PAC troubled by salary hike ‘mistake’ at CTC

| 19/11/2020 | 90 Comments
Ezzard Miller chairs PAC on Thursday, 19 November

(CNS): What has been described as a salary hike ‘mistake’ at the Cayman Turtle Centre resulted in 24 people, including the CEO and other senior managers, getting a second pay increase that they should not have received, which took almost 12 months to be spotted. This so-called error troubled the Public Accounts Committee during its meeting this week because of how it happened in the first place and the decision, which involved Chief Executive Officer Tim Adam, not to rescind the extra hike.

Given the chain of events, PAC Chair Ezzard Miller said the committee was very disturbed about what had happened. Noting that one of the people responsible for the decision to let the pay rise stand had benefited from it, he said this could not be allowed to go unaddressed. While he fell short of calling for the CEO to be fired, Miller pointed to section 30 of the Public Authorities Law that provides for just that.

Explaining what had happened, CTC Board Chair Bryan Wight told the committee that the extra payout slipped through the net because someone in the human resources department misunderstood a new salary structure. What should have been a one-off cost of living bonus turned into a monthly increase.

But it seems that no one realised that they were being paid more than they should have been — not CEO Adam, Chief Operations Officer Peggy Hamilton, or anyone else in the management team who had signed off on the new salary structure .

When it did finally come to light, a decision was made that the struggling and heavily subsidised facility would not rescind the hike. Instead, based on four options that were cleared legally by the Attorney General’s Chambers, they decided on the one that would freeze future pay increases but let those who were awarded the pay rise in error keep it.

It was decided that the money they should not have received would not be paid back, nor would the hike be frozen going forward. Instead, the board agreed to let the top salary earners keep the extra money and freeze future pay increases until their new and prematurely advanced earnings finally caught up.

To date the excess payout is estimated to have cost the CTC over CI$23,000, but that figure will increase significantly in the coming years. The so-called mistaken pay increment was paid to different personnel at different times throughout 2019, depending on the work anniversaries of the managers involved.

When questioned by PAC members, Wight was unable to explain how the internal control systems had failed so dismally again at the turtle farm. This is not the first time that senior managers at the facility have cleared their own significant pay increases without proper approval.

While this was described as a genuine error by the board chair, PAC had some concerns that the COO, who is responsible for human resources, had missed it. In addition, the fact that the CEO was present at the board meetings where the decision was made to let everyone keep the pay hike and did not recuse himself despite his personal gain also raised red flags for PAC.

When ministry staff appeared before the committee, officials said that they did not know how long it would take for the error to be corrected and the managers involved to miss enough future increases that the money would be absorbed — if ever.

PAC member Chris Saunders pointed out that, according to the facility’s annual reports over the three year period 2017, 2018 and 2019, management salaries had increased by more than 35%. He said that the Public Authorities Law was passed to try and prevent this “kind of behaviour”, especially when the facility is being subsidised by the public purse.

Given the concerns about the so-called salary mistake, Miller also directly challenged the chief officer at the tourism ministry, Stran Bodden, about what disciplinary action would be taken to address the serious financial mismanagement and a disconnect with acceptable governance. Miller described it as a cover up and said that if it was allowed to go unresolved, it would set a precedent for the future.

Bodden said he had made a note of the PAC chairman’s comments and he would be speaking with the board.

See Thursday’s PAC proceedings on CIGTV below:


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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (90)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CIG has been successful in using its wealth to buy it’s people. Most Caymanians are now totally dependent on CIG to live day to day. They have been given the gift of not having to be responsible for their own lives. Unfortunately all the money has been spent on this and now it’s running out. What is a pets life after the owner has no money? Here in Cayman they get kicked out of the car down the road somewhere with no way to feed themselves. Now that CIG has successfully shut down and shut out expats and expat businesses they will soon have an island of pets and no pet food. Turtle farm better stock up on turtle meat.

    • Anonymous says:

      The most troubling part of this fiasco is that the Board by its decisions and action is condoning this stealing by the top management at the Turtle Center while trying to convict an employee who actually removed cash from the cash box. I wish to ask Mr. Wight and his board what is the difference stealing by taking cash or taking money by direct deposit. How can the Board approve the continued stealing for at least the next ten years given the rate of salary increase in the civil service over the past five years.

  2. YouAreHereBcuz Cayman Better says:

    I accept Govt needs to get their act together. It was an error but wasn’t dealt with according to “Rule of Law”. Human brokenness.

    My biggest concern though is how some of these comments are nastier than the Govt and secret orgs. could ever be. Especially from British, Americans and all whose own governments committed the worse atrocities man could think about.
    Cayman is using your broken systems handed down. So don’t wash your mouth on Cayman and wish it ill.

    Many of them are here raping Cayman the same way. Just because their sustems back home are 10 times worse that’s why they are here in Cayman.

    None of these Govt people are saints. Capitalism handed down by Europe stinks. But of course they ALL will pay for their evils.

    • Big Pappa says:

      Capitalism handed down by Europe stinks? And what system do you support and propose?

    • Anonymous says:

      The near future will tell who is the smart ones and who are the fools. Not you. Cutting down the “other” guys to make yourself look better rarely works for long. Caymanians and money are like oil and water. and I am not comparing you to anyone else.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Insubordination!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Blame the government…hope you seen the breaking news on BBC this morning… ” UK Public Servants Pay Freeze” . This government should be ashamed of themselves.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the societal good that might have been accomplished without the opportunity cost of blowing $200,000,000 of public money on this turtle chow circus over last 20 years. We’d have: no debt, drug rehab, mental health facilities, schools, reduction in crime, parks, money to build our own roads, and maybe then the savvy to listen to years of professional advice.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree the money COULD have been put to better use, our government hasn’t proven that more money automatically results in an improvement for the people of the islands. They seem to be quite poor with value for money.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CIG keeps appointing their favored family/friends who often not only have a history of incompetence but ethical shortage and at times fraudulent tendencies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who was the previous CEO at the Turtle Farm? Although to be fair he at least repaid his $50k bar bill when it became public even though he claimed they were business related – these jokers clearly have no intention of repaying, even though they admit they should never been paid it in the first place.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you mean Joey, do you remember HOW he repaid it? By dragging a sack with $50k of used notes in and dropping it on the floor. And he never did explain where that came from but given he later got sent to Northward for corruption we can have a guess.

        • Anonymous says:

          I do recall. But of course he didnt get sent to Northward for corruption, he got convicted for using selling stolen Ipads out of his garage, which as I recall he said was to feed his coke addiction. Which may answer the question.

      • Notta Politician says:

        It’s all politics, folks…… “Get all you can while you can!” In the Cayman Islands they certainly do have politicians that get all they can for as long as they can, JUST LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE! Politics is a dirty business.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why in the hell does a miniscule operation such as Turtle Farm require a CEO and a COO???????

    • Anonymous says:

      two cousins of lodge members needed jobs.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot the CFO as well. In fact the Deloitte suggestion of combining the roles of CFO and COO – to save money – is a tad ironic given the separation of roles between CFO and COO/ CEO is meant to police against exactly this sort of thing happening. Let me guess – the problem was picked up either by the external auditors or the Auditor General and not management?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians please remember this money 9 millions a year loss at the Turtle Center is your tax payers money that Government are putting in to this farm every year and the same time they are giving themselves 35 % raise in the last 3 years. Some people need to be fired Now. Shame on you Mr. Adam

    • Anonymous says:

      The whole effing thing should be closed down. And the people involved in theft sent to prison.

  9. Observer says:

    So besides the CEO and COO, what about the Finance department? Are they not aware of the budget? HE/she who heads that sections should also be reprimanded.

    that being said, we do realise that the increase was on average actually less than 80 per person on a monthly basis. ammm, it is easy to not see $80 dollars extra in your pay slip, especially if you don’t check you pay slip.

    Also it would be good to see what is the starting salary in the first place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also easy to give back the 80.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lot of people on this island would notice an $80 difference in their pay check, but I guess they are not receiving a gold plated remuneration package from a failing business propped up with tax payer money. And that’s on average of course – suspect the CEOs uplift a little bit more than the average. If it’s that small a difference the more interesting question is why the higher paid, senior management didn’t voluntarily return the money on principle. Does Mr Adam get paid so little, or need the money so bad, that he would rather endure the consequent questions as to his ethics than simply pay it back?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t Joey Ebanks, ex CTC CEO, fired and jailed for giving himself advances from public CTC funds?? Why is this any different?? Where is the accountability!! Cayman and Cayman media speak up!!!

    “Mistakes” which are covered up for a year are clearly intended!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    world class incompetence from the civil service again…
    just lucky for them cayman does not do accountability……zzzzzzzzz
    just another day in wonderland

    • Anonymous says:

      9:54 oh my you mean you don’t know the turtle farm isn’t part of the civil service.

      Sorry this is an Authority run by a private sector board and CEO who came from the private sector.zzzzzz wake up

  12. Anonymous says:

    and not one head will roll…you can’t make this shit up!

    PPM/CDP, I have my bush broom ready for 2021.

  13. Anonymous says:

    C’mon they didn’t realize they got a pay increase. you can’t make this stuff up. About the only excuse we haven’t heard is, The Dog Ate My Homework!

  14. Anonymous says:

    #caymancomedygold

    • Banon says:

      I really believe it is time for the a new Government to have a hard review of the SAGC’s.

      The SAGC,s were set up to become more efficient and make money for Government. That has been a totally failure.

      The salaries in the SAGC’S are much higher than the civil service and only a brave PPM Government saved the day by passing the public authorities law.

      Not one of the SAGC’S are more efficient and only a few pay a dividend to Government.

      The private sector board system just doesn’t work. We recycle the same board members and the private sector individuals who could help are far to busy making their millions to serve on a board.

      • anon says:

        11.25am To be fair can we mention that probably all the Board Members, as well as the Chairman and all the CTC employees are Caymanian, and is this not part of the serious problems that have occurred?. The fraudulent activities that have gone on since 2013 were only unearthed by an expatriate outside the CTC.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I guess real pirates still exist in Cayman. Tim Adam shame shame shame on you and the rest of the bloodsuckers!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Simple – close it down. Pay every employee $4kMonth for approx$5M year and save yourself $4M. Bonus, there is nothing to steal.

  17. Anonymous says:

    24 people, 12 months to be spotted, amounted to a loss of $23,000? Averages about $80 a month per person. Not sure how I feel about this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree. However, I don’t understand why the Board wouldn’t just order 24 people to return the $23K total. It really shouldn’t be a hardship to return the money over the same period of time that it was unlawfully doled out. Everyone would be happy with that.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s money that could have employed another one of your country men.

      Spread the money around and understand that $80 a month or $23k a year is A LOT of money in Cayman at any time and, ESPECIALLY, during 2020.

      The money was NOT earned. If someone knew that the “raise” is incorrect, they are STEALING. Plain and simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      The big dogs probably took more that $80 a month

  18. Anonymous says:

    The belief that money grows on trees here is strong.

    Frankly, the level of widespread corruption, selective enforcement of laws, brazen abuse of power, unfathomable rulings by judges make the Cayman Islands a perfect candidate for Guinness Book of Records as the most f&$!d up so called “civilized” country(territory) in the world.

    For things to change, it must cease to exist, then start from scratch. So don’t waste your mental energy on constructive comments. NO-ONE IS LISTENING. May be Universal laws that govern our existence will drain this bog of eternal stench.

  19. Really ??? says:

    Wow. No one realized they were paid extra and decided not to have to pay back the money ? And always in the red. That’s an insult to our common sense.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Close it down…

    • Anonymous says:

      And now comes the justification to keep the place open since we have essentially PREPAID all the staff!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ooops. We got caught again. Catch us again next year.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Where is the lol button when you need it? I pity the Caymanians living in abject poverty (of which there are plenty) while these thieves trouser huge pay rises and refuse to pay it back. Caymankindaslongasimalrightjack!

    • Concerned says:

      There is no such thing as Caymankind. Those in authority taking gross wages while others live hand to mouth. It is disgusting. Those in large quangos like the Turtle centee and Ofgen essentially stealing to top uo there already ridiculous salaries. Is there no honest people on this stinkingly corrupt island? The whole board should be sacked.

  23. Anonymous says:

    ‘A one-off cost of living bonus.’ WTF justified that in the first place?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Another private sector board strikes again. Tim Adam former private sector employee.

    So Offreg CPA Turtle Farm all private sector led and this is what happens.

    Private sector board members simply can’t run these authorities properly.

    Shut down these run a way SAGC’s and return them to the civil service.

    Imagine the savings just from not having to pay the private sector board members stipends.

    • Anonymous says:

      It has nothing to do with private or public entities!!!! It is stealing!!

    • Say it like it is says:

      There is one common factor in all these farcical errors/fraudulent activities – a Caymanian sense of entitlement encouraged by a complete absence of accountability.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Another case of our public officials’ air of entitlement; the expectation that they can dip into the public purse at will, and without justification or consequence. Is there no shame ? Just following the example of financial prudence and integrity, set by our beloved speaker ?

    And as for employing 100 people: there are probably 100 on the payroll but only a third of them will be proper employees, doing some semblance of work. The other two-thirds will likely be friends or family of senior management (no doubt acting as advisers & consultants), or of political “fixers”. James Gandolfini would be smiling in his grave.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Folks, we need to have a serious look at the advice coming out of that Attorney General’s Office, I have heard of some recent opinions which are likely going to cost the Cayman tax payers hundreds of millions and will make this decision regarding the Turtle Center look trivial,

    An opinion is just that, an opinion; however, people think his opinion is law, and that it protects them from poor decisions. I would recommend that the Deputy Governor (who himself is a trained lawyer) put a system in place to review legal opinions coming from the Attorney General’s Office regarding Public Service employment matters. A much bigger story will burst soon.

  27. Truth says:

    I am sure if it was investigated you would find Lodge Members at the top in high positions at CTC and on the Board who were recieving these increases. Also you would find that the Govt Chief Officers and MLA’s in charge are also Lodge Members.

    Lodge Members protecting and facilitating Lodge Members yet again!

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think Lodge Members waste their time on scandals that amount to a mere $23,000 in a year.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The airport is another cluster …. the accounting, HR practices and more are a runaway carriage without a coachman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone’s looking at the cost of upgrading the airport, but that is just the part we all can see. The month-to-month accounting (money collected, salaries, monthly procurement, banking, etc.) needs forensic auditing going back at least ten years.
      And who remembers the porn caper? Nothing happened in the end.
      I support Caymanians being at the helm of these entities, but they should have unquestionable track records managing institutions that generate millions of dollars a year. Inefficiency and incompetence costs us, the people, money – money we would rather save for our children or retirement.

      • Anonymous says:

        So are you saying the CIAA doesn’t get audited every year and that their accounts aren’t public knowledge? I was under the impression that all SAGCs are audited annually. Or is this another case of don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. Plenty of that on this site.

        • Anonymous says:

          To 10:26am: Turtle Centre was getting audited, right? So what happened? Or the theft and procurement fraud are just “good stories”, according to you?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Are you freaking kidding me. What actually does have to happen in Cayman before someone takes action?? Is there even a limit to what Caymanians will put up with?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think so. Caymanian said need a stronger voice.
      This is a joke. What bafoons

    • Anonymous says:

      # cat.5 hurricane, direct hit or an earthquake
      # bankruptcy
      # social unrest, (maybe)
      # direct ruling

    • Anonymous says:

      Short answer: Nope

      Unless of course it was staffed and run by expats.
      But because these people are their brothers/sisters/cousins/neighbors, old school chums, well you get it, they will allow it all.
      All. The. Time.
      AND! It is NOT considered corruption either.

  30. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

    • Anonymous says:

      Private sector board. Do I need to say more.

      • Anonymous says:

        Private sector my ass! Shareholder is the government. Funded by the government, suing tax payer money. And board appointed by the government. Do you think a private sector business would let these clowns a) keep the money b) keep making losses -year and =after year , and keep ploughing in money? Nah.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Criminal charges for theft should be brought against the management team and the board of directors. Disgraceful all around.

  32. Anonymous says:

    If these staff members received a double rise and no notice provided as to the reason, who would complain. Not a sole on this earth would.

    The fault therefore falls on the Accounts Department. Shame on them to not deal with this matter begore it took the AC to pick it up.

    One finally word, REIMBURSEMENT.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any honest soul would question it. Particularly if you are in management

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes! Especially when they are ACCOUNTABLE.

        Wouldn’t Tim Adam be concerned about being held accountable.

        But – HA! – wait…. nobody in Cayman, who are Caymanians, are accountable for anything they do – especially those high up the coconut tree.

  33. Anonymous says:

    After a complex mathematical analysis I have determined “how long it would take for the error to be corrected and the managers involved to miss enough future increases that the money would be absorbed” – never. COLAs, etc., in the Civil Service are so infrequent that they’re never going to get caught up.

    Oh, wait, I forgot this isn’t actually the Civil Service over there. Its managed by a private board. Awarding 35% salary increases over 3 years. They should catch up pretty quick.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Chris Saunders blunted his otherwise potentially very effective forensic questioning of witnesses by a tendency to show off his own accounting background in long very boring speeches. Ezzard was more concise and made some incisive observations. Poor Bryan Wight didn’t seem to know which way was up and was at times embarrassing to listen to. Bernie Bush displayed his usual truculent “I am the guardian of my Caymanians” side (as if the rest of the PAC isn’t!) and contributed little of value. Clearly, the Turtle Farm is an omnishambles as far as leadership, governance, integrity, strategic direction and board oversight is concerned. And does it really employ 100 Caymanians?

  35. Anonymous says:

    #worldclass

  36. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry is this a joke or what? They are just paying them self for for nothing.

  37. Anonymous says:

    The Peter Principle is proven once again – People rise to the level of their incompetence. This is a textbook case.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you think its incompetence. And if it is incompetence, doesn’t explain the decision to let the error not only stand and not be refunded, but the increased rates to be maintained rather than the wages reduced to the level thy should have been. So Tim is going to get his new, incorrect pay level maintained until such time as his future pay increases exceed the current rate he is getting, which everyone says is the wrong rate? You cant make this stuff up. The irony – some staff who allegedly helped themselves to the farms money are on trial. Others who also took money they were not entitled too not only get to keep it, but the farm keeps giving it to them. Cant make this stuff up – no one would believe you.

      • Res Ipsa Loquitur says:

        He should be fired along with his management team and the board of directors immediately. There should be a criminal investigation after the Auditor General has compiled the report and recommendations sent to the RCIPS financial crimes unit. Wrong is wrong!

        • Concerned says:

          RCIPS have their own frauds to deal with and can’t sort those out. Like officers working one period of overtime but submitting it four times and getting quadruple payments. There’s no way they could sort this out. It means they’ll have to understand math.

      • Anonymous says:

        His “new pay” while the whole island, WORLD, is struggling financially.

        The Farm has not had business, to speak of, since MARCH!

        Talk about highway robbery!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not incompetence, but collusion. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

  38. FIRE THEM ALL says:

    FIRE Tim Adam and a the entire management team. Technically it is theft!!!! They knew it was wrong and pocketed the ca$h which is disgusting and devious.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Management got 35 % increase in pay the last 3 years, and the Turtle Center is losing millipns a year, and the tax payers had to put in 9 million a year in the center to keep it going something is terrible wrong here. Why give people big raises in pay to lose . They should be fired .

    • Anonymous says:

      So the Cayman Turtle Center is loosing $9,000,000.00 a year over the 3 year period, 2017, 2018 and 2018, lost $27,000,000.00. For this loss Management is handsomely rewarded a 35% salary increase. So the CTF management is very stupid, increase the loses to $18,000,000.00 a year and double the salary increase to 70%, very simple mathematics. What a mess.

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