Harris is new head of Anti-Corruption Commission

| 14/09/2020 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service
Sophia Harris

(CNS): Local attorney Sophia Harris has been appointed as the new chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission after the departure last month of Richard Coles. Harris has been a member of the ACC for four years and she takes over the leadership with around a dozen active cases still being investigated by the commission’s officers.

With Tim Ridley also reaching the end of his term as an ACC member, retired lawyer Adrian “Gus” Pope and former KPMG partner Simon Whicker were appointed in August.

According to the annual report of the commission for 2019-2020, the ACC opened four new investigations, worked on 14 live cases and had four cases pending further investigation. Three people were arrested, while eleven people were charged and four people were convicted. In total 74 interviews were conducted with 58 witnesses and 16 suspects.

On 1 January the commission marked its tenth anniversary, and in his message in the report ahead of his departure as chairperson of the ACC, Coles said, “The Commission remains vigilant in its actions to promote awareness and the enhancement of good governance.”

The commission has faced public criticisms for focusing on small cases while letting what some perceived to be significant political corruption slide. However, the ACC has struggled in the past with both funding and resources for what can often be extremely challenging investigations.

For more information about the commission, the annual report and its new members visit the ACC website.


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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations, Sophia.  I believe the negative comments are written by people who are jealous of your success.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Diogenes would be your best choice for this job.

  3. Anonymous says:

    To all the people claiming rampant corruption so thick you can cut it with a knife – what was the last ACC complaint you filed with evidence?

    • Jason Halin says:

      You know what’s really pathetic of all of the negative bloggers on this site particularly on Caymanian issues; none of you who in your Anonymous cocoon talk about corruption there, corruption here and everywhere are first of all a bunch of cowards!. You don’t have the cojones to report these so called instances of corruption and you can’t offer a shred of evidence of corruption. Do in the end you are nothing but windbags who lead your useless lives in anonymity .

      Until you all either reveal these allegations and put your name to the allegations publicly then you are less than those you are so critical of.

      Oh and I don’t care whether you’re Caymanian or foreign coward is coward in any nationality 😛

      • Anonymous says:

        Please explain how persons with limited connections to Cayman have been granted status by the cabinet, and why. There are a hundred worthy questions to be asked in relation to that fiasco alone AND THERE HAD NEVER EVEN BEEN AN INVESTIGATION.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just look at who would have to be investigated, and by whom. There’s your answer 7pm.

          • Anonymous says:

            Which is why it all looks more and more corrupt, and why the public’s faith and confidence in anything approaching the rule of law and good governance is diminishing fast.

            Governor?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I really do not understand the rhetoric of only having persons from elsewhere on the commission. So I humbly ask how many of these law firms heads that is mentioned over and over are home grown or from elsewhere? While I am not accusing anyone I wonder why the suggestion that the board should reflect a compliment of non nationals? Sometimes I also wonder if some ever give thought to what they post or if some just have to post something, anything ?

  5. Rinse Repeat says:

    Never question the Cayman Islands Government’s commitment to recycling.

  6. Anonymous says:

    She’ll get as much done as the appointed chair of the Human Rights Commission. Anyone heard from him by the way?

  7. Anonymous says:

    She should start with investigating the influence of the Lodge on public policy and practice – but she won’t!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sophia Harris is part of the establishment so you can guarantee that under her tenure nothing to really upset the establishment will be investigated properly or prosecuted. She will pick whatever low-hanging fruit she can like members of the public trying to bribe clerical staff, but she will not obtain the scalp of anyone important. Cayman is too small to become a warrior against your own people, even if that is what Cayman needs you to be. She will have this position for a few years, and still wants to be welcome everywhere she is now when she is done.

    • A Friend says:

      9:04 am, I had hoped we might have someone who could turn things around at the anti-corruption office but I am afraid you may be correct. The amount of corruption in our government is deeply embedded and with the majority of our lawmakers making “extra” cash with “people in high positions” running the show. I am hoping our next election will vote in some honest Cayman legislators. Which side are you on, Sophia??

  9. Anonymous says:

    In the appointment of members of an ACC the focus should be on retired judges, lawyers, police officers who would not have conflicts of interests or few. What happens if her law firm is accused of corruption? Who will guard the guards themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Law firms have been accused of a role in what looks like corruption. Not a squeak of any investigation, ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not trusted retired people from the business sector, not just lawyers.
      People who have been in business will have an insight into who has been doing what, in particular some politicians and their supporters.

  10. Double S key car says:

    I only hope the cayman domino mafia group won’t be determing who when and what they investigate because I am absolutely sure they will now be determing the outcome .What a farce these islands are but I am honestly not surprised.Corruption is worse that prostitution,the latter endangers the morals of an individual.The former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country

  11. Anonymous says:

    Corruption in the private sector is frightening.

    • Anonymous says:

      True. Almost always facilitated by a failure of even refusal by the public sector to consistently enforce all laws.

  12. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  13. Anonymous says:

    Nothing personal against Ms.Harris, but we same to recycle the same folks for high-level positions of this nature why not look to bring fresh eyes and perspectives of other qualified Caymanians? If I recall in 2007 Ms.Harris stepped down from chairing a government board as a result of an allegation of wrongdoing by a fellow board member. Not to worry Caymanians are waking up and will demand change and greater accountability.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think she deserves the Islands support. That has to be a very difficult job on the island. I see corruption here all the time. It’s about time somebody put their nose to the ground and got something done about it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A dozen active cases? Oh my aching sides. They must be rushed off their feet………….Not!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Where is the LOL button when you need it?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the new boss…. Same as the old boss…. We won’t get fooled again…

  18. Anon says:

    If they only have a dozen active cases it looks like the Mafia have won hands down.

  19. neverwannabeapolitician says:

    I completely agree with 3.11pm. Corruption is endemic in these islands from top to bottom and the only way we can reduce it is to have an independent arbiter from overseas.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Sophia. What an amazing accomplishment for an amazing Caymanian woman. I know that you will operate in this role in the same way that you have operates in all your roles.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Is Carlyle Greaves still “feeling horny”?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Far under capacity given what we all see, hear, and feel.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How is it possible for a local to impartially investigate corruption when the legal and business community is so small?

    The only way to do it properly would be to bring in someone from abroad who doesn’t have ties to the local community.

    With the very best of intentions it is impossible to investigate people you’ve only got 1 to 2 degrees of separation from in either a business, personal or political context.

    Even if it were possible the optics from an outsider‘s perspective do not look good…

    • Anonymous says:

      No more Tempuras. We paid heavily for that fiasco.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you seriously suggesting that the ACC membership should be made up of only persons hired and brought in from the UK specifically for this purpose? And we will pay them and put them up In the Islands to just act as ACC members? Tempura was an example of what a bad idea that is. The ACC is made up of well respected members of the community who are professional enough to do their job as ACC members. Their investigators are all from the UK and all experienced and qualified investigators – should we make sure there are no Caymanians amongst them or preclude an expat from applying for the investigator post or as an ACC member just because they live here?. ! Complete nonsense! We wish the ACC members all the best. They have a great deal on their plates.

      • Anonymous says:

        …and yet we keep tripping over apparent corruption in exactly the same way the police wonder past illegal tint on car windows, the planning department illegal structures, and the immigration department, illegal workers.

        How much longer do we tolerate the vote buying monthly donations to taxi drivers who in fact have full paying jobs?

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