NBF was rigorously managed, claims CoS

| 30/03/2016 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Leonard Dilbert

(CNS): The former chief of staff in the premier’s office when McKeeva Bush was at the helm of the last UDP government has denied that the Nation Building Fund was not properly managed. Leonard Dilbert condemned the findings of the Office of the Auditor General and claimed he was not given a chance to answer the allegations made about the controversial fund. Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee last week, he was reluctant to answer direct questions but attempted to defend his own role in how public cash was handed out.

Dilbert said he did not intend to answer any questions because the report did not deserve that. Nevertheless, he did address some of the questions asked of him before he told the committee that he was not able to continue as he did not have the benefit of documentation to defend his position.

Before leaving, he maintained that there had been a “rigorous process”. But while admitting to having been “intimately involved”, even interviewing some applicants himself, he also claimed that he did not directly manage the day to day details. He admitted to getting things wrong when pressed by PAC members but vehemently denied that the process had been badly managed.

Dilbert, who has since retired from the civil service, berated the audit office for never interviewing him, the manager responsible for the fund.

Explaining how government budgets were dealt with at the time, he said that cash given to ministries via a transfer payments, as was the case with the NBF, was managed differently and that politicians had a very direct say in how that public money should be spent.

Dilbert told PAC that ministers had a “wide ambit to participate in the decision making process as far as the distribution of those payments were concerned”, which “was part of the culture”. He said that at the time, the Public Management and Finance Law did not detail how transfer payments were made and it was only recently that standards were being created to manage this type of payment.

The former senior public servant said he was mentioned nine times in the OAG report as acting outside of the law and his former political boss, McKeeva Bush, was mentioned 12 times, which he said has yet to be proved. He said he did not know where to begin to say how wrong the report was and claimed documents did exist to support what happened.

Dilbert said the report had insulted him “roundly”, adding that after 25 years of service his integrity had never come into question until this report, where the allegations were hanging over his head for seven months.

He denied that scholarship applicants were handpicked by him or the premier without any supporting criteria and applications. In the first instance the process was rudimentary but the applicants had to write letters which went to the premier. Dilbert admitted that he and Bush were involved in the decision making process but to the best of his knowledge, the letters were passed to staff assigned to review them. The staff also reviewed the institutions and monitored the students’ progress once they went to school, he said, adding that all of this was on file.

Miller asked if those documents existed and if Dilbert denied the other evidence in the report that had been accepted by the government, which highlighted many problems. Dilbert said that in order to respond to the report he would need to go through it line by line and he did not have inclination to do that.

As members grilled Dilbert, he denied mismanagement but said he was never given a chance to respond to the audit because the deputy governor ignored his letters. He said he could not respond to more questions as he was at a disadvantage because he did not have the records and was never involved in the audit.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sad thing is…it appears someone isn’t telling the truth about giving the man an opportunity to respond. Auditors claim they knew he was to be asked to respond. The man says he was never given an opportunity until the hearing.

    Just doesn’t add up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now we see why he is an ex civil servant.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes 4:34, but don’t tell Orrett Connor that because on his radio show some weeks back he made the comment that Governor Duncan Taylor retired him, Connor, Kearney Gomez and Dilbert because they were such efficient civil servants (why, he did not say). A few weeks later, he said on the same show that his buddy Steve McField would be earning the zillions of dollars the(foreign) lawyers in the Financial Sector are earning were it not for the fact that Steve came “from the wrong side of the fence” (ie he’s black). After listening to the guest hostess Natasha Bodden on Sterling Dwayne’s show today agreeing slavishly with everything Ezzard Miller said about Baines, pay-offs (though not Buel Bragg’s two year pay off ) foreigners etc, I’m wondering what the journalism standards are at Radio Cayman. Is a host/hostess not supposed to be neutral?

      • Ironside says:

        No, judges should be neutral. Journalists, however, should be impartial and give all sides a chance to speak/have their say and present both sides of any journalistic research/story.

        But that applies to real journalists, not O.C. & Co. ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Standards…? OC is a chip on shoulder civil servant…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Should this article be retitled “NBF was rigorously massaged”?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Lennie, we do hope your poetry is better than your stall tactics.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How many Lodge Members have been asked to give evidence?

    • Anonymous says:

      As far as I know Ezzard is not a member of the Free Masson Lodge. They are the big wigs. You can’t touch them bo bo.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, PAC only picks on the people it don’t like. The brotherhood gets away with it.

  7. Paddington Ebanks says:

    In other news, bears do not actually defecate in the woods.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dilbert berated the audit office for not questioning him. They must have realised based on his performance at the PAC meeting, this would have been a complete waste of time.
    As far as culture is concerned it has always been obvious to the independent observer that Cayman culture employs a completely different set of morals to first world countries.

    • Caymanian says:

      Woooo Doggie….pls watch your tone Mr I am from somewhere better than here cause in the “global marketplace” there are none better than here. I will put my biggest twits up against yours any day….

      US – All I have to say is Trump…..I won’t even call him by his first name cause he is a world renowned twit. Matter of fact, he has a PHD in twit.

      UK – no comment.

      Pls don’t talk about corruption because so many places have far more corruption than Cayman. We are in fact only in primary school while most of you are nearing retirement.

      As for Dilbert he is just another cronie being asked to stick his neck out to be cut off either out of sense of duty or stupidity, time will tell us which it is.

      But pls don’t piss on my country cause nowhere else ON EARTH IS BETTER THAN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. NO WHERE YA HEAR!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      11:08 I really hope you take some time to re-order your meds because if you think that there is some higher moral code which first world countries abide by then my friend you are poorly read at best.

      What ‘first worlders’ are better at than anyone else is marketing. You can sell your superiority hogwash to yourselves and to others and with your media clout ensure consistent repetition of the message.

      But the truth is, all people are the same. Driven by self-interest and if you have to screw someone over to get ahead, first worlders hide behind laws, rights, free trade agreements and good old public relations.

      You ain’t no better than anyone else bro.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha. The funniest article I have read in years and not sure if it was published 1 day too early as April 1st is tomorrow!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why did Ezzard not allow Leonard to submit his answers in Haiku form?

  11. Conscience says:

    Haha, Dilbert as swerved what was asked of him by two persons who have supposedly some sense. Now I wonder why MctagandMcD Roy and Joey and CapEugene never asked anything at all. Oh and what was it that Councilerge Hew found so interesting and absorbing on the Internet, that took him away from his duty on the Commitee . Is this what we pay for gentlemen. Shameful.

    • Island Boy says:

      So PLEASE EZZARD can you ask Leonard why Arden’s nephew got a full Helicopter scholarship from the Nation Building Fund?? Why was it not advertised so that other young Caymanians could apply!!??

      • Anonymous says:

        and, linking in to Ms Rivers calls today, why did he not do his research, or why did the NBF rigorous application process not ask the right questions, in which case they would have found the course taken was NOT suitable for any post in Cayman?

  12. Caymanian says:

    Is any of us even REMOTELY surprised at this? I mean not one deal that I can recall by this government was clean and free of side deals and handouts. This is why many businesses and people aligned themselves with this government to get the perks.

    Aaaiiiigh boy….bobo you not my bobo at all. You boboing for yourself and leaving ya country in pieces.

  13. John Bulle says:

    Let’s face it. There are a lot of thieves in the CI government.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well Mr. Dilbert the raw facts are that we now have TWO blatant instances of the NBF being rigorously and sorely MISmanaged: The grant of some $69,000.00 to Richards daughter to learn to play basketball, and the grant of two million dollars to mckeewa’s church to buy all the wotes in West Bay. And we are quite certain there are more. As soon as you have the benefit of documentation to defend your position on these two matters the Cayman public would like to hear your position please. Thank you and please do proceed with the service you are being well paid to provide to this country, PAC.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The poet has been revealed as somewhat less admirable as a civil servant than he always tried to claim he was.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Er ‘getting things wrong’ just might be the reason the AG used the term bad management? There should be no need for the AG to interview since these processes are supposed to be transparent. This is public money being spent and the people have a right to know how it is managed. The AG identified it and now you are being held accountable yet you walk away.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The questioning was beyond inept. Time how much of this clip the witness is speaking. That says it all. The MLA windbags missed the opportunity to make a difference by asking “questions” that go on for minutes and minutes. Winston is the worst of them all. Look at the monstrosity of a “question” that starts at 43.20 and goes on until 45.31 as an example. Some of the answers back were close to contemptuous, but no-one on the Committee seems to have had the ability to follow up anything that was said to get proper answers.

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