Archive for March 20th, 2013

Bush denies all charges

| 20/03/2013 | 0 Comments

Premier moves motion.jpg(CNS): In the wake of criminal charges being laid against the former and first premier of the Cayman Islands, the United Democratic Party was quick to publicly declare its continued support for their leader. McKeeva Bush also continued to vehemently deny the allegations of theft and corruption that have been made against him and stressed his intention to fight the charges. Tessa Bodden, the new chairman of the UDP, said the party stands behind Bush and was “proud” to have him as leader. Despite speculation that Bush was considering stepping aside as the UDP leader, he said he would continue on.

Bush was formally charge with various offences (See CNS story) on Wednesday afternoon and has been bailed to appear in court on 12 April. Having previously indicated that he expected charges to be brought before the elections, Bush said he expects more to come in what he described as the continuing effort to affect his re-election campaign.

“I have done nothing Illegal and will defend every one of these charges,” the former premier and political veteran said. “As I’ve stated since this campaignagainst me began over three years ago, I am innocent. I will continue as the leader of the United Democratic Party with its full support. These charges will not deter my faith and dedication to all the people of Cayman and to the United Democratic Party.”

Bush is represented by Michael Alberga of Travers Thorp Alberga and has also instructed Geoffery Cox QC from the UK, who appeared in the infamous Eurobank case, along with KD Knight, an eminent QC from Jamaica, who Bush said would be robustly defending his innocence.

Tessa Bodden, who was recently appointed chair of the UDP after the party split following Bush’s arrest, confirmed the party’s solid backing of their leader.

“He has diligently looked after the people of the Cayman Islands from all walks of life for over thirty years and despite this campaign to embarrass Mr Bush, his family, the United Democratic Party and its supporters, he fully intends to continue to do so. Our country has faced adversities before and, like before, the UDP will stand united with the people of the Cayman Islands to face these challenges.”

She said the party’s planned assembly would take place, as planned, Saturday afternoon at the UCCI Sir Vassel Johnson Hall, where the UDP candidates for the upcoming 2013 general elections as well as our the party platform would be announced.

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Parties go head to head with weekend conferences

| 20/03/2013 | 31 Comments

alden (220x300).jpg(CNS): The PPM and the UDP will both be holding their political conferences Saturday afternoon within a half mile of each other. Both events are open to the public and will be setting the scene for the coming general election. On Wednesday PPM Leader Alden McLaughlin held a press conference with the new party chair nominee, Patricia Estwick, and said the event would be a mix of party business and a launch of the Progressives' manifesto and the polices it will be pursuing if elected. With 14 candidates already confirmed, McLaughlin said he hoped that the fifteenth candidate will also have been ratified by the West Bay branch in time for the conference.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon, the leader of the UDP, McKeeva Bush, was charged by local police for theft and various offences under the anti-corruption law but this does not prevent the former premier from being nominated and running for office. The party made an announcement in the wake of the charges that they continued to stand behind the UDP leader and that the general assembly would take place, as planned, on Saturday when the candidates for the upcoming 2013 General Elections as well as the party platform would be revealed.

In the wake of Bush’s arrest, the UDP suffered a very public split when five of the nine parliamentary members voted with the opposition leader on a no confidence motion to bring down the UDP administration.

As a result, the UDP needs to find another fourteen people if it is to contest every seat. So far, both Theresa Pitcairn and Chris Saunders have stated that they will be running with the UDP in Bodden Town. While other potential candidates have been tipped to run with them in a district which will prove a tough battle ground for the UDP, no other candidates have been formally acknowledged by the party there yet.

In West Bay both Bush and his long-time running mate, Captain Eugene Ebanks, will be running but they have not said who will join them in the fight to retain West Bay against independent members and at least four PPM candidates, as well as their former colleagues and incumbents, Rolston Anglin and Cline Glidden.

In George Town both incumbent UDP members Mike Adam and Ellio Solomon will be contesting their seats and Jonathan Piercy has also confirmed that he will be running in the capital. 

Although Bush, who remains party leader, has indicated he wants to run UDP candidates in all the other constituencies, it is understood that he is likely to back John McLean Jr in East End rather than running a candidate against him. Although McLean announced his candidacy as an independent, he was publicly endorsed by Bush last year. The then premier promised the East Ender money from the Dart deal with government to carry out certain local projects in the district and offered him UDP support.

Over in the neighbouring constituency of North Side it is understood that Bush is having some difficulties finding a candidate willing to take on incumbent MLA Ezzard Miller. There is still considerable speculation that Joey Ebanks, who ran as a PPM candidate in the last election, may join the UDP and try to tackle Miller, despite his popularity in the constituency. However, Ebanks’ own arrest on suspicion of a drug related offence as well as suspected crimes relating to financial irregularities discovered at the ERA, where he was suspended from his post as MD, may have dampened his political ambitions. 

It is not clear if Bush would be prepared to field a candidate in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman against his long-time former government colleague Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who many believe will return to the UDP before long.

With the PPM slate almost settled and their candidatesalready hard on the campaign trail in all of the districts, the PPM conference is expected to be more about policies than who is running and who is still in the party.

McLaughlin has promised to give a broad picture of the PPM’s policies if they are returned to government and the conference will include performances and a keynote speech from country star, Jimmy Wayne. Norman Bodden, who in 2009 ahead of the May General Election that year endorsed the UDP, will be acting as master of ceremonies at the Progressives' conference, sending a clear message where his support will be for 2013.

McLaughlin said Wednesday that the party had gone through a process of change and renewal and was well placed to present a team and a set of policies that will lead the country through the difficult times it faces. The opposition leader said that on Saturday he will set out exactly what the PPM proposes to do once it is elected as the next government.

The PPM conference begins at 3pm at the Family Life Centre on Walkers Road. The UDP General Assembly will be at the UCCI Sir Vassel Johnson Hall starting at 1pm.

For more information or to confirm your attendance at the UDP conference people are asked to email gtmla@udp.ky or call 943-3338.

More information on the PPM conference is available on the website: www.theprogressives.ky or facebook.com/theprogressives  tel: 945 1776 or email info@ppm.ky.

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Mac charged with theft

| 20/03/2013 | 0 Comments

mac downstairs_0.jpg(CNS): The former premier of the Cayman Islands has been charged with a variety of offences, including theft, according to the RCIPS. A police spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon that when William McKeeva Bush answered his bail this afternoon, he was formally charged with two counts of misconduct in a public office,  four counts of breach of trust by a member of the Legislative Assembly (contrary to S.13 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008), and five counts of theft (contrary to S.241 of the Penal Code 2007 Revision). Bush, who is the first elected member for West Bay, has been bailed to appear in Grand Court on 12April, six weeks before the General Election. 

Related article:

Mac’s case in hands of DPP (CNS, Tuesday 19 March)

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Brazilian football star helps local players score scholarships

| 20/03/2013 | 0 Comments

brazil-star.gif(CIFA): The Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) is joining forces with Renata Lobo, former Brazilian national football player, and Lenilson Albuquerque, the president of the Brazilian national football league known as Liga Nacional de Futebol 7 Society, to increase opportunities for Cayman’s national players to receive scholarships with American colleges and schools, as well as professional clubs in Brazil and Europe. Renata Lobo played for Brazil’s national women’s team and Tampa University for four years, and counts being South American Champion for the Brazil national team among her many achievements. She said, "I am very glad and excited to have the opportunity to help the young players in Cayman follow their dreams and reach high accomplishments.”

She continued, “I've just started to build a solid network with American Universities and women's football clubs in Brazil, so our young players will have greater opportunities in the future.”

Renata Lobo played for Brazil’s national women’s team and Tampa University for four years, and counts being South American Champion for the Brazil national team among her many achievements. She said, "I am very glad and excited to have the opportunity to help the young players in Cayman follow their dreams and reach high accomplishments.” She continued, “I've just started to build a solid network with American Universities and women's football clubs in Brazil, so our young players will have greater opportunities in the future.”

Lenilson Albuquerque, said, " I believe that if we put all our ideas together we will achieve many good things for Cayman.”

Cayman’s women’s football program reached the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) qualifying final stage two years ago and the CFU (Caribbean Football Union) finals last year.

CIFA aims to expand Football 7 in the Caribbean and Europe given its popularity among boys and girls in Brazil.

Martha Godet, Cayman Islands Women National Program’s Director, said, “The entire Cayman women’s football team is very happy for the opportunity to meet amazing personalities like Lenilson Albuquerque and Renata Lobo.” She continued, “20 players are already away at colleges, universities and football clubs and some just came back after concluding their studies. Another five players are leaving in July to join overseas' schools.

Thiago Cunha, Technical Director of Cayman’s national women’s team, said, “We are looking forward to making this program bigger and having more athletes involved as we are organizing competitions for seniors and youth levels as well as playing international matches."

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DMS Announces education award winners

| 20/03/2013 | 0 Comments

Joanna-Clarke.gif(CNS): The winners of the Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award (JCA) and Scholarship were announced by local firm, DMS, at a gala, which took place at Grand Old House recently. DMS introduced the award to honour education pioneer Joanna Clarke in 2007, and publicly acknowledge the efforts those that contribute to education locally. Through the JCA, DMS awards education initiatives with up to CI$12,000 annually and a minimum of $2,500 to aspiring teachers. DMS President Don Seymour said, “What could be more important than the young minds of these islands? It’s not enough to prop up the status quo. The prosperity that we have experienced as a nation demands that we invest soundly in its future – and these young minds.”

This year’s scholarship was awarded to Erica Powell who will use her funding to pursue a teaching certificate at the University of Tampa.

The JCA Committee applauded the Cayman Islands Government Speech and Language Department: “Communication with Picture Exchange Communication System  (PECS)” project and Red Bay Primary School for their “Stop and Think” initiative.

The PECS project helps non-verbal and minimally verbal children learn how to communicate by exchanging pictures representing a request for an object. The ‘Stop & Think’ initiative aims to help students learn social problem-solving skills and to reduce the occurrence of impulsive and reactive responses to common interpersonal conflict situations.

Ms. Clarke commented, “Never did I imagine that the most important chapter in my career would come so late and postpone my retirement. It has been an experience of immense reward and learning for me and proof that we’re never too old or too young to make a difference.”

Previous recipients of the Joanna Clarke Award program include: “Catch up Literacy” and “Making Hanen Happen”. Previous award winners also include the N.C.V.O.’s Nadine Andreas Residential Foster Home, Cayman Islands Scout Association for Cayman Islands Scout Band, John Gray High School, Cayman Prep and High School, George Town Primary and Savannah Primary School PTA.

More information about the award can be found at www.joannaclarkeaward.ky.

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Commonwealth delegates meet in Cayman

| 20/03/2013 | 1 Comment

CPA-Group-1.gif(CNS): The Cayman Islands branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is hosting a meeting of Commonwealth parliamentary delegates from around the world this week. The 31 delegates include speakers and members of parliament representing Australia, The Bahamas, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Ghana, Guernsey, India, Lesotho, Maldives, Malawi, Malaysia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Uganda and the United Kingdom. Additionally, eight delegates led by Secretary General, Dr. William F. Shija, are representing the CPA secretariat in London.

 

Cayman’s Premier, Juliana O’Connor Connolly, who is the current Caribbean and Americas Representative on the CPA Executive Committee (ExCo), said, “Members strive for excellence and consider it a privilege to sit at the ExCo table to ensure democracy is alive and well.”

Cayman CPA branch president and speaker, Mary Lawrence, was joined by CPA Cayman branch members Alden McLaughlin and McKeeva Bush to talk about Cayman’s history as a democracy.

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Cadet Corps seeks fun runners for fundraiser

| 20/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Cadet Corps is looking for competitors for its first annual BDO 10k and 5k fun runs, which will take place at 4pm on Sunday, April 7. The starting line at the sports field on the corner of Aspiration Drive and Olympic Way. Participants will be able to race in the 10k run either as individuals or in teams of 4, in which each runner’s score will be added together to calculate the team’s total score. BDO Cayman director, Russell Smith, said, “ BDO is delighted to provide support to the Cadet Corps.  With the assistance of organizers, Race Caribbean, BDO Cayman is confident the inaugural race will be a tremendous success, and the Cadet Corps event will become a key fixture in the annual sporting calendar.”

After the main race a children’s race will also take place around the football field behind George Hicks School. Each child will receive an individual medal.

All proceeds from the race benefit the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps, a youth organization for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17. The program is designed to teach the value of citizenship, leadership, service to the community, responsibility and a sense of accomplishment, while instilling self-esteem, teamwork and self-discipline.

The Cadet Corps’ Lieutenant Colonel Bobeth O’Garro, said, “We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with BDO and create a unique race that brings together our community through sport.”

The event is also supported by Tower Marketing and Caribbean Creations, and organisers are seeking additional funds from the local business community.  Enquiries about sponsorship opportunities can be emailed to jenna@tower.com.ky.

Runners can register to compete in the following categories online at caymanactive.com or cicadetcorp.ky. 

10km Team Prizes:

All Male: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
All Female: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Mixed Team: 1st, 2nd & 3rd (must have 2 males and 2 females)
Corporate: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Junior Teams: 1st, 2nd & 3rd (all 16 or under)

Note: Teams are for the 10km race only

Individual Prizes:

Male in 5k & 10k: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Female in 5k & 10k: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Junior Male in 5k & 10k: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Junior Female in 5k & 10k: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Cadet Male & Female in 5k & 10k: 1st, 2nd & 3rd
Children’s Race: Medal for first 100 finishers

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West Bay Road dug up

| 20/03/2013 | 150 Comments

diggin up wbrd (263x300).jpg(CNS): Activists who have spent the last 18 months trying to prevent the closure of the West Bay Road watched the highway that they have fought hard to protect disappear on Monday as workmen began tearing up the road surface. After closing the West Bay Road to through traffic, with no prior warning, contractors employed by Dart Realty Cayman Ltd, immediately began work removing the road surface to begin the enhancement of the public beach facilities. The developer is also working on the slip roads that will drive traffic from the West Bay Road on to the new Esterley Tibbetts Highway at the junction of yacht drive. The NRA and government have remained silent on the situation.

Currently, the entire stretch of the West Bay Road from Yacht Drive in the north to Governor’s Square in the south is closed to traffic except for access. Although the NRA is the legal authority which manages roads in the Cayman Islands, there has been no notice from the agency on the road’s closure.

In addition, despite two legal actions filed in the Grand Court, the public remains in the dark about the full details of the Dart deal with government, which includes the closure of the road, land swaps and major concessions. Dart is moving full steam ahead with plans that will result in creating some 4000 feet of new beach front property forthe developer to add to his burgeoning land portfolio in Cayman.

Campaigners opposing the closure of the road, which they say has been in use as a byway for more than 100 years, believe that the process by which the road has been closed and given to Dart is unlawful as it is crown land and they are hoping that if the governor will not stop the agreement, the courts will.

In December 2011 the former premier, McKeeva Bush, the NRA and Dart came to a deal in which the developer agreed to foot the bill to complete the Easterly Tibbetts Highway extension into the heart of West Bay. He also committed to revamping the Seven Mile Public Beach and giving government land for an additional public beach in exchange for the closure of the West Bay Road and the vesting of that land to Dart to create a beachfront resort on the site of the former Courtyard Marriott and to turn more of Dart’s property along the road into beachfront in preparation for future development.

The developer has also been given a wide range of concessions for continued development in the area and at Camana Bay, including a 50% cut on all accommodation taxes on any property owned by the group on existing room stock and any new tourism development that the firm constructs over the next three decades.

The details of the deal, however, have remained secret, with only early drafts of the agreement having been leaked into the public domain. The independent review of the deal undertaken by local consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers is also still secret, despite persistent commitments by the current minority government that it will be made public.

Ministers said earlier this month that government was still negotiating for changes, including where the extra public beach will go, and were asking Dart to widen the original strip of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway along the Harquail by-pass, from the Butterfield roundabout in George Town to the Camana Bay roundabout by the Lawrence boulevard junction.

As a result of numerous issues, not least the process by which it has been carried out, the deal continues to generate considerable controversy and has become a political hot-potato. While the UDP and the new minority Cabinet are all committed to the deal, the independents are offering a mixed stance on the situation. The PPM remains the only political group that has confirmed that its policy is to do what it can to keep the West Bay Road as a through route and keep it open to traffic.

With the election nine weeks away, it appears that the Dart machinery is working to try and present a ‘fait accompli’, at least where the road is concerned, directly in front of the public beach and the former Courtyard Marriott site.

If the Progressives take the helm of the next government, the developer will have already created the enhanced public beach and begun work to create the proposed new beachfront resort, making the re-opening of the gazetted closed stretch of the West Bay road a difficult proposition for the new administration.

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CIG opts for model 1 agreement to deal with FATCA

| 20/03/2013 | 0 Comments

offshore-banking-investing-beach.jpg(CNS Business): The Cayman government has announced how it plans to handle the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), set to be implemented at the beginning of 2014, which targets non-compliance by US taxpayers using foreign accounts. The Cayman Islands will be adopting a Model 1 intergovernmental agreement (IGA), which was signed by the UK in September 2012. The minster responsible for financial services, Roslton Anglin, said that after “considerable consultation” with the industry and discussions with US officials, this agreement between governments for the exchange of information would ensure that Cayman businesses would continue to operate and compete effectively with its global counterparts. Read more on CNS Business

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Anglin’s DUI case adjourned to Nomination Day eve

| 20/03/2013 | 55 Comments

rolston anglin - Copy.JPG(CNS): Rolston Anglin was due to be sentenced in traffic court Tuesday in connection with his conviction for drunk-driving in May last year. However, the deputy premier and education minister was not present in court as he was in Brazil at a hedge conference. Court officials confirmed that the hearing had been rearranged administratively, despite still being on the list, to 26 March the eve of Nomination Day. Anglin was convicted after he pleaded guilty part-way through a trial following his initial denial that he was driving under the influence. The minister was arrested after an incident in the early hours of the morning when his car ran off the West Bay Road into a ditch. The only witness to the single vehicle incident was a mystery woman, who was driven away from the scene by a local police officer.

Anglin has said very little about the case except, following the submission of his guilty plea, the minister apologised to the people of Cayman and said that he had come before the court and accepted full responsibility for his actions. He said he should not have been driving that night and, as a result, had decided to enter the guilty plea after much prayer and discussion. The minister said it was in the best interest to put aside the issue so that he could continue to serve the Cayman people.

Anglin is facing a driving ban of at least one year as well as a fine in connection with the offence.

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