LA committees fail to meet

| 21/03/2011

(CNS): Having been denied the opportunity to respond to the premier’s comments in the Legislative Assembly last week over his resignation from the Public Accounts Committee, the former chair delivered a statement to the press on Monday morning hitting back at the criticisms. Miller also pointed out that while he may have only succeeded in getting PAC to meet 17 times out of 30 attempts, that was still 17 times more than most other parliamentary standing committees have ever met. Since the government was elected in May 2009, most of the other committees, such as the one overseeing the complaints commissioner and the register of members’ interests, have never met to carry out their functions as set out in the rules of the Legislative Assembly.

At the same time that Miller was appointed chair of the PAC, which he said had achieved at least some moderate success, the Legislative Assembly also elected various other chairs to a number of committees, and aside from the business committee, which deals with the agenda for each of the sittings of the Legislative Assembly, no other committee has been convened by the relevant chair. The standing orders make it clear that the committees should meet regularly and publish a report at the end of each session.

Elio Solomon was elected to serve as chair of the Register of Interests Committee but has never called a meeting. This committee is one of the most important committees of the country’s parliament as it is supposed to examine potential conflicts of interests of members and government ministers to ensure that their private interests are not encroaching on their role in parliament. It is supposed to issue a report at the end of every parliamentary session, like other committees, updating the public on the state of the register of interests.

However, since it was established the committee has never met and therefore has not produced a report about its work during the first session of parliament, despite the fact that the second session of parliament is also about to come to a close shortly.

Dwayne Seymour was elected chair of the House Committee, which looks after the needs of members, but he has never convened a meeting, and Cline Glidden has never called a meeting to examine the reports and work of the OCC either and neither of these committees have produced a report of their work (which they have obviously not conducted as they have never met) in accordance with Standing Orders.

Although Finance Committee, which consists of all members and is chaired by the premier, has met during the budget sessions in order to vote on appropriations for government spending, it has never met outside of a budget session to address the many changes to appropriations and executive spending that have occurred.

“I would suggest that the only two committees that are not in violation of the standing orders are the PAC and the Business Committee,” Miller said, as he asked the public to make their own decisions about which chairmen took their job seriously and “who could handle a committee and move the work forward.”

In the wake of denials by McKeeva Bush that even in his role as minister of finance that he was not able to make chief officers comply with the law regarding government accounts, Miller said it clearly states in the Public Management and Finance Law that he is. Quoting the PMFL, Miller pointed to clause 36, which states that a chief officer shall comply with any direction given by the minister of finance which he considers necessary to protect government’s financial interests.

The former chair also revealed that in the wake of his resignation the premier had called him and asked him to reconsider his decision and offered to change up the committee membership. However, Miller said, despite his agreement to consider that, nothing further was said over the weekend in the wake of comments by the premier’s counsellors that Miller was a failure. The independent member said no suggestions were put to him in the LA but instead the premier created a “hoopla of misinformation through his spin doctors”, accusing him of not being able to do the job, despite his evident continuous efforts to address the public accounts situation.

Miller said, however, that he was not surprised government had opted to shoot the messenger rather than deal with the message, but he was disappointed that the time was taken in the Legislative Assembly to criticize him rather than elect a new chairman of the committee.

The former chair said that his decision to resign was not an easy one but he felt he had no other option to force the government and the public to focus on moving the important work of the committee forward. He said he had handed in his resignation to give the premier time to appoint a new chair at the last meeting and the country needed to take note that government has now said it would be at least two months before it intends to appoint a new chair.

See Miller’s full statement over the PAC affair below.

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Comments (27)

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  1. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    Dear Mr. Elio Solomon,

    Could you use some of your power & IT knowledge to have the Register of Interests publish online – this would go a long way in showing the public your commitment to greater transparency in goverment, this way we wouldn’t have be confined to just seeing register at the LA and that’s it. Make it public online like the UK government does.

    My guess is though you don’t have the testicular fortitude to even suggest it to your master Big Mac.

    • Anonymous says:

      or…. could you just resign? We’ll even give you a monthly stipend for gas for your limo 

  2. Anonymous says:

    where is the governor????

  3. Anonymous says:

    Elio can’t hold a meeting until the Premier decides how his junket on private jet to the Bahamas is going to be listed, or more likely no report until it is forgotten.

    • JE says:

      It is clear that there has ben a serious dereliction of duty if these elected members have not performed and/or held the requisite meetings. CAn Cayman News Service tell teh General puvlic if this is a new trend or if this also existed with the PMM administration and other GOvernments? The reason for questioning is that if in fact this is a trend then clearly teh rules of Parliamenmt need to be change. THe public has a right to knoiw CNS

  4. Anonymous9 says:

    Forrest Gump could do a better job!!!

    Talk about Wag the Dog!!! No wonde rthere is so much crime and why they’ve got a harebrained scheme to churn up the North Sound. It is to deflect what is really going on. NOTHING!

  5. FED UP says:

    UDP has proven time and time Cayman people don’t matter. It’s a club for foreign millionaires only. Local stooges are welcome on a case by case basis.

  6. Anonymous says:

    this is very disturbing and telling of the type a banana republic runnings of this country. one wonders what these ministers have been up to? the lack of any action with the Register of Interests committee is particularly worrying. eyes need to be opened – what’s going on?

  7. Mr 7% says:

    They too busy alright, managing their wealth i guess.Could they tell us the paying public exactly what they are doing or do we have to FOI that too?

  8. Scrooge McDuck says:

    This is a national security issue!!  No one is supposed to know how little they do!  McKeeva the Mouth is supposed to go public every so often and create havoc and controversy to disguise the secret goings on. That’s the deal. That’s why he was chosen leader. He’s best at it.

    In the meantime they collect fat salaries put each other on committees and rock back and forth in their chairs.  But we’re not supposed to know that.

    Now! Mr. Whistleblower Miller and that secret camera have blown the coveroff the whole escapade!!!  He should not sit in the Legislature if he can’t keep a secret!!!  Who took that picture!!!  Where’s the camera hidden??? Call Security.

    The workings of Government are supposed to remain a spooky mystery. Like a story we were told as youngsters to put us to sleep.  It puts them to sleep. And it should have a happy ending and it’s nice to see they’re happy.  They’ve all got jobs.  Or pretend to.  They’re best at it.  That’s why they won.

    Then they all trade places and collect more money (oh no!! we lost the election!!!) or, when they have finally "served" the public long enough collect big fat pensions. And sometimes they do both at the same time.  But we’re not supposed to know that!!!

    Who filed that FOI!!!  It was a secret!!

    I liked it better when we didn’t know all this stuff. 

  9. I see you says:

    So Elio Soloman, Cline Glidden and John Seymour claim that they are too busy with all their other commitments to the Country that they cannot find the time to attend PAC meetings notwithstanding the fact that Ezzard did all the heavy lifting right down to scheduleing the meetings for them?

    Now we find out that EVERY ONE of them, and the Premier chair seperate committees of their own, that they are being paid to operate and not only did none of them attend any meetings of their own committees but that they are taking the money and not even bothering to have a single meeting.

    The nerve of Elio on the radio calling Ezzard a quitter. The nerve of CG taking up Tv time talking rubbish about Ezzard not being able to handle the responsibility of the job.
    At least John John had the sense to keep his mouth shut and continue to be thought a fool.
    Elio please do the people a favor and quit the chairmanship of your committee before you are forced to hold a meeting that might deal with the interests of your two Bodden Town colleagues who did not bother to declare their interests before election day, let alone after.
    CG please show your ability to handle the chairmanship of your committee and at least hold a meeting and get on Tv and give a report before someone reports you to the OCC for taking Governments money without doing the job.
    John Seymour at least Ms Mary takes care of your work for you but at least hold ONE meeting during the year and write a report that at least gives her credit for doing it for you.

    My question to the Premier is, when will you get up in the House and read a statement the lack of meetings by yourself, Elio, CG and John John rather than castigating the only committee chairman that is following the law and scheduling meetings and tableing reports? It is against the law to not hold these meetings you know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Again:  who is enforcing these rules?  I would have thought the Attorney General?  Haven’t seen anything from that office on this subject, ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let hope the accounts are sorted out for tthese committees and not pay the members for not attending.

    • Anonymous says:

      "at least hold ONE meeting during the year and write a report"

       

      You are making a big assumption here that they can actually write a report.  From my experience in Government, most of them are functionally illiietrate.

  10. The truth hurts Mr Miller, so coming out and letting the people know exactly what happened is a good thing. calling a spade a spade is just what needs to be done. Those three members that degraded you and your efforts to do the job that you were called to do should hang their heads today, after exposing their efforts of not calling a meeting on the boards that they were appointed chairperson of.
    Cayman need more honest people in the house, not lame brains taking up seats and getting rich off our hard work.

  11. Anonymous9 says:

    I don’t understand how this is acceptable by the leader of our country. He should be hopping mad.

    Who is minding the store? There are no consequences for not showing up. I just don’t get it.
    We need elected officials that do the job we pay them to do. But where are they? What choice is there?? Maybe we should not let the position be so lucrative.

    • Anonymous says:

      their heads are so far in the trough, that their eyes and ears are covered

  12. Anonymous says:

    “government has now said it would be at least two months before it intends to appoint a new chair”
    This should fall right in line with the Master Plan
    Excellant (hands rubbing together)

  13. Rob says:

    This is terrible news. When you’ve done nothing, what will you have to campaign about when election time rolls around again!? Anybody there making less than KYD 100K? No, not really. And they’re not even doing what they’re elected/hired to do.

    I would like each of them to come on one of the talk shows and tell us all why they should continue to be paid the highest salaries in government when they don’t even meet to talk about important issues that matter. #FAIL

     

  14. Roadblogger says:

    What kind of Gong Show are they running?  If they’re not interested in having a government or doing government business at least tell the voters and the paying public.  I assume, if you head a committee, you are also paid extra on top of a generous salary as an MLA .. what for???  Why?? The question is is this a private club for members only or is it actually a government. 

    They will probably now form another committee… to look into this committee scandal.

    "Does anyone here not head a committee?"

    "I don’t!"

    "Would you like to?"

    What an embarrassment to have a bunch of over-paid characters sitting around warming seats all day playing make believe government.  Pre- schoolers could do better.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It is no wonder that some (not all) civil servants do not produce financial reports. They are simply following the example of their leaders.

    I am curious about one thing, do the MLAs get paid extra for their committee work even if they do nothing?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps it would make sense to consider eliminating committees that do not meet in a year. Whether they are “necessary” or not would seem to be made clear by the facts on the ground. If there is some important function allegedly involved, give it to another committee.

  17. Jen says:

    Government, you should be ashamed of yourselves. First, certain members don’t show up for a meeting. So, what happened, you didn’t feel like working that day or for that matter any other? Then, you put the blame on the messenger bringing it to your attention; which was apparantly a surprise that you are lazy. Doesn’t seem like much gets accomplished in your “legislative assembly” meetings or any other for that matter. It amazes me when government is quick to blame a certain sector of Caymanian citizens who choose to be lazy and not seek employment (any employment!!!). Seems this is a problem from the top-down. Get it together people, what an embarrassment to yourselves, your family and YOUR country.

  18. nauticalone says:

    This place needs an political enema……like in Egypt!

  19. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     No wonder Mr. Miller is fed up. 17 out of 30, a grain of sand over 50% meetings attended. From what other articles and people have said this is almost the norm. This is what thevoters and people of Cayman get for the millions of dollars in salaries and benefits that are paid to the elected members and the CS. Look at it this way, in all probability less than 50 cents on dollar of all your tax dollars does anything to benefit the country and the people. The elected members are the tail wagging the dog. Now , let me clarify, there are some good elected members but they are lame ducks due to the "one man" government. Time for change.