Chairperson deflects blame for OfReg failings

| 15/07/2020 | 112 Comments
Cayman News Service
Linford Pierson at PAC

(CNS): Dr Linford Pierson, who chairs the board of the beleaguered utilities regulator, OfReg, arrived at Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday ready for a fight. The former Cabinet minister blamed everything and everyone, from Cabinet to the staff, for the multitude of failings surrounding the authority identified in a report by the auditor general. Pierson refused to accept any blame for the problems, claiming he had done nothing wrong and was best placed to run OfReg.

Pierson criticised the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and the report, claiming it was inaccurate and that it did not cover any of OfReg’s achievements.

When PAC chair Ezzard Miller questioned him about why OfReg was falling short of public expectations, Pierson began by listing his grievances. He criticised the OAG for doing the audit too early, as he said the utilities regulator law called for the first audit to be undertaken after 36 months.

He said that the auditor general had not asked to meet him and the office had got things wrong, and he accused the OAG of undertaking the audit in “the old school way” to name and blame and sensationalise.

However, Miller explained that the committee had requested the audit and Auditor General Sue Winspear confirmed that her independent office can do an audit at any time it feels appropriate. In addition, PAC member Chris Saunders pointed out that the report was published in June 2020, which was more than three years since the creation of the office.

Nevertheless, Pierson pressed ahead with his position that he felt the audit was wrong and the OAG was not looking for factual information. He said he was not consulted during the audit and the report was misleading.

He claimed a succession plan, a key issue for the regulator and a criticism in the report, existed even though the auditor had been unable to find one. And despite that claim, he still could not explain why it was not followed other than stating there were some management problems.

He said that he had consulted with Cabinet “in confidence” and therefore could not elaborate — before implying it was with the premier — and that he had been asked to step in as CEO because he was very qualified to take the job.

The issue had raised significant controversies at the time when, during a board meeting, Pierson had threatened to punch the deputy board chair, who had challenged Pierson’s decision to appoint himself to the top executive job.

Miller tried to explain to Pierson that the goal of the PAC was to operate in a collaborative rather than confrontational manner to get to the issues and resolve the problems, but Pierson continued his attacks on the OAG.

Winspear pointed out that she does not personally meet with everyone when audits are undertaken and it was not an exception, given the workload of the office. She said the OAG team that carried out the audit met with him and the rest of the board.

She also stressed the pains to which the office goes to ensure factual accuracy. In this case, the office had gone “through extensive clearance with this entity and it is somewhat disturbing and slightly alarming that Dr Pierson still feels there are inaccuracies in there”, she said as she explained the process.

Suggesting he had no grudge against the OAG, Pierson still went on to suggest that there was information known only by him and JP Morgan, the former CEO who has died since leaving the job, that he should have been asked about by the auditor general.

PAC gave Pierson the benefit of the doubt and was willing to accept that the blame for what has gone wrong with OfReg might lie elsewhere. The committee also accepted that there was no advantage in raking over past and that the merger of a number of regulating bodies had created unique challenges

However, the chairperson of the regulator remained defensive throughout. As he was questioned by the committee, he continued to criticise, deflect and deny that he had done anything wrong.

Pierson gave very little explanation for the many problems still surrounding OfReg more than three years after its creation and the failure to resolve the issues it was created to tackle, including fuel prices toand poor internet provision.

Saunders asked if it was time to throw in the towel and return to the former system of regulation, which appears to have been cheaper and more effective. But Pierson railed at the committee for not looking at OfReg’s achievements and only pointing to the weaknesses. He appeared outraged over the idea that if OfReg did not do better, people were suggesting “let’s get rid of you”.

He said no one fully understood the accomplishments of OfReg and all that was coming out was ‘why aren’t gas prices at the pump lower?’ and ‘why are the light bills not cheaper?’ as he justified the oil companies’ price lag.

See Pierson’s full appearance before PAC on CIGTV below:

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Comments (112)

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  1. Big Pappa says:

    All things being equal, which of these three “historic” characters do you feel an insurance company would least likely be willing to insure?

    A. Doc Holliday B. Doc Pierson C. Doc McField

    • Anonymous says:

      “Past” achievements in whatever field of endeavor does not neccesarily provide Comfort of present performance . That said it is evident that time has caught up with Mr. Pierson and it’s obviously very difficult for him to accept that the old saying of time longer than rope is not factual.

      Given the evolving nature of the environment in which OfReg operates it is desirable to have persons in leadership of this entity that not only have experience and qualification in these realms, but also have management experience. Let’s face it a Chief officer as it is termed today nor a Minister in the era of Mr. Pierson had no management training and in many cases and while there may have been some tertiary education gained, it was a different cayman with different and less evolved issues.

      Mr. Pierson has served the country in various positions, and he has been well paid in these positions. His service was indeed appreciated and he should as he is reportedly a man of principle offer his resignation so as not to marr his career any more and give Government a chance to rehash this regulatory child whose birth was obviously not carefully planned and it’s remit put together haphazardly.

  2. Truth says:

    Stop allowing the Lodge and its Membership to control everything.

    Notice some are very silent on the matter.
    Two talk show hosts ARE members of the Lodge. That’s why nothing is being said and there is NO UPROAR from them.You WILL NOT hear a peep out of other Lodge members.If it was a regular non member they would have been all over it like white on rice.

    Wake up Cayman

  3. Gray Matter says:

    Listening to this I had to laugh as it reminded me of the Mad Dr. who created Frankenstein Kept working at it to make it the perfect human being, but!! There was always a glitch and back on the table the monster would go as something was always wrong. Until the point came the other Dr.’s had to tell the Mad Dr.( his brainchild he created) [ he] is brain dead and you keep feeding it and there is nothing there but a dead body with no spirit or brain activity…. time to pull the plug.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Lindford and OffReg are more examples of Alden’s failed governance system.

    Alden and his Masonic Lodge brothers have been propping him up for years.

    Alden do the people a favour, please let him go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Al, you have the votes, do one thing we can see and feel that we all know is a failure. Let him go.

  5. Missing part of a Rib says:


    Ahh, the old, tired but still angry Linford, Deflector Extraordinaire.

    Let me cherry pick the recurring hits:

    “he still could not explain why it was not followed other than stating there were some management problems”

    – The buck stops at the top, with him. Fall on that sword Linny!)

    “claiming he had done nothing wrong and was best placed to run OfReg.”

    -Sure, and I bet the $$$$ is only a small gratitude, right? Right??

    “The former Cabinet minister blamed everything and everyone”.

    -Dear Linford, the only doctor I’ll believe, especially when the evidence presented is overwhelming unmistakably against OffReg, is Dr. Richard Kimble, when he said :
    “It wasn’t me. It was the one armed man.”

  6. Truth Comes Out says:

    This situation only highlights why there is such a compelling need for an official public register of all persons involved involved and have membership to any clubs, societies, special interest groups or Lodges.

    The ONLY REASON not to have one IS because it would highlight the HUGE amount of corruption within this nation and especially within GOVERNMENT.

    Those who would fight against it are those who benefit from it.

    Any prospective MLA would would demand and ensure this law is passed would be worth their weight in gold.

    But alas it soon will be election time again and as EVERYONE KNOWS the games are already starting. Payoffs have already begun around the Island. I dare one person to be honest and share evidence with an honest and God fearing heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s exactly what was taken out of the Standards in Public Life Law. Specifically, the requirement to disclose “any political, trade, professional, fraternal or charitable association or organisation, registered or unregistered, to which there is a connection.” They just used the legitimate concerns of people who serve on tribunals and boards – for free in many cases, certainly in mine – that they would be required to disclose their business partners’ and their families’ details, as cover to remove their own obligation to reveal that the Lodge runs Cayman, not Cabinet, not Caucus, not even Dart, but the Lodge.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I see there is a lot of intelligent criticism today, sounds like true Caymanians.
    Only if we could get together and make these blessed island be better for our children’s future. The goverment system has failed the people and will continue to do so. Instead of getting better its worst.

    Election 2021 they will bring their sack of cow feed and the cows shall come running.







    They say we lazy we have no culture

    • Anonymous says:

      In my view the OAG is the watch dog. By their Very nature, watch dogs bark or otherwise signal when they smell something that they are trained to recognize.

      It may be a crude analogy, but the OAG is not there to sing praises but to sound a discordant note when things need correcting.

      Dr Pierson didn’t seem to recognize that. Instead of six pages of accomplishments, he should have brought in a thank you note and a plan to fix the issues and call it a day.

      I also learned something from Chris Saunders—each of the entities under the OfReg Authority is in a different Ministry.

      Holy moly. How crazy is that?

      Can that really work? At the very least it possibly accounts for the slow rate of change. One ministry is bad enough, but three? Have mercy!

      That needs fixing ASAP or this organization is doomed.

      Another thing is that the executive officers are part of the board.

      Can’t find them when you need them? How about doing some planning and calling in executive officers to answer questions As required and provide evidence as needed.

      The board could be severely inhibited by a crowd of executive officers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The best and brightest professionals believe there is a greater good for society etc and that there are things more important than money, such as integrity, expertise, dedication, loyalty. They understand that life is not a zero-sum game. Being humble and admitting ones faults is human and not weakness. A good dose of old fashioned humble pie is what should be served on tyrannical behavior.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So when do we get the article that lists all these achievements Dr Pierson keeps mentioning please?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Defund OfReg!

  11. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to get a grip in Cayman with these unregulated so-called doctorates awarded by private for-profit American seminary schools with corporate offices in the middle-east that grant credit in exchange for life experience?! Where is Dr. Pierson’s research? Who published it? Unless you can write a prescription, cough up a book or disarm a nuclear bomb, stop calling yourselves doctor. There is no PhD in gross incompetence or bartender assault studies!

    • Anonymous says:

      Professors with MD to their names teach at St. Matthew’s University, yet never practiced medicine. I thought after earning MDs, doctors obligated to practice medicine before they switch to teaching.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good one!

    • Anonymous says:

      Dr. Pierson’s research was in Biblical studies. I suspect it was in a similar vein to that of WC Fields, just a more protracted search for a loophole.

    • Rick says:

      If you do not read you should not conclude that there is no book. Normally people like you would be under a rock somewhere hanging out with the rest of haters and envious no-bodies. Lucky for you, there is CNS.

      • Anonymous says:

        Having CNS report in Cayman is ‘lucky’ for anyone with a bit of intelligence to help filter the BS that ceaselessly pours out of the CIG and other ‘committees’ in Cayman including you.

        • Anonymous says:

          In examining governance, every rock that is turned over has arrows pointing to more and more incompetence.

          If this is a “World Class Civil Service” then the rest of the world is in deep, deep trouble.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do we know from which University he obtained this Doctorate? Its not included in the diatribe on his Website!

      • Anonymous says:

        In examining governance, every rock that is turned over has arrows pointing to more and more incompetence.

        If this is a “World Class Civil Service” then the rest of the world is in deep, deep trouble.

      • Anonymous says:

        That should serve as a red flag right there!

  12. Anonymous says:

    This right here is how you get a highway named after you folks. Watch and learn.

  13. Anonymous says:

    CNS. It is JP Morgan, not JD Morgan

    CNS: Thanks!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I guess everything is relative. Or in this case a relative. Cayman culture drives this beast.

    • Anonymous says:

      Linford does NOT exhibit Caymanian culture for men of his generation in any way shape or form!

      His peers were stand up guys who worked their fingers to the bone to do the right thing and always without fear or favour.

      A real man takes blame and tries his best to do better.

      This “man” never had it in him and never will.

      Hold fast to that which is good…..

  15. Anonymous says:

    I read the report cover to cover and thought it was well written, objective and did highlight many of the achievements of Ofreg. I was thoroughly impressed by the work of the OAG and the way the report was written.

    • Anonymous says:

      LP has always been useless except to himself and his interests.

      Move on – nothing will change😏

    • Anonymous says:

      I really wonder why persons who worked all their lives, made very good salaries, have a very cushy life, can pay their bills with much left over, getting old and not as cognitive as they used to be, can afford to retire and just enjoy their twilight years refuse to do so. Come on Linford just go quietly and graceful and have a great retirement. Blessings!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Ask Joe Biden……….

      • Anonymous says:

        As soon as I can retire, I will retire. If I felt I had a duty and the skills to serve on a board, at 77, you will not catch me trying to trade up my $4,500/month stipend for a $10,000+ month CEO job with more stress.

        The reason why these old men don’t retire is because they desperately crave power even after their glory days are gone. They don’t crave the advancement of society, but motives derived from selfishness.

        Desperation for power is why another politician tried tk retire for a minute before becoming ‘planning consultant’ for developers and still pulling the strings of other politicians.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      I completely agree with you and as usual the work of the OAG is outstanding and sets a marker for all government departments.

      The responsibility for running Ofreg rests ultimately with the board of directors not solely with Dr. Pierson. He like myself is a former auditor and now in new careers we often find ourselves ‘on the other side’. Thus we should always have respect for auditors no matter how boring and pedantic they are.

      Auditors are our guardians whether we like it or not. I am reminded that the Roman poet, Juvenal said ‘Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes’ translated means who is guarding the guardians. Ironically Ofreg is also a guardian. They are here to keep a watching brief over the island’s utility companies. Thus Dr Pierson’s experience as a former auditor and guardian holds him in good stead.

      The mission statement of Ofreg is defined on their website and lengthy. One of their phrases, amongst many others which are well worth reading, is ‘Serve the public interest through a commitment of professionalism, diversity, mutual respect and ethical conduct’. I feel the board has seriously let us all down and ought to reconsider their positions once the good Mr. Miller has finished with them. He is no slouch in being blunt and asking the right questions.

      Meanwhile kudos go to our AG and her department who now find themselves guarding the guardians.[ Do not ask who guards the AG !] They are never backward in coming forward.

      • Cisco Kid says:

        This dreamer needs to go Chris plain and simple stop pouring cologne on doo doo! AG is merely doing her job under terrible circumstances and conditions it appears his criticism and blame others is typical and unfounded . Go sit down Linfud!

      • Anonymous says:

        I fear there is not enough lipstick in Cayman to disguise this pig.

      • Anunymous says:

        He isn’t by any chance one of those that periodically meets his chums on Friday nights in the hall in Prospect.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wasn’t aware that he ever was an auditor. Certainly wasn’t one of any significant repute.

        • Chris Johnson says:

          As I recall it the good Doctor was the partner of the Cayman branch of Thorn Riddell , a Canadian firm which later merged with KPMG. .

          • Brutus says:

            No point in doing thumbs down. Chris is entirely correct. Check the Internet. You may not like Mr Johnson but invariably he is correct and unlike many puts his name to his mouth!
            Chris keep up the good work Chris.

  16. Anonymous says:

    as expected

  17. Anonymous says:

    He was at best a sub-par politician and apparently is once again living to that measure as CEO of OfReg. I’d suggest in this case, we do throw the baby out with the bath water!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Government doing what government does best.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dr Pierson is a Caymanian hero, shut up you trouble makers.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess everything is relative. Or in this case a relative. Cayman culture drives this beast.

    • SJames says:

      Is this the same Dr. Pierson that discharged his handgun in the ceiling of his house many years ago. Of course no prosecution. Or are there two such Dr. Piersons? The public would like to know.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Doctor” in bible studies is not a qualification to head OfReg.
      As far as being a “hero” , that bar should be set far far higher.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Our public officials, perhaps not unlike those in many other parts of the world, consistently display a disgusting trait. They love the prestige of their jobs or “volunteer” positions, yet refuse to accept any criticism which may come with the territory – like true professionals!

    Ministers blame insurance companies, CBC blames computers, importers, etc. Many other examples exist in the public service. In this case Mr. Pierson is blaming the AG (personally), her report, CUC, Cabinet, landlords and never once, per reports, acknowledges the failures and shortcomings of OfReg. This agency has achieved nothing to benefit utility and fuel consumers since its inception; has demonstrated irresponsible spending of public funds (bordering on plain waste), provided plush office and company vehicles for over-paid “executives” (who were often early retirees from private companies and landed in the public service) and, to cap it all, never disputed alleged grossly unprofessional boardroom behaviour involving Mr. Pierson the Chairman himself!

    What Mr. Pierson should really have done is to present an apology to the Cayman Islands public, then resign!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Old men should not be allowed to run anything. Mandatory age limits now! It was shambolic and sums up OfReg perfectly.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What a disaster and “accomplishment” for a chairman who clearly does not recognize his duty and role to steer an organization. Let us stop recycling these people who are at their inglorious end, who do not know when to go.

    Wasn’t he the one who said he had the ability and was knowledgeable enough to run the organization when he wanted to be CEO? This cabron’s time is now up.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Pierson obviously doesn’t understand that he is captain of this OfReg party boat, it goes where you steer it, that is if you’re not intoxicated by your extravagance

  24. Bull Chit says:

    This BOY sounds like a spoilt little chit. He needs some good old Caymanian discipline.

    Makes you wonder about his Doctorite being “Doctored”

    He took the job because he was qualified. Humm and pray tell what “Qualifications were those. Being able to bullshit your way through anything.

    Also, as typical in the Cayman Islands, he had a closed door confident meeting with the Premier. Sounds like another “betterment of mankind” deal done by members of the same Lodge. Brothers looking out for fellow brethren.

  25. Call 911 says:

    The deal Kurt and Alden struck with Linford in order to give him power over OfReg was a bad deal for the people of Cayman. The proof is in the results and AG’s report.

    It is clear that there is Cabinet interference as Linford Pierson alluded to private discussions with Cabinet and named the Premier as the person he spoke to on these secret matters most frequently. Mr. Pierson’s performance was shocking and he is clearly out of touch.

    This sad chapter and the waste that is allowed to happen at OfReg is another example of the tainted legacy of Premier Alden McLaughlin’s two terms as Premier. It is clear Alden, his government and all their politically appointed cronies must be retired in 2021.

  26. Anonymous says:

    On radio Cayman, LP sounded pompous, puffed up and full of his own self importance. As a former politician, it was surprising at how badly he was at “reading the room”. Totally got it completely and utterly wrong.

    He was the one operating “old school” – what kind of a “Dad’s Army” (“Hogan’s Heroes” in USD currency) operation is it where the succession plan is known to just two people – one of whom who is the person “to be succeeded”, who (with deepest sympathies to all concerned), passes away? You couldn’t make this stuff up!!! Doesn’t OfReg have a shared drive on their computer system for corporate policies and documents!!!! But No!! the sacred scroll of the succession plan rested “safely” (and solely) with LP!!?? Lucky for him that OfReg wasn’t the subject of a CIMA onsite inspection- he’d be fined and penalised!

    Time to move on – but no doubt, to yet another post retirement, “golden gig”. So it go ina Cayman.

    • Rick says:

      Finally, a scathing criticism based on reasoning and facts and not on empty statements belittling the man’s educational achievement or his age. Thank you for your objectivity! I can agree with everything you say without worrying about the hatred and envy associated with the other idiotic comments.

  27. Anonymous says:

    is he a lodge member and how many other members of ofreg are lodge members???

  28. Anonymous says:

    told you before…no such thing as caymanian accountability or responsibility.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Another failure of a private sector board. Come on Board members earn your huge pay.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Instead of wasting time over interpretations of multi-tiered, my obvious conclusion after 2+ hours of viewing the episode, is that CIG needs to break up OfReg and return it to 4 separate entities. Current OfReg is dysfunctional and can’t navigate their ‘multi-tiered’ reality. I agree with MLA Saunders.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too many chiefs is the problem there. You have a CEO, Deputy CEO, and an Executive Director for each industry regulated all specified by law, with most of them having rights to or regularly attending Board meetings, then a Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and plain Directors. They’re all worked up because they know they’re all some measure of responsible for the mess they are and fighting each other. They’re all men so they’re doing that in the manner of rutting stags – egos way too big to be so close to each other. This behaviour of Pierson’s is what is being contended with by the others, too – if he acts like this in Finance Committee, imagine how he is in the board room. I do think OfReg is a failure as an institution, not necessarily because it has not regulated (at all at some suggest) but because it has failed to build a good culture, a good reputation, and a good way of doing its job. It has no credibility. Its biggest problem is that it has been staffed with the wrong people given its mission. These old bulls aren’t interested in investigating or improving anything, and they don’t have any moral authority. They’re the wrong people to be running a regulator.

  31. Lomart says:

    Why so defensive? Shameful really.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I just want to warn everyone this man is likely to be running for a seat in the upcoming election keep him out he’s just another washed politician that fails to realize that he is not the messiah.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I bet he says, it’s my way or the highway, quite a lot.

  34. DF says:

    What an idiot. Why is he still heading a government agency?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Bring Offreg into the civil service. It will never get better with the current board and management team.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an accomplishment: OfReg forced the death of the country’s only independent TV station. You can give Alee Fa’amoe and Linford Pierson that dubious honour. Every day this country goes without Cayman 27 or another independent TV station, those men should lose a fraction of their pay. Shut OfReg down and do everyone a favour. Let’s see Alee squirm and try to sweet talk his way into another job.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are both sweet talkers when they are ready. Hyperbole and Bovine Scientology will get you so far without the necessary skillset.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Pierson should have been relieved of his position immediately after his near punch up over the CEO post in 2018.

    Shameful that he is allowed to get away with such atrocious behaviour while holding a senior public office.


    • Anonymous says:

      Well, speaker still holds his posotion, so not surprising at all. Like mckeeva said, this is Cayman culture.

  38. Anonymous says:

    So Linford, what are the accomplishments of OfReg?

    • Anonymous says:

      U must be very brave to ask that. Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and Joseph thought he was a cuckold.

      • Anonymous says:

        And the governor sits and grins and confirms we have a world class civil service, and the commissioner confirms the crime situation is stable, all as our economy and hard earned surplus are destroyed by overpriced utilities, government waste, and general disregard for the value of the public’s money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Accomplishments? What accomplishments? Mr. Pierson, face the truth. You don’t know squat! The Lodge should kick you out!

    • Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

      9.47pm I can name a few accomplishments. Here are some, but by no means all, just those mentioned in the press : Chairman of the Board, Dep Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director Energy,Utilities, Executive Director Fuels, Executive Director ICT, Executive Director Human Resources. Do they have a typist?.

  39. Anonymous says:

    His expiration date to hold this positikn has expired.

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