Ministry explains its history with Charles

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture recently gave a written description of its relationship with Charles Whittaker.

The description was in the form of a document written by Assistant Chief Officer of the aforementioned ministry Joel Francis. In it, Whittaker’s current contract is said to be the same as the previous one except for the amount set aside as his salary.

In December 2005, Whittaker began receiving CI$4523.80 per month for the remainder of the 2005/2006 financial year, which ended in June 2006. This was in accordance to his increased salary of CI$40000 for the 2006/2007 financial year in which he would receive CI$3333.33 per month.

According to the document, Whittaker reportedly held off on signing the new contract for the higher salary. It was stated in the document that Whittaker was not happy with the terms of the new contract. As he is residing in Florida, Whittaker sought free airline travel to and from Cayman.

‘Initially, Charles did not sign the [new] contract for months; partly because he wanted to have free travel on Cayman Airways [included in the agreement],’ says the Minister of Youth and Sports, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin.

In January 2006, Charles met Mr. Francis to negotiate the proposed February fight with Humberto Aranda. At that point in time Whittaker stated the cost of the fight would be over CI$85,600, which included a CI$10,000 appearance fee for Whittaker. He indicated he would raise CI$40,000 and asked government to grant him the rest.

During the discussions, insurance arose as a major issue. Whittaker indicated he could receive coverage from Texas-based Laurence Cole Insurance Agency.

‘Insurance was a key concern of mine. Charles had no evidence of sponsorship. Charles got hurt in his last fight under the previous Ministry and it is still an issue as to who pays the insurance for that fight,’ Minister McLaughlin said.

The document added that Whittaker later cancelled the fight due to his inability to train following the death of Mr. Dalmain Ebanks. Whittaker met with Minister Alden in April 2006 to discuss the possibility of another fight in July 2006. Whittaker said the fight would be coming off the heels of a May 2006 bout on ESPN and would cost roughly CI$64,000.

The document goes on to say neither of the fights materialised for Whittaker and he became in danger of losing his belts. Along the way, there were reported failed attempts to construct budgets and spending plans for future fights.

Thereafter, Whittaker appeared on various radio talk shows including those by Radio Cayman, Rooster and HOT 104.1 FM. In all of them, Whittaker was said to have been heavily critical of government.

Following these events, Sandra Catron of HOT 104.1 FM spoke to the Leader of Government Business (LOGB) and granted an audience for Whittaker.

In the meeting with the LOGB, it was reportedly said that government was disappointed with Whittaker’s public comments. An apology was slated to be given by Whittaker to Minister McLaughlin and government would grant CI$10,000 thereafter.

The document further stated that Whittaker met with Mr. Francis in late July 2006. Mr. Francis then was assisted by Whittaker with the purchase of a boxing ring. An order for a 20′ by 20′ ring from Title Boxing in Kansas was placed at the cost of CI$5883.50.

‘The ring took up most of the government grant. It must be noted that government purchased the ring. Therefore it will be in government possession. That means anyone, including Charles, can have access to it,’ Minister McLaughlin stated.

Minister McLaughlin went on to say that in spite of the stormy relationship between the Ministry and Whittaker, he respects the boxer and his desire to fight for Cayman.

‘I am aware of Charles’ background. I feel that Charles turned [into] a better citizen through boxing. As I have said, I am as excited about Charles fighting for Cayman as ever. It [his upcoming fight] would do a lot for Cayman.’