Archive for April 24th, 2012

Cayman sprinter breaks national record at ACC race

| 24/04/2012 | 11 Comments

135217_full.jpg(CNS): Running in the 100m sprint at the ACC outdoor championships, Cayman Islands athlete Kemar Hyman won the gold medal in Virginia last week. The track star, who runs for Florida State University, crossed the line well ahead of the competition and recorded a time of 10:07, the third fastest time in the sprint for this year, beating his college team mate Maurice Mitchell into second place. Hyman’s victory was also a personal best and a new national record for the Cayman Islands. Hyman will represent Cayman in August at the London Olympics.

See Hyman’s winning race here

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Obligation missing in vote law

| 24/04/2012 | 58 Comments

ballot box hand.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has accused the government of hijacking the referendum on one man, one vote (OMOV) as well as not actually making a commitment to the result. After receiving the draft bill for the referendum law, which will be presented to the Legislative Assembly when in returns next month, Alden McLaughlin said it provides no obligation on government to actually implement OMOV even if that is what the people vote for. The PPM leader also said it was highly unusual for government to launch an immediate attack on its own referendum and he intended to speak with the governor about the use of public funds to campaign against the principle of OMOV.

McLaughlin accused government of stacking the odds against its own question and said there were a number of issues with the bill, from the question itself to the failure of the government to make polling day a public holiday.

“There is a major problem that the government is campaigning against its own referendum question and using public funds to do so,” he said.

The question proposed on the draft bill, he noted, did not commit the government to implementing the actual system, even if the vote was an overwhelming ‘yes’. In addition, the bar was set as high as a people-initiated referendum, despite now being a government initiated vote.

“What the government has done in this case is hijack the people-initiated petition process, hijack the entire initiative and have taken it over," he said, adding that it was done so deliberately to ensure the government had control of the process, taking the “steam out of the petition”.

Government, he said, had announced the date and proposed the question but then immediately launched a “full frontal assault on their own question” under the guise of what they called an "education campaign".

He said the government campaign was designed to defeat the referendum question using public money. “That is highly inappropriate and we shall be taking steps to address this issue with the governor, the deputy governor and the Elections Office,” he said. “We cannot have the UDP using the office of government and the Treasury of government to campaign against a referendum question it has put forward, having taking the initiative away from the people.”

McLaughlin pointed out that a people’s initiated referendum (and the petition has now exceeded the necessary number to trigger that constitutional right) was an indication of a desire on the part of the people for the ballot and in such circumstances the government would take a neutral position or embark on an education campaign that would look at both sides, not one campaigning against the question that the people want asked and answered.

See the draft referendum bill here

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No confidence vote planned

| 24/04/2012 | 116 Comments

aldnezz (232x300).jpg(CNS): The opposition and independent member today called once again for the premier to step aside until the various police investigations surrounding him have concluded. Alden McLaughlin and Ezzard Miller said Monday that they want to see the premier resign by Thursday of this week, otherwise they will file a 'no confidence' motion in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, where they will demand to be able to debate the situation. The two men called on the UDP members to put the country first and ask Premier McKeeva Bush to step down until the police probes are concluded as the current situation was untenable.

In the face of a defiant position from the premier, who issued a statement on Sunday saying he would not resign as he’d done nothing wrong, the opposition leader said that in no democratic country he was aware of would this situation be allowed to continue.

McLaughlin was speaking at a PPM press briefing on Monday lunchtime called in the wake of revelations that the premier was the subject of three police investigations – two regarding financial irregularities and the third was in connection with a recent unlicensed shipment of dynamite.

But in the face of Bush’s reluctance to voluntarily do the right thing, the opposition leader called on the other members of government and UDP party members to ask him to step aside and elect another member to take up the post of premier.

“McKeeva Bush continuing in office as premier of the Cayman Islands is untenable,” McLaughlin said. “We call on all of the right thinking members of his administration and his party to exert whatever pressure is necessary on Mr Bush to have him do the right thing by the country. His continuing in office under the weight of these criminal investigations is not only a disservice to the country but it is doing actual harm to the reputation of this jurisdiction.”

He invited cabinet members and backbenchers to insist that he steps down and allows the deputy premier or whoever else to take the reins of office until the matters are concluded, and it need not be a constitutional crisis.

He said the PPM and Miller had drafted a lack of confidence motion ready to file on Friday if he did not step down.  He said that just because government had the numbers did not mean the lack of confidence motion was futile as it was a free vote and the UDP members would need to search their conscience and ask themselves if they could continue to support him staying in office.

“We are going to prevail upon their right mindedness, their professed love of this country and their wish that the country is held by someone with integrity as a basis for breaking party line and voting with conscience.”

McLaughlin said they would be prevailing on the speaker of the Legislative Assembly to ensure that the motion was the first piece of business when the House returns on 9 May. If it was not, he said, the opposition would not participate in any of the proceedings until the motion was on the floor of the chamber.

McLaughlin stated that the options open to the opposition were quite limited and the 'no confidence' motion was one of the few they had. He felt the opposition had a duty to the country to use whatever mechanisms open to them to try and address the issue.

“We can’t just sit on our hands,” McLaughlin said, despite the challenges the opposition will face getting the motion to the Legislative Assembly. “We have got to do whatever it is that we believe is right to bring attention to this issue and to get the attention of all those who matter, including the FCO.”

Miller added that he intended to boycott the opening session of the Legislative Assembly on the day to show his disgust and he invited the public to join him in protest on that day.

The independent member said he believed that one of the main issues regarding the situation was that the premier clinging onto office was undermining the progress of the investigation.

“I don’t share the confidence that his supporters have that he will not attempt to interfere with the process. I believe the very nature of the premier, his modus operandi and the way he promotes fear and intimidation will in itself, for as long as he remains in office, be detrimental to the investigation.”

He said it was an international embarrassment for the country to have a premier under investigation for three separate matters and that the best and least risk to the constitution would be for the UDP to follow their own party constitution and elect a replacement for him among the party membership.

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Vote in CNS poll: In light of the revelations that Mckeeva Bush is the centre of 3 police-investigations should he step down as premier?

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