McField on ministry payroll
(CNS): A freedom of information request has revealed that local attorney Steve McField has been contracted by the premier’s ministry as a legal consultant to research a range of policy matters, from legal aid to national honours. According to the “scope of services” in the contract, McField is required to review and advise on government business, undertake legal research, assist with the development of a “country strategy” and nation building, as well as interpret opinions, case laws and other documents, advising the premier on appropriate action. McField is being paid CI$7,000 per month and the ministry confirmed that up to September he had received a total of $77,000 from the public purse.
The first contract for this consultancy position of “Senior Analyst, Legal Research and Development” was for a period of seven months and was signed on 1 November 2010. A second was then signed in June this year for a further seven month period ending 31 December 2011, the FOI request, which was made by a CNS reader, revealed.
The contract states: “The consultant is engaged in the business of conducting research and advise on legal issues and will provide advice on policy development, institutional development and historical development and has considerable skill, knowledge and experience in those said fields.”
The list of services in the first schedule on the contract is wide ranging and indicates that McField is being employed as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development, as well as to the office of the premier, and that he takes his instructions from and reports directly to the minister.
The schedule lists nine services with subcategories that require McField to “advise and research policy development, institutional development and historical development,” among other issues.
The requirements go well beyond the legal aid research that McField was originally assisting government with, when the premier removed the budget from the courts during his first year in office with the view to opening a public defender’s office. Since then, that funding has been returned to the chief justice and the legal aid programme is still being managed by judicial administration after the proposal for the office, which McField was earmarked to head up, was dropped in the wake of the review committee’s findings.
The contract still includes a requirement for McField to examine the reform of the legal aid system but it also contracts the local attorney to a much wider remit. It calls on the lawyer to research and evaluate other government policies and proposals, including investment, the development of Caymanians and the priorities for government to achieve a sustainable economy. It also speaks about advising on nation building, as well as offering legal advice.
During the period of the contract McField has acted as a courtroom advocate for the UDP government backbench MLA Dwayne Seymour, who faced charges of perverting the course of justice relating to an incident outside a Seven Mile Beach Hotel in May 2010, but who was eventually acquitted.
The attorney is also acting on behalf of McKeeva Bush, who has filed a law suit against the owner of Cayman News Service, Nicky Watson and her reporter Wendy Ledger, as well as Randy Merren, the owner of the local radio station Rooster, and Daphne Orrett, a caller to the show.
It is not clear if the premier is paying McField separately from his own funds as his personal attorney in those cases or if the lawyer is undertaking that work as part of this government contract.
|FOI response - Steve McField contracts with Ministry FT&D.pdf||119.85 KB|
|Steve McField contract 1st Nov 2010.pdf||339.93 KB|
|Steve McField contract 1st June 2011.pdf||939.34 KB|
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