CIG has ‘plan’ for accounts

| 24/10/2014

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has worked out a plan to produce its first set of Entire Public Sector statements (EPS) in more than a decade but it is not clear when any consolidated accounts will be made public. The auditor general has stated that he will be commenting soon on how close government is to producing a full set of accounts and a report on those accounts that would give the public a true picture of how government spends the fees and taxes it collects from people and businesses. Alastair Swarbrick said that while there was no certainty there would be a report that the public could see, government had, for the first time since the Public Management and Finance Law was passed, set out “a plan” to get there.

Although government has been making claims for several years that it was in a position to produce a full set of consolidated accounts, so far what it has presented has been unauditable, falling far short of what is required for an entire public sector statement. Swarbrick said at a press conference this week that his office has signed off on the financial statements for the years 2008-2011 and the last of those has some form of report, but he said he did not want to comment on the quality of those reports yet.

The auditor was, however, hopeful of future change.

“For the first time we’ve got a plan from the Ministry of Finance on how they are going to address the EPS and drive it forward, which is a significant first step and something we have been calling for for at least four years,” he said.

In his latest damming report about the ongoing failure by CIG to account for the three quarters of a billion dollars of public money it spends each year, Swarbrick was more direct than he has ever been about the situation. He pointed fingers at chief officers for their failings in ensuring that their staff comply with the law to produce transparent and accurate accounts for the cash their public government departments spend. Despite being this direct about the root of the problem, Swarbrick said he would have to wait and see if any action was taken to move people out of jobs that they cannot do or that changes that have been made will have any positive impact

Since his comments, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson, who are now ultimately responsible for this issue, have remained silent about the core problems that are preventing the various entities that are required to produce accounts from doing so in line with the law.

Although Swarbrick has seenan improvement in the number of entities that produce and submit accounts for audit, in the end there are still myriad problems across core government and its authorities and companies, in particular with the quality of information.

Since Dan Duguay first raised his concerns about the mounting problems government was having producing its accounts back in 2008, more than six years ago, government has continued to struggle to address what Duguay said then was a national crisis.

Despite the investment in accountancy SWOT teams, consultants, assistance from the UK, the establishment of committees, a constant public spotlight on the issue, pressure from the Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee and statement after statement from the public sector leadership about its efforts to improve, the fundamental question of when the people of the Cayman Islands will have a true and accurate picture of how their money is being spent remains unanswered.

CNS posed this question to the auditor general at a press briefing on Monday, and although Swarbrick said he was hoping there might be something the public could see next year, he directed the question to the civil service bosses responsible. CNS submitted the question to Kenneth Jefferson and Franz Manderson on Monday afternoon and we are still awaiting a response.

The last set of consolidate government statements produced reflected the year ending 30 June 2004. But since Hurricane Ivan and, more importantly, since the implementation of the PMFL, the government has failed to account for tax payers' money.

Swarbrick pointed out that although government is perfectly able to produce the budget statements it needs each year to appropriate the money from the people to allocate it to public sector services, CIG has proved entirely incapable of accounting for it afterwards.

The auditor general said he is seeing the political will now in the Finance Ministry to address the real problems, but in many instances the issue is directly related to personnel matters and the competency levels of people keeping government’s books.

“There have been efforts made to move things forward but my concern is there has to be more done to address the control environments,” Swarbrick said Monday. He explained that because proper processes are not followed or because government departments do not manage their spending properly, it is not possible to then produce the information required for the year end accounts.

“I am hopeful that we will see some action from the PAC to keep reviewing their progress,” he said, as he urged legislators to put on more pressure on government to be transparent and accountable for the use of public cash.

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Comments (71)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Anything planned locally you will possibly half finished at best.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To Fri, 24/10/2014 – 10:45. you should do a little research before commenting, the ministries in government with the worst accounting records are all led by Caymanian CFOs,.

    The ministries with the best accounts are those the Jamaicans are in charge of, if you don't believe me, ask the Auditor General's Office or call and ask who the CFOs were for the two Ministries that spent the 1 billion that is unaccounted for.

    This is where Franz is failing, he knows what needs to be done, but he continues to shuffle the problem from one place to the other hoping it will just magically disappear.

    before you go casting aspersions, take a moment to do research.

  3. RP says:

    Didn't ppm had plans in their manifesto?

    minimum wage

    garbage

    unemployment

    repaying debt

    reopening wb road

    cruise terminal

    reviving gt

    accountability and transparency

    what happened to those plans? It seems the plan was to hire experts or set up committees to tell them what to do.  Well I guess doing nothing is better than doing something the Mac way. I have no confidence in this new plan.  Take quick action already and Fire all responsible for this mess. Get rid of incompetence in cig starting at the top. That should be the plan. Plain and simple.  Send a message to CS that incompetence is not tolerated.

  4. Silver Lining Paybook says:

    You naysayers are overlooking the one great benefit of the PFML. It has resulted in the creation of some 2000 administrative jobs over the past ten years. Without it these people would be wandering the streets. Until the private sector is able to generate that type of job creation we will have to embrace a big state model that does.

    Hahahaha. Just kidding. We are doomed. Doomed.

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of them. Either party is just for themselves.

    Petition the UK to directly administer these islands.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think the government's plan is to hire another consultant to do a study and then issue a report and to keep doing this until one of consultants tells them the best course of action is to do nothing and hope for divine intervention. 

    While the government does this, there are those in the international finance world who are now looking at Cayman with tremendous skepticism and starting to formulatae their own Plan B.  And when they pick up and move elsewhere, Cayman will have no one to blame but the ineffective and spineless government that was too worried about getting reelected than to do what is right.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pointing out what is wrong with a situation is brain-dead easy.

    Coming up with a workable solution is really, really hard.

    The gratuitous and very negative pot-shots that grace this blog are not helpful; they perpetrate the crab-in-the-bucket culture that guarantees failure.

    There are, believe it or not, some very good people in the the Cayman civil service who are struggling to cure the government's cancers of entitlement mentality, incompetance, and corruption.

    Let's give those very good people support and positive suggestions; they have a tough job fighting the entrenched, politically popular, powerful, ruthless, and corrupt "powers that be". 

  8. anonymous says:

    I want to see the plan for any pension deficit that may occur due to this  and proof that the pension money exists.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Prison for the ones responsible.

     

  10. Paul Maplongka says:

    I am hereby officially reporting CNS for gross malfeasance and irreparable damage to the English language.

    They have boldly gone where no man has gone before and actually used the word "plan" in the same sentence as "Cayman Islands Government, aka CIG". A heinous crime indeed.

  11. Stealing Thief says:

    Why doesn't the government just advertise jobs on a performance pay basis. You have targets for submitting on time and if you miss them, you get fired. If you hit them…and there should be no excuse for doing so, you get a performance bonus?

  12. Fred the Piemaker says:

    Is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning?

    • anonymous says:

      Not as cunning as entering the sewer system leading our freedom fighters under the atrium. Then kidnapping Pontius Pilat' s wife and holding her to ransom until the entire colonial apparatus is dismantled. Solidarity Brother.

  13. RP says:

    It drives me nuts writing these large cheques to government each and every year without any indication as to how it is being used.  Instead of paying them 100k per year I'd rather create some charitable positions and hire 3 unemployed.  This way I know where the funds are going and the new Caymanian recruits get to learn office skills and office etiquette.

  14. Anonymous says:

    People are treating the Finance Minister as if he walks on water when he really hasn't done anything of substance since taking office. As much as I hate the black eyes that Big Mac gave this country, much of the success the Goverment is having in terms of improved financial performance is Mac's effort coming to fruition. In other words, the country is doing well not because of the Finance Minister but despite him. I"m afraid his tenure on that coat tail is now coming to an end and he will have to prove his mettle, let's see how he handles this financial reporting mess and how he charts the waters the remainder of the way to 2017. I am hoping he succeeds, but I'm afraid he's going to have to actually do something other than read prepared speeches and take credit for the work and ideas of others if he (and the country) is going to be successful.

    • Anonymous says:

      No innovative legislation, no real reduction to public expenditures, no increased debt retirement, no strategy, no plan, it's true when you really think about it, he's really done nothing. Take the UK and their oversight out of the picture and dog nyam unnah suppa

    • jonas dwyer says:

      And stop being hotly toity on Rooster talk show, you know what Zi mean the nation heard it.

    • Anonymous says:

       20:15 I hope that you realize that the reporting mess that you are talking about was created before Marco became a minister, and refers to Mac's term as Minister of Finance .

      • Anonymous says:

        That's the thing about leadership, you don't get to say "it was the other guy's fault", you have to own it and so something about it.

        I listended to his statement in the LA, he says there was a fixed asset valuation and a valuation of healthcare liabilities, ask him who commissioned these valuations, let me help you out, Mac did, he says accounts have been improving, ask him who was in charge when the first set of accounts were submitted and under whose watch have they steadily improved, you're probably starting to follow at this point, but in case you haven't the answer is Mac. 

        This is a challenge to Marco to step up to the plate and do something tangible about this problem, not grandstand and talk about what your predecessor accomplished that you are now taking credit for, question is, what have you accomplished?

        • Anonymous says:

          Taking credit and laying blame is a politician's stock in trade and nobody is better at it than McKeeva.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You will never see this plan:
    Fire the COs DCOs FO DFOs COOs and all responsible; rationalise their salary + benefit packages; do the SAME for MLAs – who also make off like bandits after only 1 term. Many have business or pursue law degrees while on public salary!!!
    Then give the bottom-level workers a meaningful increase as they are now 10 yrs behind on Cost of Living rates and salaries!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 19:57, why not release the plan, perhaps public input could be useful in improving it, perhaps its 2 sentences scribbled on a piece of paper and they are ashamed to show it, or perhaps they are in the process of making a plan. I say show us the plan if you have one

  16. Anonymous says:

    How will the accounts deal with payments to invisible bodyguards in casinos that take payment in crockery?

  17. Anonymous says:

    "A plan"….I feel much better knowing that….NO

    I do NOT feel hope that anyone will be truly held accountable for the massive waste and apparent corruption and ineptness of the past ten years.

    At most, a few may be encouraged to retire….no doubt with golden parachute severance and pensions / benefits.

     

  18. peter milburn says:

    We need a RAPID RESPONCE TEAM complete with HazMat suits to ward off the serious disease called "Lethargy"

  19. Anonymous says:

    ok ok plan A …….thinking caps on gents! Lets try somthing innovative

    • Lets find someone to blame – very important point
    • A furreigner would be best!Lets stay silent on any failings, especially if any of us are implicated ………. what am I saying…….. "if" ………. much laughter!!!!
    • Very important! – distraction, distraction, the people are fickle – bide our time and make big fuss about the next big issue. Patientce gents, just wait until Tuesday Ez & Ard will be on Rooster – they are sure to spew some nonesense about something or another and we can make some moderate comment about something and look good. Yeah Boi, I look real good! I hope I didn't say that out loud, this is my inside voice right? Bugger! these clowns won't notice anyway. Are they even listening????? I don't even think they are awake! It's crazy how many called in sick today, again! I hope this ebola thing is not catching on …….. we're covered anyway, just dropped 800 big ones to make that go away.
    • Above all else, and for the love of God – do nothing! i repeat do absolutely nothing! We don't want to derail this gravy train now do we?
    • A week from now nobody will care or even remember ……….. sorted! Am I good or what!

    Plan B, If the above fails lets do some free food thing. They love that! Problem solved, any questions?These are all encompassing plans that will work for every situation in Cayman. Remember these words gents.

    • Anonymous says:

           18:16.When you bite the hand that is feeding you ,you are being stupid  and not brave. You mock Caymanians while making a living here;a living that you could not provide in your home country.That's right you could not earn a living in your own country and Caymanians allowed you to work here,and how do you repay them,by spitting in their face,mocking them.Just remember, Karma is a B…h.

      • Anonymous says:

        16.19- did you miss your reality injection today? Certainly in the financial service sector we have amongst the finest expat brains on the planet, which is one of the reasons so much business comes here. And it generate a lot of cash for CIG, so please, it is you that needs to watch whose hand you bite, however I doubt we will ever pursuade you otherwise. You really cannot fix stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who's is the hand that feeds the Cayman Islands? 

  20. Anonymous says:

    A cunning plan to make its people believe something is happening.  This shower are obviouslupy as bad as the last otherwise full disclosure would be forthcoming.  I find it strange that the ppm are not milking these revelations under a previous government.  It makes me wonder what they too have to hide.

  21. Knot S Smart says:

    Nice graphic to go with the title…

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am so pissed with all of this nonsense. I also notice the deafening silence no press releases from the Government or Opposition nor anyone in the House on this entire mess.

    A billion dollars can be un accounted for and all we can talk about is more plans. Majority of the financial statements produced are RUBBISH!!! They simply cannot be relied on. Looking at some of the details there are some ministries where the cash flow is not reconciling. Are you kidding me?!!!!!

    People we need to get fired up and let these politicians know business as usual is not acceptable! We need to address this problem head on!

     

  23. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely guarantee that we will never find out where the $1b that is unaccounted for actually went. Whatever the government produces it will not contain any detail about that. The truth is so bad they will never let it become public. 

  24. Anonymous says:

    Privatize the government accounting function.  The island is drowning in good qualified accounts but none of would ever want to be associated with the incompetence of the government.  If the private company fail to prepare unqualified accounts on the required dates, fire them and appoint another firm.  Isn't that what should happen to the government CFO''s who definitively can not and do not meet the requirements of their job anyway?

    What an obvious and easy "plan"

    • Anony-me says:

      They brought in 'consultant' accoutnants from teh local accounting firms a couple of years ago. The accounts still aren't straight. Thats not a defence. Just to point out that the private sector isnt' any better at fixing this problem either. Of course, since the private accountants get paid by how long it takes them to fix the accounts …

    • Anonymous says:

      You must have forgotten or not be aware that KPMG was paid $2 million to assist government and the problem didn't improve. The problem stems from govts transition to a new accounting system in 2003. The balances transferred were never audited and garbage in will be garbage out. Add thousands of transactions over the years to further compound the issues. Clearly the issue is much bigger than we think that a private firm paid millions could barely assist. 

  25. Anonymous says:

    Too funny.  And like all the other "plans" it will fail.  Cayman leadership is very predictable.  The UK is its only hope for survival.

    • Anonymous says:

       12:37.Why don't you move to the UK if you like it so much.

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps because we are already a part of the UK

        • Anonymous says:

          We are not a part of the UK. We are a largely self-governing territory and that was the point of the original post – that we are not the UK.  

      • Anonymous says:

         Because we dint need to.  Cayman is an iverseas territory of UK?  Get over it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    In short it seems they are saying that in the interests of transparency and good governance we will produce accounts across the whole system,however we are not going to show anyone so you cannot see what we have done with the tax payers money. Classic.

  27. Anonymous says:

          PPM , good job creating a plan to work ,but  to be successful you have to work the plan.Do that, and you will make us proud and history just might be kind to you.

  28. Anonymous says:

    We are just giving time to a group of thieves who are planning on how they are going to fool the people heer for another generation, Its like giving a group of socio-paths more tools to reak havoc.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:47   Who exactly are you calling thieves /Are you including yourself Since you are posting as Anonymous ,you could be anyone ;a sinner or saint,a cop or a robber, a thief.. I believe it is time to stop anonymous posters from making wide ranging and damaging allegations without one iota of proof.At the very least CNS should require proof before publishing such statements (such proof need not be published or the name of the poster revealed).I believe that if we continue publishing such statements ,without proof ,we will eventually destroy the reputation of the Cayman Is to the detriment of all of us who make our living here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your post brings to mind the saying; "throw a stone in the pen….the one that squeals got hit". You have something to hide?

        Because only someone benefiting from the current mess would vote to continue as is.

        Do you not understand that our futures, and our childrens futures are at stake here!

        It is pure selfishness and unethical practice that would not desire improvements!

      • anonymous says:

        Those that were voted in and all those who conspired,assisted or aided them, including the voters.

      • Anonymous says:

        In defence of "anonymous". We are just afraid that if we were to put our name to a post, our careers woukd be dead in the water.

      • Anonymous says:

        You must know something is true ,cant stand the heat get out the kitchen .

  29. Anonymous says:

    The plan should be to kick out the trash to the curbside. Enjoy your motherland Jamaica or wherever you crawled out of a rock. 

    • noname says:

      This is very much a homegrown problem. The fact that people think otherwise is a testament to a mentality of blaiming others at best or bury your head in the sand on issues worst.  As someone who arrived in the 1990s I have watched as these islands have gone off the rails. Successive governments have failed to govern.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup, it is part of human nature to blame external forces for internal failures.

        This mentality is not unique to Cayman, it is universal.

    • Anonymous says:

      A truly disgusting, racist remark. 

      • The Pastafarian says:

        Racist?  It didn't sound racist to me.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Every Jamaican is black, that is racists, dont confuse natioanality with race.

      • Anonymous says:

        A true racists wont discriminate between race and nationality, and a disgusting racists uses that common confusion to manipulate and race bait.

         

    • Anonymous says:

      No… Not from Jam bro.
      That’s a fake accent – from St Vincent.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The CIG has an expensive accounting system they don't know how to, or don't want to use.  The tenured Department Chiefs that have had over a decade to get up to speed should be immediately sacked, and we (and local media) need to hold the Financial Secretary and Dep Gov's feet to the fire to ensure this is done.  No more hopefulness that things will change, or that some other department will intervene.  We have to start holding our top level civil servants to a higher standard of conduct, for the sake of the future generations that will be paying for the cavalier work ethic of today.     

  31. All Seeing Eye says:

    Mr. Manderson, Mr. McLaughlin, Mr. Archer, Mr. Jefferson the ball is now in your court. Yet the silence from all of the above speaks volumes about how seriously you take this latest example of financial mismanagement. Accountability starts with each of you and filters down through the service and cabinet. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Archer has made a statement in the House so you need to eat those words.

      • Anonymous says:

        We want action not words or speeches and for people do do their job properly not seek credit for doing what you are paid to do!!!

        Minister Archer has done too much talking since getting elected show us real results and progress. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Marco is a doer not a talker and if you were paying attention you would know that. He has already set our finances on the right track.   

      • anonymous says:

        So is the 1 billion dollars still missing or was it just being borrowed?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes Mr Manderson , Mr McLaughlin , the ball is in your court now  . Do something about  all this corruption . Or I comeing to pull my $7,000,000. 00  out of the bank in Cayman . Or is it the ketle cant call the pot black here .

      • Anonymous says:

        08:22.Seven million what ? Lies? With that spelling you are no more a millionare than I am;and my account balance is under $200.

  32. Anonymous says:

    LOL they have had a plan for ten years but where are the accounts.

    The PMFL is clear on the steps necessary but look at what results it's has yielded. Time to make changes starting at the very top and work their way down. Until persons are held accountable and where necessary fired  or encouraged to resign it's all just more chatter.

    Madam Governor only you can hold the DG and his reports accountable. 

  33. Anonymous says:

    We just do not have the local talent to carry out these high level accounting and managerial functions and we will never recruit non-Caymanians so there will never be an improvement.