Mac hits out at auditor

| 30/10/2014

CNS): The opposition leader has attacked the auditor general, following the damning reports released earlier this month that pointed to a catalogue of problems with the public finances at McKeeva Bush’s former ministry. Bush said Alastair Swarbrick had deliberately “smeared” the civil servants working in the tourism and finance ministry, accusing them of incompetence when it was staff shortages that had led to the financial failures. Demanding an emergency Public Accounts Committee meeting, Bush railed against his auditing nemesis and accused him of trying to undermine the public sector workers by releasing reports to the public without giving people a chance to defend themselves.

Bush went on the attack in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday morning, as he dismissed the accuracy of the audits. This is not the first time that Bush, who is deputy chair of the Public Accounts Committee, has attacked the auditor general.

His disparaging comments about the independent public finance watchdog had led to the chair of PAC asking for Bush to step down. Earlier this year Roy McTaggart write to Bush pointing out that the comments he was making about Swarbrick and his team made it impossible for them to work together. Despite the request, Bush said he would not resign.

McTaggart was travelling overseas and was not present when Bush made his damning statement but the PAC chair told CNS via email that he would address the situation on his return, though it is not clear if he would be calling on his legislative colleagues to reconfigure PAC.

During his statement Bush blamed staffing problems, given the size of the ministry (which he created, having taken on a number of portfolios on top of his premiership), as well as the IRIS accounts system used by government. He said his ministry’s accounts, like everyone else’s, had been transferred into the system without being audited, so the historical failures and mistakes were carried over year on year. .

He also said a costly task force, formed in 2009 to assist, wasn’t much help as the budget was exhausted before it got to his ministry. This issue of staffing problems was also highlighted during the opposition leader’s trial last month, when witnesses stated that they were unable to keep track of Bush’s credit card use because they were so short staffed and under pressure to complete the accounts.

In a bizarre twist, given the failure of most ministries to supply information for audit, Bush turned on the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), saying that senior management only became aware of financial problems after a full audit. So because the financial years in question were not completed until 2013, it was too late for public sector bosses to make improvements.

However, the problems of financial accounting have been highlighted by the OAG for more than six years and were first brought to light, and ignored, by the previous auditor, Dan Duguay.

Nevertheless, despite the long history and concerns raised by the audit office for many years, Bush accused Swarbrick of sensationalized statements about the accounts and no regard to impact on staff. He was “hell bent” on making civil servants and politicians look bad, Bush said, as he called on McTaggart to organize a PAC meeting quickly so they could defend themselves.

Whenasked for comment on Bush’s latest attack, the OAG said it did not wish to comment at this time on Bush’s accusations.

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Category: Politics

Comments (100)

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  1. SKEPTICAL says:

    If bush had done his job as well as the AG does his, the country might now be in much better shape.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You can just see the outline of his invisible bodyguard in the photograph.

  3. the haranguer says:

    Can you imagine the state we would be in if that man had won the last election. Good dirty work governor! 

  4. the haranguer says:

    Look at the kitty behind you, smoke and mirrors from the low plains gambler.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is worth noting that Mac is only willing to talk nasty about the AG when he is hiding behind the protections of parliamentary privilege in the LA.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Did he really try to hit the AG or just swing his handbag?

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is man who says he gives money and crockery to invisible armed guards who cannot be named and who cannot give invoices or receipts and who only seem to provide protection while the man in question is spending hours in a casino not gambling.  How can anyone take him seriously?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does he have an OFF button?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh please!! Just because we all now know that you see nothing wrong in facilitating your gambling addiction with public funds you want to shift our focus to your trumped up claims against the Auditor General. Not going to happen Mac! Your behavior is and clearly has been disgraceful. Shame shame on you!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    At this point "incompetence" is too light of word to describe what is occuring, please qualify all uses of that word with "intentional incompetence" 

  11. Cym. born says:

    CNS, could you post the wording or words made by the AG indicating that civil servants are incompetent so that the public knows McKeeva didn't make this up. I notice you haven't affixed a copy of the AG report to your article. If government is "incompetent" like what the AG said, as a civil servant I know for a fact that is an inaccurate view of government and the MLA should be offended. It is also interesting that during major issues like this effecting our image to the world our current Premier Alden is always quiet.

    CNS: All of the OAG's reports are on the OAG website. See here.

    • Anonymous says:

      The word "incompetent" is generous when used as a description of those responsible for losing 1BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayers money.

      We are talking about the loss of more money than the entire spending 2014/15 budget of the Cayman Islands government.

      What word would you use, "forgetflul", "misunderstood", "over worked" or perhaps "thieves" ?

      • Anonymous says:

        13:39.It is a falsehood to say that 1 billion dollars is lost ;read the report again.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes you are correct, "unaccounted for" was the term used in previous news reports. I stand corrected, does that clarification offer you some form of confidence that the 1 BILLION DOLLARS will be accounted for?

          Ever tried to misplace 1 BILLION DOLLARS? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Our present premier's being quiet is one of our greatest assets, don't you realize? No encouragement to do otherwise, please. Thanks.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How does the saying go….?

    "An empty drum makes the loudest noise"

  13. Anonyanmous says:

    Dear Hon McKeeva please hit out at the criminals that are becoming a real menace to all, tourists, residents and Caymanians.

  14. Anonymous says:

    There is no reason for the Auditor General to have a chip on his shoulder or want to smear civil servants. He is simply doing his job. He and his team try to audit the nonsense that is given to them that are supposed to be financials for the CIG. The Auditor General is not targeting anyone, he is calling a spade a spade, irrespective of who the light shines on eventually. His office's decision to not even bother comment on Mr. Bush's comments are louder and clearer than anything actually being said……"IT IS NOT WORTH COMMENTING ON" They know this is just a tactic employed by Mr. Bush to drum up support from the electorate. Mr. Bush knows that what the Auditor General has said is very true but he is a seasoned politician, once it looks like he is standing up for the people, the naive, ignorant and in some cases just plain stupid people will continue to praise him and think he is so great. For the record I am a Caymanian. It seems like anytime anyone post something that criticize Caymanians, many automatically assume that it is an expat, also with a chip on their shoulder toward Caymanians. No, there are actually highly intelligent Caymanians who are not afraid to admit when other Caymanians are not up to par.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Stand your ground Mr. Bush!

    I am appalled at the hatred being spewed out on cns at Mr Bush! So he has a gambling problem but all you professing saints pluck the beam out of your eyes before you can see to pluck the mot out of Mckeeva's eye. Some of you are thieves , drunkards , adulterers, wife beaters, liars, fornicators,drug addicts and the like.  Does it make you any better than Mr.Bush? Get off the man's back you haters!!! As soon as he opens his mouth you are ready to crucify him. 

    The auditor general came back and corrected his statement that the period in question is from 2004-2012 . What does the PPM has to say since clearly they were in office 2005-2009 ?

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean beam?  I'm not a drunkard…hic cup  What was that again?

      Gambling with our money.  He can gamble with his but not our money.  We drink or any other sin you want to put up there with our money our lives not governemnts which is the money of the people of the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes! Keep trying to stand up in what we all know is a dirty pigsty

       

    • Anonymous says:

      I am drunk, lying, fornicator.  But I am also not an MLA.  As a general rule I consider that lying gambling crazed people are considered unfit for public office. 

    • Anonymous says:

      00:06, the key difference which you highlight between us and Bush is that those "professing saints" work in the private sector where things are hidden, Bush however works for the public reprsenting a Country for the entire world to see and hear, you complete and utter donkey.

      Has that made it easier for you to understand? Probably not.

      • Dr. Do - Little - Too -Late says:

        Hey 13:26!    You said, 00:06 is a donkey, that makes you an ass for calling him so! Aren't they not both the same? That's the problem with some of us Caymanians. If they disagree with someone's comment, they immediately resort to name calling and putting down. Why can't you just disagree? There is no need for the name calling. I say this to you because it helps no one when we resort to these ways of replying to a comment. And this comment is from someone who knows and have said, that  McKeeva is wrong in what he did, especially when he was the Premier of the Island.

        I called you an ass because I wanted to remind you that none of us are perfect. So let's us not beat up on the one guy who went to court and got off so to speak. But let us remember there were many others who used those cards illegally! 

        I thank the jury for their verdict. Because it is my opinion, had they found Mr. Bush guilty as charged, that would have meant that every other member of Government who used those cards would have had to face face the same music.  Think about it! What would that have meant? 

        Would it have meant shutting down Government? And what would have been the economic repercussions?

        Think about it!

         

    • Anonymous says:

      So your philosphy is that no one should be criticized because there are other equal or worse offenders? You need help, friend.

  16. Q.E.D. says:

    Non compos mentis.

     

  17. Anonymous says:



    No one should be surprised by this behaviour. I am sure that after the not guilty sentence he received he feels empowered to behave even more obnoxiously. It is sad how low public office has sunk in these fair islands.

  18. Boss Hogg says:

    I am officially upgrading the Auditor General from “fly in my ointment” to “thorn in my side”!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Seems like Mack has alot of competition with Caymanians in high positions I guess they are called retired Civil Servants and now held in very high esteem with power equal to Policemen who go on gambling trips to Vegas. Dont worry, you cant hide anything in Cayman.

    Yetthey are the same ones are critizing Mack. At least Mack looks out for his people. God bless him.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not about to say anything complementary towards the former Premier but I agree with you about the retired (and not retired) civil servants who also indulge in gambling. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    My friends!

    When one has a problem, the best way to do something about it is to: First admit that the problem exists.

    If this is not done, then others will have no choice but to conclude: That they suffer from something known as "narcissism"!  Narcissism is a malady which causes one to believe they are blameless, are always right about everything, and In some cases: Failing to admit ones guilt in the commission of acts that were simply wrong or inappropriate.

    This malady touches all of us in varying degrees.

    There are many people out there who still love, and admire our politicians and see them as  friends, and remember the many good things they may have done, in the early years of their political career, and we all love them for it, but above all, let us all remember that God loves them even when they do wrong, and will create a place where he can use them for his work! But, before they will be able to do HIS work, "they must" humble themselves before him and regain the trust of we the people! This can only be done when "THEY" admit to God and themselves the wrongs they did, thus admitting that a problem does exist.

    Having done that, one can then seek God's help in doing those things that will rebuild character and help them to live their life in a manner that inspire others to follow, who will be  led by that universal "ONE-NESS" that governs truth, love and justice.  If we all do this, I do believe, we are bound to see many positive changes coming about, for all who live here.

    May God bless and protect these Islands  with his love wisdom!

     

     

  21. Anonymous says:

    Typical Mac….no sense and no integrity!

    And I would have thought that McTaggart and the ruling Govt. would have already "restructured" the PAC….by removing Mac! What's taking so long with that?

  22. Anonymous says:

    'Like  rotten mackerel in the moonlight he shines and stinks.'  Now the shine has worn off and the stink is unbearable.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Mac's salary could only be for his entertainment value. 

  24. Anonymous says:

    So we are supposed to listen to a cumpulsive gambler (pathetically addicted to slots) instead of a professional accountant with integrity? Shut up Mac

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac has a point. How can the AG make all kinds of accusations without allowing civil servants in ministries to defend themselves or at least provide explanations?  It doesn't seem right to me.  And why is this AG report coming out 2 years later when a lot of issues have already been corrected and resolved?  Isn't his message supposed to be about providing timely reports? Caymanians need to ask these questions instead of attacking the only man that defends Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        The auditor general's comments are the result of the comprehensive audit procedures (often carried out by external audit firms) over numerous years.  It is during those procedures that the effectiveness of the ministries' personnel were evaluated.   We need to stop appointing people to positions of responsibility based on nepotism and/or cronyism.  Mac only sticks up for people when it is convenient for him…in this case it is his ministries that are the most blatant offenders.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is nothing to do with Caymanians. Remember that many senior civil servants are non-caymanians. This is to do with developing and maintaining a system (as well as a culture) of accountability. We, the Caymanian public, deserve nothing less. The civil service work for us and we must demand and expect them to maintain a high standard of accountability. The Auditor General is helping us to achieve this audible goal.

      • Anonymous says:

        19.48-There is no defense. Period. If there was they would be out trumpeting it. Their silence speaks volumes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Shut Up Mac!

      • Anonymous says:

        why dont you 2 morons shut up and LISTEN to the man  he has a point    remember the bubbly !!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Celebrating something is different then orchestrating it.  I am not saying you are a "moron", but if not you are likely one of the chosen that received benefits from him (employment appointment beyond your competense, Nation Building Fund, casino operators, ??) at the expense of the rest of the caymanian people. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, I had one ready to pop too and I'm a Caymanian.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Mac's comments are the equivalent of "my dog ate my homework."

  26. Knot S Smart says:

    So then is Mac saying that the AG has a 'chip' on his shoulder against the Civil Service?

  27. Anonymous says:

    The only thing Mac knows about money is how to play the slots,

  28. Anonymous says:

    A sad and uneducated buffoon trying desperately to defend the indefensible.  The report is a statement of fact and highlights the gross negligence and incompetence under Bush's watch.  Time for some fresh, young Caymanian blood to take over from this current crop of politicians and try to do what is best for The Cayman Islands rather than the self interest displayed so far.

  29. Anonyanmous says:

    This is what happen when there is no accountability.  In my opinion it began the day we got organized party politics and this country will continue to regress if those in authority are not held responsible.  The government accounts is a mess, the accounting system leaves a lot to be desired and Cayman is sliding fast.  This country was once the best in the Caribbean and I would dare to say the world.  We should have the same type of people seeking residency here like in Monaco instead now mostof our good residents are fleeing to Monaco and other places that are similar to what we were back in the 70s, 80s and early 90s.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe Bush should move to Monaco – they have some world-class casinos there. And the Prince probablystill needs a Court Jester to entertain his guests

  30. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bush, the Auditor is not "hell bent on makingcivil servants and politicians look bad", he is simply doing his job in reporting to the Islands how bad those people have made themselves look.

    Power to his elbow, and frankly, he deserves support from the politicians in doing this difficult job. You Mr Bush have consistently harangued him and his predecessor, and you should feel ashamed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shame?I guess to feel shame one must firstly own up to one's wrongdoing, something Mr.Bush has  refused to do so far. Like a child, he blames others for pretty much everything. If I used the public's money to gamble in order to try and enrich myself I would feel shame for having done something I know to be wrongMr.Bush appears to think his doing precisely this was not wrong, hence no feeling of shame. Clearly his supporters feel the same way, pointing out that while he was gambling on the pubic purse this was OK because he was going to pay it back. What a peculiar world Mr.Bush and his supporters live in.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr Bushs supporters is smarter than you. The realize that Mack halo of competitors including you out there who are in the gambling business just like you.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Mac, I trust the Auditor General's opinion over yours.

    Given the size of Cayman, we should only need a few accountants and a small team of bookkeepers to keep the financials in good shape.

    Competence is, indeed, the problem.

  32. Anonymous says:

    "…keep track of Bush’s credit card…"

    Sorry, Mac. Two issues here:

    1. Using a government credit card for personal expenses is just plain wrong. We do not need written policies and regulations (which cost a bundle to draft) to know what we should know from attending Sunday school.

    2. Using government staff to reconcile personal spending is also plain wrong. It is theft of government resources. If you cannot reconcile a simple credit card statement how in God's name can you run a small country?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac's best form of defence? Blame anyone and everyone but himself. You are a mess Mr Bush and I wish you would crawl back into a hole for good.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Really!! stop wasting your time and do what you promised to do help the people of this Island i don't think you have noticed lately – people is suffering…..

  35. Anonymous says:

    Just getting the voting block on his side.

  36. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva was expected to return fire at the Auditor General regardless how lame and hollow his responses really sound.  

    After McKeeva's recent gambling revelations one would think he might temper his responses, apparently he has learned nothing from the embarrassment of the trial to the country and the government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite to the contrary. He feels infallible. He has no fear. His heart is pure and his hands are clean so he will keep getting away with blue murder until someone has the guts to do something about it and see it through…. Properly.

  37. The Judge says:

    Mr. Ex-Premier, maybe you best be keeping quiet.  You might not be so lucky next time.

  38. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    Financial irregularities?? The Auditor doesn't know what he's talking about! We take your money and spend it on whatever we want! And don't have any receipts. We've always done that! What's so irregular about that?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Who is he talking to? Is there anyone left who actually listens to this man any more? After the dynamite, the dump and port tenders, the NBF, the Stan Thomas affair, trying to restructure the national debt illegally, the casinos, the expat tax and hundreds of other things how can this man have any credibility left? Seriously who can look at what Mac has done and NOT think he is the worst politician in the history of the world?

    • Anonymous says:

      The morons who vote for he.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Who is he talking to?"

      Answer: He is talking to the voters in his West Bay constituency.

      They are very high quality voters. They are the best that hams, turkeys, National Building Funds, air conditioners, fridges, and cash can buy.

       

      Give Mac some credit, he knows how to take care of his own; he probably thinks that he is a Robin Hood, robbing the rich to feed his poor.

       

    • The Deacon says:

      Don't forget that he runs in a rotten borough/open air asylum. So, unfortunately, he will continue to pose a real danger to the successful future of this country.

       

  40. Anonymous says:

    Oh what? Anything to do with adding up correctly always gets attacked by Mac. I wonder why?

  41. Anonymous says:

    Can the various AG's & Governor's sue Bush for his various slanderous remarks and please shut him up.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe they and we, could convey our concerns to a slightly higher authority in the UK. Lawyers should know… We got nuff real ones and more self-proclaimed ones right here on CNS so one of them should know.

  42. Danny says:

    Bush sure knows how to expose these AGs

  43. Anonymous says:

    I worry that Mr.Bush is concentrating on this rather than obtaining treatment for his gambling addiction. Let's get this sorted out first, then we can listen to what he has to say in the knowledge that he is thinking rationally.

    • Anonymous says:

      He needs treatment for SPENDING addiction

    • Anonymous says:

      That is just not going to happen.  Anyone who listens to this man is a fool whether he gets treatment for his gambling problem or not.  A man who can stand with a bible in one hand and a fist in the other and think he has won has more problems than gambling.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Actually, only you look bad Mr. Bush.  Unfortunately, everyone was afraid to stand up to you and that's the real reason for this fiasco.

  45. Universal Truth says:

    The cockroach hates the glare of the flashlight.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Mctaggart shouldn't be chair, he may have been a partner at KPMG but that doesn't make him qualified.  He is spinless and is lost in the wilderness.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Sadly the majority of politicians, and it seems more UDP, don't like to be held accountable and their solution to every problem are two things:

    1. Blame any person from UK; and

    2. Increase staff from the Caribbean, especially Jamaica. 

    At least the numbers and comments we frequently hear seem to support this.

    If people really care about the future of these islands  including the Jamaicans who want to live in peace here and for their children.

    Please look at our police service after increasing the police officers from Jamaica to deal with mainly Jamaican nationals in the community (since we have proportionately more Jamaican nationals and I don't hear of English-Caymanians (not too many anyway) being suspected or convicted of robberies etc so stop using the race card also and work together to send unemployed home, get rid of bogus work permits and those with Caymanian status need to stop allowing politicians to use'saving jobs' to avoid being accountable and putting proper systems in place.

    Enough is enough! UDP supporters stop encouraging a lack of accountability, didn't we have more problems with financial accountability and Caymanians getting jobs in the civil service AFTER we hired so many accounting and HR personnel for EACH department??

    We need to centralise these functions, get rid of  staff and if they are so effective many positions in private sector filled by work permits so they can find alternative employment.

    Do what's right in short term or we all will suffer.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Mac you are relentless with your antics. Why don’t you sit down and shut up and if there is dignity and integrity being sold please buy yourself all that is available. You are a really sick man playing politics. Your purile behaviour has now gotten to unbearable. If there are any apologies due then you need to apologise to the people of the Cayman Islands. There is a saying “the chains of a bad habit is too weak to be felt until it is too hard to be broken” sir, that bad is you do not know when to STOP.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Until people are held accountable, this story will never change and this man will continue his tiresome rants.  Such a shame people still vote for him and his foolishness.  Accountability, people!!!

  50. CaymanianWB says:

    Without apology… Way-to-go Mac!  Expose them yes!

  51. anon. says:

    If government finances are in shambles and a hired professional comes along and certifies that the finances are in fact in shambles, what is the problem? Why the hate? What do you want the auditor to say? The finances are just fine? Come on, Mckeeva.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Its not our fault the english teachers in school did not teach us how to cook books properly

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Be fair, that wasnt the fault of the English teachers, it would have been the Maths teachers taught that!

  53. Anonymous says:

    How arrogant can one be ?

    For most rational thinking human beings, this man has lost all credibility.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:12  what do you mean that he has lost all credibility? How can you loose what you never had?

  54. Bill Visa says:

    Please. Please. Just take a credit card. Any credit card. And GO AWAY.

     

     

  55. Anonymous says:

    I am no fan of McKeeva Bush. But I must say a big thank you to him for at least attempting to give some explanation to the public about this financial mess. While I have the utmost respect for the position of the Auditor General I found it utterly pointless for him to bring this critical issue to light with no explanation other than to make public servants look totally useless.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps one day you will realize that its in all our interests to know the truth. If you had a helper who didn't proect your child by giving your child basic food and providing your child with safey wouldn't you want to know? What if your helper was useless, wouldn't you want to know? What if she was stealing, wouldn't you wan to know? The fact is producing accounts is not rocket science. Its simple procedure and discipline. To anyone with business sense, its speaks volumes that the civil servants can't produce accounts. Its utterly embarassing for a place that claims to be a financial center.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Its our money. I certainly won't bank with an institution that couldn't keep accounts. Would you? It blows my mind that so many don't realize that incompetence costs us money. Why do you think the cost of living keeps going up? We pay indirect taxes which in turn pays the civil servants. What's cheaper, one person who can do the job, or three who can't?

    • Anonymous says:

      It needs to be pointed out that the reports JUST released by the OAG are over 2 years old. The issues raised in most cases have been rectified and treated. This is another attempt to be the "Rescuror" of the Cayman Islands and denograte hard working Caymanians. This was done to again raise the panic button.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Mac should not be slaming anyone and blameing it on staff shortage , because when you put money in slot machines , you cant pay employees with that money.  this is why there is staff shortage !

  57. Anonymous says:

    The ignorance of this man is astounding

  58. Anonymous says:

    Typical Bush, attack the messenger rather than the message. Amazing how he thinks it is a good thing to take all those ministries and then fail them by spreading himself too thin, but still taking all the extra money for being head of the ministries!

  59. MEM says:

    Don't stress yourself about this Mac, you'll get "not guilty" if anything comes out of it anyway!