Archive for October 12th, 2011

Latest laws unconstitutional

| 12/10/2011 | 38 Comments

(CNS): Government’s failure to give the latest two laws passed in the Legislative Assembly the required 21 days consultation period has made them unconstitutional, the North Side member said Wednesday. Ezzard Miller revealed that he has written to the governor pointing out that the recent amendments to the immigration and the national pensions laws did not follow the requirements of the Cayman Constitution 2009 and as a result, as also indicated by the constitution, the governor should not assent to the two bills. Miller said government had given the immigration law to members some 15 hours before it was to be debated, which was simply unacceptable.

The LA’s only independent member has raised the issue of government abusing the parliamentary process on a number of occasions and this time he is asking the governor to uphold the Constitution.

“The constitution states quite clearly that except in the case of emergency, every bill introduced by the government shall be published at least 21 days before the commencement of the meeting at which it is scheduled to be introduced,” Miller said, quoting from section 77 (2). He pointed to section 78 (2) (a), which shows that the governor should refuse to assent to any bill that is in any way repugnant to, or inconsistent with, the Constitution.

Miller said that both the amendment bills to the immigration and national pension laws were rushed through the House with no consultation period, denying not only the legislators but also the general public the necessary time to scrutinize and research the bills.

“This is another illustration of the constant erosion of parliament by the current administration when it is the only mechanism by which the people can keep the government in check,” he added.

The independent member stated that this was not just about upholding the rules for the sake of it, as the rules laid out in the constitution were there for a purpose.

“There is a reason why there is a 21 day publication period,” Miller added. “It is to give the general public as well as the members of the legislature time to study government’s proposed laws.”

He pointed out that it was unacceptable for members to be handed the details of important legislation impacting the wider community, such as the two bills presented last month, at 7pm in the evening before the morning on which government planned to debate the motion. Miller said he was putting his faith in the governor that he would consider the sections outlined in the constitution and not assent to the laws on the grounds that both amendments were unconstitutional.

The premier has complained on a number of occasions about being forced to wait the requisite 21 days, and although he has reluctantly done so on some legislation, others he has deemed as emergencies and therefore suspended the Standing Orders in order to place them before the House without allowing for any notice period or consultation.

Anyone with questions about the constitution can ask them in person tomorrow evening in West Bay when the constitutional commissioners will be holding a public meeting at John A Cumber Primary School Hall, starting at 7pm

For more information visit www.knowyourconstitution.ky

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DR powers the Caribbean’s biggest wind park

| 12/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(Dominican Today): Dominican Republic  President Leonel Fernandez headed the ribbon cutting Tuesday for the Caribbean’s biggest wind park, whose first stage will generate 33 megawatts. The complex Los Cocos and Quilvio Cabrera, located near the southwest towns of Juancho and Enriquillo, was built by the power companies EGE Haina and Punta Cana-Macao (CEPM) at a cost of US$100.0 million. According to the utilities, the facility -19 wind generators of 125 meters in height- will save the country 700,000 barrels of oil per year and prevent 1,700 tons of CO2 from being released to the atmosphere.

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Eye doctor’s resignation leaves clinic short-handed

| 12/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The unexpected and sudden resignation of the Health Services Authority’s ophthalmologist patients are now facing cancellations and appointment changes, the hospital has stated. Officials said arrangements are in place to maintain the services at the eye clinic withlimited hours until the clinic is able to recruit a new full time physician.  The HSA apologised to patients but gave no reasons for the unexpected departure of the eye doctor. Staff members at the Lion’s Eye Clinic are currently contacting patients to reschedule appointments.

“We are working diligently to recruit an Ophthalmologist and hope to have someone permanently in the post in the near future,” the HSA said.   “The HSA would again like to  thank  all our patients for their understanding as we work to resolve this unexpected gap in physician staffing at the Eye Clinic.”

For more information and to clarify appointment times please call the Eye Clinic at 244-2818 or our Patient Services Representative, Ms. Tina McLean at 244-2820.

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Premier describes opposition leader as ‘wild man’

| 12/10/2011 | 76 Comments

(CNS): The premierhas defended his backbench MLA following accusations that the opposition leader had assaulted him in the parliamentary tea room. McKeeva Bush said he witnessed the altercation and that Ellio Solomon did not start “any fight with anybody”. The premier denied that Solomon had cursed or talked about anybody’s family. Bush accused Alden McLaughlin of flying across the room during the incident and that other members of the Legislative Assembly had to hold him off. “He was like a wild man I tell you,” the premier said at a George Town meeting, adding that it was not a good example for the country’s legislature when the leader of the opposition behaves like that.

“Ellio Solomon didn’t start any fight with anybody, don’t let anybody tell you that. He didn’t, he didn’t talk about anybody family, he didn’t curse anybody, in fact he was not talking to Mr McLaughlin, he was talking to us when Mr McLaughlin rushed across the room.”

Despite the circumstances that he described of ministers having to pull off the opposition leader while assisting the backbencher, Bush said he was encouraging Solomon not to take any legal steps. He said the opposition leader should be shameful about what had happened but he felt the George Town representative should let it pass and forgive.

Defending Solomon during a UDP meeting at the Mary Miller hall on Tuesday night, the premier said that although McLaughlin had struck the fourth elected member for the capital twice, it was Solomon who was blamed for it.

He said that politicians set themselves up to be criticised and he had suffered it for years, describing it as a baptism of fire, but he asked the people to give Solomon a chance as he was new. The premier accused the opposition of crucifying Solomon, whom he described as “the boy” and said they tried to get him into trouble.

Since the incident, which came after a heated exchange in the Legislative Assembly chamber between East End PPM member Arden McLean and Solomon, McLaughlin has stated that he had assaulted no one.

“The premier's account of what transpired is about as truthful as his account of what transpired with the Cohen financing arrangement,” the opposition leader told CNS Wednesday.

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Finance sector prefers ‘bankers’ over tax activists

| 12/10/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Industry professionals have claimed that Cayman’s recent placing as the world’s top Specialised Financial Centre in The Banker’s 2011 Ranking of Financial Centres for the third year in a row shows Cayman’s true stance in the global financial arena. This top ranking falls against a different high ranking on the Tax Justice Network’s financial secrecy index where Cayman came in as the second most secret jurisdiction in the world. “The Tax Justice Network thinks we are a loser and the international banking community thinks we are a winner – I think we all know whose opinion matters the most,” Don Seymour, managing director with dms Management Ltd said.

In the industry magazine’s list, the Cayman Islands beat its second place competitor Guernsey by a clear 8 points, while Cyprus was in third place, Jersey fourth and the Bahamas fifth.

Cayman Finance Chairman Richard Coles congratulated Cayman’s financial services industry for the achievement.

“This is yet again excellent news and a testament to the hard work and efforts on the part of both the financial services industry for delivering excellence in service and to the regulatory authorities for maintaining high international standards,” Coles said.
The ranking of international financial centres is based on data from a range of sources, including financial markets indicators, economic potential and business environment factors. The ranking focuses on the level of international business and the value offered to international institutions seeking to

Cayman’s score was lower than that of 2010, possibly due to the more in-depth questionnaire which was used which impacted other jurisdictions as well, the Survey said.

Coles said this was a sign of the jurisdiction’s strength.

“The fact that The Banker improved its assessment with a more detailed questionnaire in 2011 and the Cayman Islands remain at top with a wide margin is proof that this jurisdiction can hold its own against international standards relating to service or regulation, and I am confident that we will continue to do so,” he stated.

The survey also stated that while New York and London had held on to their previous rankings as the top and second international financial centres overall respectively, smaller jurisdictions were quickly moving up in the rankings. International regulatory pressure was bearing down on the traditional financial centres, making way for smaller, more nimble centres to take up higher positioning, the Survey said.  

“As the world’s leading financial centres continue to suffer from the consequences of the financial crisis, and the economies of many emerging markets show impressive growth, it is only natural to wonder if the appeal of New York and London is fading,” one article in The Banker stated.

The Banker said that the regional disparity of the new regulations means that there may be some movement, as banks and other financial institutions look to carry out different operations in different regions, basing departments where regulations best suit that area of the business.

While smaller jurisdictions were likely to come under pressure to implement these rules once they were finalised, there would be an interim period of a few years where certain centres could benefit from regulatory arbitrage, the article said.
“Whether they will be able to capitalise on this temporary advantage remains to be seen,” it continued.

According to the survey, financial centres with the most prospects were heavily biased towards Asia, with Hong Kong in first place, followed by Singapore, São Paulo, China (Shanghai, Beijing) and India (Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai).

The survey also stated that changing regulations in the world’s leading financial centres may temporarily shift some international business towards smaller jurisdictions, but a permanent shift could only occur if these developing centres “offer fertile ground for innovation too.”

See full report here

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Concerns raised in UK about sending cops to Cayman

| 12/10/2011 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The bad publicity generated after three senior UK officers were pictured enjoying themselves on the beach in Cayman during a working visit last week has stirred up concerns in the UK about British officers being sent here to assist the RCIPs. Reports in the local press have revealed that regional politicians and activists groups are not happy that officers from the northwest of England are being sent to the Caribbean when there are so many cuts and shortages of police in their own communities. Police commissioner David Baines has also raised concerns that the story in the Daily Mail will deter police forces from sending help to Cayman in the future.

The extensive negative coverage in the UK press this weekend regarding the five day visit by Merseyside’s Chief Constable Jon Murphy Det Chief Supt Brian McNeill, an official with ACPO, and Det Chief Supt Tony Doherty, the head of Merseyside’s Matrix squad, where the three were photographed apparently enjoying considerable downtime during the short trip has stirred up concerns in other quarters.

In the Cayman police commissioner’s own native county of Lancashire where a large percentage of the 20 officers being sent to support the RCIPS are coming from, one local councillor there has question how, when police stations in rural areas are facing closure as a result of staff cuts, the county can afford to send officers to Cayman.

Coun Ken Hudson who represents Preston rural north said with the current situation, policing at home was by far more important than policing in the Cayman Islands. “People, especially in the rural areas, are very, very concerned about the cutbacks,” he told the Lancashire Evening Post this week. “We are down to one police officer and two PCSOs and if the police have time to go out to the Cayman Islands, whether it is funded or not, it seems a bit of a snub.”

The Cayman government is paying for the officers who have been seconded to the RCIPS but the Lancashire politician said cover will still need to be found for the police going out to the Caribbean.

Bob Lewis, of Lancashire-based taxpayers’ advocacy group ‘Is It Fair’, said: “I don’t see why we should have to send our officers out there. We are short of resources in this county. Well, we can’t be that short if we can afford to send officers over there, can we?”

Baines also noted in the wake of the Daily Mail coverage that thebad publicity could impact the Cayman Islands ability to secure help in the future from the UK. However, the police commissioner defended the visiting senior officers and accused the UK tabloid of twisting the circumstances about what should have been a positive story about the UK police helping an overseas territory and detracted from all the hard work that was done.

“If you come to the Cayman Islands famed for its sun, its sand and its sea, when he wasn’t at  appointments I’m not surprised he took advantage of those,” Baines said in about Jon Murphy, on Monday. He wondered if people really expected him to sit in his room while waiting for his next appointment.

“What should have been a very positive story for Britain in sending assistance and expertise to a UK overseas territory and doing it very well, has turned into a direct and deliberate attempt by the Daily Mail to undermine the efforts of those three officers,” he said as he raised concerns about the long term implications of the bad publicity in the future.

Read Lancaster Evening News story

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