Mosquitos and other Critters

Robert's Thoughts

Comments (3) / June 30, 2020

Photo: Governors Harbour Grand Cayman (in the 80’s) 


People used to refer to the Cayman Island as ‘the islands that time forgot’.

No wonder. Their isolation was such that, in the nineteen-forties, their population discovered that World War Two had broken out only a month or so after hostilities had commenced when the captain of the schooner that brought supplies every four weeks or so to the region informed the islands’ ‘Administrator’ that Britain was at war with Germany.

Forgotten by almost everyone – except the swarm of mosquitos that infested the place and made living there very, very uncomfortable.

That was before the Cayman Islands Mosquito Research and Control Unit was established in 1965 near George Town by Marco Giglioli, a scientist sent out from the Colonial Office in London to tackle the problem.

I was named Official Liquidator by the Cayman Grand Court in 1973 when the islands, having become well-known as a tax haven, had to deal with the bankruptcy of a local banking conglomerate that seriously impacted the Cayman economy.

My two co-Liquidator colleagues and I found that we were facing a significant problem: how to tackle a liquidation involving three banks and over a hundred small companies world-wide.

The answer: working twelve-hour days under rather strange circumstances.

On one of those long days, well-past dinner time, I found myself working in the offices of the Liquidation situated in the middle of a ‘desert’, an area consisting of four sizeable, flat ‘fingers’ or ‘quays’ – marl-covered future building sites – stretching into the North Sound.

Outside – pitch dark. The nearest building – five hundred yards away.

Suddenly, the front door bursts open and two burly policemen invade my office. “Where is the pilot?” one of them yells at me.

Surprised and somewhat frightened I decide to joke it out. I look under my desk and answer: “Not here.”

Not a good idea. The arms of the law are not amused. They move on me. I back away, completely flummoxed, hands up.

The cops, visibly upset with me, finally explain:

Marco Giglioli, piloting the nightly sortie of the mosquito spray plane had to crash-land his aircraft nearby and had radioed the police for help. Apparently, this had not been the first such incident and the cops had taken their sweet time to come to pick him up. Giglioli, highly browned off, got fed-up and had walked away from his slightly damaged ‘plane toward town, leaving the cops running around for nothing.

3 Responses to :
Mosquitos and other Critters

  1. Liz says:

    I’m sure the Governor’s Harbour is now covered in buildings! Happy Canada Day

    Liz and Nick xx

  2. William Ransome says:

    Wow, takes me back down memory lane.I remember quite clearly the tumult with the collapse of Interbank (?)Must of been quite a mission of forensic accounting to sort out that tangled mess. Those were the wild west days of Cayman banking. I can remember my girlfriend at the time worked at Royal Bank of Canada. She would sometimes call to say she would be working late. A back customer had arrived with literally a suitcase full of cash which had to be counted.
    I had touched base with you to recall that I had been the manager at The Islands Club when you would often stay there in the end unit near the tennis court.
    I enjoy your email missives.

  3. Clemens Guettler says:

    Don Roberto ,
    Thanks for the Mosquito Story , I am celebrating My 50 years in Cayman this December .The Island is really improved most of the Mangrove areas on the Governors Harbour are now built up with Apartments and Exclusive Villas .
    The last Time I met you at my Restaurant the Wharf it was great to talk to you. I sold the Wharf four Years ago and I am enjoying the quiet life now.

    We are all well and Cayman is preparing for the reopening for Tourists some time in late Fall.

    Stay safe and in touch.

    Clemens Guettler

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