CGT not performing its duties towards hamlets

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I will talk about what has happened in Clyde River.

I have never worked for the Hamlet, but I have been a member of the council and I have also been a member of the commitees and boards both at the territorial and local level. I have lived in Clyde River all my life and I would like to talk about what I have seen and experienced in the Hamlet. We first started to experience funding problems in 1988.

It was at that time that we saw a significant increase in the population of the community and the financial problems have existed now for 12 years. The funding that was received from the government was no longer adequate and thus the deficit. We had to raise some of the money ourselves and we were able to raise $400,000. The Hamlet has spent about $2 million, which includes what the Hamlet raises. The Hamlet is also given a sum for water works, which is based on the number of households.

Because of the housing shortages, some households are overcrowded with as many as 16 residents per household. That results in a lot of water consumption for such households and the Hamlet did not receive any extra money from the government for such situations.

The hamlet has had to cut salaries from long-time staff members as well as newer staff in some years. The Hamlet also has had to shorten work-days.

What does this mean? Here is what it means. The staff that are responsible for the communities have not been provided with enough support or training. They did not recieve direction or proper budgeting procedures. Sometimes the Hamlet will be given a block funding for certain projects and if they don’t use all the money, the surplus has to be returned to the government, and this has caused further problems for the hamlets. This did not happen, as staff were not familiar with the process.

The Hamlet’s finances are audited every year. If they are showing a deficit, the recommendation will be to lay off staff or shorten their working hours until they show a surplus. These people who do the auditing will receive between $9,000 and $16.000 from the Hamlet even know they kn0w the Hamlet is in a deficit situation. This further increases the deficit.

This is how it becomes a no-win situation as more debts pile up. The staff in the Department of Community Government are not fulfilling their duties, in that they are not providing the municipalities with proper financial management training and how to avoid deficit situations. We need a financial watch-dog for the hamlets to be appointed by the minister so that hamlets don’t go into debt.

We don’t just want to see people who are telling us what we are doing wrong, but to show us what we can do to fix things. The government of Nunavut will have to do better monitoring of the hamlets on a timely basis so they don’t go into such serious situations.

David Iqaqrialu
MLA, Uqqurmiut

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