Finance committee re-calls CoP over Legge security

| 12/06/2015 | 88 Comments
Cayman News Service

David Baines, Cayman Islands Commissioner of Police (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Police Commissioner David Baines has been recalled to Finance Committee in order to explain to members of the Legislative Assembly why the editor of a local daily newspaper was given police protection on the public dollar. During committee hearings on Thursday the deputy governor said the police guard for David Legge and his wife, Vicki, was for a very limited period and he believed it amounted to no more than $300. However, members requested that Baines come and justify the action to them, behind closed doors if need be.

As members questioned the alleged threat claimed by Legge, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, having offered only limited information about the personal security the couple were given, was asked to direct the commissioner to attend Friday morning.

The issue arose after Premier Alden McLaughlin delivered a statement in the Finance Committee proceedings last Friday criticizing an editorial in The Cayman Compass, which he said had accused the entire country and its people of being corrupt, and berated the editor for what he claimed was the increasing anti-Caymanian position. Following the statement, East End MLA Arden McLean proposed a government advertising boycott with the paper, which was formalized on Monday.

Following the premier’s statement, it is understood that Legge sought out the governor and claimed his life was in danger because of the comments by the premier. She reportedly advised him to visit the police commissioner and report his concerns to him. It is understood that Baines posted at least two officers to guard the Legges but on Saturday, since the RCIPS could not establish any genuine threat, the detail was stood down after the couple was escorted to the airport, where they left for the United States.

It is not clear when the Legges are expected to return but both are Caymanian and so are able to come and go at will, Manderson reminded members, as they quizzed him about what he knew relating to the drama surrounding the editor’s departure and what North Side MLA Ezzard Miller described as a “phantom threat”.

Since he left, Legge has given a number of interviews to the international press implying that he had been driven out of Cayman in fear because he raised the specter of corruption in an editorial, linking his plight to the massive FIFA corruption scandal dominating the international news headlines. Gaining limited traction from the US media and a spot on CBC radio following a story about garden gnomes, Legge has managed to cause some concerns with his media rounds.

Yesterday the Chamber of Commerce called on government to repeal the ban and for both sides to stop escalating the issue.

The advertising ban is understood to be worth more than $1 million per year, and while it is likely to be a blow to the Compass’ bottom line if it persists, The Cayman Reporter is set to gain from the potential windfall. In the immediate wake of the ban, Deon Ebanks, the publisher of the free weekly paper, confirmed he will be publishing daily from the beginning of July.

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Category: Government Finance, Local News, Media, Politics

Comments (88)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Where in the world is there no freedom of speech? Afganistan? PRC? And do we want to be on that list? Do we really want to be be a country that accuses those with differing views of ‘treason’? Are we that much of a backwards banana republic? I hope not for my child’s sake. I have taught her to be informed, to think critically. I have also conveyed to her the idea that through many voices the truth is more likely. Lets hope she can grow up to be a productive adult in a true democracy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Where in the world is there no corruption? This is a strategy by Peg-leg ,his business cost 12 million. Sounds like he needs money? All banking did for us is have someone to blame that all money laundry,spy money transfers, tax evasions, etc. only happened here.
    We need to lighten up. Stop worrying “what they say” because they have always “had something bad to say. Nothing has changed ,all the same crimes exist all over the world. We are just the “younger brother.” We’re always going to get the blame.
    Most countries in the world allow you to get your pension once you reach age. It is sad to see old people without insurance to cover dental and health even tho they pay the same price for it. It is sad to see the 3% over prime allowed for mort. 6% over prime for commercial loans. School fees and teacher salaries go up constantly but children come out with less education then my grandparents? They only had “reading writing and arithmetic”. They were in one room and 6 different grades.
    It seems to me there is no reason to excel because parents will take care of their kids plus if they don’t then Gov’t will. I have never been a beggar and if for whatever reason I didn’t have it and needed something I would save for it or get a second job. I could save by going fishing,spear fishing, getting fruits, offering my service for money . Piloting foreigners boats in through the channels, learning a new job ( sales, painting ,carpentering, plumbing, tire repair, muffler repair, electrical and roofing. There is really a lot of opportunities to collect more money.
    David Legge or anyone else can find all of these opportunities here. No reason to make up stories about” natives coming to get me”. But I do feel we should make light of David’s claim by making a youtube video, maybe with all MLAs’ and some help of some of “our natives ” in Pirate costumes and have some fun with it????
    That should stop the nonsense before some idiot actually believes his story??

  3. WaYaSay says:

    Oops, I forgot to add, I agree with those bloggers on here ……….. the CoP should also be investigating the $1 BILLION that has been lost, stolen, misplaced and unaccounted for by Government. These are ALL illegal under Cayman laws as well………. it’s my money they are effing up too.

    I agree with those that say he should start with the members of Finance Committee as they are responsible for Government’s $1B that is lost, stolen,misplaced or unaccounted for (embezzled?) ……….. Perhaps he should have taken the opportunity to do so the other day when they summonsed him……He could have killed two birds with one stone.

    Get them next time they call you up Bainsie. I will back you up.

  4. Diogenes says:

    Could they drag in CIFA to ask them what they did with the $127K of taxpayers money they were voted last year, and what they are going to do with next years allotment?

  5. WaYaSay says:

    I do not care if it was $300.00 or $300,000.00, Legge is a multi-millioaire who just found $12M to but the Compass; he can damn well afford to pay for his own security, just as I do.
    I use Scott Security and I can assure you that they could have given him any level of security his delusional self felt that he needed, including a secure drive to the airport, for a flight he had booked before he wrote the accusatory editorial.
    There was NO need for any Police security detail, a fact Baines confirmed to Finance Committee according to CNS.

    Those of you here jumping on Legge’s fraud and corruption bandwagon in defense of Baines not being called to Finance Committee, I beg to remind you that both fraud and corruption are illegal activities under Cayman law; so is threats of bodily harm, if they exist.

    If these three crimes are as rampant as Legge says they are, guess whose job it ultimately is to stamp them out………you guessed it…..Baines, the Chief of Police.
    Perhaps Finance Committee needs to call Baines back again to explain his huge salary……much more than $300.00……
    I have not seen any arrests for either of these three crimes since Legge and the Compass “exposed” them and Legge surely has the evidence to back up his claims.

    How are we ever going to stamp out all this corruption, if the CoP does not even form a task force, when his friend tells him about corruption and fraud, time, after time, after time, after time.
    Who can blame the Editorial Board of the Compass for shouting it from their Front Page if the CoP is making no arrests, even when he tells him he is being threatened with bodily harm and points out the fraud and corruption that he, Legge knose all the details about?

    I hope I have given everyone something in this post to thumb down. I also hope I have given you something to think about……..Crime and punishment.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been out of the loop for a couple if days and delighted to see WaYaSay holding the banner high. Great job! Passion and good sense.

  6. The Country with no Plan .,, says:

    I have read the comments so for the benefit of all bloggers will summarize:
    1. Deon Ebanks, Caymanian, Editor of Cayman Reporter, a small, once a week publication, reacted like all business’s do when they see room to increase their sales and market share and announced he would increase his frequency of publication. Caymanian response: Who he related to? Seriously – some of us should stop embarrassing our Country!
    2. The Chamber of Commerce speaks out as they need to protect commerce for their members and a business subscriber. Yet no comment from the Chamber about crime, which is driving us to employee security officers ( albeit non-caymanians) to increase the cost of our living- but no response from the Chamber. As long as we buying from their businesses – who cares how much the prices are? They are their to ensure the success of the subscribers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Who is he related to? In the context of inter-related self-benefit in a small but high value economy it is a very relevant question.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous at 3:46 am — you should try sleeping rather than writing these confused comments. What you are doing is dragging a red herring around and hoping that the stench — you have created — will distract people from the more likely reality: The unintended consequences of the CompAss’s stupidity became an opportunity for another businessman.

        I love a good conspiracy as much as the next man, but the whole chess game you are suggesting would have required the vision and craftiness of a genius.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks for that Deon

        • Anonymous says:

          I do like the irony of a government embargo on the Compass for trying to highlight corruption, and then give the contract to a family friend through nepotism. It is just beautiful, even if not true

          • Anonymous says:

            As you know very well Govt. was not at all concerned about Legge supposedly trying to highlight corruption. Who has said that the contract has been given to anyone?

    • Anonymous says:

      Country wit no Plan — you are spot on right. You have my vote! Take several thumbs up!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t the CoP be calling up the finance committee on how they have managed (poor choice of words) to lose track of a billion dollars so far? Or would that be considered treason?

    • Anonymous says:

      That issue has nothing to do with Finance Committee. It figures you would be eager for him to investigate Caymanians but no one else.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Finance Committee is a joke.

  9. It really illustrates how pathetic the Cayman Government is. Small-minded people who are prepared to let multi-million dollar fraud slide, yet are prepared to spend – no doubt – many thousands of dollars pursuing a vendetta over a trivial matter. They are embarrassing the country in the eyes of the outside world and they don’t seem to care.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% agree.

    • Anonymous says:

      Trivial? Are you referencing the Compass editorial in question? Clearly you have no connection whatsoever with the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        The editorial was the exercise of free speech. The reaction to it showed how sick the jurisdiction is.

        • Anonymous says:

          The reaction is not sick; the editorial could be seen as such. Try it in Saudi Arabia.

          • Anonymous says:

            try allowing your wife to drive in saudi arabia.

            And the editorial was stating that people in Cayman are blind to corruption, and the proof is on his side.

            Instead of the premier blaming and threatening the messenger, maybe he should deal with the message.

            1) how is it legal to use government funds to gamble with, a crime in itself in the CI.
            2) how many people have been charged over the gasboy scandel, and why is it still going on?
            3) paving voters private car parks and driveways in the brac with tax payers money, all normal in Cayman and all swept under the rug.

            If Caymanians reacted to the gross injustices those in power commit against them the sam ethey react to those who highlight it, maybe something maybe done.

            • Anonymous says:

              Lol. If one is a recipient of one of the 2003 status grants one must be equally blind to corruption

              • Anonymous says:

                not necessarily, i’m sure some deserving people got status, but Legge said Caymanians, he has status so is Caymanian, so he did not differentiate himself from the editorial.

                • Anonymous says:

                  It doesn’t matter whether you think they were deserving or not. The process was corrupt and he was one of the beneficiaries. He most certainly did distinguish himself. he kept referring to “they”. I have come to understand that some people are only “Caymanian” when it suits them.

      • La la land says:

        He knows the Cayman Islands all too well and had the courage to call a spade a spade. You just can’t h so handle the truth.

        • Anonymous says:

          La La Land — you and the said publisher must be together in La La Land. You are not talking about that guy who has spent his time hobnobbing with the well heeled in Cayman! He does not even know himself!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Crying loudly over $300 spent to cover up the 1 billion (so far) unaccounted for? Crying loudly when your called corrupt to cover up your never ending headlines of corruption? Your not helping your current situation. The world judges you by what you do and not what you say. Now you look like a loudly crying corrupt country.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Legge has been on a relentless international media campaign about how the Cayman government “put a target on his back” and he was in fear of his life. Be the cost USD $3,000.00, KYD $300.00 or JAD $3.00 – it is necessary to get to the bottom of the matter. Therefore I consider the summon of Baines completely justified.

    Personally, the cost of this ridiculous debacle is totally irrelevant.

    Very telling that after all of his time here, Legge still felt the need to run away because the “local savages” are coming! Eff’ him and every other prejudiced “Caymanian” that thinks that way. (And we know your numbers are significant.)

    Such people do not deserve to enjoy this beautiful island-nation as a legal resident.

    It is my sincere hope that each and every person that supports or empathises with Legge’s actions will take similar action and leave us “savages” be. Forever.

    *Legge reminds me of the characters from the schoolbooks and movies that portrayed the native people as wild and aggressive cannibals that inexplicably attacked the all-righteous and loving European “explorers”.

    Some people need to open a window and realise it’s 2015 out here.

    • Anonymous says:

      The reference to some Caymanians as “Caymanian” – everyday racism.

      • Anonymous says:

        When it is convenient you include yourselves as Caymanians when you want to make derogatory comments then you distinguish. You are a hypocrite.

    • Frank Frankly says:

      “Some people need to open a window and realise it’s 2015 out here.”

      Well, in most civilized, democratic places in 2015, people are allowed to express their opinions – even unpopular ones – without the government winding people up into a frenzy with words like “treason.” Your agree-with-me/us-or-leave-us-forever attitude smacks of base mob mentality and if anything, disproves the exact point you are trying to make.

      Legge said some bold things, with which some people agree and some people vehemently disagree (probably because it hits a little too close to home). However, in a democratic society, Legge – or anyone else – should be able to say whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t break any laws.

      I would tend to agree with the premise that Legge looks down on most Caymanians, but there’s no law against that. I know a number of Caymanians who look down on most Caymanians and some of them are elected officials. You don’t have to like Legge and you don’t have to buy his newspaper. But to try and stop him from expressing his opinion just because you don’t like it is the action of a uncivilized person/people, whatever label you want to us.

  12. Sharkey says:

    I think that this issue should not be handled and talked about behind closed doors, the premier started this in the open floor of the LA , and it should be finished in the open floor of the LA . I also agree with the Chamber Council that the boycott to the Compass be repealed, I would have also demand for an apology because this is no way for politicians to behave . I think that what Mr Legge said would not have had much meaning if the premier did not use the words that he used , and how he used those words .

  13. Anonymous says:

    What actually is the Finance Committee for? It does not exercise any teeth but seems to pass every budget and engages in no forensic discussion of finances.

  14. Pithy Helmet says:

    Well, well, well, if private individuals can get 24 hour security from RCIP, apparently at a bargain rate, why on earth does CI Govt have to contract all these expensive private security guards to watch over its offices? Can’t they just use cops instead?!

    Maybe the Compass could ask the Auditor General to investigate.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Strange??…cheapest security in Cayman…Is Baines in the business?..How much does police officers get paid..

  16. Anonymous says:

    God forbid if something happened to Legge
    …easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.
    We hired the COP for his experience and judgement..let him be…$300 please?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I presume Legge was a status holding Caymanian, if so then as a citizen of these islands he was entitled to ask for protection and the police were duty bound to respond. Now, don’t think for one minute I think it was necessary, but if, (and note I say if) something had happened, it would have cost the RCIPS an awful lot more than $300 in compensation.
    To be honest, it was probably one PC in a patrol car doing what they do best, talking on his phone all night and eating patties. Really, it is no big deal, just the big mouths from EE and NS making trouble as usual.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I thought Legge was a garden gnome!!!???

  19. Anonymous says:

    Just when you thought the MLAs could get no more self-obsessed and petty-minded . . .

  20. Anonymous says:

    How about discussing something that’s important and relevant to their role. For example Guzzleboy, and the protocol for documenting travel expenses for government officials, MLA’s etc.

    • kenny says:

      Senior civil servants have been publishing their travels for years now. Thanks to the deputy governor

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the politicians have set up a soft target to pander to the electorate which means they don’t have to do things that are right but less popular with those that benefit from the high levels of low-level and not-so-low-level corruption that is rife in the local economy.

  21. Annonymous says:

    why in creation’s name does Cayman allow in people like Legge and give him status on the bargain? Cayman does not need these ‘wanna be’s’ who do nothing but stir up strife and bring our country down.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wonder what level of security one gets for $ 300. In any event, I am glad this is looked at further. People want Government to be accountable and scrutinize but then complain when they do. In this case, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about $ 300 or $ 3,000 it is a matter of principle.

    On another note, are we still paying for that security officer outside Bulgin’s house?

  23. Anon and on and on..... says:

    I’m with the CoP on this one. We have now have to live with the story of the Legge’s “fleeing” the country under police protection while pursued by the rest of us waving pitchforks and machetes. This is bad enough. But consider if the CoP had told Legge (he once worked for the Washington Post, you know) to “grow up” and someone (who would have absolutely no connection to the Editorial Board) was to throw a brick through a window or two and the Legge’s then have to “run the gauntlet” to Owen Roberts to take their pre booked flight to MIA, then the story would have been much worse.

    Interviews and coverage would have extended beyond a “home town radio station” and the Washington Post (I have heard that David may have worked for them in the past, you know).

    I’m waiting for the movie to come out. Tom Cruise as David, Dame Helen Mirren as HE the G, Idris Elba as Hon Prem and Pinocchio as the CoP. Other cast members?

    The initial editorial was not handled well by CIG, but once the perceived threat was put to the CoP his hands were tied. “The highest in the Land knew of my fears and nothing was done. We were fleeing for our lives……”

  24. Anonymous says:

    At a time when the world’s press is focussed on allegations that Cayman politicians are vain, vindictive and petty-minded, they do something like this?

  25. Rp says:

    Spending two hours to discuss a 300 dollar issue. Meanwhile, 150k EY financial consulting report is sitting on the shelf. I say instead of speeding finance committee time on 300 dollars maybe we should spend that same time discussing the findings of the EY report.

  26. Rp says:

    Why are we wasting more funds on this topic? Alden, we don’t need two hours of finance committee and CoP wasted on this topic for no benefit to the country. Finance committee has more important things to worry about. I don’t agree with legge’s latest actions but let’s move on…

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly the MLA do not have more important things to discuss. The level of debate is juvenile in the extreme. Banal questions that one gets the impression are asked not to discover any truth but because “they can”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t you remember the days before the PMFL, 6:31, when they used to go on for hours and hours about the votes for ‘telephone charges”? They LOVED it. It was because they knew what a telephone was and what a charge was. Most of the time they don’t understand what is really needed by civil service depts -especially from the technical departments-Lands and Survey/Planning/Computers -when they love to try to pretend they are smart and know it all so they huff and puff and behave like kids in a playpen…until something like Legge’s “treason” (God help us) comes along and they all know how to spout the “we are proud Caymanians defending our blah blah blah ” line and it takes the attention off how mediocre they really are.

    • Anonymous says:

      It appears that the Finance Committee has nothing more important to talk about. There are so many things off the agenda like the missing billions, the nepotism (understandable in such a small community), the growing divide between the haves and have nots, the high rates of worklessness among a certain section of society, the continued commissioning of expensive consultants whose advise is ignored and/or reports sanitized, the failure of the MLA’s to declare themselves unable to speak on particular topics because of vested interest. The list is endless and I wish I had the answer but I am humble, unconnected driftwood that loves CayMan.

  27. Just Curious says:

    So if we add up the salaries of the members of Finance Committee, that of the Commish, divide them by the number of hours spent on this, do we get a figure higher than $300?

  28. Anonymous says:

    It involves the country’s finances, and it is a joke to call it an operational matter. The funny thing is if govt. funds were spent to benefit private individuals who happen to be Caymanians (obviously the Legges don’t really consider themselves Caymanian) like travelgate and driveway paving you would be all for it. It wouldn’t be a witch hunt then.

    • Pogo says:

      At least it would be a witch hunt involving a material sum of money, but alas it will never take place because people in power in Cayman do not question others dipping into the trough – they reserve that for outsiders, johnny come latelys and those without the right kind of connections.

      I don’t disagree with your view point, but I think before we get too excited about 2 coppers guarding a paranoid individual overnight we should get far more concerned about issues like how $6 million in tax payers money was not recovered from Michael Ryan, or why 23 years on we still don’t have proper controls over GASBOY, or why despite CIFA officials being up to their necks in allegations of wrong doing the LA has blindly renewed its tax payer subscription without even finding out where the money has gone – just to name the stuff in the paper this week before we even get onto the paving and travelgate issues.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a load of BS. Ezzard spends more from is excessive publicly funded salary on lunch than it cost to send a spare PC to Legges house for a few hours. You people love a drama don’t you. Get real.

  29. Really, Now.... says:

    To work:12 am: sorry, Bud, government funds are not to be used for private purposes for friends/relatives/private sector sycophants, etc. etc.

    When funds are voted, it is not up to a governemnt agency to decide willy billy how to use it. Every governemnt agency is required to use the money for the specific purposes for which it was allocated in the budget.

    I have looked at the budget document: no where does it say fund allaying non-existent (or even if it is a real) threats to stupid private sector Woosies after they have insulted the people and become pussy cats.

    • SSM345 says:

      With regards to your explanation on the use of public funds for private purposes, as an example, can you lament on when we can expect an investigation into the Brac Paving Program then?

      • Anonymous says:

        As far as I can see, no investigation is even needed. Pretty clear what happened and continues to happen. What’s needed is a public will to stop this. Maybe that’s what D L is calling a culture of corruption, yes?

    • Get real says:

      So you turned the fridge away during the election? Or did you opt for the driveway?

    • Anonymous says:

      Does it state that it is ok to use a givernment credit card to gamble in Miami ormfor that matter hire security guards while there.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Now I wonder who Deon Ebanks is related to??.

    • Anomymous says:

      Good move Finance Committee — now let’s get some hard ball questions.

      To 10:13: don’t forget who triggered this whole spectacle — Legge. In fact, you could consider the expansion of The Reporter as an unintended consequence. That is a term which usually carries negative connotations, but in this case I actually think it is a good thing. A little competition might just be what is needed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Certainly not your ma! Ole boy/gal whatever you be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you ask the same question about Legge?

  31. Anonymous says:

    A witch hunt at its worst. It is not for Finance Committee to drag in the CoP on an limited operational matter like this.

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