CIG presses on with scaled-down costly Dubai Expo

| 17/02/2022 | 71 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Islands exhibit at the Dubai Expo 2020

(CNS): Government has continued with a scaled-back involvement in the Dubai Expo 2020, which the auditor general found had cost the Cayman Islands around $2.5 million, most of which was not approved via the proper channels. The exhibition started in October last year and will last until the end of March but Cayman only began taking part in January.

The decision by the previous administration to partner with the UK at this event was based on a weak business case, the auditor found in a recent report, and the contracts relating to it were all signed just weeks before Cayman’s 2021 General Election.

The event was supposed to have opened in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the global business promo event into late 2021. This led to a revised approach by the Cayman Islands, including more virtual and online appearances designed to promote the country on the world stage as both a business jurisdiction and a tourism destination. But it is not clear how much, if any, reductions in cost will flow from the reduced participation.

The Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development (MIISD) took over the Cayman government’s partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade (UK DIT) at this Expo in the United Arab Emirates from the Ministry of International Trade of the previous administration, which was held by Alden McLaughlin when he was premier.

However, the decision by the former government to tie Cayman up in the project has proved controversial, given the cost and the limited benefit the investment is likely to have. A report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), recently leaked to CNS, revealed a catalogue of issues arising from the fact that the previous government committed Cayman to the exhibition so close to the 2021 election.

The report, which is still not a formal public document, revealed that the former Progressive-led Unity government had first considered joining the UK’s exhibit at the Expo in 2018. But a paper proposing the partnership with the UK for Cayman to be represented did not go before Cabinet until January 2021, when it was approved.

However, the necessary funding was not approved by Parliament, and contracts of employment for the commissioner and an assistant were signed just a month before the elections in 2021.

Officials said in a release that over the next few remaining weeks of the exhibition, the Cayman Islands Government delegates and partners will highlight Cayman’s culture, cuisine, tourism features and industries. While he took over what was a fait accompli, Minister André Ebanks said the government would be reviewing its value.

“Through partnership with the United Kingdom and the Department of International Trade, and then through the lens of a truly global event, Expo provides an opportunity to leverage attention and elevate the Cayman Islands on the world stage. After this initial opportunity, we will measure and assess the value of participating in future similar events,” Ebanks said.

MIISD has worked closely with the UK DIT, the governor’s office, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to plan the Cayman Islands’ presence at the Expo, the first for a British Overseas Territory. Governor Martyn Roper, who had asked the OAG to look into the arrangements and financing of Cayman’s participation, nevertheless described it as an “exciting endeavour” that took the collaboration between Cayman and the UK “to another level”.

“As we bounce back from the pandemic, the future looks bright for Cayman. It’s a great place to live, work and invest and it sets a powerful example for the wider region,” Roper said. “I wish the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development the very best promoting all that Cayman has to offer. My office and I stand ready to support, further deepening the robust Cayman/UK relationship.”

Caymanian Expo representatives, Alee Fa’amoe and Melanie McField, have been out in the Gulf state for several months preparing for this costly endeavour, and they are now welcoming various representatives from Cayman’s business community as well as local artists.

“At a time when we are emerging from the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 is a well-timed opportunity that will foster new global connections, bolster private sector relationships, and ultimately advance the Cayman Islands in the context of the world economy,” said Fa’amoe. “I am deeply honored to represent the Cayman Islands at Expo.”

The business part of the exhibition is meant to highlight the “unique attributes of the legal and financial system that makes the Cayman Islands a global financial centre of excellence”. However, questions have been raised about government funding delegates from sectors such as construction and retail, as the controversy around the costly participation rolls on.

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (71)

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  1. Political Slut says:

    What ArTist are they talking about, must be talking bout wives and entourages who come back lauding about the Spa and hand to foot treatment on our 2.5 million dime they are getting around the world of course that is whilst they travel first Class to and fro. We all know what this whole thing is about and had the ppm return to power the new premier and Sir Brylcream and his knights of the crooked table would be globetrotting and their wives and concubines would be Livin large $$$ an Senor Roper would be untouchable in dis ya place ! Poor ole Eric B wreckim and his 2 bad lucked crew just could not pull it off . The election C O N spiracy of Wayne Panton and his misfits wrecked everything, even though he tried working with his fellow C4C ppm lite team member Roooy but Alden’ s oversized EGO and the Grand MufTi K T fool proof master Plan still failed to their disbelief .Setting into motion a chain reaction we are still seeing now play out , But Eric B and Franz M Along with the ppm moles and saboteurs left in place still tried to muster a counter attack and offensive against the now Pact government with the support of the very friendly UK forces in place here and elsewhere who’s interest appeared to be now under threat. They would have spent millions and condone anything to have Status Quo here Cayman and some our Pact idiots need to understand this whilst they are kissing and sucking up to those who govern this place .

  2. Winnie the Pooh says:

    So our participation for less than 3 months of the Expo cost $2.5 million and seems to consist of a few posters on a wall plus the attendance of two local representatives whose knowledge of international trade and the financial industry is to say the least, limited.However all is not lost, perhaps our local artists flown there all expenses paid, will be able to sell a few of their works and make a profit out of that.

    • 27+ says:

      Within your response the general statement such as “local artists flown there all expenses paid” is misleading and you ought to confirm with all /any artists attending/contributing to the Cayman Islands participation at Expo whether all or any of their expenses are being paid.

      • Winnie the Pooh says:

        27+ Are you suggesting they are volunteering to travel to Dubai entirely at their own expense, and that Govt could not spare the cost out of their $2.5 million having suggested they go?. Maybe you should change your name to 11+.

      • Anonymous says:

        Their expenses are being paid for by CIG…oops, I mean by us.

    • Mabel Chandler says:

      Our leaders who passed this theft of the people need to spend a few years in prison. THEY ARE THEIVES!

  3. Anonymous says:

    In the world of marketing you have to constantly stay creative and be ahead of your competition. This means coming away from the traditional ways of promoting and doing something like attracting business outside of your typical market.

    Get with the program

  4. Anonymous says:

    If Cayman EVER wants to be like Dubai or Singapore (yes, McKeeva has stated that goal) then we need to pave the way for Caymanians to be the masters of their own island.

    In Dubai and Singapore, the “natives” are essentially “in charge” and expats work for them.

    Cayman, not so much!

    Step 1 – a good local education system!!
    Step 2 – elimination of handout and entitlement politics
    Step 3 – reduction/elimination of public corruption &
    Step 4 – genuine embracement of all the above in the
    advancement of locals!

    • Anonymous says:

      Things will be change here, because the voting majority are dumb.

    • Easy Pickens says:

      1. Really? And when is all this scheduled to start?….. And why don’t we already have a good educational system?

      2. If we ended the government handouts, we wouldn’t have anyone to work……. or would we?

      3. Please tell us citizens why nothing has been done during the last twenty years and what is being done now to stop the nepotism and corruption? I’d really like to know! Whatever it is, it ain’t doing anything for the rest of us.

      • Anonymous says:

        Easy Pickens – I’m a critic, not condoning!

        1.Truman Bodden is still alive. I suggest you ask him why our education system is broken! He was a primary architect (as Minister of Education during the “destruction” of the late 1970s)! We certainly had a better education system before his tenure! One that served all our needs of the time – no children left high school without being prepared for the jobs available then. Can’t say the same now, can we?

        2.Likewise, handouts commenced with the administration of which he was a “Minister” – under his leader Jim Bodden who introduced that tactic to our politics! Ask him!

        3.Since Jim Bodden’s example, every politician has followed the hand-out and nepotism principle. Have a sit down with any of them as ask them why!

        Perhaps the Island should hold Truman accountable – he’s the last of the “pirate” Government of 1976 – 1984!!

        No, instead we name a stadium after Truman, the sports icon, and a statue for the Pirate leader!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Singapore has something Cayman is lacking. Intelligent forward thinking politicians.

      The fact that McKeewa said Cayman should be the Singapore of the Caribbean is so laughable it borders on absurdity. This man has done more to damage and hindered Cayman’s development than all others combined.

      Yes Cayman should be the Singapore of the Caribbean. But that will never happen until we start holding people responsible for their own lives and actions. Check Fridays papers. Over 800 jobs with 175+ companies. Yet we still hear the same old trope. Caymanians can’t find work. BS.

      Get an education. Work hard. The world is your oyster. Stop waiting for a fing handout.

    • Anonymous says:

      In Dubai and Singapore the locals are educated and hard working.
      Drugs are not tolerated..death in Singapore.
      In Singapore corruption at ANY level, especially politics, is not tolerated.
      Just a few of the changes Cayman will have to make.

      • Anonymous says:

        And creating overseas offices and staffing them with buddies will not advance the narrative. I heard of one who was supposed to go to Europe with zero financial services background & had already made errors that would have had her fired in the private sector.
        As the offices haven’t opened & these people were already appointed, they are being paid anyway! And working in London, going to parties, the palace etc etc is not what they should be doing to promote our financial services industry.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My question is why would a jurisdiction who is competing for the same high net worth individuals encourage or support this ? Our we just spending and wasting our money there like everyone else .when is this foolishness going to stop and these Lodge Boyz going to stop fleecing the government. Can some name one thing Fa’amoe has accomplished or done other than waste money in government and look at the other dreamers Duggan Doktor Garcia ???

  6. Plunger Bodden says:

    Note the poster at the Expo says ‘Flavourful’.

    Good to see correct spelling as ‘Flavour’ not the American ‘Flavor’ but there ain’t no such word Bubba!

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s your takeaway from this?
      Life must be good if that’s the main concern here.
      Comment reeks of colonialism.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Joke waste of money. Just well-paid jobs for the boys (and girls) …what does Alee of Melanie know about this stuff!? Nothing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    the ‘ole blind em wit positivity’ smoke & mirrors trick hey Mr Roper, – or is it simply nothing remarkable found in that investigation you hailed to yourself ♨️📑

  9. Anonymous says:

    “the Cayman Islands Government delegates and partners will highlight Cayman’s culture, cuisine, tourism features and industries” aka tax evasion.

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Well this is one more heck of a mess.
    So when this comes to the PAC where Roy McTaggart is the Chairman, what then?
    We know it won’t go anywhere then..maybe that is why PPM, former Premier Alden, Governor, DG are unhappy it was leaked to the media??

  12. Anonymous says:

    UAE and Oman both on EU blacklist for not making sufficient progress in implementing economic substance regulations by the agreed deadline and not making sufficient progress in signing up to / implementing exchange of information protocols. Running KYC/AML on these entities is a nightmare.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Nothing will happen…end of story!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting to watch Lodge looking out for Lodge brothers who assume they are untouchable from Alden Franz Eric Alee all the way down the rabbit hole

  15. Anonymous says:

    How much does Cayman make off the finance business again? The money may not have been spent in the mos effective way but participation is justified.

  16. Anonymous says:

    At least Ju Ju only went for a couple of weeks, including the shopping stopovers. Imagine what it’s costing to accommodate McField and Fa Amoe for months. Let alone all the hangers on we are apparently sending. Local artists – SMH.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The Expo in Dubai is a waste of money for the Cayman Islands government. Typical nonsense and flash spending by PPM and Eric Bush!

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at Dubai and look at Cayman – see the differences – Cayman has nothing to offer.

      • Cayman Liberation Front says:

        Move over there and leave Cayman then. Do us a favor mate and take all the other carpetbaggers with you. Thanks

        • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

          Really? We are trying to attract business from Dubai? Is this our core model?

          You could lighten up on the insults with the people you are sharing the site with. Mate.

        • Anonymous says:

          What does Cayman have to offer right now and what would you suggest, what new avenues to improve Cayman as a destination?

        • Anonymous says:

          ‘Favour’ LOL Carpetbaggers LOL – designer brand leather bags mate.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the UK paying for this?
    What’s the issue?

    CNS: It is costing the Cayman Islands. See here.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Cayman Islands is participating within the UK booths therefore getting maximum exposure at a reduced cost,
      Well worth the expenditure before the market Cayman wants to attract.

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL Cayman has nothing to offer and will never be a Dubai which they are trying to imitate – disgusting, useless, neglected grey concrete tunnel does not a Dubai make, even with ‘brand’ leather bags. Dillusional.

  19. Anonymous says:

    They ALL believe the money is theirs and WE Voters let them get away with wasting or stealing it!!

    Cayman Islands Public Service political and administrative branches are CORRUPT!!

    Apologies to the very few who aren’t!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Here is some fresh cringe for you, straight from The Honourable André Ebanks

  21. Anonymous says:

    The singular and most fundamental principle contained in the Public Service Management Law prohibits civil servants from getting politically involved. This is essential for good governance. Unfortunately both the Governor and deputy governor have undermined this with various precedent setting appointments and ignoring the behaviors of certain Chief Officers that still work for the previous government.

    The principle of political impartiality is no longer worth the paper it is written on and does not exist at the highest levels of the civil service. These bad deals and the recent Auditor General’s report clearly states how laws are easily broken with political justifications and poor excuses.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The legacy of the PPM is the gift that keeps on giving.
    This expo for 1 day a month is a massive waste of public monies.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Aren’t we blacklisted and trying to rid ourselves of laundered depot regime business/money? Here we are courting more of it at a CIG level.

  24. MI6 in Paradise says:

    Eric Bush signed the contracts and broke the law. He may have been instructed or allowed to do so but the accused and his accessory are CO Bush and DG Manderson. The buck stops at the top.

    The key question is what did the Governor know and when did he sign off on the course of action that caused CO Bush to breach the laws stated in the Auditor General’s report?

    That rabbit hole gets deeper by the minute.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure Cayman contributing to the UKs costs in buying their booth had nothing to do with it, or the ego trip for the Governor in being able to parade it as an example of UK Cayman collaboration. Or Alden’s knighthood. No sirree bob.

  25. Anonymous says:

    When will the DG fire his protege Eric Bush for alleged gross misconduct outlined in the AG’s report?

    The breaches are clear and there can be no negotiations or golden parachute payments. In the report it is clear that several laws were broken by Chief Officer Bush. DG cannot be allowed to drag out this embarrassing chapter of how senior civil servants break the laws and show a complete disregard for political impartiality which is the foundation of how the civil service is supposed to operate.

    • JM says:

      10:09. Only a fool takes action without due process. That is exactly what the Governor and DG has said. Why are you so quick to call for the head of Caymanians?
      Our DG will do the right thing. He always does.

      Hopefully the Hon Chief Officer Andre will read this.

    • Anonymous says:

      10.09. You said it your self alledged. My goodness why would anyone get fired because of an allegation. That wouldn’t happen even in the whacky private sector.

      I can’t find the word gross misconduct in the report.

      I for one are waiting on the allegations to be proven before making a comment.

      Finally everyone seems to have missed the fact that the Governor asked for the report. If he and the DG wanted to cover something up why ask for the report. Wake up and stop the hate.

      You should too.

      • Anonymous says:

        Considering the history of Chief officer Eric Bush at every position he has held in the service and every project he has been involved in it is clear he does not have the “midas touch”. The results are consistently poor and costly to the public purse.

        His track record demonstrates he is not fit for purpose in such a senior leadership position. Given his favored status in the civil service with the DG his usual incompetence, lack of respect for processes and laws is consistently excused or covered up.

        The report is clear laws were broken. Therefore, persons must be held accountable no matter who the individual is or position held.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why ask for the report? Because if you are ever challenged you can claim the moral high ground and say you asked for a report. The trick is of course to ensure that the report is so delayed in publication that it’s irrelevant by the time it’s sees the light of day, or preferably never sees the light of day. Oh, and the terms of reference make sure that certain parties involvement is not looked at.

      • Anonymous says:

        The report is to establish fact and it contains facts, just that. It is not an HR investigation which is why there are no references to “gross misconduct” or anything like it in the report.

  26. Corruption is endemic says:

    Realistically there is probably more value here than say attending a World Post Office Congress. I remember when JuJu went to the Middle East for that one.

    But overall this is pathetic, the Jolly culture and tolerance for graft within multiple generations of Gov’t and the Civil Service is awful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Still of greater money for promotion value than Kenny’s $8million dollar purchase of land to have a domino hangout , apparently a tourist facility without parking.
      UDP must be stopped from spending the people’s money as if it’s their’s.

      • Shacka banks says:

        Who will be looking after this? I hope displaced tourism workers so they can get on the gravy train. Another waste of money. Such a great location with so many tourists walking by every day. Or will the tour busses be stopping traffic to let people out to go to this great tourist attraction. Does the OAG have a report on this one yet..

    • Anonymous says:

      Legge was right.

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