Today’s Editorial for August 7: Time to own up

We have to wonder, why is it so hard for government entities to prepare and report financial statements in a timely manner.

The problem isn’t new.

Now that the Auditor General has brought the lack of governmental financial statements and reports to light, plans are being made for a week of hearings before the Public Accounts Committee where chief officers, chief financial officers, the Financial Secretary and Chief Secretary will be asked to explain – publicly – why the delays have been allowed.

It appears those in charge of the statements and reports are snubbing their noses at the Public Management and Finance Law, which lawmakers approved in 2001.

The government of the day in 1997 and 1998 saw a need to change the way government budgeted for its operations and how it explained expenditures.

The law that was passed in 2001 was revised several times before finally coming into effect in mid-2004, setting standards and deadlines for reporting.

Because those deadlines have been missed, lawmakers find themselves doling out money to ministries, portfolios, statutory authorities and government companies without any indication of accountability for past money spent.

That’s a bad way to do business.

Any legitimate company practices proper accounting through audits to know what’s due, what is owed and to ensure money is not being misappropriated.

We should expect nothing less from our government.

While we have no ‘tax’ in the Cayman Islands most of the money used to run government comes from us in the form of duty and fees.

It is our money that government agencies and companies spend.

If they don’t have enough respect for our lawmakers to provide a proper accounting, the certainly owe the public the courtesy of telling us where our money is being spent and why.

Government has indeed lost control of the public purse.

We expect them to regain control and make sure this fiasco isn’t repeated in the future.