Ex MD denies booze-up

| 25/10/2009

(CNS): The former managing director of Boatswain Beach has denied partying on public funds following revelations in the latest report from the office of the auditor general. Admitting that he had borrowed more than $66,000 in salary advances, Joey Ebanks said that the $6,500 bar tab was to promote business at the Schooner Bar and Grill, which he said was struggling to attract patrons. Dan Duguay states in his report that he was not offered any explanation for the spending by Ebanks at the bar during the audit of the turtle farm, but Ebanks insists it was part of a policy to improve business.

According to the AG, Ebanks was offered the opportunity on several occasions to respond in writing to the report before it was published. Ebanks says, however, that he has chosen to offer a defence on his Facebook page as he did not believe he would get a fair hearing in the report.

The former MD and PPM candidate in the General Elections earlier this year offers apologies to his family friends, the staff at the turtle farm and the board of directors over the salary advances but says the hospitality charges were legitimate.

“I wish to state first and foremost that the Auditor General’s report on my salary advances is accurate and fair. I deeply regret this and apologize to my family, friends, Boatswains Beach staff and Board. When I am wrong I admit so and accept responsibility,” he writes on the social networking site. “When we began to promote our ‘Happy Friday Nights’ we only had two customers for the first three months or so. Having re-evaluated the strategy we decided to increase our alcohol purchases with free product. Staff members were identified to assist with inviting their friends to the events and being allowed to ‘buy’ a drink for their friends from the free stock. Additionally, I spent Friday nights working the crowd to secure loyal customers and using this inventory to ‘buy’ their loyalty.”

Ebanks also states that he paid for lunch for primary school children — though a significant number of the tabs, which were seen by CNS, were charged on Friday and Saturday nights and were predominantly for alcoholic drinks.

In his response Ebanks refers to the auditor general as Dan "Carpetbagger" Duguay, accusing him of pursuing headlines and that the report “was about getting Joey Ebanks".

Throughout the Facebock posting Ebanks makes a number of unsubstantiated allegations against various people, which he says is why he believes Duguay wrote the report. However, Duguay said on Friday when he released the results of the audit into the public domain that it was conducted because of stories in the media concerning unorthodox salary advances and loans which had been made to the MD.

In the audit, Duguay confirmed that the articles were correct that the MD had been taking cash from the farm on a regular basis. Between June 2007 and February 2009 Ebanks had taken $65,870 and made repayments of just over $16,023. When he resigned from his post in March 2009 the outstanding sum was $49,847.87. Ebanks also owed $1,900 for turtle meat that he had purchased on credit.

During the audit the AG’s office also discovered that the loans were made to Ebanks without the knowledge of the board and uncovered the bar tabs, which Duguay says he also included in the report because he could not find a full explanation for the charges, most of which (70%) were for alcohol and cigarettes.

Speaking to News 27 on Friday evening, Ebanks said he regrets taking the loansand would not say what he borrowed the money for other than it was for personal use.

Following Duguay’s revelations about the full extent of the salary advances and loans, the current Turtle Farm Board also issued a statement on Friday evening thanking Duguay for the report. Ken Hydes, the new board chair and past MD of the Turtle Farm, said the new board had reviewed the report and had noted the content and recommendations.

“The members of the current board are committed to ensuring that the necessary policies and administrative changes are put in place to guarantee that best practices are followed with an emphasis being placed on accountability at all levels of the organization,” Hydes added. “Prior to the release of the report, the Board of Directors had already implemented significant policy changes that directly relate to the recommendations contained in the document. One of these policy changes is the requirement that all disbursement of funds to employees other than that which is contractually due to the employee, must receive prior approval of the Board of Directors.”

The Turtle Farm is currently running a $14 million deficit and was allocated a further $9 million to keep the facility afloat in the 2009/10 budget.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow… it amazes me to see how quick people are to judge! I would never run for government… someone is always twisting and turning things to shed a different light in things!

    Everyone keeps going back to this money that he borrowed from government but no one seem to see the big picture.  This all fell with government employee policy of borrowing money.  He did nothing wrong or illegal!   The BIG question here is HOW MUCH OTHER MONEY IS OUT THERE BEING BORROWED (LOANED) BY OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES , INTEREST FREE ????  Surely he is not the only one !!  I mean really if you wanted to buy something and you had a choice of going to the bank and paying interest or borrowing from your company interest free (all legal and within your company policy). Which would you do? Yes, you would have done the same! He wasn’t trying to steal it… it was all recorded and he was making payments to pay it back…he had paid back 25% of the loan when he left…so.. GET OVER IT!  As for what he did with the money, it’s really and truly none of our business!  Ask all the other government employees with interest free loans what they needed the money for !

    As for the bar tab… hhhmmm… think people are looking at this the wrong way!  Things are tough you have to be creative and innovative to succeed in business today!  So he chose to advertise by buying/complimentary  drinks instead of paying one of the radio stations or news papers to advertise for him… Really, if you figure 6,500 divided by the number of days in 18 months (547 days) that is only $ 11.88 dollars a day ! If an average drink in $ 6  – he gave away only (less than) 2 drinks a day…. and to take a business from 2 customers to 180 customers at a cost of $ 11.88 a day ! That is what the business world would have to call a GREAT advertising budget!  No doubt it was due to his social network but who cares (friends of not)… the business we doing great!  So unless you can prove the two drinks a day were his personal drinks… this is ridiculous! 

    Just so there is no confusion, I don’t know Joey personally but it seems to me that he is being dragged over the coals just because he ran on opposite side of the political scene.  Perhaps our government should spend their time more constructively!!! Maybe they should be seeking Joey’s advise on  how to increase our tourism and revenue!!! 



    • Infactuation says:

      If it was only happy hour friday nights, then it is $83 per "session" or nearly 14 drinks.

      More importantly – why the heck was he buying cigarettes?

      I agree it is a novel strategy, but has the AG checked the bar audit to see how many COMP drinks there were on top of this?  I am sure there were those too…  In which case, the "bar tab" ones were more than likely for him and friends, and the comps were on the house for goodwill…

      I would be interested to see if thatangle has been checked…



    • Anonymous says:


      Borrowing money interest free from your employer without their permission is pretty inappropriate behaviour.

      For the avoidance of doubt, all this borrowing was done without the permission of the Board of Directors. Some people would say, perhaps quite rightly, that this was an abuse of position by Joey.

      At a time when the Turtle Farm was borrowing money at interest to stay afloat – Joey was borrowing that money interest free. Loans as low as $150 – sounds pretty desperate to me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian I find these types of situations infuriating and embarrassing. I don’t know Joey personally and this is not personal it is just plain and simple wrong is wrong. The comments on here justifying this behaviour is precisely why we as a people cannot get anywhere. We have to hold people accountable for their actions and here we have some people who can’t even admit that he did something wrong much less hold him accountable for it. Prior to the elections when this came out he was indignant about these "loans" now he is apologizing and admitting he did something wrong. Absolutely it is call an abuse of power and being in a job that you were not qualified for. Instead of helping to advance this attraction and get it out of debt he is busy showing off and raping the system. Then as usual with some Caymanians it is all about what I can get, a rare few think about how can WE help to promote our country and be the best that we can.. We seem to be willing sell out our country for a few free drinks!!!!

    Joey’s behaviour illustrates a dishonest quality which I do not like and a complete slap in the face to this country. If we have our own scamming us and showing no loyalty what do we really expect from expatriates???

  3. What a mess! says:


    Nationality has no bearing on wheather what was done was right or wrong. Professional ethics on the other hand has everything to do with it. The $6,500 bar bill is one thing…but what concerns me (and many others) even more is the need for over $50,000 in two years, when he was making well over $175,000 already. If one cannot budget himself while making that amount of salary, he should not be MD/CEO of anything…let alone a completely flawed Govt. entity that recieves millions in subsidies annually.

    Another example of Govt. of the day giving away the peoples money to one of their own. And i’m not singling out PPM…as we wouldn’t have this monstrosity called Boatswain Beach if it had not been for UDP creating it to provide jobs (and seemingly secure votes).

    It seems everywhere we turn there is so much evidence of waste and wrongdoing by those weshould be able to trust…Politicians, church, Police etc. etc. And i’ll say again this is having a detrimental effect on this country and it’s people…it is directly connected to the current social ills…like crime, violence, obesity, disrespect, other stress related illnesses, the ongoing saga of Caymanian versus Expat rather than much needed dialogue.

    Hope we can get through this period…but "tings na lookin well"

  4. Anonymous says:

    Joey don’t  you realise that you were used as a "scapegoat" all along!!

    I attended happy hours at Schooner’s Bar & Grill and I never got any "free drinks, food or cigarettes"!!

    You need to get on with you life and try and sort yourself out!!


  5. Captain says:

    OMG This is Preposterous! Someone should have stopped this devious little English man. Oh wait – He’s Caymanian…….screw it, let him go.

  6. xXx says:

    This is the same reason Cayman will never get any better. A mans bar tab is publicized and the your own locals are ganging up on him about it, what you all should be arguing about the all mighty police comissoner that dissapeared and the millions of dollars of our money that was taken for a helicopter that no one has seen yet, or the thousands of dollars that Syaed spent that we will never see back. But as usual we in the cayman islands will take a sand grain and make a mountain out of it.

    • Makam says:

      But we did talk about those things and now we are talking about Joey….or is that not allowed?

  7. James says:

    Joey need to go sit down!

  8. Supporting my Caymanians says:

    First let me say that I support Joey as he was doing a great job at the turtle farm and yes as one poster claimed the Happy Hours were the best and there were none of those trouble making persons attending it was an adult, professional crowd every time I went there.  But alas a good thing must end.  I never received any free drinks and attended happy hour there almost every Friday with a group of friends as well.  What was good to see was Joey making the rounds talking and chatting to the patrons and thanking them for coming and supporting the cause.  Everyone who was in my party always received a bill at the end of the evening so as for any free-bee’s for us, I can assure you there was none.

    In saying that, the $6500 for bar tabs over a period of time is certainly no where near unrealistic to some of the other expenditures that our Govt. levies to persons in a wasting manner and let me give you some just to touch the iceberg and hopefully the Auditor General will take these to the next level and stop messing with petty money when infact there is more wasting in other areas of Govt. that he should be highlighting:
    1. Judiciary – the large sums of money we keep paying out to overseas QC’s when infact we have our own in-house QC that can handle these cases.  Not only do we pay these visiting counsels we also pay for them to bring the wife, the kids, the dog, the cat and so on, and pay for their accommodations, transportation, daily perdiums for food and general expenses and then at the end of the day we hand they this handsome cheque in the five figures as well and listen to the wives boasting about going to Ft. Lauderdale to shop till they drop.  More waste on the taxpayer’s dime.  Mr. Duquay, please investigate that!!!! 
    Additionally, the major expense of this new court which infact could have been put off as it was not an absolute necessity right now. Check on all the wasting that has occurred over there. Infact I haven’t seen where your audit dept has ever made any investigations into the wasting that occurs in the judiciary so maybe now it’s time that you start to sniff around and satisfy the mind of the Caymanian tax payers out here. I am sure that you will find more than $6500 in unnecessary spending has gone on, including creation of jobs for mistresses and so on.
    2. The number of persons imported by Govt. for work at non-managerial levels and pay to bring their car, dog, goat, diving equipment, suntan lotion etc. to me is a waste.  You got the job, you pay to move that is your financial responsibility if you accept the job then the relocation expense is on you.  We the taxpayers should NEVER have to pay to move you.
    3. The number of family members of foreign workers whom are employed in the private sector and their spouse is employed by the Govt. whom receive free medical and dental.  While Caymanian civil servants have to pay for their dental work such as crowns and bridges these other personnel get it for free.  Let’s see if Mr. Duquay will investigate that wasting of Govt. money.  I know this to be a fact as a family member working in the same dept. as a foreign worker in Govt. had the exact work done and within a month apart, and the Caymanian was advised they had to pay and the foreigner paid nothing. 
    So Mr. Duquay in closing you are wasting hard earned tax payers money chasing up CI$6500 for entertainment expenses levied by the former MD Mr. Ebanks and your justification of this is what again?? I think the Auditor General should not waste time on such petty issues and get to the bottom of where the real money has gone. Tell us about the other wasting that’s going on as for me $6500 is petty and should not even have been made a public issue. The fact that Joey Ebanks repaid the lump sum of money and in good faith he apologized and accepted he had done something wrong then that is enough for me. XXXXXXXXX

    CNS: I am sure you may find this post offensive, but I am stating that I have seen worse and will hope that you consider this and post it.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I as a constituent would like mine to be heard also.  Thank you very much.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is wrong to ask the AG to stop investigating petty stuff like entertainment expenses.  When you get away doing petty things, you think of going into do big stuff.  Any auditor looks at the risk involved in each areas and check into those.  So here what should happen is that Mr. Dugay needs to seriously consider doing a thorough audit into the Judiciary.  XXXX  As a citizen and a tax payer, you should send him a letter setting out in detail and with specific information all what you know and suspected of happenning.  This will help him planning his work.  XXX

  9. Anonymous says:


    As your friend but not your political supporter may I suggest that the right thing for you to do at this stage is to repay the bar tab, and apologize to the Cayman public. To do otherwise will always cast a doubt on you.

    I can believe that you used this as a promotional tool, and that it also worked to an extent to bring business to the bar and that it was an excellent marketing idea, that should have included the general public as well. This is done all the time by most businesses in the form of promotions and public relations, and especially to introduce a new business. So nothing wrong with the concept.

    The problem seems to be that you should have gotten authorization from the Board for this and it should not have been kept in your own name, but instead categorized as a promotion/advertising expense.

    So my advice is : apologize, admit you made a mistake, pay the bar tab, and move on with your life.


  10. I forgot where I was says:

    I guess that means the Goverment owes a lot of people a free drink.  It must be part of that Goverment stimulus program. In fact it must have been the Goverment stimulus program.  Did I miss it?  Please print out where and when the next Happy hour will be held as I too would like to be happy about this crap.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Joey, no matter what is said.  The Happy Hour back then was the best, I would go home check on my children and my helper and drive from BT to the Turtle Farm.  I never got a free drink but surely spent around CI$75.00 on whilst there.

    It was the best Happy Hour back then and it was a more mature crowd which I enjoyed. 

    Hold your head up Joey and don’t worry what the people is saying, because the drinks is expensive which can justify the total.

    Some Caymanain enjoy putting another Caymanian down, but not me.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a Caymanian,I don’t see this as Cayamnian putting another Caymanian down….WORNG is WORNG!!

    • Anonymous says:

      What was the $75 spent on? Hopefully, not all on alcoholic drinks if you had to make it back to BT!

    • Nice Example... says:

      $75 is a lot of drink – so I trust you meant "took a taxi" when you wrote "drive".  BT to BB is a long way – and if you drove that drunk, you are an irrisponsible low life cretin with a total disrespect for the lives of others.  Of course, we don’t care if you want to go take your own life – just don’t play Russian Roulette with the rest of us.

      If, on the other hand, you drank $75 of soda, then Guiness Book would like to talk to you about the size of your bladder!!!


  12. Anonymous says:

    What is the logic path with having a bar in the middle of a family destination?  Is the assumption that visiting parents will be affraid to spend time with their kids, like West Bay Parents seem to be?  Why not tear down the bar and put in a waterslide, or a ferris wheel, or perhaps some kind of turtle education facility?  Is that thinking really too far outside the box for the people running the place?

  13. Anonymous says:

    If the good doctor’s wife got pedicures & manicures are the turtles receiving them as well??

    I think it’s safe to say the turtle Farm is totally out of control. Release the turtles & close it down, Now!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Joey that the happy hour drinks were to stimulate business. I happen to have been one of those people who received my first drink free on my first Friday night there. One Thursday Joey called my office and invited me to happy hour, I went and took along five other friends Joey bought us all our first drink. We sat around and talked, played Dominos and drank some more by the time we left there around 12:30AM we had spent approximately $350.00 between all of us for drinks and food. We visited Turtle Farm almost every Friday for many monthsafter that and on weekends we took the whole family to swim and eat, my wife even had  manicures and pedicures there on Sundays. So from that one drink The Turtle Farm made quite a few Thousand Dollars, and while we were there we saw Joey going around to the other tables, and it was quite obvious that the majority of the people were invited there by him an  I presume he was doing the same thing he did for our table. As MD I am sure that he must have had an expense account. I visited Turtle Farm a few Friday nights ago an there was a vast difference in the ground in fact it was only about six people there and we left after one drink. So go figure.

    Hold your head up Joey you did well while you were there, but you know us Caymanians we only remember the bad not the good.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats a crock of $hit and you know it. Either you are joey or a close friend/relative. That is not the case at all and you know it.

      I have been there a couple of times on Friday’s and Saturdays and although I have seen him there pi$$ing it up with his cronies, there is no promotional efforts or buying drinks for guests or schmoozing the crowd. Plain and simple he was there drinking away tax payer funds with his mates.

      Only in the Cayman Islands would people stick up for this man. XXXXX

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with the poster that this response in Joey’s defense is a bunch of nonsense.  Joey’s talk of "promoting business" is also a load of bull.  It was all about boozing it up with his PPM cronies.  I was there a few times and coincicentally he was with people I knew were PPM supporters.  Has anyone inquired as to where Joey got the money to pay for that huge boat he bought back then?  Of course, now it’s been sold as I know the people that bought it from Joey and this is verifiable.  What were the salary advances used for Joey, please tell us?  By the way, is Mr. XXXX still loaning out money?  I need some to pay back my own loans?  CNS, I hope you don’t sensor this as the people have a right to know these things.  Joey you should be ashamed of yourself.

  15. Anonymous says:

    There need to be two parties involved when you request a loan!! Whowas signing the cheques or was Joey taking cash "borrowed’??

    I need to know so I can finance my mortgage through Turtle Farm! lmbo.

  16. Joe Average says:

    I guess that explains it all. "Happy Fridays" was merely a promotion where free alcohol was given away and it spilled over to Happy Saturdays where more free aclohol was given away.  One question still remains:  If the loans/salary advances were not ok’d by the Board…who ok’d them?