PAC conflict ahead for Mac

| 09/07/2013

mckeeva 26.jpg(CNS): The chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has acknowledged that former premier McKeeva Bush, who is a member, may be conflicted in relation to some of the reports by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) that will be coming before the parliamentary committee in the coming weeks. Roy McTaggart said he would be holding a meeting with PAC members and OAG staff on Thursday, ahead of the open sessions, to decide on witnesses to be called over the latest, as well as outstanding, reports. Since Bush is directly implicated in some of the reports, he may need to recuse himself, and this would be one of the points of discussion at this week’s closed door meeting.

“It is an issue,” McTaggart told CNS Tuesday, as he referred to the mention of the former premier in some of the reports and the allegations of political interference in connection with several OAG reports. “It may be appropriate for him to consider the conflict and it is something we will discuss.”

McTaggart said it was a unique situation to have a former premier on PAC and he would be looking for some form of precedent or guidance across the Commonwealth in countries that have the same system and how they have dealt with members of PAC who are implicated in reports or conflicted by their findings.

Thenew chair said that in addition to the latest reports from the auditor’s office, which were released last month, the committee needed to call witnesses in relation to last year’s reports on financial accountability as well as the report conducted by Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick on the management of major capital projects.

In addition, the committee has still not completed its report on its findings in relation to the controversial allegations over the paving of private property using government resources on Cayman Brac.

In the latest reports on the air ambulance, statutory authorities and Swarbrick’s review of the entire Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL), the issue of political interference under the UDP administration was noted, and in one of the reports the premier is also cited directly as interfering with the ground handling service license at the airport, which has had an impact on air ambulance services.

Not only that, the former premier has publicly called out the auditor general as one of the many people he believes has conspired against him to undermine his political future. Bush has pulled no punches when it comes to making it clear how he feels about Swarbrick, which could make for uncomfortable working conditions now that Bush is a member of the legislative committee tasked with scrutinising the findings of Swarbrick and his team.

McTaggart said he would be seeking some advice on how to handle the reports where the former premier is directly involved and he hoped to be setting a date to call witnesses for all of the outstanding reports before the end of the summer.

The OAG has also published its proposed three year performance audit plan, and Swarbrick is asking the legislators and members of the public to provide input. In a release from his office Thursday, he said the plan would be finalized after a consultation process, which will give members of the Legislative Assembly as well as the man in the street an idea of what the office hopes to report on over the next three years and provide a roadmap for its work

Swarbrick said he had carried out the same consultation process in 2011 and found it to be a very useful way to get the information he needed to prepare the plan.

“I believe the public is in an excellent position to provide input into our plan,” said Swarbrick. “Their perspective on how well government programmes are run is important and I welcome the public's comments.”

The consultation document identifies a number of potential audit topics that the auditor general will cover by conducting performance audits. He said that once it is finalized, the plan could still change from time to time depending on future events and consideration of requests for audit work to be conducted by government officials or the Public Accounts Committee.  The final say, however, about what audits are conducted by the OAG rests directly with the auditor general himself.

The consultation will run until 31 August 2013 and feedback can be provided by either emailing or writing to the Auditor General at PO Box 2583, Grand Cayman KY1-1103, CAYMAN ISLANDS. The paper is availablein PDF format at and posted below.

More information can be obtained by contacting Martin Ruben at the OAG at (345)244-3206.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is no issue here. There is no "conflict" . If there was, no member of the prior government could serve. Like it or not, Bush is entitled to defend his government's actions when this committee meets.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is an obvious conflict. The purpose of sitting on the committee is not to defend his govt's actions. He could be called as a witness though.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a load of garbage, there is nothing but conflict of interest here, he will recuse himself, wether he likes it or not, and be called as a witness but only for investigations of wrongdoing that are not directly attributed to him. Perhaps a witness to the Juju paving.

  2. Way away says:

    Roy you are going to lose many of these upcoming debates on the reports of the AG that highlight any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Bush, at least in the court of public opinion.

    You will be hamstrung by what you are allowed to say to the public while Bush will be attending the meetings, hearing any evidence put forward by the AG , and able to counter it daily in the media and on the street while you and other members of the committee, who are not recused will have to keep quiet.
    Remember PAC is not a court of law and a rookie like you will be shocked by the latitude allowed Mr. Bush, especially if called upon as a witness, which I dear say you will have to do.

    I am really grateful, as a Caymanian, that we have you as a member of PAC, however I do question the wisdom of the PPM that resulted in them making a concerted effort to exclude Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller, arguably the only two non Ministers who havedemonstrated that they will not be bullied by Mac. I would have preferred that the PPM used their collective vote to keep Mac off the PAC rather than fighting to keep off Ezzard and Arden.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Further evidence of the conspiracy to taint the hardworking and honest Eternally Honourable McKeeva Bush… least that's how he will see it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How do you explain accounts to a gardener with a 5th grade education?  Do you use pictures?

  5. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    It will be a closed door meeting so Roy, and the rest of the committee, can explain to Mac what the word "conflict" means in the first place.  He clearly has no idea what the word means never mind how it relates to him.  Once they put away the giant flash cards with the definition and a few examples they can proceed with the meeting and allow Mac to declare the conflict and recuse himself. 

  6. tim ridley says:

    The ever increasing number of reports from the Auditor General is of course welcome. But one of Cayman's biggest problems is the pile of reports gathering dust in the filing cabinets of our Government.

    The real tests are (1) developing a meaningful implementation plan and (2) then executing it. To-date, our Governments (of whatever composition) enjoy a lamentable track record in either. We can only hope that we now have a new breed of politician and senior civil servant who will serve us better than their predecessors and produce meaningful action and results.

    Tim Ridley

    • Anonymous says:

      Hopefully you are correct about seeing "meaningful action and results", Mr Ridley, but I very strongly doubt it. The civil service is better at carrying out routine operational day to day (and important) activities than it is given credit for but it is very, very poor indeed at implementation of change. The "visioning", "championing", "stickability to task through ups and downs/ sheer drive and energy" qualities are greatly lacking in those who would be the ones to carry things through.

    • Anonymously says:

      PPM is at the control things will only get better.

  7. Anonymous says:

     mac= the reason why cayman cannot go independent

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ooops….didn't see that coming!

    Good job Mr. Mctaggart on speaking candidly about this….but don't expect Mac to "consider the conflict".

    As you know he thinks everyone trying to make him look bad. When he only needs look in the mirror to find who's making him look bad!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well Mac this will be a good time to take well deserved break. Don’t let it worry you my friend, take a trip to Little Cayman and chill.

    • Rock Iguana says:

      Please, please, please keep that man away from Little Cayman. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with Juju!

      A word of advice to Moses and crew. Be cautious and sensible when it comes to Little Cayman. No crackpot airport schemes and other lamebrain infrastructure nonsense. Run the DeBeers model of limiting supply and keeping prices high through strong demand. The Walmart approach has ruined Grand Cayman’s old tourist model. Do not repeat this in the Sister Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      And please don't ever return.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Alden, the Premier is directly responsible for this mess as he personally nominated Mac as a member of the PAC and instructed his PPM members to vote for MAC over Ezzard and Arden remember Ezzard only got six votes non from anyone in the PPM or C4C and Arden only got seven one from the PPM bench.

    Mac will be incharge of the committee and will be allowed to challenge the AG directly in public and attack his person, character and credibility all because of Alden, PPm and C4C unwillingness to recognize the experience and value of Ezzard and Arden.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac will not be in charge of the committee, and will have to recuse himself on this. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh Please, did you not think he or the Whole of the PPM didnt  know what he were doing asking to appoint Mac?? This is far bigger than Ezzard, try and read between the lines. The biggest insult you can dish to someone is to publicly ask them to excuse themselves as the infromation that they are investigating is  pretaining to them andthey are a conflict of interests, especially when they believe/know fraud has taken place. 

      Well played Alden, Well played ole man.  More negative media for Senor Bush….not that he needed it. lol 

      • Anonymous says:

        Doubt Mac will excuse himself and Roy has no authority as chairman to override the decision of the house to elect him to the PAC. He can now only be removed by a substantive motion in the house. So much for Alden and ppm politics and personal vendettas.

    • SSM345 says:

      22:12, you do remember in the last government admnistration when Ezzard was Chairman of PAC and he resigned right?

      So why would Alden put him back?

      • Anonymous says:

        ummm hello, Ezzard and Arden refused to join the PAC

      • Anonymous says:

        For the same reason Ezzard resigned in the first time. He wanted to be effective. Alden could have ensured he would have been by giving him people who would have attended meetings. The PPM had the votes to do what they wanted and they did just that.
        Not sure it was what the country wanted.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because Ezzard did an excellent job in clearing the backlog of reports as chairman of the PAC until Mac appointed half of the committe as councillors and he could no longer get a quorum to hold meetings. now Roy will have the same problems as Alden has appointed three of the four members as councilors.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Who’s idea was it to nominate and have him on the PAC when we knew this was going to happen?

    Just another day in Wonderland

    • Anonymous says:

      Constitution Protocol demands that the Leader of the Opposition serve on the PAC. Blame the morons who voted Mac back in!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Closed door meetings.

    I thought this was a Government that would be transparent. Still no cabinet minutes published.

    • Anonymous says:

      cabinet Minutes are never published, what are you getting at?


      Please show me the cabinet minutes published under UDP and PNA before you start critisizing this new govt

  13. Anonymous says:

    Looks like beloved mac will go down in history as anything on earth but forever honerable.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope they change that law….not sure Caymanian kids will understand what Honorable is supposed to mean.

      • Anonymous says:

        The past premier still believes he is innocent of all charges and allegations- any fair minded person would have decline the nomination.  He and his cronies will go down in history as "the dishonourable destroyers of our Beloved Cayman"   What a legacy to leave to his generation.  SHAMEFUL!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Honourable – we use British spelling here.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don't know what "Honorable" means.  I do know what "Honourable" means.