Today’s Editorial for August 14: A step backwards

It is disheartening to hear certain members of the Public Accounts Committee are now suggesting that reports of the Auditor General be kept from the public until after the PAC has done its own investigation into the matter.

It is particularly disheartening that one of the key PAC members advocating the change is Ellio Solomon, who until very recently was a vocal member of the media calling for more government transparency. What a difference an election makes.

Going back to the old system, where it sometimes took the PAC four years or more to deal with auditor general reports is simply a bad idea. This antiquated way of doing things isn’t done in modern societies, included in any of the jurisdictions that are Cayman’s offshore competitors

It dis-empowers the auditor general, who serves as one of the government’s most important internal watchdogs.

In addition, in this day and age when there are increasing international pressures for the Cayman Islands government to become more transparent, this is a step backwards in that process.

Although we can see that new PAC Chairman Ezzard Miller is serious about clearing up the large backlog of auditor general reports left by the previous PAC, Mr. Miller will not hold this position forever.

A good man does not make a good system and in the future, a new PAC could easily delay an auditor general’s report from becoming public indefinitely, if it were inclined to do so.

We sincerely hope that the government thinks this idea through before implementing it, but we take comfort in knowing that should it go back to the old system, auditor general reports will still likely be leaked to the press in advance anyway, by whichever side of the political spectrum it helps to do so.

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