EDITORIAL – You decide: ‘OfReg’ or ‘RipOff Reg’?

“Join the Navy and See the World!”
– U.S. Navy recruiting poster

OfReg, despite its unclear pronunciation and cryptic branding (it’s pronounced “OFFReg” and is derived from the semantic marriage of “Office” and “Regulation”), is nonetheless becoming a household word – and not a good one.

In recent days, the Compass has been examining the expenditures of this relatively new agency, an assemblage of Cayman’s former regulators, now combined into one “super-regulator.” Uh-oh …

In addition to a $1.5 million shortfall last year, spending $1 million on “consultants,” employing the equivalent of 22 full-time people at an approximate cost of $100,000 each, we have been focusing on the hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses these regulators have expended so far since the agency’s inception in 2017.

In Tuesday’s newspaper, we published a breakdown of the travel expenses, which the Compass obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

To increase your blood pressure, we’ll reprint two comments we received (and published on our online website, www.caymancompass.com) from frequent correspondents. They speak, we believe, if not for all, certainly for many, and probably for most of us in Cayman who are actually picking up the tab for OfReg’s globetrotting:

“This list is mind boggling, 39 trips in 12 months! Was anyone left in the office to answer the telephone? Mr. Fa’amoe [OfReg Deputy CEO Alee Fa’amoe] states that almost half the trips were for training and education of staff ‘and we make no apologies for that.’ Can he then explain why staff with the necessary qualifications and experience were not employed in the first place given that AVERAGE salaries of $100,000 were paid to staff.”
– Roger Davies

“I find this repulsive. Perhaps this list is even grander than reported. I say some of the trips and expenditures have gone unreported. Cayman, wake up. You’ve been had. They need training all right. Let these OfReg folks take it online. They will have to settle for online courses. Mr. Fa’amoe stated “This isn’t gallivanting across the world.” What do you call travel to every corner of the globe? Cayman, going forward, you better wake up. This isn’t the only agency here who makes it their living to take advantage of the folks and their hard-earned dollars. Forensic auditors need to be installed in every agency. Do not stand for this for one more day. Stop these people, and reorganize this agency.”
– Lukishi Brown

Also in recent days, the Compass has published a further story that OfReg plans to increase its fees to those it regulates to pay for, in part, its runaway spending. That “news” ran in close proximity to other stories announcing price increases in our water bills (from the Cayman Islands Water Authority) and our electricity bills (from the Caribbean Utilities Co.), both, by the way, overseen by OfReg.

Cayman, which is known internationally as a “rich” jurisdiction, is home to far too many people who are anything but rich. The cost of living here is high by any standard, and the cost of supporting our ever-expanding government is exorbitant.

We can only imagine what goes through the minds of our readers who are struggling just to “get by” financially from day to day and then read stories about OfReg’s CEO and bureaucrats in the past year taking trips to Copenhagen, London, Jamaica, Washington, D.C., Miami, Texas, Puerto Rico, Dubai, Singapore, Brussels, Abu Dhabi, Trinidad and Tobago, Budapest, Las Vegas, Nassau, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Oxford and Mexico.

Nice work if you can get it.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is complete mismanagement and abuse of Government funds. With simple googling, there we much closer and more relevant conferences that could have been attended . If this staff needs so much training, then we should not be paying the staff a salary that suggests otherwise.

    And finally, now that the staff has been “trained”, what have we received as a benefit? Nothing! Slow bandwidth speeds, fibre access unavailable, poor cellular service, cable programming that is still stolen, satellite services that are illegal, etc. I am not sure that OfReg could be much less relevant if they tried.

  2. Cayman Compass , can you please forward a copy of this editorial to all 19 LA elected members . If not then every Citizens of the population should hand deliver it to them .

  3. A friend lives in France.

    For about 45 KYD per month they get:

    1. 1 GB download speed fiber Internet. We get about 10 MB in our home. So that’s 100 times faster.
    2. Free VOIP phone calls within France and to most countries.
    3. 210 TV channels.

  4. The June 3 2015 editorial in the Compass suggested corruption in the Cayman Islands was “so commonplace, we tend to normalize it, refusing to even recognize it.” Anyone who remembers the furious response in the LA to that comment (I do!) must be reading this editorial and wondering just what sort of outraged, defensive come back the Hon Premier will dream up this time. The sad fact is this just typifies the CIG ‘it’s not our money and anyway there’s plenty more where that came from’ mentality and although OfReg might be the most blatant offender they’re certainly not the only one. As an example – It might be interesting to do a similar exercise on the Department of Tourism, particularly to find out how much they’ve spent on their abysmally unsuccessful attempts (the arrival figures are actually falling) to promote the Cayman Islands as a destination for tourists from the UK and Europe.

    • Does anyone actually believe any numbers or forecasts reported when talking in terms of tourist passengers, whether cruise or stay overs. The numbers are bogus. Reported to support whichever interest group need them pumped up. Show me a government that works FOR THE PEOPLE , and I’m on my way. Folks, don’t be apathetic. There is corruption a plenty here. Why should you care. IT’S YOUR MONEY.

  5. Perhaps a more descriptive title would have been UNREG as this is a classic example of complete lack of regulation from the civil servants who set up this organisation. Absolutely nobody in Government ever looked at what was going on until additional funding was requested,, and heads need to roll in every direction.
    This absolutely would never have seen the light of day without the efforts of the Compass and the FOI legislation. I cannot emphasise enough the value of our National newspaper in uncovering the serious misdeeds of so many in the public sector, which otherwise we would never know about.

  6. Roger , I completely agree that if it wasn’t for the Cayman Compass , we wouldn’t have known anything about OFReg’s lavish vacation /travel lifestyle . Again thank you Cayman Compas , but I think that only does so much to really solving the problem of desolving OFReg , which should be done . But if all of the VOTERS said it them Politicians including the Premier they would listen to that . And that’s what needs to be done .

  7. I think the real question is where is the Accountability and who will answer in all of this? Is this another one of CIGOVs double standards that we see ever so often?

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