The Tortola Pier Park audit has been delayed for far too long, and officials’ excuses have been weak at best.
The probe — which KPMG is carrying out in part to ascertain why the TPP project saw a $30 million-plus cost overrun — should be completed and provided to the public straightaway.
After that, the government should act swiftly in taking any further steps that are needed based on the findings.
We understand that the probe was not the top priority in the weeks after Hurricane Irma, but it should have been completed long before then.
After government contracted KPMG more than two years ago, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith predicted in May 2016 that the audit would be finished within about three months.
That would have been a reasonable timeline. Instead, the public has heard nothing but excuses ever since, including the feeble explanation that the auditors were unable to obtain the necessary information from public officials.
We hope that this information is now in hand. If not, disciplinary measures should be taken to force any recalcitrant public officials to turn it over. And if the audit turns out to have holes because any documents were simply “missing,” a full-scale investigation should be launched by law enforcement or other investigators to ascertain exactly what went wrong.
It is simply unacceptable that information that would help explain a $30 million-plus cost overrun could simply vanish, and an audit that brings to light missing documents would likely raise more questions than it answers and require follow-up action.
In a press conference last week, the premier once again declined to provide a specific timeline for the audit’s completion, but he promised that it would come within a “couple of months at the most.”
We certainly hope so. After all, we are not the only ones complaining. Tomorrow, residents are planning a march to protest what they view as government negligence and lack of transparency, among other issues, and the pier audit is rightly included in their list of grievances.
After the audit is completed, government should provide the entire unredacted version to the public immediately.
The Pier Park turned out strong, with its buildings standing up remarkably well to Hurricane Irma. But that doesn’t mean that an unexplained $30 million cost overrun is acceptable. The public needs answers soon.