Extra spending not approved

| 09/05/2011

(CNS):Government may have spent millions of dollars in this financial year differently from the expenditure plans approved by the country’s legislators, according to FOI requests. Government ministers have been moving money around and it is not clear if the spending is more or less than the amount formally approved as none of it has been regularized by the parliament’s Finance Committee, which has not met since last year’s budget appropriation. The requests show more than $800,000 has been taken from the NRA’s Grand Cayman budget and given to District Administration for roads in the Brac, while more than $173,000 has been spent by the Department of Tourism outside of itsbudget allocation.

The decision to pave some roads and private driveways in Cayman Brac led to the National Roads Authority being asked to send most of its heavy equipment, as well as some staff, to the Sister Island and resulted in a direct cut to its budget with the money being given to District Administration, which has managed the project on the Brac and invoices have been billed to the ministry. However, the managing director of the NRA points out that the movement of funds needed to be regularized by the Finance Committee.

A second FOI request revealed that the premier or his office had directed the Department of Tourism to pay expenses amounting to $173,845.47 over and above the allocated annual budget for 2010/11. The details of these expenditure changes have not been revealed, and because Finance Committee has not met to regularize these budget alterations it is not clear if this is extra spending or money that has come from elsewhere in the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development or why the extra cash was needed.

During any fiscal year government ministers will often be faced with a legitimate need to reallocate cash from one department to another within their own ministries or even from ministry to ministry. As a result, the Finance Committee, which is chaired by the premier, is supposed to meet in order to demonstrate in a public forum why public money has been moved from one place to another or why extra spending was required.

However, the Finance Committee has not met outside of the annual budget allocation meetings since the UDP administration came to office, almost two years ago. This means that there is no official public record of how money is being moved or why. Nor is there a record saying if more or less spending has been authorized by ministers within their departments and authorities over stretching the budget in total.

Although the movements are approved by Cabinet, because those meetings are held behind closed doors and with no up to date consolidated government accounts having been published for more than six years, the public is currently in the dark about the detailed spending of government ministers.

The documents relating to the two FOI requests by members of the public and sent to CNS (posted below) demonstrate the movement of around $1 million between just three government entities. However, there is likely to be changes in most ministries and departments, which could result in millions more of public dollars being spent in ways that are not only secret but that have not been formally authorized or scrutinized by the elected members of the legislature.

The failure of the Finance Committee to meet and regularize government spending is one of the twenty-four items raised on the opposition's no confidence in government motion which has been filed in the Legislative Assembly by the PPM leader Alden McLaughlin.

The independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, has also raised the issue on a number of occassions that the premier has not convened the committee to approve this spending and reveal to the country what money has been moved where and why.

Cayman Brac paving FOI answer

Tourism Expenses FOI answer

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  1. Cat says:

    I think it's safe to assume that this type of irresponsible movement of money is why that $69 million is un-accounted for too. Shame Shame Shame.

  2. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    I think whatever the Ministers say to one another and decide to do behind closed doors should be between them and the Almighty.

    Is that the wrong kind of Minister?

  3. The Crown says:

    Hmmmm? Someone get me a damp bath rag with a lil alcohol on it..

  4. Anonymous says:

    …there is no official public record of how money is being moved or why.

    …movements are approved by Cabinet…behind closed doors…
    …no up to date consolidated government accounts…

    How convenient.

    • Son of Thunder says:

      "Extra spending not approved"??? THANK GOD! (means less travel)

      • Anonymous says:

        Well Son of Thunder I hate to cut short your jubilation however with the current and probably past governments "not approved" doesn't necessarily mean not spent.

      • Anonymous says:

        He without sin cast the first stone!

        • Anonymous says:

          You are in Cayman now bo bo. Have some respect for our culture. It's "pelt the first rock".

  5. Anonymous says:

    What are the options?  In my opinion the only reason any of the current politicians I read about here are in public office is for availability of public funds and nefarious dealings.  The few exception are MLA's who their salary is more than they could ever earn in the private sector. 

    I call again on the successful Caymanians to help run this country that has given them the opportunity to prove themselves and advance.  How about it all you Theo Bullomores, Roy McTaggarts and Jennifer Dilberts out there?  Your country needs your integrity, intelligence and ethics.

    And you voters quit selling your support for new refrigerators, paved parking lots, or government appointments/contracts. 

    • I SAW IT COMING says:

      AMEN,  to that ,  "Options" 14:49   we got what we paid  for, you needed  a refrigerator so you sold  your vote, now you all crying fowl play. Well if you had vote with your brain and not favortisim on the promise of a job or fridge, we may not be so bad off today.

      There aint no one out there that  deserves my vote by buying it. When I look you in the face and tell you that you did me wrong I can do so with a good conscience. My vote is not for sale.

      Now, I'm afraid that we are heading right where jamaica, Turks &Caicos are, GREEDY, MONEY  hungry people who dont give two hoots about you or this country. You gave them that right when you  SOLD  your vote.

      • Island lover says:

        Yes please!  Let's install term limits to curb this cronyism with politicians and beg our wonderful business leaders to give four years to serve the people.  We would be grateful and really DO need your expertise. The current party system has simply created an avenue for these career politicians to find a way to cling onto their votes and line their pockets.  

        Please let the people vote for some decent successful Cayman businessmen and just see how our country would change.  If I ran my business like our politicians, I'd be prosecuted and bankrupt by now.

        Term limits and dissolve the parties.  It is time that serving the public means just that again, to SERVE the public, not abuse the public.


  6. Anonymous says:

    What most people should realize is that this is how it always has been with most of our governments–they moved money around a lot. So long as it is approved in Cabinet because that  is the control point and responsibility point.  Yes, Finance Committee should meet to allocate but sometimes expenditures cannot wait until a FC meeting, such as after a hurricane.  I do not support not having a FC for a year..that is not right and silly/lazy of UDP. 

    All that is really different these days is that we have the internet now that makes it easier to see the government's activity, but they always did this.


    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      Cabinet approval to move the money around means little because they don't know how much they have, what they have spent and what they will need. You can talk about standard practices within a Government but the basics need to be in place.

  7. You Down Wid FOI? says:

    Three quick points;

    1. FOI is awesome

    2. Dig deeper, this is just sctratching the surface

    3. Brian Tomlinson for Premier!


  8. Anonymous says:

    The problem as I see it (and yes I am an expat) is that the Caymanians with the skills to run with this country are making their own fortunes in the private sector and are not willing to step into the political arena to set this country on the right course. The only option given to Caymanians at the polls is to elect a bunch of uneducated, untried and frankly unsuitable candidates regardless of which party they belong to. I am not sure how this situation can ever be rectified – maybe pressure needs to be put to bear on the very successful Caymanians in the private sector to step up to the plate. Maybe those skilled individuals with Caymanian Status should be allowed to run (although I can just hear the nationalistic fervour bollocks happening if this was the case)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Venezulean Caymanian dont you  think you should be asking the financial secretary that question where this money went.

    • Anonymous says:

      ….so why are you asking Premier where this latest money went???

      Ask the FS.

      • Anonymous says:

        Er…because the Premier is also the Minister of Finance and replaced the FS in the Cabinet as such. The whole point of the constitional change was to make an elected minister who is answerable to the people responsible. It is not just about having your signature on the dollar bills.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Isn't it fun spending someone else's money?

  11. VenezuleanCaymanian says:

    Where is the $69,000,000 that went missing under the PPM government? what does Alden McChavezlin have to say about that?

    • Stiff-Necked Fool says:

      Wow 10:37,

      How original – NOT!

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM cant remember. He just waiting to get back in power then he will shout that he found it. Go ahead PPM thumbs down, but truth is he no better that the one we have now.

    • Anonymous says:

      What 69 million are you talking about? A deficit does not mean that the money is stolen, it means it was spent, talk some sense nah?

  12. Anonymous says:

    And where is the Governor in all of this? He seems very content to sit on the sidelines and allow this financial mismanagement. I cannot accept that Britain is sitting idle and allowing the financial ruin of the country as they will have to pick up the pieces later. They must be rubbing their hands in glee as another Turks and Caicos falls in their lap.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know if the NRA Board still plan to hold their Board Meeting in Cayman Brac when the project is completed? lol.

    Those UDP supporters and politicians sure like to travel on the government dollar.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow, those NRA documents say sooo much. Kudos to you, Brian, for trying to make Government do the right thing. I think we all know the reasons behind "policy decisions" that led to this Brac project and not bringing the portable plant to Grand Cayman to interfere with tenders to certain private companies for HMA provision!

    • Stiff-Necked Fool says:

      And as usual nothing will happen!

      The UDP does as it pleases without consequences!

      Just another day in Paradise (for some).

      • A Civil Servant that Escaped says:

        This is nothing new … all governments shift funds throughout the year from one thing to the next without following due process.

        • Anonymous says:

          Shifting funds from one project to another is understandable. However, when funds for paving public roads in Grand Cayman is shifted to be used for paving private parking lots in Cayman Brac, you are seeing the seeds of corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      NRA is one of the few government entities that have completed reporting for June 2010 and received unqualified opinion.  Refreshing to see an Authority which embraces public transparency.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Time to face the facts people.  Those put in charge of CIG are not up to the task, never have been up to the task and never will be up to the task.  They have taken a country with a great economy that got its money from not having to sell anything and ran it into the ground because of personal greed and total incompetence.  And the people let them.  The time to pay the piper is coming due soon and the reckless spending, jetsetting, government waste, and antibusiness retoric will continue to the bitter end. 

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      No one needs to read anything from the anti establishment movement and what we believe in.

      Just read the head lines each day to understand that our Government is incapable of running the country. 

      • A Watcher says:


        The big questions the Watchers want to know is WHEN are Caymanians going to do something about this? 

        As an expat, like all expats who are not the likes of Mr Dart, I have no say in what happens in your country, and it is my lot in life to watch Cayman do to itself what the Caymanians either wish to have done, or tolerate being done to them. 

        I am powerless to do anything to help Caymanians, even though I would dearly love to.  Caymanians are fully empowered to do something about this, but seem inclined not to.  Is it actually true that Caymanians care enough to post the odd complaint to CNS, but no more?  They really don't care any more than that?  If this is true, and it sure looks that way, your Islands really are doomed.

        • Lachlan MacTavish says:

          A Watcher…..I agree, doomed if there is not change. 

          This is a huge moment in history for The Cayman Islands. In the past Caymanians, who are very forgiving people, have tolerated and forgiven the mistakes and ———— of some elected officials and they have been influenced by 100 dollar bills and favors at election time. It seems though that there may be a change in the wind. That Caymanians have now suffered for several years under the leadership of self interested politicians and they may be no longer tolerant of them getting more and more and them less and less.

          I also believe that Caymanians are understanding that the party system is allowing someone and one district, who do not have the support of the majority to rule the roost. 

          Lastly an understanding that self interested politicians have morphed the system into a one man Government and daily press information is educating everyone that the one man is incapable of turning the country around.

          Hopefully voters have learned what is happening and will demand change. If you want to help keep informing and educating individuals that can vote that change is needed and will be good for them.


        • 6th Generation Caymanian says:


          It is not that Caymanians do not care about what is occurring with the Government.

          The problems that I see are;


          Many Caymanians are keeping quiet because

          1. They are conflicted as they are the UDP supporters and it does not matter to them what the UDP do.
          2. Their parents, or themselves  are on the Gravy train  
          3. Many Caymanians are on the list to receive special favours
          4. XXXX
          5. There are many so called business people who are not totally legitimate
          6. XXXXX
          7. Many Caymanians are plain dumb, money means more than principle
          8. Many church people are corrupt and the Lord is moving very slowly with them to give them time.
          9. XXXXX
          10. Too many Caymanians do not exercise patience
          • Anonymous says:

            Mon 13:41:

            Many Caymanians are keeping quiet for one reason only: fear.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Julianna O'Connor-Connelly (Jocco) and the wholesale pandering to the Brac plus her sense of her own importance will cost McKeeva Bush the next election. It is surprising that he doesn't seem to see it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Time to face the facts people.  Those put in charge of CIG are not up to the task, never have been up to the task and never will be up to the task.  They have taken a country with a great economy that got its money from not having to sell anything and ran it into the ground because of personal greed and total incompetence.  And the people let them.  The time to pay the piper is coming due soon and the reckless spending, jetsetting, government waste, and antibusiness retoric will continue to the bitter end. Cayman wanted to do everything their way.  You are getting what you deserve.

  18. Anonymous says:

    how does this place continue to function and be recongized well globally ? Smoke, mirrors and weekly misconduct extinguishing don't paint the picture of a govt. with foresight, good planning and staying true to any plans in place/presented. In essence this isn't a functioning govt.  Truely Geico Unbelievable

  19. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone actually expect this bunch to be transparent with what they have done with our money – afterall the way they see it once we elected them it all became their money to spend on whatever they like?