Auditor General Sue Winspear registered her disappointment on Thursday (31 January) that the long-awaited Standards in Public Life Law will see further delays in its implementation.
It comes after two days of Public Accounts Committee hearings and follows witness testimony that the Premier and cabinet would seek to make further amendments to the law.
The Standards Law is aimed at keeping politicians and government officials in check.
The Auditor General said after two days of PAC hearings, she was pleased that witnesses saw the importance of counting corruption in Cayman and they are taking action.
She said the public should have a better insight into those bodies involved in keeping Cayman clean of corruption, after we heard from witnesses like the Anti-Corruption Commission Chair and the Director of the Financial Reporting Authority.
But – as she stated in her report – it is the ongoing failure to implement the Standards in Public Life Law that is the missing piece of Cayman’s arsenal when it comes to tackling corruption.
“We are not ignoring this. It is not the political directorate who are afraid of this law coming into force, that’s definitely not the case,” Deputy Governor Hon. Franz Manderson insisted on Friday (1 February).
Mr. Manderson reiterated claims made before the PAC that it was private sector concerns holding up the Standards in Public Life Law.
But, by the same token, he said taking another look at the legislation was the right way to go.
“Having everyone get together, having a review, make sure everyone understands… I think the changes that have been made are good and I think they address a lot of the concerns that were there,” the Deputy Governor stated.
He added: “I think the plan that the Cabinet Secretary talked about with the Premier is a good way to go.”
He repeated concerns of those in the private sector, who, “when they signed up to serve on the board, did so out of love for country, willingness to give back.”
At this week’s PAC hearing, Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose testified that the Law will be reviewed.
But, as to when the review is expected to take place….
“If the Premier had not been travelling, it probably would have been dealt with by now. But, as you know, the Premier’s time is always under great demand and Cayman is facing a number of challenges. I think the government will get to this very soon,” Mr. Manderson vowed.
The Standards in Public Life Law was passed in the LA in 2014.
Following on from the two days of hearings which have already taken place, here will be a third hearing on Ms. Winspear’s report, when the Chair of the Standards in Public Life Commission is available.
The PAC have also intimated they would like to add a witness to cover planning too, which was an area examined in depth in the OAG’s report.