Archive for March 1st, 2013

Airport board sacks Jackson

| 01/03/2013 | 67 Comments

JeremyJackson.jpg(CNS): In the face of mounting speculation about what is really going on at the Cayman Islands Airport Authority, the CEO has now been sacked. After announcing further investigations into the audit that uncovered a catalogue of mismanagement at Cayman’s airport, the board of  directors issue a statement Friday afternoon stating that Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Jackson had been terminated. “The decision to terminate the Chief Executive Officerwas based solely on facts and was not political or otherwise influenced,” the board said in a brief statement.

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Law firm says it will ‘aggressively’ pursue fraud case

| 01/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local legal firm Solomon Harris has confirmed that “an irregularity” was identified in its accounts during its standard financial reporting procedures. Police confirmed Wednesday that a 57-year-old man had been arrested earlier that morning in an operation connected to a white collar fraud. The local firm based in George Town said Friday that the suspect was their former employee Michael Levitt, as it reassured clients that none of them were impacted in what was an “internal issue only”.  However, the firm said it would be aggressively pursuing the fraud that appears to have been perpetrated against it.

Levitt, who is a former president of Rotary Sunrise, was the money laundering reporting officer and compliance officer for both Solomon Harris and Solaris Corporate Services Ltd, a corporate service arm of the law firm.

He was arrested on suspicion of fraud related offences, which other sources claim involves tens of thousands of dollars, and released on police bail after being interviewed. An RCIPS spokesperson confirmed the investigation but he has not been charged with any crime.

In the wake of his arrest, the firm said the irregularities appear to have been at the hand of its former employee. “We want to assure our clients that no clients have been impacted and that this is an internal issue only,” Managing Partner Sophia Harris said. “Solomon Harris had its strongest ever financial performance last year and this matter in no way affects the firm’s ongoing growth.”

The relevant accounting records have been presented to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS), which is now investigating the matter, she added.

Pending the result of the RCIPS investigation, Solomon Harris is prevented from discussing the situation, Harris said but noted that the firm intends "to pursue this matter aggressively to the fullest extent of the law."

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Small cruise ship stopping at Cayman Brac

| 01/03/2013 | 0 Comments

MS_Delphin_Kueste.jpg(CNS Business): The first cruise ship for five years will stop at Cayman Brac next week. The MS Delphin, operated by Passat Kreuzfahrten (Cruises), which has its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, will have 300+ passengers onboard and 119 crew when she arrives off the coast from Scotts Dock in the West End on Tuesday 5 March, staying for five hours between 8am – 1pm, according to a spokesperson for District Administration. Passengers will have the opportunity for an island tour pre-booked by the ship and there will be an information booth, a craft market as well a few samples of local food, she said. The ship will tender its own passengers. Read more on CNS Business

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Piercy returns to UDP’s George Town platform

| 01/03/2013 | 71 Comments

jonathan piercy.JPG(CNS): The director of the Department of Commerce and Investment has resigned from his post to hit the campaign trail as he makes another bid for a seat in the capital on the UDP ticket. Jonathan Piercy, who is only 36 and one of several younger candidates joining the political fray this year on both sides of the divide, came in 5th place in 2009 and with six seats this year he believes he is a serious contender for a seat in George Town. Although the UDP is facing considerably more difficulties in its fight for office this time around, Piercy said he still believes the UDP is the better way forward.

Speaking to CNS Thursday, the George Towner said he had not "categorically denied" running earlier last month but had been facing sensitivities about his work and had at that point not a made a decision whether he would be returning to the political melee.

However, having made a commitment to return to the UDP political platform, he said he believed he still had strong support in the capital and that he could help the party to victory in what everyone agrees is going to be a hotly contested district.

Piercy will be lining up with incumbents Mike Adam and Ellio Solomon, and, despite continued speculation about the rest of the George Town candidates, Renard Moxham, Rayle Bodden and weatherman John Foster are soon expected to be named as completing the George Town UDP slate.

Although Piercy said there were no guarantees in politics, the young candidate believes he has a good chance even in the face of what will be a crowded field. He said one of the advantages he has is that he is part of a new breed of young educated candidates that have come to the fore this election, which he believes is as a result of his own bid in 2009 when he was only 32.

Dismissing the PPM as weak, Piercy said the UDP may not have done everything it promised while in office but when voters looked at the options they could not allow the PPM to get back in.

Piercy said, “I decided to run again as I cannot stand back and allow a PPM government to return to power as the country is still suffering because of what they did.” Referring to the deficit which the PPM government has been accused of leaving when it left office in May 2009, Piercy hammered home his leader's position that, despite three and half years of the UDP, Cayman's economic woes are still largely as a result of the 2009 deficit and the PPM's so-called over-spending.

While the numbers remain hotly contested and the opposition has continued to point out that the budgets over the last three years were nothing more than fanciful, Piercy said the UDP had reduced the deficit.

He said his return to the political hustings was due to a desire to prevent the PPM from returning to power but he was also critical of the independents running in George Town and he described the Coalition for Cayman as nothing more than “a setup”, adding that voters would get to know the truth about the C4C before the election campaign was out.

However, Piercy saved his most damning criticism for his former party colleagues Rolston Anglin, Cline Glidden, Mark Scotland, Dwayne Seymour and the current premier, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. Asked if he had considered joining them, he said he could never join forces with a group like that.

He said they had missed a genuine opportunity to demonstrate what it means to be part of a truly unified party when they voted themselves out of office.

Piercy was referring to a no confidence motion that followed the arrest of his party's leader in December on suspension of theft and various corruption offences. He said that it was not the governor who threw the former premier out of office but his own colleagues, adding that the interim government team was no better than the PPM.

He said that McKeeva Bush, despite his difficulties, was still the best man for the job and he believed the UDP would prevail.

Correction: Rayle Roberts, who was erroneously mentioned in this article as a possible candidate, has stated categorically that he is not running for office. CNS apologises to Mr Roberts for the mistake.

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Athletes hit track and field for qualifier meet

| 01/03/2013 | 0 Comments

runners 1.png(CIAA): The Cayman Islands Athletic Association will stage the 2013 CUC Age Group Championships at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Friday, 8 March starting at 6:00pm and continue on Saturday, 9 March at 9:00am. Caribbean Utilities Company, the main corporate sponsor of the CIAA, has supported this event for over 25 years, which has served as a launching pad for virtually all the Island’s leading Athletes.  The Championships will see competition in six age group categories: 7-8; 9-10; 11-12; 13-14; 15-16 and 17 and over competing in a wide cross section of track & field events.

Of special interest will be the performance of the Carifta Age Group Athletes, which consists of two age group categories i.e. Under 17 and Under 20 boys and girls. This year’s Carifta Games will be held in the Bahamas from 29 March to 1 April and we have athletes who are very close to achieving the qualification mark and we trust they will be successful in their quest.
Field events being contested are; Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Javelin, Shot Put, Discus, Ball Throw and running events will be 100m Hurdles, 110m Hurdles, 80m, 100m, 150m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500mand 3000m; the final events on Saturday will be the 4x100m relays and 4x400m relays.

Registration forms are available from the schools PE Department, or by contacting Coach Yen at 925-6917 or Coach Williams at 925-1943.  Completed forms maybe returned to any of the above persons or emailed to
There will be no registration on race day.

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Suspect daylight robbers face trial for courier heist

| 01/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The men charged with the armed robbery of a Sprint Courier van outside an insurance company last October are set for trial on 16 September. The armed daylight robbery occurred in the parking lot of BritCay Insurance on Eastern Avenue, George Town. West Bay man, Tarick Crawford (18), who is a possible co-defendant of the two men already on the charges, has not yet been joined on the indictment as the courts are awaiting a doctor’s report before he can be tried alongside his alleged co-conspirators. Defendant John Cohen-Ebanks gave two statements admitting his involvement in the crime, while his co-defendant Manuel Carter has entered “not guilty” pleas and upholds his innocence. Both defendants have gained legal representation.

The men are charged with armed robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm in relation to the daylight heist. Carter is accused of threatening the courier driver with a semi-automatic pistol and got away with about $9,000 cash. His bail application was denied because Justice Charles Quin stated that the case involves a firearm, he is a potential risk to public safety and has a number of previous criminal offenses.

50 year old Cohen-Ebanks, who is charged with the same offences, is now being represented by John Furniss. This defendant’s statements admitting to his involvement revolves around him trying to help his sick mother, who has unfortunately died since he was remanded into custody.

Meanwhile, the third potential co-defendant Crawford has been on bail and is himself struggling with a medical condition. His matter has been adjourned until 1 March to check the progress of Crawford’s doctor report.

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New SHIC plan in place, but premiums to soar

| 01/03/2013 | 18 Comments

url_0.jpg(CNS): A new and more comprehensive insurance plan that gives policy holders far more health coverage came into effect today but it will cost people much more. Health insurance premiums will be going up as much as 40% in some cases in order to cover the increase in benefits and both employers and employees will have to dig deeper in order to get access to health and medical care.  The new version of the standard health insurance contract came into effect 1 March as part of changes made to the law by the health minister last year. As a result of the basic plan increasing, all other policies will be going-up as well in a change to the system driven by government’s efforts to shift some of its increasing health care burden back to the private sector.

Around 20% of government's spending goes on healthcare cost, either for indigents, the elderly and retirees, those who the private sector have rejected or where health insurance plans simply don’t cover the needs of the sick and dying.

The new SHIC plan benefits have been increased as a result of the appallingly inadequate coverage offered on the past plans that were still costly for workers on low salaries. While workers are now facing much more comprehensive coverage, they are now faced with the problem of paying for it as health insurance is mandatory.

The new plan will cover 80% of $400 for visits to the doctor, tests and physician referrals for therapy, compared to the current benefit of just $100. It will also cover dental, routine medical check-ups wellness and even mental health and much more coverage for serious medical emergencies.

Under the new law, insurers will also find it difficult to refuse people because an individual has a pre-existing medical condition. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly last year when he brought the final version of the bill, Health Minister Mark Scotland said that there had been “many instances where the approved insurers were refusing to provide coverage for minor medical conditions and ailments which were controlled with medications, including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol,” he said but this will no longer be allowed.

“Under this proposed amendment the approved insurers will still be able to underwrite perspective employees or clients with a higher benefit or supplemental plans or other comprehensive plans,” he said. "The objective of this new amendment is that all persons in the Cayman Islands will be eligible for the Standard Health Insurance Contract.”

While the changes addresses some issues, the difficulties government has had in picking up the costly slack from the private sector may not be so easily resolved if employees cannot find the money to meet the much higher premiums.

However, the minister has said that despite the difficulties people may have, the government had to introduce an improved benefits plan. He said too many people did not have access to health care because the benefits of the previous basic health plan were woefully insufficient

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Bush takes aim at C4C

| 01/03/2013 | 77 Comments

(CNS): The former premier has begun taking aim at all of his many political opponents in the battle for the Legislative Assembly in May. In addition to his long standing PPM adversaries on the opposition benches, this year Mckeeva Bush will be facing off against some of his former colleagues in the last UDP government, a wide collection of independents and also those running on the Coalition for Cayman (C4C) ticket — a group he described as “the coalition for cash” at his Bodden Town public meeting Tuesday night. During his latest appearance on the campaign trail Bush pulled no punches when it came to his political rivals in a district where the UDP will face a tough fight.

Alongside party faithful member Chris Saunders, who will be running with the UDP in Bodden Town, Bush also announced that Theresa Lewis-Pitcairn, who ran as an independent in the district in 2009, will be joining the UDP this time around. Bush has not yet revealed which two other candidates he will field in a district where the PPM has strong support.

Vincent Frederick, who was one of the leaders of the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free, left that campaign recently as he said he was seeking to run with the UDP at this election but his name was not confirmed by the party leader. Only weeks ago Frederick had been harshly criticising Bush’s administration because of the proposal to relocate the landfill to the district. However, the would-be politician, who also ran as independent last time, is now seeking the strength of a party in an effort to make a better showing than in 2009, when he managed to poll only 4% of the vote, losing his deposit.

Aside from the opposition member Anthony Eden, former PPM MLA Osbourne Bodden, the two new Progressive candidates, Al Suckoo and Wayne Panton, along with the two incumbent former UDP candidates, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour, only one other candidate has declared in Bodden Town so far. With only four weeks to go before Nomination Day, there are no candidates in the district that are seeking or have been endorsed by the Coalition for Cayman.

However, Bush still took aim at the group which continues to advocate that it is not a party. Bush tried to imply that what he termed the "coalition for cash" were really PPM — an irony that will not be loston many voters, given that several of the candidates and some founders of the group were previously associated with and supported Bush in the 2009 election and in the early days of his administration.

Nevertheless he said, “You know who they are, whatever banner they decide to disguise themselves with; PPM or coalition for cash. They are all … members of the same group.”

He also made a point of targeting Panton from the PPM when he spoke about people who had come running out of the woodwork. “They’ve made their money,” Bush said referring to the former Walker’ partner and long standing PPM member who is now turning his hand to politics.  “Yes, they’ve made their money, what in the world did they do for these Islands?” Bush asked.  “They can brag, coalition for cash or PPM or whoever they are, that they have the millions. And so, because they’ve made millions they know more than us on this platform. At least those of us on this platform have heart,” Bush claimed.

“Others have lived it up, made their money, now they want to come and run the country. They’ll put us where they had us … You should not give one of them a chance," he told the people of Bodden Town.

Piling on the criticisms of those running as independents, he highlighted the issue that all candidates standing alone will face during the campaign, which is the need for ten people to form a government. He warned voters that if they elect people "who say that they don’t know who they’re going to serve with, but they’re going to serve, they don’t know what kind of policies they’re going to put together when they get elected, but they’re going to get elected, we are going to fail,” he said.  “Those people who say that they don’t want parties, you know what they want. They want you back where you were in the 40’s, where you ironed the clothes, where you cut the grass … no, a thousand times no,” the UDP leader said.

Bush skirted the issue regarding the relocation of the country’s landfill to Bodden Town, which is going to be a critical campaign issue for any candidate in the district as it has fiercely divided the community.  The former premier spoke about the need for “jobs, jobs, jobs”. He pointed to people who say “you can’t cut down a piece of swamp, but yet they can dredge it up and build a $2 million house on it. They want you to starve, and your children. They don’t want you to have that standard of living,” Bush added, but he did not refer to the proposal directly.

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