Housing trust revamp amid criminal probe
The chairman of Cayman’s National Housing Development Trust board of directors had been receiving payments of $600 per meeting attended while other board members got $300 a meeting, according to Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam.
Mr. Adam also said board members at some point within the past year lowered quorum requirements for meetings from five attendees to just three.
With a full compliment of 12 board members, including the chairman and the board secretary, payments made per board meeting would have totalled $3,900 per meeting.
Mr. Adam said last week the board meeting payments and quorum decisions were made without ministerial input.
“It’s a pretty hefty stipend,” Mr. Adam said.
By way of comparison, a recent review of appointed board payments in Cayman indicated Cayman Islands Monetary Authority directors were paid between $4,000 per month for the chairman to $1,500 per month for directors. CIMA spent an average of $250,000 per year during the past four years on its board members, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
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. However, 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. 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.
Questions about the housing trust board stipends arose after news of a misconduct investigation into the agency and at least one of its board members was revealed last week.
Following the arrest of one of its members, the board of directors of the Cayman Islands National Housing Development Trust was reformed with some new appointees and some returning members.
“The entire board is being reappointed,” Mr. Adam said, indicating a proposal was circulated to Cabinet members Friday, seeking their approval.
Mr. Adam indicated current housing trust board chairman Edward S. McLaughlin and deputy chairman Edlin Myles would not be reappointed.
Rayal Bodden – a member of the board who had previously resigned – was appointed as the new chairman.
Other members named Friday included Allan Bush, Michael Godfrey, Ann-Marie Powell, Jaron Jackson, Terry-Ann Arch and Delia Hydes.
Mr. Adam indicated, just prior to the arrest of one of the board members last Monday, at least two members of the housing board quit their posts.
He did not specify the reasons given for the resignations.
“I did receive two resignations last Friday [14 October],” he said, adding the individual who was arrested Monday also resigned either on Monday night, 17 October, or Tuesday morning, 18 October.
The Monday resignation had left the housing board with only two current members, down from the 12 listed on the Cayman Islands government webpage as of January 2010.
No shut down
Minister Adam also clarified that, while it was his understanding Royal Cayman Islands Police Service did search the offices of the housing trust on Monday, 17 October – which necessitated a temporary closure – the agency reopened shortly afterward and was not shuttered for any significant period of time.
“It was never actually closed,” Mr. Adam said, referring to the housing trust office on Dorcy Drive, George Town.
Mr. Adam also said earlier in the week he did not expect the criminal investigation to delay the occupancy of 12 affordable homes in East End, nine of which have already been filled with affordable housing applicants.
The housing trust board member who was arrested at his George Town home Monday has not been identified because he has not been formally charged by police.
Police did confirm a 59-year-old man was arrested and an investigation was being conducted at the National Housing Development Trust.
“[The 59-year-old man] was arrested in terms of sections 13 and 17 of the Anti-Corruption Law, 2010, as was as on suspicion of obtaining property by deception,” read an RCIPS statement issued Monday.
Sections 13 and 17 of Cayman’s Anti-Corruption Law relate to breach of trust and abuse of public office, respectively.