Governor speaks out on good governance

| 07/08/2008 a broad statement on the issue of good governance in the Cayman Islands, H.E. the Governor Stuart Jack drew attention to particular challenges in a small community “in which rumour is rife, in which matters get quickly personalised and suspicions of conflict of interest or bias can easily arise, and in which there is limited capacity to follow matters up quickly.”

Outlining his role on the issue, he maintained, “When it falls to me as Governor to deal with a governance-related issue I ensure that I am constantly guided by the facts and legal advice and act without fear or favour. That must be the ethos across the whole of the public sector.”

Continuing in general terms, though possibly referring to the independent investigation into police corruption, Jack said he tried to keep the public as well informed as possible. “Good governance is about not only doing the right thing but being trusted to do so. There are, however, real limits to how quickly and how much we can say when matters are subject to often very complex investigations that must be allowed to proceed properly. The time investigations can take can be frustrating, including for me. But it is better to get things right than rush them. That also ensures that people are treated fairly, whoever they are and wherever they come from.”

He said, “Where a problem does arise – and there is adequate evidence, not just unsubstantiated allegations – we need, in my view, both to address that specific problem and then to learn general lessons to avoid a reoccurrence. That is how we have been dealing with the follow up to certain reports of the Auditor General, with the ongoing issues involving the police, and with the recent Commission of Enquiry.”

Declaring his belief that there was generally good standards of governance in the Cayman Islands, Governor Jack said there was always much scope to improve, and referred specifically to the findings of the Auditor General on government financial accountability, which he said "cannot be allowed to continue".

Citing other areas where the governance of the islands is improving, the Governor noted that this week he had signed a tough new anti-corruption law and an amendment to the Elections Law that would reduce the scope for any potential abuse. In addition he pointed to the Freedom of Information Law, which will come into effect in January 2009, as well as ongoing improvements in customer service and the handling of complaintsacross government, including the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

“All of this will further strengthen the transparency of government and the checks and balances which we already have in place, notably through a range of laws, the courts and tribunals, through the Auditor General and the Complaints Commissioner, the media, and ultimately the ballot box. In a parliamentary democracy a major role must be played by the country’s elected representatives in the Legislative Assembly and in particular in the Public Accounts Committee, which is there to scrutinise the use of public funds,” the Governor said in the release.

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