Archive for April 8th, 2009

New Rotary bus stop

| 08/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Members of Rotary Central have relocated an existing bus shelter at the corner of Shedden Road and Eastern Avenue as well as place a shelter at a new location on Eastern Avenue as part of ongoing efforts to improve its Bus Shelter program, started over 20 years ago soon after the Club was chartered in 1986. All advertising revenues from this Rotary Central program have been, and will continue to be, used for community projects, a Rotary release notes.

On Saturday 4 April, a crew of Rotarians – Maggie Jackson, Gilles Langlois, Todd Davey, Paul Keeble, Mike Mandish, Phil Slater and David Phipps – did the hard work. However, they were assisted by CI Precast, ALThompson’s Home Depot and AI Rentals, who donated equipment to complete the work. LIME donated the use of their land for these shelters and continues to support Rotary Central by renting advertising space in the shelter program.

If you wish to have a shelter placed in your area or for advertising opportunities please call 925-2323 or email rotarycentral@hotmail.

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Rotary fights polio in India

| 08/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A member of Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman joined Rotarians from the US, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands on a recent trip to India to help with the Rotary Polio Plus campaign. Meylys Swaby and 44 Rotarians, including Rotary Central Past President Peter Schmid, travelled to Chandigarh, one of two provinces in India where the highly contagious and crippling Type 1 Polio is still a major problem and 6 million children born every year. Going door to door, the health team, which included doctors and other health professionals, also worked against those who tried to dissuade people from accepting the immunisation programme on the grounds that it was dangerous.

As Swaby explained during a presentation to Rotary Central members, the province was divided up, for the purposes of vaccination, using a grid system and each was allocated a team of Rotarians. The area that the team worked in was a 5×5 km square slum which contained approximately 70,000 people. Following an initial few days when a clinic was set up for parents to take their children for vaccination, the Rotarians went door to door to identify any child who had not been immunised – each had a mark on their right hand if they had been.

According to a release from Rotary Central, Swaby was clearly moved by the sterling effort of local Rotarians who have funded a hospital and are now dedicating funds to its cancer wing. They also fund a school for the deaf and the education of children with disabilities, who are seen as a burden to any family. Rotary International works with local and partner clubs to ensure that the money they raise is put to the best use possible in areas like this.

The Rotary Foundation is determined to rid the world of Polio and their Polio Plus campaign is heavily supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Rotarians across the world have been challenged to raise a further $100 million by June 2012 – this is in addition to $100M already pledged. In return, the Gates Foundation has pledged $355 million.

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PPM starts bid for 2nd term

| 08/04/2009 | 76 Comments

(CNS): Following the opening of the campaign for the party faithful on Saturday night at Pedro St James, the PPM took to the open campaign road on Tuesday night with its national rally in George Town. Laying claim to a number of achievements during their 4 year term, each of the candidates spoke to the audience giving them a taste of the key campaign issues. The party also produced a reported card entitled "From promise to performance", comparing the election pledges made in the 2005 manifesto to the achievements during its administration.

In an orchestrated and managed performance that opened with a video diary, all ten candidates alighted from the ‘PPM bus’ through the cheering crowd to the podium. In a break from the usual party political procedures, Leader of the PPM and Government Business Kurt Tibbetts spoke first and acted as Master of Ceremonies. Delivering a variation on his state of the nation speech from Saturday night, he touched on the economy, spending, financial services and a number of other issues. He then introduced each of the ten members of the PPM team for the general election 2009, all but one already holding a seat, as they came to the podium to deliver their first campaign calls, which included the party slogan “Don’t stop the progress".

Joey Ebanks, the only non-incumbent, who is running in the district of North Side, delivered a short but animated speech to wide applause asking the people to return the ten PPM candidates to office on 20 May. Criticising his opponent Ezzard Miller for aligning himself with the UDP while saying he was independent, he said “You can’t come out and declare yourself as an independent candidate and then in the same breathe say if elected that you will form a government with McKeeva Bush and remain independent, “ and accused him of lying and accepting his challenge of open debate anytime on any issue but in the middle of the street where everyone could see.

Arden McLean, with a considerable majority in his constituency and described by his colleagues as "Action Man", got the crowd going as he yelled about the achievements of the government he had served in and lauded the lack of corruption in the administration. He said the UDP might be big on talking the talk but were not so good at walking the walk. He asked the critics who said the PPM government had spent too much money to name the projects that they would not have developed. Of the 30 projects he had completed, he said he would challenge his opponent in East End to say which one he would not have done.

Anthony Eden another candidate who is, in terms of numbers, holding a safe seat, also lauded the achievements of his colleagues and in particular McLean for the East-West arterial road, which he said had put an end to his traffic misery. He said the PPM worked well together as a team and met most of their campaign promises from 2005.

Introducing Charles Clifford to the podium, the party leader noted that he was the man who was facing the most criticism from the UDP but that he could handle it. Coming to the podium, it was clear that Clifford would be focusing on issues of corruption that had formed a key element in the last campaign and said it came as no surprise, given what had happened, that he would be the primary target, but he said the more they licked him the more votes he would get. “If this country had not changed course in 2005 we could be where the Turks and Caicos Islands are today,” he warned. “But you the people understood that we need to change course.”

Lucille Seymour, now the sole female PPM candidate, delivered an amusing introduction and noted that it takes a real woman to handle nine men. She lauded the work the government had done for young people and said the sports development programme in the last four years was the most comprehensive in Cayman’s history. McLaughlin took time to set the record straight following misleading comments from Juliana O’Connor-Connolly the previous evening but then went to battle with his UDP adversaries.

He said that he had wanted to talk about was the economy as the PPM was fully aware of what needed to be done to manage the economy going forward and to deal with the issues regarding the financial services. He said that Jonathan Piercy, the young candidate that the UDP was pushing as a financial expert, was not necessarily all that knowledgeable. “What Jonathan Piercy knows about the wider financial services industry can be written on the back of a postage stamp and still leave room for what McKeeva knows,” he said.

He added that it was not the time to elect inexperienced politicians, and though the George Town team comprised good decent young people, this was not the time to learn on the job and they were greenhorns being led by a bumbling old man. The issue, McLaughlin noted, was that Bush had always struggled to work with anyone, and therefore could not bring stability. He said from Benson to Jefferson to Truman and down to Kurt, he had never been able to work with others. “In his 3.5 years of government he had three cabinet changes,” added McLaughlin who said the country could not risk that instability.

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Armed robbery in West Bay

| 08/04/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Police said this morning that detectives are investigating an armed robbery that occurred last night, Tuesday 7 April, in West Bay and are appealing for witnesses or people with information to come forward. The robbery occurred at the One Stop Shop, Le Mar Village, West Church Street, West Bay, when two men stole a handbag belonging to a staff member and a pouchcontaining the shop takings at gunpoint.

The Royal Cayman islands Police Service has said that the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at approximately 8.55 pm from a staff worker at the One Stop Shop, reporting that the two women in the store had just been robbed at gun point. Police responded to the scene and were told by staff that two men, who were dressed in dark clothes and had their faces masked, had entered the store carrying what appeared to be handguns.

The robbers took a handbag belonging to one of the staff members present and a pouch containing store cash and left the building. There was also a male customer in the store at the time of the offence. Police said that no one was injured in the incident.

The two men are described as being between 5ft 8ins and 6ft tall and both were wearing dark clothes. One of the men was wearing a dark jacket with a yellow stripe running down under each arm.

“West Church Street is a busy road and I appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time of the offence to think back to last night and try and remember if they saw these men before or after the offence,” said Detective Sergeant Colin Oremule, who is leading the investigation. “Anyone who was passing might have seen these men,” he stressed.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact West Bay CID on 949- 3999 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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New offices and commissions

| 08/04/2009 | 4 Comments

This is the second, in a series of articles prepared by the Caymanian Bar Association (CBA) to consider the implications of various aspects of the proposed Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 (the 2009 Draft Constitution).

The 2009 Draft Constitution would make provision for new offices and commissions under the Branches of Government as well as restructure those that currently exist under the current Cayman Islands (Constitution) Order 1972 (as amended) (the 1972 Constitution). Certain powers and responsibilities which currently vest in the Governor would be delegated to these reconfigured posts. Through greater consultation between and within the Branches of Government, the 2009 Draft Constitution would enhance the democratic process of decision making while providing for greater transparency and accountability.

This article will focus on the offices of (i) Deputy Governor and (ii) Premier as well as the (iii) Electoral Boundary Commission and (iv) National Security Council.

Deputy Governor
Under the 2009 Draft Constitution, the office of Deputy Governor would no longer be appointed by the Governor, as is currently the case, but by Her Majesty. The appointed person would hold such office during Her Majesty’s pleasure. Only a Caymanian who holds or has held a "senior position in public service" may be appointed as Deputy Governor. A "senior position in public service" would include the head of (i) a Government department, for example the Chief Immigration Officer, (ii) a statutory authority, for example the Managing Director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, or (iii) a Government-owned company, for example the Chief Executive Officer of Cayman Airways.

Under the 2009 Draft Constitution, the Deputy Governor would replace the Chief Secretary (who is, among other things, the current head of the civil service). The Deputy Governor would also be delegated additional responsibilities by the Governor in his or her discretion. The Deputy Governor would continue to serve as Acting Governor where the Governor is either absent from the Islands or has vacated office. As the replacement for the Chief Secretary, the Deputy Governor would be an ex-officio member of Cabinet, the Legislative Assembly and the National Security Council. As an ex-officio member, the Deputy Governor would be entitled to attend any meeting held by such bodies but, except in respect of the National Security Council, not vote.

The Deputy Governor would be subject to summonsby any standing committee of the Legislative Assembly, for example by the Public Accounts Committee, to answer questions and provide information about the conduct of business of his or her office and to report on such activities to the Legislative Assembly.

Premier (previously the Leader of Government Business)
Under the 2009 Draft Constitution, the Premier would be appointed by the Governor on recommendation of either (i) a majority of elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the Premier’s political party where such party gained a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly or (ii) by a ballot of all elected members of the Legislative Assembly where the Premier’s political party does not have such majority. Cabinet Ministers would then be appointed by the Governor on recommendation of the Premier.

The Premier would now be limited to two consecutive parliamentary terms, such term starting from the first meeting of the Legislative Assembly constituted under the 2009 Draft Constitution. The Governor would beentitled to remove the Premier upon a no-confidence vote of two-third’s of the elected members of the Legislative Assembly. Unlike the 1972 Constitution, where the office of Premier is vacated, all other Ministers of Cabinet would also vacate their offices as Ministers.
Under the 2009 Draft Constitution, the Premier (unlike the Leader of Government Business) would be able to call Cabinet Meetings and, together with the Governor, set the agenda for such meetings. The Premier would, however, be required to brief and keep the Governor fully informed on the policies of the Government and the public affairs of the Islands.

The Premier or other Ministers of Cabinet would, subject to certain exceptions, be delegated special responsibilities for the conduct of external affairs insofar as they relate to matters falling within the relevant Minister’s portfolio. This would include, for example, matters regarding taxation and the regulation of finance and financial services as well as European Union matters which directly affect the Islands.

Unlike the Governor, the Premier would be required to exercise his or her functions in the best interests of the Cayman Islands without qualification.

Electoral Boundary Commission
Under the 2009 Draft Constitution, an Electoral Boundary Commission would be appointed, as soon as practicable, after the 2009 Draft Constitution is brought into force. The Commission would comprise of the Chairman, appointed by the Governor in his or her sole discretion, and two other members appointed by the Governor upon the advice of the Premier and the Leader of Opposition, respectively.

The 2009 Draft Constitution would not change the existing multi-member electoral districts or the number of elected representatives of the Legislative Assembly. Nor would it create single member constituencies, where each electoral district would have only one elected representative. Instead, the 2009 Draft Constitution would charge the Commission with the responsibility of preparing a report, in accordance with certain guidelines, which contains its recommendations for any changes to the number and boundaries of the electoral districts.
The report would be required to, so far as reasonably practicable, reflect an equal ratio between the number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly representing each electoral district and the number of persons qualified to be registered as electors in that district. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, however, would be excluded from this provision and remain as one electoral district, having at least two elected representatives.

A perceived disadvantage of single-member constituencies is that it would induce a concentration of voters of a particular ethnic group or national origin. Under the 2009 Draft Constitution, the Commission would be required to "take no account of the racial distribution of electors within the Cayman Islands" in preparing its report.

National Security Council
A National Security Council would be established under the 2009 Draft Constitution. The Council would comprise of the Governor as Chairman, the Premier, two other Ministers of Cabinet, the Leader of Opposition, two lay persons, the Deputy Governor (ex-officio), the Attorney General (ex-officio), and the Commissioner of Police (ex-officio).

The National Security Council would be responsible for advising the Governor on matters of internal security (excluding operational and staffing matters). The Governor would be obliged to, subject to certain exceptions, act in accordance with the advice of the Council. The Governor may, however, act contrary to such advice if it would, in the Governor’s opinion, have an adverse effect on Her Majesty’s interest (whether in respect of the United Kingdom or the Islands). In such an event, the Governor would be required to notify the Council of his or her decision. The Governor’s decision, however, would not besubject to an inquiry in any court.

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Inspectors report improvements in early learning

| 08/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): According to recent government inspections standards in early learning provision have improved in local schools since last year. During February and March staff from the Early Childhood Services unit have been undertaking annual inspections in all Pre-schools and Day Care Centres across Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. “Overall, the quality of provision has improved since last year,” said Kate Marnoch, Head of Early Childhood Services.

She said during the inspections staff observed saw happy children that were busy playing, painting, singing songs and being active learners. “Children are receiving healthy meals, they have daily access to well resourced out door play areas and staff are planning interesting activities for the children to do during their lessons.” 

Marnoch said that managers and staff had welcomed the inspections and were proud to show the unit staff around their facilities and said that most establishments had made the necessary changes since last years inspection. These changes included a range of repairs and improvements, such as installation of an additional bathroom, installing shade structures outdoors, repairing broken fences and employing more staff to maintain the correct staff/student ratio. 
 “Overall we are very pleased with the level of co-operation received from Pre-school and Day Care owners, managers and staff especially since in addition to conducting inspections we are here to provide a range of support services and assistance for the benefit of pre-schoolers,” added Marnoch.” As such, we look forward to continuing the productive working relationships that have been developed between the Early Childhood Services unit and the Pre-school and Day Care service community.”  



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Gomez warns against election sabotage

| 08/04/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Although the suspected sabotage of one candidates poster’s in Bodden Town turned out to be an April fool’s joke, Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez has urged candidates to peak out against any deliberate damage to campaign posters following reports made to the Election’s office. He said there may be legal consequences, as was pointed out in 2005 after an incident of vandalism during that campaign when a UDP poster was sprayed with red paint.


Although no specific section of the Elections Law appears to deal with such a problem, there is a criminal offence known as destroying or damaging property. Election posters, billboard, banners and other such materials are the property of the candidate or the party or group. As a result Gomez said a charge of damage to property could be brought under the Penal Code. Depending on the circumstances, a charge might be brought under other laws dealing with nuisance as well.

Damage to or destruction of property is a serious offence, which can be dealt with in either the Summary Court or Grand Court. Because the property pertains to general elections, there is the possibility that this aspect could be put forward as an aggravating feature, Gomez noted.

The penalty on conviction for damage or destruction of property is a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to ten years. Damaging or destroying property by setting fire to it is even more serious and would be charged as arson.


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Gong time again

| 08/04/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Despite the growing controversy in the mother county with regards the symbolism of the Order of the British Empire and the Member of the British Empire, aka the OBE and MBE, the former colonies are still embracing these gongs regardless of their obvious connections to colonialism and slavery. Governor Stuart Jack is likely to get a significant response to his appeal this week for people to submit nominations for the Queen’s New Year Honours 2010 from Cayman.

According to a release nominations must be received by Monday 27 April 2009 it stated that final recommendations for OBEs and MBEs are considered in the United Kingdom, while recommendations for the Certificate and Badge of Honour are considered locally.

However, these gongs are not just awarded to the committed and hard working according to the criteria long service is not enough.

“Nominations must be supported by a persuasive account of the outstanding or innovative or self-sacrificing services and achievements of the nominee, whether paid or unpaid, in one field or several, and what has raised them above those of others performing similar services,” the release from the Governor’s office stated.

Nomination forms can be collected from the reception desk of the Government Administration Building or requested by e-mail from  Copies can also be found on the Governor’s Office website (  Once completed, the forms should be submitted, under confidential cover, to the Governor’s Office.  While all recommendations will be acknowledged, the Governor’s Office cannot enter into correspondence about the action taken on them.

Over the years a growing number of people have refused to accept the honours. One of the most famous “refuseniks” is Benjamin Zephaniah, the acclaimed poet, who refused his OBE in 2004 describing it as a legacy of colonialism. Actress Helen Mirim, Comediennes Jennifer Saunders., author Roald  Dahl and musicians Hank Marvin and David Bowie have al refused OBE’s in the past.

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Minister calls out Brac MLA

| 08/04/2009 | 42 Comments

(CNS): Although he said he had not planned to talk about education at the launch of the PPM’s national campaign last night, Minster Alden McLaughlin said he was driven to it. Following the "false witness” born against him on the pervious evening by UDP candidate Julianna O’Connor-Connolly regarding her misrepresentation of the events surrounding the passage of the Education Bill last month, he said he was forced to set the record straight. “I don’t want to call her a liar but she is damn careless with the truth!” he exclaimed.

Referring to O’Connor-Connolly’s claim that he had tried to take God out of the schools but she had saved the day, the Minister explained what had actually happened in the Legislative Assembly in its closing days and how O’Connor-Connolly had “born false witness against Alden McLaughlin".

As is confirmed by both records from the LA and the National Curriculum itself, O’Connor-Connolly seems to have misled the public with her claim during her speech at the UDP’s party rally on Monday night.  McLaughlin said that religious education had been enshrined in the curriculum, which is already in use and had never been removed. He also put straight the impression that O’Connor-Connolly had given that he had tried to sneak it through.

He noted that the first draft of the bill had been brought to the House for debate in 2006, again in 2007 and again in October 2008, more than four months before the bill came to the House for passage last month, giving all the legislators more than ample time to scrutinize and assess the content of the new law, which he intended to bring before the close of House business.

“Not once did they debate this, not once did I hear a peep out of Julie. One of the most important pieces of legislation ever brought to the house and, with the exception of Rolston Anglin, not one of them had ever wanted to debate it,” he said. The minister explained that the opposition had been given months to raise any objections but had not done so, and he suspected their lack of interest was due to the fact that they did not believe he would be able to get the work done in time to bring the law for passage. As a result, he said they simply didn’t bother to look at it. But he added that his team had worked very hard to finalize the legal paperwork and bring the document before the legislative assembly for the vote.

McLaughlin said that not only had the bill been in the public domain and open for discussion for three years before the final draft was laid before the House, the National Curriculum with its eight pages detailing the requirement to teach religious education had been there in black and white and on the website for all to see for well over a year and was already being utilized in the schools.  “I want to know how she can explain that religion was not in the curriculum.”

He explained, however, that in committee stage, which is where the technical language of a law can be finalized, he had offered to put the word “religion” into section 15, which was the part of the law which mandated the curriculum. Even though it was already enshrined in the law, in order to alleviate her unfounded concerns, McLaughlin said he was content to add religion to the text of the actual bill as well.

He said the problem was, as with all the members of the UDP, that they had not listened or bothered to read the law that he had been working on and sharing since the day he was elected. “The UDP has just not paid attention to what I was doing. In reality they have paid virtually no attention to education at all during this term.” He said that improving education was not only a tough job, it was one where the results come out many years ahead. “This is my life,” he said.  “I am building for the future not for the next election.”

He noted that he would not talk about the issue again as the record was set straight. He said the UDP could mislead all they wanted but that much had been achieved in education and the law, which was passed in March, was merely the formalisation of so much which was already in place which the UDP would realise if they had paid any attention to education.

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Mclean calls for national health cover and lottery

| 08/04/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Former health minister Gilbert McLean, the architect of the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company, has called for that to be the country’s complete national health insurer that everyone contributes to in order to provide a better health care system for the islands as a whole. Speaking to the people of Bodden Town on Saturday night, he also said that it is time to introduce a national lottery and utilise the more than $1 million spent illegally each week for good causes.

 Having lost his seat in the 2005 General Election when running on the UDP ticket, McLean is taking to the campaign trail this time as an independent candidate.vHe has said that the illegal numbers game has been played for years and generates a significant amount of money that could benefit the many instead of the few. He estimated more than $1 million was being spent each week, which was disappearing into a black economy but could be used for education and health care. McLean recognised the controversy and noted that some people would think it
was wrong, but he said it seemed it was wrong to have the money go into the hands of bankers and not the people.

As the former health minister, he said the creation of CNICO was an important achievement but more should be done with it and it needs to be Cayman’s primary health insurance with everyone on island paying in. “If people want a private policy of their own as well, that’s fine, but everyone should be paying into the national insurance policy.” He noted that would create far more money for the government company which cold be funnelled into the hospital.

He also suggested investing some of the million dollars currently invested in numerous Cayman pension schemes here in the jurisdiction instead of sending it overseas where the downturn in the economy has undermined the value of so many people’s investment. Citing the rapid and drastic erosion in the value of people’s pensions which have largely been invested abroad, McLean called for a review of the way in which pension funds are invested. “Up to 50% of our pension funds should be invested in Cayman by way of loans to small businesses, managed through the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau,” he said.

He told Bodden Towners that he agreed with the government’s proposal in the Constitution for a National Security Council to give elected members more say in managing the police and fighting crime but he said there was a need to assess what was happening with the exodus of senior Caymanian officers and find a way to get them back.

McLean also criticised government spending and borrowing and described its management of the economy as reckless. Though he did not say which projects he intended to stop or what areas of public spending he would cut if he was elected, he did say the first order would be to get
government funds in order by assessing the finances and ensuring all government financial statements were audited and up to date.

Given the criticism of the independent candidates from both parties, McLean noted that the voters should not listen to the party rhetoric and vote for who they wanted. “It’s not truethat voting independent is a wasted vote. You have the right to choose,” he said. “But choose wisely. A vote for me is a vote for experience. You need to elect people who understand the real world.”

He said he had been in office before and proved himself and was prepared to go and do it again if the people elected him back.


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