Miller confirms facts in PAC’s OfReg report

| 10/12/2020 | 49 Comments
Cayman News Service
PAC Chair Ezzard Miller MP addresses Parliament on Thursday

(CNS): Following the false evidence given by OfReg Board Chairman Linford Pierson to the Public Accounts Committee, Ezzard Miller MP, the chairman of the committee, has called on government to remove him. But he also made it clear to parliament on Thursday that the controversial report, which Speaker McKeeva Bush had tried to stop becoming public, contained no allegations, just fact.

In a growing scandal, fuelled by the speaker’s intervention at the behest of Pierson, Miller finally laid his committee’s report today. He said all of the members, including three from the government benches, had unanimously agreed on 19 recommendations to address the shortcomings at the beleaguered utility regulator.

In its first recommendation, outside of all those made by the auditor general in her original report about OfReg’s multiple failings, Miller said PAC had agreed that Pierson was not helping and should be replaced.

“The committee has serious concerns about the evidence given by the chairman of the OfReg board and is of the opinion that the organisation is unlikely to make the progress that needs to be made with the current chair in post,” he said. “The PAC strongly believes that the government consider appointing a new chair to the OfReg board as soon as possible.”

In a detailed report about the hearings — how they were conducted, who gave evidence and the PAC’s full findings — Miller also outlined the other recommendations that government needs to act on. He explained the reasons behind them and how they could help OfReg to the point of actually achieving the mains goals of consumer protection on issues such as gas pump prices and quality provision of internet service.

But Miller also took time to address the scandal surrounding the OfReg board chairman, who had given misleading information to the committee, which was revealed in clear evidence from the Office of the Auditor General.

Among the many claims and allegations Pierson had made when he was called to give evidence, he said he had not been interviewed by auditors in relation to the original report, which was simply not true. Documented evidence existed of a least two full meetings where Pierson met and was interviewed by several people from the auditor general’s office.

Miller said that PAC was very concerned about that false evidence, which was in the minutes and recorded on government television. In the end PAC did not strike Pierson’s false account from the record but merely added a statement that made it clear it was untrue.

As he painstakingly detailed everything that happened, Miller argued that PAC had offered no opinions and made no allegations or accusations but had simply established facts. He said that from the get-go Pierson was angry and adversarial and his claims that he was not treated with the respect he thought he deserved were evidently not true.

Miller pointed to the CIGTV recording of the proceedings that took place in July this year and are now in the public domain for all to see. He said this shows how he had bent over backwards to show Pierson respect, which he did not reciprocate but instead had questioned Miller’s qualifications to chair PAC.

Defending the committee, Miller said he could go on and on refuting the claims of Pierson and the complaints made to the speaker but he was satisfied that the PAC did a very good job and was the envy of the region.

Despite the clear articulation of Miller and all of the evidence in the PAC report, the speaker insisted on having the last word. Once again, Bush defended Pierson, stating that he had “never known him to tell a lie” and claiming that Miller had called him a liar, besmirching his character.

However, Miller never specifically accused Pierson of lying, despite that fact that it was clear that he had when he said he had not been interviewed by the audit office. Nevertheless, Bush insisted that Pierson should have been allowed some special dispensation to defend himself against the PAC’s findings before it was made public.

He said that his previous “ruling” that he had delivered from the speaker’s chair on Monday still stood and that it was unlikely that this would be the last people heard on this matter.

Bush also prevented Chris Saunders MP, another member of PAC, from asking him about the so-called ruling the speaking made on the issue, telling him to leave “this matter as it stands”.

Saunders echoed this in his response, saying, “Yes you are right… I think the public has already realised what has happened here and I will leave it at that.”

See PAC report and transcript of meeting in CNS Library.

See the PAC chair’s statement on CIGTV this morning below:

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (49)

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    It seems that alot of people that come here think that where they come from have more qualified people to do it right, but if that was the case we would not have so many wanting to be here.

    Share your advice, but don’t put down the Caymanian people please.

    I do too agree that we need a change in there, but saying we need others to come in and do it for us is an insult to our people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Name one example of a well operated local run department?

      • Anonymous says:

        name one from the country you come from. corruption and inefficiency is the status quo all over the world. if you can’t fix your country problem, why you think you can fix here?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Obviously it is all just a misunderstanding. A Caymanian lying is much different than driftwood lying. Your welcome.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cry all you want nothing will change. Alden is laughing all the way to the bank…you swallowed his ambition of OMOV.

  4. Andy Cornbread says:

    Mckeewa’s audacity in defending cousin LinFud is no less outrageous than Alden and our governor’s inability to utter one word or take action. But corruption appears to be compulsory in the Cayman Islands!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The sad shame is that OfReg has had some very good directors. Their work has been both overshadowed and disrupted by a Chairman with his own agenda.

    Some directors have left and some have been replaced all because they refused to just go along with the Chairman’s schemes.

    Furthermore, the Minister in Charge (Alden) and the entire Cabinet know this, but prefer to leave in place a madman rather than recognize and appreciate the efforts made by honorable people.

    and for the record I mean truly honorable, not just honorable because its in your title.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sometimes the great geniuses in history are thought to be madmen by their own generation. In this instance I will cast my vote with you for madman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If these boards are to continue (not just OfReg, but all SAGC boards) then they should have properly qualified and independent directors, not political hacks.

    I think OfReg actually has a decent board (nothing is perfect) but they are hamstrung by politics and a megalomaniac Chairman!

  7. Anonymous says:

    How unruly of McKeeva Bush to not let the member for BTW speak. This whole incident should be investigated by the police and carried to court.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mckeeva as a character witness, that is the best yet! Oh how they laughed

  9. Call one, invite one says:

    Caymanian attorneys, economists, financiers, physicians, psychologists; professionals with integrity and ethics who have received overseas training (aka exposure and progressive vision). If we know them, let us call them or invite for coffee, and ask them to consider running for office. We do not need them to come up with brand new, grandiose projects to campaign on, we need them to ensure that the important ones we have been promised for years finally happen (quality public education delivered by effective educators, sensible tourism, processes that expose and penalize corruption in both government and private sector, solid waste disposal that generates energy, increase in Caymanian employment, a minimum wage in line with cost of living, more affordable health insurance, etc.) If a group of independents comes together around delivering those undertakings, we will have a common purpose–something we can build a government on. A common agenda should be our aim. That is what we lacked last election and that is why our independents could not form a government, so let us learn from that mistake. Let’s start calling people.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If all residents were given the vote this Mockery of a Parliament would be replaced in one election.

    Bring in professionals rather than jobs for friends and families.

    Cayman has a chance to become a world class country or carry on and watch the decline once the expats pack up and leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems that alot of people that come here think that where they come from have more qualified people to do it right, but if that was the case we would not have so many wanting to be here.

      Shate ypur advice, but don’t put down the Caymanian people please.

      I do too agree that we need a change in there, but saying we need others to come in and do it for us is an insult to our people.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s because it’s true.

        60,000 people is basically a small town in many countries. Easy to manage

        What changes would you recommend? More pay and less hours😂

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m confused, – which one is Premier and which one is Speaker ? – anyone ?

  12. Disgusting says:

    Bush needs a reality edema – and fast. The man is a megalomaniac and the MPs feed his delusion. Is he blackmailing them all into silence or what? I hope the Judiciary does not give him a blight either – he must be treated like any other civilian who pleads guilty to an offence.

  13. Anonymous says:

    re-name the highway and build a garden for the lodge master to play in….

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have no horse in this race but it does seem to be problematic. The auditor general says that she and her team met with the OfReg chair. He says they didn’t meet. Mr. Miller then asked the auditor general to investigate the matter and she concluded that he did in fact meet with her and her team. Well of course her conclusion would be that if she is the person that said it in the first place. Perhaps this type of investigation should have been done by a third-party. I know we all like to believe that the watchdogs aren’t capable of lying or making mistakes but they are and they do more often than the country will realize or accept. I’m not saying that is the case in this instance. I’m just saying it’s hard to trust the result of a person who is investigating their own claims. Conflict of interest should be avoided in all instances, even when the person to avoid the conflict is the auditor general. Perhaps mr miller should take note of this and in future ensure that the conflict is removed.

    • Anonymous says:

      I worked in audit for several years and guarantee that “watchdogs” are not capable of lying. Auditors are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct. As you know Arthur Andersen LLP (Enron scandal) has never returned as a viable business even on a limited scale.
      Audit errors are possible, but rare, too many controls on different levels are in place.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t know where you from but I been in the civil service for 30 years and I can tell you that auditors do certainly lie. In fact over my career I have seen several leave the Auditor General’s office after having it proven that they had lied. But, because of who they were and where they were from they were allowed quiet and graceful exits and only those that were involved in the matters, those senior enough and whoever they told knew about it. The fact of the matter is the Auditor General’s office is one of those where we operate as if the persons are infallible and we all know the reasons we believe that. Auditors don’t lie, lawyers don’t cheat and doctors don’t steal. Riiiiiiiiight. They all have standards and oversight bodies but we see the exact opposite happening often. Not sure if you are trying to fool yourself or everyone else.

        • Anonymous says:

          The only person being fooled is you fooling yourself. What a bunch of blind nonsense.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why do you think Big 4 companies hire expats? Because it guarantees, to an acceptable degree, that Certified and Licensed CPAs( or equivalent) don’t lie or cheat. It is a very long way to get certified and licensed, people prefer to abide to the Code of Professional Conduct.
          May be Civil Service internal auditors lie, I don’t know about that.

          • Kiss me neck says:

            Terribly sorry to bust ya bubble bubble, but you are forsaking pure unadulterated bubbles.

            In this community called Cayman, The so called professional accountants not all but some become very paly paly with their clients. This in a number of cases has resulted in clean bills of health when there were underlying issues which were material and unreported. Obviously 🙄 if you know, knew or did you wouldn’t disclose to the public would you?

        • Say it like it is says:

          7.35pm As a Civil Servant you have every reason to fear a review by the Auditor General. If you are not a liar, prove it by naming the people you refer to, otherwise do not malign a department that performs a valuable service for the taxpayer.

        • Anonymous says:

          I can attest as well. The quiet and graceful exits aren’t just from the AG office!!

          These particular group of foreigners use their questionable degrees and unquestionable bravado to condescend locals (and long-term residents) who had 20+ years experience in the same fields and positions they come to take over in capacities all over Cayman and service private interests with their newly acquired statuses and board seats. Then, when these bite off more than they can chew, they either get slaps on the wrist to continue as normal or they get called into private four-hour management meetings to coordinate their graceful fall of shame to not rustle feathers and lie in public about the “mutual breakup”. (Dart management had one last month)

          Auditors should be one of the last people we should have to scrutinize in our so called democratic country. However, given the current amount of both public and private sector corruption embedded deep in Cayman in recent years, it would not surprise me if any culinary arts skills were used here.

          Sadly, nobody is safe from audit, including the auditors themselves!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Are you referring to those who revealed ugly truths and suddenly vacated office?

      • Anonymous says:

        Your example proves the point! They lied! So you can’t say that auditors are incapable of lying. The difference is that there was a government body present to investigate them. In the Cayman Islands there is no real oversight body for the Auditor General’s Office. The PAC works more like a partner to the Auditor General not an oversight and accountability board.

      • Rick says:

        Rubbish! Several auditor reports that made top news here in the past 20 years were lies. I know this as a fact. Auditors use the office to make news, then fail to find the facts for the police to investigate. What facts are found dispute the headline grabbing stuff they traffic to get noticed so they can move on to the next big job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 4:17 you were not listening the PAC did not ask the Auditor General to investigate anything. The Auditor General was asked to produce the evidence that the Audit Staff had met with Dr. Pierson and she produced the evidence to support her claim that the staff had met with Dr. Pierson.
      On review of her evidence of the meetings the PAC decided that the audit staff had in fact met twice with Dr. Pierson

    • Hancock says:

      Leave our auditor general alone. She is brilliant at her job.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agree with you, 11:35. And unlike Duguay and Swarbrick she doesn’t hold self congratulatory media conferences to show off her power and criticize everyone. She just gets on and quietly does her job.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Politics and facts are two mutually exclusive events.
    We are sick and tired of this shit.
    These toads on the left and supposed opposition have done nothing in my lifetime and I am almost 60.
    Go to hell, politicians and take all of your lies and broken promises with you.
    Leave us alone.
    We don’t want you, we don’t want your corrupt laws.
    Get a bloody job like the rest of us. Lazy bastards!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Miller is barking up the wrong Seagrape tree. Mac will sort this mess out.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Time to put some spikes on this long and crooked highway of getting what he thinks is privilege. Shame on him, but who is surprised?

  18. AF says:

    When are we going to understand that private sector boards simply doesn’t work in todays rapidly changing environment.

    Any good board member is far too busy to give the Entity the time and expertise that is needed.

    We need to scrap these SAGC’s that are failing and return them to the civil service.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah right – return them to a failed civil services😀

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree. OfReg once had a very astute (private sector) board, but one bad Chairman (who wasn’t from the private sector but is rather a politician and before that a civil servant) ruined it all.

      I think you’d be surprised how many Caymanian residents (citizens and non) would give more of their time if they knew politics would not play a large part in the endeavor (can’t avoid some politics I guess).

      I for one most certainly would. I’ve been on SAGC boards before but now refuse to serve because of the interference from both politicians and civil servants. If you hire me then let me do my job within the parameters you set, don’t keep interfering and moving the goalposts based on political whims.

  19. Anonymous says:

    “See you tomorrow Bush”, said 500+

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