(CMR) The Cayman Island's Department of Tourism's (CIDOT) Regional Manager for the UK and Europe, Adrian White (Ado), is facing an internal line of inquiry after it was discovered that he sponsored his child's U16 hockey club with DOT funds without declaring his interest in the organization. Not only is White's daughter a member of the team, but he is also the team manager.
White secured shirt sponsorship for the Old Cranleighan Hockey Club in September 2020 for two seasons. The sponsorship amount was CI$30,000. At the time, he shared that sports tourism is “a big growth opportunity for the Cayman Islands and marks a new direction in marketing for us.” They sponsored the Ladies 1st XI in what he described as an exciting time for the club and its players, noting that “the partnership strengthens our portfolio of top-level sports.”
In responding to CMR queries, DOT confirmed that sponsorships and partnerships were “entered into between 2019 and 2020, and some are still ongoing”. They have confirmed that they were not made aware of any personal affiliations by any team member with the team sponsored. The annual Notice of Interest form that is required to be completed annually by DOT did not disclose White's connection to the club.
According to the team's website, White is the coach of the Men's Warriors Captain and has won coach awards, including the 2022 Christian Davies Award for significant contribution to the Club during the season. White has worked for DOT for four years but has been active in the club for much longer.
DOT reserves sponsorship funds; however, the lack of declaration of interests and possible conflict of interest should have been declared in keeping with government policy and best practice standards.
Despite not declaring the potential conflict of interest with his employer, White was quick to boast about it after the team enjoyed a winning streak in 2021, where he claimed that:
“As for the White family duo, well we both share the same competitive DNA …”
He justified the sponsorship by sharing that the hockey and rugby players and their families in Surrey, UK, are “closer to their target market than many other sports. If everyone takes a look at their website or visits their Facebook page and sees how stunning it is, then the sponsorship will have been worth it.”
CMR understands the internal investigations are in the earliest stage, and further lines of inquiry may be required.
Adrian White joined the Department of Tourism's UK office DOT in June 2019 and was tasked with implementing the islands’ five-year global tourism plan, which aims to raise the destination’s profile and increase visits from the UK, Ireland, and Europe. He was also to take the lead on marketing strategy as part of an expanded London-based team.
Prior to DOT, White brings more than 20 years of international sales and marketing experience to the role. He worked with InterContinental Hotels, where he was the global brand partnerships director for five years.
The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism shared that they:
“regard transparency accountability in the workplace as being vitally important and we promote a culture of ownership at all levels within our organization. When deficiencies are identified, action is swiftly taken to remedy the situation and prevent reoccurrence in the future. The perception of conflict of interest – whether real or apparent – is also taken seriously by the CIDOT and the CIDOT will review this matter.”