January 24, 2022

The Editor Speaks: Is a red face the best we can get?

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Colin WilsonwebCayman Islands Financial Secretary, Kenneth Jefferson, who has just been appointed to the post of Chief Officer in the Finance Ministry, said there was no specified remedies against chief officers or financial officers who fail to meet their obligations under the public management and finance law, apart from a red face!

Speaking to the public accounts committee earlier this month, Jefferson told them, “The penalty would come in the form of embarrassment to the minister or the chief officer when it is publicly known that there is non-compliance. That is the penalty.”

However, he said, the Deputy Governor “would take a stern look” when it comes to their [the chief officers] performance.

I hope the Deputy Governor would also have a red face, with anger!

I suspect if a remedy is found it would be to remove the officers from their post, place them on required indefinite leave and pay them in full for doing nothing, whilst they take another job in the private sector.

George Town MLA Winston Connolly was not amused and said the poor performance of these officers without any accountability whatsoever was a waste of public money because of bad management and poor decisions.

The Deputy Financial Secretary, Michael Nixon, said people falling short in their jobs could be dealt with under the Public Management Finance Law.

I hope the ‘could’ means they WILL be, although what the penalty is under the management law he didn’t state.

North Side Ezzard Miller also said there were remedies under the Public Management Finance Law. He also didn’t say what they were.

If there are any I don’t remember any being enforced except Chief Officers being placed on leave for years at the whim of an incoming new government after an election.

It is TEN years since any government has produced an annual report that meets international standards and I didn’t see any red faces during that time. That also coincided when the Public Management Finance Law was introduced.

It doesn’t give me much hope there that there will be any likelihood of a remedy there. TEN years….?

I have heard that beetroot has never been served in the Civil Service canteen but will be on the menu now – compulsory for some members.


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