September 22, 2020

The Editor Speaks: More questions than answers

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Two stories have appeared over the last few days in the “Caymanian Compass” and on “Cayman News Service” (CNS) site concerning the infamous Stan Thomas letter and part of the three investigations the premier is under investigation from the RCIPS. We have just received a letter to the editor from one of our correspondents concerning the CNS revelations (see letter to Editor).

An unknown source (to us) leaked documents to the “Compass” where Premier McKeeva Bush says he had assisted in the sale of the land that Thomas had purchased from the previous owner Gil Freytag. This letter also says Bush was seeking money from Thomas because he acted as a buyer’s agent.

Of course the premier now denies writing or signing the letter and has put the blame fully on the shoulders of Richard Parchment who was his political assistant. In the Compass report Parchment confirms Bush’s statement of the events

Bush said Parchment wrote the letter and signed it on his behalf using a digitalised signature, sent it to Thomas, asking him for $350,000 for an outstanding amount owed that was originally three-quarters of a million dollars. When the premier saw a copy of this letter he “immediately saw the implication of the first letter” and asked Parchment to send another one that clarified that the money for “the West Bay Seven Mile Beach purchase transaction is for consulting fees for work carried out and advice given by Windsor Development Corporation.” The implication was that this demand for $350,000 was payment for the premier in getting the rezoning for this piece of land.

This all seems to be fair and square but there is a problem with the dates of these two letters. Although both correspondences sent by Parchment are dated 7th October, the ministry fax machine where the letters were sent from, although dating the first one 7th October remarkably dates the second one as 15th October. Now fancy that. Just as it all looked nice and rosey.

The original bill that was leaked to the Caymanian Compass (apparently in a legal bundle) sets out the full invoice for US$750,000, describing it as a real estate commission. This land sale was settled in February 2004.

CNS, however, points out according to another witness statement given to the police by real estate agent Brian Wight (not White), the deal between Gil Freytag and Thomas had originally been signed in May 2003 for an agreed price of $28 million but was delayed for a number of reasons and eventually settled, he believed, in late January 2004 and registered in February.

The premier has admitted he assisted Stan Thomas to avoid paying stamp duty on the commission. Yes, you are reading this right. The leader of government was helping a third party to avoid paying the correct amount of stamp duty due to his country. Why?

CNS also raises the question why the re-zoning discussion was left off the Cabinet agenda for several months at his request?

Bush also admits he met Thomas in the gaming capital of the world, Las Vegas, where Thomas gave him a $20,000 cash deposit on the real estate commission but this was owed to Windsor Development. This company is a real estate firm owned by Bush’s wife (the premier is also a director). Now fancy that!

And I hope all you West Bay churchgoers are really taking note:

Bush said that after he had completed his dealings with Thomas he went with him to look at the Four Seasons hotel. This was the brand Thomas was considering for the resort he proposed to build on the West Ray Road land – the subject of the re-zoning. They discussed the issue of gaming that Bush was in favour of!

In the documents CNS released on their site is Mr. Wight’s affidavit to the RCIPS dated 6th January 2011 that Offshore Alert had obtained. Our anonymous letter writer makes reference to this document and says “there is nothing in the statement that incriminates the premier.” Whilst I agree with her on its face value it is another piece in the puzzle. The affidavit mentions Mr. Ron Zimmer who Mr. Bush admitted he had known a long time was Thomas’s local agent.  Wight was only present as a “mediator” for which he got paid US$10,000.

As actor Christopher Lee said at the end of his “Fu Manchu” series of movies. “The World shall hear from me again.” On this subject –oh yes!”

 

 

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