Complaints commissioner’s budget cut

One of the Cayman Islands’ major
government watchdog agencies had its budget cut by more than 15 per cent in the
fiscal year that begins Thursday.

Complaints Commissioner Nicola
Williams’ office budget was reduced by $150,000 from last year.

Ms Williams, who is Cayman’s second
complaints commissioner, had previously said she was hoping government would
increase her six-person staff by one investigator. She acknowledged before the
Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee last week that her public interest
investigations might take a bit longer to complete because of the cuts.

“The one impact we may have is
timeliness,” she told lawmakers. “Of course, quality will not be compromised.”

The complaints commissioner’s
office is charged with dealing with public complaints about government
agencies. It seeks to root out and correct instances of incompetent or corrupt
governance.

Ms Williams told lawmakers she
wasn’t exactly happy about the budget situation, but she understood the fiscal
constrains government was operating under.

“My office would always welcome
more money, but we are where we are,” she said.

Premier McKeeva Bush said
government was struggling to make up a multimillion-dollar operating deficit
and had to take cuts where it could find them.

“Everybody – even the smaller
budgets – we had to get some percentage
 from,” he said.

Ms Williams was also asked about
the status of the newly formed Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission.

The law creating that five-person
body came into effect in January. Ms Williams is a member of the commission,
along with the auditor general, the police commissioner and two private
citizens.

She said the commission has met
just two times thus far.

“So we’re just
getting going,” she said. “We are in the very early days.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. It is without surprise that this budget was affected. Afterall, with the recent upstart about FOI and the Met Office investigation (which I truly believed discovered something wrong in our police department), it would have been unreasonable to expect that the government would have left this department’s budget alone and highly unreasonable to expect that it would certainly increase it!

    I am quite alarmed that at the efforts that are being made to stifle the public. But then we are next door to Cuba so maybe we are adopting some of their political behaviours, maybe?

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