Watson handed seven-year term

| 05/02/2016 | 110 Comments
Cayman News Service

Canover Watson exits the courthouse after being found guilty of corruption

(CNS): Canover Watson, who was convicted yesterday in the hospital CarePay corruption case, has begun serving a seven-year sentence in HMP Northward after Justice Michael Mettyear delivered his sentencing ruling Friday morning. Based on UK guidelines, the judge handed out concurrent seven-year terms for the conspiracy convictions and three-year terms for the counts of conflict of interest and breach of trust. The judge said that, as a non-violent or sexual offence, the sentence should not be so long as “to crush” the man’s spirit but he said the 45-year-old George Town man had acted out of greed.

Watson, whose lawyer described him as “ruined” by his fall from grace, faced condemnation from the judge. Justice Mettyear said the evidence against him was overwhelming but instead of pleading guilty, he twisted and turned and invented a detailed and complicated web of lies. “You have not shown a jot of remorse,” he noted.

Justice Mettyear said Watson was able to succeed because of position of power and trust as chair of the Health Services Authority Board and had little regard for the people he was working for. He was “supremely confident” of his ability and used his position and reputation to ensure that senior officials accepted his word and not question his conduct.

“You are a certified accountant and you behaved shamelessly,” the judge said, as he pointed to the many falsified documents. “You fooled a number of senior civil servants and possibly a minister and tried to fool the jury, but there you failed,” he said. “You were already a wealthy man when you started. This was sheer greed and contempt for your fellow Caymanians.”

The judge said he was prepared to accept that Jeffrey Webb, a convicted racketeer, was the senior partner controlling the bank accounts, but he said Watson played his part in full. “I am satisfied that, of the two, you are the cleverer,” he said.

The judge also set a timetable for a confiscation hearing regarding the kickbacks and payments Watson creamed off in conspiracy with Webb. In relation to the original contract, the two men took over $2 million for themselves, he said, but if the launch of the CarePay system gone as planned, they would have taken more than $3 million. Although the potential kickbacks from the national rollout are not exactly known, the crown claims that if things had gone according to plan, they could have enriched themselves by more than $8 million from the public purse.

The judge said he had asked Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran, who led the crown’s case, if there was a legal way to bar Watson from serving as a director in any company in the future but he was advised that no such legislation exists in Cayman. However, he then made a recommendation to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and other relevant entities that Watson not be allowed to hold a licence and he directed that the accounting body under which Watson is certified was notified of his conviction.

Following his ruling, the judge sent Watson down to the cells to begin serving his seven-year term. He then commended the two RCIPS Anti-corruption Unit officers, Richard Oliver and Anthony Hill, for what he described as their “magnificent detective work” on the case.

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Comments (110)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice touch the judge asking about director disqualification. Of course Cayman does not have that. Might get in the way of people making money, either as directors or advisers.for those directors. Heaven forbid that some element of civilised regulation gets in the way of making money.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok DPP for many years you’ve been only really arresting the common man on the street and jailing him for a little dried grass giving the public the perception that you’re actually doing a good job, when the truth is that a lot of the guys in northward should be in treatment centers, and trade schools. I got to say that I’m quite impressed that this “white collar thief” is going to jail where he needs to be. Now lets not stop here the DPP/ Police need to focus more on these kinds on individuals that commit crimes and go about their day looking like respected citizens. Let’s investigate his entire circle of friends now and put more people behind bars that actually need to be there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Da wha ya get, shoulda gone to quick images

  4. Arthur Rank says:

    Isn’t it strange, there was mention in this trial of two politicians, but never a word was heard from them. Their comments would have been most illuminating, particularly, why they gave so much support for the proposed card system.
    I am sure that their thoughts and actions were blameless, but their silence is surely going to surprise many. Of course, it is important to understand that they were silent because they were not called to give evidence, but why, very strange!

  5. Nut a Caymanian nor a Jamaican says:

    I do knot tink that he his ah Caymanian or ah Jamaican. I tink he his just ah plane tief. Hand putting hymn inn the sells width those young men his only going to make them bee come white collar criminals when they come out of prison. This man tink he was sew smart that he out smart him self. May is time in prison gives hymn sum time to sit back hand sea how he as destroyed the level of trust when compared to others that holds positions similar to ones that he as held. Such a shame tief.

  6. Sharkey says:

    @ Ex-Patriot, that’s a good resume but you forgot to include the 7 years that he got for northward prison. , that should also be included .

  7. Sharkey says:

    I wonder what has happened about his company that he had the spread sheet for in court . If that company is still active, could he still be able to use his spread sheets from prison and continue, El Chapo did it .


    Disqualifications for elected membership
    62.—(1) No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly

    (e) is serving or has served a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding twelve months imposed on him or her by a court in any country…or has been convicted by any court in any country of an offence involving dishonesty;

    • Anonymous says:

      The absolute nature of this bar is possibly contrary to human rights norms. Nelson Mandela would have been barred from running.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nelson Mandela didn’t go to jail for “an offence involving dishonesty.”

      • Fred the piemaker says:

        Mandela was convicted of an offence involving dishonesty? Think not. BTW, you think it’s a good time to let those with convictions for dishonesty be elected? Bad enough to have the ones that have not been convicted.

      • Anonymous says:

        Human rights are subject to something called “the margin of appreciation” and different jurisdictions can set different rules depending on their circumstances and an interference in such rights can be justified if it meets a legitimate aim and is proportionate to that aim, and is lawful. The ban on running would be lawful, because it is enshrined in the Constitution. So if a convicted felon wanted to challenge such a ban, on human rights grounds, they would need to show that despite, arguably, there being a legitimate aim to prevent persons convicted of serious crimes from running the country, that the criteria to assess what level of criminality would lead to such a ban was disproportinate to that aim….. That would be a difficult argument to make in this case?

  9. H G Nowak says:

    Just another day in Paradise !

  10. A Nony Mouse says:

    Should have been at least 15 years, or at minimum CONSECUTIVE sentences. These were serious charges and serious amounts of we the people’s money. He compounded the crimes by LYING about it!! I saw no charge of perjury included. I hope the crown urges for INCREASED sentencing, if he is even fool enough to appeal on sentencing!

    One word – COMPENSATION (well, maybe two – FORFEITURE!)

    Let him live in a small rented house, like all of us now losing our homes to corrupt bankers low-balling valuations!

  11. Boogie on Down says:

    Its a real pity we can’t all get our matters dealt with so expeditiously by our legal system Some poor victims out here have to wait for eternity to see their cases heard and thrown out for lack of evidence.

  12. Sharkey says:

    I’ was hoping for about 17 years I wish the Judge had more laws on the crimes that Watson committed so the time could have doubled . He is a dishonest disgrace to the Cayman Islands. I think that the Judge thinks the same , but he had to use his words more professional than me ..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bet here’s a job waiting for him at HSA when he gets out.

  14. Ex-Patriot says:

    Mr. Canover Watson serves as Managing Director and head of Business Development of Admiral Administration Limited (also known as Admiral Financial Group). Mr. Watson joined Admiral in 1997. He serves as Board Chairman of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, Director of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, Deputy Chairman of the Immigration Review Team, and a member of numerous community organizations. He served as a Director of III Global Ltd. until November 1, 2012. He is the recipient of the 2007 Young Caymanian Leadership Award. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of Stetson University in Florida where he earned his Masters and Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting. He also served as a member of FIFA’S audit and compliance committee and a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union.
    Since his criminal convictions, Mr. Watson has been converted to Jamaican.
    Kayman Kind….at its best.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ex-Patriot 7:05: Mr. Watson is a THIEF whether Jamaican or Caymanian. those credentials don’t make him a special person or ultra dynamic. He just racked up a lot being active in his industry out pure arrogance….and wanting those notches on his belt. he proved what he truly is but stealing from the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your nationality can be changed various times but not your DNA.

      Ever heard the saying, “You can take them out of the bush but you can’t take the bush out of them” ?

      “Cut them down to the stump like a maiden plum tree, but from the root they will surely grow back”

      All of mankind will show their DNA began in Africa. This is where it all started, despite fair skin, blue eyes, blond hair, squinted eyes, short statures etc etc…..

      Ever heard of the white supremacist in a small town in the US (can’t remember his name) and when his DNA was checked, he had 15% DNA from subsaharan Africa. He was kicked out of town by his followers.

  15. blueballs says:

    Rumour has it he stashed a lot of money in a numbered account in the Cayman Islands….

  16. Cayman Reciprocity says:

    Wow the wheels of justice sure spin super fast for this guy Canover Watson. Wow!!!! This guy got more time than some murderers and heinous sex offenders around this place??????? Trial and sentence all in one never seen it done in the history of these islands.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Nomore HumptyHump dance parties?
    See u in 3years..

  18. Anonymous says:

    Not long enough. Once again…Cayman is weak on handing out proper (lengthy) terms.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well what the hell you would say about the white woman that ran away scotch free with our $300,000.00

      • Anonymous says:

        That she should unequivocally be sitting in Fairbanks, and that she is not is as a result of a decision by our legal department.

        • Skinny says:

          Also a shame that the board had secret negotiations with said suspect for a considerable length of time. Also a shame that they didn’t report the theft for a considerable length of time whilst said negotiations were carried out, but they got there money back with interest.
          The above is all common knowledge and out there. The more you read and hear about this shambles makes you think the DPP actually had there hands tied

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank God. For too long Cayman has turned a blind eye to corruption, conflicts of interest and general dishonesty. The attitude of poor so and so, he’s sorry and got in over his head has to stop. People must learn that there are consequences for their actions.

    • I. C. Kleerly says:

      “People must learn that there are consequences for their actions”? Well, for some of them….. but not all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good result. At last the Courts actually dont shy away from justice to one their own. Young Caymanian Leader Award recipient dont forget..

  20. Just Thinking says:

    Something good can still come out of this!
    Give him an Excel spreadsheet and he can teach the other prisoners the art of doodling…

  21. Anonymous says:

    God soon come a’ knocking on his cell door – you wait n see!

  22. JTB says:

    This is a positive development for Cayman. There will be those who say that this shames Cayman, but we are already damned in the eyes of the world. This case shows that contrary to our public image and the usual stereotype, Cayman can confront and deal with corruption. I hold no animus against Mr Watson, but he appears to have had a more than fair trial and a judicious sentence. No doubt he will appeal but I do not think anything will come of that. Kudos to the FCU officers on the case, and to the Deputy DPP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can not see why this will shame Cayman or Caymanians. He committed the crimes on his own will not on behalf of any one else? We, like any other society have criminals in our mist.
      Cayman should be proud our system is able to deal with these corrupt “officials”, some more work still to be done. I am sure a lot was learned during this case, especially the ties in

  23. Anonymous says:

    “You fooled a number of senior civil servants and possibly a minister …” yeah, right!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Again one of Cayman’s most successful. There are those who still Jamaicans are the most corrupted in this island. Is that still the case today? Well done to those who had the strength to step up and speak up.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is Jamacian – he came to Cayman in his teens … so if the shoe fits .. well …

      • Anonymous says:

        He is Jamaican of Caymanian descent….. His paternal grandparents(Watson/ Forbes) migrated to St Elizabeth, Jamaica from East End in the mid 1930’s.

        • Anonymous says:

          Deport him!

        • Anonymous says:

          So all the Caymanians with a Jamaican/Scottish great-grand parent from Jamaica/Scotland make them Jamaican/Scottish? Don’t think so…… he is as Jamaican as they come and he had no respect for this country and people except what he could get from it, sadly like so many Jamaican status holders. Their historical dislike of Caymanians is still rampant regardless of how we have allowed them so many privileges.

        • Anonymous says:

          He is a criminal whose status should be revoked and he should be deported.

    • Anonymous says:

      Canover IS Jamaican….like it or not.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? I guess all the criminals in Cayman were born in the land of wood and water. Which one was born in Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t mean to get technical, but….. he is a Jamaican…. Just sayin

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol. If he had discovered the cure for cancer, the Jamaicans would be crowing down the place about how “him one a we”. But as usual, they hate to admit the same when it is one of them caught up in dirty doings.

    • Anonymous says:

      Glad that justice was served, but it’s all so very sad. So much potential gone to waste. If only this would serve as a deterrent to other criminals/would-be criminals

    • Anonymous says:

      Umm, he is Jamaican (and Caymanian).

  25. Anonymous says:

    The gambling magician must be saddened to see you and Edlin Myles serving time up in Northward Hotel.

  26. Anonymous says:

    mla in 2021????

  27. Anonymous says:

    so are all of his assets confiscated and sold off to pay back the stolen funds?

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what should happen when someone steals. Pay back what they can and sell stuff to pay the rest. if they driving a big fancy CUV – sell it and get a Japanese vehicle. If they live in a big house, sell it and move into a modest apartment. Its not right that they should keep the proceeds. It almost makes it worthwhile!

  28. Anonymous says:

    All you that are posting these “dislikes” of others posts of the truth need to get on board. The age of instant forgiveness in Cayman to criminal behavior has to stop. This verdict is one of the best things to have happened for Cayman youth. They, of all the ages, need to be taught you can’t just “do what you like” and get away with a slap on the writs.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Great job jurors and judge!!! Put the damn thief in Northward where he belongs. More to come I hope.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s not forget who really brought this complex fraud to light – which was the Honorable Minister of Finance – Mr Marco Archer.

      Marco is a trained account and a lawyer- and when things did not add up, he started his own investigation and then it was later turned over to the police to do the formal criminal investigation.

      Marco is 100% genuine as you can find in the Cayman Islands. He is the “real hero” in taking a stand against blatant corruption in government.

      I know him from old school days at Cayman Islands High School and he was an intelligent and honest guy from back then.

      From all the PPM members In government, I am “most impressed” by Marco Archer performance – who could be our next premier or even our deputy governor one day.

      Way to go Marco !!

      • Anonymous says:

        Correction the investigation started before any concerns were raised by Marco, that is why Marco was to told to hold off any queries from his end.

      • INSIDER says:

        Correction Ezzard Miller brought the matter to Public Accounts Committee and started asking the questions about who owned AIS Ltd. They were then echoed by the PAC Chairman Marco Archer. The Anti-Corruption Commission were investigating the deal from 2011 based on the Auditor General’s report years before Marco Archer was elected in 2013.

  30. Anonymous says:

    He could always become a developer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting you mention developer, are you referring to the man who escaped a prison term despite being found guilty of attempted theft of over $1,000,000. through deception..?
      It was a lot of money even in those days when beach apartments were cheaper…..he is still at large and plying his trade through the cocktail party circuit , and settling out of court at the last minute has become his M.O.

  31. Malcolm XKY says:

    Cayman is a joke the land of different rules for certain people. How many white foreigners have stolen from corporate Cayman working with the pension funds, banks and old people’s home. And they are told they can go back to USA, Canada or England.

    Justice is not color blind just ask any black person or native Caymanian being judged by system.

    All guilty people must face the consequences for their actions. But how does a sick child rapist get less time in jail than the white collar convict?


    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree the court system is a joke; You my brother are clearly deluded and racist.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought he got off pretty light actually!

    • Anonymous says:

      You comment seems to say that he should not face punishment because others have not. Really?

    • Anonymous says:

      How many Caymanians have got off their crimes in recent years, despite being blatantly guilty? Lack of evidence? Incorrect procedures? XXXX Mum? You are just a racist stirring little sh*t.

    • Anonymous says:

      Probably over 90% of those convicted of stealing from local banks have been Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Congratulations to the jury, now we have 7 more genuine candidates for National Heroes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Numpties like this explain why Cayman juries sometimes acquit locals despite overwhelming evidence.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Then he can get a job with Joey when he gets out

  33. Anonymous says:

    how long before the authorities start to investigate his other local businesses and the amount of corruption that had been taking place in those?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Once again, good day for justice in Cayman……..CIFA next.

  35. Anonymous says:

    More oppression of black people. Never see any white businessmen in Cayman put in jail, but for Cannover, we went all out with investigation resources. Just a coincidence? Really?

    Even in Cayman, Black Lives Matter! I am ashamed to be Caymanian today. 7 years is not fair — no one was hurt and no blood was shed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any Caymanian playing the “race card” in Cayman is nothing but a loser. There are probably many reasons for your lack of success, but being black in Cayman is not one of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me get this straight…if you are black and you steal millions of dollars, as long as no one gets physically hurt then it’s OK and you shouldn’t be punished. Brilliant! You should really consider a career in local Politics. I am told there is a growing group of aspiring young Politician wannabes that share your moral compass.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really wish you would not come on here with this race rubbish. Yes he is a black man, looks like he has some physical deformities and he did not let that stop him from rising to the top. He is educated, had a great career, is a YCLA recipient as a role model to kids and he messed it all up by being a liar and a thief. If anything he has embarrassed and let down every black person by what he did. So please don’t play the race card here, you are just sounding real ignorant and out of touch with reality. Call it exactly what it is, a thief and a liar who happens to be black.

    • Island Bundy says:

      I can assure you this man is White. 7 and a half years for a similar crime. Took 2 minutes to look up. Short yourself please.

    • Anonymous says:

      People like you are why this island is in such a mess. He STOLE money from both YOU and I. How hard is that to comprehend? He deserves 15 years.

    • Zak loved shoes! says:

      Are you for real! Who cares what color he is?! A thief is a thief, he has shamed all Caymanians, white, black, brown, red whatever color. And as far you being ashamed, you should be cuz your mama obviously never taught you right from wrong.
      And for the record, I am a PROUD Caymanain with at least 8 generations behind me!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait, are you say that he stole because he is black and should be forgiven? Are you saying he did not know better? Or that because he is black it should be ignored? I find either very raciest and unfair. There are many Caymanians of color that have worked their way up and never stole a penny. The latter are the Caymanians we can all be proud of. If anyone does what he has been convicted of doing they should go to prison regardless of color or background.

    • SSM345 says:

      I think you will find the difference is not skin colour, its how you deal with the situation once you are caught. If he admitted his guilt from the get go, he probably would have got a slap on the wrist, but he didn’t, he continued to lie and try and cheat his way of it, so he got his licks. That’s the difference between these “white” people you complain of and him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Prepare yourself to be further shamed. Jeffrey Webb will be sentenced forthcoming.

    • Cyclops says:

      Aa I read the comments I wonder about “comments will be moderated”. My compassion is for his Mom and Dad, who are decent people and did not intend to raise a Madoff. In the future those appointed to Government Boards should be made to attend seminars on Ethics for people in power.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the sort of juror who lets criminals off in Cayman trials even if the evidence is clear.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Scumbag is too nice a word to describe this guy.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I actually feel sorry for him. He had everything going for him . He is educated, had a great job and future, but because of greed he ruined it in one fell swoop. He told so many lies and I guess thought that the jurors would swallow them, hook line and sinker. I know he deserves his sentence, perhaps even more and I hope he will reflect on what he did and try to become a better person eventually.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you say “educated” you are being generous. He went to school then traded on his “poor local boy” act .

      • B.M. says:

        So you are implying that his “poor local boy” routine was an outright con job from the start? Tell us exactly what you mean.

  38. Anonymous says:

    7 piece no fires!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Not nearly enough. Breach of trust, stealing from public, refusal to plead guilty despite overwhelming evidence, lying on oath should have all added up to at least a full decade in jail. Let us hope the Government takes appropriate steps to seize all his assets as compensation.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Could he run for political office when he gets out?

  41. Anonymous says:

    da wha ya get

  42. Anonymous says:

    And, if only he was Caymanian! Where are his peeps? He was penny wise and pound foolish. He made greed overtake his race to the finished line. How many other incidents are still in the dark and may never see the light of day. Nhu

  43. Anonymous says:

    Bye, Bye arrogant thief! NEXT…………………..

  44. Anonymous says:

    If he is barred from working in the finance industry his next best choice would be to find religion at Northward.

    • SSM345 says:

      I am assuming he will need to give back his “Young Caymanian Leadership Award”, or will thieves now be a prerequisite to enter the competition going forward?

      • Anonymous says:

        Well another convicted theif was a YCLA nominee. She was able to enter. She did not win but she was nominated. She did not commit the crime in Cayman. That may be the difference.

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