October 20, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Progress but still not good enough and why so few releases to public?

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Colin WilsonwebIn iNews Cayman’s story on October 30th “Aud. Gen. reports progress towards more timely reporting” Cayman’s Auditor General, Alastair Swarbrick, said government and associated authorities are doing a better job of turning in financial statements with quality data.

However he also said, “There continues to be a number of entities where challenges still exist to moving forward the timeliness of financial reporting.”

Although 29 of the 41 financial statements compiled for the Cayman Islands government’s 2011/12 fiscal year, including statements for both central government entities and statutory authorities and government companies, have been completed and audited, only 12 have been made public by tabling them in the Legislative Assembly!

So why the delay in the release of these documents?

Is it because these authorities don’t really want us to know what has been going on and where our hard earned cash has been used?

“The final step in ensuring the accountability and transparency of the public finances is through the tabling of the annual reports … in the Legislative Assembly,” Swarbrick wrote in a 2012 report on financial statements. “Accountability delayed is accountability denied.”

When McKeeva Bush was premier, the government entities had a friend they could hide behind. He disliked Auditor Generals – well the last one, Dan Duguay, who he was instrumental in his contract not being renewed, and especially his replacement Alastair Swarbrick. He thought he’d got rid of a bear only to find he now had a tiger in his path.

And government bodies have all had a timely wake-up call.

I only hope the new Progressives’ government will back up the Auditor General. With the new governor, HE Mrs. Helen Kilpatrick, having a financial background to boot, I think transparency will herald a new beginning for all of us.

That is unless there is anything the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London do not want us to know about. But even that is for our own good, isn’t it?

In the mean time there is progress but it is still not good enough.

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