When the voters of the Cayman Islands put people into
positions of authority within the hallowed halls of the Legislative Assembly,
they are doing so with the belief that those they elected will err on the side
of caution and try do the right thing.
Human error can and does occur. After all, we’re all human.
But when an elected official makes a determination without
consent of the Legislative Assembly to spend more than $500,000 to pave private
parking lots in Cayman Brac, we cannot chalk that up to human error. That’s
just plain wrong.
Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick has never said the action
was illegal, only that it wasn’t appropriate. He’s turned the matter over to
the Attorney General’s Office. If nothing is done with it on that end, Mr.
Swarbrick could take the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission, of which he
is a member.
Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is refusing to
discuss this matter, which is also wrong. She is an elected official, not a
member of the monarchy, and is responsible to answer to the people who put her
in office. The Caymanian Compass has tried many times to contact her about this
issue, but she refuses to answer or return our calls.
The paving was done with public money; money that we pay
every time we buy goods in the Cayman Islands – goods that we pay duty on,
which is how the government makes its money, which is used for legitimate
paving projects and other government services. In a response to Mr. Swarbrick’s
report, the Ministry of District Administration, of which Ms O’Connor-Connolly
is head, said there is nothing in the law that specifically prevents the paving
of parking lots. As one of our commentators at www.cayCompass.com said, “there
is nothing in the Roads Law that specifically prevents the Director of the NRA
from taking conchs from a Marine Park”, so does that make it legal?
Just because a law doesn’t prevent a certain action, it
doesn’t necessarily mean that action is correct. The ministry and deputy
premier can, and should, do better. In most countries the money would at least
have to be restored to the public coffers.