Following the release of the Auditor General’s report on the financing deals for the Boatswain’s Beach project, Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford has called for a further investigation into the matter.
‘This Auditor General’s report leaves a number of questions outstanding; questions which are outside of the Auditor General’s ambit which was to determine whether the government got value for money,’ Mr. Clifford said in a statement.
‘Based on these reports there is now unequivocal justification for a much deeper investigation by the appropriate agency into these blatant misuses of public funds and for the individuals responsible to be held accountable.’
Mr. Clifford, who was a member of the Cayman Turtle Farm Limited board of directors at the time of the financing deals, said he witnessed irregularities.
‘As a permanent secretary and member of the Turtle Farm Board of Directors at the time, I became increasing frustrated with having to support the then Minister [McKeeva Bush] who was also chairman of the board in the midst of these glaring irregularities,’ he said. ‘As the people of the Cayman Islands are now well aware, I resigned from my post as permanent secretary in protest to these irregularities, which have now been confirmed by the Auditor General in respect of both the Turtle Farm and the Port Authority.’
The Auditor General’s report could shake up the board of directors and or management of the Turtle Farm.
‘There are board, management and governance issues at Boatswain’s Beach that are being considered as a result of the findings of the Auditor General,’ Mr. Clifford said.
Mr. Bush has maintained he and the Turtle Farm board of directors did nothing wrong. He pointed out that Mr. Clifford was an active member of the board and even signed cheques for any amount over $20,000.
Auditor General Dan Duguay said that if during a value for money investigation by his office he uncovers anything he thinks is illegal, he would report it to the Financial Crimes Unit.
‘I have had discussions with the Financial Crimes Unit,’ he said about the Boatswain’s Beach matter.