September 27, 2022

The Editor Speaks: When expats disgrace our shores

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Colin Wilsonweb2There were two stories during last week that put a blot on the expatriate population on our Island.

There are rotten apples in most barrels and the Cayman Islands is no exception.

One concerned American Craig Gaskill (45) who was employed in a supervisory capacity (senior manager) at Kirk’s Supermarket. He was charged with two counts of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. He was accused of misusing the store’s business charge cards to buy his own groceries and lying about his qualifications to secure the senior manager’s job.

He was on bail awaiting trial but was given permission to travel back to the United States by the courts earlier this year when his father became ill.

The Crown raised concerns that Gaskill would not return and insisted on sureties.

Gaskill turned to three Caymanians who had become friends with him – Mark Hennings. Ben Webster and Michael Myles.

Hennings and Webster each stood for $5,000 each and Myles $12,500.

Gaskill has not returned and the Court has insisted the three men have to pay up.

Gaskill had been able to convince his friends that he had been hounded and was facing trumped-up charges after his former employers had manipulated the police and the criminal justice system.

Even after not returning, Hennings was still convinced of his friend’s innocence by telling Justice Malcolm Swift that Gaskill had been hounded and was facing trumped-up charges after his former employers had manipulated the police and the criminal justice system!

Wow! How is that for friendship?

Myles, who is Programme Coordinator and Liaison Officer – At Risk Youth at the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education & Higher Education, said he had helped Gaskill because he was “a fellow human being in need”.

He had believed his friend would return and had made calls to try and persuade Gaskill to do just that. “I considered him a good friend and am disheartened,” he said,

He also admitted he did not have the $12,500 to pay the bond.

Webster said he had helped Gaskill in goodwill and friendship.

The Court showed mercy to the expat charged with criminal offences and allowed him to leave.

Kindness by others, and Caymanians to boot, got no such mercy.

Webster had to forfeit the $5,000 that had been deposited with the court, Hennings was given 14 days to pay his $5,000, while Myles was given 28 days to pay his $12,500.

The Justice said people who put up sureties for those on bail risk losing their money.

So expat Gaskill was no friend at all. His top priority was to save his own neck. Nice guy.

And talking of another nice ex pat who wanted to save his own neck…..

Wealthy lawyer from England, Simon Courtney (50), owner of a high-powered sports car – Ford Shelby Mustang that had been “souped-up”.

He went on a champagne brunch at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on January 25th last year and knowingly drunk revved up the engine of his sports car and with a heavy boot accelerated harshly before losing control. The road was slippery because of rain, his vehicle went onto the sidewalk near Villas of the Galleon on the West Bay Road and mowed down two tourists who were taking a stroll. The two tourists, who were from the USA suffered serious head injuries. Although the woman has made a full recovery the man has had to undergo two surgeries because of his injuries suffered as a result of this drunk.

Courtney is an associate with Forbes Hare.

Instead of trying to help the couple Courtney fled the scene and hid from the police in a deliberate attempt to avoid being breathalysed. He only went to the police 24 hours after the incident.

Courtney told a pack of lies to the Court at his trial that even a child would not believe.

In passing a jail sentence on Courtney, Justice Swift said Courtney’s claims were “wicked lie”. His brief expressions of sorrow were disingenuous. The Judge condemned Courtney for claiming at trial that he had sustained a concussion in the accident with no medical evidence to support it. If that wasn’t enough Courtney then claimed in a social enquiry report, made after his conviction, that he had a brain injury. There was no evidence to support that claim either.

What a real nice guy.

A lawyer who repeats blatant lies under oath and cannot come to terms with what he has done does not deserve ever to practice law again. He cannot perceive wrong from right.

There is no doubt Courtney has received “special” privileges. Going back five years he was on bail for a DUI offence that has remained unresolved. Justice Swift has asked the Crown to research the case. I hope they do and find the reason. This was raised by local Lawyer, Peter Polack, immediately after this latest accident.

I hope Courtney receives no special privileges during his three years of incarceration. I hope he learns some contrition and begs for forgiveness and comes out a changed man.

Unfortunately one of his innocent victims will have to bear the pain and disfigurement from the injuries he suffered at Courtney’s hands for the rest of his life.

Lawyer Courtney you are a disgrace and a blot on the landscape to all us expatriates who work and have come to love the Cayman Islands.

Caymanians we are not all like these two men. They are the exception to the rule.

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  1. Knew Courtney 35 years ago and he was an arrogant prick back then so this doesn’t surprise me

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