Archive for May 7th, 2012

UDP and PPM clash over LA

UDP and PPM clash over LA

| 07/05/2012 | 31 Comments

leg ass_0.jpg(CNS): The government and opposition members have clashed once again over the procedures governing the Legislative Assembly. As a result of the way government has opted to introduce the referendum bill, which the opposition says isunconstitutional, as well as government’s unwillingness to record the opposition’s objections, PPM Leader Alden McLaughlin and his team walked out of the Business Committee meeting this morning. Speaking on behalf of the government, Education Minister Rolston Anglin described McLaughlin as “immature” after he said the UDP had gone to “extra-ordinary lengths" to share their legislative strategy with the opposition.

Monday morning’s bust up came after the government had decided to get around the constitutional difficulties over the 21 days’ notice on the bill by bringing the government motion to introduce the one man, one vote to the House on Wednesday for debate, then adjourning the current meeting and calling a special meeting the next day in order to actually debate and pass the referendum law.

The opposition leader said as this was not new or unexpected business, which is what the special meeting provision is for, and the government’s move was a misuse of the provision.

McLaughlin told CNS he believed that as a result there would still be a constitutional problem. Added to that, he said, he had raised the point that the government ought not to deal with any legislative business until the opposition’s no confidence motion had been addressed. The opposition leader said he wanted the Business Committee minutes to record his objections but he was told by the premier that the minutes belonged to government and he would not be recording McLaughlin’s complaints.

“There seemed then no point in remaining,” McLaughlin said. “Not only did the premier and other government members not want to listen to the points we were raising, they did not even want to record our concerns in the official minutes.”

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Anglin said government was being open and transparent and the premier, who is chairman of the Business Committee, had advised all members that the government intended to adjourn the House on Wednesday once the debate on Government Motion No.8/2012 had been completed. 

“We would subsequently call a Special Meeting of the Legislative Assembly pursuant to Standing Order Number 9 in order to deal with the Referendum (Single Member Constituencies) Bill, 2012,” Anglin stated. “This will avoid any doubt as to whether the Bill is compliant with Section 77 of the Constitution, which requires bills to be published 21 days before the commencement of the meeting of the Legislative Assembly at which it is intended to be introduced.”

He claimed government went to “great lengths to communicate this” so everyone would be clear in advance of the debate. “Despite this the opposition still found room to complain and walked out  of the Business Committee abruptly and went straight to the media with their one sided version of events,” Anglin said.

“We cannot believe how immature the leader of the opposition and his colleagues behave! When we go to extra-ordinary lengths to share our legislative strategy with them they still try to cause strife and division in our country,” the education minister stated on behalf of his colleagues.

Accusing the opposition of opposing for opposition’s sake as government had agreed to the referendum in an effort to end “the political rancour and division”, Anglin said the opposition members were doing everything they could to stop the bill.

The opposition have raised a number of concerns about the referendum bill and believe government has hi-jacked the process in an effort to stack the deck against a ‘yes’ vote despite initiating the national ballot. The PPM also stated recently that they intend to withdraw from the proceedings of the parliament on Wednesday unless the no confidence motion was placed at the top of the agenda.

McLaughlin revealed that Premier McKeeva Bush has refused to place the motion on the order paper and said government was not ready to debate the issues raised by the lack of confidence motion relating to the three police probes currently surrounding the premier.

The PPM will be holding a public rally starting at 8pm in Savannah Monday evening to discuss the referendum and the need for Bush to step aside until the police have concluded the investigations into financial irregularities and a shipment of unlicensed dynamite.

See Anglin's full statement below.

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Burglars make off with safe full of cash from TI

Burglars make off with safe full of cash from TI

| 07/05/2012 | 10 Comments

ti-layout-8.jpg(CNS): Police said they are seeking witnesses to a crime they believe occurred between 4 and 5am on Sunday morning at the Treasure Islands Resort on the West Bay Road. George Town CID has confirmed that security at the resort reported a burglary to George Town CID around 6am yesterday morning. Police are now looking for witnesses to the crime which has involved the theft of the safe from the resort’s main office.  Police have given no further details but other sources tell CNS that the safe contained a significant sum of cash.

Anyone who saw any suspicious persons or vehicles in the area of TI is asked to contact  949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).


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TCI governor reports progress but no election date

TCI governor reports progress but no election date

| 07/05/2012 | 4 Comments

ric_todd2.jpg(CNS): The Turks and Caicos Islands governor said Monday that good progress was being made on the eight milestones the country needs to achieve before the British government will permit democratic elections in the territory. Releasing the latest progress report Ric Todd added that work still remained to be done however, before the UK could reinstate the constitution and set an election date. The British government implemented direct rule in 2009 as a result of the discovery of suspected systemic corruption, as well as the mismanagement of public funds and assets and began a long investigation into the previous leader Michael Misick and his Progressive National Party government.

Since then the UK has said that the democratic process can only re-start in TCI once certain milestones have been achieved. Almost three years on since the constitution was suspended work continues on the goals such as reform of the public sector, good governance and sound public financial management , new legislation on crown land, the regulation of political parties and public life as well as the introduction of a fair process for TCI status.

Todd said that some milestones were almost completed or well on the way to completion.
“We must continue to give UK Ministers confidence that the country is run according to its stated budget and a fiscal surplus will be achieved this financial year,’ he said when he announced his progress report. “The milestone relating to substantial progress in the on-going criminal investigation will require their clear judgement given that the trials will not be completed this year.”

So far 13 people have been charged with corruption, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering in the investigation launched in the wake of Sir Robin Auld’s Commission of Inquiry that concluded that there was a high probability of systemic corruption in Misick’s government. Since then a warrant has been issued for the former TCI leader’s arrest. Misick is believed to be in exile in the Dominican Republic and he has consistently denied any wrong doing.

See Todd's progress report below


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CEC looks for Latin American business

CEC looks for Latin American business

| 07/05/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): A real estate service and consultation company based in Panama is to partner with Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) to help recruit businesses from Latin America to set up shop in the CEC’s special economic zone in the Cayman Islands. However, Latin American Corporate Property Services Inc. (LACPS) expects recruitment to be a challenge because in the current economic climate, it says, businesses are reluctant to leave their comfort zones. CEC boasts such benefits for businesses trading within its zone as economic freedom in a virtually tax-free environment, a 10-day streamlined setup, exemption from import duties and guaranteed protection of intellectual property, and claims they may be able to reduce operational costs by as much as 50%. Read more on CNS Business

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Exhibition tells story of CI Red Cross

Exhibition tells story of CI Red Cross

| 07/05/2012 | 0 Comments

026 (239x300).jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands branch of the international Red Cross officially launched the charity’s designated month with the opening of a special exhibition on Thursday revealing the work of the long standing charity past present and future. “This is the CIRC: a look at the work of the Cayman Islands Red Cross yesterday, today and tomorrow” is being held at the George Town library. It gives visitors a peek at the work of the organisation since its local founding in 1961.during the ceremony the education minister pointed to the critical work the charity has done on HIV awareness.

Rolston Anglin said itwas a necessity in light of the fact that at least 50 children will be born to teenage mothers this year in Cayman.

CIRC Chairman, Andrew McLaughlin, spoke of the work undertaken by CIRC staff and volunteers last year for 50th Anniversary of the organisation in Cayman which helped to raise the funds, profile and awareness of the Red Cross and its programmes. He said the CIRC was looking to develop partnerships and encouraged the community and corporate organisations to take advantage of the trainings and educational/awareness sessions offered by the charity.

The CIRC exhibit is open to the public Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from May 8th to 22nd, 11am-2pm.

Schools are encouraged to book their own tours by contacting 949-6785 ext. 26 or Persons needing more information on the organisation itself, how to get involved, or wishing to purchase tickets for the upcoming Dinner Dance gala can also contact the number and email above.

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Cayman Olympic committee gears up for fans

Cayman Olympic committee gears up for fans

| 07/05/2012 | 0 Comments

P7150182 (240x300).jpg(CNS): In preparation for the 2012 games in London this summer and in order to help fans keep on top of the Cayman Islands’ team in the UK, the local Olympic Committee is spreading the word about its Facebook page and asking the community to log on and check out was happening. Aiming to build up fans and followers and unite the community behind the country’s sporting heroes in Cayman leading up to they are also finalizing orders for Fan T-shirts and memorabilia which will be on sale in a few weeks at a new gift shop will also be opening of the committees offices at the National Resource Centre. 

The CIOC will also be giving away prizes of official team gear from previous games as well as the official pins and fan T-Shirts for 2012 over the next few months leading up to the London Games.

To find out more go to:

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Bush’s tirade condemned

Bush’s tirade condemned

| 07/05/2012 | 46 Comments

_DEW2462_0.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader described the premier’s attack on the governor as a “wicked attempt at distraction” from the three police investigations surrounding him, which he has failed to explain to the people of the Cayman Islands. Members of the opposition and the independent member were quick to condemn the attack by Premier McKeeva Bush on Governor Duncan Taylor and called on the country’s leader to explain the infamous Stan Thomas letter as well as his involvement in the dynamite shipment. Alden McLaughlin said that raising the issue of independence and the relationship with the UK was merely a “red herring” raised in an effort to change the public discussion about the premier and the police probes.

Following a statement released by the premier on Friday evening, in which he launched an attack on Duncan Taylor and took his conspiracy theories to a new level, the opposition warned that Bush was setting the Cayman Islands up for a repeat of what happened in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Mr Bush as Premier should not risk the long-established and mutually beneficially relationship that Cayman and the UK have enjoyed by his unwarranted accusations and attack on the UK's representative,” Ezzard Miller and Arden Mclean warned in a joint statement. “We are extremely concerned that Mr Bush's approach draws eerie similarities to what happened in the Turks & Caicos Islands, which led to the suspension of their constitution, the removal of their elected government and multiple persons being charged with corruption and other abuses of power.”

McLaughlin said Bush must explain the Stan Thomas letter and detail the service provided to Thomas whilst he was leader of government business and what his involvement was in the recent shipment of unlicensed explosives. Condemning the outrageous comments Bush made about the governor, the opposition leader said the premier had to step aside and cooperate with the investigations until they were concluded one way or another.

“I deplore the disgraceful and vindictive attack on the governor,” he said. “It is a truly wicked attempt at distraction and to create a red herring by raising the issue of independence by questioning if the UK is serving us well. He is seeking to distract the focus of public discussion rather than doing what he ought to do, which is to explain the Stan Thomas letter.”

McLaughlin repeated his position that it was untenable for the premier to remain in office given the circumstances as he was attracting further negative international media attention with his comments, risking the reputation of the Cayman Islands.

Miller and McLean agreed and said Bush’s statement was a misguided attempt to deflect attention from the position he was in as the subject of three police investigations.

“It is not Mr Taylor's signature that is on a demand letter to Stan Thomas. It is Mr Bush's. It is not Mr Taylor who is allegedly caught up in an illegal attempt to import explosives into the Cayman Islands. It is Mr Bush,” they said.

“The difficulties that Mr Bush finds himself in cannot be overcome by attempting to pit the Caymanian people against the UK's representative. The solution can only be achieved if Mr Bush would proffer explanations and evidence that are satisfactory to the police so that the investigations can be concluded.”

Despite the pressure on Bush to step aside until the investigations concluded, he has refused to do so and described the investigations as baseless and a conspiracy between the governor, the police commissioner and FCO bureaucrats. In his extraordinary statement on Friday, Bush accused the governor of doing nothing to help the Cayman Islands and “stealthily and insidiously” undermining his attempts to improve the local economy.

Once again Bush failed to illuminate the people about the letter he sent to Thomas demanding $350,000 for a service which remains unexplained and denied importing dynamite.

“I have not done anything illegal to cause a probe into what is termed financial irregularities and I have not imported or caused to be imported any explosive material,” the premier stated Friday.

As Bush’s political colleagues in the UDP continue to stand behind their leader and support his continuation in office, the proposed lack of confidence motion filed by the opposition is doomed to failure even if it reaches the floor of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, when legislators meet for the first time since Police Commissioner David Baines revealed that the premier was the subject of three different police investigations.

The opposition is holding a public meeting this evening in Savannah in an effort to encourage people on to the streets outside the parliament on Wednesday to increase the pressure on Bush to step aside.

See related story:

Mac Attacks Taylor

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Govern for the next generation, not for the next election

Govern for the next generation, not for the next election

| 07/05/2012 | 26 Comments

Fully supported, aided and abetted by his UDP supporting cast inside the Legislative Assembly and their advisors and party members, the premier has hijacked the people- initiated referendum and made it very difficult for the proponents of One Man One Vote (OMOV) to succeed.

The premier has done this in the face of 4,000 plus signatures on a petition, and the overwhelming popular support for One Man One Vote and Single Member Constituencies (up to 80 per cent) in all polls conducted in the media.

Why has the premier and his Government done this disservice to the people whom they claim to love and represent? Because he knows that if given a level playing field, the majority of the voters would vote for equality.

The UDP and the premier’s greatest fear is that this type of people empowerment will not serve them well in the next election.

The Cayman Islands Constitution that came into force on 6 November 2009 provided for two types of referenda – one a government-initiated referendum that is not binding and the second a people-initiated referendum. These referenda are provided for in section 69 and 70.

The UDP government has circulated a Referendum Bill, which they intend to ram down the throats of Caymanian voters using their majority vote in the Legislative Assembly, simply to achieve their objective of retaining the status quo that benefits them politically and dramatically increases their chances of forming the next government, despite their miserable failures during their current term in office. The UDP has no concern or care for the next generation, only for the next election.

The Referendum Bill, as circulated by the UDP Government, has two fundamental flaws. Firstly, it is not binding, and secondly, it does not commit the UDP government to implement single member constituents and One Man One Vote for the election in May 2013.

Therefore, the OMOV group, through the Leader of the Opposition, will be filing the appropriate amendments to the bill, although it will be futile if people do not lend their voices and support to force the premier to make the necessary changes which will give the voting public a fighting chance.

The amendments will call for an implementation timetable to be included in the referendum question, so that when we succeed at the polls, there can be no doubt that the May 2013 elections will be conducted on the Electoral Boundary Commission’s recommendation for 16 single member constituencies in Grand Cayman.

In addition, the amendments will make the results of the referendum binding and, most importantly, increase the chance for success by requiring only 50 per cent plus one of the votes cast and not of the registered electors.

I cannot say that we are surprised that the premier and his UDP cohorts are stacking the deck against the OMOV referendum. This action is typical of the incompetent nature of their administration and people only have to look at their track record on the economy. So far, for all the hoopla and for all their bypassing of due process, they have not been able to get a single one of their economy-saving, job-creating, mega projects off the ground. It's all been promises, promises. You would think they were mating elephants – done at high altitude, lots of noise and a long time to see the results.

Those who have benefited or are set to benefitfrom their economic proposals can be counted on your hands and have enough fingers left to hold a large cigar.

The UDP intends to continue to dictatorially and unilaterally deprive the voters in Cayman of having a system of equality and accountability, even if it costs them the election in 2013.

The only hope of getting the necessary changes to our election law to bring in voter equality and greater accountability and responsibility from politicians, is to force the UDP to make these changes to the Referendum bill or to remove the UDP from office in the next election.

The One Man One Vote group intends to continue its campaign for the implementation of one man one vote, in spite of the difficult odds and the government using the country’s resources to campaign against the referendum it has called.

It is preposterous, unprecedented and downright insulting to the intelligence of Caymanians for the government to call a referendum and them immediately start a campaign against it. The only logical explanation for such unconventional and irrational action is that the UDP wants to disrupt the democratic process.

This is vintage UDP/McKeeva. They have systematically eroded, ignored and abused the rules and conventions of good governance in all areas – the constitutional requirements (except for personal benefits), the legislative process, the procurement of goods and services, the awarding of contracts, the termination of contracts, the granting of duty waivers and the granting of other concessions. They have boldly proclaimed that in their definition and practice of good governance, "substance" is preferred to process. To them, systems of control and accountability, such as the Central Tenders Committee, the Public Finance and Management Law and other legal requirements for good governance are impediments and bureaucratic inconveniences that they are not prepared to endure.

The people who have a vested interest in the continued success of Cayman need to respond to these UDP bad governance manifestations in the most powerful way possible and force the UDP and the premier to change course before the good ship Cayman is completely grounded and destroyed on the rocks of Bush incompetence.

The people must force the premier and his UDP government to accept the amendments to the Referendum Bill and let the voters decide. The premier will only respond to large scale civic demonstrations and involvement. This is a similar to and as important an issue as the changes to the planning laws of the seventies and cadastral survey, which saw the streets of George Town full of demonstrators demanding their rights.

It is time for action against the UDP and its premier.

Let's put one thousand people in George Town on Wednesday lunch time for a meeting in Heroes Square to show the UDP and its premier that Cayman still belongs to us and we honour the sacrifices of our forefathers. Let's demonstrate to the world that we intend to put the good ship Cayman back on course and preserve it for the next generation.

It is time to govern for the next generation and not for the next election.

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