Archive for November 18th, 2014

Cops hope sign will curb park abuse

| 18/11/2014 | 42 Comments

(CNS): Groups of young people who have been partying in a local community park and playing their music far too loudly for neighbours to take are being warned that they could face a $500 fine if they don’t turn it down. Police said that a over a period of time, the recreational community park in Windsor Park, George Town, has been plagued by small groups of youngsters playing loud music, annoying residents and abusing the park rules, particularly on weekends. To tackle this anti-social behaviour another way, RCIPS teamed up with the manager of the Parks and Cemetery Unit, Mark Bothwell, to install a ‘no loud music’ sign, police said. 

Senior Police Constable Fran General of the RCIPS’ Neighbourhood Police Department said people should be enjoying this and all public parks but noise pollution is in breach of the Town and Community Laws.

The penalty for failing to desist such noise in certain circumstances carries a penalty on summary conviction to a fine of $500 for a first conviction, she reminded users.


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New rules coming for PAs

| 18/11/2014 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The government is currently working on a new law which will see the rules regarding government companies such as Cayman Airways and the Turtle Farm, as well as the bodies that manage the port, the airport and the Water Authority, follow more standardized practices. Despite being government-owned, these various public entities have functioned separately with their own boards and rules. Many have different recruitment practices, benefits packages and management and accounts systems. But given that more than $114 million of taxpayers’ money goes to these companies and authorities annually to provide services or service debts, the Cabinet wants to regain some control and introduce across the board standards.

Speaking at a press briefing last week, Premier Alden McLaughlin said the current "ad hoc system" will be changed when the new law moves through the parliament sometime in the New Year, as he pointed to some of the problems with the way that public bodies function.

Government is seeking to remove the random management practices that have characterized some of the agencies and create standard recruitment and HR systems as well as pay and benefits packages for staff.

Government has 25 statutory authorities and government companies and many of them have entirely different management systems from each other and from core government. Marco Archer, the finance minister, recently described them as “a mixture of small, medium and large entities with varying degrees of reliance on financial support from the government”.

The drain on government resources from the Turtle Farm, for example, is well-documented but other entities such as the port and the Maritime Authority, which were meant to be profit making entities, are also facing problems. While others, such as the Water Authority and the Airport Authority, generate income, in some cases the government has lost control of what is happening inside the entities, which has result in significant problems and, according to the auditor general, the serious risk of abuse of public cash.

On top of the various types of problems, regardless of the size or system, their financial performance directly impacts the government’s financial results and the quality of the financial statements.

As a result, Archer said at the government’s professional development course last week that government has already stepped up its scrutiny of the SAGCs in order to ensure that they are “prioritizing the need for improved financial management; improved financial performance; and enhanced accountability for the way they carry out their functions”.

The public authorities all fall under the Public Management and Finance Law, which has some tight regulations and rules, but because they operate as distinct entities, each with separate boards of directors, they have sometimes been in conflict with it and the vision of the government.

“This occasionally results in unintended negative consequences, either in terms of policy direction and or financial performance,” Archer stated, as he explained that the draft bill may seek to better define the roles, responsibilities and autonomy of SAGCs and their relationship with Cabinet.

Archer further stated that government would be planning improvements regarding how all public sector agencies track and report their performance to show exactly how public money is spent.

“It is crucially important that the people of the country are given meaningful reports that allow for the assessment of how well agencies are performing and how that work aligns with the strategy and policies of the Cabinet,” Archer said. “The PMFL has a very complex performance reporting framework that has not worked as envisioned. The current system of Output specification and reporting requires an enormous amount of manual work and does not produce the type of information that Cabinet or the Legislative Assembly needs to properly evaluate agency performance.”

He said that the budget statements produced by government may provide an enormous amount of information but he questioned how useful it was as it does not really show the activities of a given agency or how well it is doing what it should do.

Over 2,000 people work in the 25 public authorities that fall outside of core government and the premier has indicated that his government is keen to see those public employees on morestandardized HR packages, as well as working more on government rather than their board’s policies. He said the bill would create common standards, not just for the financial reporting but in employment as well.

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