Our lead story highlighting Caymanâ€™s Auditor Generalâ€™s latest report contains the phrase Government has â€ślack of sound financial practicesâ€ť. That phrase sounds familiar doesnâ€™t it? The words â€śsound financial practiceâ€ť has been hammered home time and again not only by the present Auditor General, Alastair Swarbrick, but also by his predecessor, the much maligned Dan Duguay.Â Those same words have been used by the Governor, HE Duncan Taylor and by Henry Bellingham from the UKâ€™s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
One would have hoped that somehow someone in Government would actually have looked up the meaning and PUT THEM IN PLACE!
â€śWe found good practices used in the building of the Government Administration Building,â€ť Swarbrick said on Thursday (5) as his report was revealed to the public. â€śThe government may wish to consider these for standard practice for the management of all future major capital projects.â€ť
So there is hope.
It is incredulous that government did not employ an experienced project manager on the high school projects. Perhaps they thought they would save money on his salary? But the result, even larger sums of money were wasted and worse still, politicians with little knowledge of building contracts and/or construction got involved in the conceptual design stage.
He scathingly said, â€śthat the significant gaps and weaknesses in how Government manages its spending for major capital projects contributes to a waste of scarce resources and a lack of accountability for public expenditures.â€ť
Is the premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush, going to congratulate Mr. Swarbrick for pointing out the good and highlighting the bad? We already know the answer to that question. He called Dan Duguay a â€śhit manâ€ť and he repeated this disgraceful title to Swarbrick.
I received an email urging me to go to another media site and read something. I reluctantly did. In a letter, I fervently wished he had also written to iNews Cayman, Mr. Duguay on the CNS web site said, â€śMr Swarbrick and his Office are not hitmen. Yes, they say things that are difficult on the government of the day but it is not personal. I am sure that people will remember that the Office was often critical of government when the present opposition was in power. In fact, they didnâ€™t always like our reports then either. The simple truth is the Office of the Auditor General is not political but it does report when it finds areas of poor value for money or poor accountability.â€ť
It is astonishing that UDP MLA, Rolston Anglin, Minister for Education, hasnâ€™t told Mr. Bush what the job of an auditor is. Didnâ€™t he work for an audit firm some years ago?
Duguay finally said, â€śplease remember that an AG can only audit what is given to him or her. During the time I was there, the financial statements submitted were of very poor quality. From what I have read, that continues still. I think Mr. Swarbrick and his staff are doing a great job under very difficult conditions. I think they deserve all the support that we can give them.â€ť
And now I have to praise most of the blogs who commented on the Duguay letter. I agreed with nearly all of them. John Evans, Roger Corbin and Chris Johnson, to name a few.
If you havenâ€™t done so I urge you to read Duguayâ€™s whole letter and yes, (oh my God, am I really saying this?) the blogs.
The link is: