Archive for December 12th, 2009

Prison boss found dead

| 12/12/2009 | 23 Comments

Cayman Islands News(CNS): Updated Tuesday 15 December –  Following a post-mortem that  was carried out yesterday afternoon (Monday 13 December), the RCIPS has confirmed that Dr William Rattray’s death was as a result of natural causes. Police said Saturday that the 57-year-old man found dead in a swimming pool in North Side was Dr  Rattray, the Commissioner of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs said on Sunday it was shocked and saddened by his sudden death. 

"On behalf of the whole Civil Service, and especially Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service, we wish to extend our deepest condolences to Dr. Rattray’s wife Margaret, who has become a much loved and respected school Principal in North Side and Savannah, to his two children and his brother, and to Dr. Rattray’s many friends here and in Scotland", said Acting Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.

Police said Sunday that at about 2.30 pm on Saturday afternoon they received a report that a man had been found apparently unconscious in a communal swimming pool.
Police and paramedics attended the scene and CPR was delivered while Rattray was rushed to the hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Rattray, who is a native of Scotland, came to the Cayman Islands in 2006 to take up the post of commissioner of corrections and rehabilitation following a 30 year career in the Scottish Prison Service. The post was created to oversee the strategic direction of the islands’ Prison Service.

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The National Team

| 12/12/2009 | 17 Comments

A letter to the editor in a recent edition of the Caymanian Compass, signed by Truman Bodden and John McLean, criticised the PPM’s education policy and specifically the management of that policy by ex-Education Minister Alden McLaughlin.

Generally, I support the criticism of the PPM and Mr. McLaughlin in regards to some facets of their education policy but I question where Mr. Bodden and Mr. McLean have ANY room to criticize ANY Government since 1984 ( that being the year when their National Team Government was voted from office), on ANY matter!

The National Team Government of 1976-1984, under Jim Bodden’s leadership, was the Government which did the majority of damage which is now manifested in many of the woes we are experiencing in this country today – more than any single Government before or since! To wit, the National Team Government:

1. discarded the 1972 Development Plan which, among many visionary items and processes, included a multi-lane carriageway from George Town to West Bay, before the east side of West Bay Road was developed, thereby making the construction of such a carriageway vastly easier then than what was undertaken by the last Government in extending the bypass to its current location.

2. in discarding said 1972 Plan, did not replace it with any real Plan but instead fostered the total wanton and unplanned development of Grand Cayman, especially the Seven Mile Beach.

3. Mr. Truman was Education Minister when the National Team discontinued vocational training (woodwork, mechanics/tech drawing, home economics) in the high school, which had been a part of the high school curriculum up until that point. Their intent was to create a vocational college on the site of the old compound behind the Public Library. They started with a marine training institute which soon disintegrated and therefore no other vocational training ever materialized. Not saying that their concept wasn’t reasonable but they established the marine college (vocational college phase 1) using retired Caymanian seamen as the instructors. Again, sounds reasonable on paper; problem was, many of those seamen had worked their way up on ships (I believe some were licensed engineers) – they were not trained how to impart their knowledge to others in an academic setting. Just because I know a subject does not necesarily mean I can teach it. Essentially, the marine college concept failed because those retired seamen couldn’t teach. From that point on, no emphasis was placed on other vocational subjects.

4. OK, so here we are in the late ’70’s & early ’80’s with unparalleled, mushrooming development, our schools system not developing children with vocational skills, what do we do? Obviously, import labour.

5. that was the primary foundation of our immigration issue which itself has developed without any real management into the mess we have now.

6. National Team is also responsible for the ‘misplaced Nationialism and entitlement culture’ evident in many of our younger generation. I know, I was at their meetings (not as a supporter but as a concerned citizen) – the same meetings where they disrespectfully told voters that if they (politicians) dressed up broomsticks they (the electorate) would vote for them – and witnessed the rhetoric that ‘foreigners are taking away your jobs’ and ‘you are Caymanian, you deserve these jobs’. Perhaps their intent was noble but I can assure you their delivery was clearly devisive!! The parents would leave these meetings and regurgitate that rhetoric in their homes, hence the ‘entitled and under-equipped generation’ we now experience, with the associated baggage of anti-foreigner sentiments.

7. Political interference. No Government prior to 1976 had the hallmark of interfering with civil service and private sector alike. Everyone knows Big Jim could reach out and ‘touch’ whomever he wanted. He could either force someone to employ someone (qualified or not) or to dismiss someone (justified or not).

8. Ineptness in the public service. Because of #7 above a lot of unqualified and inept people ended up in public service jobs. Just look at our civil service today, need I say more?

9. Political cronyism, mismanagement of public funds and questionable ethics. How many people got jobs for which they were not qualified just because of #7 above??? Remember Big Jim’s brother-in-law being appointed as CAL’s Head of Security at CI$60,000 per year (late 1970’s/early 1980’s – about twice that in today’s dollars)? He would fly up to Miami on CAL 102 every morning, conduct his own business in Miami all day and fly back on CAL 107 each night. As to questionable ethics, which politician before or since has been called to testify as a defence witness in a major cocaine trial. Not to speak of the notorious Italian and other associates!!

So Mr. Truman and Mr. John, you guys were the EXCO when ALL of this was being put into motion. Not only don’t you have room to be critical, you should hang your heads in shame on what your mismanagement has wrought on these islands.

Of course, I will get criticism about my views on the National Team and Big Jim. I would wager though, that such criticism will come mostly from those who reaped the quick rewards of the unmanaged development boom and see Big Jim as a saviour or the ones who sat in the political meetings and swallowed all the swill and cheered when they were insulted and took it home and fed it to their children – the same disenfranchised and lost generation of today.

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Missing teens found safe

| 12/12/2009 | 35 Comments

Cayman Islands News(CNS): Update Sunday 4:08pm — Two missing 15-year-old girls, Prisca Smith (left) and Kareena Powell, have been found safe and well. The girls were reported missing yesterday, having not been seen since 12.30 am Saturday morning. However, police have now confirmed that earlier this afternoon, Sunday 13 December, RCIPS officers traced the girls to an address in the Frank Sound area of the island. Both girls are in the process of being reunited with their families. The public and the media are thanked for their assistance in relation to this matter. 

Police said yesterday that at about 7.30 pm on Friday night, 11 December, the girls went to a school friend’s birthday party in Eclipse Drive, George Town. When the girls failed to return home they were reported as missing.

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Duguay told to fight for job

| 12/12/2009 | 71 Comments

(CNS): The auditor general, Dan Duguay has confirmed that he has been asked to compete for his position when his contract is up for renewal in February 2010. Although he did not comment about his plans, Duguay said yesterday, when asked, that he had met with the Chief Secretary this week who told him there would be a competition for his post. Duguay confirmed that he was not asked to compete when his contract was renewed for the first time in 2007. He also said he had told the governor before he departed last month that he was happy to continue on in the role as AG.

Duguay has been in post for six years, since February 2004, when he replaced his predecessor who had served in the position for 11 years. Duguay said he had not decided what he would now do following the recent information from Acting Governor Donovan Ebanks.

According to the Public Service Management Law, there are provisions for senior civil servants to compete for their positions to maintain accountability. However, since the law’s inception there has been considerable debate about whether certain posts, such as the freedom of information commissioner, the complaints commissioner and the auditor general, should be subject to competition because of the potential political interference.

Although other public sector managers and senior staff are expected to implement government policy, the offices of the FoIC, the CC and the AG are different as they are expected to scrutinize government policy. As a result, the independence of the offices has to be maintained in order for the officers to fulfil that remit. As watchdogs of government, if those serving in these posts believe their jobs could be taken from them if they upset the political masters of the day, the fear is the offices’ independence would be compromised and undermine the country’s own internal check and balance system on government.

Duguay has faced criticisms from both sides of the political arena as well as the governor and has strove to maintain the independence of his office. Duguay has stated publically on a number of occasions that he has no other agenda except to ensure clarity and transparency over public funds. Duguay clashed with the premier recently when he announced that he intended to examine the process by which the port contract will be awarded. McKeeva Bush called him a cowboy and stated that he would sue the AG if he delayed the port development.

The governor also publically disagreed with Duguay recently over his scrutiny of the money spent on the discredited special police investigation, Operation Tempura. The previous administration clashed with Duguay on his reports concerning government’s failed deal with Matrix over scrap metal removal, the purchase of the police helicopter and his report on the failure of government department’s to submit their accounts as specified under the Public Management and Finance Law.

A proponent of openness and transparency in all government dealings, Duguay has often been criticised for speaking openly to the press about his reports, his findings and his concerns about the possible misuse of government funds.

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