Archive for March 13th, 2013

Deputy Governor warns CS to remain impartial

| 13/03/2013 | 12 Comments

unbiased.png(CNS): With only ten weeks to go before the general election in May, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has issued a circular to the Cayman Islands civil service reminding public servants that they must remain impartial during the course of the election campaign. Manderson told government workers that they must maintain the “highest standards of performance and professionalism” throughout the period leading up to Election Day. Although he urged them to exercise their democratic right to vote, he said the civil servants’ code of conduct prevented them from being actively involved in any political campaigns on behalf of any candidate or party.

“Officers should not undertake any activity that could call into question the political impartiality,” said Manderson, in the administrative circular sent out on Tuesday 12 March and released to the press.

He reminded public sector workers that the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, which takes place in less than two weeks, does not affect the day-to-day business of government as Cabinet members all retain responsibility for their ministries until the results of the election are announced.

Reprinting part of the civil servants' code of conduct, he pointed out that public sector workers must be politically neutral and serve the government of the day. He said that civil servants, as members of the public, have a right to be politically informed but they must ensure their participation in political matters or debate does not conflict with their obligations to be politically neutral.

According to the code of conduct, civil servants cannot be actively involved in political meetings by speaking or even sitting on the platform of a particular party; they cannot distribute literature or write political speeches, promote political candidates or a political party; they are not allowed to write letters to the press, give interviews to the media supporting any particular candidate or party; they cannot canvas or collect funds on behalf of politicians or hold office in political parties; they cannot even place bumper stickers on their own cars supporting political candidates.

Manderson pointed out that public servants cannot provide information regarding the operation of government, its policy initiatives, internal correspondence or management of decision made by government other than through the proper channels, such as via the freedom of information law. The code of conduct tells civil servants that all official information is confidential and must not be disclosed without authorization.

See circular below.

Continue Reading

Crane falls into busy GT highway

| 13/03/2013 | 7 Comments

Crane-fallen-2013 494 (400x360).jpg(CNS): Police were busy trying to tackle a crane which was blocking the Linford Pierson highway in both directions yesterday after the lift reportedly fell into the road during transportation sometime after 9am Wednesday. It is not clear how the crane fell over but it caused traffic to be diverted as efforts were made to move the heavy equipment from the road. The crane was eventually removed sometime in the afternoon.

Continue Reading

WB road closure official

| 13/03/2013 | 122 Comments

wb ay road.jpg(CNS): Updated — The government has officially gazetted the closure of the first portion of the West Bay Road in an Extraordinary Gazette published on the website Wednesday. However, the road itself remains open and the NRA said it has not yet been informed when the road will physically close as neither junction to veer traffic on to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway has yet been completed. Although it is the legal authority that governs the country’s roads, a spokesperson for the NRA told CNS that it is waiting on instructions from Dart about when the actual closure will take place as it has not yet “been informed when it will happen”. The gazette comes following a second legal action being filed in the courts in an effort to stop the road closure.

west bay road closure_1.jpgThe gazette detailing the closure of the road, directs people to the Lands and Survey office or its website to examine the area, which is to be closed under the controversial deal government made with the Dart organisation. Although not there yesterday, after being contacted by CNS it has now been posted and can be viewed here.

Government ministers revealed details of the first strip to be closed at a government press briefing last month. (See picture at right)

It is understood that the closure of the road does not yet mean Dart has taken possession of the crown land but it is the first definitive step towards the closure of what will eventually be more than 4000 feet of the local road, which has been a byway of some kind connecting West Bay to George Town for more than one hundred years.

Cabinet members had already stated that the first 1000 feet or so of road was going to be closed before the PricewaterhouseCooper independent review of the ForCayman Investment Alliance, which includes the road swap between Dart and government, was made public. But it also comes during the time when ministers have said that the Cayman government is continuing to negotiate with Dart over elements of the land swap. CIG is now attempting to get the developer to also widen the original stretch of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway from the Butterfield Roundabout in George Town to Camana Bay, which is still single carriageway.

The appearance of the official gazetting of the closure, which was not announced by government today, even though the Legislative Assembly met this morning, was not unexpected but it has raised a number of questions following a second writ calling for a judicial review of the deal, which is understood to have been filed in the Grand Court Monday by another activist opposed to the closure. This comes on the heels of a legal action filed by four West Bay women who are also seeking a court decision on the legality of the closure and vesting of the land to Dart.

See page 6 of the Gazette postedbelow or on the government website here.

Continue Reading

Voter ID cards ready for collection

| 13/03/2013 | 6 Comments

url_2.jpg(CNS): Registered electors who have previously been issued with elector registration cards and who have not changed their particulars can collect their new cards at the Elections Office on Grand Cayman and at the District Commissioner’s Office on Cayman Brac. The Elections Office said that voters who still have old cards are asked to return them when collecting their new ones. Electors who have registered since October last year or who have changed their details can apply for a card on 1 April. Cards will be issued at the Elections Office on a daily basis and in the districts on days to be announced. 

Whilst the Elections Office said it would like all registered electors to have their cards by polling day 22 May, it may not be possible and not having a card does not prevent any registered voter from exercising their democratic right at the polls on election day.

“All electors who are not able to obtain an electors registration card by May … are urged to present to the polling officers at the polling stations some form of photo ID, for example a driver’s license or passport.  Even expired electors registration cards are acceptable,” election officials stated.

The use of registration cards makes things move more smoothly at polling stations and with some 18,500 people eligible to go to the polls to vote, the Elections Office is hoping to have things run as efficiently and quickly as possible at the stations to avoid queues.

With voters in George Town having six votes, and what could be a ballot paper with some 25 names on it, keeping things moving in the capital could prove a challenge for election officials in the May 2013 poll.

Continue Reading

PPM is a force for good, says former LoGB

| 13/03/2013 | 77 Comments

015 (317x400).jpg(CNS): The former leader of government business and the first leader of the People’s Progressive Movement said that the party remains a force for good in Cayman and pointed to the value that organised political parties bring to Cayman’s Westminster-style of government. Kurt Tibbetts helped found the PPM in order to put a stop to the horse-trading that was a characteristic of previous governments. As the campaign trail heats up, Tibbetts, who has been less visible since he stepped down from the leadership of the party, waded into the debate currently raging about political parties, claiming they were an essential component of democracy.

“The Progressives will continue to be a force for good in Cayman,” said Tibbetts, as he asked the electorate to take a good hard look at the role of parties in the upcoming Parliamentary election.

“We are committed to open and transparent government, creating lasting, good jobs for Caymanians, and strengthening our position as one of the world’s leading financial centres. And most importantly, we have publicly stated what the Progressives will do once we are elected."

Despite the backlash against political parties following almost four years of a controversial United Democratic Party government, where voters came to believe that the nine government members were blindly following a leader without due consideration of their constituents and election promises, the PPM insists that the last administration should not be allowed to reflect poorly on the principles of parties and their role in democracies.

The party officials said the parliamentary style in Cayman requires that MLAs join together to form a majority government and, in the case of the PPM, the group has already come together and agreed a policy platform on which all of the candidates will stand and if elected deliver. The Progressives said their manifesto is to bring good jobs back to Cayman, build the economy, root out corruption and restore confidence in government.

The Progressives said they could commit to specific policies because they had already cone together in agreement as a team before the election, so Caymanians know what they are voting for. By stating these policies and positions prior to the election, citizens can then hold the party countable for their actions once in office.

“We have a team of 14 candidates in four districts who are well versed in what matters to Caymanians, investors, and visitors,” Alden McLaughlin, the current party and opposition leader, said. “We have seen the failures of the last four years, where our opponents have failed to address the needs of the people and their districts. This won’t happen with the Progressives.”

The value of electing a cohesive team is that together they can exert pressure upon the political system, he noted, placing district level concerns in a national context. " A lone wolf, or independent candidate, cannot make claims because they will be at the mercy of those elected to serve with them," the PPM leader said.

The Progressives have chosen candidates who will assume a role in governing society. Through efforts to influence public policy, parties play an intermediary role, linking the institutions of government to economic, ethnic, cultural, religious and other societal groups. The PPM will rally support behind important legislation, advocate positions that improve the public welfare and advance citizens’ interests, officials said in a release promoting party politics.

Continue Reading

Catholic Church elects Argentinian pope

| 13/03/2013 | 20 Comments

Cardinal_Jorge_Mario_Bergoglio.jpg(BBC): Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, elected as the Catholic Church's new Pope, Francis, has greeted crowds in St Peter's Square in Rome. Appearing on a balcony over the square, he asked the faithful to pray for him. Cheers erupted as he gave a blessing. The 76-year-old from Buenos Aires is the first Latin American and the first Jesuit to be pontiff. An hour earlier, white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney announced the new Pope's election. He will be installed officially in an inauguration Mass on Tuesday 19 March, the Vatican said.

Pope Francis replaces Benedict XVI, who resigned last month at the age of 85, saying he was not strong enough to lead the Church. He has telephoned Benedict and is planning to meet him, a Vatican spokesman said. Pope Francis takes the helm at a difficult time for the Catholic Church, facing an array of challenges which include the role of women, interfaith tensions and dwindling congregations in some parts of the world.

The BBC's James Robbins, in St Peter's Square, says that at first the crowd was unsure who this man was, but they seemed to warm to his humour. He began his address to the crowds by offering a prayer for his predecessor. In a light-hearted moment, he said his fellow cardinals had gone to the "ends of the Earth" to find a bishop of Rome.

Go to article

Continue Reading

Police staffer admits guilt

| 13/03/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The first person to be charged and convicted with offences under the Cayman Islands Anti-corruption Law pleaded guilty Tuesday to several counts relating to the misuse of information. Despite constant speculation in the community about corruption in high office, the first person to fall foul of the legislation was a long way from the top of government hierarchy. Patricia Webster is a 31-year-old RCIPS civilian staffer who was accused of giving out a phone number of a victim and attempted to find information from the police data base on behalf of a friend. Webster admitted the offences and averted the need for a trial at the eleventh hour following a closed door legal hearing.

Webster pleaded guilty to two counts of misconduct in a public office contrary to section 17 of the Anti-corruption Law 2008 when she appeared in Grand Court this week. Following the guilty pleas, she was bailed to return to Grand Court in May, when it is anticipated that she will be given a suspended sentence.

The charges followed an investigation by the RCIPS’ own Anti-corruption Unit in 2011 after allegations were made against Webster of misusing the police data systems. Following charges laid by police in October 2011, she was placed on required leave by the police on full pay and a spokesperson confirmed that Webster remains on suspension.

In a statement released on Wednesday the anti-corruption commission said that Webster had made extensive searches of the confidential police database and solicited information from the immigration database to find out if an individual was the subject of a criminal investigation and to get the personal telephone number of another person which she passed a third party.

“The Anti-Corruption Commission and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will continue to receive and vigorously investigate allegations related to misconduct in public office and other related offences” said David Baines, Commissioner of Police and Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

For information on the Anti-Corruption Commission go to or call 244-3687 or for confidential reporting call 928-1747.

Continue Reading

Bo Miller announces return to GT hustings for 2013

| 13/03/2013 | 27 Comments

bo miller (291x400)_0.jpg(CNS): Derrington ‘Bo’ Miller, a veteran of the campaign trail, has thrown his hat into the increasingly crowded George Town ring for the 2013 election campaign. Although Miller was associated with the Coalition for Cayman at the time of its launch, he will not to be seeking the group’s endorsement and is going it alone. “The only endorsement I need is that of the George Town people,” Miller said ahead of his campaign launch. In 2009 Miller polled 17.67% of the vote in the capital, an improvement on his 12% poll in North Side during the 2005 election. Miller said he would be launching his campaign on Thursday evening at the George Town Hall at 7:30pm.

For more details see flyer below.

Continue Reading

Teenage boy and two men arrested for burglary

| 13/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police arrested a 14-year-old boy and two adults who were in a car that was believed to have been present at the scene of possible break-in. The teenager, along with a 24-year-old man and 26year-old man, are currently in police custody being questioned about an attempted burglary in the Tropical Gardens area, police said. Officers received a report about the possible break-in around 1pm at a house in Sorrel Drive, where  a blue Honda CRV had been seen driving away from the location. A description of the car was circulated and a short time later it was spotted by officers in Shedden Road. Officers stopped the vehicle and arrested both the adult men and the 14-year-old boy, on suspicion of attempted burglary.

Police enquiries are on-going the spokesperson said and anyone who was in the area of Sorrel Drive at the relevant time yesterday is asked to call George Town police station on 949-4222, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

Continue Reading

CIG officials heading to Brazil for fund conference

| 13/03/2013 | 0 Comments

RIO DE JANEIRO - BRAZIL (8) (344x400).jpg(CNS Business): Representatives from the financial services ministry in partnership with Cayman Finance will be heading to Rio Da Janeiro next week as sponsors of the 3rdannual Hedge Fund Brazil Forum, scheduled to take place on the 18 & 19 March. Officials said there would be a strong contingent from the Cayman Islands attending the event including Rolston Anglin, the deputy premier and financial services minister, despite his scheduled sentencing hearing for his recent drunk-driving conviction. Other government officials going to Rio include Dax Basdeo, the financial ministry’s chief officer and Heather Smith from CIMA. Read more and comment on this and other stories on CNS Business

Continue Reading