AG’s report adds sunshine

The Auditor General’s report on the tendering and awarding of the Hurricane Ivan debris removal contract to MC Restoration has finally brought many questions to rest concerning the process.

For the most part, the Auditor General’s report vindicates the Government’s process and decision, especially in light of the time constraints.

The problem is, under current legislation, the report was not supposed to be public yet.

Technically, the people of the Cayman Islands should have to wait for months yet to know the exact details of a contract that has been attracting controversy for almost six months now.

While there will always be those who find fault with anything a particular government does, the Auditor General’s report should quell a lot of the animosity the MC Restoration contract caused.

The leaking to the media of the Auditor General’s report on MC Restoration, much like the recent leaking of his report critical of the Affordable Housing Initiative, certainly has motives based on political expediency.

If it were not an election season, one must wonder if either report would have found its way from the protected sanctum of Government into the hands of the press.

In the last meeting of the 2004/05 Session of the Legislative Assembly, the public was finally given access to the Auditor General’s Report of Summer, 2001, more than three years after its completion.

That long after the fact, some of the information contained in that report was made irrelevant.

Any information is more valuable when it is delivered on a timely basis.

Had the Cayman Islands public had access to the Auditor General’s Summer 2001 Report earlier, perhaps it could have helped in overcoming certain aspects of the post-9/11 tourism slump, or in other aspects of government since then.

Although it is not good practice to have Government officials circumventing regulations, the public’s right and need to know makes such transgressions worthwhile.

But rather than continuing in such a fashion, let’s hope that whatever government finds itself in power after the election makes legislative reform, including the handling of the Auditor General’s reports, an issue to address.

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