November 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Four ‘shocking’ disclosures at government press briefing

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Colin WilsonwebDisclosure 1

Three announcements were made at the Thursday Government Press briefing last Thursday (21).

Mark Simmonds, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Overseas Territories (OT) Minister has asked the Cayman Islands government to allow official observers to cover our general election.

No specific concerns have been raised and we have had an untarnished track record of free and fair elections for many decades and the idea of having observers in Cayman watching makes me very uneasy.

Uneasy, not because I have any doubts our May elections will be nothing less than absolutely fair, but I ask the question, “why now”?

Simmonds observation that observers had taken part in the elections in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has done nothing to diminish my feeling.

TCI, with its ex premier being the subject of an arrest warrant and extradition proceedings for corruption, and the administration of the territory being executed by the UK until recently, against the background also of corruption.

We, in Cayman, have our own first (and now ex) premier subject of police enquiries, and his outrageous rudeness towards Cayman Islands Governor, Duncan Taylor, telling him “to go and sun his buns” and other derogative remarks, conspiracy claims against the FCO who were out to get rid of him, would seem to cast a dark cloud of suspicion on us.

I will never forget McKeeva Bush’s opening statement at his inauguration as Cayman’s First Premier that it would be a happy day for him when that Union Jack is removed from the Cayman flag.

Now we may have something else to thank him for.

 

Disclosure 2

 

After being told that the closure of a stretch of the West Bay Road was imminent and we would be given the exact date that could be as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday 26) Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who was not present at the previous press briefing when this was said, would not give a precise date.

 

This has given rise now to all sorts of conjecture that the activists for keeping the West Bay Road open are planning legal action. They are claiming the West Bay Road is a significant highway which has been in public use for decades and cannot simply be closed under the same system used to close side or neighbourhood roads.

 

I am not going to say again that “I told you so”. Yes – I just did!

 

Disclosure 3

 

Jeremy Jackson, the suspended CEO of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority, (subject of a previous Editorial of mine) remains on full pay and privileges.

 

We were told internal and external investigations were ongoing and the audit office was also involved. The Auditor General’s Office confirmed they were aware of the allegations regarding the airport that included the dismissal of the former financial officer over the misuse of public funds, the authority’s annual audited financial statements in 2009 being given an unqualified opinion despite a significant theft being recorded in the accounts and 2010 audited accounts recording further losses.

 

Disclosure 4

 

With November 6th looming and the need to meet the government’s constitutional and human rights obligations, it was announced that the new young offenders and remand facility faces delays.

This is the result of budgetary constraints and, as a result, the project is now under review in an effort to find possible cost reductions or get approval from the UK.

The government is seeking legal opinions on the ramifications of the centre not being ready on time and Governor Taylor was looking into all the issues including financial.

I have heard it often said that the reason the United Democratic Party was elected last time was because they “got things done”. I am trying to figure out what exactly has been done in the 3½ years of their administration and the cost to this country of producing almost nothing?

Perhaps someone can answer me on that.

 

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