Miller asks AG for names

| 13/07/2011

(CNS): The former chair of PAC said he is concerned that without a Public Accounts Committee in place the recent damning report by the auditor general will not get the attention it deserves. Concerned that both politicians and public servants may have benefitted from their involvement in the mismanaged procurement process, Ezzard Miller said on Tuesday that Alastair Swarbrick and his team should name names. He said the report reveals incompetence at all levels, but worse, the evidence of corruption means that people have profited, otherwise why were the politicians interfering and officials allowing it to happen, he queried.

Miller noted, however, that not everyone involved in the procurement process would have benefitted and some have tried their best to follow the rules. So, he added, it is unfair that everyone is lumped together under the same umbrella of complete mismanagement, while those who have gained are not brought to account. He also noted that some political interference had been “far more public” than others and the public also had a right to know where elected government officials may have been more subtle with their interference.

“What happens now with no PAC to drill down and get to the bottom of who and who hasn’t gained from all this?” Miller asked. He revealed that he would be asking the Anti-Corruption Commission to examine the tenders where Swarbrick feels the rules were breached and name and shame individuals. The North Side representative said that at present the report, as important and significant as it is, leaves too much to speculation.

The auditor general revealed on Monday, however, that a second report does go into the specifics of three different tenders and this is expected to become a public document in the next few weeks. Swarbrick says this report is contains case studies of the government’s financing tender (the Cohen case), the CCTV award and also the Jazz Fest 2009.

He has further stated that he will in future be keeping a close eye on all government procurements, whether they involve private sector partners or not. The auditor warned that he would in due course, resources permitting; also look at other specific cases, such as the port and the landfill, where government has raised controversy over how it has selected its partners.

Miller also highlighted Swarbrick's comments about civil servants telling the Legislative Assembly that recommendations to improve mismanagement had been put in place only to find this was simply not the case.

“This was one of the other reasons why I stepped down from the committee,” the independent member said. “One began to get the feeling that civil servants were coming to the PAC to give evidence about the AG’s reports and were simply saying what they thought we wanted to hear and then proceeded to do nothing to change things. There were never any consequences and no one was ever held accountable,” Miller added.

In his report Swarbrick had noted the lack of procedures to ensure that contracts with those supplying government services were actually legal. He said that three years ago the office of the auditor general had pointed this out in his report about the scrap metal tender which was awarded to Matrix a company which defaulted on its contract. Although the civil servants involved had told the Legislative Assembly that changes had been made, Swarbrick said during this audit that his office was informed by senior management that nothing had been done.

Miller said that unless people were held to account and to suffer the consequences this would continue. There are already guidelines in the Public Management and Finance Law about how the procurement process is supposed to work but it is apparent they are notbeing followed, he noted as he warned that introducing new rules and regulations was only worthwhile if they were followed and people were made to face up to the incompetence, or as the report has indicated, corruption.

Category: Politics

Comments (61)

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  1. a naw no mouse says:

    I'll be very surprised if the Deputy Governor can muster the required nerve for this.

  2. Concern Mother says:

    Anything in the dark will come to light. We need to remember God sees and know all..and we all will have to give an account for ourselves….Let us start to change now and make our way straight before its too late…Corruption must go for this country to survive…People of Cayman its time to stand up and speak out for this will not only affect us but our Children of tomorrow…We say we love our self and our Children, but if we go down this road there is definately no love there….Let us be good examples for our future generation….stop the madness and return to God…He is not sleeping u kno….

    Caring Mom…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Typical Miller, wants to get personal about everything.

    He needs to remember he is a servant of the people, and not a policeman over the Civil Service by nitpicking on everything. Does he have an axe to grind or what, what is his beef anyway.

    He may be educated, but he does'nt act like he way.

    • Anonymous says:

      His beef is that he does not like corruption because that not only takes tax dollars from us citizens, but also damages the image of the country as a whole.

      Get it?

    • Young Caymanian says:

      We need more people like Mr. Miller working within the public sector. It seems like whoever should be doing this kind of 'nitpicking' is not doing their job and needs to be replaced. Thank God that there is a civil 'servant' that cares about the interest of these Islands and does not have that 'don't care' attitude that lets them believe that they can spend and waste resources like no tomorrow. No, I'm sure that he does not think that he is in charge of everything,  but the Government is always talking about transparency and accountability.. the two things that we can never seem to get from them. I don't blame Ezzard, continue to show the people of North Side why they elected you! Ezzard is a man that does not sleep nor slumber lol Keep up the good work Sir. I was listening to the talk show earlier this week and heard that he was back from vacation. How many other politians let the people know when they are on vacation? Some might even be ashamed to say, as they always seem to be on vacation. What I admire about Mr. Miller is that he continously stays on top of things. He does not only focus on his community in North Side, but he is right there, hand and foot in everything thatis going on. Ezzard, if you were still a school student, you would be on the honour roll every time:) 

    • Anonymous says:

      "Wants to get personal about everything". What a stupid comment. Involvement in impropriety or corruption is indeed a personal thing. If you are charged with the offence of official corruption and are standing in the dock it is very personal. If you are convicted and go to prison it is very personal. You think that people can continue to hide behind "every body's doing it"? Think again.

      Mr. Miller is doing his job by holding the govt. accountable.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    When and where is the "NAMING RALLY" going to be held?

    No free food or drinks necessary!

    All we need is honest leaders.

     

  5. nauticalone says:

    I agree with Mr. Miller here completely!

    A proper house-cleaning is required. Beginning with naming names! And also truly holding those "Accountable"!

  6. John Evans says:

    I am rather pleased that Alastair Swarbrick cited the Matrix fiasco.

    Anyone familiar with this episode will know that the story was broken by Net News and relentlessly pursued by the late Desmond Seales with Lyndon Martin and myself digging up the dirt.

    What people forget about the post-Ivan scrap metal clearance is that the Cayman Islands were offered an alternative solution. This involved the creation of a self-financing re-cycling programme that would have created jobs and earned revenue for the islands whilst clearing up some of the mess that is now buried in Mt Trashmore. If adopted it could have put the Cayman Islands at the forefront of recycling initiatives in the region. The proposal was backed up by extensive experience and the submission included a DVD showing how well a similar project had worked clearing up after a Typhoon had devastated the Cook Islands yet it was completely ignored. 

    The problem this alternative approach had was that it was NIH (not invented here) and it incorporated options that were too complicated to fit the pre-determined solutions already decided by CIG. What has always remained strange about the fiasco is that the team involved in putting the Matrix contract together included a senior civil servant with impressive credentials in the field of recycling. In fact CIG was already considering a Waste to Energy (WTE) programme, which this could have fitted into.

    Even after the contract had apparently been awarded to Matrix they were messed around for months, first delayed while CIG apparently conducted 'due diligence' then again because of disputes over what had, or had not, been promised in the way of concessions. Once things kicked off it never got much better with disputes over the use of a crusher and the import of machinery to load the scrap for shipping. Despite all the allegations made afterwards, the one thing the Young brothers were never allowed to do was get on with the job they had signed up for.

    There's a lot of talk about corruption but Matrix was, and I suspect a lot of the other problems with contracts are, just a lack of joined-up thinking at CIG. There seem to be people in positions of power who cannot get their head around the idea that if you sign a contract you cannot, a few weeks or a few months later, demand that the contractor does something completely different just because whoever drew up the original document didn't understand what they were doing.

    One solution, possibly the only solution, is to bring in professionals to draw up future tenders – particularly in sensitive areas like CCTV – it might cost more in the short term but the long term benefits should more than cover that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah, yes. More foreign consultants is what we need. They have proved so effective in the past and such little cost to the public purse.   

    • truth says:

      It is not the way of Cayman to do anything a professional will do.

      It is not the way of Cayman to listen to good advice no matter how much it cost.

      It is not the way of Cayman to do the right thing just because everyone thinks it should be done.

      Lots of talk,  Lots of pointing,  Lots of blaming, Lots of unanswered questions, Lots of money going up in smoke,. Lots of screwed up deals and very little to show for it.  Thats the way of Cayman.

    • nauticalone says:

      Another solution is to hold those in Power personally responsible for their unwillingness to follow "the laws" and other "guidelines".

      Only when those people responsible, are held financially (and otherwise) "personally" "Accountable" will things change!

      Impliment and Enforce Sanctions….including Firing ineffective personnel! With No Golden Parachutes!

    • Anon says:

      The Government Departments and Authorities do have experienced professional people who know how to go about creating tender documents, and how to go through the process of awarding a Contract in a proper manner. The person dealing with the tender is subject to scrutiny by his/her colleages at a Dept Tenders Committee meeting who either award The Contract, or send it to CTC if the amount is over a certain amount.

      The problem is that there has been a trend over the last few years, for Ministries to deal with contracts using their own staff, who simply do not understand what to do. They think that they are saving time, but end up in contractural wrangles that result in the project being delayed or abandoned.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What say we all !! Ezzard for premier !!!!!

  8. Just a few words says:

    Mr Miller is 100% right. Corruption and shady dealings have become so entrenched in our society we hardly notice or bat an eye when allegations are made or suspicions raised.

    Is this the legacy we want to go down in history with? Is this the "Caymanian Way" that we want to pass down for future generations? to be be known as a corrupt people who can be purchased? Have we not moved on from the plantations? Have we no pride in ourselves? I am so ashamed when these allegations and suspicions come out that I want to run and hide.

    Not one of our UDP Government seems willing to stand up on the side of Right, are they all so tainted with the poison that they cannot afford to open their mouths? XXXX

    I had respect for a few of them for a while! Ellio, Mark, CG, Mike, but now I say this with all contempt and disgust in my body! they make me sick and if they cannot be the men their mothers raised them to be if they are so cowardly and timid that they turn their backs on God and the people, then God help them because I am finished with them.

    Caymanians are suffering, losing homes and jobs, we are robbing and killing and our children are looking around for something positive that will assure them they have some form of future ahead of them and all we have to show them is suspicion for corruption, political interference, XXXX. Creating government jobs for political allies who "failed" to get elected. XXXX

    Is this good governance?

    Not one of our so called government members are looking out for us collectively, they are all looking out for their key supporters, helping them get fat while we sit and hide the fact that we have nothing and we dont know where nexts months mortgage payment is coming from, or how we are going to pay our kids school fees, or how we are going to take a small well deserved vacation with the family.

    Meanwhile our wonderful Premier is out galavanting and carousing around XXX and like the young lady who called the talk show and asked Ellio if he is "doing ok", I will ask them all if they are "doing ok". 

    I will not stand by and watch Caymanians suffer the way thisbunch has, its time to act and I am through suffering and being patient.

    I wont turn to the PPM either, its time for Caymans first real party to come forward and take charge of this place and I pledge I will be a part of it. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The creation of a third party would only benefit McKeeva and the UDP and they would be right back in govt. as those who disapprove of them will then be split between the PPM, the third party and independents. The PPM is not wonderful but right now it is the lesser of two evils.  

      • I disagree says:

        The PPM is not the answer. We need a 3rd party to come forward. I understand the issue with that because it makes it easy for the UDP if the 3rd party is not overwhelmingly sucessful but sometimes you just have to pick a position and fight for it. I canot see myself supporting the PPM simply because there is no alternative. We had 4 years with them and they did very little ….

        3rd party is the only way to go…

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Then you have decided to aid McKeeva's return to power. It will be on your hands, not mine but we will all suffer.

          • Explain says:

            Explain your logic, maybe I can be convinced!

            • Anonymous says:

              It was already explained at Wed, 07/13/2011 – 17:25.

              • Explain says:

                That would not happen if the Independent Candidates joined the new party.

                 

                • Anonymous says:

                  One cannot be independent (as by definition) if you are a part of a political party.

              • Maybe says:

                Maybe the PPM needs to step aside and allow the new party to face the UDP head on! Maybe they should encourage their members and supporters to vote for the new party!

                It was all of that Vote straight foolishness that created this situation so if the PPM cannot win the election they should do the honourable thing and allow the peoples choice to take over.

                That would at least show their loyalty to Cayman!

                • Maybe says:

                  Todays talk show is an example of what I am talking about, both PPM and UDP seem to be hiding things and intervening in government decisions etc. We need to rid cayman of both parties they are no better than the other…..

                   

  9. Anonymous says:

    Firstly, let me congragulate Mr. Miller for finally asking for those responsible to be named and held accountable. I truly hope that he has decided enough is enough and will not allow "business as usual."  However; this praise is tempered by the fact that whilst Chairman of the PAC, there where other circumstances that at least warranted further explanation if not exposure of those responsible.  Without having to think too hard two examples spring to mind:

    The previous AG was critical of the Royal Watler Terminal Project and I believe, stated that in his opinion the Public did not get good value for money.  When challenged with possible legal action, he stood by his comments.  This came before the PAC and was dispatched without so much as an explantion as to the substance behid the AG conclusion; nevermind any recommendations to stop what was deemed wrong  from happening in the future.  Mr. Miller, please help us to get the information in the public domain;

     Secondly; as Chairman of the PAC,Mr.Miller,experienced frustration in not having audited accounts tabled by various entities.  I believe that the Department Heads and those responsible for the accounts were called before the Committee for explanations and given timelines to have them completed or suffer the consequences.  As the backlog continues,why have these Departments and those responsible not been identified or suffered any consequences?  All we have to date is a proposal to change the Public Finance Law to obviate the need to produce accounts for these periods.  In light of the previous AG's and now the current AG's findings; how is this deemed prudent? (however practical and expedient some may think it is).  The Public have a right to know, by department the reasons, those who are responsible, and they should also be held accountable.

    Mr. Miller, keep up the good work and please assist us in getting these answers and not let these issues be just "bumps" in this most uneven of carpets asis the norm, when after a few month's of Public furour, they are quietly forgotten and swept under the proverbial rug as we move on to the next problem.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is one of the most secretive societies in the western hemisphere if you expect names then you are dreaming. The financial foundation of the country is based upon secrecy.

    Figure it out yourself.

  11. Biker says:

    Anyone else notice how quiet the rest of the cabinet ministers have been since this "revelation" started?

    Is there only one of them who has the temerity to speak and try to defend their actions?

    This doesn't say much about the confidence of this group in trying to defend themselves against the AG's findings.

    Come on guys, speak up now! The voting public wants to hear from YOU!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, they're not allowed to speak without permission.

    • hmmmmm says:

      Its a pity that most blogers have short memories or perhaps have not been around long enough to rememeber the Dr. Horter Hospital and what alledgedly went on with that and the procurement process.  Looks likely that this is now pay-back time.  Mmmmm Hush nah ya opening up a can of warmint.

      • Shaken, not stirred says:

        Anon 14:14! Typical UDP mentality. Even IF (& your "accusations" mean nothing more than that: ACCUSATIONS), so, even IF there were incidents of corruption all those many years ago concerning the Dr. Hortor hospital (none of which I am aware), does it excuse the CRAP that is happening now? Does it make the embarrassing Auditor Generals report acceptable? Does it make it less wrong now? NO! Do not be silly girl! Wrong is wrong & you can twist & turn it all you want, & you can make all the excuses you want for your pitiful UDP government but it will not change the fact that the Auditor Generals report (& much more) is a terrible indictment on the present government, & especially the leader. It is once again a total embarrassment for our country, the Cayman Islands. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Chad at post 9:08, it was not Ezzard or Alden that went to the press about the  investigation of the Premier, he himself announced it at the Public Beach truckers party.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How does Ezzard have the NERVE to quit a positin where he had authority to change something for Cayman's finances or expose them for what they really are, and then now want to critisize the process.

    I think he is nothing more than a hot air ballon with a small tiny pin hole leak that makes the most annoying sound and seems like it will never end.

    He either will run out soon (he is good at that) or the hole will get bigger and deflate shortly. 

    Question: What has Ezzard done since elected?

    Answer: Nothing but complain and shoot down ideas, projects, enviroment concerns (oh yeah the 1 Gena wants), quit, ……

    • Anonymous says:

      Congratulations, we were able to decipher roughly twenty five percent of your post. What's even more amazing is you got ninety percent of the words spelled right. Impressive.

    • Anonymous!!!!!! says:

      Does Ezzard have the nerves?  I think so, what you dont get the gist of, is THAT when he called meetings the people that were members of the board ,plainly said that they "HAD BETTER THINGS TO DO" rather than go to a meeting that Ezzard called. You know why they didnt want to attend as well as we do, XXXX

      What I blame Ezzard for is not sticking it out and letting the public know what they were doing by making it known in the press and the talk shows. Name and shame all of them like he has suggested in the auditors report. Sick of the bullying and mess we have here in our island and the incompetence of the elected officials. hope 2013 brings better results.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Ezzard could not do his job on the PAC because members like Mr. Solomon were too busy to attend the meetings.

      Now we wonder what he was so busy doing?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha, good luck Ezzard. Wait, you could always do an FOI request… oh no, never mind…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Dats right. I'm an expat and I have heard a few times "dis is my island!" So be it. It is your island.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hogs at the trough. Public office the place to feed for folks with no talent to make it in the private sector

  17. True Blue says:

    Its all going to end in tears. But I didn't say for whom! Could be us poor suckers who expect something positive like justice tocome out fo this, only to be so let down that we cry ousrleves to sleep at night. We can pray that someone has the integrity to fight for jsutice here. But being the skeptic I am, I am concerend that so many hav edone wrong that they'll all agree to let this go the way of so many other such "inquiries", "investigation" and "stings".

    • True Blue says:

      Despite my poor typing  (and editing skills) I still stick to my comments. Look at the spin being put on the auditor general's report by the deputy governor in his comments and you'll see goodreason for my skepticism.

      "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. This report will prove a valuable resource and stimulus to efforts which were already being contemplated to address this area during the first half of the '11/'12 fiscal year.

      While there are many principles and practices from other jurisdictions which can be referenced, it will be important that any system enhancements which are proposed reflect the uniqueness of Cayman and the markets from which we procure. And 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.

      While the Auditor General's report makes a number of broadly critical statements as to the state of procurement, I am proud of, and grateful for, all of those public servants who consistently strive to ensure that the interest of the public is best served within the systems at their disposal.

      I look forward to my colleagues and I working with His Excellency, the Commission for Standards in Public Life and the Cabinet in developing a modern and resilient procurement system that continually strives for efficiency, effectiveness and value-for-money while ensuring that all entities who are eligible to provide goods, services or facilities have the opportunity to do so, and that the determination of the success of offerings is based on clear, fair and auditable criteria and processes. The public deserves no less."

      As I said earlier, we deserve not only a proper procurement system but justice upon those who have no regard for the principles in place under which they are "supposed" to operate. Sounds like the deputy governor is becoming a polictician or that his comments were dictated by one or more politicians.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller go Boddden Town alot of those corrupt people who get loans from government and never pay them back.

    Driving nice cars and cant even pay loan to CIDB.

     

    Thats why we cant move forward.

     

    TS Watler

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard for Premier!!!

  20. chad says:

    Ezzard Miller need to think about repercussions. Maybe it would do us worse to expose the names. Perhaps that is why the Governor who appears to care for our financial industry has not sanctioned it. Some things should just be left in the dark. Notice he and Alden are the ones who magnified to the press that the Premier is being under investigation. It appears they have no thought of the international community and our reputation, but to oust the Premier and ascertain more political power.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chad, if corruption is found then it must be removed from government and that can only help Cayman and Cayman's reputation in the long run.

      To do nothing is to seal our doom.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard Miller needs to ensure that the truth is brought to the light.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have o cancerous mole on your body, what would you do, let it take your life or cut it out?

    • Anonymous says:

      XXXX

      Your attitude is what allows corruption to thrive. Cayman's reputation will benefit by rooting out corruption.  

      • Libertarian says:

        What worries me is how do you root out corruption without the international community knowing it took place and without it hurting the financial center?

        • Anonymous says:

          I guess it will have to hurt the financial center!

          • Anonymous says:

            Then we will tend to attract honest international business rather than the corrupt businesses we have had in the past.

        • Anonymous says:

          In life sometimes some pain is required for the wound to heal properly. If it is hidden it will not be dealt with. Ideally, the offending politicians and civil servants would take warning from the AG's report, but we know that they won't.  If we don't deal with it we will have a TCI situation on our hands that will be the end of the financial industry period.

          • Libertarian says:

            Sounds like doomsday for the financial industry. Perhaps it is a cycle of life for a country to reach a time of prosperity, then a decline. Where did our politicians go wrong???  It makes you wonder. I guess a book can be written all about the Cayman Islands. After much thought, I just have this one thing to say:  self-centeredness, which entails easy personal dissatisfaction, must have been the root cause of it, because somewhere down the years, "the beloved people" here became forgotten and replaced for the poisonous worm of self-interest.

        • Anonymous says:

          If this is dealt with properly and those involved are held accountable and face consequences, our reputation will benefit.  If this is swept under the carpet, it won't go away.  It will fester and rot and doubt will always be hanging over us.  It is better to get things out in the open, put procedures in place to ensure that this never happens again and start over.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have a cancerous mole on your body, what would you do, let it take your life or cut it out?

    • Anonymous says:

      you are obviously a   fool  or maybe part of the insider TRADING.

       

      SWEEP IT UNDER THE CARPET BEEN GOING ON TOO LONG NOW, IT MUST STOP NOW. 

      bleach and  h7 is not strong enough to clean up our mess.  are they all afraid of each other?   

       wonder why!!!  nothing   tangible   is happening to stop this madness. been talking of action for decades, with no betterment in sight.

      feel so sorry for anyone that is under 40 years of age.

  21. South Sounder says:

    Right Mr Miller

    Let's start with the Civil Cervants who lied to the LA and sack the lot….that should warm things up and drag a few worms out of the woodwork! 

  22. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller, you are batting 1,000! Name and shame. That will be as effective as a prosecution.   

  23. B. B. L. Brown says:

    Yes…..  Names should be named.  Graft and corruption should be exposed.  Any politicos involved should be cast out…… or imprisoned!