Mac asked to leave PAC

| 03/09/2014

(CNS): The chair of the Public Accounts Committee has written to his deputy chair, McKeeva Bush, asking him to resign from the committee as a result of his recent attacks on the auditor general. Roy McTaggart said he believes Bush is conflicted and not in a position to deal objectively with a number of the reports the PAC needs to examine. The opposition leader has not yet responded to the PAC chair in writing but failed to appear at Wednesday’s open hearing at the LA, when the PAC met to examine witnesses in connection with a series of reports by the auditor general on the systemic problems of governance. However, Bush told CNS that he is not the one who is conflicted.

The former premier said he had criticised the auditor because, among other things, he was party to making the Cayman Islands Government pay $55 million more than it will need to over the next 15 years because he had stopped a deal the former premier wanted to pursue to repackage government loans.

“The auditor wrote reports on people and published them without first talking to the person and hearing their version of what he or his colleagues had wanted to write, particularly when he is so wrong and would see how wrong he is if he talked to the person he is criticising who has the information to prove to him the situation,” Bush said. The opposition leader also accused the auditor of bringing bills for PAC to approve his audit work without the documentation to substantiate that work.

“I took him on when I became a member of the PAC,” Bush told CNS via email on Wednesday afternoon. “The more he criticised us, wrongly, I spoke about it publicly. But somebody had to stand up to him and others who are controlled by the governor, when they criticise civil servants, politicians and members of the public.”

Bush stated that he was not conflicted and not the one who should resign, as he pointed to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s position on public accounts committees.

“Roy McTaggart is the one that should resign for conflicts. According to the last CPA meeting in Barbados, the benchmark set by them for Commonwealth parliaments is that the PAC should be chaired by the opposition, not by one who is part of the government. He is in conflict, not me,” Bush insisted.

If Bush refuses to resign, it is not possible for the chair to remove him or any other member of the PAC as it is a committee elected by the entire Legislative Assembly. In order to press the issue McTaggart will require the support of his parliamentary colleagues and it will be down to the members of the LA to support a no confidence motion against Bush’s position on the committee to now remove him from the seat.

Given Bush’s previous outbursts regarding Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick, it came as a surprise when the PPM nominated the opposition leader last May during the new government’s first legislative sitting to serve on the committee that would be examining a number of reports that were critical of Bush’s former administration.

Speaking to CNS during a break from the committee meeting Wednesday, McTaggart expressed his concerns about the latest public comments that the deputy chair had made about the auditor general and the relationship that the PAC has with Swarbrick’s office. The PAC chair said it was not appropriate for Bush to continue to serve on the committee.

“My concerns is over his response to the report about travel and hospitality. He has been quite vocal and critical of the auditor general,” he said, adding that this was wrong as the PAC members are required to be objective. “The auditor general reports to PAC and he is an instrument of good governance. I felt that Mr Bush’s criticisms of the auditor general and his reports demonstrated a lack of objectivity and a clear conflict of interest for him in this role on the committee.”

McTaggart said he felt Bush had taken things “personally” when he responded to the report, which had highlighted a number of serious shortcomings in the way government managed the expenditure by senior civil servants and ministers on entertainment, hospitality, and travel. But that this was not the only report from the auditor’s office that Bush had criticized and that the public were well aware of the direct criticisms the opposition leader has made frequently about Swarbrick.

Bush has made a considerable amount of public comment about the auditor general and referred to him as “the hit-man” of the former governor Duncan Taylor. The opposition leader has also implied that Swarbrick undermined his efforts, not just over the repackaged loan proposals but many of his proposed capital projects. Nor is Swarbrick the first auditor to come in for direct attack from Bush. His predecessor, Dan Duguay, was also a target and labelled “a cowboy” by Bush as a result of a number of his reports which were critical of projects during the 2001 to 2005 Bush led UDP administration.

The PAC met Wednesday morning to begin examining witnesses in relation to five reports from the Office of the Auditor General covering fundamental problems in the governance of the country, in the absence of any of the committee’s opposition members. The reports, which painted a dire picture of basic failures throughout government, were released to the public in January. (See details here)

Captain Eugene Ebanks sent his apologies, as the West Bay member was not on island, while Bush sent a message stating that he would be late if he was able to attend at all, which in the end he did not. As a result, the chair pressed on with the meeting with just the two government members of the committee, Winston Connolly and Joey Hew, who together made the necessary quorum of three.

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Category: Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    He should leave the country and take Kurt Tibbetts, Alden Mclaughlin, Marco Archer, Tara Rivers, Ozzie Bodden and those two wannabees Roy and Winston with them. I have never seen a bunch of useless backstabbing politically interferring bunch that they are. We can go on till May 2017 with the rest. This country might stand a chance with that bunch put off the rock!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can't be on trial in court and on the PAC at the same time anyway.

  3. Seriously... says:

    Dont know why he was ever appointed/elected/selected to/for the PAC in the first instance…smh

     

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    You may like Mr Bush or not. You may think he is guilty or not, but we are all innocent till proven guilty and he has been elected by the people. Furthermore he is the only one that has called the last 2 budgets for what they are, smoke and mirrors, no real savings (have to congratulate Mr. Archer here for his ability to sell these to the public so far, but truth will come out sooner or later)

    Mr. Bush may not have the formal education that Mr. Mctaggart or Mr. Archer have, but he is a very inteligent man that calls it as it is, he is needed at the PAC

    Mr. McTaggart: what is happening to you? this is not what the people elected you for. Stop doing their dirty work, stop validating and endorcing their lies, call it as we know you see it!

     

    • Grandfather Troll says:

      To Mr. Anonymous 09:01:

      You are living in another world, or are incredibly naive.  Or perhaps a relative of the Honourable ex-Premier.

      • Anonymous says:

        No grandfather troll, you are highly mis-informed and your ignorance is exactly what alden uses to get ahead. But don't stop now, keep the kool-aide going, pass it around. LOL & SMH

    • Wizard of OZ says:

      This is not about liking or disliking an individual.

      How can Mac possibly be un-biased reviewing his party's own spending?

      Roy is showing his professionalism by asking Mac to leave the PAC. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Incorrect. We are guilty when we do the crime. The law merely presumes us innocent until it is proven in a court of law.

      The last two budgets have been a vast improvement on McKeeva's budgets, and it is political wishful thinking to say they are 'smoke and mirrors'.

       

    • Anonymous says:



      A few people still got wool over their eyes I see. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mac has noshame. Criticising the PAC for stopping his shady finance deal that would have cost the country and trampled all over the government's procurement rules which are designed to ensure transparency and to prevent corruption.  I would have thought that is the PAC doing their job admirably well.

    I enjoyed this line as well "somebody had to stand up to him and others who are controlled by the governor, when they criticise civil servants, politicians and members of the public."  I don't think they were criticising the public Mac, I think they were criticising you!  And saying whatever you need to say to try and defend yourself isn't "standing up to them", it's bullsh*tting to cover up your own failings.

    I hope nobody is fooled by this man any more.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr.Bush, don't just leave the PAC, leave public life entirely. as a final act of service towards your country. You must understand that the country has moved on from your style of politics. Go home, have a lemonade, lie down and have a long nap. Please, for the sake of Cayman's future.

  7. Peanuts says:

    The PAC was cobbled together in an atempt to side line the members from East End and North Side. Some one should have whispered to the Premier the old adage "keep your enemis close".

    The formation of the Government was not thought through, and may not carry to election time.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am not an auditor but I understood that they examined documentary evidence not what someone says is the case. Seems like Mac thinks he should be able to document one thing but tell the auditor another.

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    But I dont wanna go…

  10. BORN FREE says:

    "THAT WHA YA GET"!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Auditors just ask for proof that government money is spent well and fairly.

     

    They Cayman Government is incompetent when it comes to bookkeeping, tendering, and financial controls; therefore, the auditors write heavily qualified reports. This situation should not be a suprise to anyone.

     

    Mr. Bush, it is not personal, it is just business; get used to it.

     

    Anyone with competent clean hands and a pure heart would never fear a simple audit of their books.

     

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    Bush should also step down, while he faces trial, but these MLA's have no moral compass. If this is the way the leaders of the country behave, then there is no hope for our youth.

  13. SKEPTICAL says:

    About bloody time. For too long this man has used Parliamentary Privilege to make personal attacks on people who, in carrying out their official duties, quite correctly questioned things he had done, some of which did not comply with official regulations or procedures, or involved improper interference in the decision making of Statutory Authorities. Had some some of those verbal, or written attacks, been made in a public forum, they might well have been actionable at law.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mac can't spell independent auditor, never mind understand what it means.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "The former premier said he had criticised the auditor because, among other things, he was party to making the Cayman Islands Government pay $55 million more than it will need to over the next 15 years because he had stopped a deal the former premier wanted to pursue to repackage government loans".  SAY WHAT??? Given McCrackers track record with Cohen the AG very likely helped SAVE the country $55 million! This man needs to be put in a permanent straight jacket.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Alden and the Progressives were fully aware of these conflicts when they nominated and voted Mr. Bush on to the PAC. This was the their first REGRESSIVE act as a new Government.Now lets see if ALden has the Courage to bring a motion next Wednesday when the Legislative Assembly is set to meet to remove Mr. Bush and put on Al or Anthony. Such action would show support for Roy and the other members if Roy does not get the support he should resign to keep his integerity

  17. Anonymous says:

    Roy try sit down for one year you have done absolutely nothing for these islands.  At least mckeeva got the nerves to question and take on big issues.

     

    This not KPMG where templates are provided for you to follow, this is government where you have to think for a change.  LOL

    • AnnaMouse says:

      This is perhaps the funniest comment I have read in quite some time. It is difficult to comprehend how anyone would hold the CIG in higher regard than just about any private organization on this island let alone KPMG.

      • Anonymous says:

        Shows how much knowledge you have about accounting firms.  They are highly overrated and over priced and just like Roy if you gave them a road map they couldn't find their way home.

        Government is mor ecomplex cause you are dealing with people lives and well being not just reviewing financial statements based on templates.  May be you can't find your way home either.  LOL

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear Lol , and your 'templates' come from? Nigerian Prince perhaps?

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, the guy's name does appear to be LOL

  18. Anonymous says:

    With all due respect, everyone is to be monitored including the auditor general.  It has become such a serious witch hunt against authorities, politicians, civil servants, etc.  Who is checking the the AG?  Unfortunately no one has enough fortitude to stand up for Caymanians and I'm disappointed that Roy McTaggart is not helping at all.  What have YOU done for us lately Roy?  You are the one with all the conflicts. You should resign too!

    • Powers and politicians says:

      Roy is a smart chap, but he too has fallen into the power trap!  I've heard people are alerting him to some shocking happenings in his Minstry and he is sugar-coating all issues.  Roy, we would rather have you as a 1 term politician than a career crony.

      Roy, here is another chance to prove yourself and please so not play the game.  We elected YOU to stop this nonsense.  Call a spade a spade and roll up your sleeves to clean up the crooked civil service.  We are watching and waiting.

  19. pmilburn says:

    Of course he is not conflicted.Has he ever said anything else but that?