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Stuart Jack

Governor of the Cayman Islands

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Monday 09 November, 2009

The independence of the Auditor General

In a democracy such as the Cayman Islands it is vital to have checks and balances on government. That means ensuring the independence of the judiciary, the police and prosecutors, and of key institutions such as the office of the Auditor General, Complaints Commissioner and Information Commissioner. One of a Governor’s most important responsibilities is to defend that independence, which of course the Governor himself or herself has to respect. 


The actions and decisions of all of these will often arouse controversy, particularly on the part of those whose activities might be under the microscope or who have had an adverse decision made against them. If people feel that the independent offices of the state have erred – and anyone is capable of making mistakes – then there are legal routes for challenging them. But pressure should not be put on them not to do their job in the first place. 


Unfortunately this past week I had to intervene to defend the independence of the Auditor General. Click here to read my press release.

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The question is - who polices the police? In a UK reeling from MP expense scandals it becomes apparent that there is little effective control of public money. "Because the office gave it the OK" seems to be a defence which has allowed public servants to buy houses, clear moats, get high class kitchens and so on all from the public purse. cleaning bills of thousands.... It seems to me what was really missing was - first, sufficient flow of information for public to see what their money was being spent on. - second a lack of basic discipline such as receipting expenditure - a failure which allowed jack straw to claim double his rates, whilst citing an accounting error. - a legal imperative and precedent . when a public official signs something as "wholly and exclusively and necessary" - then a clear breach should be a fraud, whoever agrees in office - that simply extends a fraud to a conspiracy. For one man to carry the burden of ensuring propriety at all levels, i wish him luck, he will need it Hopefully Cayman have lots to learn from the UK experience. Just imagine how much worse it is in the opaque european union!!

Posted by adwords expert on November 12, 2009 at 02:36 PM GMT #

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