Editorial July 14: Project audits sorely needed

 It’s refreshing news that our new Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick plans to begin auditing government projects while they are under way.

 Frankly, this should have been the norm all along and not the exception.

 No business person in his or her right mind would undertake a project and not keep up with expenses.

 The problem is, our government isn’t being run like a proper business with proper accounting.

 The AG also said politicians are interfering with the bidding process of some projects and vowed to take a closer look at future procurements.

 It’s all about ensuring that the Cayman Islands gets value for money, something that is always important, but especially now when we are in our third year of a recession that is projected to continue for at least another year.

 Unfortunately at least two international sources – Bloomberg and CBS – picked up on the story from the Associated Press with a beginning paragraph that reads, “Political interference and shabby management of procurement practices is damaging the Cayman Islands’ credibility with suppliers and likely wasting millions of dollars, the UK territory’s auditor general announced Monday.”

 The Cayman Islands no longer exists in a vacuum and cannot continue to hope its missteps are overlooked. Now, more than ever, our government needs to be as transparent as possible when soliciting bids and tenders. We anxiously await a second report on three projects – the US$185 million loan financed by Cohen and Company in New York, the first phase of the installation of public closed-circuit television cameras and purchasing revolving around Cayman Jazz Fest.

 Part of the problem is that Cayman’s Public Management and Finance Law doesn’t precisely prohibit interference in the bidding process by elected officials, nor does it clearly set out the Central Tenders Committee’s responsibilities for releasing information about publicly bid projects once they are awarded.

 It’s time that the law was revisited and language put in to ensure the bidding process can’t be sullied and to give the CTC the necessary resources to release needed information on projects.

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