Archive for May 1st, 2012

New members appointed to constitutional commission

| 01/05/2012 | 8 Comments

jude_scott.jpg(CNS): Jude Scott has been appointed to chair Cayman’s Constitutional Commission by Governor Duncan Taylor following the death of Pastor Al last year. Sara Collins has also been appointed to the three person commission and will replace Julene Banks, who has now completed her two year term. Wil Pineau will continue to serve alongside the new appointees as a member. This is the first time new appointments have been made to any of the constitutionally created commissions since the implementation of the 2009 Constitution Order.

The commission was established under Section 118 of the 2009 Constitution. Its remit is to advise government on questions concerning constitutional status and development; promoting public understanding and awareness of the constitution and its values, and publishing reports, papers and other documents on any constitutional matters affecting the Cayman Islands. In broad terms, this commission may be said to combine the functions of an advisory body with those of a think tank on constitutional matters.

The commission clashed with government last year when it offered advice on the creation of district councils and pointed to the North Side district council being an example of what they believethe architects of the constitution had in mind. The premier accused the commission of going beyond its remit and misusing their position as they were trying to influence public opinion on the controversial issue after he brought the law to create the local bodies under an appointment system by Cabinet

Bush accused the commission of “poor performance” of its mandated functions and said the members were against him. Bush said the commissioners needed to be better “schooled in their role and functions” as he accused them of attempting to “frustrate” his administration. Despite the function of the commission, Bush said no government would base its executive decisions on the advice of a Constitutional Commission.

Speaking about the new appointees to the commission, the governor said he was pleased that both Scott and Collins had accepted the appointments as he pointed to the commission’s role in promoting democracy.

“The Constitutional Commission plays an important role in our democracy and I am confident that these new members will work together with Member Wil Pineau to continue to educate the people of the Cayman Islands on the 2009 Constitution” said Taylor.

Jude Scott is the current Global Chief Executive Officer of Maples and Calder, a post he has held since 1 February, 2011. Previously an audit partner at the Cayman Islands office of Ernst & Young, Scott retired in 2008 after spending over 23 years with firm, specialising in the audits of investment funds, investment companies, banks and insurance companies.

Scott has served on various Cayman Islands Government and private sector boards and committees, including the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants, the Cayman Islands Financial Services Council, Cayman Airways, Cayman National Corporation, the Ministerial Council for Tourism, the Education Council, the Insolvency Rules Committee and the Stock Exchange.

Sara Collins is a former partner of Conyers Dill & Pearman in the Cayman Islands. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she was admitted as a barrister of England & Wales as well as an attorney at law in the Cayman Islands; though she is not currently practising in either jurisdiction. Collins was also chair of the Human Rights Committee, the forerunner of the current commission, and was a member of the constitutional negotiating team.

For more information on the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 or the Constitutional Commission please visit: www.knowyourconstitution.ky; e-mail info@knowyourconstitution.ky or call 244-3685 or fax 945-8649.

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UK exams watchdog plans A-level reforms

| 01/05/2012 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): The head of the exams watchdog has signalled wide-ranging reforms to A-levels to tackle claims that examiners have been giving students "the benefit of the doubt", leading to persistent grade inflation. Glenys Stacey, chief executive of Ofqual, said the body would consult over the summer on proposals to scrap the modular AS structure, to make certain core subjects compulsory for all under-18s, and to introduce multiple choice questions to ensure students were being tested more widely on their knowledge. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Stacey blamed examiners for year-on-year grade inflation, which she said was "impossible to justify".

"If you look at the history, we have seen persistent grade inflation for these key qualifications for at least a decade," she said. "[It] is virtually impossible to justify and it has done more than anything, in my view, to undermine confidence in the value of those qualifications.

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Pension holiday over for all workers

| 01/05/2012 | 0 Comments

broken-piggy-bank-large_0.jpg(CNS Business): Government has now confirmed that the pension holiday for non-Caymanian workers is over and employers must re-commence paying into pension schemes for all of their employees. Officials from the employment ministry said the suspension of pensions contributions ended on Wednesday 25 April which followed the end of the scheme for Caymanians last year. When government implemented the programme it was designed to assist both employees and employers during the economic down turn. The voluntary holiday was taken up by 2,864 workers over the life of the scheme the pension’s office revealed but next month employers will have to return to making payments. Read more on CNS Business

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Nominations open for 2013 New Year royal gongs

| 01/05/2012 | 9 Comments

OBE-medal-007.jpg(CNS): The Governor’s Office has opened the nomination process for the 2013 royal New YearHonours list. Governor Duncan Taylor is inviting members of the public to submit nominations for Caymanians to be considered for OBEs, MBEs which are decided in London, as well as for the Certificate and Badge of Honour awards, which are considered locally. Nominations must be received by Monday 14 May and be supported by a persuasive account of the outstanding or innovative or self-sacrificing services and achievements of the nominees. Long service is not enough and nominators need to explain what has raised their nominee above others performing similar services.

Honours Nomination Forms can be requested by e-mail from Penny.Knight@fco.gov.uk

Copies can also be found on the Governor’s Office website

Please make every effort to fully complete all the relevant sections. Once completed, the forms should be submitted, under confidential cover, to the Governor’s Office. While all recommendations will be acknowledged, the Governor’s Office cannot enter into correspondence about the action taken on them.

For any further information please contact the Governor’s Office on 244 2401.

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Conference to offer education credits for nurses

| 01/05/2012 | 0 Comments

images_33.jpg(CNS): Local nurses are being encouraged to sign up for next week’s National Nursing Conference as participants can earn up to twenty continuing education credits, HSA officials said this week. The conference will focus on sharing best practices in nursing, examining the relevance of nursing in healthcare delivery and reaffirming nursing’s value and contribution to healthcare. Topics include contemporary issues such as bullying in the workplace, nursing management and disaster preparedness. There will also be up-to-date clinical information on subjects ranging from pain management to dealing with autism spectrum disorders.

The conference opens on 9 May and is hosted by the Cayman Islands Nurses Association (CINA), but all healthcare professionals are encouraged to attend. Cost is $75 for the entire conference ($50 for CINA members) or $30 per day.

Completed registration forms can be delivered to Barbara Musson at the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority or people can register online at www.caymanactive.com . For more information, email caymannurses@gmail.com or call 244-2617.

 

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Whole community needs to help mould future for kids

| 01/05/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The community affairs minister Mike Adam, has called on the community to pull together to ensure the future of Cayman’s children in his message marking the start of child month Tuesday. This year’s theme is Educate, Motivate and Advocate For All Children and the ministry has a packed agenda of events to mark the international month. “We owe it to ourselves to nurture our children,” said the minister. “How we mould our youth is key to the development of this country, for they are our future leaders.”

See Minister Mike Adam’s full message below

 

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Fractured jaw costs West Bay man $13,000

| 01/05/2012 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A 52-year-old man from West Bay who was found guilty of fracturing a man’s jaw during an altercation in a West Bay yard received a 12 month suspended sentence on Friday and was ordered to pay more than $13,000 to compensate the victim for medical expenses and loss of earnings. Owen Smith was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Jeremy Manderson, who had been his friend for over thirty years.  Although the court heard that the injury inflicted by Smith was considered serious, there were mitigating factors that the judge took into account that led to Smith being saved from jail.

The fact that Smith had no convictions for violent offences for many years, that he was alcohol and drug free and that he employs ten people in a small business were combined with other circumstances to save him from being sent to jail. The court heard that a significant number of family members depend on Smith and that he is active in the community helping the homeless. Finally, the victim had also expressed a desire not to see his former friend go to jail but had requested compensation for his injury, which doctors said may leave him with permanent problems.

The court heard that Smith had hauled his victim from a chair and kicked and punched him in a moment of anger, breaking the man’s jaw during the fight. However, senior prosecuting counsel Trevor Ward admitted that the incident was not pre-planned and he did not use a weapon. His defence counsel Lucy Organ noted how out of character it was for Smith to behave this way and that it was an isolated incident.

Although Smith had said at trial he did not believe his actions could have caused his former friend’s injury, which was why he pleaded not guilty, he did say he was sorry that Manderson had been hurt and was willing to pay the compensation.

Justice Harrison said the injury inflicted on the victim was sufficiently serious to attract a jail term but he opted to suspend the twelve month sentence because of the mitigating factors, as he warned Smith to “keep far from problems and troubles” while the sentence was suspended for one year, otherwise he could still serve the full twelve months. The judge ordered Smith to attend an anger management course in the community and to pay back CI$13,097 to the man he injured.

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MLA proposes articles at LA for law students

| 01/05/2012 | 53 Comments

P5270036 (219x300).jpg(CNS): The government is considering establishing an internship programme at the Legislative Assembly that can equate to articles for graduates of the Cayman Law School’s professional practice course and at the same time fill the need at the country’s parliament for professional researchers. Government offered its support to the idea, which was brought as a private member’s motion filed by backbench UDP member Dwayne Seymour. However, the opposition leader warned that it would be unlikely that the House could offer students the rigours required of articles that would be enough to secure them work in the community.

The Bodden Town member who brought the motion said there were many students who were facing difficulties finding a place as an article clerk and the LA could provide a new option where the students could work as researchers and library assistants.

He said some law students had been looking for several years for articles and the LA could be a way of building credit. Seymour called on the Legal Advisory Council to develop a programme that would meet the requirements of the practical experience that law students need to undertake before they can qualify. While Seymour said it wasn’t the full solution to the problem, he thought it might help some students.

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, who is himself a lawyer, said the problem of graduates from the law school not being able to get articles was a long standing one. He said that the standard of those who have come through the local law school was high yet but even with more than five hundred lawyers practicing in the jurisdiction, where partners earned millions of dollars every year,local students still could not find a place as the law firms claim they cannot afford article programmes.

“I am hearing there is a move afoot to abolish the article programme altogether on the basis that it is too expensive and resistance on the part of a number of firms to allow students to pursue articles,” he said, noting that this was of great concern.

He said that the LA might not be able to offer a solution for students, noting the variety of legal experience that articles were supposed to offer. Giving an anecdotal example, he said one of his constituents had completed her articles in the government’s own legal department but had been told she had to do them again when she joined a private firm as she simply had not gained enough experience.

Although they might provide a much needed service for the members of the Legislative Assembly, he described the credit that graduates were likely to gain from working there was so “infinitesimal” that it would count for nought within the local law firms. Nevertheless, McLaughlin said he would support the motion, even though it was unlikely that many local firms would recognise the time spent as a researcher in the LA.

“I don’t want to create the impression that somehow this is really going to assist those that are trying to get qualified as lawyers,” he said. “Experienced gained in the House is unlikely to be given much weight in the private sector.”

He said that what needed to be addressed was why the rich firms here were still able to say they cannot afford to take people on to do articles. McLaughlin said he believed the firms in Cayman were under an obligation to give local students an opportunity to qualify and it was ridiculous that they claimed they could not afford to do it. Ggovernment should make them do it, he added.

The premier confirmed that governmentwas going to accept the motion and said there was no risk that standards would be undermined as the goal was to offer credit towards articles and there would be no diluting of the issue when it came to the standards of training for lawyers.

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Motion gets over 1st hurdle

| 01/05/2012 | 36 Comments

LA speaker_0.JPG(CNS): The opposition’s no confidence motion in the government has been accepted by the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, despite its submission during a meeting and not before as would normally be required. However, that is just the first hurdle for the second no confidence vote to be brought to the country’s parliament since the UDP government was voted into office.  With the first procedural problem mounted the opposition leader and the independent member, who have proposed the motion, now need to get the vote on the order paper, which lies in the hands of the chair of the Business Committee – McKeeva Bush.

Obligated under the Standing Orders to facilitate opposition motions as well government business, the premier in his role as Business Committee chair cannot dismiss the motion but he can still delay the debate by putting off the motion to another sitting. At present, legislators are scheduled to meet next Wednesday 9 May to debate the referendum motion for the one man, one vote national poll.

“I am glad that the motion was accepted by the speaker,” Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, said Monday evening, “but now we have to get it on the order paper and the last time it took several months.”

All of the opposition members have said that unless the lack of confidence motion is placed at the top of the agenda for the meeting on 9 May, they will not participate in the proceedings of the country’s parliament.

“The premier is chair of the Business Committee and the UDP has the majority, which is troubling given the comments made by Mark Scotland that the UDP will not support the motion,” Miller added.

The North Side member said that Health Minister Scotland seemed unconcerned that the premier was the subject of three police investigations and that all members of the party would be standing by him and were not going to ask him to step aside. 

The opposition motion, which has been proposed by PPM Leader Alden McLaughlin and seconded by Miller, calls for a lack of confidence in the government because Bush is now the subject of three police investigations. The motion, however, covers the entire government because under the constitution it is not possible to call for no confidence in the premier as only the ruling party can remove their leader.

Although doomed to failure even if the motion reaches the floor of the House, the opposition has pointed out it is the only tool they have to try and persuade the government members how untenable the premier’s position is given the circumstances. It will also provide an opportunity for the electorate to hear clearly where members of the government stand on the issue and explain their reasons for supporting the premier, despite the three investigations.

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