Archive for September 3rd, 2012

Local lawyer spins another yarn in his new thriller

| 03/09/2012 | 3 Comments

Succession.jpg(CNS): The deputy solicitor general who is proving to be a successful novelist has published his second novel.  On the heels of his first fast paced thriller Douglas Schofield’s second fictional work Succession, is described as a political thriller, which melds medical drama, legal drama and historical romance. The new book has reportedly already grabbed Hollywood interest and local readers will have an opportunity to hear from the author himself when he visits a local book shop later this month for the official launch.

Schofield won high praise for his first book Flight Risks and Succession has been optioned for the screen by movie executive and producer Sidney Ganis.

Against the backdrop of the death of the British royal Princess Diana’s funeral Schofield presents his latest heroine surgical resident Emma Parks who always figured her life was pretty ordinary but during the course of the book discover how extraordinary it really is.

Schofield was raised and educated in Canada, where he earned degrees in History and Law. Over the past three decades, he has worked as a trial lawyer in British Columbia, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. During those years, he prosecuted and defended hundreds of cases of murder, sexual assault and other serious crimes. He currently holds the position of Assistant Solicitor General in the Cayman Islands Government, focusing primarily on civil litigation.

Schofield will be discussing his new novel at Books & Books in Camana Bay on Thursday, September 20 at 7pm

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The Likeable Rogue

| 03/09/2012 | 58 Comments

At a cocktail party of polite company, it might have even been at Government House, an English gentleman visiting on official business was overheard making a reference to the “likeable rogue”. Funnily enough he was apparently talking about our very own McKeeva Bush. Like him or hate him, you cannot dispute that he has a certain je ne sais quoi

Historical figures, whether they go down in infamy or honour, often have a colourful history or storied background. Many have made great mistakes as well as accomplished significant deeds. There is often no definitive resolution of their place in history, and the debate continues generation after generation.

The picky head boy from Old Bush, as he often refers to himself, never completed high school, and began his political career under the tutelage of the older West Bay stalwarts. His focus was on the poor and underprivileged, concentrating on social issues, veteran benefits and youth sports. He was heavily involved in the Church and a Scouts leader long before he became an elected member of our legislature.

McKeeva was always a people person and loves mingling and having a laugh at social functions of all kinds, especially with his West Bay folks.  Indeed this is one of his favourite pursuits, and some say, even higher on his list than jet setting off to Dubai. His love of socializing and his approachability has endeared him to many. It is difficult to box him in ideologically, as he displays both liberal and conservative political values, namely strong support of welfare and business at the same time.

On the flip side, he demonstrates his street credentials, often by his bullying tactics and by putting down people who challenge or even appear to question his motives or decisions, and it seems that these are ingrained instincts that he either enjoys or simply cannot overcome. His turn of phrase, use of colloquial terms, biblical quotes and humour often makes for interesting listening. He just loves to go “off script” and when his ire is up, the opposition trembles with anxiousness as to his next utterances. He is quite the orator and is our most charismatic leader by far. Lately he has also given some problems for the UK, but they have much experience in dealing with that sort of thing. Hopefully he still recognizes the value in our historical and beneficial relationship.

As Father of the House, as the current longest serving member of the Legislature, McKeeva clearly has considerable political acumen, which many have underestimated to their own political demise. His ability to also display magnanimity and offer opportunities to his enemies is particularly noteworthy, and he may even be starting to learn the immense strength and power in the appropriate use of restraint.  We have some budding new potential leaders, many with dictatorial tendencies of their own, but sadly without the heart of the Likeable Rogue. 

With the constitution of a bull and an indomitable will to fight on regardless of popular opinion, controversy, allegations, tremendous pressure or obstacle, he is also a man of great faith.  I can think of no one else in Caribbean politics that could have survived the personal, economic and political challenges that he has faced, especially in this last term.  He is the strong man of local politics.

What will be the lasting legacy of the Likeable Rogue? Only time will tell.

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HSBC scandal may impact local AML regime

| 03/09/2012 | 0 Comments

HSBC-Mexico.jpg(CNS Business): As Cayman faces a visit from the OECD in connection with its international obligations regarding tax transparency and anti-money laundering, Premier McKeeva Bush has raised his concerns about HSBC Mexico, which has a class B banking licence in Cayman, and the recent accusations of poor regulation on thousands of its Cayman Islands accounts found to have links to organized crime. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Bush said his government was “extremely concerned” about the potential impact on Cayman. “The actions or lack thereof by the bank officials and alleged misuse of the Cayman entity can undermine the jurisdiction’s hard work and accomplishments in the AML regime,” Bush said. Read more and comment on CNS Business

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NBF sails through committee

| 03/09/2012 | 68 Comments

rubber-stamp.jpg(CNS): Despite the controversy surrounding the more than $4.5 million allocated to the premier’s Nation Building Fund in the 2012/13 budget, the appropriation passed through Finance Committee without question from the opposition members. When the item came up during the committee hearing stage on the night of 24 August, the only opposition members present in the chamber were Kurt Tibbetts and Anthony Eden. Neither the opposition leader nor the two independent members, who have been vigorously opposed to the money being administered by the premier, were there. The line item – Transfer Payment 52 – was passed with only Eden commenting on the payment and asking for money for his constituents.

Premier McKeeva Bush, in his role as Finance Committee chair, welcomed the support from the opposition benches for the fund, which has been the focus of much criticism, as Eden voted for the line item and Tibbetts exited the chamber before the vote was taken. Eden was seeking support for a group in his constituency of Bodden Town who were promoting the history and culture of Cayman through local exhibitions.

Commenting on the mixed message being sent by a member of his party offering support to the fund, Alden McLaughlin said he did not see a mixed message and saw nothing wrong with the principle of nation building. The problem, he said, was not the fund itself but that the premier was distributing the cash.

“We are not opposed to the concept of nation building,” the opposition leader said regarding his party’s position. He added that the premier had been adamant that he was going to retain the fund and it was the administration of the appropriation not the idea behind it that was the problem. “We are merely opposed to the management of it so I don’t see a problem with our members asking for money for legitimate projects," McLaughlin added.

The PPM leader said that if others were not asking for contributions to nation building projects it would be a case of the premier alone deciding where all of the funds would go without input from anyone else, as he supported his party member who was looking out for his constituents.

Bush has faced considerable criticism over the fund and questions about why the money is not allocated to existing areas, such as the Education Council which already allocates scholarships.

Speaking on Cayman 27’s political talk show, The Panel, last week, Bush defended the fund and said that there is a stringent system in place overseeing how the cash is distributed.The premier has denied that the fund is in any way untoward or that he has a personal say in how the cash has been handed out

Most of the money allocated to the fund, which is now more than $14.5 million since the premier created it, has gone to local churches, after school programmes, youth training and scholarships.

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CSIPL still waiting on law

| 03/09/2012 | 16 Comments

ethics (263x300)_0.jpg(CNS): The committee established to monitor conflicts of interest and corruption by all those in public office is still waiting for a law that will enable it to fulfil its mandate under the constitution. The Commission for Standards in Public Life was formed in January 2010 but its members have said since the outset that the committee is unable to act in any meaningful way without the legislation to mandate a register of interests, enforce standards in public life and investigate potential breaches. In its fourth report to the Legislative Assembly the commission states that the draft law is still with the Attorney General’s Chambers.

The report, which was completed in February, was laid on the table of the Legislative Assembly some six months later on Friday 31 August. In it, the commission once again pointed to the lack of legislation as a problem for advancing its work.

“In its three previous reports, the Commission highlighted the need for the enactment of the necessary enabling legislation to ensure the Commission can fully perform its functions in a  proper, timely and effective manner,” the report states. “The Commission remains of the view that the lack of supporting and enforceable legislation renders its mandate to maintain a Register of Interests as well as the additional responsibilities of the Commission under section 117 of the Constitution meaningless in so far as it relates to the Commission’s ability to validate powers of compliance monitoring for standards in public life and investigations of potential breaches.”

In its third report, which was published more than a year ago, the commission reported that the draft legislation was essentially complete and was expected to go before Cabinet before the end of 2011. However, the law has not yet left the government lawyer’s office, which means it is unlikely that the commission will have legislation in place and passed before the end of 2012.

The law does feature in the government’s legislative agenda published in the budget documents last month, but it sits at the end of a long list of laws and regulatory changes that the government plans to enact before March 2013.

“Until the requisite enabling legislation is put in place, the Commission will continue to use its best endeavours to address the tenets of good governance and standards in public life in the broadest terms possible,” the members wrote in the report.

The commission has in the meantime, according to the report, been working on issues regarding procurement but says that government has still not acted on recommendations it made more than a year ago.

It has also been reviewing the appointments to statutory boards as it said there is scope for improvement. The commission said there needs to be “a clear and unequivocal set of rules and standards to govern how members of public boards are selected” as well as how they operate.

“The Commission is also of the firm belief that steps must be taken to ensure that individuals who are appointed to public boards do not place themselves in positions where conflicts of interest arise."

According to the 4th report, the commission will continue its work on government procurement to formulate a strategy and action to manage the process and create a system specific to meet local needs.

“The Commission will also seek to ensure the Government understands the importance placed on the recommendations contained in the Third Report which have yet to be enacted," the commission stated.

Despite its various calls for government to implement codes of conduct and enact its own legislation to enforce the Nolan Principles, which are the international benchmarkof standards in public life, the commisssion remains powerless to act on any complaint about or enforce any standards in public life.

See report here.

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About the CNS Library

| 03/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Library): This is an ongoing project, which aims to make information readily available and easy to find. We would very much appreciate any comments or suggestions, so if you notice an error, you have additional or updated information, or if you would like to submit an entry, we would love to hear from you. The CNS Library will be for public documents and factual content only and we hope that this will become a useful resource for the general public, including students and journalists, both local and international.

Documents: Over the years many reports have been commissioned that could be useful to future policy makers and the public which employs them, or may be used by students and historians. The documents and reports we have filed represent an incomplete collection which we hope to add to as we unearth them. If you have any documents that you think should be in the public domain, please send them to us and we will publish them here.

Biographies: We will be including biographies of people who hold a position of some significance in the Cayman Islands, in either the public or the private sectors. If you would like to submit an entry to this section, please send it to us for consideration. No comments will be allowed on biographies but entries may be updated by CNS.

Please email info@caymannewsservice.com to add to or improve the CNS Public Library.

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Cabinet

| 03/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Library): The government of the Cayman Islands follows the Westminster system, whereby the leader of the party which gains the most seats in a general election assumes the controlling position of Cabinet — the premier of the Cayman Islands. The premier holds one ministry. He also advises the governor on the appointment of another four ministers from among the elected members to various portfolios. However, there are also three ex-officio members: the governor, who presides over Cabinet meetings, the deputy governor and the attorney general. Under the new constitution the number of elected ministers will increase to six.

If no political party gains a majority in a general election, the members of the Legislative Assembly elect the premier by ballot. No individual can serve as premier for more than two terms.

If the governor he is absent from a Cabinet meeting, it is chaired by the premier or, in the absence of the premier, the deputy premier. The governor and the premier together set the agenda for every Cabinet meeting, and both of them are entitled to include items on the agenda.

Cabinet:

Official Members:

Duncan Taylor – Cayman Islands Governor

Franz Manderson – Deputy Governor, Portfolio of Internal & External Affairs

Samuel Bulgin – Attorney General, Portfolio Legal Affairs

Elected Members:

McKeeva Bush – Premier, Minister of Finance, Tourism & Development

Juliana O'Connor Connolly – Deputy Premier, Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands & Agriculture 

Rolston Anglin – Minister of Education, Training & Employment

Mike Adam – Minister of Community Affairs, Gender & Housing 

Mark Scotland – Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture

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Members of the Legislative Assembly

| 03/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Library): There are currently 15 elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands who represent the six districts: four each from George Town and West Bay, three from Bodden Town, two from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and one each from North Side and East End. Under the new constitution, this must increase to 18, however, how and where and even when the new members will be added is a much discussed and controversial issue. The deputy governor and the attorney general will continue as ex officio members. 

There is no upper house of parliament. Laws are passed by a unicameral legislature — which is the Legislative Assembly. The speaker of the House, or the deputy speaker in the absence of the speaker, presides over the Legislative Assembly while it is in session.

A bill is put to the LA after it has been approved by Cabinet. If passed by the members of the Legislative Assembly it must then be assented to by the Governor of the Cayman Islands before it is is published in the Official Gazette.

The Governor may at any time, by Proclamation, prorogue or dissolve the LA. Every four years the governor dissolves the LA and within two months there is general election to elect new members or re-elect incumbents.

Members:

West Bay

McKeeva Bush (UDP) – Premier

Rolston Anglin (UDP) – Minister of Education, Training & Employment

Cline Glidden (UDP)

Captain Eugene Ebanks (UDP)

George Town:

Alden McLaughlin (PPM) – Leader of the Opposition

Mike Adam (UDP) – Minister of Community Affairs, Gender & Housing 

Kurt Tibbetts (PPM)

Ellio Solomon (UDP)

Bodden Town:

Mark Scotland (UDP) – Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture

Dwayne Seymour (UDP)

Anthony Eden (PPM)

North Side:

Ezzard Miller (Independent)

East End:

Arden McLean (Independent)

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman:

Juliana O'Connor Connolly (UDP) – Deputy Premier, Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands & Agriculture 

Moses Kirkconnell (PPM)

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