Archive for February 27th, 2013

FCO ignores dump protestors

| 27/02/2013 | 56 Comments

yard-sign-1 (240x300)_0.jpg(CNS): Activists protesting the proposal to relocate Grand Cayman’s landfill from the capital to the eastern district of Bodden Town have been ignored by the overseas territories minister so they are taking their complaint to the Foreign Affairs Committee. The group wrote to the FCO's minister, Mark Simmonds, in November about the Cayman government’s proposal to enter into a deal with Dart to move the landfill, but they have not even received a letter of acknowledgment. Leaders of the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free have launched an appeal to the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) asking for its urgent intervention.

The activists believe that the UK is being inconsistent regarding its position on good governance and the rule of law in the Cayman Islands and the leaders of the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free are asking the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), which is a bi-partisan non-government parliamentary committee, to examine the situation in relation to the Dart deal and how it relates to the UK government’s own insistence on good governance and the recent adoption of the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) into local legislation.

“Both the Governor and Foreign & Commonwealth Office seem selective in ensuring good governance in the Cayman Islands and appear to be applying a double standard in the enforcement of the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) – the very law which they themselves recently forced on the Cayman Islands Government (CIG)”, said Charles Clifford, a Coalition leader and former Minister of Environment.  “The FFR requirement for transparency and due process clearly applies, not just to the proposed cruise berthing facilities, but to all major public projects and divestitures of significant public assets.”

The UK government recently forced the former UDP administration to stop negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company over the cruise port development in George Town until the process had been properly tendered. However, the governor here and the UK appear not to have any concerns about the elements of the ForCayman Investment Alliance deal, even though the project has not gone through the usual process. The coalition has suggested that the  FCO’s reluctance to apply the rule of law to the agreement, and in particular to Dart’s proposed deal to move the George Town (GT) dump to the Midland Acres site, suggests the FFR does not apply to the rich and powerful.           

Alain Beiner, chairman of the Bodden Town Coalition, said it was scandalous that the UK appears to consider Dart and any project it promotes to be above the law. Both the governor and the FCO have stated that because a “swap” of assets is involved in the dump deal, the provisions of the FFR may not apply. Beiner said the unambiguous rejection of the Dart proposal by the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) in December 2010 illustrates the point that Simmonds was making to McKeeva Bush in November last year when he warned of the risks of not following the proper procurement processes.

While the CTC had rated the Dart dump proposal as the worst of all tenders considered, expressing concern about the environmental impact during a proper tendering process, Beiner was puzzled why Simmonds was now choosing to ignore the CTC’s deliberations and recommendations.

His coalition colleague Gregg Anderson said the divestiture of crown land or public assets, whether sold, “swapped” or even given away, should be done through an open tendering process to establish the true value. “How else can the people know if our government is not trading gold for onions, particularly since many here feel that the ‘swap’ and the dump deal only benefit Dart?” askedAnderson.

Coalition leaders are convinced that the reluctance to ensure good governance and the rule of law in Cayman mirrors recent events in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where the governor and the FCO failed in their responsibilities. But the leaders are concerned that the sums of money involved in questionable public projects and divestitures in Cayman could outstrip the alleged criminal transactions in the TCI exposed after the intervention of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Far more serious than anything uncovered in the TCI, the contingent liability from Dart’s dump deal is staggering in terms of potential material, health and environmental damage,” Anderson added.

Midland Acres resident Arlene Whittaker, another coalition leader, said the FFR requires that major public projects such as the proposed dump move are subject to due process to secure best value for money and to allow all local firms the opportunity of bidding. 

“Minister Simmonds, while insisting that the FFR be transposed into law, made clear to then Premier McKeeva Bush that his primary concerns were transparency and good governance,” she said. “Why is he not insisting that the Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) be allowed to do what it recommended before being muzzled by the Bush government – to identify the best waste management solution for Grand Cayman, and if indeed a new landfill site – in an area zoned for residential/agriculture use — must be contaminated?”

Clifford added that the Coalition was hoping for an urgent response from the FAC because the people of Cayman were counting on its involvement to help ensure a similar degree of good governance and the rule of law as the people in the UK.

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Prison officers find drugs at jail perimeter

| 27/02/2013 | 11 Comments

Packages-Northward (1) (300x288).jpg(CNS): As local authorities faces mounting criticisms over the amount of drugs in the prison and their failure to control the prevalent use of ganja by inmates, over two pounds of it was found by prison guards on Tuesday. Officials said that ‘vegetable matter resembling ganja” (pictured left) as well as two cell-phones were discovered on the perimeter of HM Prison Northward yesterday (Tuesday, 26 February). The items were found before 8am by officers conducting inspections of the exterior perimeter of the prison. This, officials said, was before the time when some prisoners are allowed out to work around the prison perimeter and farm.

The suspected drugs were handed over to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service for further investigations.

The revelations come in the wake of a report by the UK’s prison inspectorate that described the use of ganja in the prison as high with many prisoners using illegal drugs regularly, with a positive test rate of 28%. However, the inspectors said the prison took no action to prevent the ingress of drugs.

Related article on CNS:

Prison failing to control drugs

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Police arrest suspect in local white collar crime

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police have confirmed that a 57-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of fraud related offences. An RCIPS spokesperson said that he was arrested during an early morning operation carried out by detectives from the Financial Crime Unit and was released on bail after being interviewed by police as enquiries continue. The suspect is believed to be a foreign national employed by a local law firm and is accused of misappropriating close to US$200,000.

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Board ‘shoots messenger’

| 27/02/2013 | 71 Comments

airport sign.jpg(CNS): Despite the obvious issues at the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, the board of directors has issued a statement condemning the leaking of the details of the internal audit and taking aim at the MLA who was given the evidence of mismanagement of public funds. Rather than referring any of the issues to the police or explaining to the public what is being done to address financial mismanagement issues, the board said it had commissioned another review of the board’s audit by an independent firm and accused Ezzard Miller of electioneering with the leaked documents. Miller hit back saying shooting the messenger was not going to address the problems at the airport.

“The Board is dismayed and disappointed that the audit issues and report have been leaked to the media, clandestinely or illegally,” the board chair said in the statement released on Tuesday following the revelations last week about mismanagement issues at the airport and the suspension of the airport CEO. “The Board maintains that there should be irreconcilable differences of emphasis between the dissemination of gossip material and confidential institutional reports that may have consequential and direct personal effect on individuals.”

However, Miller pointed out that taking aim at him as the conduit of the information when it was quite clear the board was sitting on this situation was unfair to both the public and the CEO. “Never mind criticising me for exposing the report, the authority should be dealing with misuse of public money that has occurred under its watch,” Miller added.

Richard Arch, the chairman of the CIAA Board, claimed that the board had to face the economic and financial position with realism and the members were not allowing themselves to be carried away by the “quite understandable desire to court electoral popularity”, as they took aim at Miller, who was the recipient of the leaked report and bundle of supporting evidence. “Our management and our functions must be above politics," he said on the board's behalf.

However, other sources suggest the issue has a very political source and the board members themselves have been criticised for their own potential conflicts because of some members' business interests being connected to the airport. The source of the leak is unknown but the audit and subsequent report that was carried out by one of the board members, who is a qualified accountant, was leaked anonymously to the North Side MLA, who passed the documents to CNS. The board said the findings were comprehensive and professional.

“We profoundly believe that the efficiency and the productivity of the Authority must be first and paramount and must not give way to political expediency. The Board cannot obtain or maintain those goals where confidential reports are leaked to the media before proper and satisfactory actions upon them are taken,” the chair said. “The reward for the public should be what we are trying to accomplish and not what is expedient to get elected to political office.”

Having engaged an independent firm to review the findings of the audit and report, the board said that when that was complete it would then make a decision on the issues and share the decision with the public.

“It would seem that in this country, at this time, one cannot trust the privacy of conversation and communication. That augers ill for the democratic future of our country and makes the inevitability of a suppressive state possible,” the board stated, again criticising the exposure rather than the issues at hand, which involves the abuse of public money and unresolved cases of theft of some $100,000, among other issues. It admitted in the statement, however, that the board is legally responsible for overseeing the effective performance of the authority and claimed that this was what it is doing in a “meticulous and sober manner”.

A pre-condition of his appointment as chairman in 2011, Arch said, was that the ministry undertook a forensic audit of the CIAA. But the board complained that from the date of Arch’s appointment to June 2012 communications from the board about the audit were unanswered by the ministry, which was under the former premier’s portfolio at the time. As a result, Arch initiated the audit in the face of what were said to be on-going concerns focusing on expenses of the authority to ensure they were compliant with its policies, public service laws and regulations.

He said that after receiving the results at an extraordinary meeting, the financial controller was dismissed and the chief executive officer, Jeremy Jackson, was suspended with full pay. “At Jackson’s request the Board agreed that these pending matters would remain confidential,” the board said.

See full statement below.

Related article on CNS:

Airport boss report leak

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Cayman’s junior CARIFTA team selected

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

Lara Butler 200M Fly for Gold (299x300).jpg(CIASA): The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association has announced the Junior Swimming Team which will travel to Kingston, Jamaica March 29-April 4 to compete in the XXVII 2013 CARIFTA Swimming Championships. Eligible swimmers from Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC) and Stingray Swim Club (SSC) have been training hard and with the final qualifying meet – the Pete Ribbins Memorial Consolidated Water Meet which ended on Sunday February 24th – behind them, the task before the CIASA Representative Team Committee and CARIFTA coaching staff was not an easy one.

Ian Armiger, Technical Director said “ This year we deliberately ‘raised the bar’ in terms of Qualifying Standards and it was pleasing to see the swimmers respond so well, reset their goals and achieve the tougher Qualifying Times.” He added: “CARIFTA is a development opportunity for our swimmers but it’s also important that we look to make an impact at the competition and project a positive image for Cayman Swimming. With this team we undoubtedly have swimmers who can achieve lifetime bests, make finals and be on the podium…it’s exciting.”

Swimmers who will be representing the Cayman Islands at the XXV 2013 CARIFTA Swimming Championships are:
– Girls 11-12: Ella Plunkett (SSC); Stefanie Boothe (SSC), Kavanagh Lambert (CBAC),
Sarah Jackson (SSC) and Samantha Bailey (SSC)
– Boys 11-12: Matthew Somerville (CBAC), Samuel Burnstein (CBAC); Eddie Weber
(CBAC); and Alex Dakers (SSC).
– Girls 13-14: Catriona MacRae (SSC), Isabella Tognazzo (CBAC), Lauren Hew
(CBAC); Ashley Theaker (SSC); and Katie Klein (SSC).
– Boys 13-14: Cole Morgan (SSC)
– Girls 15-17: Coral Tomascik (CBAC),
– Boys 15-17: Geoffrey Butler (SSC), Kyle Fraser (SSC),

Ed Weber, CIASA Director and Chairman of the Representative Team Committee (The Representative Team Committee – RTC – is a sub-committee of CIASA which deals with matters relating to the representation of the Cayman Islands at international aquatic competitions) was delighted with the news.

“Selection of this year’s squad has been a truly collaborative effort, with the RTC, Coaches Katie Lambert and Andy Copley, and our Technical Director, Ian Armiger working very effectively together. It is a pleasure for us to identify these hardworking, committed athletes as those who will represent the Cayman Islands and Cayman Swimming at the XXVII CARIFTA championships. We wish them the best in their endeavors and hope for great success.”

With a potential maximum team size of 32 swimmers the Cayman Islands will be sending 18 swimmers this year – all of whom worked tirelessly to achieve elevated qualifying times in order to be eligible for selection to the Representative Team this year.

“I would like to congratulate all of our swimmers,” said Minister of Sport, Mark Scotland. “Swimming requires incredible commitment, discipline and focus … and many early hours at the pool. I want to acknowledge the fortitude of these young athletes and to thank their parents for the support and often referenced ‘swim taxi service’ which they provide. On behalf of the Ministry of Sports and the Cayman Islands Government we wish you all success in Jamaica.”

The CARIFTA Team travelling to Jamaica will include Coaches Katie Lambert and Andy Copley; Team Managers Sandy Hew and Jeffrey Wight; and Technical Director Ian Armiger.


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Annual Irish jog comes of age and turns 21

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

Irish Jog Celebrates 21st Birthday (262x300).jpg(CNS): The 21st annual St. Patrick's Day 5K Irish Jog has been set for Friday, 15 March  at 5:30 p.m. at Grand Cayman Beach Suites. The Jog, co-sponsored by Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited and Grand Cayman Beach Suites is a  fun run/walk, attracting hundreds of local and overseas participants from the serious runners to the walkers pushing baby strollers. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the jog which has become a Caymanian tradition. All proceeds raised from the event each year are donated to a local charity in support of worthy causes such as the arts, sports, health, community and education. The entry fee is just CI $10 per person (US $12.50) and this year proceeds will go to the Sunrise Adult Training Centre.

Participants will receive a t-shirt and have the chance to win several fabulous spot prizes awarded on a draw basis. Prizes include sunset sails, dinners for two and spa services. And as always there will be free hats, face stickers, wigs and other fun wear for everyone. Complimentary refreshments will be available after the event.

Registration takes place Monday, 11th through Tuesday, 12th March at Butterfield House on Fort Street from 9am – 4pm. On  Wednesday, 13th through Thursday, 14th March at Britannia golf course, Grand Cayman Beach Suites from 9am – 4pm and on JOG DAY Friday, March 15th at Britannia golf course, Grand Cayman Beach Suites from 9am – 5:15pm. For further information or to receive an entry form, please or call Rebecca Ebanks at 815-7797.

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Cops support skateboard club

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

skateboard (228x300).jpg(CNS): Local cops have made an on-going commitment to host a local Skateboard Club, which is one of the most popular options in the Ministry of Education’s Extended After-School Programme.  Over 100 students between five and eleven yearsof age take part in the club, which sees the education department partnering with the RCIPS in a club that kids enjoy and have the chance to build good relationships with local police officers. Police Commissioner David Baines and Chief Officer for Education Mary Rodrigues have signed an MOU formalizing an agreement for the RCIPS to provide off duty officers to keep the club going.

The education minister said that through the club students interact in a positive way with police officers, as coaches and mentors.

“These officers are sewing very important seeds that will pay off in a big way in terms of how the police force will be viewed by these students and their families now and in the future,” Rolston Anglin said.  “We believe that the actions of these officers and the relationships they are developing should be considered one of the most effective crime-prevention strategies we could implement.” 

Michael Myles, Programme Coordinator for At-Risk Students, said Skateboard Club was one of the Extended After-School Programme’s wholesome activities for children, in a structured and safe environment.

“Research tells us that a programme like this can help our children improve their social skills, confidence and grades and also help to counteract the negative influences that can lead to risky behaviours,” Myles said, adding that since September 2011, the programme has been extended to all public schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Over 1,400 students attend regularly.

While the ministries responsible for education and youth provides core funding, the Extended After-School Programme depends on donations and volunteer assistance to maintain the range of programmes and services provided.  Anyone interested in making a donation or volunteering can email or call 244-3150. 

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Foreign offices boost public coffers, says law society

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

hong-kong1_0.jpg(CNS Business): As the battle between local lawyers and government’s latest version of the proposed Legal Practitioners Bill continues, research commissioned by the Law Society has revealed that in 2012 just nine local firms’ foreign law offices practicing Cayman law overseas generated US$28 million in 2012 for government coffers. In the previous year these international branches brought in around US$24 million in fees, figures that the lawyers hope may persuade government to change course over the requirements and the restrictions that the law firms say it is trying to impose on them with the new legislation. Read more on CNS Business.

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Women to live and learn over ‘hearty’ lunch

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

authur.JPG(CNS):  Guests at the fourth annual Red Dress learn and live fundraising lunch and expo will hear from the author of the bestselling “The South Beach Diet” next month. The gala event which is hosted by the Cayman Heart Fund and sponsored by Baptist Health will take place between 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and Dr. Arthur Agatston a Clinical Cardiologist and author of the famous diet book will talk about preventing heart attacks.  The expo will also feature among other things spa treatments, specialty foods, women’s heart health Information and Risk Factor Screening.

The programme is as follows:
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Women’s Heart Care Extravaganza Expo
12:30 AM – 1:00 PM Luncheon
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM Key Note Speaker
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Raffle, Vote of Thanks and Closing Remarks

Tickets are $55 per person & Corporate tables of 10 for cost $500. For more information 516-7323 or e-mail:
See flyer below


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Technology refines cataract surgery at Baptist hospital

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Miami based hospital popular with Cayman and other Caribbean patients has introduced a new surgical technology used by ophthalmologists to remove lenses clouded by cataracts with minimal trauma to the eye. A femtosecond  laser, manufactured by LENSAR, Inc., is now being used to perform cataract surgery at the Medical Arts Surgery Center at Baptist Hospital (MASC), one of only two sites in South Florida with this new technology.  “We’re seeing great results from the cases we’ve done,” ophthalmologist William Trattler said.  “Our patients are recovering much faster than with the traditional methods of cataract surgery.”

According to Dr Trattler, the femtosecond laser provides increased precision to modern cataract surgery, helping to further improve an already very safe procedure.  With the LENSAR system, a rotating camera generates an image of the eye and the lens within, enabling the surgeon to make very precise incisions to ultimately remove the cataract. The system also detects when the lens is tilting so that the surgeon can more accurately follow patients’ unique eye anatomy, resulting in a custom treatment for each patient.

Prior to this technology, surgeons manually created the opening of the cataract and more ultrasound energy was required to remove the cataract, resulting in a longer recovery for vision.  In addition to cataract surgery, surgeons within MASC’s ophthalmology service also perform retinal surgery and treat problems of the cornea and glaucoma.


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