Archive for November 12th, 2011

Minister calls Mac to London

| 12/11/2011 | 142 Comments

(CNS): The premier has been called to London by the FCO minister with responsibilities for overseas territories to talk about “a financial reform agreement”, according to a release from the press secretary. McKeeva Bush is going to the UK this weekend to meet with the UK government’s Henry Bellingham for what were described as talks on urgent matters. According to the premier’s press office, the minister did not want to discuss these “matters” at the Overseas Territories Consultative Council, which is scheduled to take place in the UK capital later this month but called Bush to London to meet next week instead.

The release did not state what other urgent matters would be discussed in the talks other than financial reform or why Bellingham preferred not to include these matters on the agenda for the bilateral talks, leading him to ask for the premier to make a special trip to London.

The Legislative Assembly is scheduled to sit on Wednesday, 16 November, and the release from the press office gave no indication how long Bush will be in London or if he will return in time for the new parliamentary meeting.

The OTs council is expected to convene later this month but the exact date has not yet been revealed. One of the issues on the agenda will be the White Paper on the Territories, which the UK government wishes to publish in 2012, that will set out its future approach to the Overseas Territories.

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Visas no longer needed for kids and elderly Jamaicans

| 12/11/2011 | 27 Comments

visa stamp.jpg(CNS): The Cabinet has now approved the amendment to the country’s immigration regulations to allow children and elderly Jamaicans to travel to the Cayman Islands without a visa. Jamaican nationals who are under 15 years of age or older than 70 are now exempt from needing to obtain the official travel pass before they come to Cayman. Officials said Friday that notice of the change had been given to the airlines, the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration’s Visa Office in Kingston and to the International Air Transport Association. The decision to exempt these groups of people came after the governor refused to allow the premier to lift the visa requirement for all Jamaicans that already had a UK or US.

McKeeva Bush had revealed his plans to remove the requirement for Jamaican nationals to have a Cayman Islands visa if they already have one for the United States when he was visiting the country in July last year. He told the Jamaican Gleaner that the move would not be well received by the PPM.

"Only God knows what they will do. They will jump on any political bandwagon, but we have to do what is right," Bush had said at the time. The move was halted however by the governor as the visa requirement was not a PPM policy decision but one made by the official arm of government

During a public meeting in West Bay in September Bush revealed that it was Duncan Taylor who had refused the government’s request to change that rule because of security reasons the UK would not allow it.

In a statement released from his office the following day Taylor confirmed that, although he had agreed to the premier’s proposal of removing the visa requirement for children under 15 and people over 70, he did not agree with an across the board waiver for all Jamaican nationals coming to Cayman with US, UK or Canadian visas. This, he said, was because the Cayman immigration department does not have the capability to detect forged visas.

The premier has used the governor’s refusal to illustrate that the elected government had no power over the governor on issues of national security at a meeting focusing on the surge in violent crime in the district that month after three young men had been shot and killed in West Bay over five days. 

Taylor stated that he had taken advice from the UK on the issue and while most Jamaicans were law abiding citizens, the visa restriction had ensured that the few that were not did not get access to the Cayman Islands, which, if the restriction was lifted, might happen.

“I know that the vast majority of Jamaicans are law-abiding citizens. This includes residents who make a positive contribution to our society and economy in the Cayman Islands and short-term visitors, including business visitors, whose visits are welcome and trouble free.  There is, unfortunately, a small minority who have the potential to cause problems,” the governor said.

He pointed to the “lively market in forged and counterfeit documentation” in Jamaica which, he said, included UK, US and Canadian visas.

“The Cayman Islands Immigration Department does not have the capability to determine whether such a visa is genuine or not and the respective countries have indicated that they are unable to provide the Cayman Islands with the access to the resources on which they rely to make these determinations.  The authenticity of a Jamaican national’s UK, US or Canadian visa could therefore not be guaranteed and this fact could be exploited,” Taylor said in defence of the decision. 

He also stated that the introduction of the requirement in 2005 led to a direct and significant reduction in the involvement of Jamaicans in crime locally.  The governor added that lifting the visa could potentially allow unscrupulous Jamaicans to gain entry to the islands using forged or counterfeit visas.

For further information, contact the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration Call Centre at 949-8344.

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Manderson heads to Jersey on fact-finding mission

| 12/11/2011 | 22 Comments

_DEW9175.jpg(CNS): The chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal Affairs will be visiting the UK Channel Islands for two days next week to discuss areas including budgeting, performance management, human rights legislation and policing with the government of Jersey. According to the State of Jersey’s official information service, Franz Manderson, will receive an “introductory briefing on Jersey‘s government, its constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom and its international identity,” as well as briefings on a range of topics, such as the implementation of human rights legislation in the Island, its approach to procurement and budgeting, and the drive to reduce spending through a comprehensive spending review. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Manderson, who takes up the post as Deputy Governor at the beginning of next year, will also meet staff from the Probation Department and La Moye prison, where he will receive a presentation on Jersey’s approach to the rehabilitation of prisoners, the information unit stated.

The territory officials have also arranged for Manderson, who was previously Cayman’s chief immigration officer, to meet representatives from Jersey’s Customs and Immigration Department and the States of Jersey Police, as well Sir John McColl, the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey; the Bailiff of Jersey, Michael Birt; and Attorney General Timothy Le Cocq.

Assistant Chief Minister, UK and International Relations, Senator Freddie Cohen, said, “As deputy governor of the Cayman Islands, Mr Manderson will share responsibility with the governor for areas including security, immigration, customs, the prison and the police. I am pleased that Mr Manderson has decided to visit Jersey to meet with representatives from across the States to find out more about the island’s operation as a small jurisdiction.”

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Fishing vessel rescued after runing out of fuel

| 12/11/2011 | 12 Comments

(CNS): The crew of a missing fishing boat were all found safe and well by emergency services on Friday afternoon when the police helicopter spotted the vessel some 60 miles south west of Grand Cayman. The Joint Marine Unit boat, Cayman Guardian, was sent to the location to rescue the occupants and the boat. The King Bal One was was reported missing to the joint marine unit at about 10.35 on Friday morning after it had apparently run out of fuel on Thursday afternoon when returning to Grand Cayman from Table Top Bank. The vessel also appeared to have lost battery power, the police said. Following the report of the last known position of the boat some 34 miles south west of Grand Cayman, the RCIPS Air Operations Unit began a search.

The fishing boat was spotted by the helicopter crew at around 1.30 in the afternoon some twenty-four hours after the boathad begun drifting at sea, and sent the Cayman Guardian to rescue the men and the boat.

The King Bal One was expected to be towed back into harbour early Saturday morning.

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