Chief officers failing on transparency, says OAG

| 13/03/2023 | 40 Comments

(CNS): Civil service bosses are not living up to the current administration’s commitment to transparency and many government departments are failing to make annual reports available to the public. In a recent review, which looks back on its own recommendations and those of the Public Accounts Committee, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) found that, as of last month, less than half of the annual reports for 2020 had been published and just seven entities have made reports for 2021 available to the people.

In her latest report, Improving Financial Accountability and Transparency, Sue Winspear repeated her call for public authorities to make these important reports public. Currently, only 15 of the 33 annual reports that have been completed for 2020 have been published and only seven of the 25 finished reports for 2021 are accessible.

“We note that entities are not always publishing these on their websites, which continues to reduce transparency,” Winspear said.

While the civil service management has agreed with the recommendation that annual reports should be published and placed on government websites as soon as they are tabled in parliament, Winspear said only limited progress is being made. 

In its formal response to the OAG review, the administrative arm of the finance ministry said it had reminded all chief officers of their responsibility under the law to table the annual reports under their responsibility in a timely manner and to publish the annual reports on their websites. The most recent reminder before the release of this audit report was issued in January, the ministry said.

“The ministry intends to send reminders through 2023, especially prior to upcoming meetings of parliament,” officials stated. 

However, even that ministry has not posted any of its annual reports on its website since 2019, even though this is one of the few places where the public would be able to look at the money the government brings in from duties. Similarly, the education ministry, one of the biggest spending government entities, has also failed to post any of its reports since 2019.

Winspear said that the failure to proactively disclose information as required by its own policies or to make annual reports publicly available on websites after they have been tabled in the parliament is not just failing to meet the government’s commitment to transparency but falls foul of the law.

Given the lack of meetings, she has also urged parliament to update Standing Orders to allow reports to be tabled even when MPs are not meeting. But it is not clear if that particular recommendation has been accepted.

“I continue to be concerned that the lack of regular meetings of the parliament contributes to the late tabling of annual reports, financial statements and government minutes, which hampers the accountability process,” she said in the report.

During the last meeting, several annual reports were tabled in the parliament but very few of them are publicly available. Currently, the parliament’s website is inaccessible. 

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (40)

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  1. Fed up civil servant says:

    Dysfunctional. Disenfranchised. Cumbersome. Lacks common sense. Tethered. Old fashioned hiring practices. All those elements contribute to Chief Officers not delivering reports. It’s a constant struggle to get things done efficiently and on time, because the entire mid-level civil service practices crab in the bucket dynamics.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Newlands Voters

    Can we please get Alva Suckoo back in Parliament ?

  3. Anonymous says:

    In other news, the Cayman Islands Government gets a failing grade on managing public cash:

    How am I not clutching my pearls in surprise?

    When Panton made deals with devils to gain power, Panton said his government would be People driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent and named his group by the acronym those words give rise to: “PACT”.

    Please allow me to relate to you The Rest of the Story…
    -People driven…by a lust for power no one
    -Competent…in little or nothing
    -Transparent…in that everyone will see how worthless PACT is.

    Now you know.

  4. Anonymous says:

    George Ebanks, who was on these very pages pledging autonomy for Consumer Protections Council a week or two ago, has had to step down, moments in, due to lack of autonomy under PACT regime. Corruption is one of the compelling top 5 reasons we are eternally on FATF watch lists, with merit.

  5. Bird says:

    This government doesn’t want parliamentary meetings because they prefer to do things in secret and keep it from the public and that is why they had to get a speaker from amongst its own ranks who’s only interest is to garner her huge salary for doing absolutely nothing. PACT need to be packed up and put out of government before the next Election too!. What do pact and Porn have in common = promising everything delivering absolutely nothing ! Not true they have miraculously manage to increased the level of corruption throughout Government

  6. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for the civil service……zzzzz
    any comment mr governor or franzie?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, what ever happened to Franz is accountable as the boss? Oh, well, we understand. Thanks, George Orwell. Some are more equal than others.

  7. Anonymous says:

    How can they table anything when this Government is afraid to go to Parliament. How many sittings have they had since they were elected ? 3 maybe 4?

  8. Anonymous says:

    hold regular meetings of Parliament and the problem goes away.

    it’s really hard for chief officers to publish a report that has not been file in Parliament.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am looking for the Annual Report from the Health Ministry so I can figure out what I’m paying Sabrina for other than to stand when the new CMO walks in the room.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We expect the people that misuse the money to file annual reports!

  11. Anonymous says:

    They might lack transparency but the failures are as clear as day

  12. UnCivil Servant says:

    Manderson should resign or be fired

    On his shift chief officers are allowed to do whatever they want with his blessings

    Zero accountability is normal and incompetence is rewarded

  13. Anonymous says:

    The 10-20 Chief Officers and the deputies are all chosen by the head of the civil service. This is poor leadership by their boss Mr. Manderson they all report to him

    • Anonymous says:

      He doesn’t want anyone that is smarter than him as his direct report. That is not the mark of a true leader. A true leader surrounds himself with the best and brightest without fear that he may be upstaged, but welcomes all contributions which ultimately will make him and the team successfull.


    The time has come to expose those involved in the activities outlined in the Auditor General’s latest report. Then take action and FIRE them for cause since they fail to understand the meaning of transparency. Sadly, their actions will eventually bankrupt this country and cause Cayman to fall into disrepute due to their lack of professionalism and deceitful actions which is meant to protect and cover up those involved in alleged wrong doings or potentially illegal activities.

    Where is the Anti-Corruption Commission investigation into these matters?

    How can the delegated Head of the Civil Service, the Deputy Governor allow this sort of behavior to continue unabated?

    Why is the Governor not holding the Deputy Governor accountable for these systemic issues?

  15. Anonymous says:

    In the complete absence of any form of performance measurement or accountability for anything in government, including the civil service, there will never be transparency or competence. It will stay that way because it suits the politicians, the senior civil service and those that corrupt both groups.

  16. Fed up says:

    simply dock the Chief officers salary by the day when fail to make report public. It is required by law so they are not above the law!

    • Anonymous says:

      the COs are only a part of the problem. look further up the food chains. there are people there who do not want things to be disclosed…

      • Anonymous says:

        Franz is at the root of the problems. He is an enabler like the guy who keeps buying the drunk a drink with no concern for the consequences. The lack of accountability starts at the top.

      • Anonymous says:

        I recently watched some US select committee investigation or whatever the hell it is called. Congress grilled the hell out of directors of the top US intelligence agencies and it made me wonder. Is this what politicians are actually supposed to do? I’ve lived in Cayman nearly my entire life so I just assumed, by way of our politicians behaviour, that they are only meant to go to galas and do photo ops and cut ribbons? Also, the vocabulary and decorum was black/white compared to our elected officials.

        So, not trolling, are politicians meant to “oversee” the government? I seem to recall it was something the PAC (Ezzard) used to do.

      • Anonymous says:

        The carrot isn’t working. Time to try the stick. Have financial penalties for all if necessary.

        What got us here, won’t be what’s needed to get where we want to go.
        Nothing changes, nothing changes.

    • Anonymous says:

      When the Auditor General has to continually ask “where is the money going” every year, it’s clear that the DG is not only putting up resistance, but likely also in on whatever schemes have been institutionalized. This should escalated to an ACC/FCU file.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chief Officers cannot publish reports (actually, the reports are published by the Departments and SAGCs that produced them) until the Elected Minister tables them in Parliament, and that can only happen when Parliament meets.

      While I am not here to defend the uncivil service, the problem lies with the elected buffoons. I suspect most of them don’t want any reports tabled until AFTER the next election.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t learn anything really new with this article except additional admiration for Sue Winspear’s perseverance, endurance & tenacity. All the rest is just flat line particulars as usual 🤷🏻‍♀️

    ‘Transparency’ – the only thing transparent in PACT is the cling film on their home made lunches

  18. Anonymous says:

    Cayman should be a nimble speedboat, but is operated like the Titanic.

    Administratively speaking.

  19. Anonymous says:

    And there is it in black and white. The incompetence of this PACT government and the civil service. We should all be very concerned by the lack of transparency with this government, that touts itself as being transparent. It’s not that they they don’t want to be transparent, it’s because they are so incompetent. What a mess and disgrace. Can we please have an early election now? And can we please widen the pool and allow new Caymanians, or at least the children of new Caymanians (Acknowledged/Continuation of the Right) to please run???

    • Anonymous says:

      This is another failing by the civil service management. The buck stops with DG Manderson. Elected MP’s do not control or manage the civil service the reporting lines are clear.

      • Anonymous says:

        For clarity sake, the lack of transparency was in reference specifically to the lack of regular meetings, hence the lack of transparency. And agreed, in regards to civil service, the buck stops with DG.

        But we have a very non-transparent ACT gov’t, afraid to hold regular meetings because it will expose what we all know – a cobbled together Cabinet that doesn’t have consensus on most matters

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why is anyone surprised? Cayman, where we make a lot of noise about standards and rules so we can claim to be a world class jurisdiction, then completely ignore the ones that are inconvenient or contrary to established parties interests. With zero consequences- at least locally. Doesn’t matter if it’s FATF, environment, beach access l, civil service accountability – lots of noise, but it’s all pretend. At the same time if you have enough money or push you can more or less do what you like. Whether it’s violating planning laws or running into CUC poles. Tell me it’s not true.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Where is the Commission for Standards in Public Life on this? Do we pay them to do anything useful with their days? Our new Governess will next month inherit another full term predecessor’s disinterest in legacy governance issues, where the can gets kicked further and further away from servicing the oversight needs people of the Cayman Islands. We already have people on the payroll that are supposed to intervene.

    • Anonymous says:

      Common sense are not common any more, thats a big problem .

    • Anonymous says:

      The Standards in Public Life Commission? There is no Standard in Public Life other than “Do Not Get Caught with your hand in the cookie jar”, and even that one is ignored 99.99999% of the time.

  22. Caymanian says:

    Did these guys not run on a platform of TRANSPARENCY???

    • lil Bobo in East End says:

      Actually, they didn’t. PACT was a made-up thing so Wayne could be Premier, with Kenny and Chris waiting for him to mess up so they can get the job…

      There was no PACT party in the last election. Just a mess of different personalities that wanted to be in power when the horse-trading was done really nothing more than that.

      • Cayman Beef says:

        One good outcome is the East End stallworth didn’t get reelected, but the winner isn’t anything to call home and brag about, that’s for sure.

      • Anonymous says:

        Very appropriate description of what happened. Power by any means necessary. Lack of meetings due to lack of consensus. We need PACT out now. This government has done nothing of substance to date.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good one – The 12 people now forming the PACT government ran on 27 different mutually exclusive platforms and fewer than half of them can spell transparency even when the word is in print in front of them.


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