UK Lord costs £14k+ pcm

| 22/06/2012

_51613246_-7_0.jpg(CNS): Lord Blencathra and his consultancy company are costing the public purse more than CI$19,500 per month to represent the Cayman Islands. Records released following an FOI request show government has contracted both the Tory peer and his firm, Two Lions, to promote Cayman’s interests in the corridors of power in London and Brussels. Although appointed as director of the London office, he is not on a salary but is invoicing the Cayman government on a monthly basis at a rate of  £12,000 per month, plus 20% VAT. The contract also reveals that Lord Blencathra’s focus is different from the historic requirements of the job in that he is assisting the CIG with its public finance difficulties with the FCO.

According to the contract, which was released with other records in response to a freedom of information request made by CNS, the Conservative peer’s role includes helping with the FCO and the Cayman government’s financial management issues. As a result, redacted correspondence between Blencathra and Cayman civil servants implies that his appointment was timed to ensure that he could attend the London meeting the premier had with OT minister, Henry Bellingham, last November, during which McKeeva Bush signed the Financial Framework Agreement.

Another of Blencathra’s functions is to present the “premier of the Cayman Islands and CIG ministers to the British government in the best possible light” and to help develop the relationship between the UK and Cayman.

Primarily the peer is focusing on promoting the Cayman Islands’ interests, in particular where the financial services industry is concerned, in the UK and Europe and to improve its overall image and reputation.

The contract shows that government felt in the “changing global financial circumstances” that the London office needed to expand its traditional goals to include strengthening the relationship between the Cayman government and the FCO, as well as other UK and European organisations, and actively promote Cayman in the business communities there. The contract also points to the need for someone to help identify opportunities for development and inward investment to diversify the Cayman economy and expand the islands’ revenue base.

The contract states that Lord Blencathra and his firm, Two Lions Consultancy, had been identified as having the experience and skills to undertake the proposed expansion of the London Office, working alongside the deputy director, Charles Parchment, who would continue to take on the more traditional duties of the London office.

According to the Department of Commerce and Investment, the London Office has three staff members, and its budget for 2011/12 totalled CI$817, 763.  

See redacted correspondence of the negotiations between Lord Blencathra and CIG, his CV and contract.

Category: FOI

Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just to put this payment in perspective the previous leader of Government Business hired international PR firm Fleishman Hillard for the annual sum of – wait for it – $600,000!

     

    Why did nobody investigate that?  

    • anonymous says:

      Think about what you said…the previous gov. hire a FIRM…this is ONE GUY…see the difference???

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok, let's not cherry-pick. List all of the consultants under PPM and what we got for the money, then list all of the consultants under UDP and what we got for the money.

  2. A Concerned Caymanian says:

    Why he dressed in a frock?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wait a minute, part of his contract is to improve relationships with the FCO and the UK government when our totally incompetent dictator Mr Premier is constantly aggravating and destroying relationships with the UK andour Governor. This investment by Govt. Is therefore counter productive and an absolute waste of the peoples money with a reckless man like Bush in power.

  4. Anonymous says:

    bargain… compared to what we pay for whogene or joke joke………

    • Anonymous says:

      Then again we could simply go down to George Town pier and throw the money in the water. That would be a relative bargain compared to our useless politicians because the fish won't double dip on their pensions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Guys, what this guy is getting is peanuts, after that "once upon a time" budget speech Leonard wrote for the Premier, you should see the amount he now pays to a speech writer for a couple hours work. FOI anyone?

    Everything the voters pay for is being subcontracted out to third parties with the UDP boys taking the cream in the middle with none of the work.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Almost 1 million dollars p.a. wasted on a presence in the UK. If you think that Cayman needs a presence in the UK, look at all the Brits that are over here anyway.

    Britain has a presence in Cayman and that is enough.

    Stop wasting the people's money. They do NOT approve.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a bargin.

    • A Guilty Pleasure says:

      This is shocking, especially after the UDP government has continually claimed that the country is bankrupt! We have never had a government in our history that has done more harm than the present UDP government, & we have never had a government in our history waste more money than the present UDP government. They have wasted millions & millions of our money & have nothing to show for it, absolutely nothing! (except, of course, for travel). Our country is doomed under this leadership!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible that the Premier requires  translation services from gobbledeygook to English?   Inquiring minds want to know. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    14K is nothing, JuJu's ministry lawyer will make more defending the public spending of paving brac driveways

  9. Anonymous says:

    Good Lord!

  10. Lord Muck says:

    Good Lord! Lord, have mercy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The money is better spent on Blencathra than wasted on our Premier

    • BORN FREE says:

      ……and these hypocrites had the audacity to "talk about" (& exaggerate) the PPM overspending! At least the PPM have something to show what they spent the money on. At least the PPM spent money on our childrens future, on our childrens education! What a waste of our money again by the UDP. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    • Anonymous says:

      Paying the Premeir is bad enough. I would llove to know what we are getting back for this?

      Amusing that we always here someone pipe in here about how much the cayman islands is costing the UK. Here we have a very highly paid UK member, not selected by us but appointed for us. And yes for that amount of money if you are biting your gums about the premeir this should upset you even more.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I take from the article that the Caymanian elected to put Cayman in the best possible light has hired someone else to do that. Is it because the one elected is not up to the task? Why are we paying the elected one anyway?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, is there "value for money" here?

     

    Auditor General, another job for you.

    • Anonymouse says:

      Das true, yeah. Was that contract sent out to tender or was a 'sole source provider' explanation given to CTC? – And can you have a consultant running a government department (in essence). – Mr. Auditor General, perhaps this could be your next 'own investigation'. I'm sure there are some UK colleagues who would be happy to help you. (To make sure there's not 'tax evasion' occuring of course.)

  14. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    He has…a Public Relations person hired…to help him put together his speeches…and someone else hired….to help him meet with UK officials?  Tell me again what the Premier's job is? 

    "The Premier's response is……."

    "What he means to say is……."

  15. Anonymous says:

    Does Blencathra have to give back his salary if the FCO does not approve McKeeva's budget?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Even people outside West Bay need a real estate consultant from time to time.

  17. Jim says:

    Thank you Lord Jesus… I mean Blencathra… although this has nothing to do with saving the people here. But thanks anyways for being so affordable

  18. Anonymous says:

    So just about the cost of one potentially useless MLA, with no added travel expenses, no sudden  urges to asphalt  voters' driveways and no gasboy cards. A good deal I'd say.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Of course no one would ever suggest that this government and its hand-picked functionaries would ever do anything not completely in line with the law, and the highest standards of integrity and propriety, but this contract and correspondence seems sadly consistent with this ministry's approach to transparency and accountability. Although the contract at section 5 makes itclear that "his lordship" is a consultant, the correspondence at p17 shows that "his lordship's" official title was chosen to camoflage reality so that "his lordship" could be dressed up to appear to be "an official part of the team" and to have "authority" which he did not have.  I am one Caymanian who is fed up with this government's BS which just gets us into one mess and one more debt after another.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I dind't know that Lord Blencathra could vote in West Bay.

  21. Anonymous says:

    LOL!!!! And Henry Bellingham is calling for 'fiscal responsibility' in the OTs.

    You all in the UK are having a laugh at our expense aren't you?

    Incidentally, billing CIG through a limited company like Two Lions is a great (and is perfectly legal within certain contraints) tax avoidance move.

    However, to make it work the good Lord has to be careful that he can't be regarded by HMRC as a full-time UK employee of CIG and if he's really only working part-time for the Cayman Islands why the heck is he being paid so much?

    • Ex-tax says:

      If CIG had taken him on as an employee about 50% of that monthly amount would have gone straight into PAYE.

      By billing it through the company he not only avoids paying tax at source but lets CIG get hit for 20% VAT on top of his fees and Two Lions can presumably write off any embarrassing excesses their end through company expenses.

      And this guy is working to promote the interests of the Cayman Islands?

      To quote Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) –

      And did we tell you the name of the game, boy

      We call it Riding the Gravy Train.

  22. Badge of gold diggers says:

    Honestly are we surprise by this someone has to milk the Cash Cow even if she does not have anything to eat! poor old Cayman and its Loyal subjects no worries a few ribbons and medals and recognition from the governing power will fill those empty bellies.

    • James says:

      I wonder how uneducated bloggers can actually be? You guys never cease to amaze!

      • Anonymous says:

        They have voted in a 5th grade dropout to manage their Government.  Are you still amazed?

        • Anonymous says:

          Anon 1258 that 5th grade dropout has been schooling the other so called politicians in this country for years.

          And while you keep honing on that fact do you realize that there is something called exerpeinece. Do you think he has the political experience of a 5th grade student?

          No he is the most experienced politician we have. This does not mean I agree with the things he is doing but you guys better start getting your act together and stop noticing that he dropped out of school from 5th grade.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymans loyal subjects are British Citizens, get over it.

  23. James says:

    The appointment of Lord Blencathra was one of the most inspired decisions for the CIG London office. His support and committment towards Cayman is extraordinary. Good job Cayman!

  24. CHECHE says:

    Hmm, I wish I was Lord Blencathra.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Not sure I agree with most of it, however I'm glad Mr. Premier is beginning to realize his shortcomings and appoint someone else to “present the premier of the Cayman Islands and CIG ministers to the British government in the best possible light”

    • Anonymous says:

      Does the best possible light in this case mean with all the lights turned off?

  26. cow itch says:

    Oooooo…

    You better watch out,
    You better not cry,
    Better not pout,
    I'm telling you why:
    Santa Claus is coming to town.
    He's making a list,
    And checking it twice;
    Gonna find out
    Who's naughty and nice.
    Santa Claus is coming to town.

    He sees you when you're sleeping.
    He knows when you're awake.
    He knows if you've been bad or good,
    So be good for goodness sake!

     

  27. Later Ron says:

    The cost to CIG is actually more like CI$18,000per month plus expenses. The agreement shows STG£12,000 per month +VAT = STG£14,400 per month invoiced. To convert to CI$ I just multiplied by 1.5 (to US$) and divided by 1.2 (to CI$) – which should be close enough for illustrative purposes.

     

    CNS: Thanks for spotting that. We used http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert for a quick currency conversion in the corrected text.

  28. kate says:

    wow .. that's pretty cheap compared to what I see the other lawmakers in the U.S. charging for their special representation.

  29. anonymous says:

    Money well spent!

    Certainly better that another Panama trip that probably cost 6 months of his salary.