Archive for June 20th, 2012

Miller: Findings back rollover

| 20/06/2012 | 95 Comments

2959754739_82f289be6c.jpg(CNS): Although the Term Limit Review Committee has recommended that government drop the controversial seven year term limit for foreign workers, Ezzard Miller says the findings of the report show that the policy has worked. The independent MLA says that, despite the recommendations made by the authors, their findings indicate that rollover has not driven business away but has worked and limited the number of people who are now eligible for Caymanian status. He said that removing the seven year limit and allowing everyone to apply for PR is nothing more “than kicking the can down the road” and will raise unrealistic expectations among foreign workers.

Miller is likely to be a lone voice on the issue, however, as it seems government, the opposition and large parts of the community are set to support the committee’s recommendation to pushthe term limit back to ten years.  Nevertheless, despite being one of the few remaining supporters of rollover, Miller believes it is still the best policy.

He said the idea that because government will let all people who stay here for ten years apply for PR, more people will be granted residency is misleading as it cannot afford to allow many of those who apply through because it will not have the money to take care of low paid workers once they retire. He warned that making the system seem fairer to allow low income workers the right to permanently reside may sound politically correct but it wasn’t a realistic option.

Miller warned that allowing everyone to stay longer than eight years so they could apply for PR would place the Cayman government at risk of human rights challenges and would create false expectations because, while everyone would then apply for residency, government would have no intention of granting all but a few of the applications.

Although he admitted it might not be a perfect system, Miller told CNS that he supported the key employee system. “There is nothing wrong with principle behind the ‘key application’ process.  I don’t agree with the TLRC that it’s the employer making the decision,” he said. “The decision is made by the board based on a lawful set of criteria.”

The independent member noted that to improve the application process, those given key status should meet all of the criteria established by government, not just one.

Miller emphasised that the report found that rollover was not the main issue impacting the Cayman economy so there was no real reason to remove it. He said that it was a fallacy that thousands of people had left because of the term limits. “As I’ve said many times before, immigration isn’t the problem. It’s simply not true that people have left en-masse. This was confirmed by CUC who had not lost the thousands of customers that they should have done if the exodus was a reality.”

Miller said the problem is government’s imposition of high fees and policies, which were crippling existing small business and preventing new entrepreneurs from launching start-ups. The North Side representative said the cost of borrowing was too high and the cost of fees even higher.

“Government has been addressing the wrong problem all along,” he added, pointing to endless amendments to the immigration law since the UDP administration took office. “But there have been no amendments to legislation to help small businesses. With the exception of bending laws and policies to meet the wants of his favoured major developers, who are lauded as economic saviours, the premier has done nothing to help the backbone of the economy.”

Miller told CNS that, given the current economic circumstances and the number of Caymanians out of work, the government should be turning its attention to reducing the number of permits. He said new jobs are no longer being created, which means young Caymanians need to be given the work that is currently held by migrant workers.

He conceded, however, that this was unlikely to be a priority for government considering the amount of revenue it now collects from work permit fees and its dependence on that money to pay for the ballooning public sector.

See full TLRC report here

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Wolverines and Killa-Panthers remain undefeated

| 20/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(GCFFA): After three weeks of flag football action, the Burger King Wolverines have positioned themselves as the team to beat in the Dart Women’s League, as they easily shut-out Maples Bliss last Friday night with a final score of 30-0.Quarterback for the Wolverines, Antoinette Lewis, completed 23 of 28 passes, including three for touchdowns and one interception thrown. Lewis’ favorite receiver was Benecia Thompson, who caught six balls, including one for a touchdown and extra points. Alex Terry was another favorite, receiving three balls and rushing one pass in for a touchdown.

Jahzenia Thomas and Joni Wood also contributed to the score with their catches in the end-zone resulting in touchdowns, and Lewis also utilized the height of Jessica Ebanks and Carrie Barnett, whose receptions added up to extra points for the Wolverines.

On defense, the Wolverines were led by Shinette Rhoden and Thomas, with three tackles each. Ebanks read the game well, gaining two interceptions and Barnett came up with one.

For Maples Bliss, who were without their quarterback, the team barely made it past the 40 yard line. Filling in the role of quarterback for Ellenor Berry was Loletta Hanna, who completed just five of 18 pass attempts, with three interceptions thrown.

Malaqui Awe helped Maples gain some yards with the four balls she caught. Somali Small also caught a ball, but there was little offensive action made by Maples to bring them even close to scoring.
  Defense saw Maples with much more action as they tried to stop the Wolverines from gaining further momentum. Maples’ defense was excellent in the second half, as they prevented their opponents from adding to the already inflated score. Somali Small had five tackles and an interception, and Annique Holness also had five tackles and one sack to the quarterback. Sheyla Torres also had two tackles and two sacks, and Kamala Murugesu also came through with a sack.
  Starting off Saturday morning’s games were Hammerheads Lady Sharks against Lone Star JagerMonsters. Quarterback for Lady Sharks, Hong Nguyen led her team to the 20-6 victory with completing 13 out of 23 passes, including two for touchdowns and two interceptions thrown.
  Star receiver for the Lady Sharks, Scimone Campbell, caught two touchdown passes and three more balls. Sophia Foster was a next favorite look as she received four balls on offense.
  Leading the defense for Lady Sharks was Lilia Conolly with eight tackles, including one interception that led to a defense touchdown. Campbell was also key on defense contributing with three tackles and an interception, and Judy Rivers also followed with an interception and two tackles.
  The Lone Star JagerMonsters might have seen a closer game with Hammerheads Lady Sharks, but three interceptions thrown slowed any promising advancement by the team. Quarterback Tricia Miller completedjust 11 of 25 passes, including one touchdown pass to Erica Bosch.
  Bosch received two more balls, followed by Renee Thompson with three balls and Monique Roberts with two.
  Renee Thompson showed her dominance on defense with five tackles and one interception, followed by Nickey Martinich with four tackles and one interception. Bosch also chipped in with three tackles, and Roberts came through on defense with a sack to the quarterback.
The undefeated Androgroup Killa-Panthers retain their status as they beat the struggling Subway Stingers 19-0. Quarterback for the Killa-Panthers, Christina Hefner completed 23 out of 30 pass attempts, including three touchdown passes.
  Cassandra Bodden, a favorite receiver of Hefner’s, caught two of the touchdown passes, and Lisa Malice caught the third. Bodden also had seven more receptions, followed by Heather Roffey with seven.
  Androgroup’s defense also kept the Subway Stingers from scoring even though the team made it down to the end zone a few times. Heather Roffey led the defense with four tackles, followed by sister Gillian Roffey with three tackles. Stephanie Watler darted around the blockers adding two sacks on the quarterback, and two tackles.
  Subway Stingers improved their game this week with quarterback Christina Pineda managing to move her team down the field with many attempts to tie the game. Completing 13 of 29 pass attempts, Pineda’s main receiver was center player Keisha Anglin, who caught the ball seven times. Despite having a tight defense played on her, Latoya Cover managed to receive the ball three times on some key downs for Subway.
  Cover shone on defense with eight tackles, followed by Keisha Anglin with six tackles and Timisha Edwards and Dionne Anglin each with five. Rookie Nikki Ebanks bullied her way through to sack the Killa-Panthers’ quarterback twice.
  Zulu Warriors put the spell on Hot 104.1 Cheetah’s winning 14-0. Quarterback for the Warriors, Jessica Pawlik, completed just six of 19 passes, with four interceptions thrown, but two passes ending in touchdowns. Dionne Whittaker also stepped in as QB, completing three of four pass attempts including one for a touchdown.
  Shamar Ennis caught two of the touchdown passes, and when Pawlik stepped in as receiver, she helped gain yards the other way, catching three of Whittaker’s balls.
Leading Zulu’s defense was Adrianna Christian who managed to sack the Cheetah’s quarterback four times. Shari Seymour added four tackles to the defense, as did Whittaker with three. Hortencia Jackson also kept the Zulu’s defensive momentum up with her interception.
  Although the Hot 104.1 Cheetah’s had a higher percentage in their throwing and catching game than the Warriors did, they were still unsuccessful in making completions where it counts- the end zone.
  Quarterback Kimberley Rivers completed nine of 21 passes. Jessica Richards received three balls, followed by Sophia Dilbert and Jamesette Anglin each with two receptions.
  On defense, the Cheetah’s show their strength with rushers Diandra Bodden and Amanda Nelson each coming up with a sack, interceptions by Jennifer Cotarelo, Tonia Ebanks-McLaughlin and two from Jamesette Anglin.
  Week four of the Dart Women’s League sees Friday night’s game between Hammerheads Lady Sharks and Subway Stingers at 8pm. The first game at 10am on Saturday is between Maples Bliss and Hot 104.1 Cheetah’s. Both teams have seen losses in the past couple of weeks. The final two games of the day begin at 11am with the undefeated Burger King Wolverines against Zulu Warriors and the undefeated Andgroup Killa-Panthers against the Lone Star JagerMonsters.

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Teenage girl charged with arson following house fire

| 20/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police have now charged an 18-year-old girl who was arrested at the weekend following a house fire in George Town. An RCIPS spokesperson said the teenager was expected to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon charged with arson with intent to endanger life. The fire occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning at Oakmill Street in Windsor Park. No one was injured in the blaze as all of the occupants were safely removed from the house by emergency crews. Police have not named the young woman who is being charged with the offences nor have they stated if she was a resident at the house.

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Cost of living going up despite fall in housing costs

| 20/06/2012 | 38 Comments

food-prices (225x300).jpg(CNS): Despite the lingering recession in the Cayman Islands, the community continues to face inflation in the face of high transport costs as well as food and drink. According to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the quarter ending March 2012, inflation increased only marginally by 0.1% compared to last year. However, in reality Caymanians are spending 6.4% more on transport and fuel and over 5% more on food & drink compared to this time last year. The relatively low inflation rate was as a result of a fall in the cost of renting, which accounts for 40% of the goods basket used to measure the CPI.

“The downward pressure to inflation arose from the housing price index which declined anew by 3.9%,” Finance Minister McKeeva Bush said this week on the publication of the latest statistical information.

The increase in food costs was led by a whopping 11% rise in seafood, a more than 9% increase in oils and fats, a growth of 8.8% in the price of fruit and a more than 7% increase in soft drinks, including mineral water, as well as fruit and vegetable juices.
Since the last quarter results the CPI decreased by 1.1% because of housing costs, which declined by 4.9% due to the movement in imputed rentals for housing

Meanwhile, since December last year restaurants and hotel prices increased by 5.3%, driven mainly by a 38.1% increases in the average cost of accommodation services. Hospital service also drove up the cost of healthcare by 1.6%. Clothing and footwear went up by 1.6% above the level in December 2011 and miscellaneous goods and services went up by 1.2%.

The transportation index experienced a net increase of 1% due to increases in the average cost of vehicles purchased – some 6.4% — and transport services which went up by more than 2%.

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Rollover not the issue, say businesses

| 20/06/2012 | 0 Comments

closed_0.jpg(CNS Business): The cost of doing business in Cayman is the most important factor influencing the business community and not the rollover policy, according to the results of a survey conducted by a government committee. In a report by the Term Limit Review Committee, set up to examine the impact of government’s seven year term limit on the country, the survey of businesses found that rollover was only the fifth most important factor out of eight that impacted growth or decisions to remain in the Cayman Islands. As well as the high cost of doing business, Cayman’s reputation, global economic conditions and fees to government were listed as more influential than the term limit. Read more on CNS Business

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Voter equality

| 20/06/2012 | 71 Comments

Right now all voters are able to cast votes for all of their district representatives. This situation pertains in every district and is therefore consistent throughout these Cayman Islands. This is a form of equality. One man, one vote is also a form of voter equality. Single member voting areas as proposed will, however, mean that the only true district representatives will be from East End and North Side.

Are all the people of George Town, West Bay, Bodden Town, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman somehow being unfair or selfish for wanting to have a say in all their district representatives? This is the case that now pertains in every district. We are all now equal in this respect.

Is it fair for the MLAs for East End and North Side to be the only politicians to be able to say they alone represent their entire district? This will be the case if we go to single member constituencies and one man, one vote. The politicians for North Side and East End will still be able to get up and say, “I represent the district of North Side/East End.” Will the voice of the man or woman who gets elected for the neighborhoods of Scranton or Eastern Avenue carry the same weight?

If North Side and East End were large enough to have multiple representatives, how would their current MLA’s feel about representing say only half of their district? I am sure that the people in Cayman Kai and Rum Point may have different concerns than the people of say Frank Sound and Old Man Bay. If the numbers were large enough to justify two representatives in North Side, for example, what would that do to the social fabric of the district? Lets not be shortsighted, this day will come too for North Side and East End.

As the population grows we will constantly have to further divide this small country and elect politicians in accordance with what small neighborhood you happen to live in. My overriding concern is that this will cause increasing division. It will also create greater insular thinking and less national perspective.

I have lived in this community for many years and I have friends and family in all the districts. I have never heard any of them claim they are second class because they live in East End and North Side and only have one representative. Quite the contrary, some of the proudest people in these islands are from these districts. I would love to live there myself and my decision would not in any way be affected by having one politician in charge.

After much thought, I have had to ask myself why all the fuss now about this situation that has been in effect from the time we started electing our politicians. Bearing in mind who has been doing the pushing and the most vocal (past, current and would-be politicians), I have come to the conclusion that they must think it is in their own interest. Surely they would not be campaigning so heavily because they feel so sorry for us and just want to give everybody the same great “benefits” that their constituents enjoy.  If that is their primary motive then they should all be declared saints. But have we ever heard of a politician being canonized?

No there must be another reason. And I think I have the answer. But it may be too sensational to disclose here at this time.

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