Former airport board chairman cleared

The former chairman of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority Board who resigned that position last summer has been cleared in an anti-corruption probe, according to documents released in the Legislative Assembly.

Richard “Dick” Arch was informed via a June 5 letter from Royal Cayman Islands Police Inspector Richard Oliver that he was no longer under investigation by the police anti-corruption unit “unless additional evidence is forthcoming.”

The anti-corruption probe was initiated as a result of a complaint filed by former airports authority chief executive Jeremy Jackson.

“Following your interview on Nov. 28, 2013 as the offices of the Anti-Corruption Commission, a report was prepared for the consideration of the director of public prosecutions as to whether charges should be preferred against you under the Anti-Corruption Law and/or the Airports Authority Law,” Mr. Oliver wrote. “I have now received that ruling and I can inform you that no charges will be forthcoming in respect of those issues.”

Mr. Arch, an appointee of the previous United Democratic Party government, resigned as chairman of the controversy-riddled airports authority board in June 2013 following the election of the Progressive-led coalition government.

Mr. Arch said at the time that he stood by the decisions made by the board during his tenure, including the dismissal of Mr. Jackson and then-chief financial officer Shelly Ware, the latter of which is now being challenged in court.

The termination of both contracts occurred after considering the findings of a forensic audit, which the former board initiated. The audit findings were given to the police, Mr. Arch said.

Mr. Arch said also said at the time that he believed his position would be vindicated once the facts of the matter come out.

The former Cayman Islands Airports Authority board was warned in 2012 that it had overstepped its powers, creating a significant risk that its decisions could be “conflicted” or “corrupt.”

Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick told the board in a letter released last year to the Cayman Compass under the Freedom of Information Law that it had strayed beyond its intended role as an oversight body.

The auditor highlighted a series of decisions as cause for concern, including regulations requiring board approval for all applications for businesses to operate at the airports. The auditor also warned that the potential conflicts of interests of board members, including details of their own contracts with the airport, were not properly recorded in the airports authority financial statements.

Mr. Arch has always denied that the board had acted beyond its legal remit. He said the board, appointed by government, was fulfilling its role in accordance with the Airports Authority Law. He said declarations of interest were made at every meeting and documented in the minutes.