Archive for May 19th, 2010

Government aims to improve road safety

| 19/05/2010 | 48 Comments

(CNS): Government officials are to begin looking at reducing speed limits and introducing pedestrian crossings in an effort to make the West Bay Road safer. According to a government press release the Minister for Works Juliana O’Connor-Connolly has asked the Traffic Advisory Panel (TAP) to review and recommend measures that will make the road safer. Panellist and NRA Director Brian Tomlinson said the committee will consider both long- and short-term measures that may slow traffic but will improve the safety of pedestrians and drivers.

One of the proposals under consideration will be to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph, between Eastern Avenue and 100 yards north of Raleigh Quay/Tiki Beach o the WestBay road, a proposal that has been raised by the wider public for sometime.
Tomlinson said the panelwill also look at building a roundabout at the intersection of Raleigh Quay and West Bay Road, near the Old Holiday Inn and the NewTikiBeach area in order to encourage motorists to use Esterley Tibbetts Highway.
The roads boss indicated that pedestrian crossings would also be established in high traffic areas, such as the Strand Shopping Plaza, as well as overhead flashing yellow lights, which can be activated by pedestrians to allow them to safely cross the road.
Vegetation around the road sides will also be trimmed to ensure a clear line of sight, allowing drivers to see pedestrians on the sidewalk as well as improvements to lighting.
Tomlinson noted that some of the improvements may slow traffic, but he said they will increase pedestrian safety, especially along the West Bay Road.
“All the agencies involved in TAP are committed to the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic on our roads; we will continue to work towards improvements,” Tomlinson said.
TAP is a longstanding panel comprising representatives from the Ministry of District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs; the National Roads Authority (NRA); and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). Members are charged with introducing traffic improvements in the CaymanIslands.

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Dr Philip Pedley

| 19/05/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Dr. Philip Pedley, a longtime civil servant and friend to many, passed away last night (Tuesday, 18 May) in the US, where he was receiving treatment for a medical condition. Pedley worked with the National Archives as well as being a teacher and an an active member of First Baptist Church. GIS said that the Deputy Governor, Donovan Ebanks, announced Dr. Pedley’s passing on Wednesday, 19 May. "On behalf of the whole Civil Service, and especially the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs as well as the Cayman Islands National Archive, we extend our deepest condolences to Dr. Pedley's wife, Arthurlyn, and to his two sons, James and Jonathan," said Ebanks.

Dr. Pedley had a long and distinguished civil service career. He played a pivotal role in the many changes the government made over the past four decades.  “Dr. Pedley could not be described as a colleague; he was more of a kindred spirit, and I miss him terribly,” said Strategic Adviser Peter Gough. Archive Director Kimlon Seymour added, “The staff and I will always remember Dr. Pedley, for his dedication to the vision of giving Cayman's history back to its people, and for preserving its heritage for future generations. His contributions will live on, and we too miss him terribly.”  
Ebanks, said that the policy advice provided by Dr. Pedley was always sound based on years of experience, extensive research and most importantly, careful reflection on its effect in the context of theCayman Islands. “No matter how brief the contact, Dr. Pedley touched the lives of everyone who met him.  He will never be forgotten, nor will we forget his immense contribution to this country in his various roles as a father, husband, church brother, teacher, archivist and policy adviser,” the Deputy governor stated.


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Lions press for more trees

| 19/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Lions Club of Grand Cayman was sending a message to the community about the need to plan more trees last week as a run up to Arbour Day, which officially was observed on Monday, 17 May. President Debbie Ebanks joined Savannah primary school children to plant a mahogany tree. The Environment Minister, Mark Scotland also joined in the gardening session. “Our goal is to ensure that tree-planting exercises are re-established in our schools,” Ebanks said.

“We used to do it regularly when I was in primary school, but it doesn’t happen as often anymore. We’re thankful for the support we’ve gained from the ministries of Education, Environment and District Administration, and hope that this year’s event will help kick-start a replanting effort.”
With no environmental or conservation law in the Cayman Islands no natural features are protected by legislation. As a result trees can be felled to make way for development without any compulsion for them to be replanted or replaced.
Adding his endorsement to the Lions initiative, Scotland who has responsibility for the environment said, “It’s very important that kids learn to care for our environment from an early age. With all the development that’s taking place, vegetation and trees are routinely cleared to make room for homes and commercial buildings. We must make sure to put back some of the trees that help bring us life.”
Five trees, donated by the Department of Agriculture (DoA), were planted: two at Bodden Town Primary School, and one each at Savannah, East End and North Side primaries. Trees, donated both by the DoA and Lions Club, were also planted at Government House on West Bay Road; and at the Government Administration Building, Cayman Brac High School and the Teacher Education Centre, on Cayman Brac.
Participating students were given a brief lesson on the history and many uses of the mahogany tree in Cayman. They also were taught about the importance of trees, and how to nurture freshly planted vegetation.
Arbour Day was first celebrated in the Cayman Islands on Monday, 15 May 1967, after then-Administrator John A. Cumber declared the third Monday in May as Arbour Day. The day was founded in 1872 by J.Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska, US.

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Overseas Territories now moved to Tory minister

| 19/05/2010 | 23 Comments

(CNS): After only two days the Overseas Territories have been moved from the responsibility of Liberal Democrat Jeremy Browne to that of Conservative Henry Bellingham who was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State on 14 May 2010. A Foreign Office spokesperson told CNS on Wednesday that portfolios are constantly under review and some adjustments had been made to the early division of responsibilities between the new FCO ministers. It will now be up to Bellingham to decide if the Cayman Islands’ Government’s three year economic plan will work and allow further borrowing to plug this year’s budget deficit.

Bellingham first entered Parliament in 1983 and is Member of Parliament for North West Norfolk during his political career he has been Parliamentary Private Secretary to Malcolm Rifkind as Secretary of State for Transport and for Defence and as ForeignSecretary, before losing his seat in the 1997 election. Re-elected to parliament in 2001 he became shadow Minister for Trade and Industry, then Economic Affairs, followed by Opposition Whip and Shadow Minister for Constitutional Affairs/Justice.
Under his new portfolio he has a number of diverse responsibilities including Africa, United Nations, Global economic issues, Climate change, Conflict resolution, Protocol, Ministerial oversight for FCO Services, FCO relations with British Business and finally as of Wednesday 19 May, Overseas Territories.
Bellingham lists his interests as small businesses, agriculture, defence, Northern Ireland and tourism. He is also Chairman of the Conservative Councilon Eastern Europe and lists his countries of interest as the Far East and Eastern Europe.


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Chancellor says London will be hit for Cayman funds

| 19/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(SKY NEWS): With 80% of Europe’s hedge funds operating out of London, it is the UK that stands to lose the most, Britain’s new Chancellor, George Osborne has said in regard to the European clamp down on Hedge Funds. He explained that the UK would be badly hit because although a fund manager may be sitting inLondon, the fund’s pot of money may be in the Cayman Islands, categorizing it as a "foreign fund" that would have to comply with the new rules. But the plans were already well progressed before the Brussels meeting, giving Osborne little maneuverability. He said: "I was left a difficult negotiating hand by the previous government. I was outnumbered on the hedge fund directive."

The German chancellor warned his new counterpart: "I think Britain will understand, this is how it is in Europe. We are a union, and there are decisions that go against individual countries, but that can happen to any one country."

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Teachers to get special holiday

| 19/05/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): All teachers in the public education system will receive an extra day off – with pay – government has said. The special holiday, which has been dubbed Teacher Appreciation Day will take place on 15 June Education Minister, Rolston Anglin announced during a reception to honour Cayman Brac teachers last week. According to a GIS release the local teachers attending the event appeared stunned at the announcement before applauding the decision. Government education officials will also be holding a thank you for teachers on Grand Cayman next week who are included in the teacher’s holiday.  

“We thought long and hard about what we could do to really say thanks to our educators,” Anglin said. “We came up with many wonderful ideas, but we finally decided on the day off after considering feedback we had received during our recent school visits. If we are to value education, we must start by valuing our educators.”
A GIS press release said that after hearing the announcement, the teachers seemed at first stunned by the sentiment. But they applauded heartily as the Minister assured them that the holiday would be granted prior to the end of the school year.
GIS reported that government officials attending the event included the Deputy Premier and Second Elected MLA for the Sister Islands, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the First Elected MLA for the Sister Islands, Moses Kirkconnell; the Education Ministry’s Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues; and Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler.
The reception, held at The Alexander Hotel, was part of the Ministry’s month-long celebration of Cayman Islands’ educators. A similar reception has been scheduled for Thursday, 27 May, to honour Grand Cayman’s educators.
For more information on the celebration and scheduled events, visit

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Clegg risks rift with Tories on tax and human rights

| 19/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(Times Online): Nick Clegg is promising to make the tax system fairer rather than lower the tax burden as he seeks to imbue the coalition with Liberal Democrat values. The Deputy Prime Minister said he expected government to ease taxes on middle and lower-income families and to press ahead with a rise in capital gains tax. His comments are likely to expose fault-lines with his Tory partners, for whom lowering taxes is an article of faith. Clegg also risked a rift with the Conservatives over the future of the Human Rights Act, which David Cameron pledged to scrap if elected. “Any government would tamper with it at its peril,” Clegg said.



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PPM leader defendsFOI

| 19/05/2010 | 43 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman Freedom of Information(CNS): The introduction of the Freedom of information Law is one of the most important checks and balances on public service in a democracy, the leader of the opposition told CNS. As the man responsible for ensuring the legislation was eventually passed in the Cayman Islands after years of supporting the principle, Kurt Tibbetts said the opposition would resist any move by the current government to reverse the law. Tibbetts noted that the law was designed to enable the people to take part in the democratic process and ensure both the official and elected arms of government were accountable and transparent.

With over one hundred countries having enacted the legislation, the opposition leader said this demonstrated the wisdom of such a law. “It is known throughout the world as giving the public access to information which acts as a deterrent to the public service taking careless action. It is also one of the lynch pins in the democratic process.”
Tibbetts pointed out that if any arm or agency of government was acting correctly it should have no fear over the handling of any FOI applications. He said the legislation was already designed to eliminate frivolous requests and the law was by no means open ended.
“This legislation was a long time coming and the country should be proud that the Cayman Islands embraced such legislation,” he said, adding that it may sometime be a pain but, in the same way that no one liked to go to the doctor, it was necessary to ensure one’s health.    
Making a commitment to defend the legislation if any moves were made in the Legislative Assembly to reverse it, Tibbetts said that he was certain that the premier’s advisers would think long and hard before doing such a thing.
“The legislation was introduced here primarily as a one of the checks and balances on public service,” the PPM leader explained. “While there are other checks in place it is the over arching check on public service.”
The law was passed in the Legislative Assembly in 2007 and came into effect in January 2009. According to recent statistics from the information commissioner, around 1000 requests for information have now been made.
On Thursday, 13 May, Premier McKeeva Bush publicly berated the owner of Cayman News Service, Nicky Watson, for making an FOI request regarding his international travels since taking office. He went on to criticise the cost of FOI, the time it took to answer requests  and the anonymous nature of the system, stating that Mickey Mouse could make a request and the government by law had to answer Mickey Mouse.
Prior to the premier’s outburst, the Information commissioner had noted that the concept of FOI was not being embraced throughout the public sector and that some departments were misinforming people and not following the law when it came to handling FOI requests. “People are being told that the records they seek are not covered by FOI, or they are simply being informed that the information does not exist,” Jennifer Dilbert noted recently and encouraged the public to contact her office if they were not satisfied with the way their request was dealt with.

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