Civil servants abusing privileges

  If other government agencies are being run as loosely as the fuel depot, then it’s no wonder the Cayman Islands is so far down the well of indebtedness.
   According to our front page article in today’s Observer on Sunday, $500,000 worth of petrol bought at the government depot wasn’t used for job-related functions or even for government-owned vehicles.
   That, to say the least, is astounding.
   What’s even more astounding is that the people who were taking the gas circumvented practically every control in place to monitor usage at the fuel depot.
   Shame on the abusers.
   And shame on the government agencies and authorities that didn’t keep up with gas cards.
   An auditor general’s report shows that 228 of the fuel cards were issued to people not even on the government’s payroll. How does that happen?
   It’s assumed those people had been on the government payroll, but left and took the free gas cards with them.
   The report points to some fuel purchases on the same card within an hour of the initial fill up and of purchases exceeding the tank size of the vehicle supposedly being filled up.
   How many friends and family members of civil servants are sporting around the Island in a vehicle gassed up for free at the government fuel depot? It appears some in the Civil Service look at the fuel cards as just another perk of having a government job.
   But it’s not just the people abusing the fuel cards that are to blame. There is apparently a complete lack of management within the agencies responsible.
   We have to wonder why the fuel depot has to be open 24 hours a day with no cameras or surveillance equipment to see who is using the system.
   Yes, emergency personnel would need to have access to fuel at all hours of the day, but surely some system can be worked out.
   It is ridiculous that this practice of giving away free petrol to anyone on the government’s payroll for their personal use is allowed to continue.
   The Observer on Sunday takes the stance that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service should take a hard look at these practices and charge any who have offended, even if some of them are in the police service.
   The top offending agencies have promised to do better, but that’s not good enough. It’s time to start running this – and other government agencies – like a business.