CIG brags of clean audits

| 13/11/2014

(CNS): Government bean counters in one ministry and in the portfolio of the civil service have been given a clean bill of health for their 2013/14 accounts. All government accounts were submitted within their legal time frame and for the first time in a decade the tourism ministry also managed to get a qualified opinion rather than a disclaimer or an adverse opinion. Although this is exactly what government should be doing across all 41 reporting entities, every year, the fact that the public accounts had reached such a dire situation the premier said it was important to tell the country, Wednesday, that this government meant business when it came to straightening out the problem.

Although the auditor general’s office has only been able to complete just over half of the government’s accounts that came in from over 40 different entities for this financial year, government bragged that they were all in before the statutory deadline and the quality of all of them was vastly improved.

This led the deputy governor, Franz Manderson to optimistically boast that he believed all of the accounts, once audited by Alastair Swarbrick’s team, would, this year finally, receive at least a qualified if not unqualified opinion. The finance minister however was more realistic and told CNS that it would probably not be until the 2014/15 financial year that government could get a complete clean bill of accounting health.

Admitting there was still a lot of work to do Premier Alden McLaughlin, explained why he had called a press briefing to announce the improvement in the accounts situation. "A lack of proper accounts has haunted three administrations and we are starting to get it right."

He said an email sent to the civil service management from the auditor general commended the various entities for the results so far. the premier stated that it was the first time since the introduction of the public finance management law in 2004 the ministry of community affairs got an unqualified opinion and the ministry of tourism a qualified one and this alone was a significant step forward. This means that in both cases when the public finally get to see the reports, when they are tabled later this month, they can trust the information in them as an accurate report of what those ministriesdid with public cash last year.

“Over the course of the past seven or so years there has been much justified criticism about the failure of the Cayman Islands Government to comply with the Public Management and Finance Law with respect to its accounts,” McLaughlin said as he opened the televised conference to boast of the forward step.

“Finally there is some good news from the Auditor General about the progress that this Administration is making on getting our accounting system up to scratch,” the premeir added.
Only weeks after Swarbrick and his team published a damning review of where government is on its accounts backlog McLaughlin said the government had now received “favourable and complimentary words” from the auditor.

Although government has gone effectively from a complete failing grade when it comes to reporting its public finances and accounting for how it spends tax payer’s money to a D+, the premier stated that the previous appalling situation made this progress all the more significant.

“We still have a ways to go, but in the words of the Auditor General, this is the best result that has been achieved since the introduction of the PMFL,” the premier said. “While we appreciate that government still has a lot to do when it comes to submitting financials in a timely manner and getting them right the first time, I honestly believe this Administration is setting the right tone,” he added.

Thanking civil servants and commending them for their work the government leader said they had “spent many hours striving to get our financial statements and reporting up to par,” as he described a new attitude of cooperation and responsiveness across government as it works with the auditor general’s team.

“This is not by chance, but by design. This government has worked tirelessly since being returned to office to restore stability to the country and the economy,” the premier stated. “A large part of that work has been overseen and ushered through by Finance Minister Hon. Marco Archer. I again commend him and his very capable team for the infectious zeal they bring to their government duties.”

Despite the minor move forward and the remaining massive problems surrounding accountability to the public for billions of dollars past spent and unaccounted for, the premier said his administration would “continue to move forward and strive for improvement.”

McLaughlin believed it was worth celebrating what he saw as significant improvements that have been made in the accountability for the use of public resources.

CNS contacts the auditor general’s office about the claimed improvements and the current situation with the accounts for 2013/14 and we are awaiting a response.

Category: Politics

Comments (48)

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  1. Alice says:

    I really can't understand the press and public reaction to this really good news. A month ago the Auditor General stated that Ministry of Tourism accountfor 2011-2012 were disclaimed. In order words cannot be relied on. Fast forward to 13/14 and the AG gives a much improved opinion ie a qualified opinion. This is an amazing achivement and while most of CNS posters just focus on the negative because that's the simple way to do things- I for one applaud the Ministry, Premier, Deputy Premier and Deputy Governor for taking the action to fix this problem.

    the fact that our Deputy Governor can predict that the entire public sector audits will either be qualified and unqualified is history in the making.

    We called for the DG head when the AG gave his opinion of the infamous billion dollar lost in the audits in 2011-2012. The DG was appointed in 2012 – do i need to say the rest. Changes were made improvements delivered.  Thank you.

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Finally!!  Something the Caymanian people can be proud of.  At least 2 people should get hero status for this.  Has anyone in government started the ball rolling on the new holiday?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well on you wish for no more government reports this lot have dismally failed.  We now have on island an inspection from the uk inspecting our schools supposedly to do a base line study, as announced by minister rivers at thr teachers start of year conference.  They will not allowed tomspeak to any of the experts on island so know nothing about our education suystem, the strides make over the past few years etc.  Also, they have never inspected states schools before.  We at the same time have KPMG london on island doing another report.  Their sole remit is to suggest to government the privatization of particular schools.  KPMG know nothing about classrooms, they know about accounting and their report of eight years ago is still gathering dust.  What is wrong with our politicians that they continue to ignore experts they have hired in the first place and bring in accountancy firms to do a job they are clearly unqualified to do?  Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that it is not about base line inspections, or good governance but rather in hiring in people to back up decisions that have already been made.  I am begging you minister rivers, c4c, premier etc to STOP this madness.  

  4. UHUHUH says:

    May I suggest to our Government, "who seem to exhibit a real determination to get us back on an even keel financially", that we put aside annually 10% of our GDP which shall be placed in a special savings account for the sole purpose of funding "needed infrastructure". With the following caveat!

    !: No Premier, no minister, no body other than 90% of the elected membership of the house thru a vote, can use any of these funds for any other purpose unless authorized by an emergency committee made up of members of the district councils and one MLA. By doing this and continuing the frugal habit of putting aside 10% of our earnings annually, before long we will have saved so much cash we won't know what to do with it!  OOPS!  Sorry that last bit was a slip of the tongue!

    2: Continuing! No more $Millions spent on reports and  studies by friendly accounting firms to tell us what we should do. Reports that are then relegated to some bin in some dark corner of  the Government Administration Building [GAB] never to be heard of again. There has to be enough intelligent thinkers with-in the public sector, [god help us if we don't have] that can put their heads together and figure what's needed, then prioritize each project in an order of which it is most needed. This way we will have a list of projects in a specific order in which they will be implemented. No more trying to give every ministry funding for what "they" think should be given priority! 

    3: No more Government issued credit cards! If they have to travel use their itinerary to calculate travel expense + 10% and issue them a debit card for that amount. If there is an emergency make a call to the minister of finance and additional funds can be added. Otherwise use your personal credit card for which you will be reimbursed when you return.

    4: No more gift giving etc. paid for by govt. funds with out first clearing it with the office of Minister of Finance. People have a tendency to think it's OK if there are no rules to follow! So to insure there is no misunderstanding all expenditure of Government [our] money must receive clearance from the office of the Minister of Finance.

    So to Government I say: Continue to work hard in trying to extricate us from this financial Quagmire in which we have been stuck for the last half decade. And before long we can celebrate knowing that we will / have achieved something we can all be proud of!

    A REAL CASH FLOW!

     

     

     

    • anonymous says:

      Stop the double dipping of mla' s drawing their pensions prior to retirement. At least let the people at the other end have a chance of getting theirs out and secured somewhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      10% of our GDP?? The GDP of a country is not something of which the government has possession. It is not government's "earnings". GDP is the monetary value of all the goods and services produced within these Islands calculated on an annual basis. Cayman's GDP is some $2.7bn, 10% of which would be $270m. Did you mean 10% of Government's annual revenue i.e. somewhere in the region of $70m?   

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds good. Can we have some more staff at the Min. Finance to handle all these calls?

      • jonas dwyer says:

        See what I mean read the Caymanian conpass today November 17 and see that it corroborates what I said on Friday. The Accounting and financial statements rendition mess we ate in was initiated by who THE PPM. They have now decided to correct what they started in 2001 shameful. Don't forget YA past too soon people.

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

    "PROFLIGACY" became elevated to an "Art  Form" in The Public Sector over the years. 

    So don't expect any drastic changes any time soon!

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation for the present Government. The last incumbents left behind a financial and moral fiasco, led by a man who believes it's okay to gamble with taxpayer's money, and waste millions trying to hang a 300 million dollar cruise-dock millstone around the country's neck, so he could watch us all drown, while he hid behind his security fence smearing all speakers of truth as 'donkeys'. He got good practice with the Turtle Farm, still bleeding this island of  ten million a year, while the loan providers made off like bandits at our expense. Luckily, the intended Cayman National Slave-Collar never quite snapped shut on us, on account of a timely intervention  from abroad.

    This administration has done well to come as far as they have, dragging us out of a deep and stinking pit. The way they are approaching the big projects like the Cruise Dock, the Airport expansion, Mount Trashmore and the Conservation Law, is exemplary, and after all the cynical comments, uninformed statements and knee-jerk reactions have been long forgotten, the benfefits of these yet-to be-arrived-at achievements will be enjoyed by all of Cayman's citizens. This Government is honest and trying to do the right thing. Let them get on with it. No ship can turn a corner on a dime, there's too much momentum in the wrong direction. Remember the Rhapsody on the Rocks? Even the massive Dutch tug, the Smit Tak, snapped its six-inch hawsers trying to pull it off the reef, yet Cayman has suffered much worse damage.

    I generally loathe politicians, like most normal people, but this Government contains some truly honest and talented individuals, and we should be grateful for it.

    • jonas dwyer says:

      Ha you are taking pure unadulterated bull. The whole mess started when the Hon Kirk Tibbeyys was the Leader of Government Business. He and the then Financial Secretary introduced the accrual system of Accounting. Lest we forget they also increased the civil services employee base dramatically by hiring a host of staff to handle the new system. It is from this era that the accounting anf financial preparation woes of this country started. With the introduction of a system that in the first place was not carefully researched, badly introduced with inadequate training and whatever else,new have what we have today. So don't forget your past so quickly.

    • Charles Brown says:

      I also loathe politicians, so maybe I am normal, or near normal.  I will look for those honest and talented ones you mentioned as the future is being decided for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting you fail to mention the circus on island at the moment in relation to education and plans to bring in academies at a time when UK and USA are experiences the fiasco they created.  Our government does not understand there is no magic pill to fixing our education system.  What is needed is sustained expert input, continuous professional development for us teachers and solid early years education.  What we do not need is inspectors arriving at our schools, not talking to us teachers, giving us no feedback and leaving us with a sense of disempowerment.  Add to that we have KPMG wandering around our school making judgements without having visited even ONE classroom.  What is going on?  

  7. Anonymous says:

    the poorest performers are the least aware of their own incompetence

  8. Farmer says:

    For those questioning the celebration, remember that the tick in the pasture will always latch onto any creature that passes within reach.

  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW…  2 out of 41

    REALLY great job

    gov lost all touch with real life 

    We are all starving out here and NOTHING is done

    Just look at the dump and the gas prices

     

    • Anony-me says:

      Read closer, the Auditor General hasn't gotten around to auditing the rest yet.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sad day when this makes news.  Seriously would not consider this good news.  Big deal, an ever so tiny small percentage of government is actually doing their job.  WOW.  Let us know when the accounts are reliable with no qualified opinions – that would be newsworthy!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Premier Mclaughlin that is a wonderful song written by George Jones and Tammy waynette – 1 & 1 =2  and congratulations to the team.  People are suffering out here while the country's affairs are looked after, which of course is a sacifice!!! – maybe in 2017 there will not be any alive to vote.  They seem to be going under the bridge or the bus. Hope some help is on the way for those falling by the way side with no jobs for Caymanians Versus  work permits.

    • Anonymous says:

      Premier you must thjnk of us , like the architec of obamacare law said about the  American voters , ( they are too stupid to understand what is in the law )  If you do ,  then you are the stupid  one .

      • Anonymous says:

        The architect of Obama Care, which is to say the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was a republican.

  12. Anonymous says:

    F to D+ is a bit generous.

    Perhaps F to D- is more realistic.

    Having said that, I still applaud the progress. It is a beginning.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Applaud? Progress? 5%?!?! FIVE PERCENT?!?!

      Our standards are so low, God help our children. This is majorly embarassing. We are so desperate for real leadership.

    • Anonymous says:

      The most improved student prize is always a difficult one, because you have to have done crap in the first place to stand a chance of winning.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Whooooopeee 4.9% of all Gov entities are wonderful. Didn't we know that already? Only 95% to go….

  14. Anonymous says:

    After ten years of incompetence coupled with systemic failures they all should be embarrassed 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier , how can the auditor general office say that only half of the accounts were completed , and goverment can bragg that the quality of all them was vastly improved .  Why dont the auditor  general finish all of them before you start telling us what you think .  Why are you useing a  UNQUALIFIED  OPINION ?           Dart should stop all of his projects for awhile untill you clean up all the crime / corruption , because all this would kill his developments . This is my qualified opinion .

  16. Anonymous says:

    LOL a slow news day in the Cayman Islands 

  17. Anonymous says:

    A qualified opinion is still not good.  They should be aiming for an unqualified opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      – 08:55. If you read the article again you will find that the Premier and Minister of Finance agree with you.Here are a few examples "Admitting there was still a lot of work to do Premier Alden McLaughlin, explained..";" We still have a ways to go,"the premier said his administration would “continue to move forward and strive for improvement.”

  18. Anonymous says:

    Are you serious? In the private sector a qualified opinion would have someone's head rolling and Alden is touting this as a success?  This is typical PPM. They don't get elected to do things right, or even better, they get elected to lower the bar.

    What were the grounds for qualification?  Anyone know?  

     

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean to say this is typical Caymanian leadership.  PPM  UDP or whatever they call themselves they should just call themselves DUMB!

    • Anonymous says:

       08:51.If it is typical PPM to give news of of an improving situation ,that is good. If you are saying that it is typical PPM to strive for improvement ,I can live with that.Because you are a pessimist ,you can only see that the glass is half full,while you ignore the fact that previously it was only quarter full.However if looking on the bad side of things is what gets you up and going ,if that floats your boat,then keep on floating.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dunning-Kruger Effect:

     
    incompetent people don’t know they are incompetent
    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed someone famous once said that "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance"

  20. Anonymous says:

    The Premier and Minister Archer need to let us know when they find the 1 billion dollars unaccounted for then we can all share the joy.  

    Until then the Regressives appear desperate for any kind of positive news. To celebrate 2 out of 41 entities complying with law is embarassing. What next a public holiday?

    • Anonymous says:

      That is two more than they had before so that is progress not regress.

      • Anonymous says:

        and seriously nothing to congratulate or pat oneself on the back. Think of it as you have asked a builder to build you a house. He tells you it will be finished in 2005, after paying for the house for 9 years, the builder calls and tells you they started digging the foundations this morning and then question why you are not happy for them.

  21. Anonymous says:

    PPM definition of success is so low it's embarassing

  22. Bean Counter says:

    Another day in Absurdistan.

    The Ministry and POCS did what they are obliged to do under the PMFL. The employees did what they are paid to do and CIG celebrates with a press conference. C'Mon Maaaaan!!

     

    • Diogenes says:

      Even worse, they didnt even achieve what they are obliged to do, which is properly account for the publics mponey and emonstrate that it has not been stolenn, misapplied, and has achieved value for money.  They handed the accounts in on time, but got qualified audits ie someone independent said the accounts were not materially true or accurate.  This is like your child telling you that you should ignore the fact they got an F for their homework and simply be glad they handed it in at all. 

  23. Anonymous says:

    Still some way to go but at least this is in the right direction.

     

    Qualified report is given by the auditor in either of these two cases:

    1. When the financial statements are materially misstated due to misstatement in one particular account balance, class of transaction or disclosure that does not have pervasive effect on the financial statements.
    2. When the auditor is unable to obtain audit evidence regarding particular account balance, class of transaction or disclosure that does not have pervasive effect on the financial statements.