11 July, 2010
Surfing through the pages of the Bermuda Royal Gazette as one is wont to do on a lazy Sunday morning I was struck by news that their Auditor General had reported negatively on their 2008/09 public accounts. Bermuda’s accounts must be a lot more complicated than
Anguilla’s. Yet, the last time I inquired our Anguilla House of Assembly had not yet had the 2006/07 public accounts tabled. Given the comparative simplicity or our public accounts compared to Bermuda’s, you may well ask what conceivable reason could there be for Anguilla to be two years behind Bermuda in publishing our public accounts?
The Royal Gazette expresses concern that for the past two years
Bermuda’s Auditor General has given the government’s Consolidated Fund a qualified audit. The Consolidated Fund is the account which by law the Government is required to conduct its transactions. The phrase ‘qualified audit’ means that the auditor was not satisfied that the government’s financial statements fairly reflected its financial position.
In the case of
Anguilla, we have received qualified audits, so far as I can remember, not for two years but for the past fifteen years. Anguilla’s Chief Auditor has been producing qualified audits for Anguilla’s public accounts for as long as any of us can reasonably recall. He has repeatedly reported that our financial statements are inappropriate to present fairly the financial position of the Government of Anguilla and the results of its operations. The only reasonable conclusion we can come to is that our government receipts and payments are so badly recorded that we do not accurately know where our money is coming from or where it is going to. The computerisation exercise of several years ago has not helped to automate anything.
In the case of
Bermuda, their Public Accounts Committee was quick to jump on the back of their Accountant General’s Department. Their Finance Minister had to come out howling in defence of her incompetent staff and internal auditors. Compare that response to Anguilla’s. Here, our Public Accounts Committee has never met. When our Minister of Finance last tabled the audited accounts some years ago, not a word of negative comment was raised by any of the dummy politicians in the House. I doubt that any of them even looked at the Accounts, far less having anything useful or substantive to say on them.
I don’t expect things to change now that we have a new opposition in the House. After all, the accounts that they would be criticising would be their own government’s accounts from several years ago.
What a waste of time they all are.