Annual payments and travel subsidies to Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Board members during the government’s past five budget years – including what is budgeted for the current 2011/12 year – total more than $1.2 million, according to records released to the Caymanian Compass under the Freedom of Information Law.
Those payments since the 2007/08 fiscal year, up through what is projected in the current year, include more than $280,000 in travel-related expenses including per diem allowances, reimbursement, travel and lodging expense.
“Payments to directors in relation to attending board meetings in Cayman are made only to directors who reside overseas,” said Sandra Edun-Watler, CIMA’s FOI manager.
The figures provided by the Monetary Authority represented yearly expenditures paid on behalf of each board member. The specific member is not named in the information provided, rather the monetary authority refers to each position by number; director #1, director #2 etc.
A board member referred to as ‘director #9’ was paid $42,395.99 to attend board meetings in Cayman in the 2007/08 budget year and was paid $38,015.39 to attend meetings here in 2008/09. Those payments were in addition to the more than $120,000 that individual received in fees for attending board meetings over those two fiscal years.
However, that board member does not show up on any other fiscal years noted in the monetary authority’s records.
Other ‘overseas board members’ were paid much smaller travel-related allotments in those years, but payments varied widely.
For instance, the individual identified as ‘director #7’ was paid $16,714.85 for travel to Cayman in 2007/08, but only $2,761.19 in 2008/09 and then $32,539.21 in 2009/10. The individual was paid nothing for attending meetings in Cayman during the last budget year, but in the current year the Monetary Authority is set to pay that person $19,624 for those expenses.
The number of overseas board members paid to attend meetings in Cayman dropped from three or four to just one last year, according to Monetary Authority records.
“The list provided reflects a change in the directors on the board,” Mrs. Edun-Watler said.
A change, according to former CIMA board chairman Tim Ridley, meant that two of the former overseas directors at the Monetary Authority resigned.
“Last year, the decision was made to level the playing field and to pay all directors the same,” Mr. Ridley said. “As a result, two of the overseas directors resigned in protest.”
All nine members of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority board were paid an emolument or fee for their service on the board, aside from any travel-related fees the overseas directors received.
In 2007/08, the six local directors were paid $6,000 per person for the year. The three overseas directors were paid $63,000 each for that year.
“The overseas directors were paid about the market rate,” Mr. Ridley said.
In 2009/10, records show fees for local board directors increased, and increased again in 2010/11 – the fiscal year that ended on 30 June.
In the 2010/11 budget year, the payment for the ‘director #1’ was $48,000 – eight times what that payment was just two years prior. Payments to ‘director #2’ went from $6,000 per year to $24,000 per year. The other board director’s fees went to $18,000 as of the 201011 year.
Overall, payments to the Monetary Authority board decreased sharply since 2009/10, when eight directors received more than $322,000 in payments, including travel reimbursement. For the year. In 2010/11, those payments dropped to just more than $188,000.
Some other boards of statutory authorities and government-owned companies do receive payments for their service and some do not, according to a sampling taken by the Caymanian Compass.
For instance, the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company Board of Directors receives $350 per each meeting a member attends. They are also paid $100 for subcommittee meetings or $150 if they chair those meetings. Total director fees for the 2008/09 budget year were $17,700, according to records provided.
The Turtle Farm Board of Directors began paying members a $200 per meeting fee starting in January 2010. However, any directors who are government employees – including the Turtle Farm’s managing director – do not receive those fees.
The Cayman Airways board does not receive any payments and the positions are considered voluntary.