Archive for February 3rd, 2012

Woman visitor dies after West Bay dive-trip

| 03/02/2012 | 25 Comments

(CNS): A 47-year-old American tourist has died while diving off North West Point, police reported Friday morning. In the second dive related death of the year police said that around 9.30 am this morning the woman was diving at the Little Tunnel Dive site. As she ascended the female stay-over visitor appeared to get into difficulty and, on surfacing, lost consciousness. Staff from the dive company she was diving with, Red Sail Sports, administered C.P.R aboard the dive boat as they brought her to shore to meet with the emergency services. The woman was conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where she was found to be dead on arrival.

Police said enquiries into the diving related death are on-going and the identity of the woman has not yet been revealed.

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Premier plans US trip to discuss FATCA with IRS

| 03/02/2012 | 0 Comments

mac pointing.jpg(CNS Business): Premier McKeeva Bush has announced that he will be taking another trip to Washington next month to talk to American officials about the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which is generating uncertainty and concern here in Cayman. The premier said that as a result of previous visits the IRS had “heard the voice of the islands” and government was fully prepared to engage the US in another round of discussions. Although it is not clear how much impact Cayman’s lobbying has had, the premier says points raised in previous visits “seem to have been taken into careful consideration.” However, all that Bush appears to be hoping for during his next visit is a level playing field. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr) Read more on CNS Business

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Equality at work now law

| 03/02/2012 | 52 Comments

equalpay-final.jpg(CNS): Despite some lingering opposition in the business community, Caymanian workers finally enjoy protection under the law from gender discrimination. The Gender Equality Law, which came into effect on Tuesday, promotes equal treatment in the workplace but does not impose quotas, as has been suggested. It will also pave theway for Cayman Islands to join the 187 countries around the world that have ratified the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). “Whether you are male or female, employee or employer, learning your rights at work under the Gender Equality Law will benefit our islands while creating an equal future for our sons and daughters,” said Mike Adam, the minister who steered the passage of the law.

“I also encourage local employers to take the online pledge and demonstrate to our community, and the world at large, their commitment to making the Cayman Islands a world-class jurisdiction in which to live and work,” he added.

The law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of marital status and pregnancy as well as gender issues and crucially stipulates equal pay for equal work. The legislation also categorises sexual harassment as discrimination.

The term ‘gender’ is often incorrectly assumed to mean women but the law extends to men, too. When the law was passed last year in the Legislative Assembly, the minister pointed out that while it was undeniable that discrimination against women is a feature of the Cayman workplace, the discrimination men faced was less apparent but no less real.

However the most obvious discrimination is the pay gap between men and women.

“When we dig deeper and actually look at the statistics that are available to us, it becomes glaringly obvious that men and women in the Cayman Islands are not afforded equal opportunities, nor are they on a level playing-field when it comes to income and other areas,” Adam said.

While labour force surveys have over the last decade or so shown that men and women are almost equal participants in the work place, this equal participation does not yet translate to income. Women make up the majority of the two lowest salary brackets and 83.3% of people making less than $800 per month are women, as well as 63.5% of those making less than $1,600. Being confined to the poorest of the poor is extremely challenging when women are often the sole bread winner for their families with no or inadequate financial assistance from fathers.

Meanwhile, men comprise some 65.5% of those making $7,200 or more a month. “Not only are women under-represented at the highest salary brackets in our country but they are also, more often than not, paid less than men for doing the exact same work,” Adam said when he introduced the bill.

“The provisions in this bill will no doubt be an opportunity for women and men to seek redress of discriminatory practices,” he added.

Enforcing the new law and workers' rights will require the commitment of employers to follow the law but more important will be the willingness of those facing discrimination to make sure they report cases of inequality and unfair practices. The Gender Equality Tribunal will hear discrimination complaints and those found to be practicising discrimination can be forced to pay up to $20,000. A person who fails to comply with a direction of the tribunal commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction and a fine of $5,000.

Although the law is far reaching and ensures protection for all, there are certain exemptions in sensitive areas such as in hospitals, prisons or other establishments where a person requires special care or supervision to be done by someone of a particular sex.

Adam said there would need to be a shift in the way employers think and do business. He said the rewards would be worth any challenges encountered on this learning curve and there was “nothing complicated or wrong” in supporting gender equality. Although some in the business community have objected to the bill because of the costs they say it will impose on them, the minister has stated that there is virtually nothing that businesses have to do to stay on the right side of the new law other than ensure they do not discriminate.

Stating that there was also a strong business case for promoting gender equality and diversity in the workplace, he said international research shows that companies which have a higher percentage of women in the workforce and as senior decision makers are more productive and more profitable.

The minister said government was committed to taking equality beyond fair wages to ensure women in Cayman were offered equal opportunities in every aspect of life.

Download a copy of the law or take the pledge www.genderequality.gov.ky

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Crime impact increasing

| 03/02/2012 | 57 Comments

_DEW1072-cns(2).jpg(CNS): Almost half of local businesses believe violent crime has increased with 39 percent reporting being the victim of at least one crime over the last year and 14% saying they had witnessed a violent crime in their business area. According to a new survey by the Chamber of Commerce, the business community is both falling victim to and concerned about more crime in the Cayman Islands and believes it could be reduced with a higher police presence. Of those who responded to the crime questionnaire, 68% also said they wanted to see stiffer penalties for offenders to comabt the growing threat. However, the latest statistics from the police that have not yet been officially released suggest crime is falling with a 7% decrease in 2011 on the previous twelve months.

Speaking on Radio Cayman on Thursday, Police Commissioner David Baines said there were 54 less serious crimes last year than those committed in 2010. He also revealed that there were 65 less burglaries during the last 12 months. Overall, he said, there were 190 less offences in 2011 but he conceded that armed robbery was undermining community safety and his officers were focusing on this type of crime.

In the Chamber report, designed primarily to examine the impact of economic crime such as fraud and money laundering, the business community also reported their experiences of property crime. 

It revealed that businesses were particularly concerned about theft and breaking and entering, which was cited by 57% but almost 40% said they were concerned about armed robbery.

Well over half of the respondents said they had spent money on extra crime prevention methods over the last two years, including employing guards and installing CCTV and security systems, adding to the cost of doing business.

30% said they had lost business directly as a result of crime and 41% said they wanted to see more investment by government in crime prevention and law enforcement, while more than one third said they had never seen a police officer on duty in their business area. Only 6% of respondents though the authorities were doing enough to tackle crime and some 30% reported not feeling very safe when walking around their business area after dark.

While more than half of those that took part said they would join a neighbourhood watch scheme, only ten percent were willing to organise such a programme.

Speaking about the importance of the community assisting police in the crime fight, Commissioner Baines said, “What people see and what they do about it is critical to us …If they see something wrong and do nothing about it but sit there and moan about going to hell in a handcart, they need to look at themselves of the mirror.”

Baines said he believed most people wanted to do the right thing and not turn a blind eye but it was up to the RCIPS to make it easy for them.

“We have got to be an organisation that is open enough that allows them to do the right thing” and not “feel compromised” when they ring in with information, he said. He wanted to know when people were not getting a welcoming and professional service from the police when reporting crime.

Promoting the search for community heroes, he said everyone had a stake in ensuring we were living and working safely in the wider community. He said the initiative was about demonstrating what single people can do to fight crime.

Related article:

Fraud less likely reported to police, survey finds

Read: Economic Crime Survey Report 2011 (scroll down to download full report)

 

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