Ebanks to tackle AG report

| 12/07/2011

(CNS): Duncan Taylor, the Cayman Islands governor, has asked his deputy, Donovan Ebanks, to take the lead in preparing an urgent response to the auditor general’s report in the wake of its public disclosure Monday. In the wake of the damning assessment of the procurement procedure and the concerns of political interference, the governor said Ebanks would draw up an action plan to address the shortcomings that had been identified. Taylor said the issues needed to be addressed quickly and that he had spoken with Karin Thompson, the chair of the Commission for Standards in Public Life.

Taylor said he welcomed the “frank” report by Alistair Swarbrick and noted the auditor general’s reference to political interference and the risks that posed. “I believe that the best way to eliminate those risks is to ensure that we have a robust and effective procurement system which enjoys the respect of all stakeholders.  That is what we aim to achieve,” Taylor said.

The governor noted that the AG had questioned the procurement system and not the commitment of the many dedicated and professional public servants who do their best to make it work.

As head of the civil service, Ebanks was also quick to defend public sector workers when he said that he was grateful to those “who consistently strive to ensure” the best interests of the public within the existing system. However, he too acknowledged the serious findings of Swarbrick's report.

“It has been recognised for some time that ‘procurement’ is an area in which our systems have not been developed as fully as they should or by comparison as they have been in the financial and human resources areas,” he said, adding that the report would be a valuable resource in addressing the issues.

Ebanks said that it would be important that any system enhancements which are proposed reflect the uniqueness of Cayman and the markets from which government buys goods and services. “The success of these enhancements will depend on them encompassing both the rules and guidance that is provided on paper and the skills and knowledge of our people who are expected to apply them.”

The deputy governor said he looked forward to developing a modern and resilient procurement system with his colleagues in Cabinet and the standards in public life. He said it should continually strive for efficiency, effectiveness and value-for-money and provide a fair opportunity for eligible entities to provide goods, services or facilities based on clear, fair and auditable criteria and processes.

The 44 page report, which is now in the public domain, said the governance arrangements for the management of procurement activities “are very poor” and that senior government officials have not discharged their duties to ensure that appropriate management practices have been established. 

Swarbrick points to the failure of management in the civil service and states that public sector managers should be responsible for ensuring that employees of an organization act ethically and in the best interests of the elected government of the day.

“This includes the obligation to act faithfully and honestly in the course of their employment,” he states. “Senior managers including the deputy governor, the financial secretary, the chief officers of ministries and portfolios and managing directors of statutory authorities and government companies are responsible for ensuring that these obligations are fulfilled,” he states.

The auditor sums up the 44 page report in his final paragraph when he points to abuse, waste and even fraud.

“Basedon what we found, we concluded that the Government of the Cayman Islands is mismanaging the procurement of supplies, services and assets resulting in a lack of efficiency, transparency and fairness as well as costing the Government millions of dollars more than necessary. If not addressed immediately, the procurement activities will continue to be at significant risk of waste, abuse, and potentially fraud and corruption,” the report concludes.

Category: Local News

Comments (42)

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  1. Name changed by moderator says:

    I am so glad we still got Dunguay fever !!!!

    lol

  2. Dred says:

    Baah.

    Wolf…..

    Part of issue…not solution.

  3. Anonymous says:

    According to Truman Bodden, the interest payment on our national debt is currently 40 million dollars per year. In 2010 about 1.6 million cruise ship passengers arrived in Cayman. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Gov't collects 25 dollars per passenger whether they come ashore or not. This comes out to 40 million dollars, same as the interest we owe.

    So tell me how we will pay the interest if we give away this 25 dollar per passenger tax to the builder of the cruise ship dock? Are we really willing to sacrifice 40 million per year to get more people clogging up the town and not spending any money? I fail to see how this is a good decision.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah maybe it would work that is this new procurment idea.

    But surely the answer is to get rid of this whole PFML mess and go back to centralised accounting with proper controls.

  5. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    On a separate issue. I suspect that our Deputy Governor is now wishing to Hell that he had never heard of neither Government, nor Civil, Service, caught , as he is, between a Rock (The Foreign and Commonwealth Office – the Governor), and a Hard Place (His local buddies). I wouldn’t want his job for a King’s ransom, although that is probably what he has been paid for years……….

  6. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    Does anybody else have the feeling that with all of these recent “Info – Bytes”, we may be seeing the implementation of an Agenda that has been developing between the FCO and the Governor and the Auditor General et al; and that the suspension of the LA, for at least a month, was not entirely the decision of, as “Knal Say Wha'” likes to name him, our Beloved Leader.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I look of the report as a constructive critisism. Rather than ridicule the Auditor General, let us evaluate the points raised and do the needfful. It is better late than never.

    I am not a civil servant. However like every indirect tax payment citizen, I want procedures to be put in place so that we get good value for our dollar.

    Let us run our country like we would run our own personal finances

    • Anonymous says:

      Is Cayman Brac exempt from this investigation? It does not seem that any laws or regulations apply there, the paving of private driveways goes on and on. Please explain this – we have a right to know.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, and the road going to the hotels are still not paved nor the South Side road where the majority of the guesthouses and condos are.  Poor tourists can't vote.  I guess Tourism which is Cayman Brac's bread and butter isn't important.

        People always moaning about needing more tourists.  Well, I say tell Ms. Julie to fix that road and stop paving your parking lots.  That road will give you whip lash. It's so bad.  Lets not forget the quarry that is chocking the poor tourists to death with dust as they bicycle by.

  8. mmcLaughlin says:

    Cayman is on fire, let’s see if Mr. Ebanks can save us from what I been calling cancer for months. It’s now or never. Good luck with that big neck West Bayer.

    McCARRON McLaughlin

  9. Anonymous says:

    The last dam thing now, I see them paving a shop yard in Cayman Brac that hasnt been open yet this year. Yea the one by the gas station and the owner has over two million dollars.

    • Strangers in the night says:

      Oh for goodness sake, you might as well make Mckeeva Bush "tackle AG report." (same result) zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  10. B.B.L. Brown says:

    O.K. Mr. Ebanks…… Show us what you got!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same Donovan Ebanks who signed off on the Operation Tempura expenditure and then wrote a letter backing Martin Bridger's complaint against the Daily Mail? 

  12. Michel says:

    It should come to no surprise on what is finally sort of being said and done. I respect the report and I surely hope and pray that our Deputy Governor will take the matters seriously and in a timely manner. Time is of the essense. We dot not however have a good example starting from the top.
    Very many questions, very few answers ! And the clock is ticking… Tic Toc, tic Toc., MichelLlemay

    • Anonymous says:

      action   are you kidding    he said was aware of these problems for quite some time now  (years) reaction, reaction, with little good results are the norm.  someone needs to sort this mess out it been going on for years. yes there are good hard working cs, but if they cannot do their job as it is supposed to be done, make an official complaint and identify the preventers of good government. if you loose your job dont worry, with 20,000 work permits you will get a job and the people will thank you and your country will be better off. lets stop this noncense

  13. Anonymous says:

    Growing pains are, well, painful.

    Cayman is growing up, slowly but surely.

    • Anonymous says:

      NOT FAST ENOUGH, 

      Look at the A.G. reports  from as far back as late 80"s and you will see the same problems of,

      no one being held accountable, political medeling, expenditure not being accounted for and it goes,     on and      on     and on.

      it is now 2011    (a quarter century later)   and they are still deciding what to do and how to do it,     pathetic, not their money and they do not care.

      the voting public hold no one accountable and continue to be surprised/angry  when their cost of living skyrockets month after month.

      take a $ from those responsible and observe their reaction. that reaction is what we need to the country's buisness.

  14. a naw no mouse says:

    Hopefully by the Governor having "spoken with Karin Thompson, the Chair of the Commission for Standards in Public Life" this is some indication of holding those responsible to be "Accountable"!

    Only then can Cayman expect improved "Good Governance"!

  15. nauticalone says:

    The reoport is damning!

    But from what i’m so far undestanding the Governor is calling for….it seems a “slap on the wrist”.

    Heads need to roll! Charges need to be brought!
    Anything less continues to send the WRONG message!

    • Anonymous says:

      the governor at this stage is partly responsible for the the poor level of governence over the laat 2 years….the governor will be trying his best to sweep as much as he can under the carpet……

  16. Anonymous says:

    Now with this latest press release…  I assume the HOUSE will not resume until an additional month or until further notice?

  17. Libertarian says:

    “Based on what we found, we concluded that the Government of the Cayman Islands is mismanaging the procurement of supplies, services and assets resulting in a lack of efficiency, transparency and fairness as well as costing the Government millions of dollars more than necessary. If not addressed immediately, the procurement activities will continue to be at significant risk of waste, abuse, and potentially fraud and corruption”

    I think that says it all.

    In other words, in summary, the Auditor General has found that in acquiring goods and/or services, the management of our government, is deliberately or not, handling the said acquisition in a way that can be characterized as inefficient, unfair, and non-transparent. It appears that he does not attributes the mismanagement to carelessness or incompetence. But overall, the dire situation does negatively reflect the image government's financial management.

    The Governor simply yields to the Deputy Governor to come up with a plan to rectify this procurement system immediately to avoid a serious situation from arising, which may have arose already:  XXX

  18. Anonymous says:

    This report is going to make the GLF legal action a whole lot easier

  19. Anonymous says:

    Will the Auditor General also be looking at payments and procurement relating to overseas offices and representatives?

  20. Anonymous says:

    The orders for the payments or authorisations for acts are actually authorised by senior civil servants who the politicians can "work with". If there have been breaches of rules will any complicit civil servants be disciplined or will it be business as usual? XXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean like the MBE JP that cost the government over a million dollars?

  21. Caymanians for logic says:

    One more bloated civil service programme on the way!!  It will cost more than it saves, guaranteed. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The real solution however lies in stopping the musical chairs with Ministries after every election. A law needs to be created to stop this post election "song of hand picking" Ministries.

      Politicians need to understand when they are signing up for elections that there are standardised systems in place that cannot be changed at their whim and fancy, and they should not be allowed to hand pick subjects. Politicians need to understand that they are in need of training by the Civil Service on procedures and not the other way around.

      This musical chair song is what is destablising the Civil Service and creating the vacuum that the politicians know and exploit. If there was a solid  and consistent portfolio of subjects in each Ministry that could not be changed then the processes and procedures would have been fully developed and enshrined by now. This would allow proper succession planning which would have also avoided the present situation where there are senior managers in the same post for 30 years. 

      Why train and invest in Caymanian professionals if they are to be disregarded by decision makers.  Therefore a department such as Public Works should be managing all major infrastructural projects such as cargo docks and the like. After all which Universitydid the Premier go to that enables him to objectively make decisions on such a facility.

  22. tim ridley says:

    The Governor would do better were he to turn his spotlight on the flawed and somnulent Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) (and of which the Auditor General is a Commissioner). If we are serious about dealing with these endemic issues that have been growing perniciously over the last two decades, we the community must demand better and more effective action from those who are paid to serve and defend us.

    It took a major crisis in Hong Kong many years ago (fundamentally corrupt police and other government officials) finally to propel the Government (then British controlled and directed) to establish what is probably the world's most effective anti corruption agency, the ICAC. In those days, the British were bright enough to recognise that the ICAC had to be independent of the police and to be properly resourced and staffed. It is a great pity that this lesson was not applied when the Cayman ACC was created!

    • Libertarian says:

      Agreed.  There needs to be a well funded independant body for anti-corruption that is Caymanian base and has no connections with the Royal Cayman Islands Police. Perhaps it may take the place of the UK from having to be our prime oversight of good governance. But will we ever see this in a lifetime?  

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with Tim 100%.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      Agreed Mr. Ridley!  Billy and I informed them of this during the constitution consultative period, but we were ignored.  Now we have a Commissioner of Police who is breaching Section 43 of the Firearms Law (2008 Revision) as the chair.  smh

  23. Anonymous says:

    pass the buck, duncan…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  24. Anon says:

    Who owns the security company that provides the security personnel at Government buildings?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully there will be no more paving of senior managers' driveways in return for favours rendered to a minister of government.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The Govenor seems to be ignoring that even the basic systems that are in place are circumvented by those in power.   How about some charges coming from illegal activity vaguely referenced in the report?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Finally, a slap in the face for Bush.