Gov’t paid only lip service to PAC’s reform advice

| 16/08/2021 | 14 Comments
Ezzard Miller chairs PAC in November 2020

(CNS): The former chair of the Public Accounts Committee has said that, with the assistance of the auditor general, over the last few years PAC had significant success getting government’s accounts sorted out, but it was much less effective in achieving substantive reform and greater accountability in the area of value for public money.

Following the release of a report by the Office of the Auditor General outlining government’s failure over the last few years to act on PAC reports and recommendations, Ezzard Miller said the government’s responses to the reports “paid lip service to reform and greater accountability” and that “nothing was ever really done”.

In the latest report from the OAG, Auditor General Sue Winspear detailed government’s failure to respond to recommendations made by her team and PAC following various special reports and performance audits conducted to help the government provide value for money for the public.

In the report she pointed out that in some cases years has passed and government had still not published its response to the PAC reports in what is known as a ‘government minute’. It took government two years to respond to the PAC report following a review of the audit on major projects after the OAG found that a number of risks remained when it came to the management of public cash on big government developments.

It is also now almost three years since the auditor tabled a report on the segregated insurance fund and government has still not responded.

Between September 2018 and December 2020, PAC tabled 15 reports in the Legislative Assembly (now Parliament). All of these reports should have been responded to within three months but government only managed to respond to three of them on time. There are still five reports that the government has not responded to at all.

Miller told CNS this week that PAC and the OAG had been very effective in identifying problems with public finances and the hearings helped the public understand what these problems were.

“The PAC was very effective in getting the civil service to respond and improve the accounting and therefore the auditing of public money, in that today most of the government entities that collect and spend public funds are getting clean audit reports on their financial statements,” Miller said. However, this is not true of the broader issue of value for money, he noted.

“The failure of the PAC and to a lesser degree the OAG was in convincing the civil service to make real substantive reform with greater accountability in the area of value for public funds,” he said. “While the government minute in its responses to the PAC reports paid lip service to reform and greater accountability, nothing was ever really done.”

He said government never allowed the minutes to be debated, the process was never completed on any of the PAC reports and no funds were ever allocated to reform accountability.

“The tabling of the OAG report, the tabling of the government minute, the debate in the Parliament… never took place, so there was no public commitment to provide the resources to engender the reform and accountability,” Miller said. “There is still much work to be done to ensure complete accountability and transparency of public spending and I trust that the new PAC will endeavor to advance the work of the PAC.”

Winspear said it was “disappointing that since my last report in 2018 on government’s progress with implementing PAC recommendations, the government has fallen significantly behind”. Explaining the importance of the work by both her office and PAC, she said the reports were there to help government deliver real service improvements to positively impact people’s lives.

The OAG will be rolling out three more reports in the coming weeks looking at government’s efforts at reform in the management of public money.

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman misses you Ezzard. What are NS voters thinking?

  2. UnCivil Servant says:

    The buck stops with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson. It is continued a failure of leadership on his part and his management team. If there are no consequences things will always stay the same.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This further exposes the incompetence and failed leadership. The current administration must act quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Keeping incompetent Caymanians in leadership positions only serves to feed the narrative that “only work permit holders are capable”.

      This in turn pleases the private sector masters that will fight tooth-and-nail to block competent Caymanians from entering their workforces.

      We know the circle and cycle well…

      • Anon says:

        Agree and I’m an expat, but when the last governemnt have people like Alden and that health minister, who expats see as a joke and now these articles expose as XXXXX and incapable politicians who ignore advice, it shows cayman is decades away from educating their locals to match expat abilities in top jobs

  4. Anonymous says:

    There should be prison time for these failures. It’s literally theft!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think our members of parliament just spent their time working out how to further line their own pockets from their well-paid positions, rather than doing anything to serve their people.
    We enjoy out and out corruption that could put a third world country to shame, and get a free turkey at Christmas in return. Shameful. Where are all the honest people in Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Amongst the leaders, there are at least three honest people I know. There is Wayne Panton, Andre Ebanks , and Winston Connolly. I regret the first and last of them do not see eye to eye, but all three are honest decent people.

      • Corruption is endemic says:

        Well that didn’t appear to help when they were either in Gov’t or high level members of the Civil Service.

  6. Anonymous says:

    At what point does this become maladministration, and therefore criminal? Any accountability?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is criminal, and there is no statute of limitations on prosecuting them as such. The FCU and RCIPS are completely asleep.

    • Anonymous says:

      Accountability? What is that? I don’t remember seeing anyaccountability In our prior “leaders”. Will this will be a new era of honesty and truth? We can only hope………

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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