Archive for January 1st, 2012

Pedro bluff claims 2nd victim

| 01/01/2012 | 60 Comments

IMG-20120101-00086.jpg(CNS): The RCIPS confirmed this evening that a second young man has been killed jumping off the cliffs into the rough ocean waters in the Pedro area. A police spokesperson said that the youngster jumped off the bluff in almost the exact spot where Justin Henry was killed last week. The air support and marine units were deployed shortly after the alarm was raised that the 21-year-old man was in difficulty late Sunday afternoon at around 4:30pm. However, despite their best efforts to get to the young man in time, police pulled his body out of the water at around 5:37pm.

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Mac asserts progress in 2012

| 01/01/2012 | 46 Comments

_DEW3817.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier said Sunday that the steps his government had taken to strengthen the local economy were “unprecedented in the region”. In his New Year message to the people of Cayman McKeeva Bush said that good progress was made in 2011 on government finances and attracting investment. In a radio and television broadcast Bush said a comparison before 2009 and after demonstrated the good progress. However, the opposition leader said government decisions had made the suffering worse and the disregard for transparency and rules in government was creating a crisis of confidence.

Highlighting the major projects his government hopes to turn into a reality, McKeeva Bush said the UDP administration’s goal for 2012 was "to build a stronger economy, stronger infrastructure, and stronger financials” by carrying out its plans.

He once again focused on his hopes of seeing Cayman Enterprise City, Narayana Cayman University Medical City, the ForCayman Investment Alliance and the George Town Cruise Port come to fruition over the next twelve months, .

Bush said great strides had been made regarding the special economic zone since he announced the MOU at last year’s Business Outlook Conference and the zone was now operational, with the first zone companies set to be licensed in January 2012. He noted that eleven Caymanians have been employed at Cayman Enterprise City.

Bush pointed to the land being purchased by those involved with the Dr Devi Shetty medical project, which was expected to begin construction by the middle of 2012. The ForCayman Investment Alliance project was advancing and Cayman did not have the luxury of waiting for the economy to turn around.

“We must act now,” Bush told the people in his message. “I trust that the people of these islands recognise how fortunate we are to have the good relationships with private-sector groups such as CEC, Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre and Dart that allow these partnerships to move past the discussion stage, past the 'would be nice to have' stage.

“All three of these investments, representing both foreign and local confidence in the Cayman Islands, are well on their way to becoming a beneficial reality for the country,” he added.

The premier described the talks between government and the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands with China Harbour Engineering Company to develop cruise tourism facilities at the George Town Port as advanced. Bush also stated that the Chinese developers were the only ones to show interest in the broad-based partnership for the seaport facilities that includes supplementary facilities at Spotts as well as the Turtle Farm. He said CHEC was capable of financing the developments on the most favourable terms.

When it came to public finances, he said that the deficit his government inherited combined with the effects of the economic downturn was going to be difficult to overcome but the stateof public finances has been steadily improving since May 2009. “I am confident that the 'before and after May 2009' comparison … with the independent view of Moody’s on the Cayman Islands, serve to prove that public finances in the Cayman Islands have been improved by the present government, and there is more improvement that is possible under the present government,” the premier said.

Despite of the opposition’s claim that all of the things that he had done were going to cause the ratings to drop, Cayman had remained steadfast,he said and claimed, “This is good management."

Speaking about the next twelve months, the premier said the “overarching goal is to create more employment opportunities; to work with the private sector and build a country in which no Caymanian can say they cannot find employment.”

Meanwhile, the opposition leader had a different view of the government’s achievements. The impact of the global economic downturn had been a real “shock to the system" for many, said Alden McLaughlin, who noted that the significant increase in the cost of living due to government decisions had made things far worse. “Businesses have closed in record numbers, many rental apartments stand empty and many people have lost or are losing their homes because they simply can’t pay the mortgages. Caymanians find themselves unemployed in numbers that in the recent past would have seemed impossible," he said.

McLaughlin said that the local economy was still struggling as many projects announced by the government to stimulate the economy had not started.

“The continued failure to secure a definitive contractor and viable plan to build a cruise ship berthing in George Town has contributed to making the 2011 cruise ship season among the worst we’ve ever known,” the opposition leader said. 

He raised his concerns again about the significant increase in serious crime this year, which he said had served to further damage Cayman’s previous reputation as a safe country.

McLaughlin did, however, welcome the turnaround in the number of tourists arriving by air and the surplus in the 2010/2011 budget year which ended in June as well as the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility document that government has signed with the UK, requiring greater accountability in government financial matters, as well as Moody’s reaffirmation of Cayman’s Aa3 credit rating

But he also warned of the pressing need for more openness, transparency and honesty in government and better adherence to rules and regulations as he said concerns about these issues had created a crisis of confidence that was undermining Cayman’s ability to recover from the recession.

In 2012, he said, Caymanians would need to draw their resourcefulness and resilience to succeed in this very challenging environment. “Collectively, we must also encourage government to improve the way it does business and to press on with initiatives to get the Cayman economy moving again," McLaughlin added.

See both speeches in full below.

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No civilian royal gongs for Cayman in New Year list

| 01/01/2012 | 3 Comments

(CNS): There were no MBEs or OBEs for Caymanians in the 2012 New Year’s list of royal honourees but the queen did recognize the RCIPS’ Detective Inspector Adeniyi Collins Oremule. The officer was awarded the Colonial Police Medal (for Meritorious Service) (CPM) in recognition of being an exceptional investigator with an outstanding commitment to helping and supporting victims and witnesses of crime. He is cited as having regularly demonstrated outstanding attributes as a public servant who is dedicated to protecting his community above and beyond the norm. Duncan Taylor, Cayman’s governor however did pick three Caymanians to be awarded the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour (Cert. Hon).

Philip Michael Jackson is awarded for services to training and mentoring Caymanians in the vocational field of auto mechanics, while Ella Kaye Lockwood was awarded for services to the banking industry and the community and Peter Charles Widmer for services to building and growth in the construction industry.

See overseas honours list below
 

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New National Hero and people’s awards revealed

| 01/01/2012 | 34 Comments

Warren Conolly, OBE JP_0.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier has added the late William Warren Conolly to the country’s list of official National Heroes. McKeeva Bush has also released the list of people that have received the new people’s awards created by him in 2010. Announcing the list in a statement on New Year’s Day Bush  said it was time to give due credit and thanks “to stalwarts among” who he said had made significant contributions to the community.  He said that Conolly had contributed hugely tothe development of Cayman and this appointment is well deserved. He named twenty people who will now receive national honours during the National Heores day later this month.

“Let us once again celebrate our human wealth, our precious individuals who have inspired, influenced and enriched the lives of persons around them. They deserve to be recognised and now is the time to do just that,” he said as he revealed the honourees.
 

2012’s award recipients are: Medal of Honor – Commander Awards: Dr. Joseph Benjamin William Jackman, Rudolph McLaughlin and Kent Mitchell Rankin.  Officer Awards: Cap’n Vernal Ebanks, Alex Sylvia Pennington, Warren Wadray Watler and Dolcy Ilone Powery. Member Awards: Raymond Irvin Scott, Florence Yvonne Wood, Elizabeth “Betty” Rosena Wood and Helen Merren.  Medal of Merit Awards – Gold: Charles “Greggie” Gregory, Charles Lambert Seymour, David Jonathon Ebanks, Edward Lancelot Solomon and Ralph Francisco Williams, Silver:  Allen Kennedy Ebanks. Long Service Award: James Dale Ramoon, Errington Albert Webster and Anthony Donovan Williams.

As a developing country the premier said Cayman must recognize and honour those who have contributed to its development.

Conolly was a key player in Cayman’s political landscape in Cayman for four decades and shaped some of the country’s key legislation. He was instrumental in creating the Department of Tourism, as well as the crucial Mosquito Control and Natural Resources Department. Having founded the law firm Ritch & Conolly, he remained a partner until retirement in 1996. He was awarded the OBE in 1975 for his significant contribution to the development of the Cayman Islands. Connolly passed away aged 87 in 2008.

 

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