Archive for April 19th, 2013

Vandals slash PPM campaign posters

Vandals slash PPM campaign posters

| 19/04/2013 | 32 Comments

photo 1 (240x300).jpg(CNS): In the latest act of political sabotage, the new campaign posters put up this week by the PPM in the area of Watler’s Road, George Town community area have been vandalized. The PPM have made no accusations about who may have slashed the posters, which have been cut along the throats of the GT candidates' pictures, but said they were sadden by the wanton act of vandalism. The PPM now joins Ezzard Miller and Winston Connolly as targets of political sabotage after Miller's poster on Frank Sound Road was defaced and Winston Connolly’s banner was stolen from Linford Pierson. The vandalism may well be the work of young pranksters rather than political opponents but the damage to the Progressives' poster seems more ominous than the previous acts.

Nevertheless, the act is unlikely to derail what the leader has described as the  “Progressive Express” after the party’s successful national campaign launch on Wednesday night.

With the UDP splintered and facing an uphill struggle, given that the former premier and party leader, McKeeva Bush, has been charged with criminal offences, the PPM is focusing its campaign battle on the Coalition for Cayman’s candidates in George Town.

The Progressives are hammering home the message that what it describes as the “newly birthed C4C party” efforts to convince Caymanians that only a coalition government is needed to bring Cayman into the future is misguided.

“You may hear that we, the Progressives, are trying to scare voters. That could not be farther from the truth,” said Alden McLaughlin, Leader of the Progressives Party. “That makes me angry, to be honest with you. What the Progressives stand for is an opportunity to turn this country around, to move away from corruption, the head in the sand mentality that has permeated our government for the last four years.”

McLaughlin said that the backlash against party politics is misplaced and is a ploy to trick the voters of Cayman into thinking that a select group of elected MLAs will somehow come together and form a government with a coherent and cohesive voice. He said this is misleading as it takes a strong elected party structure with policies in place to form a functioning administration without deals and compromises on principle.

“Party politics is not for the meek,” said Kurt Tibbetts, the formerleader of government business and the founding leader of the PPM. “We have a vision for the Cayman Islands that is progressive, prosperous and for a full participatory democracy renowned for its resilience and resourcefulness.”

While the C4C says it wants to see people working together for the sake of Cayman, that is exactly what genuine party politics is about — a team of like-minded people coming together because they share common beliefs which they will shape into policy once in office.

“Politics is a numbers game, but the Progressives are not playing with the future of Cayman,” said McLaughlin. “If you don’t have at least ten MLAs working towards common goals, then you don’t have a government, and we have lived through enough the past four years to know that we need strong leadership for the future of Cayman.”

Anyone interested in helping elect a Progressive government can contact Progressive headquarters on 945-1776 or at 488 Crewe Road, George Town.

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Chuckie launches independent campaign for BT

Chuckie launches independent campaign for BT

| 19/04/2013 | 21 Comments

chrles clifford.jpg(CNS): Former tourism minister and PPM member Charles Clifford, who has decided to make another bid for the LA, will be launching his campaign for a seat in Bodden Town on Saturday night with a line-up of other independents as guest speakers. Although Clifford was rumoured to be in discussions with the Coalition for Cayman to run on their ticket, Clifford told CNS this week that he is running on his own independent platform. Nevertheless, Mervin Smith, one of the C4C candidates running in West Bay, will be a guest speaker at Clifford’s campaign launch, as will his former PPM colleague Arden Mclean.

In addition, Gregg Anderson, who is also running as an independent in Bodden Town, and Bo Miller, who is going it alone in the capital, will also join Clifford on the open lot opposite Savannah Meadows in Bodden Town.

Clifford narrowly lost his seat in the 2009 election when he was still a member of the PPM to the then UDP candidate Dwayne Seymour. Clifford eventually resigned from the political party after a dispute over the opposition’s reaction to the UDP administration’s proposal to sell the new government office accommodation building, among other issues. Clifford stepped away from the political arena for a while in order to complete his law articles before setting up his own legal practice.

He has, however, been active in the Bodden Town campaign to prevent the relocation of the George Town landfill to the district as part of the ForCayman Investment Alliance between government and local developer Dart Realty.

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Crosswalks expected to improve road safety

Crosswalks expected to improve road safety

| 19/04/2013 | 0 Comments

NRA cross walk Camana Way (255x300).jpg(CNS): The National Roads Authority (NRA) has now installed two pedestrian crosswalks, one on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and the other on West Bay road and has plans for a third in front of the Westin hotel. The crossings come as a result of the 2010 review on ways to improve pedestrian safety on West Bay Road. Officials said motorists should exercise caution when approaching them. Flashing LED fluorescent yellow signs and in road LED lighting are activated when pedestrians press the button and advance pedestrian crossing ahead warning signs are installed 360ft away from each crosswalk.

The crosswalks require pedestrians to press a button before proceeding to cross the road. The yellow flashing lights will then begin. Pedestrians are reminded that vehicles will need more time to stop if the road is wet or slippery. When crossing, look both ways for traffic that might be overtaking.

The premier and minister responsible for roads said she was pleased that the crosswalks were up and running. The Government is always looking for ways to improve safety on our roads, both pedestrians and drivers and these crosswalks are one of the ways to enhance public safety and improve the experience of all who use our roads," Juliana O’Connor-Connolly added.

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The story of two wise men

The story of two wise men

| 19/04/2013 | 49 Comments

Cayman politics has a way of dishing out some interesting developments; like former enemies joining up to form a cabinet once elected, a coup orchestrated by one's own deputy to name a few. But the situation relating to the existing representatives in East End and North Side must be one of the most intriguing, at least in terms of political strategy and this country's democracy.

So we all starting on the same page: it's now official that neither representative will face any meaningful opposition from any of the main political groupings. That's either some very brilliant political maneuvering by both gentlemen or a complete mis-cue by the UDP, PPM and C4C ( sorry C4C but we will keep you in that basket for now until you start showing us your 'advocacy group' qualities).

Ezzard and Arden may not even have to spend half of the CI$35,000 allowed by the elections law because they already knew six months before the general elections that they would most likely get a free ride to the LA.

The UDP made its intention to support John Mclean Jr in East End sometime in 2011, but even with UDP support, he will not likely be an effective opponent for Mr Arden Mclean. Of course we are used to the UDP declaring one thing and doing another, or prematurely uttering things that bear no resemblance to reality.

The PPM's political strategy, however, is the one that deserves further inspection. After declaring that they would field a full slate of candidates, the country's main opposition group is now saying essentially that they will 'work' with the two wise men.

But if Alden thinks that it will be easy forming a partnership with the two independents to secure the numbers to sit at McKeeva's old desk, he should reconsider. There is very little chance that Ezzard or Arden will be comfortable in a cabinet (which they will most certainly negotiate as part of a coalition) with Alden Mclaughlin as leader.

In fact it is more likely (and blatantly obvious to some) that the wise men are angling for one of them to lead any form of coalition the morning after the general elections. So if some of us are hoping that the PPM will be successful in making a change in government, we may be setting ourselves up to be let down by the Progressives yet again.

The strategy on the part of the eastern independents makes a lot of sense: there is every likelihood that neither party will secure enough seats outright to form a government, so why not hang out on the side with two secure seats and hopefully find one or two others to join them, making the third group an extremely powerful bargaining tool after all the votes are in?

The problem for the PPM and the issue faced by voters is that it appears that Mr Miller and Mr Mclean have policy positions that are different to that of the Progressives. The two independents, for example, are far more apprehensive towards the ForCayman Alliance and other initiatives than the PPM has ever expressed (to the extent that it has … because, to be honest, it has been very quiet on most key policy matters).

So how will Alden deal with that issue with us the people? Is he saying that once the people elects his party on the basis of his current 'maybe, maybe not' approach to policy, that he will then bring on board the Miller/Mclean duo, who not only will push for a major shift in what he has promised to the people, but who will certainly demand senior positions in his cabinet?

Alden needs to make it clear to voters how he intends to deal with this issue. He is on record regretting that it may have been a mistake to not run candidates in West Bay for the past two terms. Next month he may end up regretting the same with respect to East End and Northside. In terms of political strategy the two wise men seem to hold all the cards at the moment and there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that this will change.

As for us, the people, it's worth considering (and at this stage I won't make judgement either way) how we would feel if, say, Ezzard Miller were the next Cayman Islands Premier or if Mr Arden Mclean becomes roads and infrastructure minister again.

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Mobile and early voting dates set ahead of polling day

Mobile and early voting dates set ahead of polling day

| 19/04/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Elections Office will be issuing electors ID cards for the district of Cayman Brac & Little Cayman today (Friday, April 19) for the general public and tomorrow (Saturday, April 20) for elections staff, candidates and agents at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre, 9am-4pm. The Elections Office has also said that mobile voting dates have now been scheduled and electors who wish to attend the static mobile polling stations ahead of General election day can check the dates and times below for their districts. There will be three mobile polling teams in the larger districts and two in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to accommodate Little Cayman electors.  

In the districts of North Side and East End the mobile team will maintain a static station during the morning and visit homes and the rest home in the afternoon or sooner if those who opt to attend the static station vote early.

  • Cayman Brac and Little Cayman: Friday, 10 May
  • North Side: Monday, 13 May
  • East End: Monday, 13 May 
  • Bodden Town: Tuesday, 14 May 
  • George Town: Wednesday, 15 May 
  • West Bay: Thursday, 16 May 

The details will also be published in the Gazette and in the media again at a date prior to commencement of mobile polling in all electoral districts.

The Elections Office team will be at Foster’s Food Fair, Countryside Shopping Village with the Voter’s ID Cards on Saturday 20 April from 9am-5pm for those who previously had cards. 

Photos will be taken on this day but no cards will be printed until Tuesday 23 April. Electors are asked to be patient with the technicians who only have one new printer and a few almost obsolete units.


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Cops first to violate rights

Cops first to violate rights

| 19/04/2013 | 40 Comments

(CNS): A local judge has found that the human rights of a criminal suspect who was held for over six days in police custody in January of this year were breached when the RCIPS failed to produce the prisoner at a court hearing to extend his detention. Canute Nairne has been given an order by Justice Alex Henderson that his rights were violated, facilitating a further hearing for his claim for compensation. In the first human rights case in Cayman where a judgment has been delivered, the RCIPS has become the first government agency to breach the Bill of Rights and leave the public purse to pick up the compensation tab. 

Although Nairne’s custody was lawful to begin with, when the investigating officer applied to the chief magistrate, in accordance with the police law, to extend the period to hold him, the prisoner, who was arrested on a drugs charge at Owen Roberts airport and who was also a suspect in a murder investigation, should have been brought to court.

Justice Henderson found that the man’s continued detention without charge, based on the order made by the court in his absence, was unlawful.

According to the police law, in order for officers to keep a suspect longer than four days without charge to continue an investigation, they must apply to the courts for the detention to be prolonged up to a maximum of eight days. The Bill of Rights also gives everyone who has been arrested the right to be brought promptly before a court.

In his ruling set out below, the judge found that Nairne was not brought promptly and his rights had been breached. He therefore made an order confirming that and paving the way for Nairne, who was eventually released without charge, to make a claim against CIG.

The judge also found that the 2010 Police Law is in conflict with the Bill of Rights, which came into effect last November. The judgment, which has been published on the court website, sets out the facts in which Nairne was a suspect, wanted in connection with drug crimes and was also for questioning in connection with a murder investigation.

At first he was detained for three days, as is allowed, as officers questioned him. A senior officer extended that time lawfully for another 24 hours. Henderson explained that section 65(4) [of the Police Law allows for that continued detention but it raises human rights questions.

“There is no obvious explanation for why the authorisation is to be given by a police officer rather than a court," he said. “Section 65(4) of the Police Law, 2010, is not compatible with section 5(5) of the Bill of Rights.” The Bill of Rights states that anyone who has been arrested or detained “shall be brought promptly before a court” and the Police Law allows officers alone to apply to the court for detention to be extended for a maximum of eight days before a suspect is charged, provided there is good reason.

Justice Henderson said that, as the application to hold the suspect in the investigation was made to the court without Nairne or even his attorney being there, his further detention was unlawful.

Despite claims by local authorities that all of Cayman’s legislation has been scrutinized in order to make it compatible, one of the most crucial pieces of legislation appears not to be. Henderson said that the provisions in the Police Law need to be reconsidered by the Legislative Assembly.

Anticipating future problems with other prisoners needing to be held longer and the need to bring them promptly before a court, Henderson suggested judicial officers need to be made available to hear court cases on statutory holidays.

See judgment here

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Former Cayman governor silent on Tempura probe

Former Cayman governor silent on Tempura probe

| 19/04/2013 | 28 Comments

jack speaks.jpg(CNS): The British media has again picked up on the continuing controversy and secrecy surrounding Operation Tempura, the UK-led tarnished investigation into alleged corruption in the RCIPS. In an article published in Thursday’s edition of the UK daily, The Independent, former governor Stuart Jack has refused to answer questions that he knew all about the bungled but authorized so-called break-in to the offices of Cayman Net News by staff looking for incriminating evidence against the deputy police commissioner, who had been accused of leaking sensitive information to the late owner, Desmond Seales.

Martin Bridger now believes that his entire investigation, which has cost the Cayman Islands millions of dollars, was based from the very start on a false premise. Bridger, the senior investigating officer in Operation Tempura, says that it is now apparent that Jack did know that the former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, had authorized staff at the newspapers to gain entry to their workplace after hours to look for evidence to back up what were serious allegations.

Kernohan, who was later sacked. has always maintained that the decision to authorize the so-called break-in was done with the full support of the governor and the FCO’s regional security advisor, Larry Covington.

With the current governor and the FCO still trying to keep a lid on what really happened, both Martin Bridger and Stuart Kernohan, once on very opposite sides of the fall out of the investigation, appear to be converging in their efforts for the full truth about Operation Tempura to now be revealed. Both men told the Independent that they believe the truth must come out but it seems too many people have too much to hide.

Go to The Independent article

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