November 29, 2020

The Editor Speaks: The ‘great actor’

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If anyone should get the Great Actor of the Year Award it is Bodden Town MLA Chris Saunders.

To my knowledge I have never met the gentleman although I know he was present at a party I was at but he chose to hide away in a corner somewhere with people he knew. I thought he had left as I couldn’t see him. It was upon inquiries from the host of the party I learnt he had stayed and was still there after I had left.

If I had only known he was a Great Actor I would have sought him out for sure being at heart a thespian.

We are all aware of the shortcomings of the Health Services Authority (HSA) and I have written more than one Editorial on the shortcomings there – years of mismanagement, uncollected debts, monetary problems including breaking the law with a shortfall of funds.

We first saw his sense of theatrics when he walked out with controlled angriness out of I believe his first PAC meeting when he learnt that the PAC did not have the teeth to punish the civil servants who appeared in front of him. He thought it was all then a waste of his precious time.

We then saw another excellent performance from him when HSA leaders were brought before him and he placed them on the grille and barbecued each one of them. Some members of our press praised and applauded him for this performance. They certainly were a tasty meat and many of us thought they deserved the grilling Saunders gave them. He had given the country a good service by demanding straight answers from these civil servants who were responsible for the mess the HSA was in.

However, when the HSA members came back this time with ways they would be putting in effect, and some already in place, to try and correct the past errors, Sanders then went for the Oscar or the Cayman Islands equivalent. I hope members of the Board of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation were watching who make their awards. It was a wonderful performance by Sanders and although watching it from afar I stood up and gave him a standing ovation.

He questioned the professional qualifications of the individual members of the HSA on the premise that “letters baffles brains”. In my earlier days as a Quantity Surveyor I possessed a whole ‘army’ of professional qualifications after my name that looked very impressive but mattered not a fig if I could do my job properly.

Sanders, though, presumably doesn’t think so. He decided to attack one of the HSA members in particular. This was the Chief Financial Officer, Heather Boothe.

Sanders is very experienced in the financial field. He is an accountant. Viewing his “Linked in” profile he was for 3years and 7 months Chief Financial Officer with Digicel, 8years and 1 month Chief Financial Officer with HSBC Bank (Cayman Limited) and last 2 years and 3 months Chief Operating Officer of the Javelin Group. No matter how many letters he has after his name being at the head of things at these companies proves he knows his job.

As an MLA he is a novice and this is where his acting came to the fore. He was on sound ground now to attack a fellow accountant, one he thought did not possess the highest academic qualifications. He disputed her accounting certification. He said with much assertion like the late great British actor, Christopher Lee portrayed in a movie when he played Judge Jeffries, known as the Bloody Judge because of all the poor souls he sentenced to death for almost nothing and based on the flimsiest of evidence. Saunders even leaned over with his face solemn and his eyes piercing his poor victim.

Sanders pronounced his sentence saying Boothe was appointed after a brief consultancy. He appeared to look round for a gavel but couldn’t find one when he claimed she was the dependent wife of a doctor at the hospital for two years and ‘qualified Caymanians’ could and should have obtained the job instead of her.

To put the record straight Boothe was hired first as a finance officer and it was only years after she had proved her worth in that field was she was promoted to CFO after the usual interview process. As for her professional qualifications she does possess all the required accounting ones and in addition she has a degree in economics and management (the last one the same degree I possessed before leaving the QS scene).

As an actor though Sanders isn’t judged on whether his facts are correct. His audience sees a great performance and that is exactly what it was.

As an MLA though… well, nowhere as good. Unfortunately it is as an MLA he is paid for. I would prefer he would leave his acting skills at the theatre. That’s where it belonged.

The Legislative Assembly is no place for performing one’s arts – even for a great actor.

See also iNews story published today “Cayman Islands HSA Board Chair sets the record straight”.

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  1. Chris Johnson says

    Very good article Colin. Saunders has got it all wrong when he talks about accounting. When he states that Heather Boothe should have had experience with a big accounting firm ( he really means a big audit firm as there are no big accounting firms) . He never worked with a big ‘ accounting firm’ so why should Mrs Boothe? What is surely good for the goose must be good for the gander.
    Moreover these days accountants generally commence a career in public service, industry or the profession. Cayman is slightly different as employees move on from the profession into the finance industry as they have already had an education by serving as auditors. In other words they know their stuff. Mrs Boothe would have learnt nothing by being with a big ‘accounting firm ‘ unless they audited the Tomlinson Hospital.! So by auditing hedge funds Ms Boothe could have used that expertise to invest the HSA monies.

    In conclusion there is more rubbish in what he says than at the dump.

    The icing on the cake that all qualified accountants know for sure is that the examinations in the Uk are recognised as being far more difficult than those in the USA. So Mrs Boothe you are one up there.

    Good luck Mrs Boothe my old firm Coopers and Lybrand audited the hospital in the 80s so I know how tough your job is.

    Perhaps you should exchange jobs with this politician . I think you would have quite an easy job and a lot more pay.

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