September 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: PAC will meet to discuss Aud.G’s reports

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I was gratified to hear that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will be meeting today (13) to examine the three latest reports from the Auditor General (Aud.G), Alistair Swarbrick.

Moses Kirkconnell, chairman of PAC, said he has called a meeting of the specialist legislative committee to discuss the reports. These are

a)    unlawful spending on paving private parking lots in Cayman Brac

b)    CINICO’s wasted money

c)     Failure of some government departments to address their fuel card system

The private parking lots on Cayman Brac paved with money from the public purse is the most damaging as it involves the Deputy Premier, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. She ordered the paving of car parks on commercial profit making businesses and refused to take payment from some of the businesses that had offered it for the work executed.

Out of the $3 million the Legislative Assembly had approved for spending on paving Cayman Brac’s PUBLIC ROADS, $521,090 was unlawfully spent on the private CAR PARKS.

The deputy premier has refused to comment on Mr. Swarbrick’s report and has wisely sought legal advice.

However, she is also to some lesser extent involved in the abuse and the mitigation of abuse in the government fuel card system.

Swarbrick said his audit team had examined how much government had learned from the internal audit unit’s findings in 2010 about the poor management and risks associated with the government’s fuel card system. He found that there had been some improvements but ten top government departments had learned very little and therefore public monies were still at risk. Three of these were Public Works, the Water Authority and the National Roads Authority. All departments Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is responsible for!!

CINICO, the government’s health insurance company, should be the lesser of the problems as it is now under a new management structure and it had acknowledged the Aud.G’s findings, namely: managers appointing case management firms without the company or board’s knowledge to a paucity of documents to show how CINICO manages overseas cases.

Swarbrick’s report pointed out that $30 million of public money was at risk every year.

It is interesting to me that our Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush, who ravaged Swarbick’s predecessor, Dan Duguay, saying he was incompetent amongst other things, because he published the government’s irregularities (and lost his job for his pains), and then tried the same tactic with Swarbrick when he first took up the post and he, too, publicly spoke out, is keeping quiet these days.

Maybe its because Governor, Duncan Taylor, took exception to Bush’s comments and publically condemned them? This is something poor Duguay didn’t get from then Governor Stuart Jack. He was left out for the slaughter, hung and dried. I really feel sorry for him.

Back to Mr. Bush.

With all the hoopla over Bush’s castigation of Governor Taylor and his use of the word “insidious”, appallingly directed at the Cayman Islands most important man who represents Her Majesty, plus the three police investigations he is under, it is a lot for him to worry about at the moment. Even the UK’s Commonwealth and Foreign Office rebuked our premier and questions about it reached the House of Lords!!!!

Yes. It must be painful for Mr. Bush to be silent. Who was it who said, “Silence is Golden”? There was a pop song some years ago that I used to hum. Perhaps he downloaded it on iTunes? Perhaps he has learnt it is not always a good idea to come out firing from both barrels when your ammunition you are using is damp at the best.

Let’s hope PAC packs a punch and the Aud. G’s report doesn’t get swept under the government respective carpets.

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