Archive for June 26th, 2011

National Ball Hockey Team victorious in Slovakia

| 26/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CIBHA): The Cayman Islands National Ball Hockey Team have claimed victory, at the International Street & Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) World Championships held in Bratislava Slovakia 19 – 26 June, in the 2nd division of the B-POOL defeating Hong Kong 2:1 earlier today.  The win in the 2nd division affords Cayman to claim 5th place in the B-POOL, the highest ranking to date at the ISBHF World Championships.  Pete Holochuck #25 scored the first goal of the game with the winning goal scored in the final minute of the game by Rob Rintoul #48 to break the tie.  General Manager Mark Thompson and Coach Karl Galbraith are extremely pleased with the teams' performance.

 

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Mac seeks enquiry of PPM

| 26/06/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The premier will be asking the governor to open a commission of enquiry to investigate the dispute between contractor Tom Jones International (TJI) and the previous government which led to construction of two high schools being halted in November 2009. McKeeva Bush made the announcement after hours of rancorous debate in Friday’s Finance Committee sitting covering Ministry of Education appropriations for the upcoming financial year. He wants the proposed commission to look into contracts, procurement procedures and any other matters pertaining to the projects “so that the next Finance Committee in 2012 should not have to deal with this matter”.

He added, “This is a legal matter we have now”.

During the heated question-and-answer session concerning the proposed $19.5 million budget for secondary schools in 2011-12, leader of the opposition and former Minister of Education Alden McLaughlin was grilled over financial arrangements put in place to enable TJI to continue the projects.

Of particular concern was a letter of comfort the People’s Progressive Movement government submitted in early 2009 to Scotiabank to assist in setting up a $5 million loan facility for TJI, in part to accommodate change orders in design and construction of John Gray and Clifton Hunter high schools.

In announcing he would be approaching Governor Duncan Taylor, Bush said the PPM did not seek approval for this financial arrangement through the Legislative Assembly and that they bypassed the Central Tenders Committee to get it done quickly “in an attempt to circumvent the procedure of the Finance Committee”.

The premier added that it was a “concern that had to be addressed.”

In chastising McLaughlin, Minister of Education Rolston Anglin said that as long as it was an important project being considered, the PPM government was prepared to do “whatever it takes to move it forward”.

He added, “The previous administration clearly acted in a way outside the principles that underpin the Finance Committee and the Legislative Assembly”.

Insisting that procedures were “perfectly lawful”, McLaughlin said that the PPM government had sought ways to resolve issues “to ensure the construction of these important projects would go forward”.

McLaughlin said it was important that the public had access to the letter of comfort, which didn’t require the government to pay or guarantee any additional funds for the contractor. Towards that end, he said he would obtain the letter of comfort and put it in the public domain.

“I welcome such a commission of enquiry so we can put to an end the political posturing and rhetoric that have been going on for the last two years,” McLaughlin said.

Referring to the former Minister of Education, the former Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and Tom Jones holding arguments over the matter in the public arena, Bush said dealing with the issue was taking far too much time for him as the Minister of Finance as well as for the Ministry of Education.

Bush said the funds already spent “could have built four high schools and primary schools that would have benefited our children for many years”.

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Peaceful protest in East End

| 26/06/2011 | 27 Comments

(CNS): Some 500 people gathered at Lovers’ Wall in East End Saturday morning in a public display of protest against the proposed East End sea port. The event began with a rendition of the National Song, and then the protesters, most of whom were wearing a white top, followed Pastor Marquis McLaughlin's prayer with a recital of the "Walk Lightly Prayer". Afterwards they marched eastward, hand in hand, to span the entire wall. Meanwhile, an online petition to raise international as well as local support for the campaign against the sea port is gathering pace and has now collected 30,000 signatures. 

Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin, PPM representatives Arden McLean and Independent MLA for North Side, Ezzard Miller, all addressed the crowd about their opposition to the project. MLAs Kurt Tibbetts, Moses Kirkconnell, and Anthony Eden were also present, as well as former MLAs, Charles Clifford and Osbourne Bodden.

The development, which has been proposed by Joseph Imparato, would include at least five different types of marine based commercial activities and a selection of complementaryland based activities.

These would be constructed on privately owned land and would be funded by the developer, who has said he would recoup his investment from the sale of fill which would be extracted from the site during the development.  Part of the commercial site will be handed over to the Cayman Islands Port Authority to run as a cargo port. The other facilities it is understod will be managed through private sector joint ventures with the developer, Imparato has stated.

Howeve, it is not clear how much of the upland infrastructure would be undertaken by the developer and what would be the responsibility of government in order to make the port operable.

Imparato's proposal has met with a considerable amount of opposition from the people of East End and North Side and the wider community. Both the political representatives for those districts strongly oppose the project for a variety of reasons — environmental concerns as well as the impact on the lives of people living in the district — with what they say will little benefit in return to most local residents.

The Department of Environment, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and WI Marine, a local marine engineering firm, have also raised the concern about the environmental and social impact of the development. (See EE port faces more critics.)

This weekend's protest, aimed specifically at this propsed project, will be followed on Tuesday by a march through George Town to the Legislative Assembly as a demonstration of public concernover a number of developments proposed or supported by government, including the oil refinery, the closure of part of the West Bay Road, the fear that proposals to dredge the North Sound may reappear, as well as the proposed seaport at East End.

Protesters will be gathering at the George Town Cricket Pitch from 10am and will begin marching at noon. It is expected that they will arrive at the Legislative Assembly at 12:45pm.

See the online petition here.

See video footage of Saturday's event here.

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Rescued boater dies

| 26/06/2011 | 24 Comments

(CNS):  Police have confirmed that one of the four adults who were rescued after their 18-foot vessel overturned in the sea off South Sound Saturday afternoon has died. Yesterday the RCIPSreported that one of the people on board was critically injured and was transported to George Town hospital, but he apparently succumbed to his injuries. A police spokesperson said that more details would be released later. After the RCIPS received the report at around 3:53pm Saturday, 25 June, the police Air Operations Unit and the Joint Marine Unit were deployed to the area and all four from the vessel were rescued. (Photo courtesy Cayman27)

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