For any business to be a success,
it takes players behind the scenes.
And that is certainly as true for
Cayman Free Press as well as any other successful business in the Cayman
“Every since I can remember we’ve
been involved with the Compass; as supporters from the back, if you will,” said
John Michael Foster.
The Foster family remains one of
the major shareholders of Cayman Free Press and sit in at meetings with General
Manager Brian Uzzell and others.
Overseeing the interest for the
Foster family is Financial Controller Paul Sleep.
Today Cayman Free Press, parent
company of the Caymanian Compass, other publications and Precision Print, celebrates
its 45th anniversary.
“Around 1969 Steve and I got
involved when Reid Dennis started one of the businesses and I got in with
Instant Print and Photography (the predecessor to the Caymanian Weekly). Steve
and Dave (Foster) decided to be in the background,” Mr. Sleep said.
Times were economically tough in
the early 1970s, he said, when Billy Bodden was still involved in the earlier
Steve and Dave Foster owned the
building where the Foster’s at the Airport stands now and where a portion of
that was used by Billy Bodden to run his newspaper.
“The Compass used to occupy part of
the building, but they couldn’t pay rent. It was a tough period for six or
seven years and then Brian (Uzzell) was brought on board along with Dianne.
“They worked very hard and rescued
the paper,” Mr. Sleep said.
In 1981 Foster’s Food Fair
“All existing tenants had to high
tale it out of here,” he said. “That was a big leap for them.”
When Brian took over he merged the
Caymanian Weekly and the Cayman Compass to create the Caymanian Compass, the
paper that our readers and advertisers look forward to on a daily basis.
Over the years the Foster family
has become less actively involved as Brian, the majority shareholder, has run
the company very successfully during changing times.
“We don’t have any dealings with
the Compass other than silent shareholders,” said John Michael. “Paul is our
representative who bridges the gap between Brian and the Fosters.”
Throughout the history of Cayman
Free Press, the Foster family has been extremely supportive of the company.
“They always believed in a paper
for the Cayman Islands,” John Michael said.
At first the Caymanian Compass
could have been considered a public service, he said. But as the professionalism
grew, advertisers jumped on board to make the paper the success it is today.