economic plans done.”