iLocal News Archives

The Editor Speaks: How much longer will we put up with the damning reports from Aud. Gen.?

Colin WilsonwebCayman Islands Auditor General, Alastair Swarbrick, has produced five more reports (see iNews Cayman story published January 22 2014 “Aud Gen announces five reports on Cayman governance” at: saying “our audit work found, however, that the implementation of the laws falls short or are overridden creating significant risks for government operations.”

He noted the following areas that require improvement:

•          Compliance – significant weaknesses with the implementation of policies and practices

•          Complexity – some areas of the governance framework are too complex to implement effectively

•          Achieving results – the governance framework focuses too much on activities and not the achievement of results

•          Roles and responsibilities – the governance framework is not always well understood by the people who are involved in its implementation and management

•          Ethics and values – government has not done enough to embed the necessary ethics and values in its decision making processes

•          SAGC accountability – the arrangements to hold SAGCs to account are weak and core government is challenged to hold these entities to account

•          SAGC governance – policies and practices in SAGCs have significant weaknesses and gaps leading to risks of poor performance and poor value for money

Swarbrick has been complaining about all of this ever since he arrived in Cayman four years ago. The only improvement is that the civil service reports have been presented more quickly.

For doing his job the Aud. Gen. has had to put up with verbal abuse from the United Democratic Party Government and in particular ex-Premier McKeeva Bush, but this time there is thank goodness a change.

At a press conference on Wednesday (22) immediately after Swarbrick gave his five reports, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson (who is responsible for the Civil Service) met with members of the press to discuss them.

Both of them agreed there were shortcomings and outlined steps that government is making to address the continuing problems.

“I know that for many people it seems that the government and the auditor general are always in opposition to each other and in the past response to the reports has left something to be desired,” McLaughlin said.

He said he wanted to send a clear message that what the auditor general found in his reports would be taken seriously. His government was committed to bringing genuine accountability and to drive down costs even though this would not happen overnight. He warned that if it didn’t happen there would be consequences. If civil service posts were not achieving government objectives then the jobs or holders would have to go, he said.


The Deputy Governor outlined a list of actions that had been or were being implemented.

He mentioned training board members in government companies, more reviews of the Public Finance Management Law, the possibility of divesting some government functions, in order to improve compliance, accountability and good governance, the Standards in Public Life Law that would be tabled in the Legislative Assembly at its next session, and a public authority law.

He said he couldn’t explain why change took so long.

I can. When there is no urgency for improvement coming from the top – the government of the day – and the Aud. Gen. being ridiculed and chastised, it affects the civil servants mentality as to going to all the trouble to implement change.

It is very understandable for them to say, “Why bother, if it doesn’t matter to the government why should I?”

Manderson, however, has publicly acknowledged that now there was a new administration and under the leadership of the premier both sides of government were committed to “making things happen”.

We shall wait and see.

But it is now time out for how much longer we will put up with anymore damning reports from Aud. Gen.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *