11 July, 2010

Government accounts

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?

Bermuda’s Finance Minister, Paula Cox

      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.


  1. The civil servants in the finance department must know where the monies are going to, surely they write the cheques, pay salaries, pay expenses and they certainly know how much borrowing is needed monthly to pay payroll. So basic up to date accounting on what revenue is coming in and what cash is available for payroll is ongoing. We should be informed weekly on the state of our affairs not kept in the dark.
    This government must be aware they are being watched closely since the failure of our previous government and the huge debt they amassed.
    What a disgrace that the Government and the governor and the Foriegn Office can not let us know where our monies are going.
    Someone has to step in and watch our finances.

  2. I too feel that they are all a waste of time but unfotunately we pay them all huge salaries and we can not afford to, so if we ever get a PAC up and running independant of government interferance we could perhaps find out where our treasury money is spent. I hope the EECB refuses to lend them any more money then they will have to get the house in order and so help Anguilla although it be by default.


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