Lost in dealing with several other matters in our editorials last week, we neglected to highlight a very important issue with regard to good governance and accountability in our country: The absolute disrespect and outright abuse being heaped upon the Cayman Islands’ Auditor General’s Office.
The most recent abuse directed toward the Auditor General’s Office occurred after last week’s release of a report on government procurement and announced intentions earlier this month to look into the government’s nation-building fund.
In the wake of these developments, Premier McKeeva Bush has accused Deputy Auditor General Garnet Harrison of seeking to become a “media celebrity” simply because he answered questions we asked him about the nation-building fund. Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick was called a “hitman” for reasons that are unclear to us, but the implication seems to be that Mr. Swarbrick is being paid only to criticise Mr. Bush.
Perhaps most outrageously Premier Bush accused “so-called good government experts” of trying to “make the government look like we are doing something nefarious”.
These statements are, we believe, nothing more than an effort to deflect the focus of the general public away from the findings of the Auditor General’s Office.
If people disagree with the findings or have additional information regarding auditor’s reports, they should by all means make those facts public. There is no need, however, for personal attacks and the level of rancour evidenced in recent public utterances by the premier. This only does a disservice to a small group of individuals who are doing their part to protect Cayman from potential wasteful spending and mismanagement.
Back in the days before former auditor general Dan Duguay, Auditor General’s Office reports sometimes took years to reach the public domain and hardly anyone knew the role that office played. Now that the office is finally serving the important watchdog role it is designed to do, it is wrong that any politician should thwart its efforts with common bullying tactics.