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‘Labour Ministers are doing themselves no favours by keeping quiet’

October 18, 2012 7:42 PM

Peter Black, Shadow Minister for Equalities, has hit out at Welsh Labour Government Ministers for refusing to speak to the media following the release of the Wales Audit Office's report into the relationship between the Government and the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association (AWEMA).

Peter Black AM commented:

"It is astonishing that Welsh Labour Government Ministers can display such contempt for the people of Wales by refusing to actually speak out about this report. Ultimately the buck has to stop with elected Ministers, especially after two successive reports in 2003 and 2007 draw problems to their attention, but none of them will take responsibility.

"Labour Ministers have refused every opportunity presented to them to clarify why they decided to disregard advice about serious financial and managerial problems at AWEMA. In spite of intense public and media interest, Ministers seem to think that they can wriggle out of being held to account.

"Labour have repeatedly hidden behind various reports as an excuse not to comment. Assembly Members have still have not received a written statement from a single Government Minister since this report was released. The people of Wales deserve answers as to why over £7 million was thrown at an organisation that was clearly playing fast and lose with public money and why we now look like we have to write off half a million pounds.

"The report states that no evidence of undue political influence was found, despite there being senior members of the Labour Party at the top of that organisation. I am happy to accept that, but this conclusion does not excuse Ministers of political responsibility for this mess."