CIG accounts need one leader

| 29/10/2014

(CNS): The former chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the problem with the public finances is because despite all efforts to address it government has failed to appoint one person to lead and take responsibility for it all. Ezzard Miller said that when public servants who have failed to deliver continue to be promoted and are not being held accountable it is impossible to correct the problem. He said government had to appoint a single capable and qualified individual internal auditor to take full responsibility for the government’s accounts and it was time for those who had failed to get fired.“It is amazing that they can get away with it,” the outspoken North Side member told CNS in the wake of the most recent damning reports from the Office of the Auditor General.

He pointed out that government had spent almost a million dollars on consultants and outside support but had still not reached the point where it could account to the people for spending their money. He said the failure to see any real improvement in transparency was the lack of a single qualified, responsible leader who would be accountable.

During his tenure as chair of the Legislative Assembly committee which deals with public accounts he had attempted to hold civil service bosses accountable via the Public Management and Finance Law but he had been told by the director of public prosecutions that the PAC had no authority to bring a complaint and that only the financial secretary could press for legal action, according to the law.

However, Miller said the financial secretary has been a part of the failing process and as a result had not taken the necessary legal action to force some accountability for the decade-long failure of government to answer to the Legislative Assembly, and in turn the public, for the cash they spend and what is gradually emerging as significant misuse and abuse of tax payers' money.

Miller said that in order to get the accountability and force the hand of those responsible for managing public money there had to be one leader who takes responsibility and who is vulnerable to prosecution for failure, otherwise the problem will, despite constant reassurances, continue.

The distant hope of producing timely consolidated accounts, he said, would remain, as government continued to play catch-up and focus on pulling consolidated accounts together for past years when their eventual delayed publication would render them useless.

Miller said the government had to turn its attention to releasing the most up-to-date set of financial statements even if they were based on unaudited figure that could be corrected down the line.

“If the reports are not timely, government and the Legislative Assembly cannot make adjustments for the next financial year, so the reports are a waste of time,” he added.
The significant lack of general control by many government departments was revealed by the auditor in his latest report on the financial years  2011 and 2012 but this waste, misuse, potential abuse and what appears to be theft in some cases was identified and made public well after the fact.

At the time money was being allocated to those same failing departments the public and the politicians voting the appropriations were completely unaware of the potential risk to the public cash they were voting.

Miller warned that despite the ongoing assurances and promises about changes in personnel and the system, from the current finance ministry, he said he was still concerned that the failures would continue because there was still no real accountability and no leader in place.
See the auditor general’s reports below that catalogue a damning account of the state of public finances.

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  1. Watson says:

    Hmmm.  One man with complete responsibility -and authority – over every accounting department in CIG.  The ability to expose others, fire those you deem incompetent, and to determine accounting policy.  Huge amount of power over both civil servants and an ability to massively influence how Ministers' perforance is measured.  Who amongst us could be trusted?  Ezzard – can you think of who this paragon could be?  

  2. Watson says:

    Hmmm.  One man with complete responsibility -and authority – over every accounting department in CIG.  The ability to expose others, fire those you deem incompetent, and to determine accounting policy.  Huge amount of power over both civil servants and an ability to massively influence how Ministers' perforance is measured.  Who amongst us could be trusted?  Ezzard – can you think of who this paragon could be?  

  3. Anonymous says:

    And who signed off on a law (PMFL) where only any one person can decide on prosecution?

    It seems to me that the "Director of Public Prosecutions" should be able to bring about charges for breaking the law. Otherwise, what is he/she "directing"?

    And can't the MLA's amend the law to allow for others to effect prosecution?

    Of course that would only work if the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General, the Deputy Governor, the Police Commissioner (who is also the Chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission….and the many, many other very highly paid decision makers….well…er…gave a damn.

    Which leaves us to wait on the UK to step in (which may or may not happen).

    All the while we the people pay for it all….and have to listen over and over to more and more promises of "Good Governance". 

    Soon come? Yeah right!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Has ANYONE noticed that these accounts are 4 years old??  Has anyone noticed that since our Deputy Governor took over both the Chief Officers and Chief Financial Officers in these two Ministries have been replaced?

    Has ANYONE read the AG report that said that these were the ONLY two accounts in the entire Public Service that were disclaimed.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Let's be honest here, the CS set a budget, this is give toour MLAs, they then assign the money. So if a CS dept askfor 100 million, just say NO and give them 80 million, let the CS sort out there over costs….. Now it is not just the CS it is also the minitries that cost us alot, stop overpaying your staff too!!!!!! plain and simple..

  6. King Kaiser says:

    The thing is someone has to be the bad guy. Someone willing to step on toes, discipline and fire friends, acquaintances and cousins.

    The simple truth is that the Civil Service is lacking in real leadership. We have not had an effective Governor or Chief Secretary for the past twenty years or so.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There is a leader, he's called Franz Manderson, he's just not doing anything about the mess.

  8. Fool me once... says:

    And..the present government may be voted out of office and..the previous one will win and..they will be voted out and..the others will win. All the while..the Civil Service..with the largest voting block on the island. Remains the same.

  9. Anonymous says:

    How difficult is it to hold someone accountable? Heads of departments report to Chief financial officers, they report to chief officers. If someone has not done what they were supposed to do, which caused a ripple effect and no reliable, timely financials to be produced then someone or some people need to go. Over 5 years of no reliable financial information and no one has been fired. They just keep shuffling the same incompetent people to other ministries thinking that somehow they will perform better there. Someone needs to have the courage to fire people if they are not performing but no one wants to do it. They don't want to be the person known who fired a caymanian  or worse fired their family or their friend. In the private sector if you are not performing the way you are expected then you are told thank you for your services which are no longer needed. Those same people who were fired from the private sector for incompetence runs to their politician who then finds them a job in Government. And I will get thumbs down for saying this but it is caymanians I am talking about because expats know that for them to keep the job they better perform or their contract is not renewed. We have got to stop coddling these people and encouraging their entitlement attitude. CAYMANIAN is not a qualification. Get out there, get an education and some experience and prove that you are the best person for the job. Why do we even have expat CFO's? All these intelligent Caymanians I read about who pass CPA, ACCA, CGA and all the other accounting qualifications, is making lots of money the only thing you think about? How about giving back, working for the civil service. The best people to help are those who can't help you back.

  10. Bluff Patrol says:

    What Mr. Miller is stating is true but it must be accompanied by other changes.

    The "one leader" Ezzard is proposing cannot be effective all if those in positions of responsibility below the "one leader" are not being held accountable.  

    The person at the top cannot be successful if they are standing on a weak foundation. 

    The good book says not to build your house upon the sand. What is needed is accountability… From the top down. Including the "one leader" and all in the reporting line below.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Right now who will be responsible for appointing the person who will be responsible

  12. Anonymous says:

    As usual Ezzard has his sound byte so he is happy.  The only problem is that accountability does not exist within the Cayman Islands government and the civil servants employed therein.    So you can sound byte all you want but at the end of the day we all know there will not be any accountability so please lets be real.

    Ezzard talks about firing people which would be funny if it were not so tragic.  Accounability does ot exist in the Cayman Islands and sound bytes produced to expand the ego will not make it so.

    • Anonymous says:

      You hate Ezzard so much that you are criticising for trying to introduce the sort of accountability you complain is missing. Smh. It is sad when politics overshadows objectivity.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Keep up the good work Ezzard. At least you will stand up for the people and for what you believe is right.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I recall when Ezzard was head of the Public Accounts Committee.  Ask him how many people he could control there and they were his own colleagues.  It is always easy to criticize and much harder to do.  Nothing more is needed than for he Financial Secretary to demand that the parameters be met.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Aahhh…. just going out on a limb here….

    But is'nt that     George (Ken) Jefferson     job?

    Inquiring minds need to know

  16. MEM says:

    Just let Big Mac do it, he'll sort it out!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, your message is falling on deaf ears, Franz has no plans to improve financial management, if you are incompetent in your job, you are appointed to an easier job but get to keep your big salary (ask recent CFO who was identified by auditor general as incompetent). Ask the DG what progressive steps he’s taken to improve financial management since he became DG.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I truly believe the only men capable of running this country and should be our leader is either Ezzard or  Bo.  The rest either lack an education or common sense or in some cases BOTH!!!!    

    • MEM says:

      You only think that because those two haven't had the chance to run it yet!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with Ezzard. The Deputy Governor is the CS head and it is part of his remit to ensure that civil servants perform their jobs. He was quick to run to the government after the election begging for the reinstatement of the percentage of salary that was withdrawn from CS salaries to help balance the budget, but it seems he is very slow in stepping up to enforce job performance requirements. Enforcement of jobperformance must be made to start at the top! Enough is enough. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Keep up.  Job performance is already throughout the CS and expats, when not performing can be terminated at the end of their contracts.  This is not true of locals whose performance is below power.  They are moved on, moved over and even moved up.

  20. Savannah Resident says:

    How about scrapping the PMFL?  I am not advocating that government regress back to accrual based accounting but my god, once the PMFL was implemented the civil service exploded due to de-centralization.  As stated in previously, the implementing country and founder of the PMFL (New Zealand) subsequently dropped the law as it was too costly.  Instead of wasting more public funds on consultants, how about including staff from the Treasury department, Ministry of Finance, CFOs from Statutory Authorities and Government companies into the creation of a new system?  If the users help design the system, there should be no excuse for late submittal or inaccurate accounts.

    Furthermore, I am in agreement with others that incompetence in the civil service needs to be addressed; CFOs should be remanded and fired.


    My two cents

    • Anonymous says:

      "…back to accrual accounting". The PMFL brought in accrual accounting. The old system that no reputable government uses now was the cash based system. Since, Savannah Resudent, you do not understand that simple basic fact, we can safely ignore the rest of your post.

  21. Anonymous says:

    he had been told by the director of public prosecutions that the PAC had no authority to bring a complaint and that only the financial secretary could press for legal action, according to the law

    Politicians who claim their hands are tied are not being honest with the public. As lawmakers, they can amend the law to give the PAC more power including the ability to hold civil service bosses accountable. 

  22. Anonyanmous says:

    The Auditor General need to have a talk with the higher ups in the UK and let heads roll.  The Governor is very adept in financial matters so I am sure she is keeping a keen eye on the islands financial situations and it would not surprise me if heads begin to roll soon.  Our Governor is no pushover, she will straighten it out sooner than later. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Your first sentence makes no sense in light of the sentences which follow.

      • Anonymous says:

        It makes perfect sense luv, your lack of intelligence is the issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the quiet and passive response to the past discoveries is any indication, then our Governor is a pushover, and it is getting closer to "later" ,so either prove the majority wrong or we need a new governor. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman's current issues / problems are a mirror image of Turks & Caicos, you can literally replace the names / companies / authourties involved.

      "Soon come" as we all like to say.


    • Someone says:

      The governor is truly an adept.

      • Anonyanmous says:

        The governor is very skilled and proficient poster 17:30 so what's your point? another expat who does not know the meaning of adept 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh that were so!


  23. Anonymous says:

    For once I agree with Ezzard.

    if more than one person is responsible for something, that is another way of saying that no one is responsible.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for being the voice of reason on this Ezzard. Everyone else is afraid of the truth which is destroying the beautiful Cayman Islands. 

  25. Anonyanmous says:

    Everyone that dropped the ball should be given the boot period. Incompetence in government must stop ASAP.

  26. The Parliamentarian says:

    "He said government had to appoint a single capable and qualified individual internal auditor to take full responsibility for the government’s accounts and it was time for those who had failed to get fired."

    My comment:  We don't need another high-paid figurehead.  Fire the incompetents.

    "only the financial secretary could press for legal action"

    My comment:  So why hasn't he?

    "the financial secretary has been a part of the failing process"

    My comment:  So why is he still the financial secretary?

    "still no real accountability and no leader in place"

    My comment:  Sorry to say, but it appears to be "SAME OLD, SAME OLD".


  27. Anonymous says:

    The chain of accountability starts with the Deputy Governor, Minister of Finance, Financial Secretary, Ministry Chief Officers, CFO's, Deputy CFO's, HOD's and goes down hill from there. It's really simple and they all know it. Amongst this group somebody carries final responsibility and it becomes more obvious each day that the buck stops with the DG!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard is 100% correct

  29. Anonymous says:

    Mr Izzard as usual fails to undestand that there is not just one solution.  Appointing someone to oversee the whole structure will not necessarily change anything.  I for one would not now trust anyone in anyway associated with any political party to do this honestly.  Even if they are not connected to politics if they are local they will have friends in high places that they will be unwilling to expose.  I am afraid, much as I hate to say it, an outsider is needed.  One thatdoes not need the job, one that does not want to stay but one that wants to genuinely wants o make a difference.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes Mr Izzard  , one man can do it , but you would have to find that man with 16 balls that can and will standup against  you politians .

    • Anonymous says:

      So – Batman?

    • Anonymous says:

      So, you don't actually disagree with the headline proposal, just want to caveate it a bit? Might want to re-read your opening line and check your bias against your logic.

  30. C3PA says:

    Ezzard really throws me in these instances. You know, when he's the only rational one in the whole house. But while he is wrong on so many issues, in this case he is right on the money.

    Go Ezz!!


  31. Anonymous says:

    A check book is something that has been available for a long time

    Perhaps if checks were used it would not be such a big deal to have books.

    The NS MLA is making excuses for people and there failures. He is no doubt protecting those he is fond of weather he intends to or not.


  32. Anonymous says:

    Wasn't the Head of the CIG always supposed to be the LOGB, and now, Premier?  Why is it so hard to reason where the buck stops?  The role of Premier is not to pontificate broken promises, shake hands, kiss babies, freely distribute cash to loyal followers, or party in casinos with taxpayer loans.  All those leaders that presidedover this decades-long free-for-all should, at a minimum, be barred from politics, and stripped of their self-ascribed Honourable for Life Titles.   

    • Anonymous says:

      He is the political head of Government but he is not the Head of the Civil Service and therefore has no authority over civil servants. You cannot have responsibility without authority. Capiche?

    • Anonymous says:

      Moron; stop spewing your bias thoughts and for one time try to comment on a subject intelligently. Ezzard's recommendation should at least be given a try. Let us get along in the interest of the country and stop playing politics.

    • Anonymous says:

      As recently declared -'an eye for an eye….'

      If so believed, then these so called 'leaders' and politicians should be treated as they have treated the public and its money!

      • Anonymous says:

        Especially those amounts poured down slot machines, or spent on armed guards…I forget.

    • Anonymous says:

      At issue are matters relating to the performance of civil servants. The head of the civil service is the Deputy Governor, not the Premier. Pehaps someone should revamp the job description of the DG to ensure that all activities relating to publication (with pictures and praises of him of couse) are not shown on it as a part of his job. Once real duties and measurable performance indicators ar included in it who knows what good resuls might emerge. Just sayin ….

  33. Anonymous says:

    I normally find it difficult to agree with the Buzzard, but this time he got it right..