Statement: Speaker refutes Opposition Irresponsible Rhetoric On Hurricane Claim

On Friday 5th October 2018 the Leader of the Opposition issued a press statement entitled “Opposition calls for the repayment of CI$20 million owed to the people of the Cayman Islands”.

The release disingenuously attempts to correlate two completely unrelated transactions and in doing so to confuse the public about Govts insurance claim.

Fourteen years ago following the disastrous events of Hurricane Ivan the Government of the Cayman Islands entered into a Deed of Settlement with Cayman General Insurance Co. Ltd., a former subsidiary of Cayman National Corporation Ltd. which included in addition to CI$50 million in cash the transfer of 24% of the issued shares in Cayman General.

Cayman General is no longer owned by the Cayman National Group but was purchased by Cayman First Insurance.

The Leader of the Opposition and his expert in their release, irresponsibly  and intentionally misrepresents the settlement reached,as a loan by the Government to Cayman General Insurance Company and calls for the current mostly Caymanian Shareholders of Cayman National Corporation Ltd. to repay the “ loan” made to its previous subsidiary prior to the proposed occurrence of a sale.

Clearly anyone who reads the statement can see that  there is no legal or financial basis for this demand by the Leader of the Opposition. His statement is completely lacking in fact and fundamentally fails to even recognize the nature of the 2004 settlement by now seeking to punish the investors in Cayman National Corporation who would have had no involvement in the settlement agreed between the Government and Cayman General.

Not only is this statement irresponsible as in destabilizing the potential sale of shares by Caymanians of their hard earned investments(if that is something they want to do)but it seeks to continue to besmirch my own name and leadership and the studious care and trust in which I have held the finances of the Government and the hard earned money of the  people of these Islands whilst Leader of Government Business.

It should never be forgotten that following the catastrophic events of Hurricane Ivan the task fell to me and my Government to ensure the very survival of our country by making prompt and reasonable decisions that would so far as possible ensure a speedy recovery of both the public and the private sector. A major challenge at the time was to identify and access the necessary cash to repair the devastated infrastructure including people homes, buildings, cars, and equipment of the Islands.

At the time the Cayman Islands Government was the holder of certain insurance policies with Cayman General Insurance Co. Ltd. who like many other insurance providers experienced serious difficulties in settling all the claims made following Hurricane Ivan. My own and my mothers claim was not settled as another company went down and Govt just could not save every company affected.

The Cayman Islands Government was the largest claimant of Cayman General Insurance Co. Ltd. and as is a routine process following such an event,qualified loss adjusters were appointed by both the Cayman Islands Government and Cayman General Insurance Co. Ltd. to negotiate and settle its claim.

It was strongly indicated to both parties by the loss adjusters that bearing in mind the complexity of the claim it could take years for the loss adjustment process to be concluded.

The pragmatic and sensible solution for all concerned was to enter into a negotiated cash settlement. This would result in Government immediately receiving the cash it desperately needed to help our people and allow Cayman General to move ahead with settling claims from the many other Caymanians insured with Cayman General in the Islands.

My thought always was if the company failed so was the bank. Over 4000 Caymanians and others and an equal amount of family members- at least 8000 -were going to Lose.

My Govt reached a settlement over the amount owed.The claim was for $90m but the adjuster said it was only worth $70m. Rather than go through years of litigation when Govt would have had NO money to rebuild anything,a compromise settlement was reached which allowed Govt to receive the cash,as well as all the other Caymanians who were insured with Cayman General.

And get shares in the company which it still owns today.

At the time my immediate intention were to protect the many Caymanians who would have been directly hurt by the failure of CNB in addition to the damage to the entire reputation of the Cayman Islands. 14 years on all are happy that not only has the bank survived, but the shareholders will hopefully get a return worthy of their commitment and dedication to the Cayman Islands.

What we know of the opposition and their mindset which bends whichever way the wind is blowing,-If the bank had faltered and and Govt had taken shares in the bank,then they would be saying you should have taken shares in the insurance company.

The agreement reached called for a cash settlement of CI$50 million within 30 days and the transfer to the Cayman Islands Government of 24% of the shares in Cayman General.

This high level of prompt and financially sound decision making by the Government, together with a substantial cash injection from the parent company of Cayman General guaranteed that all those Caymanians, residents and investors insured through Cayman General would receive a settlement of their claims. Some of the other insurance providers involved in claims in relation to Hurricane Ivan failed to settle their claims to the detriment of many local people insured by them.

In 2007 a report by the Auditor General together with all other Government records show that this was a negotiated settlement following legal advice and was in full and final settlement of all claims made by the Cayman Islands Government in relation to its claims under its Cayman General policies following Hurricane Ivan.

To suggest that there is money owing to the Government of the Cayman Islands by Cayman National Corporation or its Shareholders is so very clearly wrong, untrue, irresponsible and meant to mislead the public of these Islands and to wrongfully accuse me once again of not acting in the best interests of the people of Our Islands.

I stand by the decisions I was able to make with Gods help following one of the most devastating disasters to occur in Our Islands history and I am quite sure that by showing his complete ignorance either genuine or feigned of how this settlement was negotiated and reached,and the sound financial reasoning behind it -many will agree that it was truly Gods mercies that he was not the Leader at that time.

Ezzard Miller has done nothing for Caymanians when he was in charge except to try to build a hospital part of it in the swamp and part on its current site in George Town.

That would have been another disaster of gigantic proportions!!!

Luckily the people kicked him out of office. Now he wants to pretend he’s some kind of savior!!Rubbish!

Office of the Honourable Speaker of the Legislative Assembly