Mac: Report a deliberate ploy

| 12/06/2014

(CNS): Answering implied allegations that he was responsible for a large part of what could be as much as $10 million of public funds spent on travel and hospitality when he was premier, McKeeva Bush has defended the costs and said the recent report by the auditor general is a distraction. He said that the release, at a time when government is taking a bashing over the budget in Finance Committee and the governor’s office over the Tempura fiasco, is a deliberate attempt to draw attention away from those issues and try him in the court of public opinion. Bush said every trip he took was for the business of the country and the auditor’s report had "more holes than a sieve". Photo Dennie Warren Jr.

Speaking on Rooster’s early morning radio phone-in show, Crosstalk, on Wednesday, the former premier and now leader of the opposition attacked the auditor general, Alastair Swarbrick. As he has before, Bush described the government’s auditor as the former governor’s "hit-man", as he defended the cash spent on trips and entertainment when he was premier, claiming he had to “hustle” on behalf of the country. With what he described as 14 entities under his responsibility for which he had to go overseas, Bush said he had no choice.

Denying using any limousines or ever being off-duty, as he said he was the premier of the country 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he asked how the auditor expected him to travel and asked if he thought he should have walked. The opposition leader said all he ever asked for when traveling was that he stayed somewhere as comfortable as his own bedroom at home and safe because the government would not pay for a security detail for him.

Bush denied any of the spending was lavish or that there was not a paper trial. He said there were many times he used his own money, or didn’t cash his per diem allowance cheques, and if anything the government owed him money. Bush added, “It’s expensive … you can’t sponge off other people.”

He said in some instances it was not possible to quantify the business case as it was about promoting Cayman, creating business confidence and correcting misconceptions around the globe.

The premier also pointed to a double standard when he said that the auditor did not try and investigate what happened in the Ministry of Tourism during 2005 to 2009, nor has the governor’s office ever been audited. He accused Duncan Taylor of using public cash to support his grown son, who lived at Government House, and the lavish events put on by the governor’s office, which are never criticised.

“They are part of untouchables. I know what they are doing … people know what is going on,” Bush told his hosts on Rooster.

Bush also said that when the Public Accounts Committee, of which he is deputy chair, meets to examine this report in the near future, he will be finding out why the auditor seems to have such trouble finding a paper trail as Bush said the statements for the credit cards are very easy to find as they are with the bank. He also noted that he would be asking the finance people in the ministry to tell their side.

The opposition leader said it was not uncommon for everyone to use their government credit card for what they needed and pay it back later. He claimed this practice was not unusual and also common in the private sector. But, he said, whatever he had used it for personally it had been paid back.

He accused Swarbrick of causing the country to lose millions when he had stood in the way of him renegotiating a loan for the public sector, though the paper trail previously presented regarding the Cohen and Co loan has suggested otherwise. Bush said the auditor was part of the new colonial regime and that it was about targeting him.

Related articles on CNS:

CIG runs up $8.6M travel bill

ACC to look at travel audit

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Category: Crime

Comments (59)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    His name should be Obidiah Bush, as in hey! Look obidiah

  2. Anonymous says:

    i demand a response from the governor on these outrageous comments by the so called leader of the opposition……………….

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    Sometimes late at nights I hear people crawling on my roof… Dey  spying on me and I believe dey have a conspiracy ta set me up…

    I tink its the British… Or maybe dier hit man the Auditor General… Could even be Alden or Kurt or even Ezzard –  Dey all out ta get me… Its all the fault of dem donkey face people – cause dey think dey  smarter than me… But I ain  nobody's fool…

    Dey mekin all dis fuss bout a little $10 million spent fa travel in tree long yearsl…

    But I smart … I ga distract dem… I ga tell da people how much the governor spend… Dey need ta look over dere…  How much we paying da Auditor General… How much dey spend… Dey need ta look at dem and stop distracting the people by looking at wat I did…

    If dey only know how much I hated flying… Its not my fault… Why dey make me travel so much… And why dey mek me be in charge a dey money fa… 

    Its all the fault a those donkey faced people…

    Look over dere… Dey trying ta distract you by casting the spot-light on me…

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    Now i know why  my employees dont turn in reciepts.

    They believe cigaretts and beer is part of the job and they need that chicken for fuel

    I wish I could fire them for stealing but that would get me in deep doo dooo with the labor board because without the reciept I would be falsely accusing them of stealing. I also wouldnt have any employees left

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everything is a conspiracy theory against Big Mac even when the facts are clearly shown to the public at large…. and he still has a cult of dumbfounded followers too in the republic.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Should you see Mac, –  remember  "Honourable" is the correct term since imposed. . .

  7. Henry says:

    Pure madness! I wish there was a way to notify England of  what is happening on this island. This whole back forth with the political parties and abuse of power is distracting and affecting our way of life. In my opinion, they all should be locked in a  large executive cell in northward.

    So sick of the BS!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, we have Mac spending our money, ardend trying to get unqualified family members jobs and the PMM doing nothing! Same old same old day in paradise Bobo!

  8. pmilburn says:

    Amazing.Who me?I done nothing wrong!!!Then after all this people turn around forget the past and WHEEE back in the saddle once again.You know what??We deserve what we get at every election.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sadly Mac is partly correct. The audit report relies heavily on material already released under FOI so the timing raises serious questions about why the Auditor General waited so long (at least two years in some cases) to put it all together and take action. His previous boss Duncan Taylor must have also been aware of what was happening but failed to take action. Clearly there is something screwy going on here apart from the blatant misuse of public funds.   

    • Michel says:

      No more excuses , and the passing the buck and that goes for . We are real fed up here. The so call conspirecy is on us. Don’t know who you can trust anymore. Organized Politics you know ? Like Organise crime. And we’re Fed this everyday. Depressing

  10. Anonymous says:

    Earth calling Mac-time to take your pills and put your helmet on

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes Mac, everyone knows that you can get copies of the credit card statements fron the bank, but they only show the total for each transaction and not the details on what was purchased. Here is what we do in the private sector; first of all, spend enough money that the owner of the establishment will be happy to have you as a repeat customer. I believe we can give you a check mark for that one? Since it is imperative that you turn in receipts, you simply turn in doctored receipts. Malbec is melba toast, and $100 is quite reasonable for melba toast in some countries. The "ladies" in Santo Domingo love champagne, so that is listed as champinones, which is spanish for mushrooms. I could go on, but I believe you get the idea. Throwing away receipts is not the best plan.

  12. Anon says:

    This guy must have saved some 7million air miles while spending on our credit card. He can continue to travel first class for quite a while still. That pisses me off even more!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I can appreciate your strength of feeling. It's ridiculous.

    • Archie Buck Dem Up says:

      Seriously people not trying to deflect from  alllegations being made, but there also needs to be accountability for the expenditures of Her Majesty's representative. Another aspect that is worthy of some thought: isn't the concept of value for money one which has been around for ever?, then why is it that these types of Audits were not performed previously by those assigned as Auditors for Government?. If there has been corruption from 2009 to 2013, when apparently there has never been a policy for travel and entertainment expenses one could argue that during 2005 to 2009, it may be reasonable to expect that a similar or worse situation existed. I guess we will never know huh, except there is divine intervention.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        The reason why this has now been looked to is that Cayman has been running a whopping deficit for years, with government expenditure increasing. So now fiscal responsibility is the way, and looking into the back handers and perks is happening across the board. Look at the gas cards, people using government cars to drive around on personal errands etc.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Who?

  14. Cheese Face says:

    I remember there was another delusional guy that used to be on the radio a lot defending himself. What was his name again?

  15. Anonymous says:

    He also referred to the fact that the PPM had split up the departments he was involved with  into 3 different departments. He could had done the same. He was too greedy and wanted control of everything, that's why he got himself in trouble? He was a runaway train waiting to crash.

    • Anonymous says:

      He got paid extra for each ministry he was incharge of. He took too many so he could not give each the attention it deserved, this is not a good thing, you did a lousey job for a load of extra money.

  16. Jarrett Nicholson says:

    Lets not forget the 25 cent increase in fuel duty as the udp took office in 09…… raise our cost of living so mac and ju ju can travel the world first class…… Hold them acountable!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      All of the previous Governments have spent poorly at some point or the other, not just UDP. People seem to prefer beating up on them, or shall I say Mac only.

      I am not into party voting so this is not bias against any one party. I call it like it is.

      The downfall of CIG began with PPM back when their CO came up with the poor idea of decentralising 2 main CIG departments. UDP made their share of mistakes and sadly it keeps swapping. 

      Add up the total amount spent on salaries and pension for the many CFO's and their deputies, not to mention all the Human Resource Managers and their Assistants.

      CIG need to go back to how they were operating and much funds will be saved. PoCS is in place so why the HR imanagers and assistants in each ministry?Treasury is still where they were…use them, go back to the old system and tweak that where required. 

      Hold CIG managers accountable and encourage that they practice good work ethics at all times, and when they do not, do what is right and soon they will gone.

      It is a no brainer, get with it CIG!  It is time to stop all the misuse, it is crippling our country.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dont look at me!!! Quick look at them!!! This manchild is an idiot. Listening to him speak actually lowers your intelligence.

  18. FCO must prosecute says:

    Common practice in the private sector? Whoa, Mac really lost his marbles with THAT one!  The common practice in the private sector is if you use your company credit card for ANY personal expenses you are immediately sacked, period.

    I have worked for many global corporations and not one allowes personal use on a business credit card.  The common practice is that even the air miles earned go back to the company and are not yours to keep personally.  Personal use of a company credit card is never acceptable and it does not matter if the other MLAs "do it too" – no excuse, but thanks for letting us know the lot of you are unethical, ugh.

    This statement from Mac really shows that he had no clue how the real world works and like may egotistic and dellusional leaders before him, he has made up his own skewed reality.  It is very sad actually as he does believe what he says and there is no voice of reason to tell him (only yes men and West Bay readicals) how far he has strayed from actual ethics.

    Mac, you cannot bend ethics.  It is black or white, not gray.  Your excuses were paper thin and poor at best.  You either have them or you don't.  Sir, you do not and have been found wanting at the cost of the public and the reputation of this fair country.  We are ashamed we let you serve and continue to make us look poorly on the world stage.  Please retire with your millions and let the country heal.

    The UK had a scandal like this and their leaders served time!  

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow, delusional at best. So….. the first class trip to Venice with your wife, Richard Parchment and his wife plus Cline Glidden and his wife to talk to GLF (a bridge building company) who he immediately decided we couldn't use for the piers is okay then 🙂 That cost us a fortune plus the millions of dollars we paid to settle with GLF.

    The problem with these grey areas in policy is the difference between illegal and unethical. There may be nothing in the policies that says you should not make these kind of trips but if you have any integrity you don't go and you certainly don't take a bunch of people and their wivesand make the country pay for it. They all must be laughing their way to frequent flyer "road warrier" mileage too. 

    Anyone care to attempt to add up what Mac cost us in 4 years?

     

     

  20. Anonymous says:

    Somehow McKeeva continues to be elected and of course he thinks people are out to get him and he is incapable of admitting any faults regardless of the proof.

    If you look to McKeeva to admit anything then you are mistaken, instead look at the evidence of spending, listen to the auditor's report and make up your own mind.

    Does $8,600,000.00 CI spent in 36 months by a little country of 50,000 flying around the world make sense to anyone?

    • Anonymous says:

      its only $2.5million a year out of the $600million budget…hardly where we see a waste of money…where did the other $598million go??? thats where we should be looking. Stop wasting time with this subject.

      • Anonymous says:

        Look after the millions and the billions will look after themselves.

      • Anonymous says:

        Uh sure. Whatever you say. 

      • Dred says:

        While you are out there selling that crap maybe you can ask him to ask his constituents who don't have a roof over their heads or lights or water how they feel about $2.5mil a year traveling to God knows where to speak about God knows what always flying first class eating like a king while the rest of his constituents suffer. My friend $2.5mil a year is a hell of a lot of money to me no matter what the backdrop is as to where the rest of it goes. You might fool some idiot with that line but to me I could have used that money a hell of a lot better.

        Let me enlighten you. He did this in the height of a recession while raising fees on residents and businesses. Where is the conservative approach?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am a former Civil Servant and have worked in different countries around the world.  First of all, Cayman does not know how to treat its Heads of state or Ministers of Government.  In the rest of the Caribbean, there is a certain deference to your head of state.  Not that he or she can do as they please but yougive them respect due to the position they hold.   Your Prime Minister travels first class on a diplomatic passport.  I doubt very much that Ministers have a diplomatic passport here!

    They are expected to travel to drum up business for the country.  How can they gauge the economic condition of a country if they do not visit?  Next thing they would be getting into contract with people whose economy is so bad that we end up paying more than we gain so they have to not only hear what their potential investors are saying but see for themselves.

    As a former head of a department I too would spend funds for travel on personal items – for example – I got sick on an official trip so had to purchase meds and a sweater due to feeling chilly as a result of the illness.  Since all the items were on one invoice they were submitted with the cash differences attached.  In one case I thought I was entitled to purchase books for use in the office and submitted the receipts.  THey were returned and I was told they are not eligible so when I left, I took them with me since I had paid for them!

    The point is, Mr Bush should be treated as a dignitary when he was Premier with all the due entitlements.  Does that mean he could do no wrong?  No but he should not be treated like he was not entitled.  As our Head of State, he represents us and I would have hated him to turn up to meetings in whompers and bermuda shorts because we felt that was all he was worth!

    Good luck Mr Bush and may justice prevail.  

    • Anonymous says:

      As a former civil servant and a head of department it sounds like you were part of the problem. 

    • Anonymous says:

      You are just as mad as he is.  in this day and age you can find more on the internet about a particular country than you would find by visiting.  Do you think they will bring out their balance sheets to show you.  All we wanted him to do was spend our dollars with care, and not act as if the Treasury belongs to him.  We expected him to be honest. and not reckless.  Is that too much to ask.?  There is a huge difference between  wearing whompers and bermuda shorts and what he did. This has nothing to do with what he wore, it has everything to do with how much money he wasted our dollars!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I must say that Mack unlike the other Politician never embarras Caymanians by his attire. He always dresses well as well as his lovely wife Ms Kerry. We cant take that from him he is full of class just like our classy Mr Linford.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just glad you are not a civil servant in Cayman…….don't think we could afford your indifferent attitude to entitlement spending of public funds.

    • Anonymous says:

      head of state? that is the queen, 

  22. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    I would sometimes see things I wanted, as I traveled the world for Cayman, and I would buy them. Different things I didn't carry cash. It was too dangerous and, sometimes in a rush I'd forget my own credit card. So I'd use the handy CIG card I gave to myself. Which I never forgot. It was at the front of my wallet. But all my purchases are on the statements from the bank! The amounts I paid back are somewhere too. Unless I didn't feel like it. People don't realize. It's expensive having a Premier.

  23. Anonymous says:

    He still does not get it?  He is beyond help and hope. Instead of theAuditor's Report having more holes that a sieve as, he said, I believe it is his brain that has the holes.   Cayman if you never ever do anything right again, please do not allow hin near to Treasury and the Government' s credit cards. Why did he have to go to Dubai, the persons setting up the Tech City , or whatever it is called, could pay their own fares to go discuss how to conduct the business. What did he add by being there. Likewise Gene Thompson and his company could discuss the Shetty Hospital without The past Premier having to go  to India, what did he contribute to the discussions? All he had to do was stay his behind in office, get the relevant laws passed and Voila!! He was running around like Santa Claus, spending our dollars while our people struggle.  I do not care how much he tries to justify what he did, it is as plain as day that he was reckless and anyone with a grain of common sense can see that .  He needs to  apologise and then  shut his mouth.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with McKeeva is that he truly believes that he has done nothing wrong. He takes every auditors report personally and it's not that way at all. I don't care who ran up these expenses or what party they are affiliated with, it is just plain wrong! EVERY government official of the past, present or future needs to understand that they are spending the people's money and not their own. I should not have to help pay for birthday parties and all the other silliness that is in this report.

      is it possible to find an honest politician in Cayman?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I know an honest one!!

        • we have some! says:

          I know 2 politicians that are honest and just donated to the Pines for a simple request out of their own pockets…they will get my vote again.  The others?  Still waiting for a response.

          • Anonymous says:

            If I follow your logic, because they donate to charity means they are honest? 

            If they are as honest as you say, then who are they? 

  24. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac is infallible according to himself therefore every one is conspring against him.

    How can he  say that Government owes him money when  he has been drawing a pension as well as making a fantastic salary and is someone without any professional qualification and does not even possess any technical skills?

    Many persons who are wel quaified, academicaly, or possess a technical skill do not earn any amount near to what he is earning.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Boo hoo poor Mac..

  26. Anonymous says:

    You don't have to have a "policy" to know that taking government money and spending it on yourself for your private pleasures is stealing. Just because some minister signs off on it doesn't make it legal. Where is the criminal investigation?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Hahaha – It wasn't me. And if it was me, it was justified. Look! Over there….they're worse than me. It's all a conspiracyand a plot against me. Pick an excuse, any excuse….

    • Anonymous says:

      Big Mac is only relying on US precedent. Some time ago a US president – during an on the record interview solemnly stated his belief that "when the President does it it isn't illegal". We'll done Mr Bush….there are so many admirable things about Richard Nixon that male him an obvious role model for our leaders!!!

  28. Anonymous says:

    exactly they think we the caymanian ppl are fool!!