Immigration scam case: Former press secretary to McKeeva testifies

Defense raises issue of ‘governor’s permit’

Charles Glidden, former press secretary to the premier from 2010 to 2013, gave evidence last week in the trial of Paul Anthony Hume Ebanks, who is accused of collecting $164,700 largely by falsely representing that cash was required as payment for a legitimate grant of Caymanian status or permanent residency.

The deception scheme occurred between July 2012 and December 2014.

Mr. Glidden told Justice Michael Wood and the seven-member jury that he was press secretary to Premier McKeeva Bush from 2010 until Mr. Bush left office in December 2012; he then became press secretary to the new premier until the 2013 elections.

Crown counsel Toyin Salako asked him if he had ever been asked on behalf of Mr. Bush to speak to someone named Paul Anthony Hume Ebanks and he answered, “No.” He also answered no when asked if he had known the name before he read about the case in the press.

The Cayman Compass report of the trial on Oct. 12 referred to a jurors’ questionnaire, which asked if the potential juror or a close family member had a personal friendship or close association with Franz Manderson, Cline Glidden Jr., Charles Glidden or William McKeeva Bush or their immediate families.

Ms. Salako asked Mr. Glidden who “CG” was. He replied that was his first cousin, Cline Glidden; he himself had never been referred to by that nickname.

Mr. Glidden said he had never been asked to organize any meeting with the defendant and was not aware of any meetings with him. He said he had never accepted cash from a member of the public and no one had ever handed cash over to him for status or permanent residence payment. He said he would not accept such payment because it was unethical, illegal and did not comply with his standards.

Payment for status or permanent residence goes to the Cayman government, he said. Since the government initiative to grant status in 2003, Mr. Glidden said he understood that any grants of status by Cabinet had to be approved by the Legislative Assembly and he believed the number was limited.

Defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi suggested that Mr. Glidden was aware of the status scheme at the time it was operating and he had had a phone conversation with Ebanks around July 2012. Mr. Glidden said he had never spoken to the defendant.

Mr. Aiolfi suggested that “during those conversations,” Ebanks had raised his own situation because he was subject to a “governor’s permit.”

Mr. Glidden replied, “I’ve never had a conversation with him.”

Other suggestions were that Mr. Glidden had arranged a meeting between Mr. Bush and Ebanks at a local restaurant; that there was a legitimate scheme Ebanks was required to help with and if he did not help, there would not be any assistance with Ebanks’s own governor’s permit; that Ebanks brought Mr. Glidden cash and some details for a person’s status “outside Government Building.”

Mr. Glidden disagreed with all of those suggestions.

Mr. Aiolfi then suggested that Mr. Glidden’s involvement ended when he called and said Mr. Bush would be taking over. Mr. Glidden replied, “My involvement never ended because it never began.”

The attorney asked if he had had any discussion with Mr. Bush or [Deputy Governor] Franz Manderson in reaching a decision to come to court and give evidence. “No, I have not,” he replied.

Questioned again by Ms. Salako, Mr. Glidden said he was completely surprised that his name had been dragged into this matter.

Asked if he knew such a thing as “the governor’s permit” existed, he said he wasn’t exactly sure what that was.

Asked again about collecting cash from Ebanks outside the Government Administration Building, Mr. Glidden said he never had and never would. “It would have ruined my reputation,” he pointed out. “My reputation is what I operate on.”

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