MLA’s persistent CarePay inquiry shut down

| 17/11/2017 | 50 Comments
Cayman News Service

MLA Chris Saunders in the LA

(CNS): Persistent efforts by opposition member Chris Saunders (BTW) to get more information from the government benches about the CarePay fiasco and who else should have been held to account in connection with the scandal was shut down by the speaker of the Legislative Assembly yesterday. Saunders was given formal answers from the deputy governor, the health minister and the finance minister to the same questions about the cause, consequences and corrective action of the hospital fraud. In each case the ministers and the head of the civil service confirmed that no individual civil servants or public sector staff were reprimanded, though systems were overhauled.

Saunders already raised the issue in the Public Accounts Committee last month and in the more recent Finance Committee meeting, but at Thursday’s LA meeting he pressed on again because, he said, he was not hearing how the fiasco was allowed to happen and who was being held to account and there was only one person sitting in Northward. He said it was unthinkable that from the very start, no one in government spotted something was wrong with inserting a third party that would cost around $11 million into a situation that was previously ‘zero net’ between two government entities.

Head of the civil service Franz Manderson, current Health Minister Dwayne Seymour, and Finance Minister Roy McTaggart, who has responsibility for CINICO, all indicated that the reason why the fraud was able to happen was because the governance systems were weak. They said that then hospital board chair Canover Watson, who was convicted of corruption in the case, had significant power and control over procurement, enabling him to circumvent the system, which they all said was no longer the case, given the new legislation and policies.

As Saunders tried to understand what had gone so wrong and why no one in a senior position spotted the problems until the contract was signed and sealed and Watson had begun creaming off millions of dollars, he was shut down by Speaker McKeeva Bush, who suggested, incorrectly, that the case was still sub judice in relation to appeals.

Watson was convicted of several corruption offences and was handed a seven-year term. All of his convictions were upheld in the summer by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. But given the order of the speaker, Saunders’ enquiries about how “something that cost government nothing was about to cost it millions …and no one noticed” and why no one else was ever held to account were never answered.

Questioning in another direction regarding the current make-up of the hospital board also revealed that, despite assurances from the government officials, the hospital board is still vulnerable and not properly constituted as no medical expert has been appointed as a director.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me… or do these MLA’s spend an inordinate amount of time on their cell phones- trolling social media, whatsapp and other web surfing! In watching these videos…. I particularly notice that Alden is glued to his phone…. Gosh! If that’s how things roll, then why even be seated in the house. You ain’t engaged in the conversation. Quite casual too!

    • Unison says:


      Social media, facebook, and web searching, is an addiction that has not only affected young people. The more you are into it, the more you are out of touch with their environment and folk in need. Less reasoning from empirical experiences occurs, and more faulty reasoning from what we see on screens and papers. How can you truly know or relate, if you are brainlock on concepts and ideas?

      A trust and dependence on the spider web of internet, I can say, is destroying marriages, homes, and corrupting children’s minds, making them lazy, and lost in a fantasy world. Disobedient to parents, procrastination, avoiding the sunshine, and being influenced by the contents on the net like porno images, gossips, violence, atheistic and supernatural junk. In other words, screens got them so occupied, their is no room for the parents. But who is at fault? The same parents that buy them these devices because they believe man-made knowledge is more important than experiential.

      The only escape I see from the web is to get off of it completely. Treat it like an addiction that is bad for your health. Get off all screens completely! Get rid of them! And start trusting in Gd, as the all-knowing one and the one who direct your steps.

      Alot of people just have a phone number, and they’re happy ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for trying Chris – please keep it up.
    Clearly others should be held accountable…instead they are still there collecting six figure salaries and golden pensions for “allowing” this to happen when they should have been “preventing” this as a prime function of their professional positions.
    Yes the DG, CO and CEO of HSA and CINICO should be thoroughly questioned and made to answer and held to account! That’s why they get the big remuneration packages!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a clear example of why McKeeva should never be Speaker. Expecting him to preserve order and accountability is exactly like the fox guarding the henhouse! But seriously, who didn’t see this coming when PPM and UDP joined forces – spurred on by greed for power and money? They day this sham coalition government was announced I wanted to turn in my CI passport and leave. So sad. Caymanian democracy has become an oxymoron,

  4. Anonymous says:

    We can decide whether to keep accepting the same BS that Alden and his unity speaker keeps trying to feed us, or we can get behind those like CS, who are trying to fix the broken system.

    I am not reassured by what Franz and the Minster are saying. CW did not commit that scale of fruad without others i.e. government employees not knowing because if they honestly didn’t know, we should pack up and turn off the light at Govt building!

    CS please, please keep pressing. The more they they shut you down, the more people will realise why the Standards in Public Life (2014) Law is still missing.

  5. Diogenes says:

    For all their talk about transparency during the election we’ve seen that this government is not interested in the slightest with being transparent or being held accountable for their actions or lack thereof

    Every half assed answer raises 3 more questions, and silence or a refusal to reply is all the more telling.


  6. West bay Premier says:

    I wish that they all could REPENT and become HONEST and ETHICAL .
    Then everyone would be happier and healthier .

  7. Anon says:

    Saunder’s persistent questions and statements appears devious and self serving. He should be well aware of how fraud occurs, having previously worked for HSBC Cayman. He said the person in jail did not even write a cheque, most fraudsters who commits that level of theft hardly writes cheques. And is there not one more individual who has been charged in relation to the same case? I wonder what really motivates Saunders with this case? Could it be he think the only convict is actually innocent?

    • Diogenes says:

      Self serving how exactly? How is Mr Saunders asking questions about the accountability of those involved in the HSA during this scheme devious? He is asking legitimate questions and the Man who was at the helm during incident is shutting his inquiry down with the silent assent of his former political adversary/ newfound bestfriend/ successor.

      I’ll never understand the lengths people will go to, to try and discount someone for doing their job to hold the government accountable, If he wasn’t asking questions then the same people who complain about him focusing on the HSA would be saying “oh he just ran for the title or for the paycheck”.

      Instead of urging for a transparent government you are supporting the bureaucrats and representatives who leave these questions unanswered and hide behind closed doors and secret files.
      Assuming Saunders has an ulterior motive reeks of cynicism at what point is a question just a question?

      Diogenes of Cayman

  8. Anonymous says:

    and now we see the UDP and the PPM join forces and try to suppress the truth. Alden sinks to a new low if that was even possible! I am so disgusted with Mackeevas behavior in the house I could vomit and the sheeple sit by and have nothing to say!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lord, half of these people can’t even speak, or pronounce words properly, and this is on youtube for the world to see? How embarrassing!

    • Diogenes says:

      Yep the same ones that get up for hours at a time and talk about how important education is are the same ones that sound like they dropped out of primary school.

      Of course if you ever point that out, people just say that it is our culture and the way we are meant to speak, these are the same people who then have to go overseas represent us. A couple years back it would have been Mac out meeting other leaders and representatives in the UK and the Caribbean.

      And don’t forget the young adults and the kids are doing the same basic thing with the permission of the schools, cause schools are too busy looking at the color of their shoes and what type of jacket they are wearing. Education is the foundation of the state, our foundation seems to be crumbling top and bottom


    • Anonymous says:

      Agree, they should start their own channel, “CIownTube”

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is old news and the bad guy is having corn beef sandwiches in his hot prison cell.

    This won’t happened again.

  11. SSM345 says:

    And this folks is why we will never move forward; same sh*t; different day. Testicular fortitude for life!

  12. Anonymous says:

    keep giving um hell chris…??

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for keeping the pressure on for answers and accountability. Questions to which answers are still needed to ensure lessons are learned:

    1. Why was the Chairman of the HSA Board so intimately involved in day-to-day operations of the HSA?
    2. Why did the CEO and the Chief Officer, who should know better, allow this to happen?
    3. Why did all of the other Board Members just sit there and not speak about what was very clearly improper interactions of the Chairman with the HSA’s day-to-day operations?
    4. Why was the contract not read and vetted by the HSA’s own lawyers?

    If the CEO, Chief Officer and other Civil Servants from the Ministry did not realize that the Chairman was acting outside his responsibilities and did nothing at all to address this, they all should have been held accountable by the Deputy Governor.

    Good governance lessons should be provided to all SAGC Boards/Committees and much of the Public Authorities Law should be applied to Boards and Committees related to immigration, planning, special economic zone, health licensing, electrical licensing, plumbers licensing, builders board, etc, etc!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cover up………………

  15. Anonymous says:

    It’s called circling the wagons. What possibly could the Speaker have to hide?

  16. Grassy Knoll says:

    Maybe the questions being asked were hitting too close to home. Who was the Premier when the Carepay deal was negotiated and who were the main players calling the shots and signing checks and authorizing payments?

    If this matter is pursued thoroughly it may cause real embarrassment to current and former MLA’s, ministry of health officials, HSA management which may lead to more arrests and consequences for several persons. Ironic that no one was fired for incompetence or professional negligence and that the country is prepared to accept Conver Watson was the lone gunman. How convienient for some who would prefer if this matter would just go away.

    • Anonymous says:

      The reason this kind of overt thievery and incompetence will continue is the fact that half of the people that work here and pay taxes get zero/nada/nothing back leaving huge amounts for the local yokels to skim, steal and burn. This is one that the expats truly are to blame for.

  17. Anonymous says:

    maybe connections to it? ? we all know politicians cant be trusted ….no matter which country the get elected…zzzz?

    • Anonymous says:

      So long as the Standards in Public Life (2014) Law remains deferred from implementation, the public have no visibility into the affairs of pubic servants and boards, and the conflicts they continue to earnestly conceal from inspection.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sorry BoBo….too many lodge folk involved.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Sad and of serious concern that the very legitimate and entitled Opposition is being excluded from answers by Government, with the support of the Speaker!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Right there is why Mac should not be the speaker.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “it was unthinkable that from the very start, no one … spotted something was wrong with inserting a third party that would cost … million[s] into a situation that was previously ‘zero net’ between … government entities”. MLA Saunders can keep this speech and prepare to reiterate every time an EY Report project comes up for debate. (EY Report = pay the private sector consultant rates to do what Govt. was already doing or had proposed to do.)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ah, those questions…they are taking the 5th amendment…except that is not law here…however parliamentary privilege is, so they could name and shame with no retribution. Except they would probably have to name some MLA’s, buddies, lodge people…you know how that goes.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Once again…we all need to be reminded that the decoy Standards in Public Life (2014) Law still hasn’t been enacted in the Cayman Islands. It has no legal affect today and the board established to vet and oversee these disclosures has nothing to do. Our MLAs, Cabinet, and their appointed crony boards, DO NOT WANT to adhere to the most basic conflict checks that would apply to politicians, or publicly accountable businesspeople elsewhere. For those just joining us, welcome to the Cayman Islands.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Press on chris –
    Pls shine the light in dark places that evil dock builder Dart sellout PPM and UDP do not wish anyone to see. Look into who sits in the HSA board; Brac and its ministers monopoly over medicine and supplies procurement – the list is long.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes because the convicted chairman was from the Brac? Have some sense.

      This man (CS) doesn’t even read the news or he would have seen that this whole mess went to court and someone is in jail.

      Chris needs to wake up and do something instead of living 5 years in the past.

      • Anonymous says:

        I seriously wish I hadn’t seen this.

        Do you seriously believe that because one man is in jail, the issue is dead? Let me tell you, if Canover was that bad, they should have given him life…

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you @ 7:58 pm.

          Well said!!!

          Canover did not do this alone! He had help from higher-ups!

          • Anonymous says:

            Nope. He didn’t, I think there was a former politician who was cleared and a former friend who is already under arrest and it also seems like a few inside people who were terminated… who else?

      • annon says:

        Who from the civil service or public service was charged? I must not read the news either!

      • Anonymous says:

        People like you who ignore and do not learn from history are forever doomed to continue making the same stupid mistakes. Also ignoring history allows crooks to keep stealing from government’s cash pan. Chris and the Public Accounts Committee are doing the good work that many other politicians civil servants and entities should be doing. Keep asking Chris!!!-

        • Anonymous says:

          Ignore? I read the news. I know who did what. I just think that stupid people learn from their own mistakes, a wise person learns from the mistakes of others.

  25. Anonymous says:

    kangaroo court in a banana republic….

  26. Anonymous says:

    Chris – Well done, but maybe the ACC should help demand some answers.

  27. West bay Premier says:

    CORRUPTION and WEAKNESS in the system ,, I say shut it down too .

  28. Anonymous says:

    Shutting down only means there is now fire where there is denial of smoke.

    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      More evidence that the principle of accountability is frowned upon in these islands.

      Just Another day in Absurdistan


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