Boatswain’s Beach enquiries begin

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service announced Wednesday it would conduct preliminary enquiries in relation to the debt financing for the Boatswain’s Beach project.

Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan said the RCIPS would not announce details of specific areas the Financial Crimes Unit would look into.

‘This is more of a fact-finding mission, as opposed to a criminal investigation and the answers we get from it will help determine the next steps,’ he said.

The Special Report of the Auditor General released last month on the Boatswain’s Beach financing harshly criticised the Board of Directors of the Cayman Turtle Farm Limited, saying that the directors were ‘seriously remiss in their fiduciary duties’ for certain aspects of the debt arrangements.

The press release issued by the RCIPS stated that the Auditor General’s report had been reviewed and assessed.

‘Detectives believe it raises a number of questions that need some further investigations before a professional judgment can be made on the way forward.’

Auditor General Dan Duguay said last month that he had had discussions with the Financial Crimes Unit, something he would do as a matter of routine if his office uncovered anything it thought might be illegal.

No individuals are named in the RCIPS press release with respect to the enquiry, and in fact, the Auditor General’s report did not specify any particular names with respect to its criticisms.

However, Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush, who was the chairman of the Cayman Turtle Farm board at the time of the debt financing, feels he has been unfairly singled out in criticism.

Mr. Bush reiterated that he had nothing to hide.

‘I understand there is going to be a fact-finding mission,’ he said. ‘I stand ready to answer any questions – and I believe the position is the same with all past board members – to help put the matter to rest.

Other members of the Cayman Turtle Farm board that signed the resolution approving included Deputy Chairman Joel Walton; Managing Director Kenneth Hydes; then Permanent Secretary and now Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford; Carlyle McLaughlin; MLA Captain Eugene Ebanks; Tim Hubbell; and Bob Soto.

Mr. Clifford last month also called on a deeper investigation into the matter. However, he did not feel it appropriate to comment further on the matter after the RCIPS announced its intentions.

‘In this matter we need to allow due process to take place and allow the police to do their job,’ he said.

The RCIPS said the enquiry would commence immediately and anticipated it reaching a conclusion in about six weeks, depending on the availability of witnesses.

Some of the parties involved, such as William Blair and Company, LCC, Live Oaks Capital Ltd. and QuadCapital Advisors LLC, are overseas entities.

The Auditor General spoke to or corresponded with some of the parties involved during the course of his investigation, but did not speak with other parties for his report, including Mr. Bush and other former board members.

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