Archive for April 5th, 2013

Brac candidate barred

Brac candidate barred

| 05/04/2013 | 97 Comments

lyndonmartin.jpg(CNS): A second candidate for the 2013 poll has hit the dust after the Elections Office confirmed speculation that Lyndon Martin had also been disqualified. In this instance, the former United Democratic Party MLA for the Sister Islands, who was running as an independent in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, was disqualified as a result of a past criminal conviction. Although he did not receive a custodial sentence, the conviction was for a dishonesty offence and therefore the Bracker isbarred from the election fight. Following the announcement, Martin told CNS, "I completely disagree with the ruling but will have to accept it. My police record is completely clean." 

Martin is also due to face Summary Court trial later this month on charges of theft from a local PTA.

Having lost his seat in the 2005 election to Moses Kirkonnell, Martin failed to regain it in 2009, and despite the controversy that has surrounded him was considered to have a narrow chance to unseat the incumbent 2nd elected member for the district, the current premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. However, just nine days after the nominations for the 2013 closed, Martin was kicked off the ballot.

“The Returning Officer for the electoral district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman has concluded that Mr Lyndon Leathan Martin, who was nominated and consented to such nomination as a candidate for that district, is not qualified to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly pursuant to section 62(1)(e) of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009,” the Elections Office stated in a release on Friday.

This follows the disqualification of Richard Christian on the grounds of active dual nationality as a result of the Bodden Town hopeful’s continued possession of a United States passport. Although questions still surround other candidates, it is not clear if election officials will be taking action against them as the clock ticks on the need for all ballot papers to be finalized ahead of polling day on 22 May. Following a record breaking 58 candidates nominated on 29 March, there are now just 56 men and women left in political race for 18 Legislative Assembly seats.

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Ebanks triggers bid probe

Ebanks triggers bid probe

| 05/04/2013 | 37 Comments

joey ebanks.jpg(CNS): Following accusations made by the former MD of the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) about the bidding process for power generation, local officials have announced an independent investigation. Joey Ebanks, a political hopeful for North Side, has alleged that the ERA attempted to fix the bid for DECCO, which was awarded the contract sometime in February to produce some 36MW to meet future power demand and to replace CUC generators due to be decommissioned. Since the former regulatory boss was suspended from the ERAand then arrested on suspicion of drug related offences, fraud and theft, he has taken to the pages of Facebook alleging skulduggery and conspiracies by a catalogue of people, from the governor to members of the local press.

In particular, Ebanks has been focusing his latest allegations at the ERA management, implying that he had been asked to ‘fix’ the generation bid for DECCO because of a so-called ‘typo’ regarding the rate in the documents submitted  by the islands' largest developer.

In light of Ebanks’s continued allegations, the ERA board released a statement on Friday afternoon stating that the board was instigating an investigation but made it clear that if this was nothing more than a wild goose chase that it would be ensuring Ebanks footed the bill. The board pointed out that the former MD made no mention of the allegations before his suspension and if he had suspicions about the process he had remained silent.

“The 36 MW bid was awarded by the Board to DECCO on the 9th February 2013 on the recommendation and with the full support of the former Managing Director as well as the entire ERA team,” the ERA said in the release. “Up to the date of the notification of his suspension to him on the 2nd March 2013, the former Managing Director had not notified the Chairman or the Board that he was concerned that the bid process was flawed or that there had been any irregularities either before or following the award of the bid.”

Ebanks had been suspended on full pay because the Office of the Auditor General had uncovered serious financial irregularities involving Ebanks during the ERA’s annual audit. The former MD was then arrested in connection with those alleged irregularities and as a result of drug paraphernalia found at his home at the time of his arrest. Arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud, he was bailed to return to police on 9 April after spending two days in custody.

On his release, Ebanks took to his Facebook page and said his arrest was because he had used the ERA credit card to pay for a trip to Jamaica to support the then premier. In an ironic twist, Ebanks admitted using the card to pay for the flight to speak for McKeeva Bush at a ceremony where the UDP leader was to receive an honorary Phd from a regional university days after his own arrest on suspicion of theft and corruption offences.

Ebanks then moved on to make attacks in the coming days on the press, the governor, the police, and other figures in the local community, including his political opponent in the fight for the legislative seat in the district of North Side, Ezzard Miller. The other main target of his prolific and unrestrained posts has been the ERA, and in particular the current deputy MD and the board.

The former ERA boss also sent the accusations of a ‘fix’ to two other bidders and so the ERA said it determined that it had a duty to all the bidders and the general public to cause an investigation to be undertaken on the 36MW bid process by an unrelated, qualified party that it was presently in the process of identifying.

“The former Managing Director has been notified of this decision and asked to cooperate fully with the investigation and the Board sincerely hopes that he will take this opportunity to fully disclose any concerns he has with the process,” the ERA stated. “In the event that it is confirmed to the Board that the bid process was open and transparent and there were no irregularities, it will take whatever action necessary to recover the costs and expenditure of public funds on this investigation. In the event that irregularities are found they will be reported to the appropriate authorities."

Ebanks, who resigned last month from the post he had been suspended from to run for office, has also been threatened with law suits from both the governor, Duncan Taylor, and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission chair, Dan Scott.

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Voter responsibility

Voter responsibility

| 05/04/2013 | 16 Comments

The terrible driver that I was (and arguably still am) sat fuming at a T-junction when my instructor said something in the midst of our discussion that we will say, for the sake of simplicity, had focused on the various problems of the country. “We need these projects because we need jobs. I have to listen to people every day who are suffering and know that now, their neighbour most likely won’t give him some milk as they used to.”

“Isn’t that the true problem, then?” I replied, frustrated not with what he said, but in my confusion and paranoia of handling the vehicle without killing him, myself, or anyone for that matter.

At 21 years of age, I am part of a new generation of voters that everyone talks about, but few appear to be able to grasp the gravity of the situation we have been placed in. Unlike many of our parents, we have grown up in abundance. This doesn’t mean we have all had the privilege of wealth, the best education, have been fattened on fine food and liquors, or the like. We have grown up with untamed want, an insatiable desire for more – material and immaterial – a feeling that often can be confused with need.

What my driving instructor said to me reflected this. We say we ‘need’ projects, when in reality we need what those projects often promise and rarely deliver: stability, growth, the ability for a family to place food on the table, and a society that cares. The last is arguably the most important, as one may say that when a community can have pride, and hold compassion in their hearts for their peers, the false needs are irrelevant. This cannot be bought with money, this cannot be harvested with selfish ambition, and this cannot be sustained through actions that merely produce satisfactory immediate results.

Our country is small; it is fragile in economy and environment. Despite our few exploitable resources, our forefathers managed to make enough wise decisions that have made Cayman enviable in theeyes of many, despite our current stagnant growth and our cynicism. However, with that newfound wealth, we have turned our backs on what was so precious – a sense of community, of hard work, of endurance, and reverence for what little we have. In our pursuit of wealth, we have ignored our gifts. We have sold our flora and fauna for concrete condos that often lie empty.

Why is it we pay increasingly heavy duty on importing products instead of investing that money into production as an economical, local option providing individuals work and income? We pride ourselves on our tourism sector, yet have done so little to preserve our reefs and the wildlife that resides in our waters that people come to see. The younger generation has been thrown by the wayside, poorly equipped, to take on the burden of debt and social instability that our elders will leave us. We have been demanded to succeed despite the breakdown in the traditional family structure and the poor emphasis on education and self-improvement. We pride ourselves on our rich cultural and ethnic background, yet there is a growing hostility towards ‘foreigners’. Our problem, when looking at the smallest nuisances to the greater socio-economic problems we face, are not so different in that we are capable of finding answers; however we seem to have difficulty finding the right ones.

These elections are of paramount importance. We need to find the right answers. These may not be immediate, and to those voters and non-voters who are struggling, that is frustrating. Our politicians and would-be politicians struggle to approach an electorate who need answers now, a matter which is further complicated by island gossip, family loyalties, and personal ties. It is not that there exists no mode or method to salvage our shrinking middle class. We merely have not been brave enough to make decisions that challenge the status quo, and too often we try to emulate the mediocrities of the world around us rather than learning from past failures and thinking how can we surpass everyone else.

This is an age where almost anything is possible – if you are wise. That being said, our politicians can no longer tell us things will ‘soon’ get better and we can no longer align ourselves, due to personal reasons, to opportunists, the ignorant and the meek. If this is to be a democracy, we the people must prove we cannot be bought. We must prove that we will not be emotionally swayed. I say ‘we’ because, in what may be youthful naiveté, I believe that a community cannot be saved if we cannot think of ourselves as a community and collectively shoulder the blame.

No matter whom anyone supports, for whatever reason, it is OUR fault for allowing the failures of our leaders and for not being strong enough to stand up together. A country whose citizens sit, grumbling sourly, while watching their livelihoods destroyed deserves no pity. It is not a democracy, and one should not expect it to be as such if our democratic rights are not used positively.

This is not a matter of you and me, them and us. If we are to be respected, if we are to grow, if we are to thrive, we must each do our part. Ask questions. Look to facts, not empty words. Let us treat each other and ourselves with respect. If we are incapable of doing even that bare minimum, then those days when a neighbor could turn to another in a time of need will be gone. We will be further consumed by suspicion, malice and greed and we will have no one to blame but ourselves – and we have seen already what that can do.

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Addressing gender gaps

Addressing gender gaps

| 05/04/2013 | 0 Comments

The 2010 Census of Population and Housing revealed many gender gaps in the Cayman Islands. The most striking differences were found in the achievements and status of males and females in income, time usage, education, the work force and health. Males earned more money at every education level and across many occupations and industries.

In addition, females worked fewer hours in the paid economy and spent more time on unpaid caregiving and domestic work; males were less likely than females to be attending school or to hold educational qualifications; females were less likely to be unemployed but more likely to be outside of the labour force; occupational and industrial segregation showed that females and males are often taking different career paths; and females suffered from chronic non-communicable diseases at higher rates.

Gender gaps are evidence of gender inequality and demonstrate the loss of achievement within the Cayman Islands and the negative outcomes for individuals, families, the economy and our society as a whole. These gaps can also in turn contribute to larger social issues, including poverty, crime and violence.

Sex and gender

When discussing gender gaps, it is important to note that sex and gender do not mean the same thing. Sex refers to physical realities, while gender refers to economic, social and cultural attributes, roles and opportunities which determine what is expected, allowed and valued in a woman or man and girl or boy.

Characteristics, emotions and behaviours that people generally associate with being male or female – commonly referred to as “masculinity” and “femininity” – are learned from childhood. We behave in ways that others encourage and not in ways that others discourage based on ideas of what it means to be a boy or girl or a man or woman. We are also treated differently because of our sex.

Ideas that we have developed about gender are not fixed, as they evolve through social interactions and vary between cultures and over time. Understanding these terms allows us to separate differences that arise because of biology from those that result from social processes.

Stereotypes and discrimination

Our society has gender gaps not because of the different innate abilities of males and females but because we expect boys and girls and men and women to also have different desires, to behave differently and to be capable of different achievements. When we have expectations or feelings about people based on sex or gender, we may reinforce inequality without even realising it.

Discrimination on the basis of sex or gender (or both characteristics at the same time) can be direct, indirect or structural. It is direct when, for example, men and women receive different pay for the same work, or when boys aren’t given the same opportunities as girls in the classroom. It is indirect when an act, practice or policy that is applied to everyone puts a particular group at an unfair disadvantage. This could occur, for example, if an employer does not allow employees to take their lunch hour after 2:00PM without a valid business reason, because women are more likely to use their lunch hour to pick their children up from school in the afternoon.

Structural discrimination is even more complicated and occurs when a society's major 'structures' – such as the family, government, labour market or education system – consistently disadvantage a particular group through norms, policies and behaviours.

This may not be intentional, but when the outcomes for males or females are unjust there is structural discrimination that is separate from, but may be related to, any direct or indirect discrimination in which individuals or groups may engage.

Promoting gender equality

By taking a gender perspective and considering these different types of discrimination, we can start to understand the root causes of gender gaps and what types of interventions will close them. In some instances, legislation or policies may be required to prohibit specific discriminatory actions.

Government is committed to upholding the rights of males and females and protecting them from prejudice, discrimination and injustice. The Bill of Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities recognises that all people have the right to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development. The Cayman Islands is also a signatory to international treaties and conventions that uphold these values.

The Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the Gender Equality Law, 2011, which seeks to eliminate discrimination in employment, training and recruitment on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy or gender. Other laws and regulations also prohibit certain kinds of direct and indirect discrimination and provide sanctions for offenders and remedies for victims.

However, it is often our attitudes that have the most power to ensure or prevent equality of opportunity in many areas. We all have thoughts about individuals based on characteristics like sex and gender that can cause us to act in ways that discourage or prevent them from reaching their full potential or pursuing their own desires. Stereotypes can also hold us back personally if we do not believe we can or should do or achieve certain things just because we happen to be male or female. In order to address structural discrimination and for our society to truly progress, we must all seek to understand how stereotypes and prejudices based on sex and gender affect us in our daily lives and resolve to overcome these biases.

What can you do to close gender gaps?

Ideas aboutour gender roles and capabilities are so ingrained that we often see them as “natural”. However, scientific and social research has consistently proven that while there are biological differences between males and females, the way that we are socialised by parents, caregivers, peers, teachers, the media and others is the biggest source of gender differences.

Education is one of the most important tools for ending structural discrimination by breaking stereotypes and prejudices. We can all strive to recognise stereotypes or prejudices we may have about the qualities or capabilities of males and females and what roles and personal choices are “suitable” for each sex. When we are more conscious of these assumptions, we can choose how we respond in our formal and informal relationships and decision-making processes. We can also advocate for ourselves and others by recognising and rejecting discrimination wherever it occurs.

When males and females have the same opportunities to achieve important goals and contribute their best efforts there are positive effects for women, men, children, families, the economy and society as a whole. These include decreased reliance on social services, more positive opportunities for all children, lessening negative effects of poor living conditions and poverty, greater productivity and economic growth. Gender equality ensures that individuals are treated fairly, development is human-centred and we are all advancing together.

Promote gender equality. Don’t stereotype.

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Hyman to sprint with running stars at local invitational

Hyman to sprint with running stars at local invitational

| 05/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local running star Kemar Hyman has been confirmed for the line-up of talented track stars at this year’s Cayman Invitational which will take place on May 8 at Truman Bodden. This is Hyman’s second year participating in the Cayman Invitational. “I am very excited to come back and compete in the Cayman Islands in front of my home crowd,” Hyman said. “It is something I have looked forward to since last year’s meet.  Training is going very well and I have put the injury that side-lined me at the Olympics behind me.  I am anxious to mix it up with the talented athletes being brought in for this meet.”

Running in the Florida Relays for Florida State University, Kemar qualified for London 2012 Olympic Games in the 100 metre event with a time of 10.14 seconds. Not long after qualifying, he shattered Cayman’s National 100 metre record at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) meet with a winning time of 10.07 seconds. Since then, Kemar has lowered the National record twice – with a time of 10.04 and 9.95 respectively.

Despite making it safely through to the men’s 100 metres semi-finals at the London Olympics after the 22-year-old ran his Olympic heat in 10.16 seconds coming fourth behind the USA’s Ryan Bailey (9.88), Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast (10.06) and Canada’s Justyn Warner (10.09) he failed to compete in that semi-final race due to an injury.  However Hyman won an ACC Championship as a member of the team that captured first place in the 4x100m relay at the ACC Outdoor Championships. He was then selected as an NCAA All American for his accomplishments with the 4×100 team.

“We are excited to showcase a Cayman Olympic Team member to the hometown crowd,” said Meet Director, Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens. “It is an exciting time for Caymanian athletes, and we hope the youth will be inspired by the talent they see on the track at this year’s event.”

For more information visit: or please contact:

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Woman hurt in attempted daylight robbery

Woman hurt in attempted daylight robbery

| 05/04/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A 28-year-old woman was treated in hospital Thursday following an attempted robbery in George Town, police said Friday. The victim was walking in Newport Avenue at around 1;45pm when a man on a bicycle suddenlygrabbed her handbag. The woman, who refused to release the bag , was dragged to the ground and pulled along the roadway.  As a car approached the suspect ran off empty handed, leaving the bag and his bicycle behind. The occupants of the car assisted the woman and the suspect was last seen running in the direction of Cay Court apartments.

The victim sustained some cuts and bruising to her legs and body, was taken to hospital and released following treatment. 
The suspect is described as being of dark complexion with short hair, wearing jeans pants and had a blue towel around his head. The suspect was riding a red and white bicycle.

Anyone who was in the area at the relevant time and has any information which could assist the enquiry is asked to call George Town CID on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477

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WHO Day focus on critical local health risk

WHO Day focus on critical local health risk

| 05/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): High Blood Pressure is the focus of this year’s World Health Day which is being observed Friday across the world. As Cayman joined with other countries to promote greater awareness and prevention to one of the country’s biggest health concerns, Health minster Mark Scotland urged people to learn more about their blood pressure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure and in Cayamn’s 2010 census its was revealed as one of the top three illnesses here with a prevalence of 89.1 per 1000 population. Scotland said however that it is both preventable and treatable.

“I urge the public to engage in physical activity, to utilize the walking track at the football grounds behind the John Gray High School Compound, reduce salt intake, use a balanced diet and appropriate medication to prevent or control high blood pressure,” he said, in an effort to reduce the incidence of these diseases. 

See minster’s full message marking WHO day below

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Nursing degree launched at local college

Nursing degree launched at local college

| 05/04/2013 | 13 Comments

nurse_1.jpg(CNS): Caymanians who want to train for the medical profession now have access to a full general nursing degree programme which starts at the beginning of the this coming academic year at UCCI. The Nursing Programme was developed in recognition of the fact that skilled and professional healthcare workers are important to support the healthcare sector in the Cayman Islands. The education minister said healthcare was immune to downturns, and with the advent of the Shetty hospital and medical tourism project, along with the growing needs in the existing local healthcare sector, the degree was an important step forward.

The programme was launched by the University College of the Cayman Islands in conjunction with the health and education ministries and Caymanians wishing to take the course will have access to scholarships.Education Minister Rolston Anglin said it was important to encourage Caymanians to become part of the medical profession. He said it was a regulated and internationally recognised course, adding that he looked forward to seeing the nurses graduate.

According to 2008 statistics 7.9% of the Cayman Islands' workforce was employed in the education, health services and social work industries. Excluding government contracts, 672 work permits, which represent 2.6% total work permit holders, were issued for professional workers in education, health services and social work industries.

Roy Bodden, UCCI President and Chair of the Nursing Advisory Council, expressed his excitement over this much-anticipated event.

“The establishment of a School of Nursing at the University College not only broadens the educational options of our students, but also speaks volumes to the growth of UCCI as a tertiary level institution. Importantly, too, it conveys a sense of the growth of the Cayman Islands as a maturing society,” he said.

Health Minister Mark Scotland said the local Health Services Authority had made efforts to offer nursing training with the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) programme, which had to be suspended in lieu of a more cost effective programme.

“The new Nursing Programme at UCCI will provide opportunities for graduates of the LPN programme and other students looking to have a rewarding career in the health care industry to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree and qualify to become Registered Nurses without having to leave the island,” he said. “The curriculum provides a global perspective and is comparable with other curricula in the region and elsewhere in the world. Priced competitively, the programme is internationally attractive. It is also important to note that we have taken care to bring special focus and attention to the needs of the local industry.”

To qualify for the programme, applicants must have a minimum of five CXC, IGCSE, GSCE passes with grades 1-3 or A-C. These must include Mathematics, English Language and a pure science (Biology, Human and Social Biology). Among the five subjects, no more than two subjects should be at grades III.

Alternatively, those with an LPN Certificate may also apply. They must have five years relevant experience, an examination pass in Mathematics (CSC, IGCSE,GCSE) plus a recommendation from an employer.

All applicants must be at least 17 years old at time of entry into the programme. They must submit an essay or personal statement as part of their application. An interview is also required.

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing is awarded on successful completion of the programme of study. Graduates are eligible to write the Nursing Council of Jamaica approved and administered Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR) to obtain the title of Registered Nurse, which is a requirement for practicing nursing legally.

Applications from qualified students are still being accepted until 1 May 2013. Bodden said, “Nursing is an attractive, viable and caring vocation in which practitioners can derive a sense of self-worth, as well as satisfaction, from helping others.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the programme is invited to visit the website for further information at

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Tour operators encouraged to stick with local drivers

Tour operators encouraged to stick with local drivers

| 05/04/2013 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The tourism minister has said that a dispute among local transport operators has been resolved with an agreement by the owners of the buses to use local drivers if government agrees to waive the fee required for them to pass the public transport licence test. Although not formally declared as the first  Caymanian only occupation which was provided for in legislation passed in last sitting of the Legislative Assembly, the tourism minister said Thursday that ambiguity regarding transport application fees had  led to a compromise that will encourage the employment of local drivers.

Speaking during Thursday’s press briefing, Glidden said that Caymanian owners of the buses in some cases were employing foreign drivers and had disputed the need to pay public transport fees because they believed they were exempt. However, Glidden explained that the fee applied to the driver so if they were not local then a fee had to be paid regardless of who owned the bus.

Requests to change the regulations were declined by government who instead agreed to waive the license fee for local drivers wanting to qualify as bus drivers. The tourism minister said the tour operators had found that the $150 fee for drivers to get a public transport license to drive a bus was a genuine barrier to many local people. By waiving that fee and enabling more local drivers to qualify, instead of waiving the fee for foreign drivers should Glidden said provide a more positive outcome for all encouraging Caymanian employment.
In addition, the minister said the department was going to examine the tourism test which the drivers are also expected to take as he said there was a 95% failure rate which suggested that there was something wrong with the test.

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Christian gives up on 2013 political aspirations

Christian gives up on 2013 political aspirations

| 05/04/2013 | 10 Comments

slidepic1.jpg(CNS): Although he believes that he still has a case on which to base a challenge to his disqualification by the Elections Office, Richard Christian has thrown in the towel on his election bid for 2013. The Bodden Town hopeful, who had planned to run alongside the incumbent minority government on the new People’s National Alliance ticket, said he was advised that a challenge would be “both lengthy and costly” and, as he was not in a financial position to meet a hefty legal bill, he had  no other option but to withdraw his candidacy. His colleagues in the PNA said Thursday that they were disappointed but had to respect the decision by the Elections Office. Christian said he, too, respected the official decision to disqualify him but he did not agree with it.

"I feel that the country needs clarification on what the intent is, for section 61 (2) (b) and 62 (1) (a) of the constitution,” he said. “I appeal to our legislators and legal community to help resolve this question, as it affects many Caymanians who had to travel to the US in the 60’s and 70’s for work or medical reasons and had children there.”

With the country demanding more accountable politicians, Christian said he took full responsibility for what he described as a “technical and complex oversight and the controversy that arose”, as he apologized to his supporters, his PNA colleagues and the country. Christian said he was not ruling out running in 2017 but in the meantime he would continue to play his part in the community.

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