Mac ousted from PAC

| 16/10/2015 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush

(CNS): The premier told the Legislative Assembly Thursday ahead of the vote to oust the opposition leader from the Public Accounts Committee that his decision in 2013 to nominate Bush for PAC showed poor judgment on his part. Accepting his fate, as government had the votes, McKeeva Bush said the premier was “desperate” to get him out of the way. The opposition leader insisted he had done nothing wrong and launched another attack on the recently departed auditor general, Alastair Swarbrick, calling him a liar.

Premier Alden McLaughlin reminded the LA that the leader of the opposition had consistently made derogatory statements in the press and in the Legislative Assembly about the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), and said this demonstrated his inability to consider the reports and audits with any objectivity.

“Recent actions have convinced us that unless we wanted a dysfunctional PAC and OAG under siege we needed to take action,” the premier stated.

Talking about the creation of the committee after the election, McLaughlin said, “I will agree that it shows an error of judgement on my part to have nominated him as a member of PAC.”

With the PAC now poised to consider the auditor general’s report on the Nation Building Fund, the premier said he was even more concerned that Bush would undermine the work. He said that the former chair, Roy McTaggart, had written to bush asking him to resign but he had ignored the request.

McTaggart, a ministry counsellor for the government, is remaining on the committee but has handed the chairmanship to Ezzard Miller in order to avoid any potential conflict when the PAC considers reports that will focus on the current administration.

“The leader of the opposition has a history of bad blood with the Office of Auditor General, not just the one who just left,” the premier noted.

In 2011 Bush referred to the current acting auditor general, Garnet Harrison, and called the previous auditor, Dan Duguay  “a cowboy”. He also continues to deride Swarbrick and has accused the current government of “brown nosing” the auditor general. Describing Bush’s tirades against the OAG as “paranoid”, as he had often suggested the auditors were deliberately after him, the premier said the attacks on the office had been ratcheted up since he was in opposition.

Premier McLaughlin contrasted his government’s response to the audit findings with that of the opposition leader.

“We welcome the scrutiny of the AG and when he brings things to light, we don’t slag him off but seek to address them,” he said as he pointed to improvements in public finance and project management.

The premier said that with Miller as chair and Bush removed, the committee will be fair and balanced and be able to get on with the work.

“This administration is committed to doing what is right and doing it transparently. This change is evidence of that commitment,” he said as he presented the motion.

Although Bush accepted his fate, he went down fighting. He criticised the PAC for not having an opposition person as chair in the first place and the fact that the backbench members were all counsellors who sometime sat in Cabinet, undermining their credibility. He also called the premier a hypocrite for not voting for Miller to be a member at the time.

Launching more insults on the former auditor general and his staff, including Senior Auditor Martin Ruben, Bush insisted that Swarbrick was a liar and had not told the truth and the deputy governor knew it. He said that, as an elected official, it was his job to tell people what was going on, and claimed that Swarbrick had taken against him because he had made it clear he did not like how the auditor operated because could not tell the truth.

“He did not like me,” Bush said, pointing to his own demands for transparency. “I wanted him to be accountable.”

He said Swarbrick was “no good” and told the Legislative Assembly that he had been forced by lawyers to write an apology to Gene Thompson’s company regarding the things he had said about the Shetty hospital in a recent report.

Denying the bad blood, however, Bush added, “I hate nobody but I can’t take a liar … when someone deliberately doing things to hurt the country. He was doing that.”

Telling the House he planned to bring a motion that would show everyone what had gone on, he said, “That AG office needs to know people will stand up to them. Everything can be improved upon but you going to make out like they are all witless?”

Roy McTaggart said he had written to Bush in June last year as a result of the attacks he had made on Swarbrick.

“Things got to a head last summer after particularly disparaging remarks,” he said, which had made Bush’s position untenable. However, he never received a response from the opposition leader.

Disagreeing with Bush’s criticism of PAC as it would now stand, McTaggart said it reflected the composition of the House.

“My view is that the motion before us is one that is necessary for the smoother operation of the PAC moving forward,” he said. “These reports are not about getting at someone, it’s about identifying problems in the civil service.”

He said the goal of PAC was to make changes and improve things. “We here to help the auditor general not unfairly malign and attack him.”

Bush abstained from the vote on the motion, which was passed before the parliament adjourned Thursday evening.

Premier’s contribution to the Public Accounts Committee debate in the LA, 15 Oct 2015

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. TG says:

    I suppose it is inevitable that Bush should say these things about successive auditors, after all, they have said some stuff about him! But, they are simply reporting on their findings from the records, if he is constantly the subject of their criticism, it is fair for us to assume that there is a reason for it.
    Frankly, silence would be his best option.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Man, not even a simple 2 letter word? Mac really you should have been using all that gamblers loot to teach your suppotas how to spell.

  3. CYNICAL says:

    Politically he was an oaf and on occasion, an ignorant oaf. Socially, a man of deceptive charm. It is good to see the self agrandissment he built for himself as premier steadily eroded. No government, nor it’s individual members will ever be perfect – it is the nature of the Beast, but – he was possibly the greatest threat to the island’s long term future we had ever seen.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Daam dey tek ma odda seat too. Nex week po mac na ga have nuttin sid down on. A doo biliewe afta all dem wotes a buy day treat mi like dat man.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Poor mac must feel worse than the last two auditor generals when he ousted them. I mean, those guys were actually doing theiir jobs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There has been so much depressing news lately that it is about time we read something uplifting.

    CNS: Go to CNS Local Life

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks. I now have it bookmarked. Great location!

    • Anonymous says:

      THANKS, DID NOT KNOW THIS SITE EXISTED. Can now look at all the good things happening on these islands and forever avoid, news service “ANONYMOUS”

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alden Speech sounds so weak and like it was written by a grade school student. lol

  8. Anonymous says:

    No I don’t have anything mixed up but obviously you do, you blind idiot!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    So is this where the phrase “Pac-a-Mac” comes from?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Regressives have no shame. Transparency my big foot!!

    • Anonymous says: so happy you dont feel that way about tbe Progressives.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Mac sack is so that transparency can operate. Mac did nothing but confuse and interfere in the process to make himself look important and hide his misdeeds.

      Ezzard will at least ask the difficult questions which should satisfy the “lack of transparency” conspiracy paranoids.

  11. Cheese Face says:

    Hopefully he will be ousted from Government entirely. Egomaniac!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Seems the Cayman Islands has gone from a democracy to a dictatorship. What a shameful government and got the balls to talk about transparency, accountability and fairness. SmH

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly have the two mix up. The dictatorship was under Bush.

      • Anonymous says:

        That dam kool aid messes up their brain so bad if you put it in a ching ching the poor thing is bound to fly arseforemost.

        • Anonymous says:

          fascinating insight 2.44-is this what they now teach the children here? No wonder the place is going to sh*t!

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually they’re teaching children here to avoid political parties like the udp, and certain expatriates, like the plagues fhey are. This is working so very well in bringing the place back fron shit you wouldnt BELIEVE it.

    • Hotwire says:

      A democracy and a dictatorship both suggest that there is some sort of planning, organization to reach a goal.
      Neither could be levelled at any government in Cayman.

    • Rhett says:

      ‘He said, she said’ about time someone DOES! Money talks…..b.s. walks.

      • Anonymous says:

        It must be becoming patently clear to even Mr.Bush’s most fervent supporters that his style of conduct is resonating less and less with the voting public. The country wants leaders who are prepared to behave like adults and deal with issues in a considered and mature way.

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