Archive for September 27th, 2010

‘Fred’ reveals FOI problems

| 27/09/2010 | 21 Comments

(CNS): As Right to Know Week got underway on Monday, the Information Commissioner released a report revealing "widespread problems" in compliance with the Freedom of information Law. Her third own-initiative investigation, coined internally ‘Operation Fred’, found public authorities are having trouble adhering to the timelines and responding to requests as prescribed by the law. The operation involved the ICO team making anonymous requests of ten randomly selected public bodies and monitoring their efforts. The office said the requests were basic as the focus of the investigation was originally to monitor and track the time public authorities took to respond to requests but uncovered further issues.

“The report identified that the ICO applicants faced significant delays in receiving replies from the authorities and sometimes received conflicting responses,” the office revealed.  “Often, the ICO applicants needed to aggressively pursue the authority for a response or volunteer to narrow the scope of the request in an effort to help the IM identify records. This latter task is one that should have been instigated by the authority and not the applicant. At the end of the investigation only two of the ten requests received satisfactory responses.”
Information Managers at all of government’s 88 public authorities were notified before the investigation began that the ICO was undertaking the initiative, though the departments did not know if they had been selected. Despite this, however, most of the ten departments that were selected struggled to meet the demands of the law.
Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert said that despite the discoveries made during this investigation, she is hopeful that the results will now compel and motivate authorities to ensure that they have procedures in place to support the FOI process. 
“Freedom of Information is being embraced in Cayman,” she said, adding this was illustrated by the numerous news stories that reference FOI. “What I am concerned about is that Information Managers, who have been trained to apply the Law, are not always being given the resources and time to respond to requests.”  
She explained that while the investigation was originally intended to be a simple ‘check-up’ on timelines of requests, it quickly turned into a more in depth analysis of the compliance of authorities with the law.
“We will be following up with the authorities involved with this investigation to ensure that they understand where issues arose and how they can serve the public better in future requests,” Dilbert added. The commissioner explained that while the report names the ten authorities monitored during this investigation in general, it does not specifically identify which body failed in which area.
“We intended this investigation to give us an overall picture of timeline compliance by authorities. We included a random and select number of entities and saw no relevance in targeting them individually when we were examining the whole picture,” Dilbert said.
The commissionersaid she intends to conduct future investigations along these same lines and will name those authorities who are not in compliance with the law. “We are working hard to promote FOI and the rights afforded by the Law. It is imperative that the process works as it was intended and deadlines set in the Law must be followed,” Dilbert warned.
The commissioner also encouraged anyone who has made a request and has not received the information they sought, or who was generally unsatisfied with the experience, to contact her office on 747-5402 or

Read ICO Report

Continue Reading

Public urged to ask for information

| 27/09/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): As Right to Know Week 2010 gets underway, the Information Commissioner’s Office is urging people to use the Freedom of Information Law and ask what they want to know. A range of activities has been organised for this week to raise awareness about the law, and the theme for this year’s event is "Just Ask…what you need to know". Everyone and anyone can use the FOI law to access anything, from their own immigration file to information on government spending, and despite complaints from the premier, they still can do so anonymously. “FOI is for everyone,” said Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert. “Financial records, policy statements, decision and statistical reports represent some of the request trends. However, anyone anywhere can make a request.”

She encouraged all residents to take advantage of the promotional week to learn how they can benefit from FOI provisions. Planned events include an Open House tea at the ICO’s Elizabethan Square offices on Tuesday afternoon, a Government House reception for information managers, an ICO fact-sharing visit to Cayman Brac, and a meet-and-greet at George Town hospital on Friday morning. Also scheduled are presentations to students and service clubs, a GIS Spotlight TV segment and media debates on a range of FOI-related issues.
ICO staff and government information managers will engage in other outreach efforts such as distributing giveaways and answering questions at shopping centre venues.
For more information on RTK activities, or for more information on making an FOI request, contact the ICO on 747-5405 or

Continue Reading

EU hedge fund talks drag on, no sign of agreement

| 27/09/2010 | 0 Comments

( Hopes that negotiations would finally resolve the stand-off over proposed rules for regulating hedge funds and private equity funds in the European Union have faded, with France, in particular showing little sign of making concessions. The meeting on Mondaybetween diplomats, parliamentarians and European Commission officials had been scheduled as the last negotiating session. But late last week it was agreed to hold a further round of talks on Monday, October 4. The main obstacle remains how to treat funds and fund managers based outside the EU. The commission and some member states would like these to have pan-EU marketing rights provided they met strict criteria.

But some countries – notably France – want to keep control of their domestic markets and are reluctant to give access to offshore funds.
UK diplomats are also thought to have concerns about the fairly extensive regulatory role planned for the European Securities and Markets Authority, one of the new pan-EU supervisory bodies due to start operating in January.

Continue Reading

Cruise arrivals continue on upward trend

| 27/09/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): According to the latest statistics from the department of tourism cruise passenger arrivals were up for the second month running in August. Although there has been much debate about the decline in cruise business and the need for berthing facilities, the lack of a pier has not prevented an increase in 2010 on 2009 figures. Cruise arrivals were up over 16% for August and so far this year overall cruise arrivals remain up by 4%. Air arrivals are also up this year by 5.4% though passenger numbers were down for the month of August by just 134 people.  

While passengers arriving by air from the United States increased the statistics reveal that European and Canadian visitors fell last month. Despite the slight fall in air arrivals estimated hotel occupancy rates were higher for August 2010 than in 2009, the DoT reports. There was a 68.7% occupancy in hotels this year and a 43.6% rate in apartments compared to only 52.3% and 33.9% respectively last year.

Continue Reading

Rotary offers cash prize with its annual gong

| 27/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Not everyone can gat an OBE or a knighthood and many deserving individuals may well miss out on the country’s own national honours too, but with Rotary International Vocational Service month coming up service club members could still make the grade for that gong. Members will be recognized in October for the contribution they have made to Cayman Islands community and the public are now being invited to nominate people for the award. The gongs will be granted to two individuals at the end of October of this year and as well as the service honour winners also get a  CI$500 cash prize.

The award, which Rotary Central has been presenting to members of the local community for just over a decade, is one of the key ways in which Rotary recognizes those who have made a contribution to their local community. Nominations need to be in by 12 October and the awards will be announced at Rotary Central’s regular Tuesday meeting on 26 October.
“We are very pleased to start our nomination process for this year and eager to review the various submissions from the community,” said Wil Pineau, President of Rotary Central.
Larry Tibbetts, Director of Vocational Services of Rotary Central explained that the Vocational Month award serves to recognize Caymanians who have been doing outstanding work in their respective professions, many times going above and beyond the call of duty, but who remained unrecognized.
Anyone requiring further information on how to nominate someone from their local community should contact Mr. Larry Tibbetts at  or on 916 8506

Continue Reading

Dart working on public park upgrades

| 27/09/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Although the Dart Group has established a number of public parks in its own name over the years, the developer has more recently been working on upgrading a number of existing public parks in the George Town area. According to a release from the firm, Dart Cayman Islands is currently working on Windsor Park, Neil Godfrey Park, and Central Park. Working with George Town MLA Ellio Solomon and local community groups Dart’s senior nursery manager  Andy Adapa and his team have already put in new bleachers in Central Park, trees in Neil Godfrey as well as a new wall and cabana.

“There’s still a great deal of work to be done,” explained Adapa. “We are aiming to start work in Windsor Park by early October and are still considering other improvements that can be made to both Neil Godfrey and Central Park.
Solomon who approached Dart for help said the parks are an important part of the country and if they weren’t taken care of they could become a breeding ground for crime, for drugs for all kind of activities that don’t help young people or the communities. “But by enhancing them, providing new fencing, fixing the basketball courts and simply providing some much needed shade and newfoliage, we will be ensuring the people of these communities – the children and their parents – can really enjoy plus take pride in their own neighbourhoods,” Solomon said.
“It’s important that we recognize all of the efforts that the Dart group has contributed as well as Rotary and the valuable community groups in each of the George Town districts. I couldn’t be more pleased and am looking forward to enjoying the parks in the future with my own family.”

Continue Reading

Lions begin annual breast cancer awareness campaign

| 27/09/2010 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens (LCTG) said its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign will open in Heroes Square in George Town on Ceremony Monday 4 October, before the club begins its district awareness meetings and special clinics. The club said this year’s theme is "Together we make a Difference" but the goal remains the same to increase the chances of survival through early detection. This year marks the 13th year that the Lions join the rest of the world in the fight against Breast Cancer. Organizers say that vouchers for free mammograms will be handed out at the district meetings which begin this year in Bodden Town at the primary school on Thursday, 7 October.

October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month worldwide and Lions Club of Tropical Gardens began organizing events in the Cayman Islands when one of its members, Merilda Miller had a dear friend and colleague who was diagnosed with the disease. The Club set out to make support and early detection information more available to women living in the Cayman Islands, hence the first Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 1997. Since that time the Club has supported the month long event through community outreach, the issuing of free mammogram vouchers, fundraisers and educational materials.

In partnership with the Cayman Islands Health Services Association, Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, Medlab, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, Evelyn Rockett, the medical community, government departments, and businesses Lions spend the month promoting the concept of early detection.

The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens realizes that this programme helps both men and women cope with breast cancer, beginning with the possibility of its diagnosis and continuing through treatment and recovery, if necessary. The recommendation is that mammograms are done once every two years for those over 40; and once every year for those who are 50 and over.
For full details of the various events, clinics, meetings and the Brenda Tibbetts Lund 5K Memorial Run/Walk visit

Continue Reading

Team Parker’s are Karting Champions

| 27/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(Cayman Karting): The AI Group Summer Corporate Karting League turned out to be the biggest motorsport competition held in the Cayman Islands when it came to participation. Parker’s ended top after a season where 227 different drivers raced in 20 teams representing various local companies. The competition brought together those with already well established racing reputations – be it locally from Time Attack, drag racing or the old days on the marl pit- to those with just a need for speed and a whole host of people having their first taste of motorsport. It then put them all in the same type of vehicle and let them race together. (Photo – Kelcey Huggins the the fastest female karter on island)

The competition demanded a combination of raw speed for qualifying, racing ability for the 50 lap races and a keen strategic mind to make the right pitstop calls. The result was some thrilling racing, plenty of drama, lots of emotion and the emergence of some new racing reputations.
The season consisted of 10 rounds of racing and at the end of driving 100 miles around the track Team Parker’s emerged as the clear winners. The team brought together the talents of Kelcey Huggins, Bobby Hulse, Josh Rivers and Michael Weatherford to race under the banner of the local auto parts store. Each team was required to field one female for each race and Kelcey Huggins fulfilled that role admirably for Team Parker’s, setting a new female lap record of 31.940 seconds in the process. What is perhaps most remarkable about Kelcey’s success is that she is only 16 years oldand had not driven before getting involved in the corporate karting leagues.
Michael Weatherford was the raw speed in the team and helped secure a number of their points for pole position and fastest lap. Meanwhile Josh Rivers often played the key role of first driver ensuring that he kept the team out in front and more often than not building up a good lead ahead of the first round of pit stops. Bobby Hulse, the current Cayman Motorsports Association President, was Team Captain and the racing know-how he brought to the team was evident throughout the season.
Team Parker’s success is all the more impressive for the quiet and efficient way the team has conducted itself whilst racing. They ended the Spring League in a solid fifth place and whilst they began the summer season slowly retrospect shows that they were that most dangerous type of team: one that that was on a continually improving curve. They started with a third place, followed it up with two second places then found a winning formula that saw them take the chequered flag for the next seven successive races.  Bobby Hulse commented, "As Captain I could not be more proud of the Team Parker’s racers.
We started off the season slow with the intention of running as clean as we could and focusing on bettering ourselves as karters. Every race we focused on improving things a little more and those baby steps added up in the end. What can I say…we rocked out. Special thanks to Parker’s and the AI Group for giving us the chance to race." The team will now be sitting out the next league as Kelcey has exams to attend to and, with the Cayman Motorsports Association taking on responsibility for marshaling the Autumn Premier League, Bobby will be supervising the racing rather than participating.
Automotive Art pushed Team Parker’s all the way to end, but were unable to match their consistency and were left to claim a strong second place in the league. The Automotive Art team included Wayne and Tom Kirkconnell as well as a second member of the Huggins family in Kimberley Huggins. The raw speed for their team was provided by 17 year old George Manderson who is still the only person to have driven the Reverse Track in under 31 seconds.
Finishing in third was the team from Harneys who were also the highest placed law firm in the league. Harneys were league leaders during the middle of the season, but were unable to sustain the goodform which had seen them win five in a row.
Team Captain and Head of the Harneys Cayman Islands office Kieron O’Rourke provided some consistently strong drives and the team benefitted from Jenny Deacon’s impressive performances. The rest of the legal field was made up of two teams from Maples and Calder and one team from Walkers. Maples’ first team, Maples and Karter, also enjoyed a strong start and held the league lead for two weeks during the early part of the season. They ultimately finished in 5th with Walkers in 9th and the Maples second team, M&C Hammer, in 15th.
The league also featured four teams from the accounting world with Deloitte taking the bragging rights in that particular field. They finished 8th with KPMG 1 behind them in 10th and KPMG 2 in 16th. Further down in 18th were Ernst and Young who pursued a wide driver rotation policy and fielded 22 different team members during the season.
Automotive Art’s second team – ‘Automotive Art Too’ – brought together the driving talents of veteran racer Andy Bodden and 17 year old karting prodigy Daron Mclean. Daron is the current lap record holder for the Regular Track and the cousin of George Manderson who holds the lap record for the reverse track. Whilst Automotive Art Too finished the season in sxith place the speed of Andy and Daron meant they claimed more pole positions and more fastest lap points than any of the other teams.
One of the attractions of the league was that it brought all types of companies together. In addition to the representatives from the automotive industry and the legal and accountancy professions there were teams from companies like Cayman Airways, LIME, Z99, dms, Island Paving and Bateman Financial. Special mention goes to the RCIPS who had the most enthusiastic (read noisy) supporters and the Island Heritage Hurricane Fighters who, despite being Cayman Karting’s liability insurers, were involved in the most collisions and received the most black flags!
The league certainly provided a rigorous test of driving skill. For the middle half of the season the track was reversed so a whole new layout had to be learnt and a new racing line worked out. The most remarkable thing to come out of this process was the result of switching the league races back to the regular track for the final two rounds of the season. Suddenly almost everybody was driving faster than they had been on the regular track at the start of the season. The process of learning a new course had clearly helped the drivers with understanding how best to tackle the corners and when reapplied to the regular track personal bests tumbled.
 The organisers were fortunate with the weather and only one week of the league had to be postponed as a result of the nascent Tropical Storm Karl. Several races did, however, start in wet conditions which proved an even greater examination of driving ability. The first part of the race would involve driving very carefully on the wet track whilst the latter part of the race would allow advantage to be taken of the drying racing line. A new style of driving was required in these conditions and Deloitte in particular proved themselves very adept at managing the wet conditions.
A full breakdown of results showing how the season was won and lost has been uploaded to the Wikipedia page on Cayman Karting. Next up at Cayman Karting is an Autumn Premier League which removes many of the driver limitations during the race (no minimum laps per driver, no female requirement and a mimium of only one driver required), but does impose a sub-35 second requirement on drivers wishing to participate. New for this league will be a round of races on a deliberately wet track as well as the first chance to drive the ‘High Speed Outer Loop’ format of the track in a time trial. 
The races will continue to be held under floodlights on Monday and Tuesday evenings although in this league they will be longer at 70 laps duration. The sign-up deadline is Monday 27 September. A Winter Corporate League will begin in December. 
Cayman Karting Summer League Final Podium:
Troy Brady, George Manderson, Kimberley Huggins, Tom Kirkconnell, Bobby Hulse, Kelcey Huggins, Josh Rivers, Michael Weatherford, Kieron O’Rourke, Jenny Deacon, Steven Staatz, Nik Fox
Kelcey Huggins is the fastest female karter on island: Kelcey Huggins
Team Parker’s Win Summer League: Bobby Hulse, Kelcey Huggins, Michael Weatherford, Josh Rivers
Automotive Art Second in League: George Manderson, Troy Brady, Kimberley Huggins, Tom Kirkconnell
Tom Kirkconnell celebrates second place for Automotive Art: Tom Kirkconnell
The KPMG 2 team enjoyed karting: Mark Thumpston, Claire Griffin, Nico Mellett, Preshenden Odayar, Sarah Lowe

Continue Reading

Pirates Week cardboard capers & walking on water

| 27/09/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): With organisers working full steam ahead on the 33rd year of the Pirates Week Festival, which despite earlier concerns has retained its name, anyone wanting to take part in this year’s cardboard regatta needs to register as soon as possible organisers said this week. The now world famous hilarious aquatic cardboard antics will take place on 20 November and there is an added attraction before the race. As if the comedy cardboard capers were not enough the boat race organizers haveincluded a pre-race event for those that feel a boat is surplus to requirement “Walking on Water”. Unlike the boat race design materials are not limited the only limitation is competitor’s imaginations, organizers said.

Anyone who feels they can walk on water needs to do some research about this latest water sport and organizers recommend having a search on You-Tube with the words “walking on water shoes” to get some ideas.
The Race will start before the Cardboard boat race, on the same beach in the main harbour, at 12:30pm on 20 November. Contestants will race around Rock Island and back to the beach. Entry fee is CI$25 and there will be prizes for the top three spots.
Meanwhile, the regatta will take place in George Town Harbour shortly before the Trial of the Pirates, The Fireworks Display and the Street Party to end Pirates Week in Grand Cayman. The event is open to anyone over the age of 17 years as well as companies and private teams.
Proceeds from the regattas and the walking on water race will go towards the building of a special needs playground, equipment and much more. Build Cayman Limited is about half way through with this project and expects to raise the remainder of the funds to complete the project by the end of the year, thanks largely to Rotary Central and Cayman Islands Breweries the two major sponsors.
All interested parties should contact Sophia Snape or Russell Linford at 949 0471 or for more information on the races log on to


Continue Reading

Operation Tempura boss in trouble over air miles

| 27/09/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Britain’s most senior anti-terror police officer and the man who had ultimate control over Operation Tempura, the police investigation into alleged corruption in the Cayman Islands, has admitted using air miles amassed during his taxpayer-funded official trips to buy cut-price flights for his family. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, John Yates, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has now been forced to promise to pay back any outstanding tax due on the private trips, which are regarded by HM Revenue & Customs as a benefit in kind. The £180,000-a-year police chief has led a string of high-profile investigations, including the ‘cash for honours’ probe into allegations that life peerages were awarded by theLabour Party in return for secret loans.

Yates is also in charge of the recently reopened investigation into the extent of phone hacking carried out by journalists working for the News of the World. The admission by Yates is deeply embarrassing for both him and Scotland Yard, the Mail reports. The 51-year-old top cop reportedly used travel points accumulated from his luxury trips to reduce the cost of up to ten flights taken by family members. As a senior Metropolitan Police officer he is entitled to travel business class when he goes abroad.

Go to Daily Mail article

Continue Reading