11 August, 2008

National Accounts

Controversy in the Cayman Islands, and how the situation there reflects on Anguilla. The Cayman Islands' Auditor General, Dan Duguay, has been complaining. The Auditor General is what we call in Anguilla the Chief Auditor. Under section 79 of the Anguilla Constitution, his duty is to report annually on the accounts of the House of Assembly and all government departments and offices. He is appointed by the Governor and is independent of government. He is meant to be a check on any mis-spending by any government department.

If you go to the Cayman Islands Government’s website, you will find that they publish the Auditor General’s reports. The Audit Reports for the years 1995 to 2002 are available in full, and for free, on the government website. Additionally, most of his Special Reports are published and available for anyone to download on the government website. The website lists those Special Reports that are not available to the public, so you know exactly what is missing.

The controversy arises from the very latest Special Report by Dan Duguay, published in July 2008. He calls it, “The State of Financial Accountability Reporting”. In it, he is very critical of the delays in accounting by government departments. The last Audit Report he has been able to lay before the Assembly has been for the year 2002.

By contrast, I am reliably informed that the last available Audit Report for Anguilla is for the year 2005.

Dan Duguay describes the situation in Cayman Islands as a threat to the very foundation of good governance in the Cayman Islands. He warns that legislators are being constantly asked to provide new funding for various government entities without any significant accountability reports from them as to what they did with the funds allocated to them in previous years. Needless to say, the Financial Secretary, Kenneth Jefferson, has lashed out at the Auditor General. In Cayman Islands, the Financial Secretary is the equivalent of our Accountant General and Minister of Finance combined.

It would seem that as of April 2008 there was at least C$1.5 billion of operating expenditure that should have been accounted for that has not yet been reported to the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly. And, the Cayman dollar is worth more than the US dollar.

On Wednesday 6 August, the Cay Compass News Online published an editorial on the situation. They point out that this lack of reporting is a very bad way to do business. Any legitimate company practises proper accounting through audits to know what’s due, what is owed, and to ensure that money is not being misappropriated. They make the point that, obviously, we should expect nothing less from our government. It would seem that the Cayman Islands government has lost control of the public purse. The editorial concludes by expecting government to regain control, and to make sure that this fiasco is not repeated in the future. Just by comparison, and apropos of nothing, no Anguillian journalist has ever published a critical article or editorial on the state of Anguilla’s national accounts.

On the same day, the Governor, Stuart Jack, had his say. He declared that the time for excuses is over. He announced that the audited financial statements are important for the accountability of government and hence for good governance.

Now, the Public Accounts Committee of the Cayman Islands legislature has weighed in. On Thursday 7 August, the PAC issued a press release. They promise to start calling witnesses and hearing testimony by early September. They intend to call a wide array of senior public officers including the Chief Secretary. He is their equivalent of our Deputy Governor. They will call the Financial Secretary. They will also call other heads of department and chief financial officers. According to the press release, “while the Auditor General’s report paints a dismal picture, the PAC’s focus will be on solutions”.

Compare this situation to the one we have in Anguilla. Our audited government reports are more up to date than Cayman’s. But, we do not have a government website that publishes any useful government information, far less the annual Audit Reports or Special Reports of our Chief Auditor. We do not have a Public Accounts Committee that has ever, even once, in the history of Anguilla, met. Consequently, our PAC has never summoned witnesses before it to explain inconsistencies and questions raised by the report of the Chief Auditor. As a result, no one in Anguilla has the slightest idea what the true state of the national accounts is.

I am advised that you have to go to the Ministry of Finance and apply to get a copy of the Chief Auditor’s Reports to find out anything about the Anguilla government’s accounts. I have applied.


  1. Don, why didn't you just ask the Chief Auditor for a copy of his latest report?

  2. I did. He told me he reports to the House of Assembly. He suggested I apply to the Ministry of Finance. So, I did.


  3. Dear Don
    Good governance for Anguilla in my opinion should mean addressing issues that we know would put the general public in harms way. Among them being questionable medical practice that should be stopped.

    Have you had the opportunity to visit the best-kept-secret website in circulation about a specialist doctor prctising on Anguilla?

    Since this best kept secret began circulating some months ago, I have been surprised to note that no steps were taken to bar the individual from practising on Anguilla. His name is still to be seen on the board of a certain doctor's medical practice in South Hill opposite ROMCAN.

    What are the health authorities and government on Anguilla doing about it?

    Below is the website with the pdf file, which is public information.


  4. Thank you, Don, for exposing this situation. One can only wonder what else the Health Authority may be concealing from us.

    I am reliably informed that the Health Authority knew about this weeks ago, and were "looking into it."

    How long, I wonder, will they be "looking into it" before they finally take effective action to protect the women of Anguilla? I wonder if he is continuing to cut women open for no good reason other than profit.

  5. I posted this information on anguillatalk a couple weeks ago but it was removed. Perhaps this is because the owner of the Atlantic Star Center of Medical Excellence and the owner of anguillatalk, aka "711", are brothers.


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