Archive for April 18th, 2012

‘Tag & Track’ offers direct pay in to turtle research

| 18/04/2012 | 0 Comments

green-sea-turtle (247x300).jpg(CNS): The Cayman turtle farm has begun a new research and conservation initiative the Cayman Turtle with the “Tag and Track” sponsorship packages to follow released turtles. Fitted with satellite transmitters farm-reared turtles can be released into the ocean and their journey’s monitored.  The farm released the first satellite-tagged second-generation, captive bred juvenile Green Sea Turtle in February.  Jerry made history when he was released at a private event in East End by his sponsor's and farm crew. As Jerry travels, the turtle farm team has been able to use the data as a sign he has successfully survived the introduction to the wild.

Scientists, from Cayman’s farm and at other organizations around the world, can view and assess the turtle's migration path.

“Jerry’s transmission on Sunday afternoon April 15 showed that the turtle was approximately sixteen miles south of the cays near Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud), Cuba, and heading north," Time Adam the Tirtle Farm director revealed. “After staying close to shore around Grand Cayman apparently feeding comfortably and spending most of the time in the North Sound for the first few weeks, it seems Jerry was getting ready for a long journey.”

He said it was an exciting time for the farm as scientists believe sea turtles play many important ecological roles in the environment

“Green Sea turtles are thought to help maintain the health of the sea grass beds from which they feed, and healthy sea grass beds are important to the overall marine environment such as coral shoals, sand bars, reefs and beaches," Adam said. "There is still much to be discovered and we are continuing to play a part in solving these mysteries. 

"Just as important for us in Cayman especially is the cultural significance of the Green Sea Turtle – in helping them we help keep alive our very own heritage.  Of course, we cannot do this alone and all tracked turtle releases need the support of sponsors from the community and we look forward to that continued support with Jerry being just the first of several,” he added.

 Satellite tracking and monitoring, or 'satellite telemetry', is a process where a tracking device called a Position Tracking Terminal (or PTT) is attached to a sea turtle's carapace (shell). The PTT sends signals to a satellite when the turtle comes to the surface during pre-set transmission time "windows".  These signals are messages to scientists via the satellite regarding the location of the turtle, and other data such as maximum dive duration and percentage of time spent underwater.  The positions are then plotted onto a map. The devices are designed to cause as little disruption to the swimming sea turtle as possible, and to keep transmitting for months.

Currently around the world thousands of satellite transmitters are in use covering a broad range of projects ranging from monitoring ocean circulation, polar currents, and natural hazards, to movements of wildlife which includes turtles, other species of marine animals such as whales and sharks, various land animals, and now even birds.

 “The Department of the Environment has previously attached satellite tags to a few adult turtles that had returned to nest on our beaches,’ said Dr. Walter Mustin, Chief Research Officer at the Cayman Turtle Farm. “Traditional tagging studies using “living tags” have shown that juveniles released from the farm decades ago are now returning to nest on Cayman beaches.  It is exciting to now be able to employ this satellite tracking method on our second generation captive-bred juvenile turtles from the time they are first released into the wild. 

“Using satellite telemetry we can begin to answer questions like:  Is there a pattern to the juvenile turtle's movements and migration? Do they stay around known food sources?  How are their movements related to ocean currents? How fast do they move?  How much time do they spend submerged in shallow or deep water? Where are they during those “lost years”? Do they migrate to the coastlines of other countries? These are some of the many questions that satellite tracking studies can help answer, “ Dr Mustin noted.

The turtle expert said that if the transmitter is fitted properly and securely it can yield up to a year’s worth of useful information via satellite.

 “We invite other corporate and individual sponsors to get involved in this project as it is the collective data from many released juvenile turtles that will lead to greater insights about the species and it is the shared information that will help guide conservation management, future releases and replenishment plans,” added Dr. Mustin. “It also proves beneficial in being able to prepare for future crisis events such as oil spills or global warming and rising ocean levels.”

As sea turtles are migratory, there are many thousands of unknown miles between where they feed and live and the places where they breed and lay their eggs. There are also a few years in the lives of hatchlings and juveniles in the wild about which surprisingly little is known for sure. 

 Green Sea Turtles, along with five other species of sea turtles, are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  It is believed that many populations are still declining all around the world bringing to the forefront the importance of protecting these animals.  Obtaining more information on the behaviours and migrations of juvenile sea turtles will provide invaluable information to help save them in the future.

Jerry was sponsored by Cory Strander and family, who own a vacation home on Queen’s Highway.  “Mr. Strander lives in Louisiana and runs several different businesses.  It was through a business relationship that he became aware of the new sponsorship opportunity and we were delighted to have our first “Tag and Track” sponsor,” Adam explained.  

 Jerry can be followed online at the seaturtle.org link shown on our webpagewww.turtle.ky/current-project.

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Doctor brings hope for chronic pain sufferers

| 18/04/2012 | 1 Comment

chronic-pain_0.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority has expanded its clinical team with the addition of a new Chronic Pain Specialist. With chronic pain affecting a significant number of people Dr John Lee brings over a decade of experience in pain medicine to the hospital.  He previously held the position of Consultant in Pain Medicine at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery in the UK where he led a department of around  40 staff.  “Chronic pain affects a significant portion of the community with just under 20% of the population suffering from long term pain issues,” said Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive Officer.

“We are looking forward to the contributions that Dr. Lee will be able to make in this area,” the hospital boss added.

Dr Lee He has been a member of numerous British committees, setting standards and guidelines for chronic pain and has an extensive list of publications in the field.

His speciality of pain management employs a multidisciplinary approach to the relief of pain and improvement in the quality of life of those living with pain.  Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that has lasted for over three months.  Long term pain ranges from headache and joint pain, to pain as a consequence of other diseases such as diabetes or after a stroke and backache.  Although chronic pain may originate with an initial injury or medical condition, there are people who suffer with long term pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.

The emotional toll of chronic pain has also been shown to worsen the condition resulting in anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue.  In many ways, this can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.  There are also significant social consequences not only for the individual, but also their family and loved ones, and the wider community.  The best management strategies use a holistic approach to understand the nature of long term pain, its consequences and how best to manage it in its entirety.

“For people living with chronic pain, the ability to understand  their condition, and know how to manage it, provides a sense of control and confidence that can go a long way toward minimizing the debilitating impact of chronic pain,”   Dr. Lee said.
“I am looking forward to being able to further develop the pain service programs here at the Health Services Authority, and to assist patients who are living with chronic pain.  I welcome the opportunity to implement programs that target self-management and focus on coping skills that alleviate the negative thoughts associated with chronic pain,” he added. 

“It is not unusual for chronic pain to persist, even though the cause of the pain is no longer present; therefore, good pain management is the long term goal.  Pain management is a team effort and I will be working closely with my other specialist colleagues, particularly within spinal services, to facilitate educational sessions about the management of chronic pain for primary care, healthcare providers and the public.”
Excited by his arrival Yearwood said: “The Health Services Authority is pleased to welcome Dr. Lee to our team and to expand the range of services that we provide to our patients.”

 

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Breast cancer treatment to be revolutionised

| 18/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(The Telegraph): Breast cancer has traditionally been viewed as a single condition which has three or four varieties, but researchers discovered it can be separated into ten distinct types which give patients dramatically varying chances of survival. Knowing which category a patient's cancer falls into will help doctors determine which treatments stand the best chance of eliminating the tumour, and avoid those least likely to benefit the patient. The project, the largest genetic study of breast cancer tissue that has ever been conducted, was hailed by charities as a step towards the "holy grail" of tailoring treatments to the needs of individual patients. Unnecessary treatment with toxic drugs is still a major risk in breast cancer treatment because doctors are unable to determine which patients will respond best to which drugs.

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Walkers and Dart find winning touch

| 18/04/2012 | 1 Comment

(CRFU): Anyone watching events unfold during the second round of the National Touch Rugby Championships at the South Sound Rugby Ground would have been almost as breathless as the players on the pitch come the end of the day – five games, 75 tries and thrills too many to count, all in one afternoon of sensational touch rugby. Maples 11 • Walkers Blue Iguanas 3 The day started with a game between two of Cayman’s longest serving touch teams – Maples and Walkers. Both teams have a large contingent of their own staff playing for them, but the gulf in experience of touch rugby within the teams’ rosters was clearly evident.

Maples, champions of the Touch Rugby Summer League for three years straight, took the game to Walkers from the off and sought to impose their “classic” style of touch rugby on the game – hard drives followed by spreading wide to score. It is a game plan that has worked well over the years and worked well again here.

Tries from Jyoti Choi, Richard Gordon, Emily Davies and Joan Murphy all added to the scoreboard, but it was the five try haul from Simon Crompton, the diminutive will o’ the wisp that did for Walkers. His speed of thought, hands and feet were too much for the fledging Walkers defence. Walkers may be lacking in experience but they have got a great attitude and no one could criticize their efforts to plug gaps in the defence.

Special mention must go to Tamera Clark, a rookie in the Walkers defensive line. She stuck gallantly to her task and was instrumental in often thwarting Maples attacks from the wingers.  In spite of the result running away from them Walkers did manage to trouble the scorers with Rupert Bell, Charlette Clarke and James Melen all crossing the white line. In the end experience wins and so did Maples who took the spoils of battle.

DART 13 • KPMG 6
When DART took on opponents KPMG both teams were looking for a first win of the season. The game started brightly, the teams having decided that fortune favours the brave. They threw the ball around probing for openings that lead to line breaks. Al Lum, the tall rangy Kiwi, started to dictate play for DART with silky skills and offloads, while Neil Montgomery, the speedy stocky Saffa, did the same for KPMG. The crowd loved what they were seeing – two teams giving their all and providing highly entertaining touch rugby. Both sides lookedcomfortable in attack whilst any kind of defensive strategy seemed like an optional extra. Tries were traded evenly in the first period as Lisa Bird, Riley Mullen, Mark Robson and Lum himself scored for DART whilst Montgomery and Dean Curtis notched up the KMPG total.

As KPMG tired in the second half, DART started to exude a measure of control. Further tries from Mullen, Robson and Phil Coley opened up a gap in the scores and when Iain Blackwell took a sweet reverse pass, he charged up the field like Major Chip Hazard of Commander Elite single-handedly taking on the Gorgonites. The score gave DART a lead they would not relinquish.

Heineken Brew Crew 8 • Team-Black 6
When Heineken Brew Crew took the field against Team-Black the crowd was expecting fireworks. Both teams were unbeaten so far this season and there were some notable contrasts on the players’ rosters – Heineken, with its cocktail mix of rookie bravado and vintage red-noses against Team-Black, almost Teutonic in its black-shirted efficiency and precision finishing. If last week’s show was anything to go by they should have renamed themselves Team Blitzkrieg such was the hellfire raining down on their opponents try line.

The game started at a slow and cagey pace like two heavyweight boxers sizing each other up before unleashing their opening blows. Team-Black drew blood first with a neat try by Olive McDonagh. Here we go again thought the crowd. How wrong they were. Heineken popped the cap and started to put together some intoxicating moves of their own. Tries in quick succession from Phil Fourie, Keswick Wright and Bobeth O’Garro were answered by Rudolf Weder and Ashley Puschman, the latter scoring the Try of the Day from a wonderful move involving all six players and finishing with husband James Waters providing a peach of a pass to wife Ashley who dotted down in the far corner. I’m sure they celebrated that try long into the night.

A 4-3 Heineken lead at the break looked slimmer than the new iPad2 but it was the closest that Team-Black came. Fourie added two more as Heineken started to dominate their opponents. Team-Black looked lethargic and hesitant in attack. In contrast, Heineken Brew Crew simply sparkled and fizzed around the park. Using three flyers in the middle of their line of six, a combination of Keswick Wright, Iain Currie, and Morgan Heyward skipped, stepped and shuffled their way around the park, squeezing the life out of Team-Black. As hard as they huffed and as long as they puffed, they couldn’t blow down the Heineken Brewery.

Team-Black 9 • DART 2
Team-Black, or TB, is much like the similarly-named infectious disease as far as DART are concerned. With an opening salvo of virulent running and contagious passing, TB left DART coughing, wheezing, and in hot sweats. Before you could even say “mycobacterium tuberculosis” TB were three tries ahead with scores from James Waters, Etienne Duvenage, and Rudolf Weder. Where TB had been sluggish in their first game, they were energetic in this.  DART seemed to drain of confidence as the first half tries rolled in.

Further scores were added by Scott McCarty and Mike McGrath, the only salve being a lucky intercept try from Mark Robson who careered toward the try line from halfway with Team-Black’s three female players rapidly hunting him down like lionesses chasing an old and infirm zebra on the Serengeti. He tripped over the try line to score but this particular zebra was well and truly spent.

A 7-1 half-time score did not bode well for DART, however, a miraculous recovery was made due to forthright half-time team talk from genial giant Niall O’Sullivan. He invigorated the team which set about its second-half task with renewed vigour. The result may not have been in doubt but a team can still play for pride.  And so they did. Team Black still enjoyed a lot of possession and the chasm in class was still evident but the DART defence was stubborn and resolute and they even posed more questions in attack.

The game was tighter, and clear try scoring opportunities were few. Waters and Weder scored for Team Black and O’Sullivan himself scored for DART. Team Black eventually won the second half 2-1 making a final score of 9-2. They will take three points for the win and DART will take pride in their second half performance – something to build on for next week.

Walkers Blue Iguanas 9 • KPMG 8
All this was mere aperitif compared to the Match of the Day which saw Walkers Blue Iguanas take on KPMG. What a feast they served up. For Walkers, without a victory since September 2010, this was a crunch game and they started brightly with some crisp passing by Michael Sumares. Rupert “the” Bell fried the opposition early on and further tries by Martin Davies, James Melen, and Paul Smith stunned a frazzled KPMG defence.

But like mould on cheese, or an annoying ex-girlfriend, KPMG just kept on coming back. First Loletta Hanna, then Dean Curtis and Neil Montgomery pulled the score back to 5-4 at the half. They even took the lead as Montgomery started to marshal his troops around the field.

The score swung like a pendulum and the game was as mesmerizing as a show by Hypnotist Derek Marshall, so hypnotic in fact that when someone close by clicked their fingers I involuntarily started doing an Elvis Presley impression. The game looked like it might be slipping away from Walkers. They were all shook up. It was time for a bespoke hero to come forward. Enter Paul Smith. In a rapid attack of white-line fever he scored four tries to bring his total to five for the game.

To KPMG he truly was the devil in disguise. A little less conversation and a little more action was needed from KPMG and back they came again. Brad Stephenson weighed in with a brace but at the final whistle it was KPMG who had to check into the Heartbreak Hotel. For Walkers it was a case of Viva Las Vegas as they finished 9-8 victors.  Elvis had left the building. Thank you very much.

Walkers 2012 (300x199).jpgTEAM OF THE WEEK • WALKERS BLUE IGUANAS
Proud sponsors of their touch rugby team “the Blue Iguanas”, Walkers have long been an advocate for supporting touch rugby here in Cayman. Of their 16 player squad, 14 of them are employed by Walkers and it clearly shows in the great camaraderie and team spirit they display. This year has seen a new captain, Vikki Piaso, inspire teammates with her boundless energy and enthusiasm for the game. A keen student of touch rugby since her formative years, she comes with a fine pedigree as her father played the sport for New Zealand. Typical of Vikki though, she is keen to deflect attention from herself onto her teammates. Although largely inexperienced in touch rugby they have turned up to all their practice sessions, and newbies such as Tamera Clark are learning fast and playing brilliantly. When asked why she likes touch rugby she says, “I don’t like it, I LOVE it!” I can’t argue with that.

See team standings below

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Jamaican sprint star to compete in local invitational

| 18/04/2012 | 0 Comments

blake (1) (233x300).jpg(CNS): Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, the number one ranked 100m sprinter will be competing in the inaugural Cayman Invitational at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in Grand Cayman on  9 May. Blake, who at 21 won the men’s 100 meters at last year’s World Champion in Daegu, South Korea, became the youngest 100 meter gold medalist in the history of the World Championships.  He later went on after the World Championships to set a personal best of 9.82 seconds in the 100 meters.

He also in 2011, ran more races under 10 seconds than any other sprinter, and ended his season in astonishing fashion by securing the fastest 200 meters time in the world – and second fastest in history – at 19.26 seconds. The star sprinter said he was very happy to be added to the field in Grand Cayman and that he and RACERS Track Club Ltd., wanted to support the development of yet another athletic meeting in the Caribbean region.

Meanwhile, in the field some of the world's best long jump/ triple jump competitors will be competing such as Will Claye from the United States who won the triple jump and placed fourth in the long jump at the recent World Indoor Championships.

Leevan Sands aka "SUPERMAN", a veteran long jumper/triple jumper and the Bahamian national record holder in the triple jump, at 17.59 will also be heading to Cayman. Leevan has competed in five World Championships, earning a bronze medalin 2003 and has participated in six World Athletics Finals. A two-time Olympian, he produced a bronze medal-winning performance in Beijing.

He will be joined by Nicholas Gordon of Jamaica was a three- time first team All-American at the University of Nebraska in the long jump and Nafee Harris who won the NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championships in the long jump.

Cayman’s own Carl and Carlos Morgan will also compete. Carl enjoyed an 8.02 metre jump at the Georgia Relays as well as a gold medal at the Auburn Invitational. Carlos has not enjoyed the same success as his brother Carl this season, but will have several opportunities for improved results before returning for competition before the home town fans.

 

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Powers hide behind probes

| 18/04/2012 | 87 Comments

dynomite.JPG(CNS): Ezzard Miller and Arden Mclean have joined concerned voices that believe Cayman’s authorities are hiding behind claims about ongoing police investigations in order to avoid revealing the details of possible corruption and other irregularities. The failure of the authorities to reveal the state of the more than two year police investigation regarding the premier and what have been described as “financial irregularities” is not the only issue that is being kept out of the public domain because of a police probe, they say. The MLAs say the latestmove to hide behind another investigation concerned the alarming importation of dynamite without a licence, which they say may have political connections.

Miller, as well as CNS and other local media houses, have all been refused access to any of the email correspondence between government departments relating to the recent shipment of dynamite that was seized by customs as a result of the importer’s failure to acquire a licence.

The North Side MLA said Tuesday that government departments are using the law regarding police probes that allows things to be kept from the public to protect an investigation. But Miller said the these probes stretch on without end, resulting in no accountability fora serious matter that may have direct connections to people in government.  

“There are just too many things that are being tied up under the label of a police investigation and this is just the latest one,” he said. “It seems the governor’s office, freedom of information and the police are all using this as a way to avoid accountability for these very serious issues.”

Miller and CNS made FOI requests regarding the details of who it was in government that had reportedly ordered the customs department to release the container load of dynamite when it had been imported illegally without a license. However, the FOI requests were denied, despite being of public interest. He said it seemed that when a former MLA who no longer has any power or influence is accused of shoplifting for a few dollars he was exposed but others seem to be protected by the authorities as they hid behind the so-called probes.

Arden McLean added his concerns about the dynamite and said it was an extremely serious issue. He pointed to the fact that someone saw who tried to come and collect that shipment and someone in a public office received instructions that it should be released, and he said both need to be exposed.

McLean said that as far as he was aware, all the legitimate quarry owners were denying that they had brought in the container, which left the question of who had brought in the shipment and who was it in government that had attempted to circumvent the process and have explosives released without a licence.

McLean vowed that if the PPM was voted in to office at the next election, the information regarding any irregularities relating to government would all be released under the FOI  law as the people had a right to know what was going on.

“How can the people have any confidence in their government when serious issues like this are being kept secret,” he asked.

The two MLAs said that they would be raising this issue along with many others with the Foreign Office minister, Henry Bellingham, who arrived in Cayman on Wednesday and who will be meeting with the opposition and the independent members on Friday morning.

CNS made a request last month for correspondence relating to the imported dynamite between the relevant government departments after hearing that the explosives had been brought in by a local company without the necessary licence. The FOI manager refused to release any of the communication or related documents as he said they all formed part of a police investigation.

Following the decision, CNS asked for an internal review of the decision and queried if all the correspondence is exempt or, as has been noted by the information commissioner in the past, if the documents could still be released but redacted where they impact on the investigation.

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Bail denied over nightclub shooting

| 18/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A George Town man who is facing seven charges relating to a shooting outside Cub 7 in February was denied bail last week after the crown told the court that the charges were too serious and the evidence against him too great. Leighton Rankine (35) has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, wounding, possession of an unlicensed firearm, unlawful use of that firearm as well as common assault. The crown’s case is that police arrived on the scene while Rankine was still holding the gun used to shoot the two men in the car park of the night club.  Police recovered the weapon from the bushes on the night and arrested Rankine who was also taken to hospital as he was injured in a fight.

Rankine denies shooting the two victims and says that he was assaulted that night and received serious injuries to his face and eyes as a result of being kicked in the head. He complained during the bail hearing that no charges had been brought against his assailants.

John Furnes, Rankine's defence attorney  asked the court to release his client on bail with a curfew and electronic tag until his trial in September so he could work and provide for his family as well as received treatment for the fractures in his face.

Justice Charles Quin however accepted the crown’s position that the defendant was facing very serious charges that could if he were to be found guilty result in a life sentence and therefore was not a suitable candidate for bail.

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Coach Cowdroy rings in the changes for big game

| 18/04/2012 | 0 Comments

cowdroy.jpg(CRFU): With Cayman Rugby’s only hope of continuing its 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualification lying in the balance after the shock 19-18 loss to Jamaica in Kingston on 7 April National Coach Brad Cowdroy (left)  has named a much changed side to face Mexico on 21 April at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. Up front, Paul Parker will earn his 2nd start at tight head against the Mexicans with 1st choice Mark Stabler being unavailable through injury. JS de Jager regains his spot at hooker and in the back row Ben Blair returns to no. 8.A much changed back line sees Simon Crompton take over from Ross Connerton at scrumhalf and the speedy Tom Mann earning a place on the wing.

On the subs bench Peter de Vere makes a comeback from injury to bolster the Cayman front row whilst Camilo Andres will have a chance to earn his first cap for Cayman if he features during the game.

If Cayman beat Mexico at home and progress to the next round of World Cup Qualification they will face Bermuda away in May 2012.

Team is as follows:

1. Ben McDonald (c)
2. JS De Jager
3. Paul Parker
4. Dan Bond
5. Yohann Regnard
6. Shaun Gerard
7. Josh Clark
8. Ben Blair
9. Simon Crompton
10. Morgan Hayward
11. Chris Bunce
12. Jon Murphy
13. Venasio Tokatokavanua
14. Tom Mann
15. Joel Clark

16. Mick Kehoe
17. Peter de Vere
18. Doug Anderson
19. Phil Fourie
20.  Robbie Cribb
21. Camilo Andres
22. James Waters

 

 

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Cayman’s Dubai and Hong Kong offices in limbo

| 18/04/2012 | 0 Comments

skyline.jpg(CNS Business): The contracts for the Cayman Islands government’s representatives in Dubai and Hong Kong expired, at the end of May 2011 and December 2011 respectively, and have not been renewed while the Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) is revising its structure of the government’s overseas offices. The United Democrat Party had opened an office in Hong Kong during the previous UDP administration but, maintaining that it was too costly to run, the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) closed the office in2005 and also scrapped plans for an office in Dubai. Back in power following the May 2009 general elections, the UDP resumed plans for the offshore offices, launching the Dubai office in December 2009 and the Hong Kong office in October 2010. Read more on CNS Business

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MLAs confident of result

| 18/04/2012 | 26 Comments

ezz omov (229x300).jpg(CNS): Despite "a tall order” for the ‘Yes’ campaign in the forthcoming referendum, Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean were both confident on Tuesday that the country would support one man, one vote on the day of the ballot. Although the ‘Yes’ campaign will not have the financial resources of government, which will be funding the ‘No’ campaign, and while time is short and the bar set high, Miller said the campaign had “right on its side” if not “might” and right would win. Regardless of the difficulties, both of the MLAs said they were delighted that the premier had made the decision to have the vote before the next election and were confident that 7,600 electors would vote ‘Yes’ on 18 July.

“Our advantage over the premier in this campaign is that all we have to do is tell the truth,” Miller said. “We have right on our side and while the premier may have might on his, this time right will prevail.”

Although the vote is taking place in the summer when Caymanians are traditionally away on vacation, the MLAs said they hoped that government would include postal voting and pre-voting, as provided for in the election law, when it draws up the referendum law in order to address that issue.

Regardless of the difficulties, the independent member for North Side, who has spearheaded the campaign, said that the ‘Yes’ campaign was not considerably worse off than it would have been had the referendum been triggered as a people-initiated ballot, since that too would have required 50% plus one of the electorate and not a simple majority of voters. However, he pointed out there would have been more time to campaign for a November ballot and, of course, absentee voters would be less of an issue.

Miller said that there would be a focused thirteen week campaign to continue the momentum and he dismissed the premier’s position against one man, one vote, which he said was weak. Despite having weeks to come up with an argument, he said, all government had was a claim that the current system works best, that people would be driven away by uncertainty and the system was open to manipulation, points that did not convince most people that the current system works best for them.

“We are not finding that people don’t understand what the issue is here; everyone understands equality,” Miller said. “It is time to move Cayman in line with modern democracies in which one man, one vote is the recognised standard. It is time to move away from the vagrancies of multi-representation and multi-systems of voting. The bill of rights that comes into effect later this year will demand equality in the electoral process, so let’s get out and vote yes in this referendum."

Arden McLean, the East end member for the PPM, said the premier needed to stop trying to manipulate people and stop insulting their intelligence as they were more than capable of understanding that one man, one vote was more equitable and democratic.

“The people are capable of deciding for themselves,” he said, adding that he had “never heard anything so idiotic” in regards to comments made by the premier that the introduction of single member constituencies could drive away business and tourists. McLean pointed out that the vast majority of people who come to Cayman as visitors and investors came from countries where that system was in place.

He said that if the premier truly believed in democracy as he claimed then he would ensure that the referendum law was fair and would enable people to pre-vote using a postal vote and he would not place barriers in the way of the people expressing their opinion.

Miller called on everyone to come out and show the premier that they understood what one man, one vote meant and that this was what they wanted by voting 'Yes' on 18 July. He emphasised the greater accountability, better representation and, above all, the equality of one man, one vote.

Although government will be using public funds for what the premier called an “education campaign”, Miller said he would be pressing for equal time from government radio for the 'Yes' campaign and he said he hoped that if CITN had provided broadcast time to the premier for his speech to the nation against one man, one vote free of charge, they would extend the same courtesy to the ‘Yes’ campaign.

Miller said the premier was well aware of the level of support for OMOV and that many UDP supporters had signed the petition, which he said was why he believed the government had decided to hold the national vote. Miller pointed out that as nearly 4,000 voters had already signed a petition wherethey had to reveal their identities, a secret ballot was sure to attract double that number, ensuring victory. “I believe we may even have some UDP government members voting for it. After all, the ballot is secret,” Miller added.

The premier has announced a referendum on 18 July which will ask the people: "Do you support an electoral system of single member constituencies with each elector being entitled to cast only one vote?"

In order for the referendum to pass, around 7,600 people will need to vote 'Yes', which is just over 50% of the current register of electors. The government will need to bring the referendum law to the Legislative Assembly for the national vote and it is in that legislation in which government will indicate the rules of the vote, and if it wants to can allow or disallow pre and postal voting.

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