Customs boss to face MPs on failures over improvements

| 25/05/2022 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service
CBC Director Charles Clifford

(CNS): Customs and Border Control Director Charles Clifford is one of several senior government officials due to face the Public Accounts Committee today (Wednesday) to explain why many of the recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General have not been implemented. A report published in February highlighted the fact that the CBC has failed to address some much-needed improvements that the OAG recommended several years ago.

The monitoring of government concessions on duty give-aways and waivers was criticised by the OAG back in 2015. Auditor General Sue Winspear said that the finance ministry had made a commitment to roll out a policy to deal with this by December 2016, but five years later a revenue concessions policy has still not been put in place.

“Without such a policy, it is not clear how CBC can effectively monitor goods being imported and ensure that the appropriate revenues are collected,” Winspear said in the recent review of the failure of various government entities to implement OAG recommendations.

She said that while the CBC has published its strategic plan, it has not developed a workforce plan or updated the workforce rules on how staff seize purchased or forfeited goods. She also pointed to failings in regard to technology issues. “It is concerning that almost three years after making my recommendation to put in place effective project management for the remainder of its IT modernisation project, CBC has not yet done so,” she said.

Clifford won’t be the only senior public official in the hot seat. Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, who is the chief office in the finance ministry, and Wesley Howell, the CO in the labour ministry, will also be appearing before PAC.

In the afternoon Tristan Hydes, the acting CO in the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, will face the committee to answer questions about that ministry’s continued shortcomings in the management of capital projects. Another significant recommendation made by the OAG was the need to publish regular updates on the progress of major capital projects and capital investment, which has not yet materialized.

While the implementation is outstanding on numerous OAG recommendations, for most of the period reviewed, Roy McTaggart, now leader of the opposition and PAC chairperson, was the minister of finance. As a result, he will need to recuse himself from chairing today’s meetings. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, the deputy chair, is expected to step in.

The proceedings commence today at 9:30am and are being broadcast on CIGTV.

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Category: Government Administration, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (53)

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  1. Robbed says:

    They seized my hand cream from the body shop because it has a drawing of a hemp leaf on it. Bizarre and Byzantine laws were quoted to me before the took it into their 🙌

  2. Anonymous says:

    Strange world isn’t it? When his appointment was announced I posted a comment reminding people of the Cuckiegate scandal and got roundly attacked by posts saying what a great man he was and how he was going to be a fantastic asset in this job. Wonder if any them would care to comment now?

    • Medical Marijuana Patient says:

      Chuck Clifford is not apparently performing his duties adequately and might have predilection against legal ganja vapes and oil. Remember the Doctors Express incident.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Damn all these ex-pats at the head of gov and civil service depts making a mess of things…..oh, wait a minute!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Orrie Merren, are there hard copies of your petition in existence, and where?

    Please remember, the original ganja smokers in Cayman are the older generation who may or may NOT have access to your online petition.

    Hardcopy please! Where?

    • Orrie Merren says:

      Kind thanks for enquiring about where hard copies for the Petition (for the Cayman Cannabis Referendum) are currently located for signing, which are as follows:

      (1) Behavioral Health Associates Cayman (BHAC), which Dr. Lockhart is the Medical Director of BHAC, that is located at 62 Hospital Road Plaza, George Town, Grand Cayman — however, please only patients with appointments at BHAC can sign at this location;

      (2) All locations of Reflections Liquor 4 Less (as well as at Hemp & Tobacco) stores, which are Mr. Prentice Panton’s stores;

      (3) Silverside Restaurant & Rum Bar, which is Mr. Roger Freeman’s restaurant, that is located at 124 South Church Street (above Eden Rock Diving Center on the waterfront), George Town, Grand Cayman; and

      (4) 7 Vape Hut that is located at the Marquee Plaza, 36 Lawrence Boulevard, George Town, Grand Cayman.

      If anyone would like to sign the Petition, but cannot make it out to any of these locations, then please feel free to contact me (at 916-4947 or and we can arrange a mutually convenient time and place to meet to get your signature.

      Please also note that social media platforms will be up in due course, which others are assisting with, as I don’t currently use any social media platforms personally.

      Moreover, we are going to be onboarding formal volunteers in the near future, because we want to ensure that the information of those who sign the Petition is treated with as private and confidential (as well as ensuring the our protocols are compliant with the Data Protection Act).

      I appreciate your emphasis on persons that are more focused on signing hard copies, who are (for whatever reason) not interested in electronic (IT) signatures.

      I am old school and am not on any social media platforms, so I too fall into the category of persons that sign the hard copies of the Petition.

      Please note that, in due course, there will be further information released formally and more locations for signing hard copies shall be released after being finalized as well.

      Despite not hearing from us formally since February 2020, please note that we are endeavoring to do things professionally and properly, which have been addressed as and when further issues have been identified.

      I want to emphasis that this is not about “me”, but rather about “we” the People of the Cayman Islands. As such, we look forward to completing collection of the 25% signatures to the Petition to trigger the People-initiated Referendum (pursuant to s.70, Constitution).

      Many hands make work light and there is something beautiful and poetic in the Caymanian registered voters participating in a direct form of democracy (enshrined in s.70, Constitution), which takes matters into our own hands and leapfrogs the Cabinet (executive arm of government) and Parliament (legislative are of government).

      Stay tuned. More to come in due course.

      God bless the Cayman Islands and, most importantly, our precious Caymanian people and all residents.

      God bless,
      Orrie 🙏🏻🇰🇾

  5. Anonymous says:

    Orrie Merren, please publish the link or site where your petition can be signed. No access, no signatures! Little access, fewer signatures!

  6. Anonymous says:

    it’s a certain comfort these leaders must feel knowing the consequence of being called out on their inadequacies is…nothing.

  7. Say it like it is says:

    I guarantee nothing will come of this, just another opportunity for exercising more backscratching.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the ongoing issue is that people are put in positions based on their passport rather than skill, knowledge, experience and ability…..nah

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand how CBC can be blamed for giving concessions. I thought Finance had to approve concessions.

    • Orrie Merren says:

      My understanding is that the Cabinet (the executive branch of government) has a discretionary power to award concessions.

  10. SKEPTICAL says:

    The man is a joke – but nobody is going to nail his ass to the wall when he faces the questioning. He’s entitled to wear a music hall pseudo military uniform and pretend that he knows what he is doing – and nobody is going to admit that he should never have been appointed to the position in the first place – “ Jobs for the Boys “.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I smell a big behind closed doors “thanks for your service” payout coming.


  12. Anonymous says:

    It’ll all be okay, he’s got a note.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So, PAC wants to question the Directors about the failures to implement legislation and improvements in their respective departments, when these directors need ministerial approval before green lighting such large scale projects.

    The same ministers who fail to pass such legislation!

    Am I the only one left confused??

    • Anonymous says:

      This is about the failures within the civil service and government departments. This is all about the failings of management and those that are in charge not the politicians.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Really makes onw wonder! Chuckie Clifford has been a Chief Officer, a Minister in Cabinet and now a Head of Dept.

    He has been on the political side and the administrative side. He, of all the departments heads, should be far ahead of the same old bullshit instead of being far ahead with the same old bullshit.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Duty waivers and giveaways are one of the currencies that shady backroom deals are priced in. There are people who would be sad to see them go.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The lack of accountability in the civil service and incompetence at the highest levels is the greatest threat to Caymans continued success. The UK better start paying attention.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The civil service is a mess from top to bottom.
    Franz Manderson and his team are failing this country while responsible for wasting millions annually without addressing a broken system. The fish rots from the head.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is why we cannot seek independence!!!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Probably find that Manderson reviews his own performance.

  20. Joe B says:

    You can’t change the culture without changing the people(that have a different culture)This is the Cayman Islands and it will till further notice be run the Caymanian way unless the UK needs to save it from itself.

    • Anonymous says:

      Truth, but no one is listening. In 5-10-15 yrs we will be arguing the same crap. This is Cayman.

  21. Anonymous says:

    PPM appointee. Time for a change.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Good ole Charles the same guy who ordered the legal seizure of goods by Doctors Express. This is embarrassing

    • Anonymous says:

      What’s happening there? Things have gone quiet.

      • Mumbichi says:

        What’s happening there is that the law is being honoured. FINally.

        Those people who genuinely benefit from CBD and medical cannabis oil/vapes are getting treatment. VERY long overdue. These are compounds that are often more medically beneficial than the bud itself.

        Another area in which our leaders are failing us: Ganja should be legalised, grown here, processed, packaged and taxed. Everybody wins. Acquire the standards and equipment Colorado USA has been using regarding field sobriety tests, and we’re good.

        We will have then removed the criminal element from Ganja, and people who use it will have a standard which requires them to not puff and drive. Those that require medical ganja will have it, and our people won’t be unnecessarily jailed for possession of this God-given plant.

        • Orrie Merren says:

          Mumbichi, you raise some good points and I can see you know your way around this area quite competently.

          I will meet you part way and agree that, at that very least, the law is now being complied with in part, but not in whole — I refrain from identifying the failures, at least for the time being, because it will likely cause far more detriment than benefit.

          Various cannabioids, whether isolated or the whole-plant extract entourage effect, are extremely beneficial to stimulation of the endocannabinoid system (namely, CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in the cells in the brain and the body), but the identification of various terpene profiles are not being properly understood, because these have an even greater influence on the efficacy of the medical and therapeutic beneficial effects on cannabis (or, more accurately, medical cannabis products) for purposes of medicinal value.

          Based on what can be done legally, with respect to legislation, to address current shortcomings, at least, as it stands from a domestic Constitutional law basis (including, inter alia, ss.2, 9, BoR read together with ss.5, 7, 16(4)(b), 19 and 24, BoR) and international law obligations (including, inter alia, art.2, 8, ECHR; UN drug conventions, particularly the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 (as amended by the 1971 Protocol) read together with the Vienna Convention) we can further broaden extant medical cannabis legislation (including the Misuse of Drugs Act) and introduce decriminalisation legislation.

          However, for clarity, legalization of full on recreational cannabis basis is not currently legally feasible and currently not ripe for consideration, but may be a consideration as creeping legislation in the future, at least, after we get broad medical cannabis legislation to work effectively (inclusive of, inter alia, a Cannabis Licensing Authority that will issue licences to 100% Caymanian owned and controlled businesses for, inter alia, domestic cultivation and cannabinoid extraction, as well as research and development, and export to recipients in other lawfully authorized jurisdictions).

        • Kay says:

          I’ll be fully honest with you, as a regular user of both alcohol and herb, alcohol reduces my ability to drive 100x more.. herb makes me do 5 under the limit and be a kinder driver.


          • SMH says:

            neither should be used before operating a car.
            The fact that you are able to compare both means that you have committed illegal acts multiple times. Your behaviour is questionable and so is your judgement.
            You therefore lose credibility.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t disagree, and would add that most regular users treat it like it’s been pretty much legal for years, certainly widely socially acceptable, and daring any agency to intervene – that might be willing and on duty. The unique factor with the “it’s just ganja” attitude, is that Cayman is situated on an active and dangerous Billion dollar per month transhipment route to and from Central America. Cocaine one way, guns and money and other. Waving through “it’s just ganja” boats, which frankly many agencies in Cayman have been doing for decades, brings more guns, ammunition, different drugs, and terrible people anxious to fortify a reliable base of operations for the other business lines. This is why we have several robust and confident gangs here, assassinating witnesses, murdering foes, and leaving high calibre shell casings on beach heads. Smoking ganja directly enables all of this.

          • Orrie Merren says:

            You are correct. Thank you for sharing your wise and accurate viewpoint. I am very grateful for having the benefit of your insightful perspective.

            The “informal economy”, where cannabis is brought in illegally, also brings in hard drugs (which can cause overdoes as well as disrupts social harmony and causes moral decay), guns, ammunition, explosives and sometimes illegal landing of persons and animals.

            If, however, legislation is promulgated for decriminalization of cannabis is forthcoming, which allows for personal use by adults (not children) in private (inclusive of possession, consumption and cultivation on private premises), then personal users are able to supply themselves with a homegrown personal-supply.

            This will go along way towards contributing to reducing the influx of said hard drugs, guns, ammunition, explosives as well as illegal landing of persons and animals.

            Admittedly, the war on drugs, as history has shown, is not a war that, unfortunately, can be won. However, redirecting resources towards fighting against the more dangerous elements that contribute to serious social (and moral) decay is to be desired.

            God-willing, when the Cayman Cannabis Referendum is successful, much social injustice and discrimination against cannabis users, who are otherwise positive contributors to our society, will be a good thing. And those who use cannabis for its medicinal value for medical and therapeutic purposes will have better access and know its source.

            When illegal cannabis comes into the Cayman Islands, as it currently stands, there is now way of having a balanced quality control function. However, as the cannabis industry and legal framework progresses in the Cayman Islands, it will be positive and beneficial to be able to send such domestically grown cannabis off to be lab-tested for microbials, heavy metals, toxins/poisons, cannabinoid content and terpene profiles.

      • Anonymous says:

        What’s happening there is that Dr. Lee is gone, they’ll blame it all on him, and there will be a settlement for a couple million bucks which they’ll try to keep quiet.

  23. Anonymous says:

    What’s the purpose? No one ever actually gets a held to account…it’s all a charade.

  24. Anonymous says:

    But with rules there is less scope for “flexibility”. Then we couldn’t do favors for our friends, and would have to do a better job of looking after the public’s money. That would suck.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Chuckles? Ha ha. Ask him about the cannabis vape seizure.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Its called ‘Stonewalling “.
    We don’t like being interfered with & told what we need to do, so by stonewalling we can just keep the status quo.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Deputy Governor should be facing the music at PAC and telling us how or why he allows these failures to continually happen on his watch. The problems are systemic.

      • Anonymous says:

        Perfectly said 2:03. Franz is the real problem in the Civil Service. Why is he not called and rigorously questioned? If coverups and protection of friends could talk the revelations would be shocking.

      • Anonymous says:

        He’s very busy. Hosting a 5k this weekend you know.

  27. Anonymous says:

    You can’t skewer one agency head without turning the lens on the insulated tenured enablers upstream and remediating that supervisory responsibility and function. There is no incentive or catalyst for change in any organisation where introducing consequences for inaction is itself taboo. CIG has for years comfortably ignored its own internal investigation reports, partially because some of previous Cabinets don’t like reading, but mostly because the buck stops with Manderson and other static pillars of Civil Service. Past time for Manderson to be placed under review for non-performance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately that’s government for you. When stuff hits the fan, it turns into a game of hot potato/passing the Buck.

    • Anonymous says:

      Port Authority comes to mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too much swivelling and not enough serving. The chair is too comfy and he’s not about to get out of it nor is anyone going to insist he does.


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