| 31/07/2011

Two Viewpoints on Corruption have been posted recently by Aristophanes Duckpond, and several readers have concluded that I am Aristophanes Duckpond.  I am not.  It is great that this person is writing about corruption, but I cannot take the credit for it. I would like to add one thing to the discussion.

The first and best defence against corruption is an electorate who recognize what a dangerous and damaging thing it is, and use their votes to throw out anyone who they think is guilty of it.  By all means let’s discuss improvements to the law, but don’t give up the first line of defence.

If you look around the world at the countries which are in a total mess, most of them suffer from large scale corruption, people in power taking pay-offs or finding other ways to use their power to benefit themselves.  This is not a coincidence.  Of course there are other ways of ruining a country – war and famine for example — but corruption is the most common way for a country to become a hellhole for its people. 

If corruption is allowed to exist, it will grow. It will destroy prosperity. Honest businesses will suffer. Investors will be discouraged; why would an investor accept an arbitrary tax system in which he has no idea how much the payments will be or how often they will have to be paid?  Investors from major jurisdictions risk criminal prosecution in their own countries if they pay off people elsewhere.  Institutional investors cannot risk this sort of damage to their reputation. 

Corruption will destroy fairness and justice, not only in government and business but throughout society.  It will also encourage lawlessness; why respect the law if your government does not?  Corruption will undermine the country’s international standing and its ability to deal effectively with other countries and international organizations. 

There is no upside to corruption. Once people start to think corruption is inevitable, or that a little corruption does no harm, or that corruption is OK as long as the politicians take care of business, or that corruption is something for others to worry about, their country is on the slippery slope.   

Do not think a country can easily turn back if corruption gets worse.  People in corrupt countries understand well enough the need to get rid of corruption; but they cannot do it.  It is a quicksand.

Zero tolerance is the only effective defence. All politicians are faced by temptation. If they think voters will let them get away with corruption, be sure some will give in to temptation.  There will be corruption.  Do not imagine that the law will deter them if voters do not care.  All countries have laws against corruption.

If you want prosperity, security and justice in your country, you need to use your vote to say “no” to corruption. If you don’t, you are at the heart of your country’s problem.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (46)

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  1. Name changed by moderator says:

    My nephew is dead due to a corrupt justice system in the united states thus I am quite familiar with the damage corruption can do. I am currently involved in a book project discussing the victims of the juvenile justice system in luzerne county, Pennsylvania where the judges were taking kick backs from facilities to fill them with juveniles who committed petty offenses. This kids for cash scheme ruined over 5000 children's lives. The book will also include mentions of how the justice system in the cayman islands has affected me and mychildren

    Basically my children's caymanian mother got everything she wanted from the court system including automatically getting full custody for no apparent reason. I was never allowed to travel over seas with my kids to visit the other half of their culture or family, however I gave her permission several times to travel alone with the kids simply because I want them to travel. Somehow the judge put in the order that they could not travel because they were too young. Not sure where this law came from but most of the decisions made in the courthouse were pathetic. I now need to leave cayman and I'm heart broken to leave my kids but I'm happy to not have my rights stomped on anymore.

  2. Anonymous says:

    "CORRUPTION COMES WITH POWER". This is a well kown phrase that seems to be true more often than not. Government and Parliament need to be reformed to spread out certain powers to prevent one person or small group of people from having unlimited power as we do now. The position of Premier should be an administrative position which oversees all Ministries and Government Departments only.  His word cannot be absolute but must be approved by consensus. No elected member should have control over more than one Ministry. Tourism, Development and Finance should be separated back into 3 Ministries with a different Minister for each. No Elected Member of Parliament should have more than one vote. The rules governing the Speakerof the house should be amended to allow more freedom and flexibility in allowing the opposition a greater voice and ability to call for topics to be debated on the floor. The speaker is supposed to be the speaker of the House and not the speaker of the ruling party.




    It is imperative that power be spread out sooner rather than later. This will help avoid having to constantly resort to legal means to deal with the problem. It's a simple solution that removes the incentive and abillity to be corrupt in the first place. Fixing anything that causes problems is always better than avoiding the cause and constantly having to clean up the resulting mess.

    • Anonymous says:

      I cannot disagree with anything you've said. The more people that must be involved in a conspiracy the better chance it will be exposed, etc. However, at the same time humans do have a natural pack mentality. They will always find a way to gather those of like interests into a group and that group will almost always have some form of leader. That is currently in the form of political parties, but if you outlaw them the arrangement will still exist simply in a less formal form.

      So while I generally agree with your sentiment I also don't believe it is a simple solution that will easily fix all the problems. Certainly not a bad idea, but at least in my view also not enough to end the problem (should state nothing will ever "end" corruption but should at least be able to minimize it).

      In my personal view, the two most important tools to fight corruption is transparency and independent oversight.

      I feel freedom of information was a good step forward for transparency, but at the same time freedom of information requests can only expose information that is kept somewhere. The biggest issue currently in my view is the horrible state of public record keeping. If government books and records aren't kept in a reliable way which can be audited with a high degree of confidence I believe corruption of some sort is almost inevitable. When large amounts of money are being spent but those spending it aren't forced to properly account for it, there will most certainly be some wasteful if not straight out corrupt spending. So for me the single biggest improvement to fight corruption would be vastly improved public record keeping (simply complying with the laws already in place).

      Next is independent oversight. On this point we actually seem pretty good at the moment the AG and his office seem to be doing a great job of diligently reviewing what records there are and trying their best to ensure corruption is kept at bay and value for money is achieved.  So I don’t feel much change is currently needed in this regard, however an auditor’s job is practically impossible without the record keeping (as in point #1).  So while I feel there is currently a good effort by the AG and his office major improvements can still be made with better record keeping (something they cannot enforce).  So while I see no need for change currently in the oversight, I did want to mention it as a critical issue and ensure going forward those in power don’t try to weaken the institution or remove its independent status.

  3. Michael Mouse says:


    More people with the right to vote, more people with the right to stand for office, less effective corruption.

    • Libertarian says:

      True, and anytime you see people with no right to vote, people with no right to stand for office, be sure that corruption is lurking about under a dictatorship. Cayman, we don't need to get at that stage of our history.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rubbish. This is an example of the saying "never waste a perfectly good crisis". It is just using corruption as an excuse to extend the franchise to expats. There is no connection at all. There are countries with very large populations where corruption is rife. I thought that Libertarian would have been able to see through that.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Really? Why is it then that the world's most populous Island country, Indonesia, with a population of some 238 million, which is democratic, is also one of the most corrupt? Its ranking on the  Corruption Perception Index for 2010  issued by Transparency International is 110 (the highest number being the most corrupt) and its score 2.8 (the lowest number being the most corrupt).    

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Mr Duckworth that we should not vote for the corrupt. However, it is very rare in party politics for a politician to run on a platform of "We will be more corrupt then the other party". Those politicians and party officials who truly oppose corruption must distinguish themselves from the corrupt by taking a clear strong anti-corruption position. While I believe that Mr. Duckworth is a very honest individual, so far his party has failed to clearly stake out its anti-corruption credentials. That begs the question, why? 

    There can be no doubt that corruption is a cancer eating at our country and that our existing legislation and its enforcement are ineffective. I am disappointed that not a single member of the LA has so far not taken the opportunity to bring a motion calling for enforcement of our existing anti-corruption legislastion and the introduction of new civil and criminal anti-corruption measures even tougher than those proposed by Aristophenes. Mr. Miller has done more than others, but even he has not been definitive. Perhaps there is such a motion on its way to the LA. We can only hope.

    I am a business person who refuses to offer bribes to get government business. In the next election I will support with my money and my vote only those politicians that make it clear that they are tough on corruption, and opposed to business as usual. 


    • Anonymous says:

      In the next election I will support with my money and my vote.

      Money seems to be the active tool of corruption. If you will use money to support a politician, is that not corrupting the process?  Honest politicians should be electable on their record for honesty and not by the amount of money they use to buy votes.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the PPM has clearly staked out its anti-corruption credentials. In 2005 it ran on an anti-corruption platform and won. It enacted and brought into force the Freedom of Information law. It enacted the Anti-Corruption Law which, despite all of its imperfections, was a major step forward. There have no real allegations of corruption during its tenure. As Opposition it has probed with questions in the House areas that suggest corruption.  Does more need to be done? Definitely. But please do not put them in the same boat as the UDP.    

      • tim ridley says:

        The PPM Government did indeed enact the Anti Corruption Law (ACL), in 2008 and must be given credit for that (and no doubt there was prodding from the UK as part of its international treaty obligations).

        The ACL is a drafting mishmash of anti corruption statutes from various countries (none of which has a stellar record in this area).  It is a very great pity that the PPM Government did not take on board the deficiencies in the ACL and the Anti Corruption Commission that were pointed out to them in detail and in writing. They had ample time to amend the legislation while they were in office. A great opportunity was missed and we are seeing the results now, i.e. almost no progress.

        A Government that wishes to earn its anti corruption credentials should amend the ACL to make the ACC fully independent from any other arm of government and fully operational with an experienced executive staff. There are plenty of such people in Hong Kong and Australia, for starters.

  5. Shock and Awe says:

    In other jurisdictions, such as the United States, corruption goes by a prettier name. It's termed lobbying and let's face it, we have no influence over politicians and only occassionaly, at election time, do they even know we exist. But only momentarily, the rest of the time their doors and calenders and ears are open to special interests. Who have a lot more money than we do. Therefore more influence. We only have our votes and we suffer through.

    Don't like it? Vote for the other party. While members of the last party take seats on boards of directors in lieu of favors given. This is known as the revolving door.  And this is politics as we know it. The major problem, the biggest stumbling block is that there is no accountability not now, not ever, for their actions while in office. "So vote me out…my future is set."  "I'm rich and you're not."  

    Unfortunately politics is no longer a calling to public service, which is as it should be, but instead it is seen as an opportunity for personal and financial gain. Because for the simple reason as stated unlike any other job, they are not held accountable.  That is our fault because we fall for it every time.

    I'm of the opinion of Mark Twain. Don't vote-it just encourages them.

    • By the Book says:

      In the United States they have a word for what goes on in Cayman.


    • Libertarian says:

      The only hope for humanity, is for each person and/or those in powerful positions to find God within themselves. No human intervention or law will be able to cure the weak tendency of attachment and selfish craving found in the DNA of the human nature. The selfish will become richer and the selfless poorer, because selfish people accumulate asset and believe how much they get, is how much they are worth and will be happy. It is only when one sees the face of death, misfortune, the unseen hand of God which turns the tables around; it is only when one experience reality as it is, away from the deceptive attachments of "me", "I', "mine" and what they can get; only when one sees oneself the way God sees him or her, is when you will see alot more humility and fairness in the world, and those in power will enact laws reflecting such humility and fairness.  It is a spiritual warfare, a battle between selfishness and selflessness – one side seeing only themselves, and the other side, seeing themselves with the whole orchestra of life. And even the reasoning behind such people who get into office for political and financial gain, hate for the other members of a party, circumventing laws and walking on other people to be successful, is distored, because how can you achieve anything for good on a national issue, if there is no unity!  A saying goes, "nature is like a web, if you touch one link, the entire web is effected" – in other words, the world does not revolved around you and your beliefs. People, whether rich, poor, or middle class, are apart of your life. You can not live this life selfishly and happy at the same time, excluding other people in your life. Anyways, the root of political corruption, is definitely found in the human heart, and fighting, changing government leaders, and making news laws, are just man-made helps to slow down the process or cover the corruption. It is just chipping away at the top of the iceberg. No matter how much laws you make to keep corruption at bay, those in power and key positions will find a way to break the law – this is the reality people don't like to hear.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't like the "vote for the other party" approach.  I will only give me vote to a party who I feel deserves it, if none of them do, none of them get my vote.  Simple.

  6. peter dutton says:

    I agree with all that Anthony Duckworth has written, and would also add that a fearless, vigorous, and inquisitive press is also key to rooting out corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      I remember when Ezzard and a number of other politicians tried to go after the press and have the member banned from the LA. They wanted the attorney general to prosecute.

      The press must be able to stand up against this intimidation by politicians.

  7. anonymous says:

    Corruption has been endemic in Cayman for decades. The damage done to the island and its people is incalculable. If all the money that has been diverted from its proper course as well as the money wasted on sweetheart contracts could somehow be retrieved, I doubt Cayman would have any debt whatsoever.

  8. tim ridley says:

    It takes two to tango and likewise with corruption. It is hard for someone to be corrupt on their own.

    The ballot box is indeed one piece of the solution (and we need to move to one person, one vote to make that solution more attainable). 

    In addition, we need to see business, professional and community leaders and associations refusing to tolerate the corrupt tango. And they must speak out loudly and clearly against the dance party and actively educate their colleagues and members about corruption in all its forms and how to prevent it.

    Finally, we need to go after those in all walks of life who continue to tango corruptly, and that means giving the necessary support and resources to the enforcers.

    Tim Ridley

    • Anonymous says:

      Hard, Tim, especially when even at the highest of levels in professional circles you hear “if xxxxxxxxxx (name government enity trying to apply rules fairly) doesn’t give me what I want, I’m gonna call …..!”

      • tim ridley says:

        Each case of course turns on its facts.  There may be nothing improper in raising concern over the decision or conduct of a government department or statutory authority with a higher ranking civil servant or even the Minister in question. What happens thereafter is crucial. There are usually entirely appropriate channels for handling the matter. Equally, there are highly inappropriate ways of dealing with it.

        When I was Chairman of CIMA, it was part of the job to handle phone calls from the private sector and occasionally politicians raising issues of concern. Sometimes (but rarely) the calls were justified; occasionally they were not. But in all cases, they were dealt with in the appropriate and correct manner.


        Tim Ridley


        • Anonymous says:

          "Rarely" and "occasionally" leaves to leave room for another category.

          • tim ridley says:

            Yes. On reflection, I should have said that there were three types of calls:

            1. Those that raised a legitimate concern when it was appropriate to contact me;

            2. Those that raised a legitimate concern that should have been raised with someone else;

            3. Those that were inappropriate, period.


            Tim Ridley

            • Anonymous says:

              Inappropriate pressure to influence an regulatory decision could be either extortion or bribery depending on the specifics. How many of the last category did you report?

              • Anonymous says:

                ZPeople have a right to address their concerns to any governmet official, this includes "going over someone's head."

              • tim ridley says:

                The inappropriate calls were so inept (and could not possibly have amounted to or be interpreted as even attempted extorsion or bribery)  that I dealt with them quickly, simply and effectively by explaining politely to the callers how CIMA handled such matters, i.e. by the book in accordance with the relevant laws and published procedures. And that is what happened.

    • Libertarian says:

      I agree with you. These are things we need to get done.  We have to safeguard the local government as much as we can. As well, corruption in the UK government through draconian and arbitrary interventions upon the Overseas Territories that are nondemocratic, backed by the special interest and elite forces behind the scenes; most definitely, has to be addressed. Corruption in "all of its forms" will destroy the Cayman Islands if it is not dealt with by the law and through the law.

      Education and speaking out against the powers-that-be, are also effective measures.

      • X Pat says:

        Will you quit stating the UK is corrupt and causing corruption in its territories every time someone mentions the (very obvious) corruption here in CI? I mean, change the record for Chrissakes. What's your problem?


        • anonymously says:

          so the uk is a clean slate?  LMAO.  why should libertarian stop spinning about corruption in the uk when you cant stop spinning it about here?  be fair now

          • Anonymous says:

            15.24, the corruption in Cayman is far worse than in the UK, and it's in your face. So are the rates of murder, vehicle-accidents, road-deaths, motorcycle deaths, rapes, abductions, drug use, illegal gun possession and illiteracy. In some cases by an order of magnitude.


            But just as the UK suffers some road deaths, so they suffer a degree of  corruption, particularly at local council level, but it's far lower than in Italy or Greece for example, whose economies now  make them the sick people of Europe. Corruption is universal. But in the UK when corruption is exposed to the light, action is taken, unlike here in Cayman.


            Corrupt behaviour  that would require immediate resignation or jail-time in the UK is glossed over here in a way that makes honest people very angry indeed. If corruption is not stamped on hard in Cayman, it will destroy this island. It has already done great damage to its people, both financial and as an example for our children to witness. Corrupt politicians are the true enemies of the people. They're parasites on honest taxpayers, corrupt the young and are capable of bringing this country to its knees.

            • Libertarian says:

              Rather, so long there is mankind on the face of the earth, there will be corruption and using one's political power for personal gain. You can't demarcate the sin and say most of it is in small populated Cayman, comparison to the rest of the UK. Anyone with unbiased commonsense, can clearly see that that can never be a fair comparison. I suggest if you want to win people on your side, be rational and unbiased.

            • tim ridley says:

              On a per capita basis, this is very likely correct.

              But corruption in all its forms is a worldwide problem. Neither the UK nor the US rank very high on the Transparency International (the Scandanavians and other Commonwealth countries rank much higher), but both are showing signs of significantly increased activity to combat it, particularly in the international forum under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Bribery Act.

              I think that we gain little by pointing fingers at others outside Cayman, and win no friends or battles by so doing. Equally, saying that someone else, i.e. the UK, must sort it out is a cop out. The fight against corruption (and other criminal activity) in Cayman must be fought (and won) by the local community.

              A good start would be for the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to join with professional and business associations in a launching a programme to educate and guide businesses on how to spot, deter and deal with corruption. And Government should do likewise for the civil service.

              In the meantime, we should be calling loudly for the ACC to appoint an Executive Director to get the show on the road. It is now 3 years since the AC Law was enacted and 18 months since the ACC came into existence.

              Tim Ridley

      • peaceful protest man says:

        Libertarian please make that call!.

      • E Luminati says:

        Resistance is futile.

        • Libertarian says:

          To violently resist is not only futile, but harmful. I rather nonviolence resistance, information warfare, speaking the truth (facts) in word, art, music, and literature, and reaching out to influencial people here and overseas – such things are not futile when it is for the cause justice, equality, fairness, and human dignity.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The buying of votes in previous elections is ample evidence that the voters are no better than those who get elected. It is necessary for the non-corrupt, moral elected members to stand up and fight corruption when it is seen or they become tainted accomplices.


    I too agree that voting along party lines contributes to people blindly following a candidate or leader. It becomes an "us against them" voting attitude instead of voting for the candidate with the best credentials. Human behavior shows that people in general follow the pack. The hippies of the 1060's are a good example. Their motto was"Do Your Own Thing". The irony was that they all looked and acted exactly like each other as they did their own thing. No one wants to be ridiculed or felt left out. This behavior leads to enoromous peer pressure both as young adults and as mature politicians. If the leader is seen as practicing corrupt or underhanded practices and getting away with it then others see no problem with copying these practices. Some will explain their wrongdoing as "it is for the greater good" or "this is the way it has always been done". Neither are a valid excuse. Making haste in delivering swift justice via the legal system is the only way to stem this growing problem.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It remains to be seen if the current voting public have the electorial maturity to move beyond the current level of politicial infighting.

    The pendulum seems to swing back and forth between the parties with nothing changing for the better.

    When in doubt the local voter anger and blame is focused upon the foreign element and this is reinforced with the rants on the radio talk shows with future politician wantabes waiting for their chance.

    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      Anonymous 21:16, you say,"It remains to be seen if the current voting public have the electorial maturity to move beyond the current level of politicial infighting." 

      It is with deep regret that I tell you that it is obvious that they do not.  The greatest flaw in a democracy is that people elect the politiciasn that gives, or promises to give them the most.  Politicians know this and do everything they can to convince the voter he will get something for nothing if he votes for him.  Unfortunately, the voter falls for it every time.  Nothing that comes from the government is free….. unless it's hot air.

  11. Anonymous says:

    …and all it takes for corruption to take hold and to prevail is for the uncorrupt to stand by and do nothing.

    It may not just be voters that let politicians get away with corruption. Opposition politicians may be just as culpable as any voter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, I don't think you can say that about the current Opposition (including the Independent member).  

      • Anonymous says:

        Not that impressed from their last stint in office. If perceptions are true there seemed to be prior issues that were never dealt with. We may have been let down, making the whole issue harder to deal with now.

  12. Fran Cheese says:

    Extending the pool of who can run and who could vote would greatly reduce the effectiveness of electoral corruption.  It might not be good for sales of washing machines though.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no reason to believe that extending the franchise will reduce corruption. That is just propaganda to exploit our situation to gain advantage.  

  13. nauticalone says:

    Can we have Duckworth and Duckpond for Premier and Deputy Premier?

    I really tired of Bush and Co.