Governor is no show at PAC

| 26/11/2009

(CNS): The chair of the Public Accounts Committee said he was very disappointed that the governor, Stuart Jack, had chosen not to attend Wednesday’s PAC meeting to respond to questions raised by the auditor general’s report on the expenditures for Operations Tempura and Cealt.  Ezzard Miller noted that the presence of the governor would not only have given the committee an opportunity to ask what had happened with the spending on the investigations but his presence would have demonstrated the importance of the PAC to issues of good governance.

Despite the fact that the governor chose not to appear, RCIPS Commissioner David Baines and Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks both turned up  to answer questions and did their best to shed light on the spending associated with the discredited investigations.

Baines said that he felt like he had arrived when the party was over with regard to the issue of Operation Tempura and Cealt, but his goal now was to use the findings of Cealt to bring the internal investigation into police corruption in house.

He explained that there would be a new RCIPS investigation team formed to pursue the allegations, which coincided with the need to establish an anti-corruption unit under the new Cayman Islands Constitution. Above all, he said, once the legal and disciplinary matters left over from Tempura were finalized, the spin off from Operation Cealt would be financed out of the existing police budget and the treasury would not be required to cough up any more cash in relation to the tainted investigations.

He admitted he was not familiar with the consulting firm, BGP, as used by Operation Tempura, which, according to the auditor general’s report, cost close to $600,000 to gather information from people making accusations against serving police officers, but he said the Metropolitan Police tended to use who they knew. As a result, he concluded that it could look like the ‘old boy network’ had been in play when the firm was engaged.

Following the commissioner, Donnie Ebanks spoke at some length about how, from the very beginning, by using the Metropolitan Police the CIG was setting itself up for an expensive project. Admitting that he was involved in the negotiations of senior investigating officer Martin Bridger’s contract, he said the SIO did not come cheap and, given the circumstances he was faced with, he had little choice but to re-engage him. He explained that Scotland Yard had told Cayman that the officers who were engaged as consultants by the Met should really be employed directly by the CIG .

The deputy governor spoke about the criticisms that had been made about the SIO’s salary, but he said the problem was not whether he was paid $100,000 or $120,000 but that he may have been too expensive in the first place. “Without getting into the details of ’going rates’, he was not substantially over compensated for his service,” Ebanks observed. Making analogies to being in a luxury car showroom and choosing between the cost of a Daimler or a Rolls Royce, Ebanks said the question was whether we should have been in the luxury car showroom shopping for a Rolls Royce at all.

Although Ebanks did not condemn the investigation outright, he made it clear that the moment Cayman chose to engage the Met, the country was set to pay top dollar. Moses Kirkconnell, the MLA for the Sister Islands, summed up the situation when he said it seemed that the CIG "for a Rolls Royce but ended up with a clunker.”  

Ebanks made no comments on the outcomes of the investigations but indicated that the operation was entirely the responsibility of the governor and not the strategic oversight committee. He said that committee was there merely to facilitate local issues for the investigators and to monitor the impact on the local community, not to supervise the investigation or interfere with operations.

Ebanks also observed that the experience had served as a lesson and perhaps there needed to be changes in the way government does business. He said that the idea that anyone who the Foreign and Commonwealth Office picks is fully equipped to discharge their duties, and as a result local representatives must leave all their trust in them, is not one he subscribed to.

The PAC chair echoed the deputy governor’s sentiment and observed that it was essential that going forward there would be more local input and control in such things.

During the questioning of witnesses, the committee also asked the AG Dan Duguay if he could say whether the investigations had represented value for money given all that had transpired. Duguay explained that, as he had stayed well away from looking at operational issues and looked solely at expenditure, he could not offer a real opinion because of the unique nature of the investigation.

He made observations in his report, however, about how the financial expenditure had not been managed during the investigations and that there was a lack of appropriate project management when it came to supervising how money was spent.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am concerned by this latest wave of "nationalism" which divides the country and is I believe largely self serving. Blaming others for problems & conspiracy theories do nothing to move the country forward and solve problems.

    The greatest source of this seems to emanate from some of the radio talk shows. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Politically Ezzard Miller is on the same wavelength as Britain’s BNP party.  Many of his comments are disgusting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The steps in respect of Mr. Ebanks are an obvious step to discredit Mr. Miller’s main political rival in North Side. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is a stroke of brilliant magnitude for the PAC.

    Why however should we expect a result different that what was achieved?

    As it is said – res ipsa loquitor.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Governor cannot be compelled to attend. If he could be Ezzard would have done so.

    Ezzard for Premier

    • Anonymous says:

      If Donnie was a furrina Ezzard would have harrassed and humiliated him. But they went to school together as little boys in North Side and are good friends for God’s sake so there could never be a true examination at PAC level. This is what "outsiders’ need to realise about how it goes here. How do you hold accountable for poor performance your friends and family and church brothers and sisters? It doesn’t happen in the Cayman-dominated Civil Service (hence many problems) and when the Private Sector lowers the boom on poor Caymanian performance, it’s ‘racism" "glass ceiling" "colonialism".

  5. Twyla Vargas says:

    "No Saw"  I  aint touching this.  Its too hot.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nobody wants to be held accountable for Martin Bridger fat salary but I bet when he arrived on island in 2007, the usual a** kissers/lickers were all over and around him cheering him on about police corruption.

    This happens every time. Once you arrive from overseas and if your exterior is of a certain pigmentation, wearing a business suit and carrying a brief case, then you are viewed as a superior being. When will we learn ??? It’s as if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again.

    It appears as if Martin Bridger created/decided his own monthly salary and everybody just went along with it. Now, everyone is distancing themselves from the $26-27,000 CI monthly salary that he was paid which produced absolutely nothing but millions of $$$$$$$$ worth in law suits for the Caymanian tax payers to now settle.

    Don’y worry, I bet you in a year or two time it will start all over again with some other dreamed up corruption probe or some other fancy consultant expedition. And once again, the cards of the same pack will be lined up for another great poker game that we are sure to lose.   


  7. Anonymous says:

    The Governor? at the PAC? Answering questions?? I am still laughing at that concept of “transparency”!!!

    Oh, you mean he said we need “Transparency”?! That is correct “we” need transparency not the “FCO in Cayman”…they do as they please with no accountability apparently. Buck stops with us not at the top.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Despite Ezz being in the Poltical Wilderness for 17 long years, it seems this was not long enough!

    Who the hell does he think he is that he can request the Governor to come before the PAC? This is nothing more than a Water Cooler group.What difference will it make if the Governor comes before the PAC or not?

    What difference will it make whether Joey Ebanks comes before the PAC or chooses to ignore them? . The Auditor General has already said there is is not a crme to investigate, so how will the PAC demostrate good governance by hauling these two before their Water Cooler discussions?  How does it change anything opinion?


    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard is a dangerous man who has done a great deal of harm to Cayman in recent months.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why? Because he is bringing to light some of the things that we wish to keep covered up and hidden from the public? Or because he believes that we should not be bullied by foreign influences? Or because he wants the people of this country to at least have an equal opportunity in their own country?

        I can see where you would consider it dangerous if you and your wealth are sustained by having an advantage or you have a conflict with any of these three arguments.

        You are doing an excellent job Ezzard! Do not be distracted by naysayers and Doubting Thomases who have something to gain or cover-p…

  9. Anonymous says:

    What? No summons for the Governor?

    Obviously another person who has not read both past and current Constitutions. 

    The person holding the position of Governor in the Cayman Islands constitutionally has always had to follow all orders issued by the UK / FCO, acting at all times in the best “…interests…” of the UK, regardless of any resulting negative effects on the Cayman Islands.

    Read the 2009 Constitution Sections 31 and 125, the UK / FCO is in total control.

    The UK has always had and continues to have absolute total undemocratic dictatorial rule over us, the decrees of the UK executed by the FCO are not questionable, they make the law, they are the law, and therefore they are not subject to the law because they are above the law.  This is the Westminster Parliamentary Democracy system as it operates in the Colonies.

    Actions of the UK / FCO are above question.

    When has a servant ever summoned a Master to answer questions?

    Advanced Constitution?  Another LIE….  you’ve been fooled again.


    • Anonymous says:

      In the time it took you to the write this reply you could have just looked up the definition of a rhetorical question?!?

  10. Anonymous says:

    If you can summon Joey you can summon JackA**………come on Ezzard….double standards !!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    PAC is for local territory issues not national issues which are for the UK and the Governor.  The Governor is accountable to London not George Town.

  12. Anonymous says:

    PAC is for issues of local territory governance which is within the powers of the LA not national issues which are for the UK and the Governor. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    more typical Jack/FCO hypocrisy…do as I say and not as I do..

    They are all above and exempt from the law, don’t you know? That is why Bridger, Jack and gang could do as they pleased for so long.

    Why is December 2 taking so long to get here!!

    Can’t wait to get JACK OFF this island!!!

    Where are the parties being held?? I will need to celebrate!


    • Anonymous(=: says:

      Its time for Ezz to stop flapping his lips  and pay attention to his district, the people are getting fed up now, you can hear it in the distance. 2013 cant come fast enough

       I voted for you But I am disapointed with what I see and hear.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is sad to hear – as Ezzard seems to be the only MLA who is doing anything other than:

         – showing up for self-serving sound bites and photo ops (Ellio)

        –  backing down to the down-sized but still Big Mac in ego (all other UDP members)

        – sitting back and doing not a damn thing to even attempt to be an effective Opposition (all PPM members.)

        As far as I am concerned – Ezzard is the only one who deserves his pay cheque.

        And BTW – in these hard times, wouldn’t it be nice if the current crop of MLAs donated their salaries the way the old time MLAs used to?

        Check it out – back then they did not publicise the good deed, but many of them did it all the same.

  14. Lorna Bush says:

    I guess the ‘Guv’ shows Mr. Ezzard that he doesn’t have to report to him!

  15. Anonymous says:

    No why wouldn’t the Governor want to attend a meeting with Independence Ezzard?

  16. John Evans says:

    Interesting double talk…..

    According to Donovan Ebanks, the Strategic Oversight Committee (SOC), "was there merely to facilitate local issues for the investigators and to monitor the impact on the local community, not to supervise the investigation or interfere with operations."

    However, according to the Met it was the SOC that decided not to pay my expenses.

    Quite how they came to that decision is still not clear because my requests for both a formal written notification of the decision and, using the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of the relevant sections of the minutes of the meeting at which the decision was made have both been ignored.

    Commissioner Baines refers to, "once the legal and disciplinary matters left over from Tempura were finalized." But all that remains seems to be what the RCIPS decide to do with ACP Dixon and the far more serious complaints filed against both the SIO of Operation Tempura and his deputy – something the PAC were not made aware of.

    I think we need a bit more of the ‘openness and transparency’ people are always talking about and less ‘talking around’ the problems that still dog this investigation.


  17. Anonymous says:

    What? No summons for the Governor?