Officials dismiss LA refusal

| 26/04/2011

(CNS):The recent refusal by the Legislative Assembly to allow a member of the public to see the register which reveals the business interest of members of the country’s parliament has been dismissed as a misunderstanding by the governor’s office. According to correspondence from the governor’s staff officer to the member of the public who was refused access to the Register of Interests, the issue arose as a result of miscommunication. Despite the persistent message from the UK representative, Duncan Taylor, and his predecessor, Stuart Jack, that their main function is to promote good governance, the letter said the governor had no responsibility in “this area” but in any event the office had written to the LA about the incident.

McCarron McLaughlin was refused access to the Register of Interests last month, despite having made an official appointment to view the folder. When he arrived for his 1pm appointment on Friday 25 March, he was told by staff that he would not be able to see the register as it was being updated. Section 3(3) of the Register of Interest Law 1996 states that “the register shall be open for public inspection at the office of the [LA] at all times during normal business hours.”

Even if the register is being updated it should remain open in its current state until it is updated, and should not be restricted because the registrar has not updated it.

McLaughlin went public with the refusal as well as writing to the governor, as he said he was shocked that he was not able to see the file after following the correct procedure. The incident came just weeks after the revelations that, two years after its inception, the LA’s Register of Interests Committee has never met.

The register is a crucial tool when it comes to transparency in government as it lists all of the businesses, shares, directorships and property assets (aside from their homes) owned by each of the members of the Legislative Assembly from the point they were elected to their seats. The register is designed to allow the public scrutiny of the people’s representatives and the possible conflicts of interests they might face over their business and public service.

However, concerns have been raised that the LA standing committee which is meant to supervise the register, chaired by Ellio Solomon, has never met and there has been little if any oversight of this file. In addition, the new constitutional committee appointed to monitor public ethics in government also revealed access problems to older editions of the register.

In its first report the Commission for Standards in Public Life expressed concerns over the maintenance of the register. Although the commissioners were able to review the most recent file, no other records were available to be viewed, the commission said. “The CSPL was therefore unable to ascertain whether there are perceived conflicts of interest and/or anomalies in relation to any of the declarations mandated by the Register of Interest Law (ROIL) past or present,” the report revealed. “The CPSL was unable to ascertain whether or not such registers were compliant with theRegister of Interests Law 1996.”

The CSPL also said the issue of exactly who, aside from elected politicians, needs to declare their interests and which of their family members’ interests must be revealed was also in question. Members also noted the need for some meaningful sanction to ensure disclosure as mandated by the constitution and the ROIL. 

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Category: Politics

Comments (14)

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  1. rubbish in/rubbish not out says:

     Take an uneducated fool.  Pay him much more than he is worth.  Don’t hold him responsible for anything he does.  Now multiply that by 100.  After 20 years of getting to do whatever they want, buying whatever they want, going where ever they want with more money than they could ever hope to make honestly now try to get rid of them with logic.  Cayman is the perfect example of what happens when timid, uneducated people hire the first fool that yells the loudest to lead them into the future.

    They have already spent all the money and all they could borrow.

    They have already screwed up so many projects that to do one right would be an incredible miracle.  And thanks to the many trips their reputation is world wide.

    They have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have no interest in the future of the Cayman islands.

    But they are still in charge and no change in sight.  Caymania itself is self destructing.

     

  2. rubbish in/rubbish not out says:

     In other words NO ONE in Government is responsible for Governing.  That why its Caymanians only.  Explains everything.

  3. ALL SEEING says:

    It would seem that all the Govenor is responsible for is pulling down his large pay check. We could do without a colonial over lord how’s only job is to look good and do nothing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone surprised that the file is not up to date considering the unwillingness of the ministries to report their financial results for the past 4 years?  It is apparent to me that the current party in power realizes this is their final term XXXX.  But considering the silence of the opposition I think it is obvious that neither party are interested in these or any other disclosures that combined with the FOI will provide transparency and facilitate thorough analysis. 

    XXXX

     

    We need some of our successful and intelligent Caymanians to help lead this country.  I would love to see the Jennifer Dilbert’s and the Roy McTaggart’s help run this country.

     

  5. Absurdistani says:

    Elio. Zzzzzzz.

    Governor. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

    AG. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  6. Anonymous says:

    how can we make an official complaint against the governor who has failed in duty to ensure good governence?

  7. Syn Onymous says:

    (a) There is rampant corruption in Cayman. (b) No one is watching. (c) The "powers that be" like it that way, XXXX. (d) Nothing will change. (e) If you don’t like it, you can leave. (f) If you can’t leave, maybe because you are Caymanian, continue to vent your frustration on CNS but don’t expect anything to change (see b-d above). Ciao.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone really know that the responsibilities of the Governor are?
    He is being paid from public funds and as such it would seem reasonable that the public has a right to know exactly what “areas” he is actuallly responsible for.
    If he is not responsible for anythig then let him go home and save the money for McGamble’s travel budget!

    • Hippon Cianaggi says:

      $25,000 on red says he doesn’t. Wink

    • Anonymous says:

      Anyone who took the time to read the Constitution would know what the responsibilities of the Governor are. It’s truly amazing the amount of blame that people will lay at the feet of the new constitution without ever having read a single word of it, even though it is there for everyone to read.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to know if the update of the register has been completed. Has the complainant, Mr. McCarron McLaughlin, been given a new appointment to view the documents?

    • anonymous says:

      We keep reminding you that we have a soft governor. Big Mac is his boss!

      He scared him into submission from his inauguration!  LOL!

      "You’re on my territory now!"

      God help us all. We have NO ONE BUT GOD!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Is Chairman of the Register of Interest Committee one of those jobs that Ellio has designated as being for Caymanians only? lol.