Miller calls for OfReg chair’s removal

| 13/09/2018 | 72 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller on Radio Cayman

(CNS) UPDATED: Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller joined other public calls on Tuesday for the removal of the Linford Pierson as chairman of the OfReg board following revelations that he had threatened to punch the deputy chair during a recent special board meeting. Miller said that if the details revealed in the leaked minutes are an accurate reflection of what happened, the government should replace the chairman and do something to get the authority back on track. Concerned about the utility regulator’s failure to do anything but “allow price increases and spend public money”, Miller said it was another example of government failing to follow its own laws.

He said that if what was written in the minutes about the chairman’s attempts to make himself CEO is also correct, that certainly appears to fly in the face of anti-corruption legislation and also seems to be in violation of the public authorities law.

“Hopefully government is going to dismiss the chair,” Miller told CNS, adding that the government must be feeling uncomfortable by what has been recorded in these minutes.

He lamented the Utility Regulation and Competition Office’s apparent inability to address any of the major issues in its remit, such as regulating fuel prices and tackling the problems relating to the lack of fibre roll-out in the Eastern Districts. He also pointed to the repeated complaints that the telecommunication firms are charging people top dollar for internet speeds and services but actually supplying only a fraction of that speed.

“After almost two years we still can’t get fuel regulated and still can’t get the telecoms companies to comply with the law,” he said, adding that the utility companies are still able to threaten and manipulate government into not enforcing the laws.

But he raised concerns that things could get worse, following news that OfReg is now engaged in a public consultation about its takeover of the regulation of the country’s water supply.

“Given the Water Authority was self-regulating, it was doing a relatively good job,” the opposition leader said. “I have real concerns now that we are taking it away from them and putting it into this quagmire at OfReg. This is water we are talking about — an essential utility.”

He pointed out that this goes way beyond economic problems and into health and safety. “The public needs to know it is properly regulated, but looking at things now, it appears things are likely to get worse.”

The government has remained silent on the issues surrounding the near-violent outbreak at the August meeting and none of CNS questions sent to various government officials and the chairman have been answered. It also appears that the minutes may well be adjusted to remove the references to the threats of violence. After Pierson apologised at the next meeting, the board had agreed to amend the minutes.

Several hours after this article was published OfReg issued the following statement:

The Board of OfReg, the multi-sector regulator of the Cayman Islands, acknowledges that recently leaked meeting minutes described a heated discussion that has since been amicably and responsibly resolved. The board is focused on getting down to the business of providing a solid consumer protection infrastructure through effective and sound regulation.

The recruitment process for a qualified CEO is a high priority for OfReg and until there is a successful candidate, the Acting CEOs are being supported from both the board and the staff, to provide stability and solid leadership in this short-term transitionary period. The Chairman, Dr. the Hon. Linford Pierson, OBE, JP would like to state for the record that he sought legal advice in relation to putting himself forward for the CEO position and was advised that there is no breach of the Anti-Corruption Law.

The board understands the concerns of the public and would like to provide the assurance that it is working towards continuing the excellent work of the employees of OfReg to move the Cayman Islands forward in terms of providing a high level of consumer protection.

See OfReg chairs in near punch-up over CEO job

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Category: Politics, Private Sector Oversight

Comments (72)

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  1. Ron Ebanks says:

    As some of us who may not like or want to believe that what Mr. Ezzard Miller is doing something that is benefiting us all . If we look at the things that he has brought to our attention , and the objections to Government’s irresponsible decisions that is against the People/ Taxpayers . Let’s ask ourselves the questions , do these other politicians have to be the Opposition to have raised these issues that Miller is exposed ? No they don’t , just like they don’t want to agree with Miller’s motions . So therefore who is our best friend in Government ?

    I think that if we all got behind Ezzard , and fully supported him in opposing the issues that we see and agree with , then we would have a better government . We won’t correct anything , if we continue to encourage the wrongful doers .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but Ezzard is just out to preach Gloom and Doom! He has not put forward one positive point in the last 10 years! Every single opportunity he gets to open a can of worms he gets down on his knees before he make a big limbo show before the biggest audience he can find. Ezzard needs to go and Mr. Pierson needs to stop making idle threats!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Miller has done a lot of positive thinking for his people for the past 40 years . Thank God he is not like the rest of the politicians that bend over and grab their ankles when ever they see folks like Mr. Dart coming around.

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        • Ron Ebanks says:

          Anonymous 6:19 pm , sorry for accidentally thumbing down the comment , but your comment is one of the most truest comment , I ever read .

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    • Observer says:

      I am so pleased that Pierson has been stopped from exercising his power as a board chair to achieve his own personal goals.

      I am also hoping that we will all get the message that there are people who will stand for principle and not be afraid to speak truth to power.

      The old order is dying a slow death and what we see are the death rattles — and in truth we will never entirely be free of its vestiges — there will always be some cliques and entitled enclaves.

      But I like to feel that the light that has been shone on these two cases — the Stock Exchange and OfReg — is in itself an encouraging sign that we can hope for greater fairness, transparency, and professionalism in the relevant decision making that contributes to orderly operations in government and in business.

      And don’t forget that the media played a big role in this — from the Marl Road, to CNS, to the Compass. It was good to see the Compass taking a strong line in its editorial.

      Their role is to serve as watchdogs for the society’s democratic functioning and compliance with laws and regulations. I would like to see more of this from them.

      The media should be a force to keep people in line. If they lie down like timid dogs — rather than the fearless watchdogs they should be — our society will be the loser.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    So does “amend the minutes” mean that Linford’s apology will be added to the minutes or does is mean deleting all references to this incident entirely?

    The latter case essentially says this never happened, isn’t striking this from the record in breach of any law? Sorry the anti-bullying legislation hasn’t been passed yet, and ya’ll need to get them licks in fast before the hammer comes down?

    The BS watered down statement from OfReg made me spit out a perfectly good drink this evening. Still in a daze I’m wondering if Linford was humming “mama said knock you out” before this happened?
    Where’s Tru Tru when you need him?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Where is Woody when you need him?

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    • Sharkey says:

      Mr. Pierson should stand down immediately and be banned from public office permanently.
      Behavior like this, would lead to instant dismissal in any private business…threatening violence is unacceptable under any context and pretending that the threat was never made, and amending the minutes, could only happen in Caymanian government!
      Lets hope that Mr. Miller can get this joker out of his job XXXX, they need to stamp this kind of moronic behavior out of public office.

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      • Ron Ebanks says:

        Sharkey , if you continue to keep posting good comments like that one , I will alow to use the name , but remember it took me many hard and long nights of husselling to get that name , so take care of it ,and remember that there’s a special reputation that goes with that name too .

    • Anonymous says:

      Changing minutes, deleting minutes does not make a wrong right. We have one solace, history cannot be deleted or changed. Mr. Pierson has done very well for himself over the years, moving from crewe road to Webster estate to Patrick island. At 77 years of age he can well retire and enjoy the rest of his life. Why take on all the stress? If you haven’t made it by 77 then personally I don’t think there is even enough energy left to fight. Just chill and live happily ever after.

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      • Anonymous says:

        He can change the minutes all he wants but he cannot change minds and he cannot change the public record.

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  3. Two Cents says:

    Kudos to the Hon Leader of the Opposition for calling for this action. It is logical and proportionate to the behaviour of the OfReg Chair.
    But let’s face it; he shouldn’t have had to call and his calling is not going to make it happen. The political quagmire that Cayman is in today makes common sense decisions hard to come by, let alone principled ones.
    Let’s understand how we got here. Of Reg was a 2016 creation to appease the voting public prior to the upcoming 2017 elections and to give the impression that the PPM government was serious about addressing gasoline prices in particular, and utilities in general.
    In late 2016, sensing that the then-Premier Alden McLaughlin was weak and the then-Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush wasn’t going to be able to get support outside of West Bay, the Hon. Dr. or Dr. Hon. Linford Pierson started testing the political winds, trying to sell himself as an alternative to both Alden and McKeeva.
    Alden had the public cheque book and so the PPM made the Hon. Dr. Pierson the offer of Chair of OfReg as the appropriate role for the person who was the father of de-regulation (telecoms) and seemingly told him to name his price. One can only presume that that is how they came out with $4,500/month when chairs of other statutory bodies have been getting $150-$200/meeting.
    Furthermore, to make the Hon. Dr. comfortable, the PPM hand-picked his long-time friend and lodge brother, J.P. Morgan, to be the CEO of OfREg. Both were appointed by Alden’s Cabinet with effect from 16 January 2017 (Extraordinary Gazette No. 11/2017). The Hon. Dr. was happy and under PPM control.
    In May 2017, Alden only manged to win 7 of the 14 seats contested under the PPM ticket; McKeeva 3 of 8 under his CDP. And you know the rest – while our legislators frown on same sex marriages, the country suddenly learned that Alden and McKeeva, after all these years of pretending different, were of the same ‘political sex’ and Helen Kilpatrick presided over their marriage and named them M&M G. National Unity, otherwise called the Government of National Unity????.
    Now it has clearly emerged who is the ‘head of this household’, and it isn’t the one called ‘Premier’. And the one called Premier is not going to be allowed to deal with the Hon. Dr. Pierson by the ‘head of the household’; trust me. You see, to do that would be to side with the overwhelming support that the Dep. Chair Mr Dunn has received in the public domain for standing up to the Hon. Dr. and causing him to show his true colours.
    So why wont the ‘head of the household’ agree to dealing with the Hon. Dr.? You have to go back to 2009 when Mr. Dunn was Chair of the CTC and the ‘head of the household’ was sporting his new title, Minister of Finance. Typical of the ‘head of the household’, he felt that he could tell whoever to do what ever and they had to do it. When he tried to tell Mr. Dunn that the CTC should consider and unsolicited bid from and upstart financial outfit in Texas to buy the GOAP and lease it back to the government, Mr. Dunn refused. As a result, the head of the household wanted nothing more to do with Mr Dunn. Trust me; he hasn’t forgotten.
    So don’t expect to see ‘the one called Premier’ do anything about the performance of the Hon. Dr. Pierson; every house has a head and the head of Cayman’s household today simply isn’t going to let it happen. Mark my word.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Two Cents: You have institutional history down to the T. Thank you for clearing up what was really going on here — I see — never fails — there is always more than meets the eye.

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    • nauticalone says:

      And there you have it folks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree with this call of chairman to be removed not the deputy …he was defending himself from this idiot of a man! in fact Off Reg should just shutdown. Sad part is the Chairman claims they are all honky dory and Friends now!……………. Not! He needs to go. He has compromised the integrity of this Dept. Isn’t this where Suckoo suppose to step in and make it all right?!! what a joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The deputy should also be removed. He is nothing but a trouble maker. Don’t take your eyes off of him. He is not all thay he tries ro make people believe

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      • Anonymous says:

        Tru dat.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You know who troublemakers are? Persons who stand up when principle is being trampled upon. Those who hold their heads down — the cowards — they rise to the top of the gray train.

        It is part of the training and orientation of people like Ronnie Dunn to be feisty!!

        Of course a lot of people are offended. That’s what happens when you call out people. Who likes that — but too bad!! Keep going Ronnie.

        Reminds me of Carrol Cooper, then the CFO for the Health Ministry, who refused to sign off on the CarePay debacle that ended up in court, while all ye like sheep went down the silent inglorius path to perdition.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, let Ronnie Dunn be. It was unfortunate he allowed Pierson to drag him down, but I am sure he learned from it. He is a man of integrity.

      I read the editorial in Friday’s edition of another media. It was very good reading.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous 13/09/2018 @11.33 p.m. I read the Editorial in another paper as well, but there is a third scenario that will actually play out!

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  5. Annonymous says:

    I am shocked at the behavior of Mr. Pierson after all he has the title of Dr. and Chairman before his name and Hon. JP and OBE after his name. Are these titles deserving of a man that threatens violence against another human being? I am appalled at the lack of action from the unity government. I applaud minister Miller for doing his job and for bringing these and other issues that many who would much prefer to sweep under the rug. I fully support your stance mininster Miller.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I realize we will never win with CUC no matter how many energy-efficient appliances and items you plug into their grid the cheaper usage and less consumption you achieve in the equation CUC will the next year increase the base cost of electricity, so we will always be paying exuberantly for electricity in Cayman.

    The fuel Cartels have no intentions of lowering the fuel cost, not counting the fact no matter how much they lower fuel we pay Seventy-Five cents extra per gallon in taxes, so it is a no win.

    What else can you expect has anyone noticed the cost of doing business in Cayman the professional fees and forced regulation taxes are life-crippling, those need to be tackled before we even start backtracking on all these parasitic money draining authorities.

    The telecommunications companies, no one wants to upset the cart so you all pay what they want you to pay, you all have no choice but use what is handed to you.

    Oh do a traceroute of your emails and see how many different places it goes after it leaves the telecommunication company to reach the email serve base to be delivered to your recipient.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Richie Hew is a friend of mine, but it’s going to take a lot of El Dorado for me to pay my CUC bill exuberantly.

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  7. FCIS retd. says:

    ” It also appears that the minutes may well be adjusted to remove the references to the threats of violence. ”

    Just NO.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The message being sent here, is that threats of violence is ok as long as you kiss and make up afterwards. You just can’t make this crap up. There should have been an immediate suspension at the very least.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    What an example these top appointees are setting. Absolutely disgraceful Dr. The Honourable… and these same ones will be the first to criticise young people for bad behaviour.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The fisticuffs is a distraction. Not advertising a job so you can do it yourself is that issue. Maybe, maybe the lawyers said it was not illegal, but is was wrong and utterly immoral.

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    • Anonymous says:

      5:25, yes, that is the issue, but unprofessional behavior is more than a “distraction.” It can destroy an organization.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We need a Office of OffReg Reg.

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    • Anon says:

      Leave the water authority alone. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It is the cheapest utility and seems to be working well.

      OfReg can’t manage what it has now .

      And the first thing g they will do is raise water rates to pay for all their extravagant going ons.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not only will they raise their rates they will add in their license fees and their fuel factor will be more than your actual cost of the amount you use and their insurance fees and the list goes on and on. How the hell do we have to pay all this on our electricity bill when at the end of every year they have this millions of dollars in profit. Seems like no wonder they keep fighting down these regulations.. Mind over matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t see how a board chair using his position of power to try to gain a pecuniary advantage could not be a violation of some regulation.

      Besides what qualifications does he have to head that extremely technical organization.

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    • Anon says:

      Is a good thing Ronnie Dunn stopped Linford.

      Otherwise OfReg would be headed for more of a shambles than it is now.

      And the rest of the board, other than RD, should be fired for agreeing.

      Give Ronnie Dunn a raise of pay for saving govt and the public from more pain and distress.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One of the aspects to this situation that very few persons, if any, are paying attention to is the injustice that has ben done to Alee Fa’Amoi. (Apologies if I am misspelling his name).

      He was appointed Atg CEO and the board withdrew the appointment without even the decency of meeting with Fa’Amoi — sent him a terse letter.

      Completely out of line with the Government’s HR principles and practices.

      And lest anyone thinks I have any connection with Fa’Amoi — I probably would not even recognize him on the street.

      But this is just not the way to treat civil servants and to encourage them to stay and serve the country. I have no doubt that Fa’Amoi could command a good position and great salary with less stress and grief in the private sector.

      So now we see why that was necessary.

      It just occurred to me — so they appointed two (hey, I guess two heads better than one) Atg CEOs — so I guess they would have gotten or would be getting their walking papers?

      And did Linford think he could do better than those guys with strong technical background.

      Anyway, we know now what type of CEO he would make — bullying and threatening his way at the first opposition.

      Fa’Aamoi — you made the best decision.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is no injustice to Alee Fa’moe. Do not believe the hype.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Well I admit I don’t know the inside story, but if you appoint someone and you have concerns, the proper HR practice is to confront the person, not to send a letter.

          Poor, poor HR practice in any one’s book. That is the type of manager that Pierson would have been and I maintain that he would have made the worst possible choice as CEO of OfReg.

    • Anonymous says:

      All I will say is “10%”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Premier shut these authorities down. They operated better and was less costly when they were part of the civil service.

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      • Anonymous says:

        7:46pm, Stop talking rubbish – the Civil Service cannot even pick up garbage – now there is a mouthful!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmmmm, so when exactly were these authorities part of the Civil Service? If you want a Chevy man up, quit the civil service and apply for the CEO job!!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Both of the fistacuffs threateners should be dismissed for cause. Full stop. The message should be: if you can’t be a professional, you’re out – particularly at the flippin’ internal regulator level.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    There will be money at stake, public service is an afterthought.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    we need to take authorities that are…out of lodge’s control…..????

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    • Anonymous says:

      Make all government applications or positions state that their allegiance is to the Cayman people and not their drinking buddies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t say stuff like that. You will be branded a conspiracy theorist.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    i call for the deputy to be removed as well….a concerned native! start fresh….clean slate…

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    • Anonymous says:

      This right here ladies and gentlemen is the reason so many people stay quiet, look the other way, and let corruption take place. Being a native is something we should be proud of, people like you make that very difficult.

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    • Caymanian says:

      Why? He was the one who showed courage to stand up to Pierson.

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      • Anonymous says:

        2:56pm really? In this instance his glass is almost empty and he stood up. All that glitters is not gold.

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  16. Partier :/ says:

    Watchdog Miller & Saunders at it again!

    Can we please some how remove these annoying Opposition leaders!

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    • Anonymous says:

      They wrecking up the party man!

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      • Anonymous says:

        2:15pm you have on your blinders? Who sold us out wholesale to the highest bidder? Do you read the various publications? Well, I would suggest that all of us keep up to date, read and if you read and don’t understand, ask an intelligent person to explain to you what’s happenin. Always try to get a better understanding of the current affairs that should matter-to all of us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Boy, if a..h…s could fly, you’d be a jumbo jet!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      1:53 pm: we need more watch dogs

  17. Anonymous says:

    If you take their chairs, where are they going to sit Ezzard!? Use your brain man.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Duck Ez…… a punch coming….

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  19. Anonymous says:

    how about removing Ofreg period???

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  20. Say it like it is says:

    Right on Mr Miller. However I suggest not only the “Chair”, but all the chairs and the table be removed and the Board dissolved, as clearly it has responsibilty for the farcical events of OfReg itself.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Word…can’t act like a Neanderthal while you are in public position…time for pasture ol fella!

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