BOTs bureaucrat makes flying visit to Cayman

| 26/11/2018 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service

FCO OT Director Ben Merrick (left) and Cayman Islands Governor Martyn Roper

(CNS): Ben Merrick, Foreign and Commonwealth Director for the Overseas Territories, visited Grand Cayman on Friday, where he met with Cayman Islands officials and held discussions on relevant areas of interest to the UK as well the forthcoming constitutional talks in London. Merrick’s brief one-day visit was revealed by the Governor’s Office a day after the bureaucrat had left the island. Merrick met with Premier Alden McLaughlin, Cabinet members and other key contacts across government, as well as Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller. He also met representatives from Cayman Finance to discuss a range of issues currently affecting the industry.

After breakfast with the premier, he had lunch with Police Commissioner Derek Byrne, Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, Auditor General Sue Winspear and the current collector of customs, Charles Clifford, who has been appointed to head up the new Customs and Border Control Agency.

The OT boss also spent time with the executive director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Ania Milanowska, and government agencies dealing with child safeguarding. He congratulated her on the start of the Kids Helpline and explained that he had worked as a volunteer for six years on the UK’s Childline.

See related article on CNS Local Life: Crisis Centre opens helpline for kids

Merrick, who has made recent visits to BVI and TCI to review their recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma, also discussed disaster management with Danielle Coleman, the director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, and her team. He ended the day with a tour of the RCIPS Air Operations Unit, where he received a briefing on the Regional Helicopter Project, which is the purchase of a new helicopter based in the Cayman Islands and jointly funded by the FCO and the Cayman Islands Government.

“This was my first visit to the Cayman Islands and I was pleased to have such a full programme for my short visit,” he said, according to the release. “It was a pleasure to meet with the premier, leader of the opposition and the Cabinet and hear their thoughts on a number of topics. The Cayman Islands continues to set the standard across the overseas territories on a range of issues and I am very grateful for people freeing up their time to meet with me today and share the latest developments.”

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Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Do you want them to pay attention to you or not pay attentionto you? So much whining.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What does FCO think of our massive population boom since 2015?
    Yes. We have reached the 100.000mark now.
    Mostly from importing cheap 3rd world labor tho.
    Infrastructure can’t tolerate without taxation.
    Environment stressed. PS: why is CIG still holding on to the majority share of unused solar points instead of releasing them for public use?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You think between 2015 and now…

      an extra 40,000 people have just popped into existence?
      and no one except you has noticed?

      These types of comments are so ridiculously ludicrous they almost warrant no response

      I don’t know about you, but the traffic hasn’t changed since 2015, the crowds in fosters haven’t changed, the schools don’t suddenly have an extra couple thousand students (unless this magical group of 40,000 are all barren and childless)
      What on earth brought you to this conclusion

      Utter nonsense

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      • Anonymous says:

        An extra 9,000 people have popped into existence between 2015 and now, not 40,000. Many have noticed changes in traffic. Cayman International School is expanding. And many of those 9,000 will not have children or if they do they will not be here with them. So ordinary nonsense but not quite utter nonsense.

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    • David S,, says:

      I’m sure Cayman now has 100,000 problems as a result,,, thanks to this Administration.Caymanians homeless and jobless, but legislators have squeezed foreigners inside Cayman. Society to make. THE locals life miserable, angry, poor, helpless and devastated.Poor Caymanians.This socalled premier and his socalled govt really gave you all the shoe this time around.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just popped in to check on his offshore accounts

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  4. Anonymous says:

    On one hand I am inclined to cut him extra slack, the flying visit does raise several questions. He is not the first and probably not the last. Ben Merrick has reached where he is while being handicapped (legally blind since 18 https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/21/what-being-a-disability-role-model-means-to-me/).

  5. Anonymous says:

    @ 10:23 Being a Cayman Islands BOTC (And automatic citizen of the United Kingdom) and having visited and lived in England recently I can validate that BOTC’s have no rights or respect from our “fellow” united kingdom citizens once we step foot on Great Britain. Even after explaining the laws set out by the British nationalities act doesn’t help the situation at all, but further exacerbates the racism and prejudice.

    Its quite hypocritical that UK citizens spend most their time complaining about BOTC’s supposded tax haven status and then through the other side of the mouth, grieve about how they don’t have any rights to come to the same islands to work and live.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    What was he doing here for just a day? It’s so disrespectful. He is grateful to very busy people here for giving up their time, but only gives them one day to provide that time to him. What can you possibly learn about Cayman in not even a full day, but just a working day? He won’t remember 95% of the names, forget what was discussed, and have left with the vague impression that it was sunnier than London but smaller. Was that really useful? I highly doubt it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Disrespectful to who? I am sure they didn’t just walk into the offices they visited here without prior arrangement, Obviously they didn’t need to see you. Also there is nothing about Cayman that they do not already know, our governor is their representative.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Disrespectful to Cayman. This is the largest Overseas Territory by population. We have multiple serious bilateral issues to deal with. It was his first visit. It should have been a several day trip at the conclusion of which he could have still thanked everyone for their time, but shown he had given some of his as well, and said that he was leaving with a much improved understanding of the place. Your reply is the same type of thinking I am getting at, this idea that ‘one day is all that’s needed, everything he needs to know he can read, Cayman is not really that important anyway’. Not so. The OT Director visiting the largest OT for the first time should do so for more than one day.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Give us a break. He knows about us than we think. You really sound disappointed because they didn’t come talk with you.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Bermuda is equal or larger.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Not anymore. Our latest estimate (Spring 2018) is 64,420, continuing several years of growth here. Their 2016 Census was 63,779, continuing several years of decline which they projected to continue and which has continued. Latest estimates for Bermuda hover around 61,000. Economic and demographic indicators point to this gap widening year upon year.

            To the poster above, I am not some embittered CIG department head. I am a private sector professional and I just happen to be unimpressed with the amount of time this man felt was long enough to be here. Not even Prince Edward comes and goes that quickly.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To the contrary, what value is his visit that cannot be learned from briefings, the CIG reps in London and during the regular visits by cabinet members to London? Why are UK taxpayers’ cash being wasted on jollies to tax havens?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think that most UK citizens would be surprised to learn that the UK government (to whom they pay their taxes) is making any contribution whatsoever towards the ‘Regional Helicopter Project’ given that specifically, the Cayman Islands GDP per capita is higher than the UK and that the Cayman Island’s Government successfully had a budget surplus. The UK is up to its neck in debt and public services are all at breaking-point so the UK funding of any project is morally reprehensible given that citizens of the UK have zero rights here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Funny how not having the right to vote can be translated into no rights whatsoever. Get over it! Not going to happen

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      • Anonymous says:

        Add in: no right of residence; no right to work; no right to education for your children; no right of access to Government services; no right to enjoyment of family life. The list is longer than just “No right to vote “

    • Realist says:

      Cayman Islanders are also citizens of the UK, whether any particular individual chooses to take out a British (as opposed to BOTC) passport or not.
      Regardless of the UK’s domestic circumstances there is a duty to support the remaining Overseas Territories; the helicopter is just one aspect of it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:23. Its comments like that why we have term limits on work permits. Some people just dont belong in Cayman.

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    • Mike says:

      Very sorry that you feel that way 10.23 am but one budget surplus does not a story make. Not sure what you mean by “UK citizens have zero rights here.” Do you expect more than in the UK, or more than other residents here? Do you still remember your way back to the ORIA, if not I will be happy to guide you! I am sure the UK has been missing you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps they are merely paying back the funds we gave them during the falklands war!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think most UK citizens were pretty unimpressed with the UK response to the last group of hurricanes, which affected probably tens of thousands of their fellow citizens, and that it makes sense for the UK to station some resources here permanently, especially after Cayman proved itself able to provide significant support to UK efforts. Contributing to the cost of a second helicopter makes that helicopter more available to the UK than it would otherwise be. The clue is in the name ‘Regional Helicopter Project’: the rationale for it is not just the needs of Cayman (also home to tens of thousands of British citizens).

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly, especially when the local upstarts are not following instructions on beneficial ownership. I cannot understand why any UK cash should be spent on a place so rich that it does not collect income tax.

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