Choudhury probe fair, says governor’s office

| 26/07/2018 | 98 Comments
Cayman News Service

Governor Anwar Choudhury (right) with Chief-of-Staff Matthew Forbes

(CNS): The head of the governor’s office, Matthew Forbes, and Acting Governor Franz Manderson circulated a letter to the media on Thursday confirming the continued silence of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the investigation into complaints made against Governor Anwar Choudhury, who has been suspended from the job. Claiming that the FCO has “robust policies” in place regarding complaints to ensure that the process is fair to all, the two senior officials said they could not say when the probe will end or comment while it continues.

The letter follows the news yesterday that a group of anonymous individuals are petitioning the British Overseas Territories minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, to send Choudhury back to Cayman and reinstate him in the job. The petition organisers appear to believe that the complaints are not serious and that Choudhury has been removed because of his stated goals to get things done and the perceived pressure he was putting on civil service management.

But in their letter Forbes and Manderson said that the FCO works hard to ensure that staff can raise complaints in the confidence they will be taken seriously and that any investigation is conducted in a manner that is fair to all.

Making it clear that they will not divulge any details of the complaints or the progress of the inquiry, the two senior officials said that while they aware of rumours and understood the public interest, the privacy of those involved had to be respected. The letter stated that Manderson has the full support of the FCO to act in the post until the inquiry is over and that progress on long-standing initiatives continued.

Choudhury was suspended from his post and recalled to London at the beginning of last month, just eleven weeks after he was sworn in as the Cayman Islands’ new governor. The announcement was made by Premier Alden McLaughlin in a statement from the UK, where he was at the time leading a delegation to deal with the row with the British government over public beneficial ownership registers. McLaughlin said he had been informed by Lord Ahmad about the complaints and Choudhury’s recall to London, based on undisclosed complaints about him.

Nothing about the complaints has been officially confirmed, though there have been indications they relate largely to alleged bullying of staff at the governor’s office and Government House, though CNS has learned that there are also a number of historic complaints pending against the 58-year-old career public servant.

Read the letter in the CNS Library

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Category: Local News, Politics

Comments (98)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I find it funny that we’ve had governors who, on their personal time, went out and drank with locals on a VERY frequent basis and even had a room at the old Galleon Beach reserved for him. We’ve had a governor that got a married woman pregnant, one whose son knocked up a employee of the Ritz-Cartlon, hell we’ve had a governor that got into an actual fist fight with a certain MLA years and years ago and NONE were recalled but HE Choudhurry, in his own private space, with his staff get into personal issues and he is recalled?

    How is that not suspicious?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I like how there is now also a petition to make Manderson the governor. It’s like just enough time has passed for this to come out so it doesn’t seem pre-planned. I maybe wrong on this and will completely admit to it if I am but all of this is beyond fishy. Anyone else feel this way?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    If my memory serves me correctly, I recall reading the allegations levied against His Excellency and thinking it was a personal matter and nothing that I thought should be dealt with in this manner! If the personal matters of the MLA’S on this Island were dealt with in this manner, there wouldn’t be one in the GAB or LA. Just saying.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I do not understand this petition. Who the Governor is is a matter for the UK not a territory. I do not understand anyone in the UK to be complaining,

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    • Jah Dread says:

      Hmmm with all the hoopla on thedearly departed Guv we get a petition for Missa. HAnderson for Guv? Shiver me timbers if this isn’t turning out to be a West. BAy road thriller.

    • Anonymous says:

      @3:59 No one in the UK is complaining. We want our Governor back. The complaints were made locally but it is widely believed that he was shaking up the “set in their lax ways” civil service and they didn’t like their kingdoms rocked. I also want to add that in my opinion, and a few others, it is suspicious that there is now a petition for Manderson to be appointed Governor. Just enough time has passed for this to come out so it doesn’t seem like it was all pre-planned.

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      • Pit Bull says:

        But the chap is not “your” governor. He is the main UK representative to oversee the governance of UK territory. What matters is what the UK and those in the UK think, not what those in the territory think.

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        • Anonymous says:

          He was appointed to be “our” governor by the UK, he arrived here to take up the mantle of “our” governor. He sat in his office and began performing the job of being “our” governor and was recalled because of issues that arose by locals against “our” governor so yes as far as I am concerned he is still “OUR” governor until the FCO charges him with a crime and “WE” want him back.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Forbes, McLaughlin & Manderson are part of the ruling cabal and need to go.
    The highest form of ignorance is when we reject something we actually know nothing about.
    People need to dig a little deeper into their real loyalties and reading the Daily Mail does not count.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A higher form of ignorance is “petitioning” (anonymously) for something “we actually know nothing about”. And as far as I’m aware The Times published the story the story first and the Mail Online picked it up. That’s why the idiot editorial in The Compass got it so wrong too.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Bring back our Governor!!!

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  7. Bring back our Governor. says:

    Forbes definitely needs to go. A very disturbing situation that smells about who is really in charge and it smells rotten.

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    • West Bay Premier says:

      How come the Premier and the Speaker isn’t saying anything about the Governor debacle. I hope that every voter remember what every voter and non voters were deprived of .

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      • Anonymous says:

        West Bay Premier and what exactly are they supposed to say? That they don’t know any more than the public and thetefore they don’t have anything to say ?

    • West Bay Premier says:

      I am very sorry to say that I think that the Governor Mr. Choudhury will not be returning . This investigation for protection sake , is going to take longer than Tempura and the Russian collusion , Watergate together . Once any big person is involved in the investigation it is going to take forever to complete. So everyone is going to have to make your own conclusion and assumptions on the matter , and remember what you had been deprived of. So far all we know about the alligations of this investigation, is because of Mr. Choudhury conduct that took place in the governor house of the C.I .

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    • Caymanite says:

      I guess OBE trumps MBE

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  8. Quebecois info says:

    If Governor Choudhury has to go i think it is only fair that that whole office needs to go including Forbes! and the rest of the news carriers too. As for Franz he needs to be promoted to Stingray deckhand on a vessel named Anwar’s Return doing sandbar trips he would get lost driving taxi he so out of touch.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Missing from the letter is the normal protocol in addressing Government officials: “the Hon. Franz Manderson”; “Acting Governor Franz Manderson”; even “Mr. Franz Manderson.”

      In appropriate and disrespectful to address Acting Governor Manderson in the way the letter does.

      Clear evidence as to who wrote this letter. I guess Forbes is something other than a career civil servant.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You’re way off base. The title Excellency goes with the office of Governor, not the person. For example, Choudhury would be addressed:

        “His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Anwar Choudhoury”

        The title Honourable, in this case, goes with the person WHILE holding the office. For example, Manderson would normally be addressed:

        “The Honourable Mr. Franz Manderson, Deputy Governor”

        In a situation where Manderson is entitled to the higher style of Excellency by virtue of acting in the office of Governor, it is beneath the dignity of that higher style and office to also include “the Honourable” which goes with the lower office of Deputy Governor. The correct form for Manderson currently is “His Excellency the Acting Governor, Mr. Franz Manderson”.

        Signing this letter presented the problem that Manderson’s current style “His Excellency” went with the office he is acting in, which needed to go below his name, because Forbes’ ‘office’ (job title) needed to go below his name, whereas Manderson’s current style would normally go before his name. So they would have settled on the incorrect form of “His Excellency Franz Manderson” so that “Acting Governor” could be put below that, on the same line as “Head of the Governor’s Office” for Forbes. Manderson was over-addressed in this letter, not under.

        All over this region the small nations that became independent in the 60s and 70s have taken these terms and made a complete mockery out of them, using them for the wrong people and offices in the wrong orders and for insufficiently dignified honours and offices in a way that provokes derogatory laughter from anyone with actual knowledge of correct protocol, and I do not include in that list our Protocol Office, which can’t seem to ensure consistent use of correct protocol across Government.

        Don’t even get me started on the National Honours and Awards Bill, 2018, which states that the Premier shall be the Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order, and may nominate 4 Members, 2 Officers and 1 Companion a year of his own choosing. If they actually pass and implement that, no Caymanian will ever get a UK honour again.

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        • Anonymous says:

          11:16 am: blah, blah, blah. Missing the point. The poster was referring to the line in the body of the letter, not to the signature line, which refers to Manderson by name, sans title.

          This is not about accuracy of title.

          And we all know that the Governor’s title is His Excellency. Nothing new here other than the pedantic.

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        • Mike says:

          Ha ha, Excellencent or “Excellency” as in the standards in the Civil Service maybe? LOL.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hahaha Mr Manderson is working for FORBES and don’t even know it.
        What a joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The failure of according confidentiality to the Governor in a personnel matter is the reason that I have maintained that the Premier should have sought to have been much more careful in the way that he framed his press release.

      First, he rushed to get it out — that spoke volumes; and
      Second, he spoke about “temporary withdrawal” of Governor Choudhury, which some members of the press started to term “suspension.”

      Could not more neutral terms have been used so as not to arouse so much suspicion?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure the Premier told Lord Ahmad that if the FCO was not going to make a public statement, he (the Premier) could not be expected to do the same about such an important matter, as the democratically elected head of government, and Lord Ahmad said he understood that entirely and if the Premier made the announcement, the Governor’s Office would simply confirm it. The Premier did nothing wrong. Imagine if he had said nothing too and suddenly someone said “where is the Governor?” and it transpired the Premier knew exactly where he was but withheld the information. How much worse would the speculation be?

        • Anonymous says:

          7:06 pm:

          Hmmm…here are some thoughts you might consider:

          1. Why was the Premier in such a hurry to put the release out?
          2. It was how the Premier handled the content of the release: Governors in the past have been summoned to the U.K. for consultations and advice. There was no reason this could not have been characterized in a similar fashion.
          3. It was a personnel matter involving a staff complaint. You will note the recent letter from the Gov’s Office spoke to protecting staff’s confidentiality in these cases. Was the Governor not similarly entitled to confidentiality? Should that also not have been considered in the issue of the press release?

          Don’t think these points were worth considering with some due sensitivity?

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        • Two Cents says:

          The Premier didn’t appoint the Governor. He was owed the courtesy of being told before a public announcement was made and should have told Lord Ahmad thanks and that he expected him to make a public announcement. It wasn’t his job to make any announcement. If Lord Ahmad wasn’t forthcoming with an announcement, he could have forced his hand by publicly questioning where was the Governor.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Quebecois you sound like someone who would prefer to have an expat in charge rather than a Caymanian. Xenophobic some?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Quebecois I bet you would prefer Mr Manderson to be Quebecois. Wont happen though.

  9. Anonymous says:

    RCIPS, the vehicle in the picture is illegally and dangerously parked on a pedestrian crosswalk, can you confirm that a ticket has indeed been issued?

    CNS: I would conclude from the picture that the car is moving and just stopped to let the governor and Matthew Forbes cross at the crosswalk. I don’t see how you conclude that the car is stationary.

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  10. Ron Ebanks says:

    I wonder what will happen if say about 1,500 people showed up at the Governor house or LA building to ask Mr. Manderson questions on a update of Mr, Choudhury .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well,we sure know who is in charge in the Governor’s Office.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The letter starts: “We would like to provide an update.” This attempt to draw the wool over our eyes did not work, unfortunately.

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    • Observer says:

      From the whole tone and tact of this letter, it is not farfetched to conclude that Matthew Forbes and the Governor were in a power struggle.

      Unfortunately, folks, it is clear who holds the handle in the Governor’s office—it will simply not be possible for Choudhury to return—unless there are staff changes in that office.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Letter gave me the laugh of the day — begins with a promise of an update and then proceeds to give all the reasons that they could not give an update. Too funny.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In stating that “the FCO has robust policies and procedures in place and works hard to ensure that all staff can raise complaints in…confidence”, the letter confirms that the complaints must have come from the FCO staff in the Governor’s Office. Otherwise, the FCO protocols would not apply locally.

      As far as I know, Matthew Forbes is an FCO staff member — not sure if there are others.

      In addition, obviously, based on the punishing way that the Governor has been treated, the FCO has already formed an opinion in the manner in which they have handled the matter.

      Certainly, they have sent a strong message about who they are siding with. After all, there are two sides to every story. Why was Matthew Forbes not also recalled?

      And by the way, the way that this has played out, the FCO action has not afforded the Governor that same confidentiality as it has extended to the staff he was responsible for supervising. That must be a clear violation of its own protocols.

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      • West Bay Premier says:

        I wonder if Mathew and Manderson and McLaughlin and all other responsible persons see what this HISTORIC COMPLAINT is doing ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      So the confidentiality that the FCO extends to the staff is not equally extended to the Governor? Now that is unfair!

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    • Anonymous says:

      In a court of law, you are allowed the opportunity to face your accuser/s. So when is Matthew Forbes going to the UK?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not a word about having confidence in the Governor — until the outcome of the investigation at least?

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    • Anonymous says:

      That should be easy, just all go to the office.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ron, they might get invited to cocktails at SMB, is that not how Governors usually interact with the Caymanian people? LOL.

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    • Anonymous says:

      + international media? 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    Give it a rest, Franz and Matthew.

    Be it fair or not, the word, policies, and reputation of the FCO aren’t worth the paper and bandwidth their stated on.

    This is not to be vindictive or provocative, but the FCO has proven itself to be an enemy of the Cayman Islands time and again.
    The list of examples is very long.

    We are at the position where it is impossible to trust anything of and by the UK government as it concerns Cayman.

    We’ll just wait and see what happens next – as usual.

    – Who

    Talk about a dysfunctional mother / child relationship.
    An intervention and crisis counselling is in order – and perhaps a wardship.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The probe is fair!!!! What a joke but what else would you expect the DG to say? Kmt

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  13. GAB Worker says:

    Franz is the one who should be recalled. If you not in his circles then to him you are NOTHING. I work in GAB and all one has to do is watch his actions and reactions to see who he appreciates, and I dare say that it is NOT too many Caymanians. Forbes and Manderson were being made to WORK, something they had not done under the previous 2 governors, so for Mr. Chodhury to come in now and disturb their MO is quite appalling to them. Disgusting actions by the FCO whilst being supported and endorsed by these 2.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Gab Worker , are you saying that you think that Mathew 4 aces in the hole on this issue , I think so too .

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  14. Anonymous says:

    If Mr Anwar aint reinstated, Matthew Forbes and every one of the British staff in the Governors office and at Governors House needs to go. If we guh start over, we starting over fresh, yuh hear that. As for Franz, time for him to see bout a taxi licence or dive boat or sumthing.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could sign the petition but I am only resident. We live here too so why can’t we support the reinstatement of the Governor also? I have a good mind to start my own online petition for residents. Caymanians with voting rights or not welcomed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Brit residents here, or those classed as dual residents could directly contact the FCO themselves in support of Mr Choudury as British citizens living abroad.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Love that picture CNS lol. It’s no real secret is it?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    When did Matthew Forbes get all this power? Who is he anyway? Who pays him? Who does he report to?

    Maybe they recalled the wrong peon!

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  18. Sheppie Brandon says:

    Dear Franz and Mathew please give us back our Tempura money and then i will believe you ! Thanx

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  19. Cayman Biting Ants says:

    We voted for change Cayman and we never got it we have been sent change and some who conspired against change now want to take or halt yet it again,Cayman in this less than perfect world it is not what Governor Anwar Choudhury is, it is what he represents real change. If you want a change in government sign the petition or stop complaining!

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  20. Silent Riot says:

    As Dep Leppard sang Franz & Matchew tooooo late toooooo late to late for you! Now you writing letter talking about fair and “historic complaints” wow Cayman! when have you bunch ever respect people’s privacy or confidence mann give us break don’t make me laugh BRING BACK our frigging governor! Sounds to me like a bunch whiners who cannot take what they frequently dish out to others. We don’t want hear this foolishness. If we went by Historic Complaints some of you would be in Prison. Cayman please do not listen to this rubbish Speak with One voice now Cayman against these government tyrants. Mr Choudhury is us and we are him Fight them Cayman Fight them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I just looked at the letter and noticed that it is signed jointly by the Acting Governor and Matthew Forbes and speaks about the Acting Governor in the third person, as if Matthew Forbes is upstaging the Acting Governor! Amazing! What power!! Franz, you should never have allowed that — Matthew Forbes works for you, not the other way around.

      As for the mention of “historic complaints” — if they were so bad, why did they select him to come?

      Sounds to me that the current trumped up allegations need help to strengthen them.

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      • Governor’s office staff do not report to Mr Manderson.

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      • MI6 in Paradise says:

        Matthew Forbes is a strategically placed MI6 agent and works the FCO diplomatic services. The Cayman Government pay his salary but he reports to London. This letter demonstrates his power and seniority. Franz Manderson is the UK’s puppet. Forbes does not answer to Manderson he is the real power in the Governor’s Office unlike his predecessors Steve and Gary. Mr. Forbes was sent here to rescue the country from Helen Kilpatrick I mean assist her as she was out of her depth and focused on cocktail parties and the LGBTQ agenda.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Matthew Forbes may report to London, but as the Chief of Staff of the Governor’s Office he must report to the Governor/Acting Governor. I don’t see how it could be workable to have two gurus in the Governor’s Office. No wonder this debacle occurred. If Matthew Forbes’ position supersedes the power of the Governor that needs to be fixed.

          We an only have one governor at a time.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Mi6 are concerned with monitoring enemy activity and national security threats. They would not be wasting their mandate, and limited budget, double posting someone in an allied territory, in a role which already is openly tasked with liaising with London. Nor would such hypothetical menial double employee, if they existed, dare to supersede the mandate and appointed advisors of Her Royal Highness. The conspiracists need to get a grip and wait for Choudhury to be either be cleared or replaced by someone who can continue what he started.

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        • Anonymous says:

          8:21 A significant proportion of the FCO accredited staff working in UK embassies abroad are actually attached to the intelligence and security services. It’s the same way the KGB or GRU operated during the Cold War and the CIA operates now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds to me that these two want a be Governers has taken over. All of this lies and mess we have not heard or read one good thing about Manderson.lts a well
        known fact he is only a yes man for the FCO and pulling a hell of a salary for nothing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Silent Riot – no one could have said it better and to the point!!! ????

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    • West Bay Premier says:

      Silent Riot , yes it would be a historic complaint , if they get away with it . They should be very careful that this historic complaint don’t backfire on them all .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Best comment by far! You took the words outa my mouth and the thoughts outa my head and said it all concise and clear. Thank you.

  21. Ron Ebanks says:

    I say keep the petition alive, and person who launched the petition, sign your name to it . They are bluffing and bullying .

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Historic complaints…anyone still want to sign the stupid petition without the facts. Thank you CNS.

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    • Catcha Fire says:

      Nice Try bro if it is so stupid why are you now responding to it. Keep the pressure on Cayman If we went by historic complaints many of them would be locked up in the Big House! Your propaganda $#!@ no longer works on us younger Caymanians. Dont let let foool you !!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      So if the complaints are ‘historic’, why weren’t they looked into before he came to Cayman?? Just think about it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4.14 pm “The facts” as presented by who? The whistleblower says that the “investigation will be ………..” Ha ha to that opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know they’re historic? Do you work for the FCO?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you very much. We need to stop the rumours and hear say. Wait until the investigation is over before we make a decision. We simply don’t know the facts.

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