June Gas card fiasco hits Cayman government

Cayman Islands Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick on 6 June slammed the government for a lack of control over its issuance of government-sponsored fuel cards to public employees and said a lack of oversight created a widespread potential for abuse within the system used to fuel up government vehicles.

An internal audit review of 378 active driver fuel cards used by 10 Cayman Islands government agencies found that 97 of those cards – more than 25 per cent – were assigned to ex-employees. Another 68 cards, or about 17 per cent, went to employees that auditors said had no business reason for a fuel card.

Such a lack of control has left government’s distribution of fuel “at significant risk of abuse and fraud,” Mr. Swarbrick said.

CUC issues huge bill

The lone electricity provider in Grand Cayman presented the government’s public water utility with a bill for nearly half a million dollars for unpaid service dating back as far as 2004.

Caribbean Utilities Company said Water Authority-Cayman owed it roughly $500,000 for electricity at the Grand Cayman Wastewater Treatment Plant between 2004 and 2011 because of an ongoing billing error that wasn’t discovered for seven years. In an article published 11 June, CUC said it agreed to accept payment of more than $417,000, which represents the outstanding amount for between April 2006 and April 2011, to be paid in 36 monthly instalments.

The water authority’s board said it would not be rushed into making a decision over repayment.

Former board member charged

Edlin Myles, the former deputy chairman of the Cayman Islands National Housing Development Trust, was charged with multiple criminal offences related to deception, according to local authorities.

On 11 June, Myles, 60, was charged with three counts of obtaining money by deception, four counts of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, and one count apiece of attempting to obtain money by deception and attempting to obtain a pecuniary advantage by deception.

Myles resigned from the board in 2011.

East End shooter convicted

Chakane Jameile Scott was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison 12 June for the shooting death of 21-year-old Asher McGaw in September 2011 in the district of East End in Grand Cayman.

Scott, 19, chose to be tried by judge alone before Justice Alexander Henderson. The key witness during trial was 17-year-old Antascio Rankine, who testified he was with both men the night of the shooting and saw Scott shoot McGaw, but could not say why.

Ten-year rollover

A government committee recommended that the term limit for foreign nationals working in the Cayman Islands be extended from seven years to 10 years.

Then-Premier McKeeva Bush tabled the Term Limit Review Committee’s 105-page report on 15 June in the Legislative Assembly, which also outlined other suggestions regarding the terms and conditions for foreign workers residing in the Cayman Islands for lengthy periods. Among the other suggestions were that the key employee designation be abolished and that all foreigners be given the right to apply for permanent residency between their seventh and eighth years of residence.

Those who do not apply for permanent residency or who apply and have their applications denied would have to leave the Cayman Islands for at least one year before returning.

Cayman National Bank robbed

A team of robbers struck the Cayman National Bank in Buckingham Square on West Bay Road during an early morning heist on 28 June, making off with an undisclosed amount of cash and fleeing on foot after their getaway car collided with an armoured vehicle making a routine bank delivery.

Witnesses said the men ran around the back of the building and left a trail of banknotes strewn across the parking lot in their wake.

Local police were later criticised by witnesses for what they deemed to be a slow response time, a claim ultimately denied by authorities.

This was the second bank robbery of the year in Grand Cayman.