At least three current or former members of the Cayman Islands Football Association, including Canover Watson and Jeffrey Webb, intended to benefit from the creation of a new pharmacy business that was to be set up after the hospital’s CarePay patient swipe-card system was put in place, information obtained from detachable computer memory drives at Watson’s former business office reveal.
A computerized pharmaceuticals management contract for the public hospital system, as was the case with the entire CarePay system, had its award directed by Watson, who served as chairman of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority board of directors between 2009 and 2013. Watson was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this month on five of six charges related to the CarePay fraud. One of the charges – alleging breach of trust by a public official – was partly related to the pharmacy business.
The allegation at trial was that Watson, Webb and their Jamaican business partner Douglas Halsall were attempting to set up a pharmacy business that would directly profit from the award of the CarePay contract and its associated computerized pharmaceuticals management system. The pharmacy, Crown prosecutors alleged, would essentially become the sole private sector distributor of HSA patient medication through the use of proprietary software owned by Mr. Halsall’s company, Advanced Integrated Systems in Jamaica.
Eventually, if and when the CarePay card system expanded to the private sector, the pharmacy or pharmacies owned by Watson, Webb and Mr. Halsall would effectively have cornered the entire consumer prescription drug market, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran alleged during Watson’s trial.
Watson denied any and all such prosecutorial claims and said financial spreadsheets recovered from his computer flash drives at financial services company Admiral Administration merely amounted to him analyzing data.
“Mr. Halsall brought to my attention an opportunity [involving] SuperMed Pharmacy, about possibly setting up a pharmacy in Cayman,” Mr. Watson testified at trial. “It was simply a spreadsheet and nothing more.”
The pharmacy deal never went through, but prosecutors said those involved had already selected a name – SuperMed Pharmacy Cayman – and Watson, in 2011, paid more than US$6,000 for one-month’s rent on a 4,000-square-foot building on Grand Cayman. The cost of the rent was to be split with Webb, according to information contained on the flash drives, prosecutors said. In addition, Mr. Moran said, shareholders of the proposed SuperMed Pharmacy deal were revealed on Watson’s computer flash drives. They were Webb [25 percent], Watson [25 percent], Mark Campbell [10 percent], Norman Dunn [20 percent] and Mr. Halsall [20 percent]. Mr. Campbell is an executive member of CIFA.
Watson agreed those were the names listed on the flash drive information, but said that Mr. Moran’s allegations had “nothing to do with reality.”
Mr. Moran said, contrary to what Watson claimed, the pharmacy deal with SuperMed was not a fantasy. “This wasn’t [Watson] doodling in the slightest,” he said.
Mr. Moran said Watson knew how much the rent would be, had already selected a location and had paid a first month’s deposit on the facility.
“Why did you need a pharmacy that was 4,000 square feet?” Mr. Moran asked.
“That was the space that was available,” Watson said. “[Mr. Halsall] likely would have made it into a pharmacy and a convenience store. It never became anything more than a forecast.”
Earlier in the trial, the head of the Health Services Authority’s pharmacy operation testified that Mark Campbell was a pharmacist by trade. Mr. Campbell did not testify at the trial.