CO blames minister for lack of plan

| 17/03/2016 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service

PAC Chair Ezzard Miller, bottom left, grills Planning CO Alan Jones, top right.

(CNS): The chief officer in the planning ministry, Alan Jones, has said that he told the current minister of planning, Kurt Tibbetts, that there was a legal requirement to review the country’s development plan but he did not get the necessary support. However, he admitted to the Public Accounts Committee that he has never asked the minister to request that funds be budgeted to undertake a long overdue review of the national plan.

During an intense grilling from PAC Chair Ezzard Miller on 9 March, Jones was unclear about the process of conducting the review, which is a requirement in the planning law, and whether that should be triggered by the Central Planning Authority (CPA), the planning department or the planning ministry.

One of the main concerns raised by the Office of the Auditor General in the report National Land Development and Government Real Property, which the PAC was examining, was the failure to review the plan despite a legal requirement to do so. The law calls for a review every five years but the last review was conducted in 1997 and this failure on the part of government has led to significant negative impacts on Cayman’s development. In the report, the OAG warned that without an up-to-date national plan or a guide for the future of Cayman, the private sector has taken over the development of the islands, with the CPA making piecemeal changes.

Jones accepted that his ministry would be required to undertake the work in partnership with the planning department but said the key issue was funding. However, maintaining that he did not have the power to apply resources to such a project, he said the matter had been raised with the minister and that he could not address the issue in isolation.

“There is inevitably a political aspect,” he said, though he agreed it was his responsibility to advise the minister about how much money would be needed to run the ministry and undertake its legal obligations.

Jones accepted that the law required a review but he insisted he could not make it happen without the budget for it. Pressed by Miller over why he had not made the necessary request to undertake a full scale national development plan review, he pointed the finger at Tibbetts. The CO said he did not feel the government supported undertaking the review and so he had not requested the necessary cash, which could be around $500,000.

“Ultimately, it goes nowhere without the funds being provided,” Jones told PAC. He described the problem as a systematic failure because the people obligated to do the work do not have control over the cash without a policy directive. “It would be useful to identify a way to prevent these roadblocks,” he suggested.

Pressed by PAC member Winston Connolly about what he had done to try and address this, he said he had had a conversation with Tibbetts post-election.

“Upon the election of the new government, I sat with the minister and I asked if … it was his intention to proceed with the development plan, and if the answer had been yes, funds would have been requested and the process activated, but I did not receive that direction,” he said.

He admitted this was a casual conversation and Jones had not documented that the advice regarding the legal requirement had not been done in writing and that there had been no further discussion about undertaking the plan.

The government is now working on a budget that will run from 1 July this year until 31 December 2017, but according to Jones, there is still no request for the plan. As a result, the country’s lack of vision over sustainable development and the piecemeal uncoordinated development of the Cayman Islands appears set to continue for many more years to come.

In the GOVTV video below, the relevant section begins at 1:47:35.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: development, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (38)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Too many layers of government. Shut down all the ministries.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      35 comments, many from Caymanians all anonymous. I fully understand your views but may not agree with all. Why are you anonymous? More especially what have you done personally to get tings fixed? If you do nothing why whine? Stand up and be countered.

  2. Sharkey says:

    I don’t think that anything good would come out of this law amendment , because to do something like this you need to be a lawyer or have a good brain and I don’t think that there’s enough there .

  3. the emperor of cayman has no clothes says:

    Employment vacancies: trade = politician. Location = cayman islands. Qualifications = primary school diploma minimum. Benefits = huge.

    Preference will be given to applicants displaying a profound ignorance of good governance. Proven history of mismanagement of public funds is desirable, as is the ability to speak at length about unimportant topics whilst simultaneously ignoring the pressing needs of constituents.

    Applications should be made in writing every election cycle.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do what you are told and keep your mouth shut. Never – ever bite the hand that feeds you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You can probably count on one finger the current politicians who have any interest in, or understanding of the need for, an effective Development Plan.

    The Caymanian politician views any impediment on development as treasonous and to be resisted at all costs.

    That is why historic structures and natural sites have been swept aside and bulldozed since the 70s and why we have such a hodge podge of modern structures lacking in any real style.

    • Conscience says:

      There is something seriously awry and sinister about this lack of a development plan. Why in Tarnation wouldn’t the Minister who has clamored ” for the love of country” for so long not want a development plan. Are we now saying that a minister who has served more than one term in the position of authority for planning is incompetent or doesn’t care about the country’s development. How can that be said of a man who has personally invested in properties on both islands. Shame on you Mr.Miller and Mr. jones for attempting to paint a picture of dereliction of duty by the Hon Minister.

      It is possible that after such a long tenor in Government the minister is tired, tired by the political battles he has had to face, tired of the squabble between both parties, tired of the one upmanship within the Legislative Assembly, tired of the district which he has represented for so long. Or is it that things and issues have grown to a size where the “Bobo” principle no longer works ( that in itself is another story).

      North Side is a quiet ( well with some challenges) and calm district, perhaps the Hon Minister for planning should consider running against the present member for Northside. This will no doubt provide a relaxed framework for rejuvenation of the body mind and soul and enable him to truly hand on heart echo the amended refrain “for the love of country- my North Side”.

      • Anonymous says:

        There’s an utter bias coming through the relies, unsurprisingly. Far easier to hold the chief officer out to blame when the law clearly puts the responsibility on the central planning authority, the leg assembly or governor to move the process forward. Mr. Miller should be ashamed of himself for using the parliamentary process to essentially abuse and accuse a civil servant for whatever reason, for the failure of those entities to act. Quite pathetic and appalling. As for the auditor General, shame on you for conveniently bypassing the responsible politicians from their role. As usual, they are entirely immune from scrutiny leaving the civil servant to take the fall. Fairness completely absent from this process. Mr. Miller, you aren’t helping when your agenda is so obvious. What a kangaroo process.

  6. Cactus Burn says:

    Just another loyal flunkies appointed by the DG as for Kurt if It ain’t Oxtail or Turtle Meat you ain’t saying bounce!!! Look at our government a virtual sea of Inept and totally incompetent twerps and windbags who’s only claim to fame is propping up the DG which appears to be the only prerequisite for remaining in the post.

    • Perry says:

      Catcus Burn- you must have really stayed out in the sun too long. Do you have any idea the level of responsibility that our Chief Officers have. Could you manage a $70m budget with hundreds of staff. Negotiate the new Dart deal and the Iron Wood deal properly and deal with HR and other matters. no way!! you criticize because you are jealous of these outstanding chief officers.

      this matter is clearly a matter for the CPA –

    • Anonymous says:

      Since the DG had to much to say about accountability. As a born and bread Caymanian I call on him to take immediate disciplinary action against the chief officer for the ministry of planning because by his own admission, he acknowledged that he did not advise the minister nor did he initiate the funding required. If he had included the funding in his draft budget it would be left to the minister to take it forward or instruct him to remove it from the document.

      Therefore, the DG need to do his job by placing the chief officer on required leave immediately, and have someone act in his position.

      I won’t hold my breath on that since Allan Jones is one of the DG’s blue-eye puppets.

      • Anonymous says:

        “born and bread Caymanian” – says it all really…

      • Anonymous says:

        8:59. I am a born and raised caymanian and I think your comments are just plain illogical.

        You are void of intelligence and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding on how the budget process in government works.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am confused.
    I thought Dart was head of CPA and the Planning Department.

    • Anonymous says:

      No you have it wrong.. Dart controls government. Government controls CPA.

    • Anonymous says:

      You most certainly are, the head of those two is the “Common Sense”, huge conflict of interest, Al T!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mark VanDevelde may be the most qualified and experienced for the position. Can’t argue that they have done great things and understand the landscape and districts better than anyone.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t there a Development Plan drafted subsequent to 1997 that the same KT squashed because of pressure from the Cayman Landed Gentry of North Side?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jones- just another overpaid incompetent working for the CIG. If he does not understand the parameters of his job, time to find him some where else to go hide, like they did with Eric Bush. Better yet, ship him back to the mother country with another incompetent – Baines. Who hires these boys anyway?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wish they would just leave……..

      • Anonymous says:

        4:42 Leave, really? If this heaven, let me die. Which one, or how many come that want to leave. It would be good for the useless to move on and the useful to stay. We hire them and there is never an end to their contracts. Although, contracts are of the past, their are those who got status and would not receive a big pension, so they are still employed after acting the age of 60 (e.g.) Mr. God.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, me too.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am one Caymanian who certainly agree that Jones should be terminated or demoted for such gross incompetence. Let’s see if the DG has the backbone to take action against him. I am sure the DG will never do that without the blessings of the governor. We all know that he will never get her support on that because he is one of her country man.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What is stunning about this is the lack of comments and public outcry about this. The planning industry is the most powerful entity in this country, unlike immigration which decides human policies, this department controls your land. You have a developer playing monopoly with your country, and a CPA, Ministry and Department that are pulling nonesense like this and running around like a bunch of cowboys. I would also recommend that any intelligent honest politician or activist or media entity (CNS), do their research about who inside the planning department has been managing the biggest developments of the past 20 years. You’ll find a very peculiar trend, along with where those people are now.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:49 are you surprised by the lack of public outcry in regards to such a significant plan that has and is affecting everyone that live in the Cayman Islands. Moreso the indigenous Caymanians has no history of resistance against the colonial class structure that control the Cayman Islands. We need a few mordern day leaders like Mr Ormond Panton, and educators like Mr Timothy Mc Field.We don’the need to look around and see what a development plan that was and is controlled by the private sector or the lack thereof has done to these islands socially. eg: lack of public educational facilities, public housing, health services. mount trashmore, deterioration of the family structure, high cost of living. and not the highest standard of living as some would like us to believe .social subsidiaries for those in need of 50 million dollars a year and rising with over 2500 Caymanians out of a population of 60 thousand being the recipients. These are just some of the major issues that us Caymanians are faced with because of the Monopoly that the private sector cartels who has our local government representatives under their control, has and is doing to us as a people. Where there is no vision the people perish. Winston and Ezzard continue to educate our people on how this system in Cayman works.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am 1:49, and I completely agree with you. But “educating” the people and putting through effective policies that have the ability make changes for the benefit of the country are not the same thing.

        While I have heard Winston and Ezzard say some good things, and ask some informed questions, what have they actually done? Talk will only get you so far.

        Further, I would revisit my post, especially the last line. While the elected officials “make the laws”, it is the civil servants within Government that put these into application. A former planner and Chief Officer of Planning is now a very senior Gov official, another former planner runs Darts developments and her name is never in any of the papers, and another is the planner for all of the major current developments in the country. And all 3 of these individuals have some very similar and interesting traits, along with having been the planners for the biggest developments of the past 20 years, and they were all hired to be the predecessor for the former. While Alan Jones is taking the current heat for this, no development plan since 1997, and the former Chief Officer is not being grilled about this either. There’s been a lot of development in the past 19 years.

        Further, it is the attorney general who ultimately drafts the legislation. The ministers simply vote on the various merits. This country is not controlled by ministers. It is controlled by fear, and that fear is instilled and controlled by the AG, and Crown. They are building new courthouses and seeking more upgrades now, because this next election is the turning point. Either Caymanians take the stand now, or your country is lost in 2017, and they will have somewhere to put those that choose to fight back.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    Just for once can anyone related to Government actually say what they CAN do rather than ramble on with a list of things they can’t do?!

  12. Sam Putt Putt says:

    At the Police roadcheck the other day I told the officer that the reason I was driving with an expired coupon was because I did not have the funds available for the inspection and vehicle license renewal fees and of course these things go nowhere without the funds being provided. I told him it was my employer’s fault because he did not pay me enough even though I had requested that he do so many times. Despite this overwhelming evidence indicating the situation was by no means my fault, to my complete shock, the officer charged me anyway and I was fined.

  13. Allar says:

    Well Bobo you going to make him throw you under the bus?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is time for the top civil servants responsible under the law to be held accountable! No more talking about it. Chief Officers do not report to elected officials/Ministers but rather to the Deputy Governor. Action is needed to deal with this attitude that they can ignore their responsibilities and then blame others for not being good stewards of governments resources. Here is another example of a Chief Officer ignoring their tasks and no consequences. Time for action! Do something!

      • Anonymous says:

        17/03/2016 at 1:57 pm. You have made a compelling argument and I am with you that it is time for the Deputy Governor to take action. Mr. Manderson, you have to demonstrate that you are not afraid to do your job. Do something because the Chief Officer is clearly incapable of performing his duties. What is even more disturbing about him is that he has not included any funds in this upcoming budget again. He is a total waste of time and should not be collecting tax payers money. This is very embarrassing to the civil service to say the least.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is all a bunch of hog wash. The existing civil servants assigned to the Planning Department are tasked with this responsibility. They are already paid to perform this function what is the extra money that he is talking about that needs to be budgeted for?
    This is clearly stated in the Planning Law that it is the responsibility of the Planning Department to review the development plan every 5 years. There is no requirement to budget extra money or personnel for this, this is precisely why the people are in place and already being paid, is the extra $500,000.00 for overtime when they have very little if anything to do on a daily basis. Anyway, last I heard the previous chief officer and director of planning was hired to perform this task, wonder what happened to that exercise?

    • Anonymous says:

      The additional funds should not be for the staff time per se but for ‘ancillary’ costs, e.g., rental of halls and buying snacks for the public hordes who will attend. That being said the cost of a consultation is usually minimal, a thousand dollars or thereabouts sounds about right. SO not the kind of thing you don’t want itemized in the budget but not something that’s going to break it either. The real message was in the ‘policy direction’. The CO / Dept. didn’t really want to do this (consultations are a huge headache) and assumed the Min. wasn’t really interested (consultations stir up opposition) so the CO didn’t push it to the Minister. The breakdown is that it is the CO’s job to push things (pushed to them by their Depts.) to ministers. Give them real information to work with, formally presented. Not as was done in this case. By trying to protect his Minister from what he saw as an inconvenience the CO has now exposed himself as incompetent and his minister to ridicule. So while ‘additional funds needed’ is real its not the real issue.

  15. Knot S Smart says:

    Ezzy sure not accepting nonsense for an answer…

    • Anonymous says:

      kUrt Tibbetts have been getting away with doing nothing for most of his time as a policing and he keeps getting back in. He sure knows how to ramble on and on, sometimes when he is on the radio show by the time he gets fi

    • Anonymous says:

      Many of Mr. Miller’s questions made no sense in relation to the role of a CO and he knew it. He subjects Mr. Jones to this abrasive charade every year because like Amjit he does not like him. If he could report Mr. Jones to immigration he would.

  16. Poor People Manipulated says:

    Good old Kurt. A one man do nothing congress all by himself. This is not new news of course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.