Archive for August 8th, 2010

Cayman teens to compete in 1st youth Olympics

| 08/08/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): A team of Cayman’s young aquatic athletes will be heading to Singapore on Tuesday for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which takes place Saturday 14 August until 26 August. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games will see 5,000 athletes and officials from the 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) running, throwing , jumping and riding into the history books. Watched by an estimated 1,200 media representatives, more than 370,000 spectators and assisted by 20,000 local and international volunteers,  the athletes — aged between 14 and 18 years — will compete in 26 sports and take part in Culture and Education Programme. The Cayman Islands Olympic team will participate in sailing and swimming.

The team will be led by a young Chef de Mission Heather Roffey, a previous Cayman National Athlete and Olympian. Coach Dominic Ross will manage two athletes in swimming – Lara Butler (women’s 100m backstroke and women’s 100 m butterfly) and Seije Groome (men’s 200m breaststroke and men’s 200m Individual Medley). Coach Michael Weber will manage one athlete in Sailing – Elizabeth Wauchope (Girls Byte). NOC President Donald Mclean will attend the Games to support the Cayman Team.
The Cayman Olympic Committee said aside from its athletes, the pins are also expected  to be very popular and bound to be a focus of collectors.
“There are two pins that have been designed by a local young artist, Kaitlyn Elphinstone, who was also a Cayman National Athlete. One pin depicts a school of fish, and the other is set in the pattern of a turtle shell with baby turtles adorning the shell,” the committee said.
The main focus of these Games is not so much “winning” but the cultural and educational aspects of the Games which all athletes will be expected to participate in. Many activities are planned and more information is available on the Games website at
Athlete results will earn points for their continental region, and relays will be set to allow athletes from different countries to participate for their continent. The overall winner of the Games will be a continent and not a country.

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Port audit stirs up denials

| 08/08/2010 | 15 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news(CNS): Updated –  A government ministry has denied accusations made by the Internal Audit Unit in a report it conducted around ten months ago about shop leases at the government owned Royal Watler cruise terminal. The report suggested that 13 out of 14 tenants were operating without leases and that over $200,000 was owed to government in outstanding rent. The audit unit said that Lands & Survey needed to issue the missing lease agreements and the Port needed to chase the money. The ministry in question claims, however, that the audit “contains some serious inaccuracies” and leases had been issued by Lands & Survey. James Parsons, the financial director of the Port Authority, told CNS Mondaymorning that all outstanding rents have now been collected.

The Internal Audit report on the Royal Watler leases was published in October 2009 but, as is the case with most of the unit’s reports, it was not circulated for public consumption. However, following an FOI request by a journalist on The Caymanian Compass the report was released into the public domain. It states that most of the tenants in the cruise terminal in downtown George Town were operating without a lease during 2008-2009 and as a result had paid no rent for their prime spots catering to the lucrative cruise market.
The chief officer in the Ministry for District Administration and Works, which has responsibility for Lands & Survey, issued a release on Friday saying it was not true that tenants did not have leases.
Kearney Gomez said all but one of the rental agreements “were duly executed” for the 14 units between December 2006 and January 2008 and no one was allowed into their shop without paying their first month’s rent. “The final unit remained unoccupied due to planning issues until October 2009. Contrary to statements contained in the report, no tenant was permitted into occupation prior to signing a lease and paying a first rent cheque,” Gomez stated.
He said, however, that the signed leases were not registered for almost three years as that could not happen until ownership of the parcel was vested to the Port Authority, and the fact that it took that long was largely outside the control of the department.
“Most importantly, this had no effect on day to day management of the tenants nor did it in any way affect the legality and contractual nature of the lease agreements which had been signed,” Gomez said in the statement. “Once tenants had been signed up for each unit, the role of the Lands & Survey Department was complete. Thereafter, the Port Authority undertook to directly manage all Royal Watler units itself, taking full responsibility for all rent collection, rent delinquency, and its own decision to award rent reductions across the board.”
According to the internal audit, five of the tenants at the terminal owed rent amounting to $210,364.76, which ranged from 4 to 15 months of rent arrears. “One of these tenants has not paid rent from the rent commencement date of their signed lease. To date no specific allowance for bad debts has been established against these outstanding rents,” the government auditors stated. “Furthermore, interest on the arrears was not being accrued by the Authority in accordance with the lease agreement.”
In the report the Lands & Survey department did not offer any management response since it was not given the opportunity to do so by the Audit Unit, but the Port Authority,which now has control of the leases and responsibility for collecting the rent for the public purse, said the it was  working closely with Lands and Survey and its attorneys to collect any and all outstanding lease payments.
“Although this process could take some time since lawyers are involved, the Port has embarked on actions to collect outstanding lease payments … the Board is of the opinion that a resolution to all the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal leases should be forthcoming by November 30, 2009.”

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Our new dawn

| 08/08/2010 | 88 Comments

The Cayman economic explosion began in the late seventies when, simultaneously, banking, tourism and development (construction) began to grow at such a rapid pace our inability to supply the high demand for labour for these industries became a threat. New immigration
legislation and the “Protection Board” were introduced and the economic pull factor facilitated the rest creating a fourth industry, Labour Trade.

Very quickly, the land scarcity was identified and George Town and Seven Mile Beach became the commercial zones for banking and tourism. However, labour also needed housing and the property in West Bay was soon sold to facilitate this. Caymanian land ownership began to shrink
as the indigenous population exchanged the land for cash, slowing only as a result of the uncertainty as it related to the work permit holders ability to obtain citizenship. By the late eighties, few prominent Caymanians remained as major land owners, those remaining were in Savannah, Bodden Town, North Side and East End.

At the turn of the century, the multicultural social issues were at a boiling point and nearing eruption, not only locally but also from the UK as they proceeded to issue a “White Paper” outlining a range of discussion topics, including the advancement of our constitution,
citizenship for work permit holders, a conservation bill and sustainable development. No longer would we be allowed to sit back and ignore these pressing issues. If we failed to act, the UK would act for us by order in Cabinet.

And so, one year after the 2000 election there was political instability for the second time in our history and political parties were introduced as a result. Additionally, during this period, persons
who had been working and living in the country for extended periods were granted status by Cabinet, causing the multicultural social issues to erupt.

This brings me to the point of this paper.

It is now ten years following the mass status grants and large portions of the Savannah and Bodden Town properties have also been sold. Major housing projects developed to provide home ownership to not only the “new” Caymanian, but also to the decedents of Caymanians
who had sold their land three decades previously. The great “new” social change came from within as citizens relocated in masses to these new homes, bringing cultures from around the island and around the world. No longer were Caymanians relocated to a parcel of land up
or down the street, they were relocating to other districts, primarily, the district of Bodden Town, which has seen and continues to experience unsustainable growth. All of the residents of this district saw their lives turned upside down and viewed the “other” people as strangers.

Sadly, the entire social infrastructure was ill prepared and unable to manage the growth and culture shock, so rather than creating the communities we were all accustom to, we created new communities of strangers. To this day, very few have attempted to address these social issues. Politicians, through their “new” parties, are utilizing their national reach to win support from the new citizen in their constituency. Churches found it difficult to integrate the new citizen and the new citizen longed for the comfort of the church they grew up in. Teachers in schools saw the culture of their schools change overnight as the many varying cultures demanded prominence, lacking the tools to cope; they did what most human beings do under those conditions — some ran away and some shut themselves down.

Of course, when there is instability, the blame game is central to causing further social disruption, and so the “strangers” proceeded to blame each other for the ills they faced. And no one benefited.

What was missing from the new communities? Remember when we were growing up everyone in your neighborhood was our friend? Your parents’ friend? Family? When your parents trusted your neighbor to watch, love and discipline you? When parents got together regularly to “gossip”?
That is what the relocation of the masses caused to be removed from their social order.

It is now time for this country to recognize ALL its citizens.

If we fail or refuse to embrace our neighbor as family, regardless of his/her racial background, we will never advance economically, socially and academically. It is time for us to put the “foreigner”
debate behind us, embrace status holders as Caymanians and respect the contribution of work permit holders. We must not simply become more dependent on each other, we must commit to supporting each other. It is impossible to legislate this and foolish to expect political leadership to direct it.

I believe that the greatest social injustice is the resentment and hatred passed onto children from parents towards others. While the relocation of many occurred very quickly, the reestablishment of the “Caymanian Community” will take time and is best vested in the hands of the children who require guidance from their parents. Now, can the parents learn to never spew words of hatred towards their neighbor in the presence of their children?

It is a new dawn and we must write the new chapter of our history with pride.

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Hurricane and crime protection in one

| 08/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A local security firm is offering a new way to protect against both crime and hurricanes with specialist screens. Security Centre boss, Stuart Bostock said that Crimsafe’s stainless steel security screens can not be cut or kicked in, which provides protection from would be intruders. The screens are also hurricane ratedand have passed Category 4 standardized testing. With the rising crime the screens which were Florida Building Code approved provide an alternative to traditional hurricane shutters.“We’re always looking for new and different security solutions on the market so we can offer our customers the best available products and services," Bostock, President and CEO of The Security Centre said.

“We are really excited about offering this product as this mesh not only provides advanced security industry protection from intruders but has several other benefits such as hurricane protection, it reduces radiant heat and allows airflow promoting a better quality of life, reduces utilities expenses and offer ultimate security and hurricane protection for business and families,” he added. 
Fosters was the first business to install the screens and now has the stainless steel window and door security screens at The Strand and East End locations. “The leading factor for us in the decision to go with Crimsafe was cost. Installing and removing hurricane shutters with each warning, every season, is a big expense for our company, and having a product that’s a one time installation by The Security Centre and not our staff, was appealing,” says Ulises Gomez, Operations Manager at Fosters. “The security screen is an added benefit that made sense for us given the increase in crime, so complementing our current security strategy made sense.”
Gomez said he was also impressed by the look of the screens as he said inside the store; it looks like a regular fly screen, and doesn’t impact the view at all. Since installing Crimsafe at Fosters, the blinds have been removed allowing a more sunlight to enter, without the heat. 
Bostock also said that in addition to protecting against hurricanes and crime, Crimsafe is also energy efficient. “By cutting up to 52% of the suns heat, its energy efficient and can reduce your utility bills. Being able to keep your windows open and let in the Cayman breeze without the concern of your safety is reminiscent of what life used to be like in Cayman,” he added. 

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Info boss backs FOI refusal

| 08/08/2010 | 23 Comments

(CNS): In her latest appeal ruling the information commissioner has ruled that CINICO is not required to comply with a freedom of information request as it would cost too much. The Cayman Islands National Insurance Company had refused a request for a list of approved in-network providers on the basis that it was vexatious and would unreasonably divert its resources. In her ruling Jennifer Dilbert said that the request was not vexatious but, given the size and cost of producing the list, it would be unreasonable. However, the information boss pointed out concerns she had about procedures during this case, saying it was vital that all parties respect her statutory powers to inspect documentation and investigate the matters before her.

Dilbert pointed out that there were problems on both sides in this appeal. In the first instance the
applicant did not provide a formal submission for the appeal and, as a result, the applicant’s correspondence was used instead. On the part of CINICO, Dilbert said an important policy document was missing from its submissions, which had to be requested by her office.  
“In the interest of fairness, clarity and expediency, it is of the utmost importance that the established hearing procedures are adhered to by all parties, in terms of timelines, formats and methods of submissions. It is vital that all parties understand the process, apply it correctly, and respect my statutory powers to inspect documentation and investigate a matter before me,” she said.
On examining the case, Dilbert said that the accusations by CINICO that the request was vexatious because the applicant did not attempt to work with the Information Manager were unfounded. CINICO had accused the applicant of not cooperating, of invoking their right to the information, not acknowledging the information manager’s recommendations and demonstrating a conflict approach. CINICO also said the applicant had a history of confrontation when requesting documents from the department.
However, the applicant said they had simply requested information that CINICO had already agreed in its signed and approved planning document, would be provided on its website.
Dilbert pointed out that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office advises that to judge a request vexatious, a relatively strong argument should be made and that CINICO had not provided any evidence that the applicant had a history of confrontation in requesting documents.
“It must be remembered that the Law requires that it is the request, and not the requestor, that is vexatious,” Dilbert wrote. “The Applicant has a reasonable expectation that the information was promised on the CINICO website and should be readily available. I do not find that the request can be deemed to be vexatious.”
However, because the law states that a public authority is not required to comply with a request where compliance with would unreasonably divert its time and resources, the information commissioner upheld CINCIO’s refusal.
According to the government insurance firm it would cost around $30,000 to produce the list, which would be a document of some 100,000 pages. Dilbert found that it was clear the number, type and volume of records falling within the request are very large, and the work time involved in fully processing the request would be great.
“I am somewhat sceptical of the cost estimate of $30,000 that was quoted to produce the list of in-network providers. However, I am of the opinion that if CINICO was even required to pay half the quoted amount, this would only serve to create a document that would soon be outdated and hold little or no value to either one applicant or the general public. The production of this document would be an unreasonable diversion of resources of CINICO,” she said in the ruling.
Despite her ruling, Dilbert told CINICO to look carefullyat its published Plan Documents and website to ensure that no potentially misleading information is given, and that it is clear to plan participants what documents can be supplied.
This was the second ruling by the commissioner in which she has upheld a refusal to give information. Dilbert upheld the decision of the RCIPS to withhold documents relating to Operation Tempura on the grounds of legal professional privilege.

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Net neutrality talks stall in US

| 08/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): US regulators have halted closed-door meetings intended to find a way to make sure all web data is treated equally. The Federal Communications Commission began the meetings after a court limited its net regulation powers. The FCC faced criticism over the meetings by groups that supported the principle known as net neutrality. The FCC decision follows reports that Google and Verizon hatched a separate deal to allow faster speeds for web sites that pay for the privilege. "Any outcome, any deal that doesn’t preserve the freedom and openness of the internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable," said FCC chair Julius Genachowski.

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