Editorial for February 07: Communication sorely needed

The following comment was made on
our website concerning the article that appeared in Friday’s Compass about the
Government Office Accommodation Project:

“Right hand, I would like to
introduce you to left hand.  In the future,
can the two of you please let each other know what is going on.”

On many levels, GOAP – as the
project is called for short – has to date been one of the most painless government
building projects here in a long time. 
Since there was only one bidder on the project, there wasn’t big
controversy about the tender process. The project has continued pretty much on
schedule, with no work stoppages because of non-payment. All indications are
that the project is on budget, something we seldom see anymore with large
infrastructure projects.

But now we learn, at the eleventh
hour, that the government has decided one of the major tenants of the building
– the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority – won’t be moving in. Ignoring the
debate of the validity of the primary reason for the decision – that the
Monetary Authority needs to maintain autonomy from government in the view of
international regulators – it brings up the question of why this decision
wasn’t made much earlier. After the financial crisis became official in the
fall of 2008, there was increased scrutiny of offshore financial centres. The
previous government and the current government both understood this very well,
one reason they scrambled to sign Tax Information Exchange Agreements in 2009.
But despite their recognition of the image problem with international
regulators, the building of the GOAP continued with the idea the Monetary Authority
would move in, even to the point that its custom fit-out expanded in scope to
accommodate more staff during 2010. As a result, in 2011 we have a custom-built
space for a tenant that won’t move in, which means there was a lot of money
spent unnecessarily. Although other government entities will likely move in to
take the space the Monetary Authority won’t occupy, those moves will now have
to be rushed, leading to upset of staff and potential penalties with existing
landlords. It could have all been avoided if there were better communication in
government.

1 COMMENT

  1. And some are calling for lest red tape. Is red tape not proven procedures made policy. At the very least a red flag should have been raised, requiring research and a decision as to whether the authority needed to be autonomous from government. So follow the expected red tape; The Monetary authority should have submitted a formal rejection of the idea to be housed with the other departments. Someone received the submit. Someone either investigated or ignored the document. What was the result of the investigation, and who gave the authorization to proceed with the fit out. Who made the final decision that the authority could not be housed and why were they not part of the initial decision making.. If there is to be accountability we need to reinforce the red-tape not weaken. A cowboy Pushing square pegs in round holes is not my idea of leadership.