Alicia Keys caused DoT to break financial rules

| 06/10/2011

(CNS): The acting director of the Department of Tourism said it was the goal of securing international singing sensation Alicia Keys which led to the department to avoid putting the 2009 Jazz Fest production contract through central tendering. Shomari Scott explained to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week that the DoT had not gone through the normal process before it awarded the contract, worth over $1.2 million, to BET because the production company came as a package with the award winning artist. However, the auditor general pointed out that mechanisms exist for such unique circumstances and the department only had to submit a business case for a sole supplier.

During the PAC hearing Tuesday Scott explained how the department had been presented with the opportunity to secure Alicia Keys for the Jazz Fest at a great price through BET, as they worked with the star. Given that this was a great coup for the Cayman Islands to sign an artist of that calibre, the department acted quickly and signed the deal with BET, not just for Keys but for the company to produce the entire festival.

He said that, given the unique circumstances, which the ministry was aware of, and the need for flexibility with regard to the contract, it would not have been possible for the department to go through an open tender. Scott said that if they had dragged their feet they would have lost the chance to get Keys, which ended up representing great value for money for the Cayman Islands. He said the star enhance the Cayman brand image as well as attracting large numbers of tourists to the festival and the subsequent business generated for hotels, restaurants and other local businesses.

Scott also said he had not acted entirely alone as he believed he had the go ahead to by-pass the tendering process because the ministry was aware of the negotiations that were taking place with BET to secure Keys and he was instructed to go forward with the proposal to sign the star.

The need for flexibility from the tendering process was emphasised repeatedly by the government members of the PAC, but the auditor general, Alastair Swarbrick, pointed out that there were flexible mechanisms already in the Public Management and Finance Law and the regulations governing tendering.

Swarbrick told the committee members that the Department of Tourism only had to present the business case to CTC for the need for a sole supplier and notify the auditor general’s office for it to have remained within the law.  The country’s top auditor said that there was flexibility and that unique situations such as that could have been handled within the existing regulations without circumventing the process.

“There is no issue about sole suppliers once the business case is set out,” Swarbrick said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Politics

About the Author ()

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Truth Police says:

    "I look for three qualities in hiring people. Integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first then the last two will kill you, because if they don't have integrity you want them dumb and lazy." – Warren Buffett

  2. Anonymous says:

    You know it's funny, I bet many of you in here critcizing and complaining about something positive that happened here a few years ago where there at the concert.

    Get a life!!!!!!!!

    If Jesus came down and sat with you for a few seconds you would still have to blame some expat or complain about something that the gowerment didn't give you!!!!!

    So sick and tired of all the negativity!!!!

    Gonna stop comingon here and reading because it's obvious you all just here to be negative.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a load of crap. Does anyone really think that Alicia Keys would just sit and wait while the Cayman Islands went through its 3 – 6 month tendering process ? This is the entertainment world people….get real and stop living in the dark ages.

    Well done Chuckster andShomari. It was a first class concert that brought significant business to the Cayman Islands. As someone who works in the hotel business I know trust me. Up to now we still have visitors coming here as repeat guests and guests who saw the Jazz Fest production on BETJ following the Alicia Keys Concert and trust me business in December last year dropped from the lack of a Jazz Fest !

    Look at cruise tourisn this year… will be down by at least 30% overall…….60 businesses have closed in GT in the past 2 years !!!

    I say we need the Chuckster back !!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody really believe that Alicia Keys had or has any idea that she is a part of politics on this little sandbar?  She is a selfless, global giver.  Perhaps someone should tweet her and let her know that she's a political football.  I'm sure all of the A-list entertainers like Alicia are just dying for a gig in Cayman.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Another of Chuckies bright ideas.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Whats the price tag on heros day? Around half a million?

  7. Anonymous says:

    it was a good show!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ok….so they forgot to submit the proper buisness plan for a sole supplier. If the plan would have indeed been submitted, wouldit have been enough to steer away the critics from saying we did not get value for money? I don't think so.

    All that happened here was some normal regulations and procedures were not followed. Not the fact that any money can be proven to have been wasted. Yes it was wrong and they should have submitted the plan but I still can't understand why the AG is wasting his time and our money investigating this instance any further when there must be a lot of other projects out there where multiple vendors could have been involved to get better value for money.

    It's not like BET and Alicia Keys put on a bad event and we lost our shirt with it. With big names comes big money. I think Cayman got the headlines and international exposure out of this and value for money is perpetual.

    Think of some other issues to gripe about.



    • so Anonymous says:

      You think a lot of yourself.  I think you think too much.  You think NOT following rules and regulations is OK if you think so.  I don't think so but I also think you don't care what I think.  You think?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Shomari always remember cover your behind regardless who tell you to do what. Mr. Bush surely enjoying his self that nite taking all sorts of pictures with Alicia. But at the end of the day you going stand alone with the bleam. Good Luck

    • Anonymous says:

      Lucky for Mac. Chuckie gave Shomari the instructions and Mac got the pictures.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Isn't the message "Substance over process" ? Of course it is. This is the way that we do business in Cayman these days, Govt or Private.

  11. Subway Cookie says:

    First off, the Acting Director is competent and actually does have Cayman's best intersts at heart.  He is by no means 'wet behind the ears' he has been in Tourism for a very long time..  He has also been out of university for a very long time so he is not fresh into the game.  People always sway their opinion, the same people on here complaining he is young and wet behind the ears are the same ones who complain the country needs fresh, young blood.  I agree the Keys event was a success, I don't know about the financial side but it did put a spotlight on these islands.  I agree the proper protocol should have been adhered to in order to secure the deal, there is no excuse for circumventing the law.  I am of the opinion that the Acting Director may have acted as a result of pressure to do so and that is where my criticism falls.  Not that he is wet behind the ears but that politics may be influencing his actions.  Now, if any heads roll it will be his and not the 'powers that be' who were dead set on Keys coming here for this event.  He should have complied with the law.  I'd rather go down for doing the right thing than ride on top by doing the wrong thing.

  12. Anonymous says:

    These incompetent civil servants are just youngsters who come back from overseas with a college degree and are being given top positions with no experience and they mess up. Education is good but these "wet behind the ears" college kids should not be given these top positions without starting at the bottom and climbing the ladder by getting experience. This is not the only department with these types of problems with inexperienced top level civil servants who are not held accountable for what they do.

    • Anonymous says:

      So very true, Anon 10;12, and there are more on their way as there are senior civil servants who  are due to retire in the months ahead.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Acting Director worked his way up from the bottom to the top.  Like subway cookie said, there is a lot of political pressure in DOT and lots of orders handed down but he needs to cover his a– so he doesn't get the blame.

      • Anonymous says:

        When will these junior civil servants stand up for themselves, and not let the politians, and the old school civil servants get away with these decisions, instructions and hiding away their expense claims! Remember cover your rear…they wont do you any favours when the AG comes knocking!

  13. A REALIST says:

    I would break some of my rules for Alicia Keyes too. Hehehehe

  14. Anonymous says:

    So they only had to submit a business case, but never did. What is the excuse for that?

  15. Anonymous says:

    What revenue did government make after costs?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why fire Shomari, he was following the Chuckster’s order’s. The public already fired him. Promote Shomari of course he’s been acting too long.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If there was any accountability in Govt the Acting Director would be fired. But anyone doubt he'll get promoted to the job?

    • ananymouse says:

      Why fire him whne he did what they wanted? 'The Ministry knew what was going on'. In other words, don't shoot the messenger. Go after his bosses if you want to find where the buck should stop and the problems start.

  17. Anonymous says:

    y'all are missing the point. No matter what sneaky crap went down to get her here, some very special people got to party with her. C'mon now.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Note Swarbrick's comment about flexibility and the PMFL. The incompetent civil servants don't even take the trouble to find out what the law says. They just act on hearsay: "the PFML (or other laws) don't allow us to do so and so". Always it's the laws or processes to blame. Never the bloody civil servants.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't blame civil servants for doing what they are told by politicians. They simply have no choice.

      The politicians give the civil servants a bad name.

      • 2much2soon says:

        No choice? I'd say no integrity; i.e., "The time is always right to do what is right." – MLK Jr.