Archive for March 4th, 2013

Man charged over road death on ET Highway

Man charged over road death on ET Highway

| 04/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNSsmash.JPG): A 30-year-old man has been charged by police with Causing Death by Careless Driving after a collision last October which killed a senior police officer’s mother. Police said that following the receipt of a ruling from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the man, who was arrested at the scene, has been formally charged and released on bail to return to court on 18 March. The smash happened around 6am on 15 October when Beverly Ramsey (59) died after her Hyundai taxi-van was hit by a Nissan box truck.

Ramsay, the mother of Acting Superintendent Angelique Howell, a senior officer with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, died at the scene which closed the main traffic artery for around seven hours while officers investigated the crash.

The truck driver was said to be unhurt in the accident but was arrested at the time on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and suspicion of DUI.

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Baseball hall of famer to visit local book store

Baseball hall of famer to visit local book store

| 04/03/2013 | 13 Comments

cal_ripken_jr_autograph_0.jpg(CNS): National Baseball Hall of Fame sports star and author Cal Ripken, Jr. will be visiting Cayman this month as part of a tour to promote his latest instalment in a bestselling series for children about the sport. All-Stars: Wild Pitch is about Robbie Hammond, the Dulaney Orioles’ hardest-throwing pitcher and coach’s son who can’t find the strike zone. His team is on a losing streak and has been nicknamed the Snore-ioles. Ripken, who was a shortstop and third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles for his entire career, nicknamed "The Iron Man" for his relentless work ethic, is most remembered for playing a record 2,632 straight games over 17 seasons, shattering the record previously held by Lou Gehrig at 2,131.

He was a 19-time All-Star and is considered to be one of the best shortstops professional baseball has ever seen. Ripken is CEO of Ripken Baseball, Inc, a company dedicated to growing the game of baseball at the grassroots level, and an author of kids’ books about the sport. He will visit Books and Books at Camana Bay Monday, 11 March at 7pm and appear at the Hollywood movie theatre to talk about his career as a player as well as his series of books.

The event is free and part of the Books & Books International Visiting Author Series.

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Cops charge ‘bitten’ intruder

Cops charge ‘bitten’ intruder

| 04/03/2013 | 3 Comments

comedy burglar.JPG(CNS): A man who was bitten so hard by his victim when he broke into her home last month that she lost her tooth has been arrested and charged by police with aggravated burglary. The 26-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the home invasion, which took place in the Raleigh Quay area, West Bay, and charged Monday morning. According to the original report, the female victim awoke around 3am to find the intruder standing over her bed. When she screamed, the burglar put his hand over the woman’s mouth, but she took the opportunity to bite hard on her assailant's hand and finger. The victim bit so hard she lost a tooth in the process, though it did scare off the intruder.

The police have now formally charged the man for the offences of aggravated burglary and consumption of controlled drugs and he is expected to appear in court Tuesday 5 March.

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Police to investigate ERA MD

Police to investigate ERA MD

| 04/03/2013 | 86 Comments

joey ebanks.jpg(CNS)Updated 5pm — Police have confirmed that a report has been filed with the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit about “inappropriate financial transactions” which led to the suspension of the Electricity Regulatory Authority’s managing director. A police spokesperson said a formal complaint had been received and the case is now under investigation. According to a release from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), the transactions came to light during the audit of the ERA’s 2013 financial statements. Following the public auditors’ red flags, the Cabinet suspended MD Joey Ebanks and the findings were passed to the police. Following Ebanks' suspension, as reported on CNS this morning, the board has confirmed that Louis Boucher has been appointed as acting MD and Ebanks has returned to Facebook with more posts.

Ebanks stated in a post on Monday afternoon on the social media site that he was being investigated for using ERA funds to buy his flight to Jamaica to attend the ceremony at the University College of the Caribbean where the former premier, McKeeva Bush, was being awarded an honorary doctorate from the university. Ebanks says he went to the event, which occurred just days after Bush's arrest, in order to speak on the UDP leader's behalf.

In his Facebook post Ebanks states that, because he has spoken out against the government, he has "no expectation of justice". Accusing the governor of now embracing the current premier and allowing the Brac paving scandal to "go away", the suspended ERA boss also accused Duncan Taylor of running a three year negative PR campaign against the former premier.

Meanwhile, officials from the ERA said the decision to suspend Ebanks on Friday was made based on the preliminary findings by the OAG, which were reported to the Board of Directors on Thursday 28 February.

In what appears to have been less than twenty-four hours, Cabinet had suspended Ebanks, the police were alerted to the issues (which have not yet been detailed) and, according to the OAG, “action was taken to protect the ERA’s assets”.

Boucher, who is now acting MD, worked as the deputy managing director since 2009. He has experience in project and operations management as well as the evaluation of capital investment decisions in the utilities and power generation sectors, including the analysis of renewable energy projects from a technological, environmental and financial viability standpoint. As deputy MD, Boucher was responsible for reviewing and analysing licensee submissions and regulating licensees in accordance with the Licenses and ERA Law.

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Jerk stand smashed in two car crash

Jerk stand smashed in two car crash

| 04/03/2013 | 49 Comments

Jerk-stand-smash-1.jpg(CNS): The popular jerk stand on Shamrock Road was hit in the early hours of Sunday morning when two vehicles collided close to the Prospect Play House. According to the police, the crash happened around 1am, when a Toyota Altezza and Honda Accord were both travelling east along Shamrock Road when the drivers lost control of their vehicles and collided with the Jerk stand in Red Bay. Both drivers and two passengers were transported to the George Town hospital, where the drivers, aged18 and 21, were both admitted, but police said that neither of the young men are believed to have life threatening injuries at this time. The two passengers were treated and released.

Meanwhile, police are also asking for witnesses to a single vehicle collision on Saturday at around 12:52pm on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway vicinity of Safe Haven Drive, George Town. 

Police said a 33-year-old female driver was travelling along that road heading towards West Bay. On exiting the roundabout vicinity of Safe Haven Drive, she lost control of the vehicle, which flipped over the guard rail. The woman was said to have been uninjured after she crawled from her wrecked car.

The RCIPS is asking for any witnesses who may have seen the accidents or have any information to call Traffic Management at 946-6254.

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Party vote will be split

Party vote will be split

| 04/03/2013 | 26 Comments

005 (300x400).jpg(CNS): With just over three weeks to go before Nomination Day, the political parties are now gearing up for their conferences this month, which will see the launch of the main campaigns for the UDP and the PPM as they prepare to do battle for the Legislative Assembly. However, with a host of independents, members of the current interim government and a full slate of Coalition for Cayman candidates expected to be running in the key districts, this will not be a head-to-head fight for the parties. Although the election statistics suggest that it is very difficult for independents to succeed outside single member constituencies, they can and will split the vote.

However, depending on which of the two parties lose the most votes to the independents and C4C candidates, as well as how many voters stick with the former UDP incumbents, non-party votes will still have a significant influence on whether the PPM or the UDP forms the next government. While a coalition government remains a possibility, the largest group in the Legislative Assembly on May 23 is still very likely to be one of the political parties, but the question remains which one.

While electors may chose to vote independent, C4C or for interim candidates, their choice will still indirectly influence the fortunes of both the political parties.

Both McKeeva Bush, the former premier and the leader of the UDP, and Alden McLaughlin, the opposition leader and leader of the Progressives, are already pointing the political finger at the independents as much as they are each other. If McLaughlin and Bush have any common ground at all it is their agreement that party politics is here to stay and will still influence the parliament, regardless of the results of the May General election.

The PPM have set their conference date for the 23 March, by which time all fifteen candidates running in the 2013 elections will have been revealed. The Progressive are expected to confirm the four men who will face the hardest battle of the election for that party in Bush’s constituency of West Bay this Thursday. Having already created a website ahead of the conference and with the 14 candidates who have already declared now on the ground and campaigning, the leader of the opposition told CNS last week that his team is ready and capable of winning this election.

However, McLaughlin said that in his own constituency of George Town in particular, where as many as thirty candidates could be vying for a vote from the 7,500 electors, winning six seats will not be easy because of the vote split.

If former UDP votes are given to C4C candidates, independent or interim government candidates, this is likely to boost the chances of the six PPM candidates in the capital, where the party still has a strong voter base. However, former PPM voters who choose to favour any of the non-party candidates will be boosting the chances of the six UDP candidates, which, despite the UDP’s uphill struggle in George Town, still retain significant loyalty among some parts of the community.

With no membership base to rely on, most of the independent and C4C candidates running will struggle to reach the number of votes required for a seat in the capital but some are likely to poll significant numbers, splitting the party vote. Further strategic voting in George Town, where electors only use one of their six votes, will further undermine the chances of other independents, though it is clear that C4C candidates will be hoping that George Town voters will use all six to support their candidates —  five of which have now been selected.

While only two of the C4C candidates, Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly, have been formally endorsed, Jude Scott, Jackee Haynes and the latest candidate to announce in the capital, Sharon Roulstone, are believed to have been given the nod from the C4C backers.

Meanwhile, the UDP will be hosting its party conference this weekend, and although the party has not yet created a website or confirmed all of its candidates in the three key districts of Bodden Town, George Town and West Bay, Bush has committed to fielding the full fourteen candidates in those districts. The full UDP national team is expected to be announced at the conference when the party campaign is officially launched.

Bush, who is still the subject of more than three police investigations and currently on police bail as those enquiries continue, is expected to answer bail on 19 March in connection with his arrest on suspicion of various corruption offences as well as theft, is likely to find the fight even in his home district the toughest he has faced since he was first returned to office in the district some thirty years ago.

With two C4C candidates confirmed and all four PPM candidates to be confirmed this week in West Bay, the Bush opposition vote will be split, which is good news for the former premier, his long standing running mate Captain Eugene Ebanks and the two as yet unnamed West Bayers who will be joining the UDP platform. However, the two incumbents in the district and former UDP members, are also running with two other as yet unnamed hopefuls, which will, for the first time in the district, seriously split the UDP vote.

Despite the on-going complaints about the quality of the UDP representation in West Bay over the last twelve years, the failure of those opposed to the UDP to unify has ensured a clean sweep for the UDP over the last three elections. But this time, as well as facing a full PPM line-up, as opposed to a loose coalition of anti-Bush candidates, the first elected member for the district will be facing off against his former Cabinet colleagues. Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin and Cline Glidden, the man who took Bush’s tourism portfolio after the interim Cabinet members voted with the opposition in a no confidence vote following Bush’s arrest, are both planning to run in the district.

With some eleven weeks to go before Cayman goes to the poll, the outcome of this election remains decidedly uncertain but it will still be dominated by the parties, despite their dwindling popularity. Every vote will influence the outcome of which party will in the end take office, either as a majority or in a coalition cobbled together the morning after the night before.

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Big turnout for Off The Beaten Track 2013

Big turnout for Off The Beaten Track 2013

| 04/03/2013 | 0 Comments

off beaten track.jpg(CNS): Cayman’s toughest running race, Off the Beaten Track, a 50K relay and ultra-marathon, took place on Sunday 24 February with 36 relay teams and fifteen hardy individuals all vying for the first place honours, making a total of 231 participants in all, including the Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor, who competed  in a team from his office. Ken Krys (left), CEO of KRyS Global and founder of the race, said he was delighted with the strong turnout. “This is our fourth year of Off The Beaten Track and we had by far the best support ever this year,” he said. “The design of the race is to really challenge runners to their limit and we were impressed by the volume of people willing to take on that challenge."

He added, "The course was not easy – it took participants literally off the beaten track, through bush, along the beach, through water and generally via some very demanding conditions.”   

Andrew Keast crossed the line as the fastest individual male running the entire gruelling 50K in an amazing time of 4:31:15.  Helki Weber came in on an extremely impressive time of 4:57:22 as the fastest individual female. Having begun the race with an injury Christopher Burke showed great determination pushing through the first five legs before retiring to prevent further injury. 

Individual runners James Murray and Lauren Christie, who finished with times of 4:47:18 and 6:35:54 respectively, are undertaking the famous Marathon Des Sables later this year. Known to be the most grueling race on earth, Marathon Des Sables takes place in Morocco over six days. Krys developed the idea for Off The Beaten Track after competing in 2009.

off beaten track start.jpgThe relay team first place went to ‘Cayman Cruisers’ who finished in an incredible 3:42:23. Conrad Proud, last year’s fastest male, was part of this winning team and he was joined by fellow team mates Mike McDonald, Greg Meaker, Hayden Isbister, Steve Peel and Jon Shillito.

The first place all male team was PWC Twig & Berries with the Ricardo Argrella, Erik Fell, Matthew Volkwyn, Delphi Scheepers, Ryne Staback and David Lilley.  Just minutes following the first place all female team, Ogier Girls, crossed the finish line. The Ogier Girls have participated all four years of the race with team members including: Lisa Kehoe, Claire Lloyd-Hickey, Daniella Skotnicki, Tess McLean, Michelle Bailey and Claire Hughes.  The team ‘From the Governor’s Office’ with Governor Duncan Taylor running the 5th leg finished 10th place overall. 

KRyS Global also had two if its own relay teams, one humorously called ‘I got 99 problems but stitch ain’t one’ with Krys himself participating in the final leg and the finishing in a healthy 35th overall. The second team, The Green Mambas, finished at 30th overall in just 5:09:53.

The course spanned across the island from Savannah, making its way to  West Bay in six leg with each relay team member running approximately 5 miles each.

Proceeds this year went to benefit Facing Africa, Cayman’s ARK and National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). Facing Africa is a charity dedicated to helping children in Nigeria and Ethiopia who suffer from a disease, NOMA. 

Krys said he was extremely grateful to everyone who participated and volunteered to make the event such a huge success.

“All these charities which do such important work will benefit tremendously from the support that we received,” he said. “We want to say a very big thank you to everyone who took part. Your efforts will go to make a real difference in the lives of those far less fortunate than our own.”

Major sponsors of the event include the organisers, KRyS Global and long term sponsors, Tower Marketing and Brown Rudnick.  Daniel Saval from Brown Rudnick travelled from New York to attend this one of a kind event and give moral support to The MDRs which were sponsored by the law firm. CML joined the team as a major media sponsor covering the entire event from start to finish. 

Visit the website for more information and

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ERA boss suspended

ERA boss suspended

| 04/03/2013 | 73 Comments

joey.jpg(CNS): Joey Ebanks, the managing director of the Electrical Regulatory Authority (ERA), appears to be the latest government official to come under suspicion over financial irregularities, CNS has learned. Following the departure of Jeremy Jackson from the Airports Authority on Friday, Ebanks, who is no stranger to controversy, has reportedly been placed on leave while an investigation is underway, although there has been no official confirmation from either the Board or the relevant ministry. While messages to Ebanks remain unanswered, the beleaguered statutory authority boss discussed his suspension on the social media site, Facebook, at the weekend, making a number of allegations about others in face of his own troubles.

CNS had attempted to contact all of the relevant authorities for details regarding Ebanks’ situation but has been unable to get a comment from a single official.

In his own posts on his Facebook page Ebanks said he did not know why he had been suspended but said the letter he received referred to “alleged misconduct and abuse of office”. In the post he said, “This time I am fighting”, before launching an attack and making various allegations against members of government.

In his posts the suspended official implied underhand dealings regarding Cabinet ministers and the recent award to the Dart Group to generate the extra 36MW of power the island is expected to need over the next few years as a result of the scheduled decommission of existing CUC generators and the expectation of a growing population.

The news that DECCO, Dart Reality Cayman Limited’s general contracting arm, was given the go-ahead to begin negotiations with CUC came less than three weeks ago but it is not clear if Ebanks’ suspension is related to the issues surrounding that bid.

In the face of his suspension Ebanks went on to use the social media site to make unfounded allegations against the North Side MLA, Ezzard Miller, who beat Ebanks when he ran on the PPM ticket in the 2009 election campaign, as well as his colleagues on the ERA board.

Following Ebanks’ brief time with the PPM, he soon jumped ship and turn on his former political colleagues and has since offered his support to the UDP camp. He was appointed MD of the ERA last April in what appeared to be a political appointment, even though the MD’s post was a paid public sector position at the authority. His appointment led to a number of people leaving the ERA board amid undisclosed concerns.

Ebanks came into the media spotlight during the 2009 election campaign when questions were raised about salary advances he had taken out with the Turtle Farm when he was MD of that facility at a time when it was making considerable losses. A report by the Office of the Auditor General after the election revealed a catalogue of potential misuses of company funds under his tenure, including a $6,500 bar bill, which Ebanks ran up at the farm's on-site bar on alcohol, food and cigarettes, which was never paid back.

Following his election failure and his troubles at the Turtle Farm, Ebanks had a spell on Rooster’s morning talk-show Crosstalk before he reportedly returned to CUC. His return to Grand Cayman's monopoly power supplier ended in February last year and two months later he was given the post at the ERA. Ebanks has also worked as an assistant professor at ICCI, where he lectures on business. However, the college told CNS Monday evening that he is not currently teaching at the International College, "nor has he taught at the International College during this academic or calendar year," a spokesperson added.

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Gender gaps in the workforce

Gender gaps in the workforce

| 04/03/2013 | 15 Comments

There are multiple gender gaps relating to economic activity in the Cayman Islands, including who works and where they are employed. The 2010 Census of Population and Housing found that the unemployment rate was higher among males (6.7%) than females (5.8%). Females were more likely to not be participating in the labour force at all — 20.6% compared with 13.7% of males.

There were also significant gender gaps within the employed population. For example, the vast majority of workers employed by private households (92.1%) or in clerical occupations (75.1%) were female and they also dominated in education (74.8%) and human health and social work (74.8%). Craft and trade workers (96%), skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers (95.9%) and those employed in construction (93.4%) and utilities (78.7%) were almost exclusively male.

How did we get here?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) concludes that gender gaps in the labour market are the result of complex economic, demographic and behavioural factors – including various forms of discrimination. While it is often easy to see and understand direct or indirect discrimination against individuals, structural discrimination is more elusive and a much bigger contributor to these gaps.

Structural discrimination occurs when society's major 'structures' — such as the family, labour market or education system — consistently disadvantage males or females through norms, policies and behaviour. This prevents equality of opportunity and leads to unjust outcomes. Characteristics and roles that people associate with being male or female are learned from childhood through socialisation, so it is often an invisible factor that is not considered. We expect men and women and boys and girls to want different things and to have different capabilities. These stereotypes, not our innate abilities, affect us in many ways and often limit our opportunities in life.

Labour force participation

The gap in labour force participation is one outcome of the unequal responsibilities and opportunities that arise from stereotyped gender roles. Within households, paid and unpaid work is divided to meet the needs for income, housework and caregiving. Beliefs about gender roles affect how this work is divided and how much each individual’s contribution is valued. Often, females are outside the labour force because they are seen as having sole or primary responsibility for unpaid housework and caregiving. In the 2011 Labour Force Survey, 22.2% of females and 4.6% of males reported home or family duties as the main reason they did not seek paid work.

When female employees are seen as having a weaker connection to the workforce – because they are more likely to take career breaks or have family responsibilities – companies may also hire men over women, pay them more money, and/or provide greater training opportunities because males are seen as better “investments”. The 2010 Census showed that there were more employed males than employed females and that males earned a higher income at every educational level. In the 2011 Labour Force Survey, employed males were also 10% more likely to have received training than employed females.

If an employer makes these decisions based on stereotypes about how a worker is expected to behave instead of on his or her individual qualifications, achievements and potential then that employer is discriminating.

Segregation of labour

Stereotypes about housework and caregiving responsibilities also channel females seeking paid work into similar careers, such as domestic work, education and human services. Likewise, when boys engage in activities and chores outside the home and are encouraged to be tough and physically strong, they are led to construction, agriculture, automotive repair and similar industries.

Once the gender segregation of labour is established it encourages males and females to choose certain occupations. Employers often further reinforce the segregation by not adapting work environments to suit men and women or by favouring one sex over the other.

This is also a major factor in the gender income gap, as “masculine” jobs pay more than “feminine” jobs for the same level of education and skill required. The ILO has demonstrated this consistent wage bias in a study across fourteen different countries.


Gender gaps can also affect who is most impacted by economic events. Generally, unemployment is higher among females. However, the recent slump has impacted the sexes differently and caused male unemployment to significantly outpace female unemployment. Different educational achievements – also a product of gender stereotypes – and the concentration of males in hard-hit industries led to the current gender gap in unemployment.

The 2011 Labour Force Survey showed that unemployment was lowest among those with a college degree, and females are more likely than males to hold an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree or higher. Almost 80% of unemployed males had no post-secondary education. Additionally, 51.7% were most recently employed in construction, which declined by 63.5% between 2008 and 2011. In that same time period, male unemployment almost doubled, increasing from 3.8% to 6.7%, while female employment rose from 4.1% to 5.8%.

Why do these statistics matter?

International research has proven that reducing gender gaps significantly improves economic growth, per capita income and standards of living. When boys and girls and men and women are able to pursue theirinterests and desires, the economy makes use of all potential labour and skills. The best people are educated, trained and available for jobs and everyone

contributes to and benefits from growth. The labour market is also better able to respond to shocks, for example, the decline of a traditionally male-dominated industry like construction or rise of a traditionally female-dominated industry like healthcare.

Also, when females are less likely to work outside the home and those who do congregate in low-paying occupations that may lack worker protections, they are disadvantaged and often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Often, these gaps also contribute to poverty, poor living conditions, fewer opportunities and other negative consequences for their children as well.

When an individual is unemployed or outside of the labour force altogether, he or she is economically dependent on other people to provide for his or her basic needs. There are significant differences in how males and females who are not earning their own income are financially supported. The 2010 Census revealed that among those who were not working, females were more likely than males to rely on a spouse or partner or social services for financial support. Males were more likely to rely on their parents, savings or investment or other earned benefits from a pension or as a Veteran or Seaman.

Promoting gender equality in the workforce

We should all encourage individuals to pursue their interests and aspirations because males and females are equally valuable and capable of succeeding with the right support. Breaking stereotypes, eliminating prejudices and ensuring equality of opportunity will result in a more diverse, skilled, innovative and productive workforce, a more robust economy, and reduced vulnerability and social ills.

Barriers to gender equality don’t just hold back males and females. They also hold back economic growth and human development. But these gender norms are created by society and we can change them. Promote gender equality. Don’t stereotype.

The full 2010 Census of Population and Housing, statistical compendiums and other publications from the Economics and Statistics Office are available online at For a detailed gender analysis of the 2010 Census, including all of the statistics referenced in this article, please visit our website at The “Resources” section also has more information on specific gender issues and how you can take action and promote gender equality

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Webb to tackle racism in world football

Webb to tackle racism in world football

| 04/03/2013 | 23 Comments

jeffwebb1 (238x300).jpg(CNS): Cayman’s Jeff Webb, currently the vice president of FIFA, the body which regulates and governs international football, and president of its regional arm, CONCACAF, has been appointed as chairman of the Anti-racism Task Force that will tackle the issue within the football community, which has been undermining the qualities of social equality, an important part of the sport.  FIFA admits that, while there has been progress, the abuse of players, officials and fans due to their skin colour or ethnicity continues and racism, an unfortunate reflection of society, still plagues the game on and off the pitch. Webb said he was committed to eradicating racial abuse from football.

“I am grateful for this appointment and eager to contribute by working towards creating an environment of cooperation that fosters football’s continuous journey to impart positive role models to society,” Webb said last week in the wake of his appointment as chair of the task force.  “You have my commitment to gear this task force through a documented strategy that will ensure the fulfilment of our pledge to eradicate racism from our fields.”

While FIFA is committed to social justice and racial integration, the issue is still a serious problem in the sport and Webb, who is also deputy chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee and a former member of FIFA’s Transparency Committee, talked about the need to promote equality.

“Learning from my personal experience with racism and extended service to promote a society in which all individuals have equal rights will hopefully add strength to remove the discrimination barriers that steer the focus away from the game of football,” he said.

“We have to work on it but we cannot do it alone,” said FIFA President Joseph Blatter.  “It is a big, big problem also of education and understanding, and a little bit also of solidarity.  But we will do it because we have to kick it out.”

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