(CMR) The former administration breached Cayman Island's Constitution and the Public Service and Public Finance Management laws when it committed around $6 million in spending over the next five years on overseas promotions and employment.
This was revealed by the Cayman News Service in a report earlier on Monday. The breaches have been exposed in a November 2021 report by the Office of the Auditor General, which has not yet been released to the public; however, CNS managed to get a copy of the report.
The report revealed that the former premier's ministry, Ministry of International Trade, Aviation and Maritime Affairs, signed agreements and contracts to open overseas offices and attend an Expo in Dubai just days before and after the election.
According to the report, between February 10, 2021, when the election was called, and April 20, just after the General Election on April 14, MITIAMA signed employment contracts with the Commissioner of the Expo and five staff for overseas offices. Three persons were reportedly hired on five-year contracts, while two had open-ended contracts.
This was a breach of both section 55 of the Constitution and section 7 (3) of the Public Service Management Law and section (12) 2 of the Public Management and Finance Law.
These appointments were also made before parliament had approved $2 million funding for the rest of 2021.
The report also found that the chief officer of the ministry, Eric Bush, signed a contract with Alee Fa'amoe, the husband of the deputy chief officer in the ministry, Andrea Fa'amoe, to take up the temporary job of commissioner for the Dubai Expo without the approval of by the government's internal job system.
The report was conducted at the governor's direction after the new PACT administration raised concerns regarding the timing of the establishment of overseas offices and participation in the World Expo (which costs $2.5 million), given the proximity to the 2021 election.
When the new government was elected, it re-evaluated the need for the overseas offices and participation in Dubai and was worried that it was legally bound by the policies of the previous government that were rolled out and committed to just weeks before the election.
Of concern was that Chief Officer Bush continued with the novel policies and signed deals to find staff and secure permission for the overseas offices after the election.
Attorney General Sue Winspear has called for the implementation of a pre-election policy to set out guidelines to civil servants about the use of public resources during the period running up to an election.