Emails show tensions in ‘Ozziegate’

| 06/01/2015 | 19 Comments
Cayman News Service

Minister Osbourne Bodden (right) and Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn

(CNS) Updated: The email exchange which led to the controversial verbal assault by cabinet minister Osbourne Bodden on his chief officer, Jennifer Ahearn, last month reveals that he was seeking a reimbursement for the use of his phone for government business, despite being unable to properly account for it. Meanwhile, the opposition leader has raised concerns that Bodden breached the penal code with his abusive attack and said the matter could not be “swept under the carpet”.

Despite Premier Alden McLaughlin’s decision to swap ministries with his political colleague in the hope that the ‘Ozziegate’ scandal will be forgotten, the issue continues to raise public concern. Some believe that Bodden, now community affairs minister, has not been held accountable for the incident and that he should have resigned from Cabinet.

Although the government members have all remained silent on the issue, including Tara Rivers, the employment and gender affairs minister, the opposition members have raised a number of questions.

Ezzard Miller said Monday that instead of the resignations he had expected to see, “everyone has been promoted”. The independent member for North Side said that Bodden should have stepped down and when he didn’t the premier should have removed him, and not, Miller suggested, rewarded him with an easier portfolio for the same salary. Out on a limb on this issue, however, Miller has also publicly called for Ahearn’s resignation because of the divisive nature of the situation and what he said was her inability to work with the minister she was assigned to. But, he noted, she too had advanced as a result of the situation now that she was working with the premier.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition, McKeeva Bush, is calling for an open enquiry and is questioning why Bodden has not been arrested as he believes the minister’s actions were potentially criminal. Bush also queried why the premier didn’t publicly spell out the reasons for his decision to shift Ahearn into his ministry and swap portfolios with Bodden. Bush told CNS that he is meeting with the governor over the issue and believes the minister should face the consequences.

Bush added that when Rolston Anglin, the former UDP education minister, was arrested for and later charged for drinking and driving following a car crash in May 2012, McLaughlin, then opposition leader, called repeatedly for the minister’s resignation. But now, Bush said, when McLaughlin’s own minister had publicly attacked his senior officer, the premier was trying to make the whole thing go away.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, however, has categorically denied that he called for Anglin’s resignation, telling CNS by text that the allegation was “patently untrue”. CNS understands that it was, in fact, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller who publicly called for Anglin’s resignation.

The email exchange believed to have triggered the minister’s outburst and his short apology after the fact were released to CNS Tuesday. However, the ministry has not released the details of the phone bill that is allegedly behind the dispute or the amount that was in question, for which the minister was insisting he was reimbursed.

In a curse email to Ahearn at 7:34 on the morning of 10 December (which is posted below) the minister demands that the refund he believes he is entitled to be made before Christmas and takes Ahearn to task for not responding before to his enquiries about the phone bill reimbursement. The chief officer responded at 10:14am, explaining the process and a number of problems presented by Bodden’s request, not least the necessary trail for auditors. Covering in detail what the issues are, Ahearn points out that it is not a straightforward matter and explains why it was taking time to address.

It is understood that the outburst and what Bodden admits in his apology was the “loud and embarrassing shouting” happened shortly after the minister received Ahearn’s 10:14 email. It appears that the minister berated and insulted the chief officer, using expletives, and questioned her Caymanian status when he allegedly suggested that she was as “Caymanian as a piece of f^*!ing driftwood”.

A short apology was emailed to Ahearn the following day on 11 December. Although the minister says he is “sorry for the outburst” and that “I regret this ever happened”, his apology to Ahearn and the staff follows an effort to justify his behaviour, when he states that he felt like “a liar and a thief” because of the requests for more information to justify the phone bill refund.

Email exchange between Osbourne Bodden and Jennifer Ahearn 10 December 2014

Emailed apology from Osbourne Bodden to Jennifer Ahearn 11 December 2014

Related Viewpoint: F….kng Driftwood by 101

Related articles on CNS:

Ozzie in major row with CO

Cabinet shuffled for Ozzie

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Politics

Comments (19)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Driftwood says:

    People we put them in and we can take them out!!!

  2. Driftwood says:

    A a piece o driftwood myself I am willing to be a part of a March to oust Ozzie from office if Alden is not willing to fire him. I therefore call upon all the f@!”ing drift woods and none driftwood alike who are of the belief that Ozzie should go let us meet at the GOAB this Friday afternoon and let our voices be heard! One thing I know he can’t touch this piece of F#@!ing driftwood!

  3. CaymansList says:

    Perfectly Stated…

  4. ShehnZen says:

    “without the courtesy of a reply” – Osbourne. What a joke, a taste of
    his own medicine. Not one of you so-called honorable ministers EVER
    return emails, much less anybody else in government.

    Sending emails to ANYONE in CIG is akin to having a one-way conversation.

  5. CaymansList says:

    Understood, Thanks CNS

  6. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiN says:

    The comments by Ms Ahern in the email indicate that the CI government is wasting loads of money on mobile data roaming charge when MLAs or anyone else with a government issued cell phone leaves the island. Who is in charge of negotiating the mobile plans for government? They need to be held accountable.

    • CaymansList says:

      Which Mobile plans the CIG uses is not he point here, The issue is about Ozzies abusive behavior.

      Don’t try to water it down..

      • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiN says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I am disgusted by his behavior and think he should resign on his own or be fired. I also think he should be facing criminal charges. There are big signs in all government offices that say his abusive behavior is criminal and would result in a visit to the police station for ordinary folks. I am not sure why that does not apply in this case. If I went off like he did to the person helping me renew my vehicle licence I would be off to jail immediately.

        My point was that if he ran up significant roaming charges on his government issued cell phone there is money being wasted and whoever is in charge is not doing their job. When I travel with my work issued phone I get a text message when I am approaching my data limit to warn me that I am getting close.

  7. caymannurse says:

    If you’re going to tell someone their request is null and void, and that you’re not going to move it forward, you may want to not wait 2 weeks to do it next time…..

  8. Nitocog says:

    Especially those who have businesses as they use our money to live on while they attend to their own business! Why is it that scandals and accusations of corruption are only made based on who does it? If some of this government’s actions and scandals had been done by other politicians from the previous govt then there would be major uproars, calls to talk shows and Alden would be on the radio ever day! My my how times have changed now that the shoe is on the other foot. Such hypocrisy!

    • CaymansList says:

      It all comes down to the opposition. Alden when sitting on the opposition side of the table chose to oppose and fight against everything the sitting government did whether it was in the best interest of Cayman or not. Unlike Alden, Bush seems to be willing to work with the sitting government and not fight them at every turn just for the sake of fighting. Alden got into office by jumping on the anti Bush bandwagon as well as the OMOV and Keep BT Dump Free bandwagon. He offered no alternative solution on his own which explains why they have done anything. He constantly fought against the sitting government on everything making it hard for them to do their jobs regularly called for people to step down or be removed for less than what Ozzie did. And the way he handles that is to put the man that is known for being abusive to his colleagues and harbors resentment to Non Caymanians in a position to influence young Caymanians and act as a roll model. This just show that he agrees with and condones his behavior.

      Hell of a message to pass down to the younger generation.

  9. Mickey says:

    I love the apology (Insert sarcasm). Ozzie still won’t accept responsibility-blaming a bad day and his health. Just say sorry, accept full responsibility and move forward. Don’t try and excuse your way out of a jam that your large and immature mouth got you into. Retire fat man, you’re way out of your league.

  10. A piece of Driftwood says:

    Why wouldn’t CNS white out the name of the person who printed the email? Their name is shown right at the very top of the page. Who wants their name out there as the leak?

  11. Fred the Piemaker says:

    I see. It was Ahern’s fault for making Ozzie feel like he was in the wrong in asking for the supporting documentation that the Auditor General would expect to see. Glad we have cleared that up – the CO should be ashamed of herself for asking the Minister adhere to the standards required by any employer, let alone those receiving public monies.

  12. caimanincayman says:

    Quoting Arthur Brisbane “Use a picture, is worth a thousand words”

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Alden. This is not going away. You handled it poorly and it may cost you the election next time around. There is right and there is avoiding making the hard decisions. You did the latter.

    By the way how is OMOV coming?

    You need to stop letting the people down. You are not what you said you would be during the election,not are your running mates.
    Time to grow a pair and do what is right not what protects your buddies. That is not what we voted for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.