DoT failed to bid $1.2m job

| 25/08/2011

(CNS): The auditor general has revealed that the tourism department completely failed to engage in a tendering process for a contract worth more than $1.2million for the 2009 Jazzfest in contravention of the PMFL regulations. In Alastair Swarbrick’s latest report he reveals that the department simply ignored the requirement for government contracts worth more than $250,000 to go through a tendering process and instead just gave the job of producing the government financed musical festival to BET without any competitive bidding. Swarbrick said at a press conference Wednesday that the responsibility for this significant breach in the regulations and procedures lay with the chief officer or the deputy governor. (Left: Alica Keys at Jazzfest)

In his report the country’s public auditor reveals that despite section 37of the public management and finance law regulations the department of tourism awarded a contract worth CI$1,252,522 to BET Event Productions (BET) without a competitive bid despite the fact that there were numerous other companies who offer the same services. He also revealed that as well as being subject to a public tendering process the contract should also have been subject to the oversight of the Central Tenders Committee.

The report also reveals that as part of the contract BEP was supposed to acquire written approval from DoT for any contracts or commitments it entered into with other firms, artists or subcontractors. However, Swarbrick said that in several cases this was not done and added that finding documentation during this audit in connection with these contract proved very challenging. In addition there was no evidence of any signed contracts with those who were sub contracted to do the technical work related to the shows in several cases.

He noted that there was no way to say if government received value for money on the overall contract and he said significant risks had been taken with public money especially given the size of advance payments that were made to the artists which were signed up for the 2009 festival.

“In our review of the contract, we noted that most of the artists’ contracts, a significant part of the contract amount, called for all of their fees to be paid prior to the event. We believe the advance amounts were excessive and that undue risks were taken by DoT officials,” the report reveals.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday morning Swarbrick said that the decision by DoT officials to just not bother with a tendering process was one of the reasons why the Jazzfest 2009 had been selected by his office to be one of the case studies used to illustrate the problems that arise as a result of the failure to follow proper procedure when it comes to spending public money.

He said in this case the accountability for the contravention of the PMFL regulations lies ultimately with the chief officer in the ministry and the deputy governor. He said despite the fact that the law had been breached however; the audit office had not yet approached the attorney general in connection with any legal proceedings. Swarbrick said that the office was still considering what action it would take in connection with all of the things it discovered during the course of its overall investigations into the management of government procurement.

In the meantime, however, the auditor noted that he had made a further eleven recommendations in this report for government to consider as ways of addressing the wide and fundamental failings of the system. He also pointed out that the report was now in the hands of the country’s elected officials and it would be up to the legislators and the Public Accounts Committee to assess his findings and if necessary demand accountability.

See the Auditor General’s latest report below.

Category: Politics

Comments (74)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Too bad the audit didn't go as far to say how much putting all the UDP touches (i.e. no red carpet, no red seat cushions, dear good Lawd, nothing in that PPM color) in the VIP area that night costed and how much revenue we lost from the event by giving away free tickets to the UDP laggies who were walking around in that VIP area like ganstas.


  2. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day, blame it on the PPM, with respect to the AG report, as far as it is.  In terms of everything please blame it on the PPM.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, that's the way things work in the real world of entertainment, folks. It's cash up front. Oh, so you want to change that to abide by the Cayman Island's "procedural requirements"? Man, what are you guy's smoking? (Must be the same stuff the folks at Pontiac were on when they designed the Aztec!)

  4. Libertarian says:

    You should have awarded the government financed musical festival to a local company. Not BET without any competitive bidding. That is not encouraging art and music in the Caribbean. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    This one from the AG is really funny. Who else but BET would be better to put on the Jazz Fest than them? Fred's 5 team promotions? Come on AG, really now. if you aregoing to have the Disney Light Parade are you not going to ask Disney World to come do it? You don't go and get quotes from Fred's Light Show team to do it. BET puts on all of the Caribbean Jazz Fest shows. What's the problem here? if yo want to attract the likes of Alicia Keys and other top name artists then you have to use the top propmoters too.

    • Anon says:

      Dumb A$$, one of the jobs of the AG is to show where financial processes were not followed, not to take preference on what he thinks is right and wrong.

      Yes BET was probably the best to do it, but there is a process to these things. Follow the LAW.

      Let me put it in simplier terms so you can understand… if your crossing a school zone during summer break, and you see the light yellow blinking, Do you still do 30+ or do you slow down? ITs the LAW no matter if you think you know the out come. Same thing goes for the LA..

      Idiots like you is why our system is flawed, you dont see the bigger picture, it's all about short cuts and greesing palms.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Anon…sounds like you're the Dumb A$$. Maybe you should really set up a committee to determine why the yellow lights are blinking in the school zones during the summer that are costing Govt even more money to pay CUC. By the time all of your committees meet and discuss it and get their ideas approved through all the various cabinets the summer will be over and there will be no need to pursue a resolution for the original problem.

        My point on the Jazz Fest is this….the AG should focus on things that really matter. BET are the top dog promotoers who put these kinds of shows on. Not to say that no one else can do it but it's highly unlikely that you will get the same quality results for less money. What is the CTC going to add to the picture? DoT has been doing this for years now.

        The Jazz Fest did great marketing for the island. I even had 2 friends come down from NY and they stayed at a hotel, rented a car, ate at the restaurants and did their shopping here for a week. I'm sure others had friends do this too. This helps boost the islands economy.  


        I'd like to see the AG produce some reports where he finds that things have actually been done correctly too, or is it all about producing controversial material that can justify his existence?

    • Anonymous says:

      Did the BET programme ever air?  Nobody seems to know.

    • Anonymous says:

      the point is that govt is not following the law… again.  you see, when they break the law, It makes it hard for people to follow laws as well.  The AG is just doing his job… correctly.  Something the govt….Is not.  It's poor parenting on our 'leaders' part. Poor poor poor

  6. Anonymous says:

    FYI…BET was very present when Missick went down in Turks and Caicos…and here we go again in Cayman…

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and BET did the Jazz fest in St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, NY, LA, NO, Miami, etc. What's your point?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It's no use blaming the Governor for senior politicians ignorant, XXXX and self serving actions..  To get rid of theese people he needs PROOF, not rumour and accusation. Yet no one is willing to provide proof because everyone is scared of a vindictive dictator.

    We are to blame , not the Governor…do you think he enjoys seeing the goings on without the power to act …? Where is our outrage to rescue Cayman from these overpaid parasites…?

  8. Dare to Dream says:

    XXXX  What we need is for every caymanian with an ounce of common sense  and love for Cayman to come out and denounce the Premier and his entire cabinet by marching to Government  Administration Building and the Governor's office and let them see by our numbers that we have had  it with this bunch of losers.  I cannot understand why Mark, Mike, Rolston, Cline, Ellio (mouthpiece)  and Juliana don't use their common sense and get rid of this man. By going along with him they are telling us that they are just like him.  Are they prepared to go down with him?   If so they will get exactly that come 2013.

    Please Alden, Ezzard and Arden- remember the East End Quarry – we got out there and protested and change things.  Why can't we do this again.  If you guys don't do something and soon, you will go down in history as the BIGGEST LOSERS. I was there and will never forget the feeling of purpose, exhilaration, and jubilation. I did it for my country, my children and grandchildren and myself and I will gladly do it again. There are many of us just waiting with bated breath!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    It's amazing how anyone hired to be Auditor General automatically has an agenda to attack McKeeva Bush.  It's amazing how anyone hired to be Auditor General automatically harasses McKeeva Bush and starts to tell lies about him.

    Why is it so difficult to find an "honest" Auditor General?


  10. Anonymous says:

    Can we hear about how much is spent on Heros day Mr. AG?

  11. West Bayer says:

    Wonder if Gaddafi is hiding out in Mac's BIG pool yard? They same to be threads of the same cloth anyway.

  12. a naw no mouse says:

    And yet  those responsible continue on! No heads roll! No arrests and no fines!

    But where teens smoke ganja = full scale air, marine, go-fast cars/4×4 trucks to arrest.

    This sort of Social Injustice is breeding some real trouble in the world….including Cayman!

  13. The Spin Cycle says:

    I believe at the heart of this isn't the fact that procedures were never followed but more to the point what is the incentive to do so?  In reality, in our reality at least politics and holding office is one of the few undertakings where you are not held personally accountable for your actions. It is treated in an entirely different way than the jobs most of us hold. You first run for office and make promises or statements none of which may be real or truthful. That doesn't seem to matter. Because no one else is. No political party makes a firm commitment to follow through. because there are no consequences for lying or stating the false.  And the people choose from this holding out some vague hope that some of it may be true. And with their votes they are given the opportunity to pick the lesser of two evils or the opposite to the last ones that lied.

    In most cases it turns out no one was telling the truth.

    We have different views therefore of what politics is from most politicians.

    For us. Politics is a fairy tale told to us that the people we elect will strive to do what's best. Not kick back and line their pockets for four years and to hell with the rules. That is often the case. Four years later we have another opportunity and so it goes. How do we end this?

    Holding office should be treated as any other job. A very important one. With consequences for an entire country.

    Politicians, and especially office holders, must be held personally accountable financially. We need to put in place strict guidelines which say that if you squander public funds and shirk rules or the people's law you will personally held responsible. For repayment. Otherwise, we can complain all we want. Get outraged . But nothing will change until we make it so.  And the guilty? They will head off into the sunset with pockets full. Waiting for the next opportunity to tell us the fairy tale.

    This is OUR democracy. WE run it. OUR money. WE benefit from it's use. Let's make that clear from now on.



  14. Yo Mamma says:

    Hope this auditor general has his bags packed because you know right now McKeeva is trying to figure out a way to make him go away. Anybody remember Dan Dugay?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thqat may be true but we need to stand up and support the Auditor General. Mac must not be able to ensure that people's contracts don't get renewed.


      Ask yourself, do you think Mac is looking out to ensure good value for the money that you and I pay the government for fees, duties etc?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think you will be able to play that trick again, Dugay was Canadian, The current AG is British…good luck. You want to bite the hand that has all the connections and sophistication that has allowed you to have all your nice cars and beautiful houses and live at a quality of life thatmost other people can only dream of…really good luck.


      • Anonymous says:

        Nick Treen was British and was sent packing. Perhaps this begs the question, should the Auditor General's position be one that is appointed by the UK like the governor's position? Seems to make sense to me if he is to do his job without fear of retribution.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Auditor General is appointed by the Governor. In this case Governor opted to be advised on the appointment by a special committee of local persons. The basic problem is that the Auditor General's contract is too short (3 years) for him to have to have the security to do his job effectively. It should be for a term not less than 7 years terminable for misbehaviour.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Those of you clicking the smiley face and tagging this comment as "funny" should be very concerned that you feel that way. Mr. Swarbrick is looking out for the best interest of the public to ensure public funds are spent wisely but you jest at the fact the Cayman's politicians will react to this negatively. The politicians like McKeeva certainly don't want thier shortcomings highlighted but as public officials entrusted to manage the public's funds we must call them out each time they commit acts of gross mismanagment. I fail to see what is funny about incompetence that leads to waste and, ulitmately, higher taxes (duties, fees, permits) for you and I to pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      the word is that mac goes BEFORE the AG this time.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The dot people work hard. The problem is mackeeva . . . . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      He is only a politician, and oe man, why don't they stand up to him? If it was him that told them what to do, they should tell him that is not right and do it the right way.


      You think I would put my name to anything knowing full well that it is wrong?? My mama would beat me so bad if i did that… not me bobo!

    • Natalia says:

      The DOT people did not follow guidleines…they may work hard but in this instance they worked wrongly and some heads should roll!

  16. I Care says:

    It time some heads ROLL here. Mr. Premeir Bush ITS TIME TO DO THE HONORABLE thing step down/ resign/ take a trip/take a long walk on a short plank/ take a finsing trip in the midle of Irene the hurricane. Not many Caymanians have confidence in you anymore.

    To be very honest I had some hope for you as a leader , but you can't lead by know means, you are causing a lot of negative PR on this Island . I am not Keen on Alden becoming the next Premeir but who do we have out there to clean up the mess. Mr. Norman Bodden, Truman Bodden, Mr. Peirson PLEASE we need educated people in our government .


    • Tamara says:

      This is the problem, if McKeeva goes you will be just swapping like for like. No disrepect intended to the politicians of either party but they do not have the intellectual acumen to hold these positions. When will a highly successful and educated Caymanian (and there are many) stand up for election and attempt to save their country? I am guessing no-one….

  17. Anonymous says:

    So so so sick of hearing this garbage…..cayman is full of stupidity (Especially those in power) and i hope another hurricane just takes it all down so we can start over fresh

    • Anonymous says:

      We don't need a hurricane to do that, remember after hurricane Ivan there was a lot of price-gouging and hardships and the same buffoons kept office. I even remember the free WB-only plywood while i had to go buy mine

    • Anonymous says:

      I think, until we reached the hurricane bit, we were all inclined to agree with you.

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      I just listened to the Premier on Talk Today and trust me 08:25, we dont need a hurricane to take it all down because we have a long lasting hurricane named McKeeva who has been taking us down!

  18. Anonymous says:

    If this was the 2009 Jazz festival; which Minister/Chief Officer was responsible for all the arrangements, as I remember the contract was signed and everything was put in place before the elections.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously? Did you read the report? It states quite clearly when negotiations started and when the contract was signed. Do you need a new fridge?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac? is that you? You blogging now too?

  19. Anonymous says:

    cns: i think you should run an article detailing the results of your recent polls on the performance of the the premier and the governor……

  20. John the Baptist says:

    You sure the UDP treasurer did not approve this too?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I hope the AG release that his ticket is a one-way.Once he  expose all the  wrongs the present governmentis engaged in he can bid  this little rock good bye.  We know McKeva going to send you back,  so  for the  love  of our  country    and the  powers  vested in you, please bring  as much  as you  can to light.  You  only  got  one  shot  at  it.  Make god of it

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope you realize that the only reason why the previous AG was let go was because he didn't go far enough in opening up the public to the gross incompetence abound, not because he stepped on some group of idiots big fat toes who think they are all untouchable…if you don't like British rule, go independent…I dare you.

      • Tamara says:

        What a load of hogwash! And you know this how? – like so many other bloggers you just make stuff up, please leave your fictional comments for children story time!!

    • Anonymous says:

      These types of comments really irk me on so many levels. WE the people have left Mckeeva to his own devices by not raising any true opposition to his blatant disregard to the rules, laws and due process. WE have rolled over time and time again, when I think of all the underhanded things that our Premier has done and gotten away with time and time again, I fear for the future of this Country. Honestly, we are no better as a matter of fact we are worse because we KNOW better.

      When is enough going to be enough? When are WE going to band together as a people and REMOVE this man from office???

  22. Anonymous says:

    do you care mr governor?

    does the media care enough to pursue the governor for comment?

    does the caymanian public care?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Fire the whole striking lot of them, any of them in Government service who were involved in this reckless spending of the people's money without first going through a proper tender committee evaluation and selection exercise to ensure value for money.  While you are at it, can you seize their own personal funds and assets to pay back the country for the money they so recklessly spent while they broke the PMFL?   I can't believe that when poor civil servants are taking paycuts, people are losing their jobs, private businesses are tightening belt and paying ever higher taxes, duties, permits and going out of business, that this Government can find it so easy to handle the people's money in such a reckless, irresponsible manner.  How do they sleep at night? 

  24. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Swarbrick is doing more to protect the future of the Cayman Islands than I have seen from any of Cayman's trash talking "leaders" who have the veneer of Christianity without practicing any of it tenets. Cayman has the power to stop the excessive bleeding of funds and invest more into its infrastructure, and we need to start seeing the names of the people involved that are making all the poor decisions. Once we have their names; let’s not reward them with a vacation, a double dipping pension, or similar position where they would have the same or even better salary and snake their way eventually into positions of power to make the same poor decisions. Let’s make sure they are relegated to cleaning up the trash in orange attire on the Cayman highways where they can feel all the shame and complications they have caused the present and future people of the Cayman Islands. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Explain that one away, Elio.  You sure chat a lot when it comes to other things, so defend this one if you can.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah Ellio, wha u gah say now? I guess it'll be something like:


        "Well, in terms of the Jazz Fest for instance, with respect to the Auditor General's report, I can say unequivically that, in terms of my involvement, for example, with respect to the award of the said contract, I can tell the Cayman people, and anyone else who is listening, because we have those out there in radioland that like to bend and twist the truth, but as the Bible says "[some made up fisherman's proverb he heard last night]". So, in terms of my opinion on the AG's report with respect to the Jazz Fest, I can tell you Austin and Mr. McLean that, and I know, for example, that others that come on here on Tuesdays and Wednesdays may give a radically different view, and that is their perogative, but the smarter people of Cayman will see it differently. What was the next question?"

    • Anonymous says:

      That's because Mr Swarbrick and his predecessors are doing their job, and well, unlike anyone else.  Its such a pity that those who do their jobs so efficiently, are inevitably the ones who end up suffering the most.  If Mr Swarbrick ends up losing his job and being shipped out in the same way as Mr Duguay, then there really should be public outrage, and I really do hope the Governor and the UK will step in and do something to fix this awful, shameful mess that we are all in, thanks to the recklessness ofthose we entrust to look after our country, our people and our money.

  25. Anonymous says:

    sure, but you over look the fact that some important peoples kids got to mingle with some big entertainment types.  It's hard to put a price on that.  Think about the children for a change!

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite right! In fact, let's just put the children in charge…ohhh….wait….

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: put a cost to that:

      Actually, you can put a price on that, it happens year-round, almost every week – it's called a concert and there is an admission cost. If you are travelling from overseas, then you have to payairfare, hotel, car, etc. There are costs for those.


      The AG reported that the cost to the Cayman public finances was negative CI$800k+, is that cost good enough for you?


      Re: important people's kids:

      How can you even utter these words? nobody is important but me (joke), and my children weren't there!

  26. Anonymous says:

    what a lot of you bloggers don't realize is that when tings goes down like this, money gets kicked back, and a part of that kickback goes to the churches and free hamburgers at public beach. so qwit you negative blogging!

  27. Anonymous says:

    The answer to all this nonsense is simple. The government must read, understand and obey its own laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      What you have forgotten is that Mr Bush considers laws and regulations to be "bureaucracy" to be ignored whenever it does not support his questionable actions.


  28. Anonymous says:

    nothing new, get others to do what he wants done and lay all blame on them.

    when are they going to learn,   stand up for the country and display some ****'s

  29. nauticalone says:

    Meanwhile; the same Govt. focused it's efforts on more important crime in relation to teens smoking ganja and expired vehicle license coupons.

    • Anonymous says:

      put down the weed, register your vehicle, pick up a sign and go to the steps of the LA

  30. a naw no mouse says:

    "It would be up to Legislators to demand Accountability".

    Oooohhhh unna hurt ma belly wid deese yah type a jokes……oohh ma belly peen meh LMAO!

  31. Anonymous says:

    In the hands of the country’s elected officials?  what a Joke.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The Chief Officer (tourism) referred to,hated the financial reforms and the demands of the PMFL from the getgo and encouraged his staff to ignore them, part of the reason for the mess CIG is in now as more junior civil servants figured there was no point in them bothering about the requirements of the PFML since he told them it was all nonsense.. But, despite that, and this report, will anything happen to him? Nah!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask yourself WHY did he not want PFML? WHY do the ministers aided by their departments bypass the law? WHY do these contracts go out at inflated prices, or to "connected persons"

      Answer may well be that some of these people are profiting from it, if that is so, then lets hope the audit will unearth it, before the auditor gets moved out.

      If this is not the answer, then incompetance is the only answer and those responsible should go!