AG promises more scrutiny

| 30/08/2011

(CNS): The Cayman Islands auditor general has promised more scrutiny of government procurement as it happens rather than waiting until bids are complete, in light of his recent findings. Alastair Swarbrick told the media last week that his office would be looking more closely at all bids going through the competitive tendering processes to ensure that the rules are being followed correctly. The country’s public auditor and watchdog of the public finances said he would be publishing more reports on the subject and keeping a close eye on how public funds are being spent and how the process improves.

He said that next month he would be laying out his audit plan for the coming year and pointed out that his office would also be looking at conflicts of interests that may have arisen, or can arise, during the procurement process and what guidelines are in place for when it happens. 

Since producing his first report, the auditor general has made more than forty recommendations to improve the procurement process and protect public funds. One of the main problems identified by the auditor general was the lack of leadership in the process. In his first report Swarbrick said his office was unable to find any individual at the centre of government that was responsible for managing the procurement function.

“Some senior managers claimed responsibility for managing certain aspects of the procurement process, but no one we interviewed felt it was their responsibility to establish and implement procurement policies and procedures for use throughout the Government or even in their entity and various departments,” he said. “Although senior officials are clearly aware of significant issues around procurement in the government, no one has assumed responsibility for this important function or taken any action to establish appropriate management practices and manage the associated risks.”

As a result, the very first recommendation in Swarbrick’s report published on 5 July, some eight weeks ago, was for government to appoint an individual to take over the leadership of procurement.

“The government should appoint someone as a Chief Procurement Officer who would be accountable for the overall development, management and reporting on the government’s procurement activities,” he recommended.

Following that report the governor’s office issued a statement welcoming the “thorough and frank report” which highlighted what the governor said were “serious shortcomings” in the procurement system that needed to be addressed quickly.  Duncan Taylor said he had asked Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks, as Head of the Civil Service, “to take the lead in preparing an urgent response to the report,” which would include drawing up an action plan.

CNS contacted the governor’s office last week to ask how that was progressing and if a person had been identified or recruited to take up the oversight of procurement in general. The governor’s office said the administrative arm of government was “actively working at improving the guidance on public procurement” as a result of the reports.

“We have also started work towards a broader review of procurement. We would like this review to take place as soon as possible but realise it is going to take a few months,” the office stated. “The governor is keen that, amongst other things, the review looks at how accountability might be strengthened.”

However, there was no mention of whether government intended to put in place a procurement manager from the existing senior ranks of the civil service or if a recruitment process would begin to find a suitable candidate.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So Mr Auditor, would Mr Bush's announcement this week at the Mary Miller hall that the Dart ForCayman project would be definitively going through, although in another sentence he admits that Cabinet is still to approve the deal, be something that you would look at immediately?! Also, if no study was done on the road, I'm sure no financial analysis on the land swap was done to determine a fair deal for Cayman. Additionally, the fact that Dart is saying no one would buy such a property without the road moved suggesting he may have had an undertaking the road would move BEFORE he wasted his money, not sound audit worthy?? I agree with the AG that he should start his review process on active cases and this sounds like a good place to start. Especially, where the same transaction offers a $18m XXXX.

  2. I Care says:

    This is Commendable on all levels, Good job adn its is about time some one have the Balls to stand up and do their job regardless of what may happen. Caymanians  in goverment needs to do the same Politic that is . Mackeeva is just a big Bully and we all know what happens to bullys, they get kick in the YOU Know Wha !!!!!!

    I am no longer a supporter of this Goverment beacuse you can't beleive a word they say. Get out in the real world and work , this bunch will not last and would only earn about KYD$40K per year trust me and thats if they get hired !!!!! LMAO LMAO 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    I commend Mr. Swarbrick for continuing to do his job properly.

    But why is it in government..if you don't do your job properly….nothing ever happens?  And.. if you don't do your job properly for long enough….then you are made Head of the Department?   And.. if a lot of people don't do their jobs properly…they hire someone else….to dotheir jobs for them?

    Soon enough…there are then twice as many people. Then the confusion begins. Because no one knows what their job is. Or was.

    So a complete overhaul is called for.

    And then consultants are hired.

    Those consultants are often former Department Heads… who didn't do their jobs properly… for long enough. And are now retired.

    I don't get it.

    But I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of it.


  4. EYE ON THE ISLAND says:

    There is no trust in our leader so we must get a new one. Am I wrong?

  5. peter simple says:

    every time i see one of these blogscondeming our premier it annoys me more and more. lots of talk, no action so the premier just goes along his merry way.

  6. Anonymous says:

    keep up the good work.

    Sorry to say,  your findings are nothing new,

    from Bonaventure boys home, in 1990's, they had similar problems with his portfolio.

    yea, do your job, that's the oath you took when you received your qualifacations.

    very SAD,


  7. Anonymous says:

    Be care my friend, Mac will be coming for u.  It's only a matter of time and you too will be on a BA flight before your contract is up…  Lets see how this plays out and if the Governor will allow Mac to do this again.


    • Anonymous says:

      I should think being fired from this post would be a real attribute to integrity on a Curriculum Vitae, and something to be worn proudly.

  8. T.L. Haranguer says:

    Good work Swarbrick ! I hope the governor has got your back.

    • Cumber Avenue Woman says:

      19:16 as I see it maybe the Governor needs some one to have his back Cayman has suddenly turned into a wild, wild west have you noticed.

  9. When Pigs Fly says:

    You want to  fire the Present Procurement Person from his Preeminent Position along with his  Procurement Team?  You Crazy man. Only the Sheriff could do that.

  10. Joe the Plumber says:

    Sometimes if you just keep flushing you can get rid of the crap.

    • peter simple says:

      I could not agree with you more but do we have enough water in Cayman and with the cost of the water could we afford it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Mr. Swarbrick. Elected officials in Cayman that have been entrusted with the public purse have not been diligent or economical and need to be held accountable. Please continue doing an excellent job to highlight all mismanagement of funds and interferance or abuse of process.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You know… ya got me.  I don't know why but sometimes when I see the letters AG in a headline, I still think that maybe the Attorney General has been up to something.  Like obeying the law regarding the review of FOI.  But, yet again, that's not the case.  It's the Auditor General doing something and we all know Mac won't let that go on much longer.  Man, this place is such a mess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. The “0ther” AG needs to show us what HE does to slurp up his fat paycheck. Along with that point, I’d like to see all senior level staff, chief of ministries, deputy blah blahs…. ALL do a sit-in overtime weekend to work together to slash their fat wasteful budgets and all to come back and show us their working plans! We would NOT be in this situation if civil servants really had true pride and ethics in their roles. In other words,”Do your Job!!!” I’m daring those in senior roles to give that extra 10% to deserve your reinstated 3.2%.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed. Somehow I don't think the other "AG" does very much, one hardly hears from him and in the face of all that is going on, what purpose does he really serve and who is he really protecting, the politician's interests or the Cayman people's interests.   How come the politicians who circumvent rules never get hauled over the coals by this other "AG", but only the Auditor General seems to be doing his job?

  13. biker says:

    This is good news.

    I only wish we had known the 25 cents per gallon fuel tax increase "profits" were going to be given away, willy-nilly. This fuel tax has caused most every item or service to increase in cost to all consumers.

    I honestly think, IF the tax paying public had known the future of this so called "Nation Building Fund", they would have preferred not to accept this bogus fuel tax increase.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Debbie Drummond or Diane Montoya are both being paid huge salaries to sit at home. Either could do the job ofChief Procurement Officer, surely?

  16. Anonymous says:

    How about the deputy governor doing it himself? Does this really need a whole new person/bureau/department?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or the Financial Secretary, Chief Officer (Finance) and her several deputies, all of these people on bigtime salaries and doing what? Not getting the accounts up to date.