Hewitts: UDP committed to pay challenge

| 13/12/2016 | 75 Comments
Cayman News Service

John and Velma Hewitt

(CNS): John Gordon Hewitt faces bankruptcy today because of hefty costs the court ordered him to pay following an unsuccessful challenge and appeal against the election of Tara Rivers to a West Bay seat in the 2013 election. But he, his wife and an attorney have all sworn that the UDP had committed to picking up the tab. According to affidavits filed with the court, Hewitt had agreed at the request of McKeeva Bush and the UDP hierarchy to put his name to the challenge but only if the party paid the bill.

He and his wife, Velma Hewitt – who came in fifth in the West Bay political race – claim they were told Renard Moxam would cover the costs.

The Hewitts and their attorney for the challenge, Steve McFeild, have all sworn in the official documents that they were never meant to pay for the challenge. John Hewitt was the elector; Bush said he needed to challenge Rivers, who has an American passport and was working overseas during the seven-year period prior to the election.

Both were issues that could have seen the second elected member and education minister disqualified. But in a surprise result, the chief justice upheld her election to office. CJ Anthony Smellie found that having an American passport because of the hospital where she was born did not mean she had sworn allegiance to another nation and her time at a London law firm was educational development rather than just work.

When Hewitt lost the challenge, despite sections in the election law that say the Grand Court decision is final in an election case and no appeals are allowed, the UDP, according to the documents, persuaded Hewitt to press on with an appeal. But the appeal was dismissed.

Following the original challenge, the chief justice had indicated its importance and queried the request for costs by Rivers. Many people believed that there was a genuine public interest question regarding the qualifications, particularly the issue of foreign passports which had seen other would-be candidates forced out of the race based on advice from the attorney general.

Samuel Bulgin had, until Rivers mounted her challenge, believed that having a US passport would prevent a candidate from being qualified. The top government attorney had given the advice to the elections office in the case of Richard Christian, who was disqualified before nomination day. But once the challenge was mounted, the attorney general adopted River’s position that she was qualified, to defend the election official who accepted her nomination who was also named in Hewitt’s suit.

Given the controversies about qualification, the chief justice had commented on the “chilling effect” awarding costs to an unsuccessful challenger would have on future cases regarding questionable qualification of candidates. But despite this the Rivers team pressed ahead and successfully won more than $130,000 of costs for the entire case and appeal against Hewitt leading to his ultimate bankruptcy.

The Hewitts claim that at that point they were deserted by the UDP (a.k.a the CDP) when it came to paying the bill. Bush had told them the UDP could not be seen to be the ones mounting a challenge and they needed Hewitt’s name as an elector and nothing more. But the revealing affidavits described how the Hewitts made it clear to Bush and the UDP leaders that they did not have the money needed for the challenge. The couple said they were repeatedly reassured that the UDP and Moxam, who ran unsuccessfully for the party in George Town, were willing to cover the costs.

But, the couple claims, all efforts to get the money from Moxam or the UDP have now failed.

Their allegations are also backed up by a sworn affidavit from local lawyer McField, who had instructed well-known Jamaican legal expert Abe Dabdoub to lead the case. McField said he was present at the meeting when the Hewitts were reassured they would have no financial liability by Bush and Moxam, who McField also said had agreed to cover the costs.

CNS contacted Moxam, who has not made an on-the-record comment but indicated that he had never committed to covering the entire costs of the challenge. Requests to Bush for comment have not yet been answered.

The bankruptcy case will be heard in Grand Court Tuesday before Justice Ingrid Mangatal.

See the court documents and detailed affidavits in the CNSLibrary

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Category: Elections, Politics

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Serves them right. They did the wrong thing, if, as they claim, they acted as agents for another and lost. So sad too bad, but that was their gamble. If they were so foolish to hitch their wagon to someone who, as they say, was not trustworthy, that is their loss. They need to pay for their actions. There is no flipping way we, the people, should pay for their folly from the public purse. To even suggest such is patently offensive.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am retired and I know how difficult it is, financially, for older people. It is very possible that they are unable to meet that kind of burden.
    While I have some sympathy for the Hewitt’s, I must also say they are adults and should’ve been able to make the decision not to file this suit, and leave well enough alone. If McKeeva and the UDP wanted the suit filed, they should have been man (and woman) enough to say, “NO!”

  3. Anonymous says:

    The cost is $205565.00 NOT $138K And am happy Mr Hewitt refused to pay so the cat could be let out of bag

  4. Anonymous says:

    No buddy i can guarantee you that Velma won’t be on any ticket with anyone…….guaranteed
    So don’t hold yah breath

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here comes Santa “Clause”…

  6. Anonymous says:

    This has nothing to do with political parties which we have had in various forms (teams, etc.) for many years.. This has to do with the persons involved. If persons are un-ethical then they are that way ALL of the time.
    It matters not if you are an “independent” or party affiliated. What matters is your honesty, integrity & ethics. It is high time that we, as voters, realise this fact and quit voting for persons who have none. History should show us that a party can give each of us more voice and influence IF we are involved and the party operates as constituted.
    Some WB voters have been “helped” for 30+ years. Ask yourself, why do you & your descendents still need “help”? If the “help” was real then your situation in life should have improved over this time.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CNS you seem to be the only news outlet covering this matter and trying to shed light on the dire plight of the Hewitts at the hands of others.

    Neither the directional newspaper, the 26+1 tv news, nor the new reporter have posted anything on this matter (so far at least). They act as though they are conflicted when reporting not-so-good news about McKeeva or UDP.

    CNS, you seem to be the only news outlet not in cahoots with any political party. Whether its news about PPM, UDP, CDP or C4C, you report on it. Good job.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well buddy you got the wrong paint job #1!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lay down with dogs and get up with fleas! Cline & Roly need to step up as they benefited for a long time but now know nothing, see nothing or hear anything.
    For these suckers they were scammed like a lot of other people.
    Now that’s progressive!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it. Why can’t McKeeva put the payment on his government credit card. This seems like a much more worthy cause the trying to win at the slot machines. What am I missing here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden cut up big Mac’s credit card into little pieces!

    • DA WA YA GET says:

      What you are missing here is the trial was little more than a PR stunt designed to placate the public in regards to all that McKeeva and co. had been doing to Cayman because the FCO did not want to be fully exposed for their culpability in allowing such profligate malfeasance to happen under their watch and the widespread maladministration of Cayman’s present and future. They did not want to completely remove him from the political stage because he serves a purpose for their agenda and his weakening of Cayman from the inside out serves that agenda from the outside. Credit card scandals are just the tip of a toxic iceberg. Rock and a hard place. WIDESPREAD GUILT.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If $130k in costs was sufficient to wipe out a lifetime of savings by the Hewitt’s and put them in bankruptcy, how were they deemed to have been sufficiently solvent to run for office? Do they not own any property or other assets? It’s ironic that with a balance sheet like that, they wouldn’t even qualify for PR.

    • Allar says:

      You idiot, Velma is Caymanian as they gets so PR has nothing to do with them.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think the point was IF they were not Caymanian they would not be deemed solvent enough for PR

        • Anonymous says:

          That is what it should say, but unfortunately it does not and it is likely that large numbers persons who are clearly going to become a burden are being granted residence, or are going to be.

          • Anonymous says:

            Every applicant had the same high bar to cross when they filed their complete initial application (with burden of evidence reviewed for completeness at filing), and under the strict financial condition to maintain at least the equivalent circumstances and investments. Are you suggesting that 800 people paid these huge fees and waited years on the basis of false application approvals by the Caymanian working the counter at Immigration? Because that would be rich.

            • Anonymous says:

              I am suggesting that under the existing points system an unemployed person who has no income but one dollar in their pocket is guaranteed maximum points for their cash savings. Add an illegitimate Caymanian child and they are half way to PR.

              No Caymanian working at the counter at immigration has done anything wrong. It is simply false to pretend that financially there is a high bar to cross to obtain the required 110 points on a PR application.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have missed the point entirely!

    • Anonymous says:

      Debt is $205565.00K NOT $138K

  12. Didnt expect anything else says:

    I am sorry for these folks. But it does show one thing.
    The current politicians in the LA have no honor, dignity, pride and integrety. They have nothing an honourable person in the postition they have is required to have.
    As for these parties. They too have shown themselves in the same greedy, lying and rotten light.
    People in Cayman need to remember these things when voting time comes up. Remember, none of these parties care about you or your family. They do not care about Cayman. The are in it for self enrichment and nothing else.
    Vote accordingly. Vote carefully.

    • Anonymous says:

      Honor? They would not know any morals or ethics if it smacked them in the face!
      Me – me – me, how much more can I shove in my pockets. Like a bunch of hungry hogs in the pig pen.

      • Anonymous says:

        When you have to crate a law, to call yourself Honourable. There is not a honourable bone in your body.

        Parasite, yes. Honourable, no.

    • Anonymous says:


  13. Anonymous says:

    Well, that’s two votes UDP have lost in the next election,

  14. Cynical says:

    Nobody in their right mind ever had any doubts about who cajoled the Hewitts into bringing the action. Sadly they have paid the price for relying on a “verbal” promise/contract.

  15. well says:

    Eden and Suckoo seem to be the smartest of the bunch! These parties are made up of greedy no good people who think its Self before Country”. I for one will be voting for the individuals not the Party if I do happen to vote for any party member, but I believe I will look for a good Independent to support. If I could vote in BT it would be Suckoo or Eden, both have demonstrated they can at least think for themselves.

    P.S. Has Minister Rivers told us who paid her legal bills yet?

    • Anonymous says:

      P.S. I believe the reason for the court case was to get the Hewitts to pay her bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      She doesn’t need to tell you who paid her legal bills. Ultimately the Hewitts will. What more do you need to know?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well this is proof that you cant believe what politicians say. I feel sorry for the Hewitts. No doubt they did what they thought was right and was assured by the party they ran with they would cover the costs. Even if they had it in writing from the party that wouldn’t save them, it just means they might have a claim against those that said they would cover the costs. I am still not sure how the Hewitts lost in court though, so I guess politics is just another system I have no faith in. Will add the court system to that list. All very sad.

  17. Anonymous says:


  18. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I dont have any sympathy for the Hewitts here, they act like they didnt know who they were receiving “promisses” from.

    Throw a rock in Cayman and ask the person it hits about these gentlemen paying for anything.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If the constitution allows you the right to challenge would that not mean that the government gives you that right so I they will foot the bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the next discussion need be had in these islands about our Constitution and rights it gives because Mr Hewitt already paid the Appeal cost
      I understand that if litigation don’t end it affects Government so then clarification is needed as CJ Smellie has ruled law firms as “learning establishmemts’ which creates a whole different perspective in regards work permits issued to Law Firms

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what Caymanians should march for but they wont cause it is another Caymanian!
      If it were foreigners they’d call radios and march
      That’s CaymanKind to aanother Caymanian
      Praying we will fight to change that part of Constitution like we allowed Govt to just change for Judiciary and we not say a word

  20. DA WA YA GET says:

    My sympathy for the plight of the Hewitts is completely overshadowed by who they chose to ally themselves with in the first place.

  21. Anonymous says:

    As we say here in Cayman… ‘Da wha ya get’ for wasting people time and money and spreading contention and discord in the community with yuh foolishness. Pay up suckers!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you for real?
      I hope you read and learn and take your head outta the clouds
      Since you’re obviously a Rivers supporter you could get her to give you some Civic classes cause she loves to pat herself on her back a about her degrees
      Sadly the ruling CJ SMELLIE gave DOES NOT give clarity to the STUDENT issue as Smellie made Law Firms “LEARNING INSTITUTIONS” when clearly our islands will have issues with that ruling as we are inundated with law firms holding hundreds of work permits yet our Caymanian lawyers cant get articles?
      Hope this causes you to have Ms Rivers read this since she would need to clear up before next election when she runs in WBS since her address is WB road as it was 2013

  22. Jotnar says:

    Foxy business indeed.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Hewitt’s for admitting what we all suspected. Now you see what you get from these quarters. Left out on a limb by yourself. The other members and new/returned members are much the same. Help myself and drop the scraps for others. Country is 3rd.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the absence of a right of appeal not a breach of Article 6? Especially when the ruling on Tara’s “studying” was so obviously wrong?

    • Anonymous says:

      Human Rights Commission is NO help as the Constitution doesn’t give them power to fight for our rights!

  25. Anonymous says:

    That’s what you all get listening to an old political gambler !!

    His constituents will get the same if they listen to him.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This case is a complete & utter joke.

    A mockery of Caymanian-American Candidates, including past and present sitting members.
    A mockery of American Citizenship Law.
    A mockery of the Elections Process & Law.
    A mockery of the Judicial Process i.e. Court Ruling (by Chief Justice Smellie)
    A mockery of the Legal Advisory [to the Elections Office] (by Attorney General Bulgin)
    A mockery of the Constitutional Rights
    A mockery of McKeeva, Moxam, and the Rest of the UDP Party/Affiliates.

    The biggest disservice was committed when the Attorney General failed to provide accurate & equitable advice to the Elections Office/Committee – that allowed 2 of 3 Caymanian-American Candidates to be automatically disqualified from contesting an Electoral Seat, while Rivers (his former AG Office, Intern) was validated to run for Political Office. Yet, all (three persons) had submitted applications with the common denominator of being American Citizens.

    The akward and most humiliating results via the Chief Justices Rulings, that portrayed all Caymanian-Americans/(Dual Citizens) born in a U.S. Hospital to be “Anchor Babies” – a ruling I find OFFENSIVE! Minister Rivers herself should be shamed by the “Birther Ruling”, as she too is at least a 3rd generation American Citizen, dating back to her Grandparents.

    This whole ordeal mimics the School of Arbitration, Garrisson Politics, & Gerrymandering Due Processes. This is an obvious case of Political Wrangling AND a Failed Democratic Process!

    • Anonymous says:

      All good points. Does anyone know when and how Rivers became Caymanian?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, Uncle Sam should no longer have doubts as to which country, or where, her loyalty resides. The Chief Justice has eloquently outlined Minister River’s position in a “historic” court ruling, that is soon to be a NEW & FINAL Gazetted Law. (Lol)

      As for AG Bulgin…Sir, you need to step-down…not Today, but like Yesterday!

      • well says:

        anyone have any doubt that the administrative Government was helping the ppm and anyone who opposed bush?

    • wa ya say says:

      You seen to know a lot about dual citizenship however you all r missing the boat here.. the American constitution allows Caymanians as British citizens born in the U.S. to qualify for dual citizenship. The catch here is that Miss Rivers did not have to swear against the Cayman or any British to obtain the U.S. passport . My dismay is the fact of the lack of education amongst our so called leaders in this matter

  27. Anonymous says:

    dirty deeds done dirt cheap

  28. Anonymous says:

    To the Hewitts — you came in fifth as chosen by the people. The people had all of the information on Tara to make their own decision based on the information, and they chose her. Its not like any of the facts were hidden from the public.

    You selfishly decided to waste public (and others’) resources in your misadventure, and hope to not pay a dime for your own actions.

    • Anonymous says:

      You dont get it do you?
      Ask Tara why Richard Christian was barred and others had to give up their 2nd citizenship?
      Ask Tara why she was special that rules dont apply to her?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Anybody believe what Mckeeva Bush says deserves what they get!

  30. Woa There Nelly says:

    Maybe a certain monopolistic entity should pay for the Hewitts in the same way they forked over millions of dollars to a certain individual in order to ‘facilitate’ his success at seeking elected office, only for purely altruistic reasons of course.

  31. Da Wa Ya Get says:

    My sympathy for the plight of the Hewitts is overshadowed by their alliance with the UDP/CDP in the first place and the dark and destructive presence which they definitively represent. If the AG is so flippy floppy on these most important of issues then he certainly should share in culpability and maybe should be relieved of his duties.

  32. Forrest G. Bush says:

    Stoopid is as stoopid does.

  33. Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Bush economics….a verbal,promise from some people ain’t worth the paper it’s written on. It’s a gamble at best.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like McKeeva up to to his old shenanigans again. Both options for government suck and yet, still have to vote for one… Sound familiar?

    • POV says:

      Are you really surprised? I thought this from when it happened. Sound like par for the course with Mr. Bush.

    • Anonymous says:

      There will be more than two choices on most ballots this coming election. I urge you to consider the independents. You do not need to choose from the parties.,

      • Anonymous says:

        Plz don’t vote irresponsibly next election!! It is an election that is like none other

    • Caymanian says:

      Yes. But let’s be crystal clear here. Bush = Trump Hillary = McLaughlin….Let’s not have another Trump here in Cayman. We already have enough issues that to put in a gun slinger who thinks anything and everything is a good idea (Oil Refinery in North Sound comes to mind, Cutting a crater into the East End seaside also comes to mind….6 trillion Chinese on our new dock in their businesses while our local businesses get no tourist comes to mind. Did I miss any???)

      • Anonymous says:

        So Caymanian @ 1:20pm if that’s the case we need a Sanders

        and right now all the independents look like babies of the Trump/Bush and Hillary/Mclaughlin parents above.

    • Anonymous says:

      This time it’s OMOV. You have three choices: you can vote for the best candidate for your district, or spoil your privilege by voting to return a do-nothing double-dipping party yeah-sayer from yesteryear, or do nothing. Whatever you decide to do, or not do, you’re going to have to live with the outcome. Neither party will be returned as we’ve known them without forming a coalition with independents, any talk otherwise is denial.

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