New board still in conflict

| 08/07/2013

airport sign.jpg(CNS): Following the major controversies that surrounded some of the members of the previous Cayman Islands Airport Authority board, the new line up gazetted by the PPM government last week is still being criticised for possible conflict. According to the government publication, Kirkland Nixon has been made chair of the new board, while Thomas Guyton has taken up the post of deputy, replacing Dick Arch and Steve McField. In addition, Frank Flowers, Roy Grant, Larry Bryan, Arnold Berry, Langlie Powery and Jewel Hydes have all resigned and been replaced by new faces, including Joel Jefferson, Nathaniel Tibbetts, Bruce Smith and Ministry Chief Officer Stran Bodden.   

However, despite the PPM’s well publicised concerns about possible conflicts on the previous airports authority board, questions have also been raised about the new representatives as some have possible conflicts with family and historic connections to both the airport and airline services.

CNS contacted the new tourism minister, Moses Kirkconnell, to ask him if he was comfortable that the chair and board members were qualified, capable and non-conflicted in their roles, but so far there has been no response.

The revamp of the airport board comes following a host of issues and problems at the airport, which began with the dismissal of the financial officer, who is now taking legal action against government, and the suspension of the former CIAA director, Jeremy Jackson, and his subsequent dismissal by the board after details of an internal report were leaked to the media.

In addition, the auditor general had raised serious concerns about board conflicts and the members’ interference with the day to day operations at the airport, as well as the direct political interference by former premier McKeeva Bush, who had limited the ground handling service licenses.

As well as changing the line up at the airport, the new minister has also re-shaped the Cayman Airways board, though the services of the chair were retained for a period to ensure a transition for the national flag carrier, which is struggling with major debt and heavily dependent on capital support from the public purse.

The new deputy chairman at CAL is Norman Bodden and the new directors include James Tibbetts, Chris Kirkconnell, Andre Ebanks, as well as officials Eric Bush, Stran Bodden and Department of Tourism Director Shomari Scott.

See new boards on Government Gazette on pages 967/8

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Apparently half the population has been completely overlooked for appointment to these boards. Where are the WOMEN??????

  2. Anonymous says:

    Both Tibbetts and Bodden are Cayman Brackers but i fail to understand the relevance!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yep, as MLA Ezzard said, the more things change the more they remain the same. Different Govt, same bs

  4. Brac Knuckle Sandwich says:

    Well don't know about all that but the previous boards actions has put a certain little drug ring in serious limbo that they have had to change their tactics and causing a relative to get jammed up overseas. Well lets hope the new board doesn't return the same old hands back to work to continuing their little operation. Let keep our little airport drug free?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Brackers, family businesses owned at airport this is the worse I have seen it! Also let’s not forget the chief officer that sits on both Ciaa nd cal board big conflict from good governance point of view. lOL we sure well progressing, hope the Clift not too near!!

  6. Fun Fact says:

    The fun fact is that Cayman is a small place.

    In many cases it will be hard to avoid all possible conflicts with family and historic connections to both the airport and airline services. Firstly, you will be able to trace someone's family connections in our small community; everyone knows that "six degrees of separation" doesn't exist in Cayman and that may not even be a reasonable standard to apply. A more reasonable standard would be an assessment of whether the person being appointed is able to make fair and ethical decisions that benefit the organization that they are overseeing and its stakeholders.  

    The other fun fact is that the people that we often rely on for expertise e.g. airline or airport experience have received it by working in a company or institution that has dealings with the organization that they are on the board of. E.g. if someone has worked at Cayman Airways in the past it it not uncommon that they would be appointed as a member of the board (assuming they are suitably qualified) of the airline or CIAA. To ensure sound decision making it would be in everyone's interest for such individuals to be appointed only after some "cooling off period" of not being involved with / employed by a company directly impacted by the decisions of the board.

    • Anonymous says:

      First off this is an improved board over what was there.

      If conflicts are there it appears as if it is not direct.

      Does any of the new board members own or are involved in any business at the airport or in aviation?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes they do have business affilites/services at the airport.

        • Anonymous says:

          Please give examples. I mean dont give one that their fifth cousin owns a company. Give us one that says such a board member owns this company or has shares in this company or whose son/daughter owns this company.

          • Anonymous says:

            Mr. Nixon's wife owns a duty free store in the departure area

            • Anonymous says:

              Oh dear. That's not good. He should never have accepted the position as Chair.

            • Anonymous says:

              So what if his wife owns a store in the airport…. Knowing the gentleman I am sure that he will declare his interest in any matter relating to her business. Now let me ask, why did you single him out? Are you one of those jealous Caymanians who feel that he should sit as chair to that board? One thing I can assure you is that he will support Caymanians.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lot of Cayman Brackers and lot of family in there…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Everyone in Cayman is conflicted somehow.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Same $hit different government. All PPM supporters that is all that matters no need for qualifications or suitability criteria when making appointments. Big Mac did he same thing when he was in power

  10. Anonymous says:

    To be appointed to a board in Cayman is the only criteria party loyalty because this is the same stuff the UDP did when they were in power.

    So much for inclusion and working together for the betterment of the country.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Boards are hardly the civil service Mon, 07/08/2013 – 10:48 but if you meant 'business as usual for politically appointed boards" then we are in agreement!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Based on the small size of Cayman and the population, can you pick ALL of the boards without having some sort of conflict?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Two things…in an island this small it is impossible to find members who are willing to volunteer thier time and not have some connection to their businesses/families/best friends…

    Secondly, who is more suitable to be on a board than those who have knowledge of what their board is responsible for….almost a catch 22 that one.

    It is physically impossible to have these boardmembers completely isolated from thier remit in one way or another. Afterall, we are talking of 85 boards with estimated 500 volunteers on an island of only 55,000, half of those children.

    While I am all for this concept of non-conflict, dont get me wrong, what I am saying is that it is not practical on this island…what we need is a mechanism and rules on these boards to ensure decisions are not made based solely on favourtism or personal business protection/growth and that is possible.



  14. Anonymous says:

    Here is a novel thought.  Why not have a board selected independently and on the basis that the people selected know how to run airports and airlines rather than having these important positions subject to petty political flip-flops?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am agree with you 1000%. Can we have your list of suggested persons who are not conflicted in any way and are qualified to offer up sound advice and guidance whilst members of the CIAA and CAL boards.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good gracious me, 11:49, what a ridiculous suggestion. What are you on?

  15. Anonymous says:

    "The more things change, the more they stay the same".

    This causes me to think of another news story on the front page of todays Compass News – more than a year after the former Collector of Customs retires and after some three rounds of advertisements to fill the post, no suitable candidate with the requisite qualifications found!

    You mean to tell me that after the former Collector had been in the post for some 24 years that there was no succession plan in place? That of all the management team around him that none of these persons qualify?

    If that is the case then something is very, very wrong! What qualified these persons to be Deputy's then?

    Shoudn't the post call for a 'choice' of multiple qualifying criteria?….say; A Masters degree and 5 years management experience or a Bachelors or Law Degree and 7 years management experience? Or an Associates Degree and 10 years?…or similar. Why such a rigid criteria?

    A Masters Degree does not 'ensure' the best outcome!

    It's not like the person will be Minister of Finance! or Deputy Governor!

    Is not the main function as Collector of Customs to enforce the Customs Laws? 

    • Anonymous says:

      11:44, there was a succession plan in place but the elephant (or turtle) in the room is that all the next in lines are Caymanians (Customs boasts about being 100% Caymanian) and none of them are anything like up to the intellect and management skills that the 2013 version of this type of job requires. Same problem exists in Immigration. Wait and see.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Are the new CAL board members now all eligible for free airline tickets? And are their predecessors? And these civil servants? Or has that all been stopped?

    • Anonymous says:

      Good question 11:27. A certain civil servant lady used to make sure she always got the CAL board job so she and her family could fly free. Been going on for years and ticking off civil servants who saw it happening but……………….

      • Anonymous says:

        Probably because they wanted it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Crabs in a barrel mentality against one of your own perhaps. I work with CAL and it is an outright lie to suggest that any board member and their family travel on the airline for FREE. They do get a reduced fare. The discount is not even extended to their siblings unless they are in full time education which ceases at a certain age as well. So please get your facts right. You sound like one someone who must have had your socks drawn up for poof performance in some area of your job.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you know this is true why don’t you name and shame. So many people here are afraid to name transgressors and that is one reason it continues ad infinitum.

        • Anonymous says:

          CNS (sensibly) would not publish it. But slight and simple detective work from you and you would get it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes all of the above plus their families as well!!! (Wife and kids until they are 18 and mother and father)

      • Anonymous says:

        Seriously is that actually true and public knowledge? What an amazing perk. I wonder if CAL keeps track of all the flights they give away to these people. Would love to know how much revenue they lose. Probably millions. It's easy to see why so many want to get their snouts  into the CIG trough…it's deeper than we thought.



    • Anonymous says:

      I really think CAL should tell us this. Perhaps publish its rules for staff and ex staff free flights.

    • Anonymous says:

      We all want to know the answer to this question. Can we please have an FFI on who flies free with Cayman Airways. Don’t just tell us how many but give us their names as well. Give us an example of the average number of people flying each week for FREE!!! And we wonder why Cayman Airways operates at an astronomical loss. All you guys and girls out there who have to buy your ticket, well you are also paying for the freeloaders tickets. It’s been going on for so so long. It’s time to STOP this freeloading.

  17. Anonymous says:

    business as usual for the cig civil service…………………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Guess you were too busy zzzzzzzzzzz to note that the civil service has nothing to do with the appointment of Boards. I think we have a strong Board….which does not appear to be conflicted at all. Great job by the Miinstry.

    • SSM345 says:

      Things on this 2×4 will never change.