Archive for December 20th, 2012

UDP moves to oust former 5

UDP moves to oust former 5

| 20/12/2012 | 85 Comments

(CNS): The Bodden Town ministers, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour, have been given seven days to resign from the UDP or face a hearing with the district council, which would result in their forced removal. An e-mail from the Bodden Town UDP chair, Mario Rankine, who was, CNS can confirm, arrested Thursday, chastised the two Bodden Town MLAs and makes it clear that they are no longer welcome in the party. Following the decision by Scotland and Seymour, along with the new premier, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Rolston Anglin and Cline Glidden, to oust Bush from office Tuesday, the new Cabinet had already said they expected in turn to be ousted from the United Democratic Party.

In his e-mail Rankine states that he is “very disappointed that you guys did not care to inform or communicate with the council on what your actions would be that took place earlier this week”, and went on to write that the move demonstrated “the highest level of disloyalty and disrespect to the UDP.”

Rankine, who has been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences, told Seymour and Scotland in an email sent to them sometime on Wednesday afternoon that it was the die-hard supporters who made it possible for them to be legislators. But in light of their actions they were exercising “the power in the UDP constitution to discipline any member whose actions are not in the best interest of the UDP and more importantly the people of the Cayman Islands.”

He said he was signing aletter to serve both men with seven days’ notice of the hearing, giving them a chance to be heard.

“However it would be easier if you Mark Scotland and John Seymour just simply step down as UDP and save the good people who put their entire life and reputation on the line for you guys any further embarrassment,” he wrote. “For the record Mark Scotland and John Seymour do NOT have me and my family support anymore the campaign against them starts NOW,” Rankine stated in his correspondence.

While the five former UDP Cabinet members now have control of government, it appears that all five are likely to be ousted from the formal UDP over the next few days. CNS understands, however, that not all of the party membership is deserting the five, with some senior members already making moves to leave the UDP and back the breakaway group.

McKeeva Bush will be hosting a public meeting in George Town this evening when the extent of the party's lack of unity will be revealed. The former premier and political veteran is expected to respond to the events over the last ten days, which have seen his fall from high office in the wake of his arrest Tuesday 11 December on suspicion of theft and several offences under the anti-corruption law.

In the Legislative Assembly one week later, on Tuesday 19 December, the opposition leader’s no confidence motion succeeded as five government members supported it, bringing down Bush’s administration. However, before the debate began, Bush effectively resigned from the government benches when he crossed the floor of the House in the company of Mike Adam, Captain Eugene Ebanks and Ellio Solomon. While the UDP is now split, it is clear that Bush, not O’Connor-Connolly, remains the leader of the UDP and will be re-grouping that party in preparations for the May general elections.

Rankine was arrested Thursday afternoon by officers from the immigration department but no details of that arrest have been released.

Continue Reading

Bush set to face the people

Bush set to face the people

| 20/12/2012 | 153 Comments

DSC_4996-2_1.png(CNS): The former Cayman Island premier is scheduled to hold a public meeting in George Town this evening, when he is expected to speak about his recent ousting from office and the new shape of the United Democratic Party. The political group is now divided between support for the ‘former UDP Five’ now holding government and the ‘Bush Four’, following theousting of McKeeva Bush’s government on Tuesday. Following a meeting with Bush and the UDP membership last night, it is understood that he moved to oust the five from the UDP and is alleged to have accused them all of various questionable dealings.

Bush, Mike Adam, Capt Eugene Ebanks and Ellio Solomon walked across the floor during the no confidence motion on Wednesday, causing a split in the party. According to sources inside the UDP, Bush is not going quietly and will remain in the political game. Confident that his arrest will not impede his political career and insisting he has done nothing wrong, Bush appears to be ready for what is likely to be a major political battleground in the May 2013 general election.

When Juliana O’Connor-Connolly held her first press briefing yesterday as premier, she and her new cabinet colleagues admitted that they did not now know exactly where they stood in relation to the UDP and being ousted from the party was a risk the five of them took when they made the decision to put country first ahead of their leader.

It is understood that the membership is now lining up behind both sides but it appears Bush will be laying claim to the continued leadership of the original UDP, while those supporting the new government are likely to take on a new moniker in the coming months as the election campaign begins in earnest.

Although the former UDP 5 were unsure of their party label, they did make it clear they would all be running in the next election, including Cline Glidden, who, after joining the new Cabinet, said he was reconsidering his earlier decision to exit the political arena at the next election.

The UDP boss will now be seeking to redefine the party, create a new West Bay team to ensure his own return the Legislative Assembly and take stock on the other districts. With time ticking on the election calendar and as a veteran of the political game, the former premier is likely to concentrate only on George Town, where the six seats will prove a critical component, given the loss of his two Bodden Town members, who will now inevitable split the UDP vote.

Bush is scheduled to speak at 7:30pm at the courthouse in George Town. The former premier was arrested at his home in West Bay some ten days ago (Tuesday 11 December) on suspicion of theft and various offences under the anti-corruption law. The allegations relate to the misuse of a government credit card and the importation of a consignment of dynamite without the correct permits. He has denied all of the accusations and described the arrest as a witch hunt by the UK fuelled by his political foes.

Continue Reading

Voter register still open as elections stay on track

Voter register still open as elections stay on track

| 20/12/2012 | 6 Comments

ballot box hand.jpg(CNS): Following the decision by the governor to revoke the appointment of McKeeva Bush as premier and allow Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and her four colleagues to form a new government to take the Cayman Island through to the General Elections next year, the calendar for the national poll remains on track. With an early election now unlikely, there are only two weeks left for those who qualify to register in time for the critical elections in May. Urging all eligible people to make every effort to grasp the remaining opportunity to become a voter, the office said time is running out. People with Caymanian Status who have not been naturalized can still register to vote as naturalization is no longer a prerequisite to qualify.

The final date for registration is 2 January 2013.  Registering Officers will be available until midnight on that date and the Elections Office will have a registration station downstairs in the lobby of the Smith Road Centre (150 Smith Road) open until midnight.

For those electors who have changed their names, occupations or street addresses since being registered, this is the final opportunity to complete a Form 13 to update their particulars. This is also the final call for voters who have changed districts to ensure that they are registered in the correct electoral district.

In order to further accommodate all those who may wish to register, the Elections Office will maintain a registration station downstairs in the lobby of the Smith Road Centre on Saturday 22 December between the hours of 10:00am thru 4:00pm.

Continue Reading

Rose gets top cabinet job

Rose gets top cabinet job

| 20/12/2012 | 30 Comments

Samuel Rose (230x300).jpg(CNS): Samuel Rose has been appointed as the government’s new cabinet secretary and chief officer of the Cabinet Office to replace Orrett Connor, who retires in February next year. Rose was appointed following an open recruitment process in which twenty-six people applied for the position. Five were shortlisted and assessed before the four best candidates were chosen for interview. Governor Duncan Taylor said the role of cabinet secretary was established under the constitution and is critical to ensure policy coordination across the whole of government. 

“I am delighted that we have a person of Mr Rose’s calibre to be the next Cabinet Secretary. He is a respected individual both within and outside the civil service. I am confident that he has the ability to be an outstanding cabinet secretary,” he added.

Rose’s road to the post involved on-line tests that assessed cognitive ability, emotional intelligence and learning agility. Also the interview candidates undertook a written examination, which consisted of three separate scenarios that had to be completed in a defined period; these tasks reflected what would actually be expected of the Cabinet Secretary.

The applicants then appeared in front of a panel and were asked to deliver a speech which they had prepared previously. They were then interviewed by the panel consisting of Deputy Governor Franz Manderson,  who chaired the interview; Regional Managing Partner of Ernst and Young Dan Scott, who is also chair of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission and a member of the National Security Council; Brigitte Kirkconnell-Shaughness, Proprietor and Operator of Kirks Home Centre and a member of the National Security Council; and Peter Gough, Strategic Advisor to the Deputy Governor.

Rose, who is still only 34-years-old, has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Since 2003, he has worked as a Graduate Research Analyst, a Policy Analyst, a Deputy Permanent Secretary and his current post is Deputy Chief Officer (Financial Services). 

He is also a Licensed Social Worker and has recently completed a United Nations course in Public Diplomacy and is on the Board of Governors of the University College of the Cayman Islands. He is a Member of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Task Force and also Member of the International Tax Cooperation Team.

Rose is also a talented musician was has played violin in the local kitchen Band Swanky for several years.

The deputy governor said he was pleased to have Rose as part of the management Team.

“As cabinet secretary he will ensure that the government’s policy framework is cohesive and coordinated,” he said. “In addition, as the chief officer responsible for Information Technology and Government Information Services, I will be expecting him to champion a fresh impetus towards a more ‘digital’ government that delivers services more effectively to our customers and to promote the use of social media to communicate with our citizens.”

Rose said he was humbled by the opportunity to serve his country and was ready for the challenge of the new position.  “I will work faithfully alongside the excellent team of individuals within the Cabinet Office and its departments to make a difference both in the public service and in the wider community,” he said.

The governor also thanked Orrett Connor, who will be retiring as cabinet secretary in early February, for his long service and for the support and friendship he has shown to him over the past three years.

Continue Reading

Cops on hunt for West Bay mugger

Cops on hunt for West Bay mugger

| 20/12/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A police spokesperson has confirmed that police are currently investigating a report of a knife-point street robbery in West Bay in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The mugging is said to have happened at around 4am near Centennial Towers, by the four way stop. The two victims, one male and one female were walking together when they were both attacked by a robber and sustained minor injuries. Police said that more details would be released shortly but anyone with any information is asked to contact the RCIPS on 949 3999 or the confidential CrimeStoppers line 800-8477(TIPS).


Continue Reading

Dr Frank declares on drug decriminalization ticket

Dr Frank declares on drug decriminalization ticket

| 20/12/2012 | 72 Comments

dr frank.jpg(CNS): Controversial social commentator, playwright and former cabinet minister, Dr Frank McField, has declared his intention to run as an independent candidate in the May 2013 general election and says that, among many things, he will be campaigning for the decriminalization of drug use. The first independent candidate to declare for one of the six seats in the capital, McField told CNS that he would not be seeking endorsement from the Coalition for Cayman but would be running on his own autonomous agenda dealing predominately with social justice issues and the promotion of Caymanians in the country. 

Motivated to stand for political office once again by the call for change from many in his local George Town community, McField said he would not be seeking a cabinet post but would instead concentrate on building a broad coalition for change.

“Many of the real people in my district and the nation feel that my experiences and caring leadership style make me the ideal candidate to help define and lead the change so many are demanding,” the former Community minister stated.

McField lost his George Town seat in the 2005 PPM landslide election, having served in the Cabinet with McKeevaBush following the 2001 coup. He has often been surrounded by controversy, such as the recent episode where he was shot in the leg but remained uncharacteristically silent about the incident.

The normally outspoken McField said he plans to campaign on a platform that addresses issues that affect those in the lower socio-economic strata of the community and in particular the criminalization of people through draconian legislation.

As well as the diversification of the economy to enhance employment opportunities, including the development of mari-culture and a marine service or coast guard, and a refocus on Cayman’s crime fight to its watery boarders, McField will be campaigning for Caymanians first in the private and public sector. He said a reduction in the civil service must come through what he described as a “triage basis”, where foreign workers would be the first to go, followed by civil servants with private sector interests.

Setting out his political stall, McField will also be campaigning for a curb on development and a call for environmental legislation that allows Caymanians access to marine food support.

Calling for more oversight and transparency in government operations, especially the RCIPS, and the offices of the attorney general and director of public prosecutions, he also said he will be campaigning for a reduction of crime by a review of the present RCIPS policies and an intervention with youth at risk.

Calling for the decriminalization of non-violent non-intrusive behaviour, McField confirmed this related to consumption of ganja, as he said the prisons were filled with people who were not criminals but drug users.

He said that more Caymanians need to be fast tracked in the RCIPS, while the number of foreign nationals in the police service needed to be reduced and the helicopter cancelled. In addition, he said, there was a need to limit the budget that was directly controlled by the RCIPS and called for the redirection of the excess road cameras to watch the coastline instead.

McField also wants to see civilian oversight of the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions replaced by the Crown Prosecution Service, with the introduction of a term limit and referendum for the director and the attorney general.

Continue Reading

Julie vows to consult

Julie vows to consult

| 20/12/2012 | 138 Comments

(CNS): Leading her first press briefing as Cayman’s first female leader, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly promised an open, transparent, stable and consultative government to take Cayman through the next five months before the general election in May. All five members of the new Cabinet insisted that their decision to support the no confidence motion on Tuesday was not a power-grab but in the best interest of Cayman. The new premier made a clean break with the past when she said the new government would operate an open door policy, be as consultative as possible and move to repair the relationship with the UK.


She said that the decision her colleagues had made yesterday could see them all ousted from the United Democratic Party, but so be it. They could not yet say how the new team would run in the next election, she said, but in the meantime there was a lot of work to be done in the next five months to rebuild confidence in government and to ensure it stuck to the three year plan in order to address Cayman’s economic woes.

Although the minority government is now dependent on the goodwill of the opposition and independent members to pass any legislation, O’Connor-Connolly’s new government said they were confident that they could stabilize the administration and deal with important legislation with the support of the other members of the legislature until the LA is dissolved in March.

All five new Cabinet members said that Tuesday’s decision was a difficult one that was agonized over by them all.  However, they made it very clear that on Friday all eight caucus members had agreed on the way forward. But when the premier did not voluntarily resign, three of the caucus changed their minds and opted not support the no confidence motion, despite agreeing that the premier needed to step down.

The new premier confirmed that she and her Cabinet colleagues had consulted with the opposition leader and independent members about their position before they moved to support the no confidence motion. All five said the move was in the best interests of the country and, as a result, had secured the support of the opposition for a reformed government made up of the five members in the wake of Bush’s departure. In return, the new Cabinet has agreed to consult with the other MLAs on all proposed legislation and major decisions over the next three months.

O’Connor-Connolly said there was lots of work to be done, but they were trying to make the transition as painless as possible and were looking to the civil service for support rather than trying to cause any insecurity in the former ministries.

The group said that they would continue talks with Dart over the ForCayman Investment Alliance but seemed reluctant to commit on how far that proposed deal would now advance. However, they pointed out that Cayman still needed development and investment to get out of the current economic crisis. Therefore, they would be focusing on moving the port and airport projects forward.

Rolston Anglin, the new deputy premier, pointed out that all government projects would now be conducted in line with international best practice and all of the proper processes would be followed. The education minister, who now has financial services added to his portfolio, also defended his own position regarding his DUI conviction.

He acknowledged that he had made a mistake and he had apologised for that, but his position was not comparable to that of former premier, McKeeva Bush. He said he was not trying to make light of it but he did not face jail time over his conviction, with the worst punishment he faced being the loss of his licence.

His colleagues also pointed to the potential problems of interfering with the police investigation in the case of Bush as the probes were not just into his personal affairs but his role as the former premier as well.

Anglin will now have access to a government driver as the new premier confirmed that no one would lose their jobs in the wake of the Cabinet reshuffle, but there would be some slight adjustments with chief officers and transfers of other personnel, including the government cars and drivers.

Check back to CNS for more this week on the new UDP government and the UDP members now outside of government.

Continue Reading