CIAA chair: Article misleading

The Airports Authority Law is the controlling autonomy that was created by the government of the Cayman Islands to administer the licensed Airports within the Cayman Islands.

The Administration Policy of the CIAA is directed by the minister who is responsible for the operations of our airports.

Air Agencies Ltd is one of the two unrestricted ground handling agencies that are approved by the CAA – now CIAA. That approval goes back for many years. That fact is recorded in correspondence from the director/chief operating officer of the CIAA since the administration of Mr. Hislop as director of Civil Aviation.

The present chairman of the CIAA Board is me, Richard E. Arch.

Air Agencies Limited is a local Caymanian Company owned by myself Richard E. Arch and my wife B. Margaret Arch. I retired from Air Agencies Limited in 2000 and handed over the administration to my daughter, Mrs. Susan Parsons.

During the early 1990s, when Thomas Jefferson was chairman of the Board of the Civil Aviation Authority and Gilbert McLean was permanent secretary in his ministry, approval was given to another company to provide baggage handling at the airport for departing passengers and arriving once they exited the Customs Hall on the land side of the airport. Within a very short time, that company’s employees were permitted to access the air side of the airport and provide baggage handling and that grew and grew until that company is now operating as a full ground handling agency.

From the inception of the permission as indicated above, our company complained and objected on certain grounds, including the fact that the company is not and has never been legally authorised to perform any facilities other than baggage handling on the land side of the airport terminal. Objections have continued on a regular basis ever since and some of those objections were copied to the governor and the ministers who were responsible for the CIAA at the various periods. I also drew the fact that in my opinion, should any incident or accident occur on which the other company was involved with that the insurances would not cover the incident/accident and that the claim would be passed on to the Airports Authority, its directors and the Cayman Islands government as the indemnity that is indicated in the Airports Authority Law would be null and void.

At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the CIAA, I presented a paper dated 7th July, 2010, indicating my opinion concerning an agenda item that had been submitted by the chief operating officer. The item was an application from Cayman Dispatch Services (see Compass of 25th April, 2013) to “regularise” their presence and activities at the airport. Had the Caymanian Compass simply reprinted the paper in its entirety, rather than misleading the public and indicating that I had committed an irregularity, it would have also avoided the indication that the newspaper was simply using sensationalism to sell its newspapers.

I can confirm that the item was not continued by the board and that the CEO was directed by the then chairman to research the situation and report his findings to the board. To date, the research was never undertaken; at least, it was never returned to the board.

I consider that rather than prejudicing myself, I was simply doing my duty as any director is expected by the Airports Authority.

For the benefit of the misinformed and misled readers of your paper, I am including a copy of the paper that I presented to the board:

“The CIAA is aware that its directors are indemnified from claims resulting from any irregularity as indicated above. However, the government of the Cayman Islands is wide open to any and all claims that might arise from any mishap etcetera if or whenever Cayman Dispatch Services is or was involved in the handling concerned. Claims could easily total hundreds of millions of dollars that would be rejected by the insurers as CDS has no authority to provide those services. How blind can our administration get? What is even more alarming is that the CAA/CIAA has condoned that fact.

It is the duty of the CEO to carry out the directions and decisions of government and the Board of Directors of the CIAA.

The present Board of Directors of the CIAA is now expected to approve the application of Cayman Dispatch Services to provide unrestricted ground handling services, contrary to the policy and directive of government. The granting of another unrestricted ground handling service will immediately open the CIAA to litigations and an extended Pandora’s Box.

The application, as indicated as agenda item No. 9 for today’s meeting of the CIAA (7th July, 2010) should be deleted from the agenda and the CEO instructed that directions are already in his possession that enables the proper handling of the application and that he should ensure that Cayman Dispatch Services should be so advised and that they should cease and desist their operation immediately, except for baggage handling which they are approved to provide.

The Board of Directors of the CIAA is appointed at the pleasure of the owners (government) to ensure that the policy and directions of government are carried out and in compliance with the law.”

I am also submitting this letter in expectation that you will publish it in an effort to clarify any possibility of misleading the readers and in hopes that I will not have to take the matter any further.

A copy of the paper as referred to in the above is attached herewith and it is the very same one that was referred to in your headlines as ‘Airport boss in conflicts row’, which in my opinion was simply to sensationalise and sell papers but not to report the entire truth.

Let the readers be the judge.

Richard. E. Arch


  1. Let the readers be the judge? It’s hard to believe that Mr. Arch would post all of that information and still see no appearance of impropriety.

    If he so readily approves of the idea that an elected Minister should have sole discretion on the administrative polices of the CIAA, then perhaps he should try to imagine the next Minister as someone being introduced on a political platform by one of his competitors at the airport.

  2. Mr. Arch – Do you understand the meaning of conflicts of interest? I suggest you read s. 19(3) of the Anti-Corruption Law. It is not your duty as a director to involve yourself in decisions of the Authority which directly concern your own financial interest. Indeed, your appointment as a director of the CIAA, which regulates service providers to the airport including your own company, Air Agencies, created an inherent and irreconcilable conflict of interest that, ethically at least, isn’t cured by mere disclosure. You should know better, sir.

  3. Mr. Arch,
    If you have some free time, may I suggest that in addition to the other reading suggested below, that you read section 19(1) of the Constitution which applies to statutory board members, and if you are paid in any way for your board activities that you also consider section 5(2)(g) of the Public Service Management Law and then reflect on your letter to the editor. In case it assists,
    19. (1) All decisions and acts of public officials must be lawful, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair.
    5(2)(g) a public servant must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) with his duties as a public servant, and must not use his official position for personal or familial gain;

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