Archive for May 21st, 2009

Mac picks new team

| 21/05/2009 | 75 Comments

(CNS): With one week before his swearing in as Cayman’s first Premier, the leader of the United Democratic Party, McKeeva Bush, introduced his new Cabinet today (21 May) and their broad duties, but the ministries have not yet been fully defined. Bush has offered a ministerial post to Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, which includes District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs; Mark Scotland will be responsible for Health and Sports, while Mike Adam will be covering Social Services.

The major ministerial responsibilities however, will be taken by Rolston Anglin who will take over Education, Labour and Training, and with Bush himself taking on Tourism, Cayman Airways, Financial Services and Development. Anglin was also confirmed as Deputy Leader. Cline Glidden will return as Deputy Speaker alongside Mary Jo Lawrence, who has been invited to serve as Madame Speaker, the first person outside the House to hold the position since Sybil McLaughlin. Bush also announced that Ezzard Miller, who ran as an independent in North Side, has been invited to take responsibility for the HSA Board.

Bush’s ministerialsuggesitons will be palced before the Governor for approval sometime this week.

The Leader of Government Business elect said that he had impressed upon the “minority party” to put aside differences and work with him to deal with the challenges ahead.  Talking about the possible challenge to Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour’s election to office because of their failure to qualify under the conditions of the Constitution, Bush said there was “nothing to be gained by carrying on this vendetta". He said it was time to work together.

He also told the press that he wanted to work with them and would offer an "open door policy", although there would no longer be any televised weekly press briefings. However, he hoped to do bi-weekly meetings of some kind.  “As well as calling on people to work together, I am calling on the press to leave out the sensationalism,” he added. Bush said his administration would be as open as possible and he was hoping to have the swearing in ceremony for the new government on the steps of the Legislative Assembly next week rather than inside, which would enable everyone to take part.

He said that his new government would be assessing existing capital projects in hopes of reducing some of the costs associated with them, and he would take a new approach to the potential port development, which would includie a jetty in West Bay and moving cargo operations out of down town George Town, which he said would become a tourism Mecca.

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Cayman says “Yes”

| 21/05/2009 | 24 Comments

(CNS):  Updated: The Cayman Islands Constitution has been passed with around 62% of the vote. Following the results from George Town with 2,748 voters in favour and only 1,536 against, the people said ‘Yes’. In total, 7045 Caymanians said yes to the new Constitution and 4,127 said ‘No’ so "the ayes have it". Earlier this afternoon the Bodden Town and West Bay result had already made it clear that the result would be a nationwide ‘Yes’,  though the approval rating is higher than anticipated following the first result of the day from the Sister Islands, which only returned a yes vote with a narrow margin.

Bodden Town voters in the country’s first ever referendum returned 1,842 ‘Yes’ votes and 837 “No’ votes, while in West Bay the vote in favour was 1,501 and 1,105 against. In order to pass the constitution vote needed to be 50% plus one vote in favour. The second batch of results on the referendum had come through at around 1:30pm today, with a ‘Yes’ vote from East End, with 255 in favour and 186 against, while in North Side 337 ‘Yes’ votes were polled and only 134 ‘No’ votes, giving the Constitution a greater margin in those districts than the slightest of margins recorded in the Sister Islands.

The first results in the referendum actually came from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman at around 11:00 this morning with the closest of margins. 362 people voted “Yes” while329 voted “No” with five ballot papers being rejected.

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Sister Islands say ‘Yes’ – just

| 21/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In the first results in the referendum count the people of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have voted for he new Constitutional Document in the country’s first ever referendum by the closest of margins. 362 people voted “yes” while 329 voted “no” with five ballot papers being rejected. Whether the narrow margin will be a sign of things to come across Grand Cayman remains to be seen as the referendum count continues.

Check back to CNSlater for more results direct from the referendum count

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UDP meet over ministries

| 21/05/2009 | 35 Comments

(CNS): Despite the anticipated challenges to their two candidates in Bodden Town, the United Democratic Party was meeting today to discuss their future government and the likely ministerial positions. Rolston Anglin, the second elected member for West Bay and the man tipped to take over the Ministry of Education, said that the team would be discussing how the new UDP government will take shape today, but they were well aware that they needed to consider the implications of any challenges to the Bodden Town Candidates.

Speaking about the result, Anglin said all the party members were delighted. “We are absolutely thrilled that the people chose to elect the United Democratic Party to government,” Anglin said, noting that it was the first time the UDP has been given a mandate to govern as a political party. “I believe it shows the real concerns that people have and I think voters understood the situation was serious. We have a lot of work to do over the next few months.”

How that work will be done will depend on who gets which ministries and whether in fact those ministries would be reorganised. Anglin noted that the situation in Bodden Town had to be considered, particularly as Mark Scotland could be a likely ministerial choice.

“We understand the implications of the Bodden Town situation,” he said, adding that he had no doubt that the two candidates would retain their seats regardless of what happens, but the time factor had to be considered because of the work that needed to be done to get Cayman back on track.

Discussing Osbourne Bodden’s comments last night that there would have to be a challenge to the two UDP candidates, Anglin said that while Bodden may have taken that position last night in the wake of defeat, he thought that logic might prevail.

“I am not sure he would want to kill himself like that politically,” Anglin said, adding that he was confident that the two would be re-elected in any by-election and probably with an even greater margin.

Both Scotland and Dwayne Seymour’s election remains contentious since neither of them met the criteria under the Constitution to be elected to the Legislative Assembly as they both failed to declare their business contracts with government before the deadline set out under Section 19. During the elections campaign the issue was declared by both Kearney Gomez, the Supervisor of Elections, and Attorney General Sam Bulgin as a matter for the court, as they said there was no mechanism for removal from the election beforehand. The challenge can come not just from losing candidates but also from any Bodden Town voter.  The question as to whether a judge would simply rule that Osbourne Bodden and Charles Clifford would be duly elected or initiate a by-election in which the candidates may or may not be allowed to run all still remains open to question.

The question is considerably more important with regards to Scotland, who was first elected member in the district and the one most likely to receive a ministry.

CNS has made efforts to contact members of the People’s Progressive Movement for comment on the result, the potential challenge and any concerns they may have over the accusations of undue influence made in George Town during yesterday’s poll.

Last night’s election result was almost a complete flip of the 2005 result for the PPM. The UDP returned nine of their own candidates and the one independent that was returned is regarded as ‘user- friendly’ for the UDP, but whether long time political stalwart Ezzard Miller will choose to join the party remains to be see.  

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IRS says focus on wealthy

| 21/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(Reuters) – The US Internal Revenue Service is focusing its audits on wealthy individuals and corporations as part of a broader effort to increase enforcement, the agency chief told lawmakers this week. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman disputed a suggestion at a congressional hearing that the agency has been lax in going after rich people and big companies. "Our long-term investment is to have a trend where wealthy individuals, large corporations, (those) who have really benefited from being in the United States, we’re going to make sure that they pay their taxes," Shulman, an appointee of former president George W. Bush, told a U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the agency’s 2010 budget request.

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Robber left empty handed

| 21/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police said that detectives have arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of attempted robbery following an incident at Scooters and Wheels on South Church Street on Tuesday (May 19). The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at approximately 11.25am from a staff member reporting that a man armed with a knife had entered the store and demanded cash. The worker told the offender that there was no cash on the premises and he left empty handed.



Police responded to the scene and carried out enquiries and searches in the local area. Following investigations by detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department, the 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery and burglary. The man remains in police custody at this time. “Robbery is a serious offence which can have a huge impact on the victims involved,” said Superintendent Marlon Bodden, head of CID. “I urge all business owners to help protect their businesses and staff by taking some crime prevention measures such as reviewing security procedures, cash handling practices and looking at areas such as lighting and CCTV installation.”

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station 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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Adam lands UDP safely

| 21/05/2009 | 27 Comments

(CNS): The final result in the General Election 2009 which came in from George Town at 4:00am this morning secured the United Democratic Party’s majority and ensured they will be forming the next government. Pushing Alden McLaughlin into third place Adam polled 46% of the vote. Ellio Solomon was also returned as fourth elected member with 40% of the vote. After a close race for the top spot the Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement and now the Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts held on with 47% of the vote.

The results followed a clean seep for the UDP in West Bay where all four candidates increase their percentage of the vote and a more controversial result in Bodden Town where Mark Scotland was returned as first elected squeezing Anthony Eden into second and Dwayne Seymour was elected in third place with only 36% of the vote a mere 1% ahead of Osbourne Bodden who has already stated he will make a challenge as a result of Scotland and Seymour’s failure to meet the constitutional requirement for qualification to be elected to the Legislative Assembly.

With no surprises in the Sister Islands and East End, North Side returned a new but very familiar face and the country’s only independent candidate in Ezzard Miller.

Although, the Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez had a midnight target for the results the counts in West Bay and George Town were not returned until the early hours of the morning. There was only the very slightest increase in voter turnout for the 2009 election compared with 2005. Yesterday,  80.56% of the electorate took part in the democratic process compared tot he 2005 figure 80.51% but with an increase in the electorate some 12,209 valid votes were cast.

The results of the popular vote and the Cayman Islands’ 15 elected Members of the Legislative Assembly are as follows:

West Bay: McKeeva Bush (2,067); Rolston Anglin (1,966), Cline Glidden (1,740), and Capt Eugene Ebanks (1,570).

George Town:  Kurt Tibbetts (2,181); Mike Adams (2,110); Alden McLaughlin (2,081) Elio Solomon (1,845).

Bodden Town: Mark Scotland (1,453), Anthony Eden (1,394) and Dwayne Seymour (1,030).

North Side: Ezzard Miller (253). 

East End: Arden McLean (304).

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman: Moses Kirkconnell (473); and Julianna O’Connor-Conolly (447).

Gomez offered his thanks to all those involved in the process, including the electors, candidates, agents as well as the elections workers, support staff and the media.  The final figures for all candidates, as well as supporting documentation on the process, are posted on the elections website

The office has now turned its attention to the Constitutional Referendum count which is expected by mid-afternoon. Given the result of the General Election, and the UDP’s very luke warm support for the document throughout the campaign, and its association with the former government pundits are now predicting that the referendum will not achieve the 5339 votes it needs to secure its passage.

Check back to CNS later today for the results.

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UDP seals victory in W.Bay

| 21/05/2009 | 53 Comments

(CNS): There were few surprises went the West Bay result finally came in, returning all four incumbent United Democratic members and ensuring that, with the imminent result in George Town, McKeeva Bush will form the next government despite the problems with two of his UDP candidates in Bodden Town. Bush polled over 68% of the vote and Rolstin Anglin over 65%, and Cline Glidden and Cpt Eugene Ebanks taking over 57% and 52% respectively.

Rather than being challenged by the independents in George Town, the UDP actually increased their collective share of the vote and strengthened their already solid grip on the district. Moreover, the result came in as the last two ballot boxes and mobile votes remained to be counted, with two UDP candidate poised to take seats in the district from Lucille Seymour and Alfonso Wright. Mike Adam was flying to victory at around 2:00 am, neck and neck with Kurt Tibbetts for first elected member, while Alden McLaughlin was looking secure in his seat but as third elected trailed by radio shock-jock Ellio Solomon taking the fourth seat.

With five confirmed seats, two almost in and two in the hands of the lawyers and a first reserve in North Side in the shape of Ezzard Miller, the UDP will be back in office. In a complete reversal of fortunes for the PPM, they now have five seats and will be taking those on the opposition benches.

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Bodden Town returns controversial result

| 21/05/2009 | 70 Comments

(CNS): In probably the most surprising result of the night, both UDP candidates, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour, have been elected to the district of Bodden Town but will face an immediate challenge owing to their failure to meet the constitutional requirement to declare their business contracts with government before the deadline. Even before the final results were announced, Osbourne Bodden, the People’s Progressive Movement candidate who came in fourth, a few votes behind Seymour, confirmed that both candidates’ election would be challenged.

Anthony Eden’s huge percentage was cut dramatically from almost 75% of the vote at the last election to just over 49%, making him the second elected member.  Dwayne Seymour with 36% of the vote literally squeezed in to take the third seat in the district  from Bodden, who got just over 35%. Theresa Lewis-Pitcairn gained the largest percentage of the vote by any independent candidate with over 31%, just behind Charles Clifford who came in 5th with 33% of the vote.

With only a few votes left to count in West Bay and George Town and the UDP poised to take at least 6 of those 8 seats, Cayman will be waking up to a UDP government tomorrow as the electorate not only voted against the incumbent government but also rejected the independents and voted for party allegiances. The UDP are likely to have 9 candidates and will also be able to depend on the support of Ezzard Miller in North Side if they lose their Bodden Town candidates as a result of the anticipated challenge.

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Cayman Brac will have a minister

| 21/05/2009 | 33 Comments

(CNS): With the likely formation of a UDP government later today, returning UDP representative for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, can look forward to a Cabinet seat, which was promised to her by UDP leader McKeeva Bush on the campaign trail. In a neck and neck fight to the finish, O’Connor-Connolly was nudged out of the first elected member position by just 6 votes, with PPM member Moses Kirkconnell gaining 473 (59%) votes to 467 (56%).

Former MLA Lyndon Martin, who lost in 2005 and yesterday failed to regain a seat, received 300 votes and Maxine McCoy-Moore, on her fourth bid for election, polled 80 votes.

After the announcement of the results, O’Connor-Connolly, who has twice before been a member of government, said she was grateful to the people of Cayman Brac for re-electing her. “That was the first race. I realize there is a bigger picture and I’m anxiously waiting to see if we get seven more seats in Grand Cayman because all we need is eight.”

She said, “It’s a sweet victory and I’m eternally grateful to the people of Cayman Brac, but he that laughs last laughs best and I’m waiting for the morning so we can form a government because Cayman Brac will get a minister. I’m happy that my colleague Mose got in, and I believe that we can take this island in a better way forward. The people have spoken and I’m excited.”

McCoy-Moore, undaunted by another defeat at the polls, said, “I’m very happy that Mose won and I’m also happy that Julie came second.” Saying she would definitely run in the next election, she explained, “You know, a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. Next time I’ll be ready like Freddy!”

A total of 817 people on the Sister Islands took to the polls Wednesday out of 980 registered voters. Though both the UDP and PPM campaigns had urged supporters to vote only once, from the voting statistics it appears that most used both their votes in the voting booth, with only 157 people voting just once.   

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