Archive for March 6th, 2013

Old magazine reveals Ellio’s change of heart

| 06/03/2013 | 68 Comments

caypolitics (294x400).jpg(CNS): As the political campaign heats up ahead of the May election, those who have followed Cayman’s politics over the last decade will see a number of repeat candidates making new promises, changing their support, running with new teams or parties, and even a number of major u-turns on previous policies. An old copy of CayPolitics that found its way to CNS this week shows exactly how much a politician can change in a decade. Ellio Solomon, who is now a staunch supporter of former premier McKeeva Bush and a leading member of the UDP, was not always that way. In a 2003 edition of his magazine he supported one man, one vote, questioned the virtue of cruise berthing facilities and criticised Bush for being indecisive.

Solomon was the founder of CayPolitics, a controversial website and magazine launched in 2001 that claimed to get at the truth of the political issues of the day and offered a forum for people to comment and ask questions. The site became a popular read in Cayman as Solomon was critical of the government of the day and pushed heavily for freedom of information and freedom of the press. Unfortunately, CayPolitics was closed in 2004 after Solomon was fined $1,000 for contempt of court after an anonymous person commented about the Euro Bank trial on the website when a media gag order had been placed on the controversial case.

In a number of articles in the November 2003 edition of the CayPolitics magazine, Solomon questioned the leadership qualities of McKeeva Bush and accused him of suffering from myopia over cruise tourism and his failure to appreciate the importance of stay-over tourism in the face of his efforts to push for cruise berthing in George Town.

In an editorial on one man, one vote, Solomon was heavily in favour of the system, in stark contrast to his position last summer when he campaigned against it in the lead up to the referendum on the issue. In 2003 Solomon also accused his party leader of being indecisive over the national lottery.

See the November 2003 edition of CayPolitics below.

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ERA boss remains in jail

| 06/03/2013 | 1 Comment

joey.jpg(CNS): Updated 10am Thursday — The Managing Director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority remained in police custody Thursday morning following his arrest on suspicion of abuse of office, theft, and a drug offence by officers from the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit early Wednesday morning. Joey Ebanks (49) was arrested at around 7am in connection with financial irregularities that came to light during the ERA’s annual audit. However, officers confirmed Wednesday that he was also arrested on suspicion of possession of a drug utensil. The ERA boss was arrested at his home in Pedro, where a search was conducted by police. Ebanks was suspended from his post at the weekend after the ERA board was informed by the audit office of their concerns.

The red flags picked up by the Office of the Auditor General were passed to the police, who executed the arrest today. Ebanks is still in custody and is reportedly being interviewed by FCU officers.

Since his suspension from the top job at the ERA, Ebanks has been using his Facebook page to protest his innocence and hit out at those he believes are conspiring against him.

Ebanks claimed to have been told that his suspension related to him paying for a flight to Jamaica from ERA Funds. The flight, he said, was so he could speak on the former premier’s behalf at a university ceremony in which McKeeva Bush was given an honorary doctorate, ironically days after his own arrest for suspicion of theft and corruption offences.

Related articles on CNS:

Police investigate ERA MD

ERA boss suspended

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Last positive dengue case contracted January

| 06/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Although public officials in Cayman have investigated some 45 cases of dengue fever so far this year most of them have been negative and the last positive case of dengue was contracted locally on 25 January. However six people have been confirmed to have had the disease so far this year and officials are still waiting on a further six results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). In a release this week the public health department said that the last results for 2012 have now been received with just one more case confirmed positive bringing the total cases for 2012 to a record breaking 37 cases most of which were picked up locally in the Cayman Islands.

Since the last update officials have begun investigating three new possible cases of dengue during the week of February 24 to March 2. One of the patients was admitted to the hospital and none had a travel history to an endemic area – one was a resident of George Town, and the other two are from West Bay.

A dozen results were received this week including the remaining outstanding results for 2012. Only one of those results was positive and in that case the patient became ill back in September last year.

Since the start of last year 43 people have been confirmed to have picked up dengue fever and only six results remain outstanding that were reported to health officials over the last two weeks.

So far from the 43 confirmed cases only 12 had travelled to endemic countries while 31 acquired the dengue in Cayman mostly in West Bay.  Public officials have confirmed 26 patients were from West bay, three from George Town and two from Bodden Town.

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Cayman lawyer aims for top of the world

| 06/03/2013 | 14 Comments

Vinson Summit 2 (315x400).jpg(CNS): A local lawyer will attempt to fly the Cayman flag atop Mount Everest in May as part of his Seven Summits Challenge, a mission to scale the tallestmountains on each of the seven continents in aid of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS). Guy Manning, a partner at the Cayman-based firm Campbells, will be swapping his wig and gown for goggles and a parka for the fifth peak in the challenge. The tallest mountain in the world at 29,029 feet, Everest is on the border of Nepal and Tibet in the Himalayas in Asia and remains one of the most challenging peaks for any climber. Manning has already scaled Kilimanjaro in Africa at 19,340ft, while in Antarctica he climbed Vinson at a chilly 16,067ft.

In Europe he tackled Mount Elbrus in Russia, which stands at 18,510ft, and in Argentina, South America, he climbed to the top of Aconcagua at 22,830ft.

Manning says he will follow a successful Everest ascent with Australasia's highest peak, Carstensz Pyramid at 16,023ft, in 2014, and finally the mountain the peak that has eluded him, North America’s Denali at 20,320ft. He has already made two attempts to scale the mountain situated in Alaska and also known as Mount McKinley.

In 2009 he was hit by a storm shortly below the summit and forced to turn back due to frostbite, and when he returned in 2012 his team was pinned down by a storm for 10 days at 14,000 ft. When their food and fuel ran out, he had no choice but to descend. Tragically, four climbers from another team descending ahead of Manning and his group lost their lives in an avalanche.

Mountain climbing is no picnic and most who attempt to tackle the world’s highest peaks are well aware of the dangers associated with the sport but more often than not for most climbers the drive to reach the top is far stronger than the fears they may have of what might happen. Manning, like others in his chosen field trains hard every week to stay fit enough to endure the hardships presented by his hobby.

However, it’s not easy training for mountain climbing in one of the world’s flattest countries and where the highest peak is made out of trash. Nevertheless, short of climbing Mount Trashmore, Manning says he works hard with his trainers with a combination of endurance and high intensity cardio, such as running, cycling and rowing, as well gym-based strength work and more specific training designed to replicate what he’ll be doing on Everest, such as climbing the Camana Bay tower with a 70lb weighted pack. 

Manning’s Seven Summit challenge is not only about achieving an incredible feat of endurance but also raising funds for a much-needed chemotherapy unit and for 56 local cancer patients currently on the Cayman Islands Financial Aid programme.

"Every dollar donated goes directly to our local cancer fight," said Manning, who is paying for the cost of the seven expeditions himself and is asking the local community to chip in whatever they can afford to help the CICS.

"There are 56 courageous women and men currently struggling with both cancer and their expensive medical bills here in Cayman and they need our help. As inspiration, Guy plans to take a coded list of the 56 cancer patients currently supported by the CISC to the summit. “It will certainly inspire me, and will hopefully, in some small way, also inspire them,” he added.

Manning explained that this mission is a personal one: "My mother had cancer so I understand something about the struggles and challenges of this disease. I want to climb Everest, but at the end of the day, I want my efforts to stand for something bigger.”

CICS Operations Manager Jennifer Weber said Manning’s climb is a unique individual challenge, which is not unlike the individual challenge patients face as they battle through cancer.

“It’s very touching to know that our patients inspire him and we hope they continue to inspire him once he begins his ascent. He already inspires all of them and we’re truly grateful to him for bringing attention to this important cause. We hope the Cayman community will support what he is doing," she said.

Several corporate sponsors have stepped forward, including KRyS-Global Managing Partner Ken Krys, who is himself no stranger to endurance sports as a well-known local ultra-marathon runner.

“We’re delighted to give Guy’s Seven Summit expedition our full support,” he said. “Raising money for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society while reaching for the top through personal dedication embodies the KRyS Global vision. We wish him the greatest success in this lofty endeavour.”

Other sponsors include Exclusive Platinum Sponsor Campbells as well as Baraud, BDO, Cooper Gay, Dart, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Netclues, PwC, Ricoh and Zolfo Cooper.

“I’m very grateful to all of our corporate sponsors,” said Manning. “But I want to encourage the Cayman community to contribute what they can, as the CICS needs our support and this cannot be achieved without the generosity of the people in our community.”

All donations are welcome, large or small, and you can learn more by visiting

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Bolt to run in Cayman

| 06/03/2013 | 74 Comments

Usain_Bolt_150054741_620x350.jpg(CNS): Local sports officials have won a significant victory for the second annual Cayman Invitational athletic meet: the man considered the fastest person ever, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, has agreed to take part. The event, organized by Cayman’s Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, Cydonie Mothersill of KyStar Athletics, is one of the biggest athletic track meets of its kind in the Caribbean. Bolt, a six-time Olympic gold medalist and World Record holder, will be lining up with other international athletes at the fixture consisting of 12 track and two field events and featuring over eighty professional track athletes, all taking place at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

“I’m looking forward to running in Cayman,” said Bolt.  “I have not competed there before, but my coach was there last year and spoke well about the event. Sprinting in the Caribbean is stronger than ever and it is great to see new track and field meets starting up. Cydonie has done great things for her country on the track and is now working hard to develop opportunities for others. I hope my presence in Cayman will inspire the youth and contribute to the development of the sport.”

The meet is set for 8 May and Bolt will be joined by other world class athletes, including Beijing Olympic silvermedalist Kerron Stewart, Olympic record holder Melanie Walker, London Olympic bronze medalist Hansle Parchment, and London Olympic relay gold medalist Chris Brown. Local heroes Kemar Hyman, Ronald Forbes, Jon Rankin, Carl and Carlos Morgan and Tyrell Cuffy will also be competing on the track and field.

“We are absolutely delighted we have been able to draw athletes of the highest calibre to participate in the 2013 Cayman Invitational and are sure that the high regard in which the event is already held has assisted us in attracting the likes of Usain Bolt,” said Mothersill on Wednesday when the announcement was made at a press briefing at the Marriott Hotel. “It is our hope that young people in Cayman will be encouraged by watching their sporting heroes perform live and be motivated to achieve great things themselves,” she added.

The event is listed on the North American, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) calendar as an area permit meet, and is certified by NACAC (the governing body for athletics for national and multi-national track federations within North America, Central America and the Caribbean) and sanctioned by the Cayman Islands Athletic Association (CIAA), which shows the high status Cayman Invitational has achieved already in the world of athletics.

Bolt will be a major attraction for the event as the reigning Olympic champion in 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay and the holder of the 100-metre world record of 9.58 seconds. His achievements have earned him the nickname "Lightning Bolt" and a plethora of awards and accolades. He is also the highest paid athlete ever in track and field.

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Coalition gives formal endorsement to 3rd candidate

| 06/03/2013 | 38 Comments

c4csmall.jpg(CNS): Although it is apparent that the Coalition for Cayman (C4C) is supporting several candidates in the forthcoming election, at present it has only formally endorsed three. The third would-be politician to get the nod from C4C, which is still calling itself an advocacy group rather than a political party, is Jacqueline ‘Jackee’ Haynes, who was an early supporter of the C4C concept. Haynes is running on the coalition ticket in George Town and joins Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly, who are the only other two candidates to receive the coalition’s formal endorsement. However, the group is also expected to endorse Haynes' fellow George Town candidates, Sharon Roulstone and Jude Scott.

Mervin Smith and Tara Rivers, who are hitting the campaign trail in West Bay, are also expected to be endorsed by the group. 

The C4C said it is still dedicated to electing independent minded leaders who will be accountable and free of partisan political ties, but the group has not said how its candidates will form a government. It has not been made clear if any of them are elected whether the group will support those candidates joining forces with a party. Although the C4C is expected to endorse at least ten candidates, enough to form a government if they are all elected, if they fall short it is not yet known how those candidates would be expected to work with government or whether they would take a position on the opposition bench.

The C4C credited Haynes with “extensive and successful business experience”, which they said could help the Cayman Islands back on the right track. “We know Jackee will always put the good of the Country First as her motives are true to Cayman,” an unnamed spokesperson for C4C stated.

“With her independence and passion, we can put aside party differences and get back to doing what is right for Cayman like improving education, protecting families from crime and maintaining our status as one of the leading economic centres in the world,” the coalition added.

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CIMA finally pulls HSBC Mexico license

| 06/03/2013 | 0 Comments

hsbc mexico (276x400).jpg(CNS Business): More than eight months after it began an investigation into the Cayman Islands Branch of HSBC Mexico SA and some four months after the bank’s parent company admitted the money laundering at the subsidiary registered in this jurisdiction, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has finally pulled its Category “B” Banking License under the Banks and Trust Companies Law (2009 Revision). “CIMA concluded that the Cayman Islands Branch of the company is conducting business in a manner detrimental to the public interest, the interest of its depositors or of the beneficiaries of any trust or other creditors and that the direction and management of its business has not been conducted in a fit and proper manner,” the authority said in a 27 February statement. Read more and other stories on CNS Business


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Elections website unharmed after hacker’s visit

| 06/03/2013 | 11 Comments

hacked.JPG(CNS): Officials from the Elections Office have confirmed that their website is functioning again following the unwanted breach by a hacker, which disabled the site Monday night and Tuesday morning. The hacker, who is understood to be a teenage school boy living in Morocco, uploaded three files onto the site, having exploited a flaw in the countdown script that was being used on the website. The teen then replaced the home page with his own but officials said that no usernames or passwords were exposed and all of registered electors' data was also safe as it is maintained in a separate location not publicly accessible outside of the web interface.

According to Cayman27, who contacted the hacker, he claims to be a 15-year-old schoolboy, who was raising awareness regarding the plight of Palestinians in the Middle East. Calling himself the Riad Spammer, the teenager uploaded his hip-hop song about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in English and Arabic, but he told the TV news station that he did not interfere with the site, which he described as being easy to hack. The teen offered advice to the Elections Office, stating that the system they are using was not secure enough as it took him only 5 minutes to get into the site and suggested the system be upgraded.

The Elections Office website is not managed by government Computer Services in order to maintain the independence of the office. However, the site’s hosts have now checked all the files and found that none of them were modified.

Since the hacking experience the countdown counter, which was the weak link, has been disabled and the three files that were uploaded by the hacker have also been deleted.

See Cayman 27 reporthere.

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Taylor keeps budget secrets

| 06/03/2013 | 8 Comments

argue.JPG(CNS): The information commissioner has upheld a decision by the governor's office to keep correspondence between the Cayman government and the UK over the budget secret. In her 28th decision Jennifer Dilbert found that the records in question were exempt under the Freedom of Information law as she said she was convinced thatthe documents contained “candid and robust discussions” that are protected under the law in relation to free and frank exchanges between officials. Weighing her finding against the public interest, Dilbert said disclosure of the records would not necessarily promote greater understanding of the budget processes or reveal any wrongdoing.

“The public has already been made aware, in some detail, of the processes for review and acceptance of the budget, and I do not believe that further promotion of accountability within government would result,” Dilbert wrote in her latest ruling. “Disclosure would also not reveal wrongdoing or maladministration in the budget process.”

The request was made last August by the local newspaper, The Caymanian Compass, for budget-related communications between the governor, the financial secretary, the former premier, the UK’s economic advisor and the OT minister during the time the Cayman government was doing battle with the UK over the 2012/13 budget. The budget deliberations with the UK were contentious, to say the least, and Bush even threatened to introduce an ex-pat tax in order to meet the demands the UK was placing on Cayman to reach a hefty budget surplus.

However, despite the controversies surrounding the budget and its ultimate delay of some three months, the back and forth between London and George Town around that time will now remain secret.

Dilbert said she considered that disclosure would “be likely to have a significant adverse effect on Government’s ability to carry out free and frank discussions to the benefit of the Cayman Islands, and disclosure would therefore not be in the public interest.”  The information commissioner also noted partial access could not be granted in a meaningful way.

This exemption under the law is there to allow government officials to sometimes be able to talk candidly to other governments or among themselves with an expectation of privacy in order to conduct public affairs. However, whenever the exemption is applied it must be weighed against how much the information is in the public interest. If there was evidence of abuse of office or any kind of wrongdoing in the correspondence in question, the exemption could be overturned, so this section of the law does not act as a free pass to civil servants to keep all records under wraps.

See the commissioner's full ruling below or visit the ICO website

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