Archive for January 24th, 2013

Scott admits political calling and declares for GT

Scott admits political calling and declares for GT

| 24/01/2013 | 112 Comments

Jude Scott_2013 (232x300).jpg(CNS): One of the leaders of the Coalition for Cayman, Jude Scott, has finally declared his hand and his intention to fight for one of the six seats that will be up for grabs in the capital. Former partner of Ernst & Young and former global CEO of Maples & Calder, Scott has announced his intention to run for office in George Town as an independent candidate but it is clear he will have the support and backing of the coalition. The controversial group that is struggling to define itself on Cayman's political landscape has still not declared itself as a political party, despite now having two people who were involved in its formation running for office. Scott said that his decision to enter the political fray was not a job but a calling.

“We deserve an ethical and capable government that puts country first,”  Scott said. “This is our home and we have a duty to protect it. Yes, there are many issues to face but together we can build a stronger, healthier Cayman. This is not a career for me, this is a calling. I came from humble beginnings and Cayman has been very good to me. I want future generations to experience the same opportunities that I had. We can fix our country, it just takes selflessness, setting aside differences and working for the greater good of these unique islands we call home.”

He added that the constituents of George Town can expect truthful, thoughtful, practical solutions to benefit the capital and the country. “My constituents can expect fearless but dignified representation of which they can be proud,” Scott said in a release announcinghis candidacy.

Promising to tackle government spending, the economy and immigration, the financial expert said he would also address the most basic needs of employment, safety, cost of living and a community voice in decisions that affect the country. “I have the courage, dedication and the ability to lead and I can achieve workable solutions for a better Cayman. United, we can be the change we want to see,”  Scott said.

Advocating a collaborative approach to the best solution and the need to include ideas, knowledge and expertise from the community, he said a large part of his campaign would centre on community input with the goal of creating a joint vision for a healthy Cayman.

“The voices of my constituents will be heard,” promised Scott, although he hopes to represent the largest and most diverse group of voters in Cayman. “These are challenging times and every stakeholder must have their say.”

Scott has previously served as the chairman of the board of Cayman Airways and on the Ministerial Council for Tourism and Development. He retired from his career at Ernst & Young in 2008 after spending 23 years with the firm. Over the years, Scott has served on various boards and committees of the CaymanIslands Baptist Church, Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants, Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, Cayman National
Corporation, Constitutional Commission, Education Council, Financial Services Council, Hedge Funds Care and the National Recovery Fund.

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Mac pulls out of CBO debate

Mac pulls out of CBO debate

| 24/01/2013 | 36 Comments

macCopy (238x300).jpg(CNS): Delegates looking forward to seeing former premier McKeeva Bush Thursday afternoon at the CBO’s political debate were disappointed as he  pulled out of what had promised to be an interesting debate with his former UDP colleague, Rolston Anglin, who is now deputy premier, and Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin. Although it had been announced that he would be appearing at the CBO conference, the UDP leader sent word that, as it was the anniversary of his daughter's death, he had decided not to participate. He was replaced by backbench MLA Ellio Solomon, who joined political veterans Anglin and McLaughlin for the debate, moderated by Cayman 27’s Ben Meade.

Although Bush was listed in the programme and seen as a key figure to take part in the planned panel debate, the former premier has remained absent from the conference.

After three previous show stopping 'State of the Nation’ addresses at the CBO and his lively participation in a head-to-head with the then leader of government business KurtTibbetts in January 2009 ahead of the election that year, there were high expectations for a classic Bush performance during the debate, given his recent arrest and fall from office.

The State of the Nation address was delivered Thursday morning by the new premier, on her return from London. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly gave an account of where the country stands at the start of 2013 but with none of the surprise announcements that her predecessor was prone to deliver when he was on the same platform.

O’Connor-Connolly concentrated on the need for stability, especially in regard to the Cayman Islands’ relationship with the UK. She said that quiet diplomacy had achieved more than confrontation and said she had “rekindled the lost spirit of understanding”, also noting the need for a healthy partnership with the UK and mutual respect.

Although she said that Cayman was not out of the “dark woods” of economic recession yet and that many people were feeling the pinch, there was plenty of room for hope, she said, as she pointed to the positive recent developments for Cayman in terms of tourism and an improvement in the first six months of this financial year in government revenue.

She said that core government, excluding government companies and statutory authorities, had at the half way point of this fiscal year collected more revenue than anticipated and had spent less money. As a result, with spending down by $11 million and revenue up around $6 million, it was on target for a $17 million increase in the forecast surplus of some $82 million.

The premier also spoke about the same projects that the premier had depended on as Cayman’s economic saviours, such as the Shetty Hospital, Cayman Enterprise City and the ForCayman Investment Alliance, but the new premier also noted the importance of transparency when it came to the cruise berthing facilities. However, so far the interim government has shown less inclination towards transparency when it comes to the Dart deal and in particular the still undisclosed KPMG report.

Pointing to the increase in work permits as a positive indicator that the economy was on the turn as businesses looked to increase staff, the new premier urged the private sector to help government tackle unemployment in the local population and rise to the challenge of creating a sustainable economy in Cayman.

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Register extension brings in over 660 new names

Register extension brings in over 660 new names

| 24/01/2013 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The three week extension to the voter register for the general election in May attracted over 660 more new names. Although the officially tally has not yet been confirmed election officials estimate that the voters register will end on around 18,800 names. The historic number is not only the highest ever for an election it will, if everyone exercises their right to vote, mean that the next government will be ushered in by almost 40% of the non-institutionalized adult population. This represents a significant increase on the proportion of the population able to vote for many years resulting in a more representative government whoever is elected in May.

The elections office was open until midnight on Tuesday and as expected there was a further flurry of activity. Almost 400 people came at the last minute that were qualified and had finally managed to get their paperwork ready to submit before the deadline bringing the informal count on voters to more than 18,800 for the general election.

Well over three thousand people have added their names to the election register since the referendum emphasising the significant success of the elections office and the local activist campaigns to get people to sign up and give themselves a choice on Election Day.

The finally list will now be published on 29 January and the voting public is asked to check that list so any changes or  objections can be made before the national poll in May. The lists will be available in post offices libraries, supermarkets, gas stations, and most government buildings as well at the Elections Office on Smith Road and its website.

Election officials will now be looking to set up additional polling stations and booths as a result of Cayman’s new bumper size electorate.

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OMOV would delay election

OMOV would delay election

| 24/01/2013 | 55 Comments

alden 17 (240x300).jpg(CNS): The introduction of one man, one vote and single member constituencies for the May General Election would delay the poll many months because of the time line and legal barriers. However, the opposition leader has said this may be why the Coalition for Cayman has called for its implementation, forcing a lengthy delay to get more campaign time. Alden McLaughlin reiterated his commitment to the principle of OMOV Thursday and promised to implement the system should his party win office, but he said he did not want to see the next election delayed, and he questioned the genuine support for OMOV by the C4C chair, who just a few months before the referendum publicly stated his opposition to it.

“Unless they are trying to delay the election, and I am wondering seriously if they may want that to happen, it is constitutionally, legally and practically impossible to move to single member constituencies once the election writ has been issued,” McLaughlin added, as he accused the political group, which is not calling itself a party, of misleading the people about what is possible and what is not.

Emphasising his own support, however, he pointed to a letter which had been published in The Caymanian Compass in April 2012, just a few months before Cayman went to the polls for last summer’s referendum on the issue, in which James Bergstrom,who is now the C4C chair, said he did not think dissecting Grand Cayman into 17 segments was the answer and voiced his opposition to the democratic principle.

McLaughlin raised the obvious question of why the C4C would turn its attention to something that cannot be accomplished at the eleventh hour when there were multiple other issues to campaign on.

“There is no way with the number of lawyers they have that they don’t understand the legal and constitutional hurdles to this, so the question is are they deliberately misrepresenting and creating false expectations for electioneering purposes, which would be downright dishonest,” he said.

With the election train now going full steam ahead, the focus, as far as the timeline is concerned, is on 27 March, which is Nomination Day when candidates declare which district they will run for election. However, if government were to try and move to single member constituencies (SMCs), Nomination Day would have to be postponed and with it the election date, which would then require further legislative changes.

With the addition of well over 3,000 names to the election register since the Election Boundary Commission carried out its report in order for the election to be fair, the commission would have to ensure that the new voters did not skew the voter head count in each constituency.

The only way that the election could be held on the basis of one man vote is for each elector at the election to be given one vote, no matter which district they vote in, and then the appropriate number of the top candidates for each district would be elected. This would mean that in George Town the top six candidates would win. This would require only a minor change to the electionslaw and has been advocated only by Ezzard Miller.

The opposition leader said he does not support that move and a representative of the coalition also told CNS that the group was not in support of that option either, nor did C4C wish to delay the election, the spokesperson said. It is not clear why the group has at the eleventh hour decided to begin a campaign which cannot lawfully be achieved.

“We would have to abort this process and start all over again,” McLaughlin stated, as he made it clear he believed the call from C4C was a political move.

Having had reservations about the timing of the referendum and the hijacking of what should have been a people’s vote by the former premier, the opposition leader has faced accusations that he does not support one man one vote. However, he has persistently denied those accusations and emphasised his continued support for OMOV.

He pointed out that the PPM raised much of the financing for the OMOV campaign and, many of the candidates running on the PPM ticket were at the forefront of the promotion and campaigning. McLaughlin stated it was Progressive members who organised the main public meeting for the campaign ahead of the referendum and helped organise the walkabouts and community gatherings.

“It is ridiculous to suggest that we do not support one man, one vote in single member constituencies,” he said, questioning where the only two officially declared candidates were when the OMOV campaign for the referendum was in full swing. He said neither Winston Connolly nor Roy McTaggart were anywhere near the campaigning.

That point, coupled with the stated opposition to the democratic system by Bergstrom, who heads up the ambiguous group, as well as the significant practical, legal and constitutional problems makes the call from C4C looked increasingly like an election ploy.

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Helicopter airlifts sick woman from Little Cayman

Helicopter airlifts sick woman from Little Cayman

| 24/01/2013 | 16 Comments

Medevac 23 Jan 2013 (300x252).jpg(CNS): A 57-year-old woman is now being treated in the Cayman Islands Hospital after being medevaced from Little Cayman by the RCIPS helicopter. Following an urgent request from Medical Services in the Sister Islands, the RCIPS helicopter, accompanied by a paramedic from Grand Cayman undertook a medical evacuation from Little Cayman on Wednesday. The woman required urgent specialist medical attention and the transfer took 40 minutes, the police said, adding that the paramedic was assisted by one of the medic trained police tactical flight officers.

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‘Executive aide’ among local gong winners

‘Executive aide’ among local gong winners

| 24/01/2013 | 117 Comments

badge.JPG(CNS): The premier’s 'executive aide' and the driver for the former premier and the current deputy premier are two of a long list of Caymanians who will receive local honours at this year’s National Heroes day on Monday. Paul Leonce and Wilburt Ewin Myles join a list of local artists, cultural icons, community leaders and others who the authorities deemed worthy of the medal of merit, one of the people’s awards created by the former premier under his nation building initiative. Alongside the recipients of the medals for the national awards will be a number of pioneers honoured for their contribution to the development of youth services in the Cayman Islands, which is the theme for the 2013 Heroes Day. 

The late Estella Scott-Roberts, the former head of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and outspoken advocate for women who was brutally murdered in a shocking attack over four years ago, has received a posthumous Commander’s medal of honour. Some 14 other local people have been named as medal of honour recipients and another 22 people have received gold and silver merit medals.

The day will also see the recent recipients of the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour which is part of the queens New Year’s and birthday honours receive their medals.

The celebrations take place in Heroes Square in George Town and all members of the public are invited to the event which includes local entertainment and refreshments.

See full list of recipients below along with details of Monday’s event.

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