Miller suggests a change in PAC line up

| 26/03/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly(CNS): The chair of the Public Accounts Committee has suggested to government that it changes the line-up of the current committee as a result of the failure of certain members to turn up for meetings because of other commitments. Ezzard Miller told the Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning that on a number of occasions PAC could not meet because not enough members were present to form a quorum. Presenting PAC’s annual report, Miller outlined its work since its creation in May last year and pointed out his concerns over the continuing failure of government to get its accounts up to date.  

The representative for North Side said he had concerns that some members of the committee had so many other commitments. He suggested that government might want to restructure the PAC membership due to the additional duties and responsibilities placed on current members, which had reduced the amount of times the committee met and the work it could complete. Currently PAC consists of Miller as Chair and three government MLAs and only one opposition member.

Despite the problems with government PAC members, however, Miller listed the work the committee had managed to complete which included a number of the Auditor General Reports. 

Miller also noted that there was the urgent matter of the failure of central government to complete a set of audited reports since 2004. “At its first meeting PAC expressed its grave concern and resolved to do all in its power to have these accounts reported on,” Miller said. He explained that the financial secretary had been invited to a PAC meeting, where there was an agreement to suspend the requirement in the PMFL to complete quarterly reports and output auditing until July 2010 in order to speed up the process of getting the full government accounts up to date.

“The financial secretary agreed that he would prepare and submit the appropriate paper to Cabinet requesting the suspension of the relevant sections of the PMFL,” Miller told the LA. "However, the PAC is not aware that this was actually done nor have we had any update on the progress of the outstanding audited reports of core government. It would therefore appear that these accounts will not be completed by 30 April.”

Miller said PAC wished to remind the government of its obligation under Standing Orders to respond to the PAC report within 90 days of tabling the report.

The committee chair also noted that the committee was waiting for government to deal with the standing order question regarding the way reports are handled, which Miller said he hoped would facilitate a much clearer and timely handling of the reports received by the PAC.

These reports generally come from the auditor general, who takes his report to the Legislative Assembly to circulate among members and 48 hours later the reports become public documents. However, certain members of the committee have been asking for the AG reports to be withheld from the public until after the PAC has completed its work on the reports.

Suggestions regarding this move have raised considerable concern in the community and from Auditor General Dan Duguay owing to the time it takes for PAC to examine the reports, call witnesses and then write its response, which would mean matters of public interest contained in the reports could be withheld from the people for several months.

Check back to CNS later today for the latest report from the Auditor General’s Office.

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  1. Ezzard Miller says:

    In response to post 11:08 suggest that "Government pass some laws to get gangsters off the street", have you checked the Penal code there is a whole section dedidicated to Anti-gang provisions – Part V111. This consist of clauses 229, 230, 231, 232 & 233. laws are not the problem -enforcement by the courts, arrest by the police and reporting by family and friends maybe parts of the problem.

    "Gang" – means any group, association or any body consisting of three or more persons whether formally or informally organised. The penality for being a member of a gang is guilty of an offence and liable of a fine of five hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twenty years , subject to a minimum term of imprisonment of ten years.

    A person can be convicted of being a gang member if they have simular tatoos, similar style of dress or use simular symbols, signs, codes or mannerisms.

    Parents your children going to school with their baggy pants worn gangster style could cost you five hundred thousand dollars and send your child to jail for minimum ten years, – maybe now is the time to stop this practice or ask the police to be more viligant and arrest  according to the provisions of the penal code.

    If I believed more laws on the books were needed I would have move them as amendments to the penal code on Wednesday.

    CNS maybe you could do us all some good and publish the whole part V111 so we can all see what laws our children and us could be breaking.

    Ezzard Miller  

    CNS note: Here is the entire Penal Code. The section Mr Miller is referring to starts on page 79.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I respect many of Mr. Miller’s opinions, as I do the humour in the original post to which he refers, in my humble opinion Mr. Miller is unfortunately wrong in relation to the utility of the current anti-gang legislation.

      The problem with the current legislation is not a lack of will to prosecute, and the broad definition of what might constiture a gang does not help in practice. The flaw is that the language of the existinglegislation places an almost impossible threshold for successful prosecution. Hence, there has never been a successfulprosecution using this legislation.

      As Mr. Miller will be able to verify, the near impossible hurdle for the police and prosecution is that s. 231 and 232 of the legislation require that the police and prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt what somebody else KNOWS. Absent a confession, how does one prove that exactly?

      Further, the legislation uses language that ill fits the changing allegiances that are reported among Cayman’s gang members. Secret handshakes might be relevant in the Mas____ Lodge and tattoo’s might be relevant among some US and Central American gangs but they do not appear to be as relevant with our home grown gangs. 

      There are other models for anti-gang legislation in other parts of the world that get criminals off the streets. Generally these laws are based upon the provable fact of association and/or joint participation in criminal activity to convict people of gang activity. If our legislators were serious about dealing with the gangs they might look at legislation that actually works, rather than demanding that the police ram the metaphorical square pet into the round hole. 

      It ought to be simple for Legal Department to produce is report  for the LA or Finance Committee of types of anti-gang legislation that are worth the money spent on them. It is no secret that our model has not and does not work while the tried and true models utilised by other countries do work.  


  2. Anonymous says:

    "…then write its response, which would mean matters of public interest contained in the reports could be withheld from the people for several months." 

    Months, rather it will be years and years – previously some of the Auditor General Reports were held back for years.

    No, this would be a step back into the darkness of government secrecy to cover up wrong doing.  Many of the Auditor General reports from the Governor down would have never wanted to be exposed for us to see how much of our tax dollars are wasted / stolen and then there is no corrective action.

    I say do not even wait the 48 hours, deliver to the LA then immediately after to the public.  If anything the public should get the reports first.

    Now on to the work of the current PAC, yes it has done an outstanding job compared to all other PAC’s of recent memory if not all of them.  Yes  they went soft on some reports, but overall a job well done.

    Yes, if the members do not have time to attend the meeting then they should automatically dropped and other members appointed.  The Law should be selfexecuting in this regard.  We do not need PAC members for name only, we need working PAC members like MLA Miller.

    The PAC power should be increased to require follow up on many of the matters then reporting to the LA / Public.

    How about having some private sector appointments?





    • Anonymous says:

      Now they are beginning to see what the PPM had to put up with! The UDP said things would be different, OH YEA, if anything it is worse now! Take that!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to know  the committee members name and the reasons why they are not showing? Is is they are involved with other Government committees or is it  they are busy with their own personal business.



    • Anonymous says:

      UDP MLA’s don’t show up because they don’t think they have to…. check the records you’ll see how they blow off PAC like it’s a joke.  Go get ‘um Ezzard!

  4. livingcayman says:

    Obiviously somebody is not doing their jobs to produce reports, Therefore get rid of them.  I believe these reports are the responsibility of the Chief Financial Officers for each portfolio.  Get rid of them and go back to the old way of reporting.

    This would say government $200,000.00 or more per portfolio per month if the get rid of the Chief Financial Officers.

    • Anonymous says:

      The trouble is, livingcayman, there was no ‘old way of reporting". None. Nada. Zilch. Treasury, when asked, would say "how much Government had" but it was never true because it was a figure out of date as cash based accounting figures tend to be. And every financial year end (December) Government couldn’t pay its bills, whether it be to individuals for services rendered or to pharmaceutical companies for the drugs and supplies in the Health services which were a government department.

      You are right in suggesting getting rid of people (it’s called accountability in the real world) but we need to remember (it’s hardly ever mentioned apart from Duguay) that some ministries and portfolios ARE up to datewith their accounts. But do you really think Government will ever get rid of the Chief Officers -the Chief Executive Officers of ministries who should be accountable for all of this and are paid HUGE salaries to carry that responsibility!! Nah…won’t happen. Much easier toblame the system.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is completely unreasonable for Ezzard to expect government ministers to give up any of their 51 1/2 holidays a year just to oversee the finances of the country. Whatever next? Someone will probably make the outrageous suggestion that government actually pass some laws to get the gangsters off our streets and make them safe again.