Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor will get to spend an extra year in the territory following the extension of his contract by the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Typically, Cayman governors – who are appointed by Her Majesty, the Queen of England – serve three-year contracts. Mr. Taylor, who arrived in mid-January 2010, would normally have wrapped up the working agreement by next January.
“However, Governor Taylor has been extended by a year and will therefore be here until January 2014,” said Steve Moore, head of the governor’s office in Cayman.
Governor Taylor said Wednesday there were no special reasons for the contract extension, which he requested.
“The way the system works in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is that the job-holder is allowed to bid for an extension of a year,” Mr. Taylor said. “The board considers that and decides whether or not to agree. The original appointment in this case was 3 years. But four years is pretty standard for most senior jobs in the FCO now. I bid for a fourth year, as I think (and hope!) I still have plenty to offer, and the board agreed.”
The same one-year contract extension was given to former Cayman Islands Governor Stuart Jack, who ended up staying in Cayman for a total of four years before leaving in late 2009.
At the time, Cayman was hosting a general election in May 2009 and a referendum on the revised Constitution Order. Mr. Jack said it was decided to extend his contract to ensure stability and fairness in those processes.
Governor Taylor’s initial departure date, January 2013, would have occurred just a few months before the anticipated May 2013 general elections. Also, the government has announced plans to hold a referendum at the same time on the ‘one man, one vote’ issue, which would change the territory’s voting scheme to single-member constituencies.
Mr. Taylor has had virtually nothing to say about it, but looming over his office is the spectre of a public corruption investigation reaching the highest levels of the Cayman Islands government. Started in early 2010, shortly after Mr. Taylor arrived, police are apparently still looking into allegations that Premier McKeeva Bush took funds from Atlanta, Georgia-based developer Stan Thomas for the rezoning of an expensive section of land along the Seven Mile Beach corridor.
Opposition party members have alleged criminal wrong-doing. Mr. Bush has said he’s done nothing wrong.
Mr. Taylor arrived after a particularly rough patch in UK-Cayman relations. A few ruling party Members of the Legislative Assembly did not attend farewell parties for former Governor Jack in 2009, after Mr. Jack agreed to hold a Commission of Enquiry into the activities of a former government minister and oversaw a two-year, $10 million criminal investigation that ended with no convictions.
Thus far, Mr. Taylor has steadfastly refused opposition and government calls for various special investigations.
He recently said there would be no further enquiries into the Operation Tempura-Cealt misconduct investigations within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that occurred between 2007 and 2009.
In July, Mr. Taylor also shot down two requests from politicians to begin formal commissions of inquiry into various government issues.
One of the requests for a commission of inquiry, made by Premier Bush, sought to look into the spending and planning around proposals for three new high schools and one new primary school in Grand Cayman under the previous government. One of those planned projects, the proposed Beulah Smith High School in West Bay was discontinued. The plan for the new primary school in George Town also did not proceed.
Mr. Taylor said the auditor general’s office is already planning to carry out performance audits on the John Gray and Clifton Hunter high schools projects later in the government’s financial year.
The second request for a commission of inquiry came from North Side MLA Ezzard Miller. Mr. Miller asked that a commission be established to investigate an “alleged financial irregularity” relating to Premier Bush and the rezoning deal with Mr. Thomas in 2004.
“This matter is already the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service,” Mr. Taylor said. “In light of this, I do not see the case for considering a commission of inquiry.”