Hardware store owner re-appointed CPA chair

| 08/08/2019 | 72 Comments
Cayman News Service
A.L. Thompson’s lumber yard

(CNS): The Cabinet has re-appointed A. L. Thompson, the owner of Cayman’s largest hardware store, to chair the Central Planning Authority for another three years. Despite ongoing concerns from the Office of the Auditor General and across the community about the potential conflicts for this particular board, the Cabinet has also re-appointed Robert Watler, the owner of a leading local construction firm, as the deputy.

Most of the existing members have been re-appointed, with just three new faces: Jaron Leslie, a lawyer with Harneys; Roland Bodden, a surveyor; and the former manager of the National Trust, Christina McTaggart-Pineda.

The CPA has faced significant criticism because the majority of its members are connected in some way to the development and construction sector. The prevailing public opinion has been that the membership is always inclined towards granting planning permission because the members stand to benefit directly or indirectly from almost every project approved by the authority.

The previous auditor general had raised concerns about the CPA membership and its bias towards development and had urged the government, when reappointing the board, to include members with environmental experience.

But once again, that advice has been ignored and the membership has been largely re-appointed. McTaggart-Pineda represents the first appointment of anyone with environmental credentials but is the only person with that experience, as well as being the only woman on the board among the non-executive appointments of twelve men.

The current auditor general, Sue Winspear, used the CPA as a case study in her recent report, “Fighting Corruption in the Cayman Islands”, to illustrate the potential vulnerabilities within government to corruption or perceptions of it.

During a recent Public Accounts Committee meeting, opposition MLA Chris Saunders (BTW) said about the CPA that “just about everybody sitting on that board is conflicted”.

At the same meeting the chief officer in the planning ministry had said that the authority was due to be reappointed this summer and warned that there were no guarantees that the Cabinet would take on-board the concerns about the membership and make any of the recommended changes.

In addition, although the board chair had said that members’ interests would be made public, the provisions on the planning website for this information remains blank.

Cayman News Service

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (72)

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  1. We Cousins says:

    I know the island is small and therefore there will always be someone who is family to someone but when you actually own the largest building supplying company on the island and is the chairman of the CPA, surely they would want to remove even the the perception of nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and any other “ism” you can think of.
    But Alden got upset when Legge said “corruption” was so common here that Caymanians don’t even recognise it as corruption. He didn’t say all Caymanians were corrupt as Alden incorrectly claimed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s crazy! That’s like if you were a really stupid president of the United States and had hotels (that your daddy gave you) and when people wanted something, they stayed in your hotels when they came to town to talk to you.
    Nothing to see here. Just rich people running the world the way they want.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Very diverse. Apparently having Mr. in your name is a prerequisite.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Let’s face it nothing will ever change if we keep doing the same things over and over. Big developments will continue under the pretense Caymanians will benefit from these over priced projects. Caymanians will always be a second class citizen and be a dependent on the government. Whilst I appreciate some Caymanians have benefited from this so called progress but the majority will always be behind the 8 ball when we continue to accept these types of decisions that are continued to made by our leaders.

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  5. Say it like it is says:

    This is Cayman politics at it’s best, ignoring informed advice from a qualified and independent expatriate expert (the Auditor General) and continuing with that pervasive Caymanian canker of cronyism.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Say it like it is : Methinks you are more concerned that Caymanians are getting reappointed and not expats.From the tone of your post I suspect that had it been a competent Caymanian expert ( Auditor General) giving the advice regarding a board made of expats, then you would be questioning the competency of the Caymanian rather than the cronyism of the expats.

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      • Say it like it is says:

        8.53pm Your “thinks” are totally out of court. It’ s nothing to do with the nationality of the CPA appointees, it’s conflict of interest and cronyism that’s the problem. This is a small island which encourages internal corruption. Have you considered why your own government has always employed an expatriate as the public service watchdog?.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The WPB and most of the other similar oversight bodies have been run like this for decades. Why would anyone try to change things?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Kris Bergstrom is a great guy, not all of them need to be bunched in with the baddies.

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  7. JTB says:

    Bathrooms! Bathrooms! Get your lovely bathrooms! Free planning permission included with every bathroom….

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  8. Shameful says:

    Another affirmation of why this bunch will never enact the Standards for Public Life law. Keep electing Alden, McKeeva and their lackeys like Joey and we going to get worse than this.
    And if Martin Roper ever utters the words ‘good governance’ again, he should choke. Two successive Auditor Generals that his office has appointed have said that this is a disgraceful situation and not one word from either Governor. Shameful

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  9. Anonymous says:

    This just clears the way for Dart and McKeewa’s 50 story catastrophe.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hope its over 100. If you’re going to do it, do it right

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget to rename Grand Cayman to Freak’s Island thereafter.

      But…it is not going to be built. Too freakish for a 2 x 4 rock. No professional in their right mind would even touch it. They might entertain the idea, but wouldn’t proceed further.
      Building a skyscraper in a heavily populated area would skyrocket Construction insurance premiums.

      Headlines:
      * Hurricane Irma: High winds cause cranes to collapse in Miami
      * Miami’s Tower Construction Cranes Pose ‘Potential Danger’ During Hurricane
      * Booming Miami is littered with tower cranes not built to withstand a massive hurricane
      * Miami’s Tower Cranes Can’t Handle a Cat 5 Hurricane; Officials Send Warning to High-Rise Residents
      * Florida’s construction cranes were designed to withstand Irma. Some did not.

      Cranes take time to be dismantled, and the process also calls for blocking traffic on city streets. It takes five to six days per crane, and they can be up to 900 feet tall and include 10,000-pound counterweights. Those counterweights could pose a grave threat if any of the cranes are unable to withstand wind and flying debris.

      FYI: There are two basic types of construction defects: defects that occur during the design of a home or building, and defects that occur during the building phase. As a general principle, an architect or engineer is usually responsible for defects in the design of a construction project. A builder, usually a contractor or subcontractor, is usually responsible for defects caused by a failure to conduct work according to design specifications.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So ‘no professional in their right mind would touch it’ and ‘Miami is littered with’ such projects. As is every Asian city regularly hit by cyclones. Make your mind up, or are all those skyscrapers built by enthusiastic amateurs?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Shame on Joey Hew …. appointing his friends… he as Minister in Charge of Planning can make recommendations to make changes..but why should he elections around the counter … I’m sure the People at the Ministry just went along they did nothing…

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  11. Anonymous says:

    the whole cpa should consist of qualifed expats.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    an evil empire. but alwways going to happen in such a small place like cayman…especially when half the population has zero democratic rights.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva reigns!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    things that make you go hmmm…

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Does this surprise anyone?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    definition of madness…voting same people in the house and expect change? caymanians…you are the problem…not the career politicians???

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Another ummm – Mr. Ashton Bodden from all the years I have known him – he was a civil servant and now is retired. I do not recall his involvement with any sort of construction firm or development. I could be wrong, if so I am sure someone will make me know thru this forum.
    Mr. Ashton does a great job leading the DCB, hopefully he does any equally great job at the CPA.
    Thank you for your continued service to our communities Mr. Ashton.

    Signed,
    Brac Resident who has property on all three of our beloved islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Ashton is a good person, but in this context about as useful as Moses; both completely out of their depth.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure how Mo$e$ name came up in this conversation. Totally disagree with him being out of depth. While the almighty dollar may be an incentive for Mo$e$, he has done more for developing Cayman Brac/Little Cayman than any other Caymanian.
        And not sure how Mr. Ashton is out of depth? Please provide some more insight on this, am curious – thanks.

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      • Anonymous says:

        7,:36 pm, you don’t really know him

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn’t he Stran’s father???

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Ummmm. Christina doesn’t have development ties, she’s the Trust. What is the problem?

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