“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.