Alden:‘Schools done by book’

| 25/07/2011

(CNS): The opposition leader said Friday that he was never concerned about the premier and the education minister’s request to have a commission of enquiry into the high schools as the procurement process was transparent and done by the book. Speaking after the governor announced that there would be no commission of enquiry because of an anticipated review by the auditor general, Alden McLaughlin said the request by McKeeva Bush was never anything more than a distraction. The PPM leader said that government may want the national conversation to be about the schools but the people’s focus was on the economy and the rise in crime, “including crime in high places,” he added.

“The call by the premier and the minister for education for a commission of enquiry into the school projects was nothing more than a stunt to distract attention from the police investigation into allegations of financial impropriety by the premier,” he stated. “The entire process surrounding the procurement process of the contracts for the development of the new schools was done by the book. Every contract was fairly tendered then considered and awarded by the Central Tenders Committee and there was no political interference in the process.”

McLaughlin said he did not for one minute imagine he would escape criticism over the management of the projects when the audit was undertaken but he said that he was never concerned as there was no impropriety on the part of the PPM government and no breaking of the rules. The former education minister said that he would have expected an official audit to take place in terms of value for money because of the size of the project.

The former auditor general, Dan Duguay, had told CNS before his departure that if he was not leaving the islands he would have earmarked the schools for a value for money audit – not because of any indication there was anything untoward but simply because of the size of the project. Duguay noted that it was the role of a public auditor to review all large developments than involve considerable sums of public money.

On Thursday the governor revealed that he had told the premier that he would not consider a commission of enquiry until after a public audit on the school projectswas complete.

“The Auditor General has informed me that he has already put in place plans to carry out performance audits of the John Gray and Clifton Hunter High Schools this financial year. He has further told me that in the course of a programme of work this year he will also be reviewing the transactions around the Beulah Smith High School and the new George Town Primary School projects,” Duncan Taylor said. 

He said he would be prepared to consider the matter again after the auditor general has submitted his reports to the Legislative Assembly should his findings indicate that there are any matters which might benefit from having such an enquiry.

Category: Politics

Comments (66)

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  1. Michel says:

    Please remember the comments of the Financial Secretary. When PPM was in Gvt. The Financial Secretary said there was a surplus and when the UDP took over there was a large deficit. If anybody hows us an explanation it’s the FS. UDP auditing books ? Please how can you when some are not even produced yet. Alden, don’t give up as there are many behind you who know better. Michel Lemay

    • Fairplay says:

      As an ex-Civil Servant living abroad, I am a bit more detached, and hopefully that lends to a bit more objectivity than those on the ground in Cayman Islands that are blinded by their allegiance to the political party that they support. Mr. Lemay seems to be one of these, because his comments are wrong. The PPM was in power for four years: from May 2005 to May 2009. The first three years of the PPM's term saw Surpluses in each of those three years! It has always been the very last year of the PPM's term that has caused such rancour. The problem has always been a heated discussion about the size of the deficit for the last year of the PPM's term: it was never the case that a Surplus was predicted by anyone for the last year, which is what Mr LeMay is incorrectly suggesting.  Let us all strive to know the facts before writing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Alden can brag as much as he wants, that  the procurment of the two high schools, were done by the books.  but the fact will always remain that he left out his people in the process.

    There are 14 detached buildings,  between the two high schools, seven on each campuss.

    With a proposed cost of 150 million Cayman Island dollars.

    One general contractor got both  contracts, and one MEP company got both contracts for the sub works at the schools.

    One roofing company got both contracts to install the roofs. 

    Has anyone ever wondered why this was done in this  fashion, when many builders were out of work at the time. I remember hearing Alden telling the builders there would be lots of work for them, but this never happened.

    Thank God for the UDP, they have now made it possible, for many small contractors to participate, in the building of these new high schools.

    Most of the works being carried out by these small contractors, is  correcting the works of the previous contractors.

    Alden could have done the same, but he had no use for the small boys. 

    • Anonymous says:

      All politics!
      Having so many small contractors can never be as efficient in getting the work done axon large contractor.
      This is going to cost the country a bundle.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon 23:54

        Are you trying to say the project manager team at the two high schools are incompetent in getting the work done efficiently?

        I think they are doing a superb job,the buildings are looking fantastic.

        I think you are being political, and holding sides with the previous Government, for going about, giving all this work to these fronters, while taking away the food from off your brother's table.

        Shame on you, you are part of that Caymanian group, that would rather give all your work to these kind of arrangemnets, to keep your Caymanians down. We have no use for people like you.

    • Anonymous says:

      When these projects came out for bid In December 2007 most contractors were busy.

      The proof of this lies in the fact that two of the four pre-qualified contractors declined bidding the first two schools, although the reason given by one of them was that the bid documents shifted too much risk on to the contractors and CIG couldn’t show it had the money to complete the jobs.

      Kudos Mr. Arch. You were right.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would these small contractors happen to be UDP supporters? Won't the multipicity of small contractors add millions of dollars to the cost of construction?

      Ironic that you should talk about Alden having no use for the small boys since it seems that your Premier does not consider small businesses and cosies up to you only if you are a developer worth $100m+.   

    • Dred says:

      What if this was the best value for dollar?

      What if this was the recommendation of the CTC? Are you saying we should go around them? Then I ask you about who then handles the checks and balances of who should get the job? Should it be your cousin or a dear friend?

      If the PPM followed the CTC the issue is dead.

      The government should almost always accept the advise of CTC. When you see the government not accepting the recommendation there shoudl be a clear and overwhelming reason for it that ANYONE can see.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance. -Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

  4. It's a bit much. says:

    Best thing that could happen to the school on Frank Sound would be if the Cayman Enterprise City took it over. Then again, I think they only intend to have a thousand folks working there. Not to mention I doubt they have the money to pay the CUC bill for that entire development.

    Maybe they could split it with Dr; Shetty.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree there was a deficit…but was it really 81million?. I would bet those figures are not correct which is why UDP will not get the books audited

    • Cayman M16 says:

      It could that the figure is worse!  So don't get your hopes up high!

      • Anonymous says:

        If it was worse, UDP would have said so and STILL would not want to provide the proof. But how can a FS or a Minister for Finance "hold back" on auditing accounts for a period in time when the audited accounts are a requirement of law? Are they above the law?

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a fair question. Given that FS has radically changed that figure from time to time and we cannot know which of the figures, if any, is accurate. In March, 2009 the FS predicted a $29.4m deficit.  By July, 2009 he was telling the new govt. that there would be a $68 million deficit. Now we are hearing it was an $81m deficit. it is clear that there is some 'smoke and mirrors' at play here, whether it is by the PPM, the FS, the UDP or all three.   

      • Former Civil Servant says:

        The problem with predicting deficits or surpluses is that the estimates are very dependent on the revenue forecast. Hence if the proposed spending plan is based on a revenue forecast based on growing economic activity then there is no problem. However when you have a situation like the one that occured in fiscal 2008 and 2009 where no one is certain on the final economic out turn – then you will end up with the challenges the FS has. You can hammer him if the deficit is driven by increased expenditure which he has a certain level of contro. However, you have to show understanding where the deficit is driven by falling revenues and more importantly by revenues that are falling at a rate fasted than you can reduce expenditure without throwing the economy into a deeper downturn.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Remember, PPM went on the advice of the Financial Secretary, who may I add changed the deficit/surplus for the Government figures I would say sometime around May 2009.


  7. Anonymous says:

    This all amounts to two political parties arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.


  8. Libertarian says:

    Sometimes I dread the thought of a full British Rule, because it entails a dictatorship and suspencion of democracy. But seeing the party foolishness that still goes on our island, I can't help but not wish for the British to at least draft us a better Constitution than the one we have now with more checks and balances. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Was the $81million deficit ever proven?  Where are the audited records?  Until I see those, I have nothing else to say.  Mouth can say many vicious things, just to look good and spread propaganda, but the records can speak for themselves.  Alden stay strong, you were building those schools for the Children of these Islands.

    • Cayman M16 says:

      Of course, we don't know the exact total, because of records no audited. But the fact remains that the accounts showed that PPM left us with an 81 million dificit. And because there was no audit done, just made matters worse. If you can agree that there was no audit done, then you leave support for the belief that we got into a worse debt than 81 million – how about 181 million deficit!  Suprise??? The truth is, Alden and Kurt lacked the financial vision and commonsense to see the effects of the global recession coming and started spending left, right, and center on projects and roads, hoping the following year would have brought in the revenue to cover the expenditures. That is what happened!  That is history!  To deny it is to put your head in a hole of ignorance!  Alden and Kurt refused to listen – that's the reality. All I have to say, God help us if they get back in another 4 long years… because I sincerely believe (and I hate to say this) but Mac has more than an ounce of business-sense and forsight than them. Sorry, but that's what my entire immediate family believe. And we are former PPMs from Savannah just repeating the facts, the truth as we know it.

      • Stiff-Necked Fool says:

        yea right Cayman M16, we believe you, not really (from Savannah? Must be Savannah Honduras, M16!!!). Obviously you are not from here if you can say that "Mac has more than an ounce of business-sense and forsight than them." You need say nothing more than that, because that sentence sums up your mentality! Poor you.

  10. Whodatis says:

    Personally, I'm just tired of the tit-for-tat foolishness between our two "political parties".

    Neither side deserves much admiration in regards to sound government.

    I forward a motion to hit the "Refresh" and "Clear Cache" buttons of our "political class" and begin anew before it is too late for the Cayman Islands.

    • Support_1492 says:

      test – delete this

    • BORN FREE says:

      another SMOKESCREEN by Mac BushLaden!

      I totally believe Alden because the following happened in one weekend:

      *On Friday (I believe) Mac BushLaden suddenly announced in the House that he was asking the Governor to call for a Commission of Enquiry into the schools project under Alden's Ministry 

      *On Saturday at BushLaden's UDP protest bar-b-Q on the beach he (Mac) announced that the opposition were accusing him of being investigated for corruption concerning a "real estate bill" he gave someone. This was BEFORE any investigation was made public

      *on Monday the Compass broke the story that indeed the opposition were claiming that the premier was under police investigation for corruption

      To me 1 plus 1 equals 2.
      In my humble opinion, Mac BushLaden had to have known about the investigation into him on Friday to be able to announce it to the "job seekers" on Saturday, therefore it is obvious that his request to the Governor was an attempt to soften the volcanic expolsion that was to SHOCK the nation on Monday ("Premier under investigation")! Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Governor hasturned down that request, & that is why I totally believe Alden when he says that "Schools done by book."

      SMOKESCREEN not work today bo-bo!


  11. Anonymous says:

    Ultimately, no matter how you spin it, you have one politician whose dealings appear to smell foul, whose behaviour is boorish and dictatorial, who lacks the manners and education of a Year 8 student, and displays little care for his countrymen and women.  And then you have his counterpart, a puffed-out, educated turkey who lacks any common sense, who is led by the nose by "experts" who have made millions at our expense, who jumps on the latest fad and bandwagon (because it looks and sounds good to be at the forefront) without any consideration whatsoever, and who loves to talk like the bigshot that he is not.  God help us if these two are our only choices!!!

    • Anonymous says:


      You never did pay any attention to whodatis and support 1492, hit the fu@@ delete button, and move on.

      What is your gripe with Mac… did he steal your fat hen?

      For Christ sake, if not for man, put your shit aside, and move on.

      • Anonymous says:

        You're obviously retarded or on the slow side.  I wrote my piece well before whodatis – read the time when I wrote mine, read the time when whodatis wrote his and then compare – problem solved.  Though I doubt you're that smart.  As for buffoons, if you think that they make good leaders, well, that's your perrogative…

        • Dick Shaughneary says:

          What is a "perrogative"?

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry Dick meant prerogative…I'm sure you understood even without me having to explain.  Guess you just wanted to be a Dick (you do get the pun or do I have to explain that as well?)  Regards.

    • truth says:

      Perfect!  No one has said it better.  Unfortunately it no other Caymanians will step up "God is your only hope.  Which means Cayman will fail and the only thing to watch for is how far.

  12. Born Caymanian says:

    Alden, you had your four years in office. At the first two years, you were doing well. Then I recall Mr. recession was approaching us, and McKeeva who was opposition at the time, was warning you all to slow down on the spending. But 2008 came with deaf ears. Cayman sunk because of your financial mismanagement. I do hope you NEVER return to powe. If you are looking to get back in again, how do I know you will listen to the people or the voice of reason?  How do I know?  So I will never trust you again?

    • T.L. Haranguer says:

      Straight talk, especially with his current behaivour trying to distract and destroy Mr Bush fromdoing his job and pulling the country out of the financial ruin the PPM left us in. Unforgivable really, really bad, we may lose a couple of these projects because the people may pull out if they are made to believe that they are dealing with a corrupt regime.


    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman did not sink because of the previous Govt's mismanagement. That is UDP propaganda. Of course the PPM Govt.'s spending was excessive but our problems are more systemic than that. Coupled with a worldwide recession and our high recurrent expenditure (which predates the PPM) we fell in a hole when there was a drop in revenue of some $20m. This is proved by the fact that our economic crisis is not just a public sector issue but many in the private sector have suffered as well. Some have closed doors, others have made large numbers of staff redundant. Bermuda is also having difficulties with its budgets.

      Of course the UDP Govt. have not shown themselves to be prudent and responsible either. Boatswain Beach was a huge mistake of some $65m that led to recurrent expenditure of some $10m annually. More recently moves like committing to spend some $9m on unnecessary projects like Hurricane Hilton and increasing taxes have made our problem worse. It seems that everyone is expected to tighten their belts except the elected Govt. who splurge at every opportunity.             

      • Anonymous says:

        i'm not udp…..but the above this is a ppm fairytale…. recession around the world was caused by a banking crisis which cayman has not experienced……caymans probles are due to  economic mismanagement and its immigration policies

        • Anonymous says:

          As anyone who works in the financial industry knows, those are the facts and only a rabid UDP supporter would want to deny them. You are trying to politicise the issue. My post already shows why you are wrong. Starting with Lehman Brothers the financial crisis in the U.S., UK had a direct impact on the setting of hedge funds and other legal structures  here. People were no longer investing in the markets. That is why there was $20m decline in Govt. revenue. That is why PRIVATE SECTOR companies have had to lay off staff and cut pay in some cases by as much as 40%.        

          There is no hard evidence that our immigration policies have caused any of our financial woes. Fund Admin companies moved to Canada and Ireland primarily because cost of doing business here became too high and the ready pool of qualified personnel in those countries. In part the equation changed because of tax incentives offered in those countries.

          Please try to learn something and resist the urge to flaunt your ignorance.         

    • Anonymous says:

      I will agree with you in some regards. You can trust McKeeva, because you ALWAYS know what he is going to do. lol.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just because the Govenor has rejected Mr. Bush's request for a commission of enquiry, and the procurement process may have been completed in an open and transparent manner, doesn't mean this was not a financially IMPRUDENT project to undertake just before the recession.  The leader of the opposition should be careful not push his luck in exploiting the Govenor's decision in this blatently unsubtle manner.

  14. TG says:

    You would have thought that such an issue that cost him an election, he would have at least given us a humble apology, bringing the country into an 81 million deficit and causing the UDP party to win. There is no spinning around it, Alden, you and Kurt, did not have enough foresight to see that the Global Recession was coming upon us. Spending and assuming that the following year would have produce remarkable results in tourism, was all on your mind. Well the plan didn't work and we fell short. At least, Alden, give a humble reply and tell it like it is!

    • Anonymous says:

      The truth will be told – but Alden is human like Bush, and tell me, who elected them in the first place?  Is it not the people of West Bay and Bodden Town?  The more I see it, we need an urgent revamp in our Constitution and we definitely need to get rid of this two-party system, dividing the country.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please do not try to make any comparison between Alden and McKeeva. That is why the Governor saw no cause for a Commission of Inquiry into the tendering of the schools, but why there is police investigation into McKeeva.   

        The people of Bodden Town did not elect either of them.

        • karen says:

          lol… don't worry, I will see them in numbers, voting for Alden, another PPM rule. They will be making their promises and singing the same thing UDP sang, "vote straight!"

      • Caymanian- no more politricks says:

        Hear hear!  Until we end this "He said, She said" over the LAST administration, the NEXT will never progress.  The two party system has divided and killed our country.  Politicians thrive on this and know how to pit even families against each other. 

    • Anonymous says:

      fair comment…there is no denying the economic mis-managment of the last government…..

      • Anonymous says:

        Or the current one either.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why are people thumbing down, people leave your political prejiduces aside for one minute – there can be no arguement – the previous government got us into an atrocious mess, to deny this is to invite the same disaster to repeat itself. Whatever your political persuasion you should at least be able to acknowledge this fact! A seperate issue is whether this governement is any better! 

        • Anonymous says:

          You seem to forget that PPMr's do not believe there was actually a deficit left, they all think that it was just made up by the UDP to make the PPM look bad and that there was actually no deficit until the UDP took over..

          • bradley says:

            Nonsense!  They very well knew about the deficit. Just so blinded like UDP supporters that they fail to admit it.

          • Anonymous says:

            If that is truly the case and they are in some form or permanent denial, then God help us all, we really are heading down the gurgler.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well UDP isn't helping that by refusing to audit the books from when PPM was in office now are they? So the PPMers have good reason to hold that belief after the way Mac and company went on about it.

            • Anonymous says:

              WHAT? UDP audit the books and have the truth revealed? Are you KIDDING me???

          • Anonymous says:

            to Anon 12:23

            B*** s***,we the people knew there were a deficit, we all felt it, the world saw it, where were you? stop trying to blow smoke up people's rear end.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think you are creating a straw man. There is no proof that there was an $81 million deficit as there is no proof that there is currently a $12m surplus.  

            • Anonymous says:

              There is also no proof that the deficit was LESS THAN 81 million, which really makes Kurt and Alden look real bad!  That means because of previous governments (not just blaming them) we are still in a recession. But I'm voting for Independents next round.

              • Anonymous says:

                There's no proof it was less than $200 either. Why not say it was $200m? How stupid can you be. Just think of a number and then say someone must disprove it.  

        • Anonymous says:

          lol… it is either Amnesia or just plain Ignorance

        • Anonymous says:

          10.57 can you state how many countries knew about this recession.

          • Anonymous says:

            Every country with any foresight saw the recession coming, Mac saw it clearly, but you all don't think much of him.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "schools done by the book"  alden, what book??

    • Anonymous says:

      You know – the book about transparent, ethical dealings without political interference. No, sorry, you are a UDP supporter so wouldn't know about that book. What was I thinking.   

      • Anonymous says:

        alden???  transparent??? and now he is ethical???  no, sorry, i don't care who you are, but anyone calling a politician transparent and ethical, mama always told me to refer them to the doctor (no offense)

        • Anonymous says:

          One party brought in FOI and the other is trying to curtail it because they find it too embarrassing. Nuff said.  

      • Anonymous says:

        What were you thinking, indeed? You assume that UDP supporters know about ANY books, let alone that one.

      • Accountant says:

        now now now… Alden, no one knows the book better than you, calm down, don't get so fussy…. we are just looking from the outside-in… you know… the huge debt hole…. z z z z z…. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The audited book.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Finally were starting to understand who's boss in Cayman. Very well done, Mr. Governor. Whose turf are you on anyway? Hope Mac doesn't fire you for getting his knickers in a twist. Please keep the little kid in place. We understand that's a HUGE job but we know you can do it.