The Cayman Islands government’s Internal Audit Service is looking into “irregularities” in overtime payments made to security officers working at the Health Services Authority, the Cayman Compass has confirmed.
The audit review, said to be in its early stages, has come amid [*] the suspension of a number of the HSA’s security officers.
According to a notice that was sent to those security officers earlier this week: “In order to facilitate an investigation into irregularities in the security section, it has been decided that it would be in the best interest of the Health Services Authority to place you on required leave effective immediately. You will remain in that status for 30 days or until the investigation is completed.”
“Required leave” is suspension with pay.
The notice indicated the officers were not to contact other staffers at the Health Services Authority about the matter and that they were not to enter the hospital premises, unless they were seeking medical care.
Health Services Authority Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood said the authority had no comment on the matter at the moment.
Internal Audit Unit Director Andy Bonner said the unit had taken over the auditing duties for the HSA, previously performed by an internal hospital employee who is now on secondment with the audit unit.
“We are currently looking at a matter there relating to overtime,” Mr. Bonner said. “It is in its early stages.”
The Compass understands that hospital security operations have been staffed by security guards from a private contractor in the meantime.
Bodden Town MLA Chris Saunders said he was concerned about the reasons for the suspensions at the Health Services Authority.
“It is clear that management, accountability and governance issues continue to exist at the HSA and it is time for the ministry and the minister to step in to restore the public’s confidence in the leadership at the HSA both at the senior management and the board level,” Mr. Saunders said.
The Health Services Authority is not the only Cayman Islands government agency to have its overtime payments and practices under review.
The audit unit is currently reviewing overtime policies at the Department of Environmental Health, related to landfill operations. The report is said to be near completion, but has not yet been publicly released.
[*] Editor’s note: Change clarifies audit review did not lead to the security officer suspensions.