Complaint made to cops over NB fund recipient

| 17/09/2013

(CNS): The RCIPS has confirmed that it received a complaint from the Ministry of Education earlier this month regarding the misuse of money allocated by the controversial Nation Building Fund to an individual for training courses. Although the police said an investigation was now underway and it would be “inappropriate for the RCIPS to identify the individual”, CNS can confirm that it is local activist Sandra Catron. On hearing that she was the subject of yet another police probe, Catron said she was extremely surprised to find herself at the heart of another ill-founded enquiry, especially when the money for the courses remains outstanding. She added that this latest investigation was harassment and she was considering her own legal action. 

Ironically, Catron said that several of the students who applied for nation building grants in order to take paralegal courses with Micro Matrix, Catron’s training firm, are still waiting for the cash to cover the cost of their studies.

"For the better half of a year now I have been chasing the Cayman Islands Government for final payment of these funds,” Catron told CNS. “None of the emails have been responded to since April 2013, and when they did respond they asked for information that had already been provided. The initial payment was done in installments because the government complained of their financial situation. However, chasing them for payment has proven to be difficult and we could not extend that arrangement to a second group of individuals.”

Catron explained that a partial payment was made for that group but she continues to wait on the remainder. “We have numerous emails to demonstrate our efforts to resolve this with three different offices of the premier,” she said, pointing to a chain of emails shown to CNS to the various government officials.

“If the CIG is interested in resolving this matter, they simply have to pay for the services to be rendered in full,” she said, adding that she hoped that those in charge of the NBF would now support the public-private partnership, which was meant to benefit Caymanians and had demonstrated that it had done so by the testimonials sent by students to the ministry.

Catron took aim at the police, however, pointing out that once again the RCIPS had found time to indulge in an investigation that centred around private contractual matters.

“At the end of the day, it’s no coincidence that the RCIPS continues to find time to launch their personal vendettas against me, often going as far as involving themselves in matters that the courts eventually deemed as civil,” Catron said, as she pointed to the cases she won over the alleged theft of a dog and arguments between herself and her landlord. 

“I’ve had numerous professional development contracts over the years from both government and private sector and have never experienced anything like this before,” she said after hearing that she was the subject of yet another odd investigation.

Catron is currently defending herself in a criminal case against her in connection with alleged harassment on an ICT network. However, in a recent judicial review the warrant used to search Catron’s office, home, computer and car and to seize personal possessions was thrown out after she successfully challenged its legality.

Although Catron has completed a law degree and the professional practice certificate, she has not been able to secure articles and so, as yet, she has not qualified as an attorney. However, her ongoing successful battles with the local authorities, in what can only be described as bizarre cases, continue to give her plenty of hands-on practice.

Recently, the police also began an investigation into a Facebook page with which Catron is directly associated, although it is now hosted in the US, which is naming convicted local sex offenders.

As Catron continues to find herself the centre of controversy, the Nation Building Fund, which was created by former premier McKeeva Bush, also continues to attract controversy. The new education minister said recently that the ministry staff discovered many irregularities with the scholarships awarded under it when they were taken over by the education department and the regular scholarship council.

The money given to churches caused even more controversy earlier this year when several gave back grants and even led to bust-ups among the recipients at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay, when the congregation differed over how the money had been used.

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