Although the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s Office pointed
out this week that some improvements have been made in the government’s
issuance of employee gas cards, it is clear – at least to our view – that most
departments really weren’t paying much attention to repeated audit reports that
indicated they needed to get their act together on gas card management.
The Internal Audit Unit’s first report, detailing the 2008
to early 2009 period, drew attention to the problem within the government. It’s
not clear what was actually done in the wake of that report, but former Auditor
General Dan Duguay grabbed it up and made some splashy headlines with a
declaration that some $500,000 in government’s recorded fuel expenses might
have been used for non-government purposes.
That got everyone’s hackles up. Mr. Duguay and his office
were in for a verbal drubbing at the Public Accounts Committee, asked where
they came up with that $500,000 figure and all the various innuendos about the
auditor general’s office not being credible, playing up to the media, etc, etc,
Now comes the Internal Audit Unit, and the new Auditor
General Alastair Swarbrick, again playing up issues with fuel card expenditures
and management – in 10 different government departments and agencies from those
Mr. Swarbrick has wondered aloud why the folks who read the
first internal audit report, or press accounts of it, didn’t take the
opportunity to correct issues before they were named, shamed and blamed in a
This is typical of the way governments operate. If you can’t
deal with the message, shoot the messenger; or shoot the messenger’s messenger
in the form of the “irresponsible journalists” who report on these stories.
The government needs to stop looking at people to blame and
fix the problem with gas card management and usage. We are encouraged that
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has taken a leadership role in this matter;
perhaps something besides an attempt to further vilify the auditor general’s
office may occur.