The liberal use of consultants by the People’s Progressive Movement government was defended in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
Speaking during his contribution to the Budget debate, backbencher MLA Alfonso Wright said people should not expect government ministers to know everything about the subjects of their ministries.
‘Politics doesn’t work that way,’ he said.
Mr. Wright said people should expect ministers to understand they don’t have the expertise to efficiently run their ministries.
‘It’s a wise minister that seeks the advice he needs,’ he said.
Over the years people have become leery about the government using consultants, Mr. Wright said.
‘What goes wrong is when consultants’ reports say what we don’t want them to say and we shelve the report and don’t release the findings to the public,’ he said.
‘I would have great difficulty with my government if we hired consultants to get their advice and did not use it. But that is not the case.’
Mr. Wright broached the issue after several members of the Opposition criticised the frequent usage of consultants by the government during their contributions to the Budget debate.
Speaking earlier last week, Opposition MLA Cline Glidden criticised the use of many consultants by the Minister of Education.
‘I hear they’re going to change the C.I. of the Cayman Islands to Consultant Islands,’ he quipped.
Responding to the criticisms when he rose to speak, Mr. Wright said it was on the advice of consultants that George Hicks High School was split from one school of about 1,000 children into four separate high schools on the same campus, and that the results have been very positive.
‘What is wrong with us seeking the advice of consultants if we have proof that it works?’ he asked.
Mr. Wright said he would offer no apologies for the times the PPM government has used consultants. He asked for people to ‘ease up on the criticism of consultants’, especially those people who were only repeating criticism they had heard expressed by others without really knowing the facts.
‘We need to applaud our government for going outside and saying we need some help here,’ he said, adding that the use of consultants was improving the country.