If we don’t know where we’ve been, then how in the heck can
we chart our course forward?
It’s just one of life’s little axioms and holds so true with
financial accountability in the Cayman Islands.
We are to applaud the efforts of those government entities
that have done a better job of turning over financial statements to the Auditor
General Alastair Swarbrick and his staff.
But if the information in those statements isn’t worth the
paper it’s written on, we can’t expect Mr. Swarbrick and his team to adequately
do their jobs.
And if they can’t do their jobs, how can our country
honestly come up with a workable budget?
In Mr. Swarbrick’s own words ‘for budget setting, you need
to have reliable financial information from the previous year to give you a
clear view about where your budget is going and what resources you have to
spend money on, so you can produce a budget every year.’
The United Kingdom has already been looking over its glasses
and down its nose at us when it comes to budgeting in the Cayman Islands.
And Premier McKeeva Bush and his team are to be applauded
for making the headway they have with the Cayman Islands budget, but we would
bet he would agree with us that more has to be done.
It starts with a proper accounting from all of those who
draw money from the government’s coffers to keep adequate and proper accounts
and to report those in a timely matter.
Eight 2010-2011 financial statements that were considered
“unauditable” came from Cayman Airways Limited, Cayman Islands National Museum,
the National Drug Council, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, the
Sister Islands Affordable Housing Development Corporation, the Tourism
Attraction Board, the Turtle Farm and the University College of the Cayman Islands.
Those who are in charge of the accounting of these entities should be held
accountable for bad financial statements.
We have to stop this mammoth ball from rolling. We’re
setting a bad example and leaving a bad legacy for those who will follow in the
running of this country.
We owe ourselves and generations to come better.