Miller: UK office needs local

| 22/07/2014

(CNS): Following the apology in the UK's House of Lords last week from Lord Blencathra (David McLean) over the Tory peer’s contract with the Cayman Islands Government, Ezzard Miller has pointed to the importance of the Cayman government securing a local to head up the London office. The independent member for North Side, who had persistently criticized the appointment of the British peer as the London office boss, said he had been vindicated as he always said it was inappropriate. Last week Lord Blencathra told his upper house peers that he was wrong to have signed the £12,000 per month contract in which he agreed to lobby his fellow peers, MPs and ministers on behalf of the Cayman government, which he described it as a misjudgment.

Although the peer always denied that part of his job was to lobby the Lords, he has said that the contract gave the wrong impression. At the time of his appointment Miller had raised his concerns and said he was the only one that found the situation objectionable and he was criticized for it but now it was time to find a Caymanian for the job.

"I have been vindicated as I was the only one who ever questioned that appointment and now he has been forced to apologise as it was wrong,” Miller told CNS.  "We now need to put a Caymanian back in charge of that office to properly fulfill the role of advocating on our behalf in the UK."

He pointed out that the job was not just about the financial sector but about taking care of the needs of Caymanians living in the UK, including the many students there, as well as promoting the tourism sector. Miller said any new Cayman boss there should also try and encourage more local youngsters to study in the UK, as it is not only cheaper for overseas territories citizens but the standards of college education and the institutions precautions are often higher than most US colleges.

He said he sincerely hoped that Caymanians would apply now the post was being advertised and that the right local person for the job would be found quickly. Then the whole episode regarding Blencathra could be put to rest and someone with all of Cayman's interests at heart could be placed in what he said was a very important post.

Lord Blencathra was the first non-Caymanian to hold the job as director of the London office as it was believed he could ‘win friends and influence people’ on behalf of the financial services sector, which continues to have a poor reputation in the UK, regardless of the effort to change the lingering image of offshore piracy and tax dodging.

However, Miller always said he believed the appointment of the Tory peer, far from tackling that problem, actually attracted more negative attention. Nor was he alone. The FCO had also raised concerns about the decision by the former premier Mckeeva Bush to appoint Blencathra. 

Once concerns were raised in the UK media and parliamentarians complained, an enquiry by the Lords Standards Commissioner led to a change in the code of conduct and ultimately required the peer to say he was sorry. Lord Blencathra had always said he may have lobbied government but he never had any intention of lobbying Parliament on behalf of Cayman. However, his contract had indicated otherwise.

“I misled myself into thinking that, since it was understood that I would not be making representations in reality, then the wording did not matter. But words do matter; I was wrong and I apologise to the House for that misjudgement,” he told the House of Lords last Thursday.

The Standards Commissioner, Paul Kernaghan, accepted that the peer did not intend to lobby when he signed the contract, which is why a harsher punishment was not handed down.

This has prompted Labour MP Paul Flynn, who made the original complaint to table an early day motion arguing that the Lords is not fit to discipline its members.

“The failure to suspend Lord Blencathra from the service of the Lords will further deepen public cynicism on the conduct of parliamentarian,” the motion says.

Read related story on CNS Business:

Blencathra to apologise to House of Lords

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree with several contributors who say "send Ezzard" – this suggestion has great merit as it kills two birds with one stone.We can all then breathe in peace, and for those who hate the mother country, what better way to get our own back!.

  2. Anonymous says:

    These comments make it clearer ever day- independence from the UK, a country, along with the USA,  whose gross mismanagement of the financial system brought the world to its knees.

    Now the UK and US dictate how we should run our financial systems. This is beyond satire

    • Anonymous says:

      Okay, let's see what happens when the worlds busiest financial centre withdraws its business and expertise from Cayman.

      Plenty of jobs available for inexperienced and unskilled Caymanians to get their teeth into. 

      What a joke to even think you can survive without the the UK and US.

  3. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    Misjudgment equals greed in this case – everyone knew this xxxx didn't have the people of the Cayman Islands at heart.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Folks, it is nice to send a Caymanian to London to represent us but one major fact to consider…..The Brits will not listen to us poor Caymanians…nothing will get done. I thought it was a clever mover to get Lord Blencathra…was a smart move. Lots of contacts..the folks would listen to him and he had serious contacts.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree  with the 1st half of your post. In the light of recent events obviously it was a bad idea to contract Blencathra. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Blencathra was a dreadful appointment, and grossly expensive.

    Just sit down, write a description of what you hope to achieve by this appointment, and then find your person. In fact, you may be hard put to find enough that is actually feasible to justify anything more than a small information office, if so then so be it. But dont spend scarce money for some unachievable grand scheme if you dont need it. Abovce all, dont mimic the principal well established on Island of appointing some friend of a Minister to a well paid sinicure, I met a few of those down the years!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh! When I wrote the above I didnt know that Mr Millars son was in the running! Just proves a point though doesnt it.

      I remember Jennifer Dilbert bringing a guy to see me, his job was apparently to promote business in the Islands. He seemed devoid of ideas, expertise, or frankly the intelligence to make a success of the job, and spent a couple of highly paid years doing nothing on generous expenses. I dont remember his name, but I do know that he was appointed by, and a drinking buddy of the then Premier!

      Dont waste any more on this overstaffed overpaid bunch!


  6. Diogenes says:

    If Lord Blencathra did not intend to lobby, and the CIG did not expect him to, then why did the contract say that was part of the services he would render in exchange for his £12000 a month?  And if he did not in fact lobby as he asserts, but was contracted to do exactly that, then surely he should be refunding some or all of the £12000 a month since he did not provide the service and by his statement to the Lords never intended to provide it. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that Miller insists on Cayman people for Cayman jobs, but does not apply the same rule to this position in the UK?

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot. They were representing the Cayman Islands Government and the interests of the Cayman Islands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Blowing hot air again. Why doesn't he look after his own side of the Island instead of worrying about everywhere else??  No-one capable of doing that job locally me thinks.


  9. Anonymous says:

    As it was wrong to sign the contract, can we get the money back?


    Sounds like Tony Hayward of BP: "We're sorrrry."

  10. Pay scale out of whack!?! says:

    The CI Government needs to shake it's HEAD and ask if this Big Mac silly payout to buddy Lord B was a good idea?  Yes, previous Heads of this office in the UK offered us good governance and good value (Thank you Ms. Dilbert) but the current childish and unprofessional staff there now (based on last week's press release of the nasty emails) we are NOT getting ANY value for money!

    Stop the cronyism as a hiring criteria!!!  Trim the overpaid staff FAT.

    Did you SEE the out of whack pay scales in today's local printed headlines?  WHY is the Head of Staff at Pedro still getting USD$150,000 per annum?  Yes…someone please explain WHY the Manager of the Pedro Castle gets MORE pay per year $$$  than Lord Blencathera did?

    $865,100 in salaries at Pedro, huh? Time to retire these cronies and get some of the recent University grads in there to take over.  This is not high risk critical management, this is managing a tourist site!

    And WHO is getting $125,111 for the management of the craft market?  were do I sign up for THAT cushy job? 

    From the London office to Stingray sandbar water security guards (another Big Mac handout) to these out-of-whack salaries released today, we need (NO DEMAND!) this crooked cronyism salary payout stops!!!

    • James Mc Naughton says:

      How did Mrs Dilbert offer "good governance and good value"? How are these things measured whether it is she in the post or someone else? It's a post that we in Cayman pay huge money for but in truth there is little empirical evidence it does any good. Cocktail parties at the House of Commons and attending functions with big hats is just frippery and a waste of funds.Mrs Dilbert made "friends" with/lunched with Alexander McCall Smith a well known Scottish writer who promised to promote Cayman. He has not. The whole position needs to be rethought and the Auditor General should be tasked to do a cost benefit/value for rmoney analysis. My bet is he says it is not good value.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Seriously. How can Ezzard make this argument and how can CNS write the story without pointing out that Ezzard has a very, very close relative working in the London Office. Geez!

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn't everyone a close relative?

    • Pay scale out of whack!?! says:

      Ha Ha Ha, that horrid email trail we had to read last week was probably Ezzard's relation?  The current London staff are nothing but a shambles.  So unprofessional they ALL should be sacked.

    • Anon says:

      Beating around the bush once again! You are posting anonymously. Don't you have the balls to come out and say that Ezzard's son is working for this office? Ezzard has stated it on public radio.

      • Anonymous says:

        It's his son????? Now that is FUNNY! This place never ceases to amaze!

      • Anonymous says:

        A) I don't listen to "public radio"

        B) Lots of other people don't listen to "public radio"

        C) Even if he said it on "public radio", that doesn't negate the fact that he didn't say it here when he's advocating for a Caymanian to get a job that his son would be in line to get, nor does it negate that fact that full disclosure should dictate that CNS report that his son is one of two people in the London Office.

        D) Is your name Anon? Otherwise: Pot. Kettle. Black.

  12. barracuda says:

    I have to wonder how this Lord Blencathra ever qualified to be a Lord in the first place?  🙂

  13. Anonymous says:

    Could anyone believe that the Cayman Islands was getting value for money on this deal?

    That whole establishment should be re-evaluated.   If that office is really necessaryand serves any useful purpose, it should be re-organized and be manned by the right kind of people.

    I am opposed to our money being thrown away lik ta.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Is this not the same as the UK insisting the Cayman Police Chief be British not Caymanian? Bobo – stop with the double standards! It just makes you all look like spoilt children.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard's comments show that he doesn't understand how things work. I would like him to go to the U.K. for say, 5 years. That should be enough time for him to sort things out there.

  16. Just Askin' says:

    Can we send Ezzard to work in the Ukraine office?

    • Anonymous says:

      Backbenchers have too much time on their hands today. Especially those who could not keep jobs or careers, or had multiple businesses which they always failed at operating.

      if one has such a track record, what qualifies them except having  an objectionable big mouth to know what is best for Cayman?

  17. Anonymous says:

    If the names of people applying we hear being kicked around the Marl Road are anything like accurate then we are not going to have anyone in that job that will do any good whatsoever. None. Might as well send Ezzard Miller.

    • barracuda says:

      I know Ezzard, He is not going to leave my district for mother land!

      • Anonymous says:

        Because he's a very big fish in a very small pond, he's a bully and a big mouth. Northside needs a decent MLA who represents all of the community, not just his junkie neighbours or his own personal agenda.

        • Ignorance! says:

          And just who do you suggest will replace Ezzard in North Side?!  And don't tell me Santa Claus!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          18:35.  Maybe "Northside" is where you are from and it needs a good representative.North Side has a good representative in Ezzard Miller.Obviously you are one of those expat Ezzard haters who can't take the heat.You will not get rid of him by sending him to London so you will have to continue to put up with him being a tick on your backside( or you could volunteer to return to your country.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but one lucky person will get another of Cayman's worlds best jobs! And I will get to help pay!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      My Jesus, I just got a whisper today of a lady who has applied. If she gets it, it will just be parties, functions, cocktail parties and flamboyant showing off by a Caymanian-by-status putting on a pseudo British accent and entertaining phonies trying to "make it" in Cayman.

  18. Anonymous says:

    We can meet in the middle, let's close our UK office and politely ask the governor and her entourage to go home.

    This would be a huge money saving.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really, and who is going to pay for your embassies/consulates and diplomatic service around the world. Who will pay for defence, intelligence and Caribbean drug patrols, who will guarantee loans from the world markets, and who will reign in McKeeva and his cronies when they try to bankrupt the economy again?

      Easy answer, totally unaffordable, but good luck trying.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just leave us the hell alone and we'll fire our stinking politicians and pay off our loans. The next time you come here on vacation, you will have a proper Caymanian holiday, just like it used to be…..or don't you remember?

        • Anonymous says:

          Hey bobo, I am Caymanian and do remember Cayman before the self interest and corruption that has blighted this beautiful place took hold, (1960). Isolationist bigots like you have dragged this place into the gutter with your stupid, ignorant views. Cayman will not survive without the guarantees associated with being a BOT, we don't have the population, industry, resources or the expertise to be able to produce enough GDP to go alone in the world. We certainly have no clout as an independent diplomatic power or the money to pay for it.

          People like you moan when the UK intervenes in 'Caymanian affairs' and moan because they don't do enough to help 'us poor Caymanians'. Cayman got the semi autonomous status is longed for, it is for Cayman to make the best of the best option and think for themselves. Invest in tourism, build hotels, forge links with Europe and the wider world instead of putting all our eggs in the jittery US basket and strive to work hard in order to live the privileged life that is denied to many other Caribbean nations.

          So in answer to your juvenile, and frankly embarrassing response. If you want independence so much why don't you leave us alone and move to Jamaica or Trinidad to live the dream of endemic poverty, out of control crime and systemic corruption. Independence is a frightening option and one which would destroy our heritage andhistory. These Islands are British, they have always been so, and long may they remain so.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard had missed the point.  A UK insider will be far more effective than a furreigner.

  20. Chris Randall says:

    Strictly speaking, yes Lord Blencathra was the first non-Caymanian to hold the job.  But let it not be forgotton that the post was originally created specifically for retired governor Tom Russell (who received Status upon his official departure from the Islands).

    The reasoning at the time was that Mr Russell, by virtue of his lifelong service in the Colonial Office, later merged with the Foreign Office, had a wide circle of contacts and acquaintances in the upper echelons of the British Government which would prove useful in advancing the Territory's cause.

    That still seems an appropriate qualification for the position; finding someone who has spent their career to date within the Islands, yet who fits such a criterium may be difficult..

    Perhaps there is another former governor who might be interested.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bruce Dinwiddy, possibly. Most others since Tom Russell have hardly been our friends.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about Governor Scott? plenty of connections.  I believe it should be headed up by a Caymanian, Governor Thomas Russell didan excellent job and Mrs. Dilbert did a stellar job. We have very capable Caymanians available who can do the job and may I ask why not give it to one?

    • Anonymous says:

      Stuart Jack all the way Bo Bo!

    • Anonymous says:

      That was not the problem, since it was a good choice to place former Governor Russell initially in the post. The real problem however is that there was no succession planning and Caymanians did not have the benefit of Mr Russell's wide contacts and experience base. This is a common problem since Government does very little succession planning.

      What should have happened is the office should have been utilized as a post to develop younger diplomats. Instead we loaded the office with non-Caymanians and later with Caymanians who had no track record of successful performance, then we wonder why the office is dysfunctional. 

      We need to start over from scratch with that office.