Friday, February 19, 2016

Details of Ministers’ Meeting with CarePay Witness Revealed

The original article in the Cayman Compass, dated Feb 19, 2016, appeared here. It is pasted below for the sake of reading convenience.


Former Health Services Authority Chief Information Officer Dale Sanders said Tuesday that he did not accept any reward or contract from Cayman Islands government ministers as a result of a private meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2013.

Mr. Sanders said in a lengthy statement sent to the Cayman Compass this week that issues regarding the criminal investigation into the hospital’s CarePay patient swipe-card contract were “avoided” during the mid-2013 rendezvous with then-Health Minister Osbourne Bodden and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell.

“We avoided discussing any suspicions of corruption because, at that time, there were only strong suspicions, no firm proof, and all of us were sensitive to avoid any premature conclusions,” Mr. Sanders said. “I previously shared my suspicions about CarePay with Mr. Kirkconnell in a separate meeting … there was nothing more to discuss.

“I never held a contract, nor received any sort of financial reward from Minister Osbourne Bodden or Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell as was alleged during questioning by the defense attorney in the trial of Canover Watson,” Mr. Sanders added.

Minister Kirkconnell and Minister Bodden were contacted for a response to Mr. Sanders’s comments. Neither had responded by press time.

Watson’s trial, which ended in a seven-person jury finding the Cayman Islands businessman guilty of fraud and corruption-related charges in the award and implementation of the CarePay card system, revealed that at least three current government ministers discussed aspects of the CarePay contract investigation with witnesses who eventually appeared as part of the court proceedings.

During the trial, it was revealed that Mr. Sanders brought corruption concerns to then-opposition party member Moses Kirkconnell in 2011 – alleging that the hospital’s CarePay scheme process had been improperly interfered with by Watson, then the chairman of the health services board. Mr. Sanders said he also mentioned his belief – without presenting any “hard evidence” – that former Health Minister Mark Scotland and then-Premier McKeeva Bush were somehow involved.

Watson’s lawyer, Trevor Burke, QC, suggested during trial questioning that the mid-2013 meeting in Washington was an attempt by the ministers, who were elected in the May 2013 general election, to persuade Mr. Sanders to provide them with “political ammunition” on their foes, Messrs. Scotland and Bush.

Mr. Sanders said he and the ministers discussed the CarePay project during the Washington meeting, particularly Minister Bodden’s concerns regarding whether the system might eventually work. Mr. Sanders said he had major doubts about the project for two reasons: First, the insurance claims environment in Cayman was vastly different from the one used in Jamaica, the home base of the CarePay system contractor, and second, there were complex computer programming issues involved with processing insurance claims for hospital and clinic services, as opposed to processing for pharmacy services.

Mr. Sanders said the two ministers also discussed the possibility of his advising government on the “strategic development” of medical tourism in the Cayman Islands. The possibility of Cayman’s health services forming a partnership with a larger U.S.-based healthcare provider to help lower costs for Caymanians who had to go off island for medical treatment was also discussed, he said.

“Regarding [the last two topics], I expressed an interest in working as a consultant for Minister Bodden and Mr. Kirkconnell, but they never engaged me in that capacity,” Mr. Sanders said.

Contract details provided by Mr. Sanders on Tuesday indicated that any business arrangements he had maintained with the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority ended in September 2013, shortly after the Washington meeting in mid-2013. An open records request filed for those contracts was initially denied by the health authority, which cited an ongoing criminal investigation into the CarePay project.

After his contract ended in September 2011 as the HSA’s chief information officer, Mr. Sanders signed a one-year consultancy agreement, records show. The consulting work included a number of HSA projects active at the time, including work on the CarePay system, pharmacy upgrades and bids for the main contractor providing the public hospital system’s information management, Cerner. The one-year deal paid up to $10,000 per month and terminated in September 2012.

Following that contract, a further one-year consultancy deal was extended through September 2013, records show. This extension paid up to $2,500 per month and was more focused on the rebidding process for the hospital information system contract then held by Cerner.

“The payments that I received over the two years in which I served as a consultant to HSA totaled $112,250, or an average of $56,125 per year for those two years,” Mr. Sanders said. “My salary as the chief information officer of the Cayman Islands HSA [between 2009 and 2011] was $125,000 a year.”

Mr. Sanders said he was sharing the contract information to clear his name of “any suspicion or wrongdoing” and to clear up any rumors that HSA staffers might be “accountable for any wrongdoing in regard to my contracts.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Courage Required By "Why?"

Below is the text of an email that I sent today to my teammates in Product Development. I post it here as a record of my thoughts on these subjects, for my daughter, Anna, and son, Luke.


Hi friends,

Here’s my philosophical email for the week. :-)

I’ve noticed an almost theological reverence for some opinions in Health Catalyst, especially those opinions that come from Steve Barlow, Tom Burton, and in the past, Dr. Burton… and occasionally my opinions, too.  I can say without a doubt, none of us want that sort of reverence. We want our ideas and opinions to stand up to the same level of scrutiny as everyone else’s. We want a culture that is very comfortable asking “Why?” over and over again until the basis for our opinions, ideas, and practices stand on solid ground.

You can challenge me with “Why?” on any of my opinions, at any time. I might react with a moment of defensiveness— I’m human— but I will always return to a state of logic, not emotion, and will always embrace a better idea than mine. Naturally, there might be times when I return the volley of a challenge and stay with my opinion or idea. That’s ok, too, especially when the accountability for that opinion rolls clearly and specifically to me. In those cases, it’s important that we have the autonomy to succeed and fail by our own opinions.

I have two sayings that guide my philosophy on this sort of thing:

The only thing I enjoy more than being right is being wrong so that I can be more right, next time.

As a leader, you have to love being better more than you love being yourself.

Let’s all of us, hold each of us, accountable for creating a culture that encourages— not just tolerates— challenges to common practices and opinions, all in the interest of constantly getting better.  It takes courage to accept scrutiny without defensive emotions and it takes courage to deliver scrutiny without fear of reprisal.

Let’s create a culture that has the two-sides of courage required by “Why?”.


Friday, February 12, 2016

The Cayman Islands Are Wonderful

I've posted a few things about the corruption trial in the Cayman Islands of Canover Watson, just repeating what's reported in the news. 

For the record of my own opinion, the Cayman people are wonderful, awesome, warm, caring, God-living people. I love them and their culture. They were very, very good to me while I served as CIO of the Health Services Authority. Living among these wonderful people will forever be a highlight of my life. This fellow, Canover Watson, is an anomaly, and he's been brought to justice by a jury of these good people in the community. 

The Cayman Islands get a bad label for corruption, mostly because they are an offshore tax haven, but they have been tax free for centuries. Read about the Wreck of the Ten Sails for the history on that; it's a fascinating legend. Whether it's completely true or not, it doesn't matter. What matters is, being an income tax-free country is a very proud part of the Cayman Island heritage.  American businesses and billionaires have turned the proud and tax-free culture of the Cayman Islands into something slimy; the bad label should go to us, not them. 

The people, the culture, the water, the tropical paradise of the Cayman Islands... it's a beautiful, wonderful people and country in every regard. If more people realized how awesome it was, they would flock to live there.

Canover Watson found guilty of corruption

In previous posts, I shared the progression and my testimony in a corruption trial in the Cayman Islands. Those posts can be found here and here.

Recently, the trial was concluded, and Canover Watson, the defendant, was found guilty. Reuters reported on the story. The original article can be found here.  It is pasted below for convenient reading.

Former FIFA watchdog member Watson jailed for seven years

Feb 6, 2016

A former member of world soccer body FIFA’s financial watchdog has been sentenced to seven years in prison in the Cayman Islands after being found guilty of fraud, his lawyer said.

Canover Watson, who was a member of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, was found guilty of five charges related to his time in charge of the Caribbean nation’s Health Service Authority (HSA), according to the Cayman Island's Anti-Corruption Commission, which had led the investigation.

While the charges were not football-related, the verdict against a man who served on a body which monitored FIFA's finances is another blow to the image of the organization facing an unprecedented corruption crisis.

A statement from the Anti-Corruption Commission said the 45-year-old Watson was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, fraud on the government, conflict of interest and breach of trust by a public official. He was found not guilty of a money-laundering charge. None of the cases related to soccer.

Watson's attorney Ben Tonner confirmed local media reports that his client had been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Watson was suspended from the FIFA watchdog in September 2014 pending the outcome of the case. He had also been treasurer of the Cayman Islands Football Association and was a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union.

Another Cayman soccer official, Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of the CONCACAF, the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean, has also been charged in the case but has yet to face trial.

Webb is currently in the United States having pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy as part of the Department of Justice’s investigation into FIFA which has seen 41 individuals and entities indicted.

The Cayman Compass newspaper reported that Justice Michael Mettyear told Watson during sentencing: “You behaved shamelessly … falsifying presentations, letters, emails, contracts and signatures … you fooled a number of senior civil servants and possibly a minister.”

Watson’s senior defense counsel, Trevor Burke QC, said his client had been "ruined".

“Canover Watson’s fall from grace is now complete,” the newspaper said.

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