Archive for April 16th, 2013

Thieves steal C4C candidate’s banner

| 16/04/2013 | 47 Comments

conolly00534.jpg(CNS): In what appears to be at least the second incident relating to campaign posters, thieves have made off with a banner promoting one of the Coalition for Cayman candidates running for a seat in George Town. Winston Connolly said he was “not intimidated” by the theft as he implied that the disappearance of his poster was at the hands of his political opponents. Ezzard Miller has also fallen victim to campaign skulduggery after his poster was defaced in North Side. However, neither election officials nor the police have indicated if the incidents are related to political opponents or the work of young pranksters.

Connolly, whose banner was removed from Linford Pierson bypass and Agnes Way on Monday in what he said was a suspected act of malice, said he was “shocked that someone would actually resort to this but I will not be intimated. Our people deserve more than petty politics," Connolly added, implying that he believed the culprit was a political opponent.

The incident has been reported to the police and the Elections Office and the matter is being looked into.

Connolly said it was vital to the wellbeing of the Islands that, in accordance with the Elections Law and the Candidates Code of Conduct, candidates “play fair” in this election, and act with honesty, integrity and responsibility.

“The Code of Conduct calls for respect for others as well as a positive contribution to a peaceful election campaign. This should be a fair election, free of prejudice and every effort must be made to avoid harassment of this nature. I will continue to stand up for what is right for our country, our people and our future," he said, adding that a new banner will be put up tomorrow.

 

Continue Reading

Ministry tackles gender discrimination

| 16/04/2013 | 1 Comment

equal-pay.gifThe Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing has been running a gender equality capaign for the last four months in an effort to stamp out stereotyping. Under the theme: ‘Make it a New Year’s Resolution: Promote Gender Equality. Don’t Stereotype,’ the Ministry has focused on disparities between men and women in areas such as income, activities, education, work and health. The minister responsible for gender, Dwayne Seymour, explained, “We chose the theme because stereotyping is an issue to which everyone can relate and one of the root causes of these inequalities. Also, many people make New Year’s Resolutions aimed at bettering themselves, so we wanted to encourage everyone to make one in 2013 that will also benefit society as a whole."

He added, "It is important to change our perceptions of ‘typical gender roles’, and understand that such roles can prevent us from reaching our full potential.”

Using data from the 2010 Census of Population and Housing that compared the status and achievements of males and females, the Ministry, with help from the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) and Government Information Services (GIS), created an informational brochure that illustrated gaps.

The Ministry’s says that the census data further supported the need for recent legislation such as the Gender Equality Law, 2011, which seeks to prevent discrimination in employment and related matters on the basis of sex, gender, marital status and pregnancy. The Law also guarantees equal pay for men and women who perform work of equal value for their employers.

The Ministry also says that while legislation and policies that prohibit discrimination and provide sanctions for offenders and remedies for victims are important, it is often attitudes towards sex, gender, marital status and pregnancy stereotypes that influence the extent to which individuals receive equal opportunities.

As well as editorial and advertisements in local media, Ministry staff and government officials have taken part in a variety of broadcast interviews educating the public about stereotypes and discrimination.

Commenting on the campaign’s outcome, Seymour said, “Thankfully, with this information, members of the public now have a better understanding of how stereotypes and prejudice lead to direct, indirect and structural discrimination. This in itself is a powerful reminder that knowledge empowers us to take action in our everyday lives – and as a result, take action in our country.”

With this information, the government plans to develop further initiatives aimed at reducing inequality and drawing attention to ways in which a gender perspective can be incorporated in the design of every type of policies and programme developed by public agencies, private companies, community-based groups and other organisations and individuals.

“In order to truly eliminate barriers that prevent men and women,  girls and boys from having equal opportunities, we must all recognise how our own actions and decisions affect other people, and strive to view each person as an individual and not pre-judge people based on stereotypes,” remarked the Ministry’s Senior Policy Advisor  (Gender Affairs), Tammy Ebanks.

The Ministry is encouraging businesses, professional associations, students, teachers, service clubs and other community organisations, to organise group discussions on the topic of stereotyping and equality. The Ministry has also offered to deliver a presentation on the subject to interested groups, who can make a request by email at genderequality@gov.ky or by phone on 244-3226. More information is available online at www.genderequality.gov.ky, or at the Government Administration Building, the Health Services Authority and all public libraries. The Ministry is also encouraging members of the public to learn more about their rights and obligations under the Gender Equality Law and other legislation that promotes non-discrimination such as the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009.

Continue Reading

Misick back in custody in Brazil as appeal fails

| 16/04/2013 | 12 Comments

MisickFM01084433_0.jpg(CNS): The former premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands has been re-arrested by the Brazilian authorities after his appeal against that government’s decision not to grant him political asylum failed. Michael Misick, who was arrested in Sao Paulo on the authority of a Brazilian Supreme Court, was bailed in February after having been initially arrested in December. He is currently the subject of an extradition request and after his application for political asylum was rejected Monday he was taken back into custody, TCI officials have reported. While in jail in Brazil last year, Misick had stated he was willing to return voluntarily to his home country but TCI prosecutors formally requested Misick’s extradition in relation to a major corruption investigation.

The extradition is in the hands of Brazilian authorities and the process could take several months to complete, but the TCI governor’s office said it was hopeful the process would move along. “It is in the best interests of the TCI that allegations of wrongdoing are thoroughly investigated and that Michael Misick returns there as soon as possible to answer these charges.”

Misick faces a number of charges relating to systemic corruption in TCI, uncovered during a commission of inquiry in 2009 which led to the UK imposing direct rule over the territory. The islands were returned to democracy at the end of 2012 with elections in November, when the party formerly led by Misick was narrowly returned to power.

Meanwhile, the same prosecuting team which is investigating the corruption has dropped charges against TCI developer Samuel "Sammy" Been after he agreed to give up a portion of a commercial building in Providenciales valued at $875,000. Been was charged with money laundering and conspiracy over a hotel development in TCI but prosecutors said it was not in the public interest to pursue the prosecution and accepted the property recovery instead. Been said he maintained his innocence and had settled as it was in the best interest of the people.

Continue Reading

Accused man tried with victim in vegetative state

| 16/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The trial of Gary Hurlstone, who is charged with the attempted murder of Wesley Clarke, opened in Grand Court on Tuesday, while the victim remains in hospital in a vegetative state. Acting Justice Nova Hall is presiding in the judge-alone case in which the 41-year-old George Town man is accused of stabbing Clarke in the neck during a dispute between the two men at a Windsor Park party in June last year. Hurlston has denied being the person who stabbed the victim but a witness at the scene told the court Tuesday that he saw his friend Clarke arguing with the defendant seconds before he clutched his neck and declared, “They killed me!”

He was taken to the hospital immediately following the stabbing and before he slipped into a coma. Clark remains in an unresponsive state and reportedly never named his attacker before he lost consciousness.

However, the crown’s key witness in the case, during his evidence in chief, explained the circumstances leading to the stabbing, which happened sometime around 3:00 on the morning of 21 June 2012. He said he believed it was Hurlston who had stabbed his friend.

A father of five children and a self-employed mechanic, Hurlstone is represented by defence counsel John Furniss following several months of problems regarding legal representation as a result of trial clashes and Hurlstone’s own disagreements with local attorneys.

Continue Reading

Electors warned not to cast too many votes

| 16/04/2013 | 5 Comments

(grin887l.jpgCNS): The Elections Office is warning voters that ballots will be rejected if they vote for more candidates than their constituency allows. Electors in multi-member constituencies don’thave to use all their votes but they must be careful not to use too many. Officials said voters in George Town now have six votes while those in Bodden Town now have four, but they warned electors to ensure that they do not mark any more than that on their ballot sheets. In West Bay voters have the same four votes and Cayman Brac & Little Cayman voters still have two.

Electors can only vote for the number of candidates prescribed in section 5 of the Elections Law and they should be aware that to vote for more candidates than are specified for their districts will result in their ballots being rejected at the count, the office said. If electors choose to give all their votes to one candidate it will still only be counted as one vote.

Officials also reminded voters that ballot papers can be marked with a ballpoint pen or the pencil provided in the poll booth.  However, the use of fountain pens is discouraged because the mark on the ballot made by the elector could show through the ballot paper.  Electors should be aware that in marking the ballot an X must be made next to the names of the one, two, four or six candidates they are voting for, depending on the district. 

However, electors are perfectly entitled to spoil their ballot if they so choose. It is considered a legitimate means of democratic protest and a significant number of spoilt ballot papers sends a signal to the powers that be that voters want to engage in the political process but are not pleased with what is being presented to them. All spoilt ballots must be counted as they have to be accounted for in order to avoid election fraud. Although the local Elections Office normally records a small number of spoilt ballot papers, it has not been used historically in Cayman as a means of protest.

Meanwhile, new electors who have only just registered and those who have not previously applied for an elector’s registration card cannot collect new voter cards this week from the main office as staff are on the road. Voters who have had a card in the past may still obtain replacement cards during this period. Officials explained that the arrangement is temporary while election technicians are out in the districts this week.

New voter cards will again be issued from Tuesday 23 April but officials are asking voters to be patient as the office has only one new printer and a few almost obsolete units. The Elections Office also offered its appreciation to all voters who are arranging to pick up voter ID cards as it said they will help to expedite the voting process on Election Day and the office would do all it could to issue cards to everyone who wants them before the General Election on Wednesday 22 May.

See schedule for voter ID card pick up below.

Continue Reading

CJ: CIREBA rules ‘restrictive and one-sided’

| 16/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): In a dispute between a member of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) and a non-member over commission in a high end real estate transaction, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled that Remax, one of the defendants in the case who acted for the sellers, “could not stand behind the CIREBA rules to keep the full commission for itself” and ordered them to pay the agents for the purchaser, Cayman Realty Consultant (CRC), one-half of the 5% of commission on a US$6.6 million transaction instead of a “referral fee” of US$30,000 that it said it was restricted to pay according to CIREBA rules. The judge said there was no reason in the public interest to justify invoking the CIREBA rules to block an award that was otherwise justified. Read more on CNS Business

Continue Reading

Travers goes on attack with UK chancellor

| 16/04/2013 | 0 Comments

travers 3_0.JPG(CNS Business): Outspoken local attorney and chair of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, Anthony Travers, is the first person in Cayman to respond to the UK chancellor’s warning that he is clamping down on both Cayman and the British Virgin Islands as Europe ramps up its anti-tax haven campaign. While there has been no response yet from the Cayman government or the local industry associations, Travers, the former chair of Cayman Finance, has called George Osborne to task about his comments, criticizing him for promoting misinformation about both Cayman and the BVI and accused him of assisting the French and Germans in their quest to "irretrievably damage the City of London’s global dominance".Read more on CNSBusiness

Continue Reading

Joey makes court appearance

| 16/04/2013 | 0 Comments

joey_0.JPG(CNS): The independent candidate for North Side made his first appearance in Summary Court Tuesday, answering his bail before Magistrate Valdis Foldats. Joey Ebanks is facing 29 charges relating to fraud, forgery andtheft, most of which are category B and C offences, in relation to his time as the managing director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority. One of the charges, which accuses the former ERA boss of obtaining a money transfer by deception, is a category A offence and, as a result, had to be transmitted immediately to the Grand Court. Ebanks was bailed to return to both Summary and Grand Court on 3 May.

The normally outspoken and controversial character remained silent throughout the technical discussions before thanking the magistrate when he set the next appearance date.

Although the attorney acting on his behalf had asked for an adjournment until 28 May, after the election, the transmission of the case to the higher court required a date before the political fight on 22 May. The crown also expressed its interest in applying for all of the B offences to be transmitted to Grand Court as well, which will be dealt with at the next hearing.

Ebanks is likely to want a jury trial and, as a result, all of the charges against him are expected to end up in the Grand Court. The particulars of the offense were not detailed and in the absence of Ebanks' attorney, Ben Tonner of Samson McGrath, who was in another trial, the case was adjourned without further developments.

Continue Reading

Commuter traffic hit by five car pile-up

| 16/04/2013 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Local traffic police were working hard to get traffic flowing again following a five vehicle smash on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway Monday during the evenings commute from George Town which closed the road. Although the relevant agencies were able to clear the five vehicles from the key traffic artery close to the National Gallery relatively quickly, the major pile-up still delayed drivers on the their journey home. Police have yet to confirm the full details of how the accident occurred but a spokesperson for the RCIPS stated that none of the injuries sustained by those involved in the crash were thought to be serious in the wake of the smash.

Continue Reading

Locals safe after Boston marathon bombs

| 16/04/2013 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Local runners Derek Larner, Tom Gammage and Beth Florek, who took part in the Boston Marathon on Monday, are all safe in the wake of a double bomb explosion at the race finish line, which killed at least three people and injured over 130 others, many of whom are in critical condition, according to the US media. The first explosions occurred on Boylston Street shortly before 2:50pm local time and the second came 13 seconds later several hundrd feet away. There was no word Monday night on the motive or who may have launched the attack. The three Caymanian runners had already completed the race when the bombs went off, which brought an abrupt end to one of the world’s most popular annual endurance races. A no-fly zone declared over the area following the blasts that happened several hours after the winners had crossed the line.

Continue Reading