Archive for May 18th, 2012

Committee urges patriotic display

| 18/05/2012 | 0 Comments

Flags _0077 aa.jpg(CNS): A local committee which is organising this summer’s events to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is asking people to fly the Union Jack as well as the Cayman Islands flag outside homes and business over the next few weeks leading up to the June celebrations. The committee is also encouraging business-owners and residents to decorate their offices and properties. “We hope this patriotic act will imprint in peoples’ minds that the Cayman Islands is proud of its monarch, and that we are honoured to be a part of this historic occasion,” said Mary Lawrence, who is the LA Speaker and chair of the committee.

The local schedule of Diamond Jubilee events includes a Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) Fundraising Luncheon on Saturday 2 June, as well as an early evening flotilla in Hog Sty Bay, followed by fireworks. On 2 and 3 June celebratory services and lunches will take place at churches throughout these Islands.

On the holiday Monday, 4 June, there will be a ceremonial parade around Heroes Square at 10:00a.m., followed by an international celebration of cultures, including food and music. Cayman Brac’s Monday events will take place at the Agricultural Showgrounds.
Special celebrations will continue through year-end, including a New Year’s Eve ball.
Other events will include the issue of commemorative limited edition coins, stamps and other memorabilia.

The Jubilee commemorates the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II ascending the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952. Local celebrations will begin with a torch run and an official public launch at Pedro St. James next Saturday (26 May), and will continue through June 5.

“Connecting Cultures” is the theme for the Jubilee festivities throughout the Commonwealth.

For more information, visit: www.Facebook.com/CaymanIslandsProtocol; Twitter.com/CaymanProtocol; call 949-9809, email CINA@gov.ky; or visit the UK’s official website: www.TheDiamondJubilee.org.

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Student scientests to show off experiments

| 18/05/2012 | 0 Comments

mad_science_flask_girl_yq8e (216x300).jpg(CNS): The islands’ young scientists will be sparking up the Bunsen Burners and rattling the test tubs this weekend when Rotary Central’s annual Science Fair, opens at the Arts and Recreation Centre at Cayman International School. Now in its sixth year the show which has continued to grow has reached an all-time high this year with 85 students participating. The youngsters will be demonstrating a variety of research work and executing what are expected to be some exciting experiments. Rotary Central President, Fiona Mosley said, “We are truly excited to see student numbers continue to grow and we are looking forward to seeing the various presentations this year,” she said.

“The Science Fair is a real boost for the students who take part, and gives them an opportunity to develop their research skills and explore the practical applications of what they learn in the classroom – we have seen some really cool and interesting experiments over the years.  We are looking forward to this year’s event and encourage everyone to come along,” she adds.

The 2012 Science Fair will take place on Saturday 26th May, from 10am to 3pm, at the Arts and Recreation Centre at Cayman International School. The event is open to the public and admission is free.  The students compete for cash towards their tertiary educations as well as other prizes.

This year’s line-up of sponsors include Dart as the Major Sponsor along with fellow supporters HSBC, LIME, Maples, Ministry of Education, Training and Employment, Greenlight Re, Kirk Office Equipment, ElectraTech, Tower Marketing, Cayman Water and Water Authority.

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Public urged to take stock and prepare early

| 18/05/2012 | 11 Comments

Hurricane_Ivan_passing_over_the_Cayman_Islands_e155165.jpg(CNS): With Tropical Storm Aletta already kicking off the hurricane season west of Mexico’s coast for the Pacific area residents here in Cayman are reminded that Mother Nature doesn’t watch calendars or listen to predictions. Although long term forecasters have predicted lower than average storm activity the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season local officials are warning residents not to let their guard down. HMCI is encouraging residents to take stock of their current level of readiness, and review and update their family plan this weekend as the island marks national preparedness day on Monday’s Discovery Day holiday.

The team said this was a sensible time to restock first aid kits and supplies of non-perishable food, check shutters and trim back trees as well as testing emergency equipment such as generators and flashlights.

“Decide where you will store your car during a hurricane and factor into your action plan the time to move it to higher ground,” officials said Friday. “Check insurance policies to ensure they are current and that flood damage is included in your policy.”
They pointed out that waiting until a hurricane is on your doorstep to buy emergency supplies is too late as they will be in short supply or even completely unavailable.

“Following a major impact, it is possible that it will be days or weeks before electricity and other utilities are restored. Debris could block the roads, preventing vehicles from getting in our out of your neighbourhood. It is important be ready to be completely self-sufficient during that period. Help might not be able to reach you for days after a storm, so you need to plan for that,” officials reminded residents.

The Hazard Management team recommends people stock up with the most critical supplies to have on hand, well before a hurricane threatens which includes at least a 3-day and preferably a 7-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day); non-perishable food; manual can opener; first aid kit; Battery-powered radios and flashlights, as well as plenty of batteries.

As is traditional Cox Lumber Ltd, Progressive Distributors Ltd, Kirk Home Centre, Uncle Bill’s Home Improvement Centre and A.L. Thompson’s will be supporting the National Day of Preparedness on Monday.

Each company has put together disaster preparedness kits as a prize for a local resident and the stores will be hosting HMCI staff to engage the public and to distribute disaster information kits and hazard brochures. This year five lucky winners will receive disaster preparedness kits, courtesy of Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) and the participating stores.
 

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‘Burn’ it like Beckham as flame heads for the UK

| 18/05/2012 | 9 Comments

beckham_ap_2220586b.jpg(CNS): UK’s footballing hero David Beckham was one of a number of dignitaries escorting the Olympic flame from Athens to London Friday.  When the flame lands in the UK this evening it will trigger a 70-day torch relay leading to the opening of the Games in London on 27 July. The former England soccer captain joined  Princess Anne, the London Games chairman Seb Coe, London Mayor Boris Johnson, and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson on a golden-liveried Airbus – the 'Firefly' from the Greek capital. The flame was handed over to the London delegation at a ceremony in torrential rain at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.

"When the flame arrives and the torch relay starts to get under way, that is a physical moment in terms of the process towards the Games," the Princess, who formally received the flame at Thursday’s ceremony.

The plane will land RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall in south-west England, when at a special welcome ceremony Beckham will use the flame shielded in a miners lantern to light a golden torch and a cauldron. "To be travelling back with the flame tonight, and to be lighting it, is something very special. Something that I am going to cherish for many years," Beckham said.

Some 8,000 torchbearers will carry the Olympic flame through hill and dale across the UK. The bearers are mostly local people who have worked to better their communities.

 

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Work initiative leads to jobs for 65%

| 18/05/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A year after they graduated sixty five per cent of the students from the third group of government’s youth training programme are in work and a further 30% of them  are in school officials revealed. On their first year anniversary from the Passport2Success (P2S) programme this month the education and employment ministry said that five of those who are working have been with the same employer for past 12 months. Two are completing the ILEX – Legal Secretarial Course next month, two are working on associate degrees at UCCI; one is pursuing an associate degree at ICCI and another is attending school overseas.

The students have found work with a cross section of employers including LIME, Kirk Freeport, Cayman Islands Airport Authority, Water Authority (Cayman), Al La Kebab, DECCO and the North Sound Golf Club.

Minister for Education, Training extremely “proud and ecstatic at the achievements each” of them had made over the past year. “‘Keep working hard, keep moving forward and always strive for better,’ he told the group which is now part a growing pool of young people who have been assisted by the specialist programme designed to bring down the barriers face by young people seeking employment and then staying in it.

Shannon Seymour, programme coordinator at the Wellness Centre, said the graduates had come such a long way from the people they were when they started Passport2Success.  “We at the Wellness Centre are truly proud of you and continue to wish you all the best as you continue along your journey.”

For more information regarding the P2S 12-week intensive programme as well as application forms, visit www.passport2success.ky.  

 

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Lawyers to work for free

| 18/05/2012 | 133 Comments

dre1227l.jpg(CNS): If a proposed bill becomes legislation, all lawyers working in the Cayman Islands will be required to offer pro bono services to those in need of legal representation but who cannot afford an attorney, with an option of paying an annual fee instead. The draft Legal Aid and Pro Bono Legal Services Bill 2012, which deals with the contentious issue of how legal aid is funded and to ensure the public is given equal access to justice, has been released for public consultation. It proposes, for the first time, that all lawyers will be obligated to provide their services free of charge for 25 hours per year or make an annual contribution to the court of $2,500.

The bill also introduces a legal aid director to manage the funding of the defence scheme, as well as requiring the lawyers to be available for legal aid work and pro bono services.
With the legal aid budget hovering around $1.8 million per annum and a constant shortage of lawyers to take on the mounting number of criminal cases, government has been trying  to find a solution to the problem of equality in justice.

The latest draft bill introduces a legal obligation, which will see the country’s more than 500 lawyers forced to contribute to public justice, either through their skills or financially, and no longer relies on the goodwill of a small number of attorneys who have been willing to take on pro bono work.

Although the profession and government had resisted legislating that lawyers work pro bono, this law now proposes to create a legal professional duty. Every attorney’s licence to practice in Cayman will be contingent on the demonstrated completion of their annual pro bono quota or payment of a fee which will be used to off-set legal aid costs. The only lawyers that the obligation will not apply to, if the legislation is passed, are those working for government.

Currently, there are only around a dozen lawyers who are regularly available for legal aid work. These are mostly criminal attorneys who are paid a flat rate of $135 per hour from the legal aid fund, which is currently administered by the courts. Several of these lawyers already do many hours of pro bono work on top of the legal aid hours for which they bill, but the pool of attorneys doing so remains extremely small given the number of qualified lawyers working in the Cayman Islands and the mounting number of serious criminal cases that these attorneys are dealing with. .

In this new draft bill it is proposed that all lawyers, regardless of their position, will now do some work for those in need of representation free of charge, alongside the criminal defence attorneys, who will continue to work for the legal aid system. There is also a  provision for collective service for larger firms, whose attorneys can pool their pro bono hours.

It is proposed that the legal aid funding and management will be handled by an appointed director and support staff in the Deputy Governor’s Office.

According to the new bill, the director will establish a list and manage a roster of available attorneys for defence and introduce a duty counsel system for those remanded in custody at the police station and charged with a crime. It also sets out to cap the legal aid earnings of any individual attorney at $80,000 per year, except in certain circumstances. The director will also be responsible for preparing the annual legal aid budget.

The proposed law sets out the criteria and qualifications for those applying legal aid and provides a way of having those provided with public money for their representation to contribute to that cost if they have the means to do so.

Funding for legal aid continues to be a contentious issue but with the advent of the Bill of Rights in November, equitable access to justice is enshrined in law. With criminal cases mounting and little popular support for the growing costs of criminal defence, government has wrestled with the issue for several years.

A controversial plan and an effort to cut the budget by the premier in 2009 by creating a legal aid clinic with its own lawyers under his ministry was abandoned when the proposal was criticised in a report as being more costly than the current system. The move also brought sharp criticism from the chief justice when the legal aid budget was taken from judicial administration, and legal aid lawyers encountered significant issues getting paid for the work they were doing. The uncertainty surrounding legal aid over the last few years has led to some defence attorneys abandoning, or reducing, their legal aid work, making a bad situation even worse.

Government is now seeking comment on the proposed bill by 5pm on Friday 13 July. The draft bill can be viewed here or below.  Comments should be forwarded to Director of the Law Reform Commission, Cheryl Neblett at: cheryl.neblett@gov.ky.

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Near 10% locals still jobless

| 18/05/2012 | 92 Comments

no-help-wanted.jpg(CNS): Almost ten percent of Caymanian workers are without a job, the Economics and Statistics office has said in its latest report on the country’s labour force. Despite an increase in the size of the workforce, overall unemployment increased last year from 6.2% in 2010 to 6.3%. The rate of unemployment among Caymanian workers remained at 9.8% at the end of last year, while unemployment among non-Caymanians was 3.1%. The ESO reports that the size of the workforce is estimated at 37,620 and the number of people in work in 2011 was said to be 35,267. With an extra 23 added to the jobless list, 2,353 remained unemployed last year.

“I am pleased that the labour market has improved last year, and I expect it to further make progress this year,” said Premier McKeeva Bush who has responsibility for the ESO.

Non-Caymanians make up a greater percentage of the local labour force, taking 52.9% of the work. People aged between 35 and 44 years accounted for 33.2% of the labour force in 2011, followed by the 25-34 year-olds, which comprised 25.2%. However people under the age of 24 have the highest levels of unemployment at more than 20%. Overall, the largest group of unemployed people was Caymanian men younger than 35 as they make up more than 54% of the jobless total.

Despite Cayman’s claim to having a high standard of living, almost 37% of the work force earns less than $1,600 per month. The ESO report reveals that the highest earners in the country are still predominately non-Caymanian men and the lowest earners are non-Caymanian women.

The report also reveals that unemployment among Caymanians is, in many cases, long term with more than 50% being out of work for more than a year and one in six has never had a job. On the whole, they have been without work for longer than six months and have relied mainly on financial support from spouses or partners, parents, or other relatives and friends.

Despite this, over half of the unemployed (56%) had received some form of training and around a quarter had finished college or university.

The top occupation remains service and sales, which accounts for 19.4% of total employment. Elementary occupations account for 16.3%, professionals make up 15.1%, technicians and associate professionals 13.9% and craft and related trade workers account for just over 10%.

About half of the country’s work force is either a civil servant, or works in construction, finance or the wholesale and retail trades. Of those workers who remitted some of their earnings overseas, 28.3% sent up to $4,000 home.

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Jamaica-Cayman bishop issues corruption warning

| 18/05/2012 | 24 Comments

gregory.jpg(Jamaica Gleaner): Newly installed Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Right Reverend Dr Howard Gregory, is urging the church to dissociate itself from tainted money, which continues to circulate in the society where corruption is rampant. Gregory said yesterday that members of the church could not consider themselves exempt from corrupt activities if they were either caught up in or benefiting from the act. He was speaking to a packed Cathedral Church of St Jago de la Vega in Spanish Town, St Catherine, after he was enthroned as the 14th bishop of the diocese.

"I warn the church that the rally card and some of the fund-raising activities need to be subjected to closer scrutiny as they run the risk of bringing drug and other tainted money into the coffers of the church," he declared.

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