Former port boss contesting GTS seat

| 16/03/2017
Cayman News Service

Paul Hurlston

(CNS): Paul Hurlston, who was the director of the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands for many years until he was sacked without explanation in 2015, has declared himself as a candidate for his home constituency of George Town South in the upcoming 24 May General Election. Another independent candidate throwing his hat in the ring alone, Hurlston criticised the swapping between “the green and the red” over the last four election cycles, referring to the two local political parties.

Hurlston was booted out of his senior job at the port after an internal review by local consultants, Deloitte, who were contracted to help address financial losses at the authority. He had been at the helm since 2001 after serving as assistant director since 1992.

In his Facebook post announcing his candidacy at the end of last month, Hurlston, who was born and raised in the GTS constituency, said he had the “academic qualifications, proven abilities, honesty and character” to be a “true representative”.

The district of George Town South has a diverse demographic of 1,215 voters, ranging from South Sound to Windsor Park. So far, the only other candidate to declare their intentions to run in that constituency is TV and radio host Catherine Tyson, who is also running as an independent with no party affiliation, though it is believed that she is part of a loose group of candidates being supported by one local businessman.

Neither the Cayman Democratic Party nor the Progressives have identified their candidates for the constituency. In the 2013 General Election, the polling districts covering the area voted strongly for Roy McTaggart, who was at the time on the C4C ticket and polled 371 votes in the area. Since then he has joined the PPM and is likely be their candidate in that constituency.

But whoever the Progressives and the CDP field in the district, Hurlston will be up against challengers from both the red and the green team as well as Tyson.


Category: Candidates

Comments (30)

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  1. Paul Hurlston says:

    People often wonder what my views are on the building of cruise piers in George Town. I have never expressed these publically before. What I will endeavor to also do shortly in further posts is to give the public more details on the cruise industry and cruise piers that you probably may not know. Perhaps you will get a clearer picture why there has been 7 attempts (all of which I have experienced) to build cruise piers. I do support cruise berthing facilities BUT they, MUST protect our marine and land environments MUST be financially viable, MUST be controlled by the people, and MUST be beneficial to all the people of this country. I will explain later.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for acknowledging the question.
      Will stay tuned for your elaboration.

      – Who

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cayman would certainly be very lucky to have someone like Paul Hurlston repesent the Cayman Islands with his education ,experience, ability, and temperament.He is one of those people we are privileged to have him throw his name in the ring. His honestly, character and integrity speak for itself. He would also work well with anyone or and other party members in the house. The Best of Luck to you Paul.

  3. Anonymous says:

    His contract was not renewed and he was let go 6 months before it ended because of non-performance. Tell the truth Paul. I worked with his and he was a poor example of a boss and I don’t think he would do much better as a politician! But hen they do not do much so again my apologies…. go for it! You write like you achieved all of this on your own… you were perfectly guided by the BOD or the situation would be much worse. You never spoke up for us and I know you are certainly not going to speak up for the people of this country. My suggestion is don’t waste your time Buddy. Take all that money you made at the Port and sail off in to the Sunset!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have known Paul from school days. He is an honest, truthful, sincere and genuine person. He would never do anything to endanger the finances of the Port. In fact to the contrary, he would always err on the conservative side rather than risk the Port’s finances. His foresight enabled the Port to recover far quicker than any other government department or statutory authority after hurricanes Ivan and Paloma. I also believe that the biggest dividend that was paid to government by the Port Authority, was when he was Port Director. What some people fail to understand though, is that sometimes, as head of a government department and despite your best efforts, there are also political and/or board decisions that create bills and liabilities that you, as Port Director, will have no control over and no option but to pay. And, when the ink turns red, it is going to be the Head of Department who is going to be the one who takes the blame. Then, there are people who are master strategist and when they see you are between a rock and a hard place, will roll the rock to squeeze your balls for their own gratification.

    What I can tell you though, is that most of the Port employees have been there for more than a decade and if you do a poll and ask all of the long term employees who has been the best Port Director of the past and the present, Paul Hurlston is going to win the poll. And if you ask them who they would feel most comfortable leading them, I can tell you, Paul Hurlston is also going to win that poll too.

    Paul is of Marco Archer’s and Wayne Panton’s caliber and if everyone who ran in this election were of their caliber, Cayman would be in safe hands. The country would be able to trust them and know that their best interest was being looked after. They are also intellectual enough to look after Cayman on the world stage.

    Good luck Paul. I hope your people elect you to represent them.

  5. Jordan says:

    8:01, the word is THEIR not there

  6. Ezzard Miller says:

    Congratulations Paul, people with you abilities are what the country needs as elected representatives. You have the academic, intellectual and personal qualities of honesty and integrity and that Caymanian commitment to get the job done.
    Welcome to the arena and I wish you success in the election would be a pleasure to work with you.

  7. Paul Hurlston says:

    I would like to set the record straight and provide some fact checking on some of the contents above which could appear misleading. I do keep good records therefore I can speak with authority. Fact: I was the Assistant and Deputy Port Director for 9 year prior to becoming Port Director. In those former positions I was not privy to the Port’s bank balances. When I took over in August 2001 as Port Director, I was shocked to discover the there was so little cash in the bank accounts. The then Financial Controller informed me that this position was untenable but it had existed for years and needed immediately attention. This was done. It was then I realized why in the past near to each month end there was an intense scramble to collect cash from creditors, to be able to pay the monthly bills. The port was indeed operating on a month to month cash basis. Over my 14 years as Port Director the average year end cash in the bank was about CI$ 3 million. Fact: At no point in my 14 years were operating revenues less than operating expenses. However the Port financials are based on accrual accounting principles and non-cash items like depreciation and the write off of assets are considered in the financial statements; unlike central governments financials. It is true with the inclusion of these items in 2009 and 2010 the Port made loses. The reason was twofold; first the recession was felt hardest in 2009 and 2010 and combined with the write-off of assets destroyed by hurricane Paloma that hit the Brac in 2009. So to recap the port made losses (not cash losses) in 2009 and 2010. The bank cash balances at end of 2009 was $2.5 million and $1.17 million in 2010. Between 2001 and 2008 and 2010 to 2014 the port made profits. What is so interesting is that these losses occurred under the previous administration who as you will recall took over in 2009 to a failed economy. Why is the current government/board who took office in 2013 continue to insist that the Port Authority was in a financial problems in 2013? This is simply not true. This is being mischievous to say the least and an attempt I would suggest to satisfy political and personal egos. From 2011 and onwards the port again made profits as the economy improved. Fact: The Port never required any cash subsidy from the government, unlike Turtle Center, CAL, MACI and others. Fact: As the Port Director the port contributed some of the highest cash dividends to the central government of any Statutory Authority. Fact: There was no review of my performance by Deloitte, in fact they started their ongoing review after I left the port on 15 February 2015. It is my understanding they are still trying to find the “smoking gun” as I write – 2 years and hundreds of thousands of your dollars later. It has been suggested finally now but informally that the port is indeed one of the best well run in the Caribbean and comparable to any other port. However, if your information is correct about the review by Deloitte prior to my departure then I would submit it was done in a clandestine manner, without a proper contract and this should be investigated. I do note that on 1 October 2014 (367 Board minutes) the port board and as is contained in those minutes, identified Mr. T. Jackman of Deloitte accounting firm as a suitable person to facilitate a port strategic review retreat in November 2014. Now this was before any RFP was issued for such consultancy services which Deloitte so happened to secure on the 6 November 2014. It is also interesting that the Board of Directors evaluated the bids and contract award. Fact: Let’s not also forget that the port was severely damaged but 4 hurricanes (Ivan, Mitch, Michelle and Paloma) between 2004 and 2009 and I was able to rebuild in record time. After Ivan in 2004 the port was partially operational within 3 days Fact: Under my direction in 2011 the port was ranked by the Caribbean Shipping Association as the second most efficient cargo handling port in the Caribbean and just behind Kingston. Jamaica. Fact: I implemented the board’s policy of cargo night operations in 2002, which before my time was deemed impossible. This single move propelled the Cayman Islands in the to the top 5 cruise ports in the Caribbean region including Mexico; all without cruise piers. This directly resulted in the handling of an additional 1 million passengers per year. That has resulted in an additional CI$100 million annually in direct and indirect cruise passenger revenue into the economy. Fact: I have had the privilege and as the first Cayman Port Director to do so, lectured many times on port operations at some of the largest port conferences in the USA , Caribbean and Central America, involving the highest officials from the mega ports in the northern hemisphere and Europe; guess I can speak and is fairly knowledgeable?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Mr Hurlston,

      Having read your brief summary of yourself, achievements and abilities, I must say it is impressive.
      An individual with your track-record and perspective should be very useful in our government when we take into consideration our economic functions.

      That being said, I do have one pressing and direct question I wish to pose to you. Personally, it is of upmost importance and I am hopeful for an absolute and relatively comprehensive response;

      Do you support the call for the Cayman Islands to develop and construct cruise berthing facilities (as conceptually presented thus far)?

      Thank you for your time.


      – Who

      • You to far south says:

        In addition Mr. Hurlston can you explain why you earn $200,000 per annum ? as Port Director more than or Deputy Governor 2 Why you never met with any of the taxi and tour operators when you where Port Director to resolve issues 3 Why the Port has the highest paid staff with least qualification ie the fork lift operator makes over 8,000 ci per month working 3 and half days per week?
        4 Why it cost the country $150 to truck a container 1.5 miles. This is one reason why the CI has a high cost of living.
        5.The reason you made a profit was because of previous government policies and the country grow. When the economy slowed down you were not able to cut expense. Why?
        6. in 2010 the Brac was booming because the rebuilding after Paloma like GC after Ivan and the Port made a lost? The reason it is not run like a business too much over paid staff. However while some improvements have been made with the reduction of Salaries namely yours there is still not there.
        7 please look at the DOT website and please show us where we had an increase of over a million cruise tourist in one year. Any increase was not made by any Port Director policies. Increase is due to governmment namely DoT adverts with private sector and natural disasters like hurricane hitting Mexico in 2006 which cause or tourism to increase.
        Please say in retirement.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmm …

        – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes sir you can and as a true man. You were canned/fired/sacked because you did not dance to the pipers tune – plain and simple. Well now the days of hiding behind some other coat is over and each candidate must stand on their own merit. These old blow bags are scared to death because they want “business as usual” and they have no idea how this system will work, so they are throwing out all these doomsday messages and garbage of the end of everything. The deal is we have let the fat cats run the show for to long and now we have a social mess on our hands while they sit behind the gated communities and sip champagne cocktails deciding where our country should go. No more should this happen and I for one pray it will change.

      Cry all you want that they will leave, truth is leave to where?

      Good luck as we the people will make Cayman Great Again and then your special interest will have to come out into the sunlight. Hope they do not get skin cancer!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like someone trying really hard to legitimize themselves. Remember folks, there are always two sides to the story. I bet the other side from all the board and from all those who previously worked for him would tell you he did nothing to earn a big salary. Similar to what he expects if he gets elected into government. Blame everyone else and never be accountable. From his story above, he sounds very smug and self righteous.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well apparently you can write. Still haven’t heard you speak.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who is he? Has he EVER spoken to anyone other than his bar flies at Bar Crudo? He has only decided to run for office to get revenge for losing his job at the Port. Thanks, but no thanks!

  9. Anonymous says:

    PPM better put Marco in GTS before they put Mctagfart. Roy is a waste. What has he actually accomplished?

    • Anonymous says:

      Collect a big check!

    • Kent says:

      You may have issue with Roy, however I kindly request that you refrain from disrespecting the last name that I also share with one of our national heroes, Dr. Roy McTaggart.


      Kent McTaggart

      • Anonymous says:

        Seriously Kent, put a sock in it and do something productive, I am tired of all the angry blow hards in this country who somehow think they are relevant because the know the number to call rooster 101

  10. Anonymous says:

    Looking for a nice salary again while doing nothing. Nice guy, not right for being one of our leaders.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again, one more yahoo in this wild rodeo of crap newcomers to add to the mix wasting peoples times (but hopefully not votes).

  12. Anonymous says:

    How interesting…one wonders if his politics will be any better than his ability to run the port. Somehow doubt it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    can he string two sentences together has anyone heard him speak ever?

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you speak – let me pay you and vote for the legal practitioners bill?
      You people love to come here, suck up the money and insult us. Well guess what all your paid for stooges will soon be sitting in your office looking for there paycheck after we the people kick there ass out!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have never heard him speak. No idea if he can even talk.

  14. anonymous says:

    Wonder what his views are on the proposed cruise berthing facilities, seeing as he was a former Port Authority boss…

    • Anonymous says:

      His view was not what the Kirkconnell group wanted to hear. So hit the road buddy!

      • Anonymous says:

        If you are correct 8:04, then this sheds some light on the issue of Mr. Hurlstons dismissal.
        It also clearly indicates that he has the best interest of the country at heart, and not in plunging the country in debt, as an unwise legacy to both the present and future generations, inorder to appease the family with the controlling interests in the George Town waterfront real estate and businesses and, unfortunately, some of our politicians!
        Most notably, it makes a profound statement regarding Mr. Hurlstons courage to stand up for what he believes is right for the Island – even at great sacrifice and loss to himself – and then to bounce back stronger. This is indeed integrity not commonly seen , but desperately needed and hoped for! …..the very qualifications for a Representative of the Common People, and Our Country, – as opposed to a Puppet of the Ruling Class.

        It is imperative that much thought and PRAYER is invested in the process of voting for our Representatives in the upcoming General Elections.
        We need a government who wisely and compassionately serves the Country and Our People- rather than recklessly destroying our Country by advancing the agendas of the wealthy few, while squandering our resources, regardless of the cost to the all!
        In simple language, we need leaders whose top priority is the interests of people and country – not persuing money at all costs!