Someone needs to question the new public persecuting role that the Auditor General Mr. Duguay has adapted in recent years of publicly predicting the outcomes of his audits as he did in the case of the Port Authority, the Housing Trust and now Boatswain’s Beach.
Of course this is a risky exercise as we have given him so much protection under the constitution that the politicians dare not take him to task publicly as they should. I thought Mr. Burns Connolly did a fair job of defending himself on the Port project.
As I understand it the role of the auditor general is to be a watch dog over government finances, report his findings in a report to the Public Accounts Committee or to the police if he suspects fraud; not to the press, which serves no other purpose than to glamourise the auditor general himself.
In the days when I served on the Public Accounts Committee the auditor general report was presented to the public accounts committee (under confidential cover), which reviewed his report and where necessary did further reviews/investigations, prepared their own report and invited the Government to respond in what was called the government minute, after which all the reports were tabled and debated in the Legislative Assembly and made available to the public at the same time.
Now we have the unhealthy situation where he is making his reports public, using innuendo if not allegations of dishonesty or impropriety in his public statements about hard working Caymanian politicians, architects, engineers and contractors who in most cases are simply doing the best they can for Cayman.
Is it strange or coincidence that the foreign contracts and consultants do not appear to come under the same scrutiny of the auditor general?
I know first-hand how damaging these statements by supposedly altruistic foreign auditor generals can be as I had a similar experience with a former auditor general who made certain public allegations against me and the Doctor Hortor Memorial Hospital project about contracts that were signed not by me, but by Thomas Jefferson the then financial secretary.
Of course in my usual non-combative style I went to his office and told him off about the matter and proceeded to hold a public meeting in North Side, to which I gave him a personal invitation however in their usual cowardly way he did not accept.
By the way all his and the other political allegations were proven to be totally unfounded by the commission of inquiry appointed by governor Michael Gore. This commission exonerated the architects, contractors, engineers, myself and others involved in the project and I quote from the commission’s conclusion:
‘The selection of tenders and awarding of contracts was carried out in a satisfactory manner and no evidence was found of special preference being shown to anyone. Clearly a great deal of effort, planning and expertise by many people went into this project and it deserved to succeed.’
The fact that I was exonerated was not given the same hype and coverage by the media and I was never able to recover politically from the false accusations made by the auditor general and opportunistic politicians.
Someone needs to put a stop to this sensationalism by the auditor general as it is always easy to play Monday morning quarterback on projects after the results are in and the project is complete.
Unfortunately the politicians, civil servants and members of the public serving in an altruistic manner on these boards have to make decisions in real time and always without the benefit of hindsight.
We should all be alarmed when the auditor general appears on the front page of a local newspaper between two successful politicians and wonder how he is grinding his own axe in these cases.
The constitution needs to be amended to place a time limit of three years on occupants of this position so they don’t have time or a need to ingratiate themselves to any particular group including the Governor for contract renewal.
Thank you editor and maybe the media itself can help by not providing the auditor general with a forum to make these innuendos and wait for the whole story to unfold.
D. Ezzard Miller