Archive for May, 2013

The trouble with ‘Miller time’

| 30/05/2013 | 69 Comments

Ezzard Miller has done a few good things as an opposition member over the past few yeas, but his actions immediately after last week's general elections have resulted in an opposition which will likely fail to meet any expectations of effective checks and balance on the PPM government.

The day after the elections, even after the group of five comprising the three C4C candidates and the two wise men from the east agreed to essentially work together as a team, Miller made a 'suggestion' (his own words according to CNS) that an alternative government with his highness as premier could be put together, if only a certain PPM member and hopefully a few others would defect and cross over to this new group.

The plan not only backfired, as the PPM candidate shared Miller's email with various persons both within and external to the PPM, but it caused the C4C members to rightly question whether they could be a part of a successful opposition with a man who was trying to engineer his own government behind their backs. Furthermore, it is alleged that as Miller was telling others that he had five seats (being himself, Arden and the C4C members) it was interesting and ironic that Tara Rivers, who eventually ended up in the PPM's cabinet, was not one of the proposed cabinet members under Miller's 'Plan B'.

Miller managed to single handedly create a situation whereby five otherwise competent newly elected or re-elected members would become so fragmented in a swell of suspicion and mistrust that not only could they not see themselves working together but several of them "defected" to work with the government instead of forming an effective opposition.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the C4C members wanting to form a coalition government. In fact, the situation which resulted with Ms Rivers in Cabinet and Mr Connolly being offered an opportunity to work closely with her in a sort of councillor/jr minister position, similar to those introduced by McKeeva Bush, seems reasonable. And everyone should hope that it all works for the betterment of the country.

But we now have a scenario whereby even Roy Mctaggart, who seems qualified to play a strong opposition role, may also consider joining the government. Sounds nice if you are really into the coalition thing but does absolutely nothing to ensure there is a balance in the LA over the next four years. And that's not a good thing.

The C4C brand took a bit of a hit with their to and fro about whether they wanted to work with Alden McLaughlin, but the public is likely to forgive them if the coalition (we should use that word lightly) works.

'Miller time' is to blame for the weakness of the opposition because, while the North Side tough guy claims to be happy in his "southeast corner" (and to be honest even that phrase is becoming tiring), one could imagine how easy it may become for the government to forget that he is there.

That leaves us with a man that faces court in a few months to lead the opposition, one newly elected member in Bernie and a captain that is known for not doing too much in the LA in any event.

The only person left is one Arden McLean, who stuck closely by Miller's side for the past couple of years and must now be wondering how he ended up standing next to Miller for another four years and with no seemingly effective way to play a meaningful role as opposition in the LA leading up to 2017.

What a shambles, and all down to 'Miller time'. 

Continue Reading

TCI gets just $6M from recovery package of $19.5M

| 30/05/2013 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The Turks and Caicos Islands government has spent over $13 million dollars to recover around $6 million as part of the ongoing corruption investigation. According to local reports from the overseas territory, the Civil Recovery Unit recovered $19.5 million in cash for the TCI government, but $13 million of thatwas paid to UK law firm Edwards Wildman. Over the past three years that the firm has been working on behalf of the TCI government it has also recovered more than 2,500 acres of land. In an interview with the local media house, The Turks and Caicos Sun, Laurence Harris, the law firm's deputy managing partner, defended the fees

"We got back US$19.5 million and it cost US$13 million, so that is an investment rate of return of about 50 percent over three years, roughly speaking, which is about 17 percent annually,” he said, adding that the firm had also recovered land, which he described as the people's birthright and worth millions of dollars.

He said the $13 million in legal fees was down to the expense mechanism. “First, are the fees of my firm,” the lawyer told the local press. “Second are fees of barristers that we instruct, who present the cases in court … The third is fees from independent experts, who are often needed for these cases,” he added as he defended the fees charged by his company as standard market price.

Meanwhile, as TCI finds its feet again on the road back to democracy, its governor will soon be departing. A spokesperson for the governor’s office in TCI said that Peter Beckingham will replace Ric Todd in October 2013. Beckingham is currently Deputy High Commissioner in India, heading the Mumbai-Western Indian offices.

Continue Reading

Gun man caught holding weapon, court hears

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After a number of delays and false starts as a result of difficulties with legal representation, the crown’s case against Leighton 'Cookie' Rankine for attempted murder as well as possession and unlawful use of an unlicensed firearm, began Monday. Rankine is alleged to have shot a man in February of last year during an altercation near the Club 7 nightclub on the West Bay Road. 35 year old Rankine faces significant evidence against him in a case led by the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Ricahrds QC. In a judge alone trial, acting Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop heard that Rankine was holding the weapon when the police arrived on the scene.

During his evidence in chief, lead prosecution witness and authorized firearms officer, PC Derron Campbell, told the court that when he arrived on scene Rankine was pointing the gun towards his victim Mitchell Wright who was in turn holding Rankine in a head lock trying to avoid gunfire.

The police had responded to the scene after hearing a single gunshot fired in the area of the Club 7 parking lot. PC Campbell said when he arrived at the scene he instructed the men to stop fighting and show their hands but was unsuccessful.

The crown witness told the court that Wright was exclaiming that he'd been shot by the man whom he was fighting with. PC Campbell said he had assertively told Rankine to drop the gun and show his hands numerous times before the armed man eventually threw the gun into the bush hedge. At that point, the officer dragged Wright away from Rankine. 

As he did so however, an angry crowd had gathered around the scene and one person attacked Wright while he was being taken by the PC. The court heard that the situation got out of hand so the officer was forced to use pepper spray to calm the crowd down. Having hit Wright in the process Campbell flushed his eyes with a bottle of water during what had become a chaotic scene.

In addition, the police officer also stated that Wright had managed to kick Rankine in his face as he pulled them apart and as a result both men were escorted to the George Town Hospital to treat their injuries.

Rankine, who is defended by local attorney Clyde Allen led by Alastair Malcolm fom the UK, has denied the allegations and the trial continues this week in court 5.

Continue Reading

Rotary Central picks up service club gong

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

kapoor.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands Rotary Central picked up an award recently at the service club’s District Conference in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The club won the Platinum Governor’s Award, Champion’s Award (Best Club in the District), Platinum Award for Program participation Literacy Award and Zone 34 Public Image Citation. “We had ambitious plans for  what we wanted to accomplish this year and we are very pleased for being recognized for our efforts,” said President Ravi Kapoor (left). Many projects carried out by the club caught the attention of Rotarians at the District 7020 Conference.

“We have always been very active here,” said Kapoor. “However, this year we made a concentrated effort to document our efforts and we are very happy with the results.”

Competition was tough among the clubs in the district which is composed of 10 countries and 84 clubs. Rotary Central set the standards by taking the first Club-of-the Month Award in August 2012. The club achieved the highest points for September, October and November and an overall total of five First place finishes in the year, something no other club has ever done.

“Everyone was amazed by what we accomplished and were wondering what was happening in Cayman,” Kapoor added.

The Zone 34 Public Citation Award was awarded for the work done by the club in developing a public image plan and initiating public relations activates that enhanced the visibility of the club in the community. Zone 34 comprises of 14 Districts, 800 clubs and over 33,500 Rotarians. Rotary Central had a strong contingent with 10 members in attendance at the District Conference, the first ever to be held in the British Virgin Islands. Over 512 delegates were registered for this conference.

Next year’s conference will be held here in Grand Cayman.

Continue Reading

Cayman ready for Big Game 3

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

cowdroy_0.jpg(CRFU): National Rugby Coaches Brad Cowdroy (left) and Tim Rossiter have announced their squad ahead of the Cayman vs. Bermuda 2013 NACRA Caribbean Championships fixture (dubbed BIG GAME 3) which is scheduled for 1 June 2013 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Grand Cayman. The Squad has been tweaked from that which narrowly lost out to USA Rugby South by 2 points in Atlanta, USA on 4 May with National XV’s captain Ben McDonald re-joining the squad as well as the introduction of Joel Clark, Michael Wilson and Saviri Tabuaniwere.

After Cayman’s away loss to USA Rugby South, the Americans travelled to Bermuda on 18 May and piled 24 points on the Bermudans in stark contrast to their encounter against Cayman where they could not find their way to the try line. The USA South’s saving grace against Cayman in the flood like conditions being the boot of penalty kicker Lucas Baistrocchi who scored all of the USA’s 9 points.

Cayman will be looking to overturn their last encounter againstBermuda where Cayman lost 7-3 in Hamilton and whilst there is no chance of progression in this year’s NACRA Championships with both Bermuda and Cayman having lost to USA Rugby South (who now await now await the winner of the Southern Caribbean zone, which could be either Guyana, Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago) both Cayman and Bermuda will be fighting against relegation in their clash.

Coach Cowdroy: “Even though USA South has won the Northern Caribbean region, Big Game 3 is by no means a dead rubber as the loser will be relegated to the lower tier for next year’s tournament and need to qualify back up to this top tier round robin, so both teams have everything to play for…Selecting the team to play Bermuda from the wider training squad has again proved to be a difficult task requiring many discussions and various team composition options being explored… As it is the last game of this year’s campaign, we have no doubt the players chosen will give it their all and not leave anything on the field by the time the final whistle is sounded.”

Continue Reading

Regional educator to talk about living with HIV

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Dedicated advocate for HIV education John Lake who has been living with HIV for over 16 years is currently visiting the Cayman Islands to talk about the challenges he has faced by being openly HIV positive while living on a small island. A guestof the  Cayman AIDS Foundation (CAF) Lake is the CEO and founder of the Anguilla Community Action Network and he regularly reaches out to local communities to promote the truth that persons with HIV can and do live productive lives. Since 2011, the number of new HIV infections has doubled in Cayman with males accounting for 80% of new HIV infections and the majority are under the age of 40.

After sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean is one of the most heavily affected regions with HIV infections.  Even though HIV and AIDS have been around for many years, it is evident that many people still do not know enough about the disease and others struggle with the stigma of living with it. Education plays a key role in reducing the number of new HIV infections and breaking the barrier of stigma and discrimination.

Lake will is in Cayman until 2 June and will be hosting an open session at the HSA’s conference room today Thursday 30 May titled “Overcoming HIV” where he will talk about his experiences.

Lake serves as the focal point for HIV and AIDS for his church and the Optimist Club of Anguilla.  He is also a member of several international and Caribbean non-profit HIV organisations including the HIV multi-Sectorial Committee, CRN+, the Kenya AIDS Support Group and advisor to the St. Lucia AIDS Support Group.  It is our hope that the Cayman Islands will join forces with other Caribbean countries and implement policies that will protect persons living with HIV and AIDS.

CAF is a non-profit organisation established to improve the quality of life for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.  CAF continues to work within the Cayman Islands community to educate people about HIV and AIDS, safe practices, promoting regular HIV testing, preventing discrimination against people who are infected, and providing support for persons living with HIV and AIDS. For more information on CAF or on our World AIDS Day initiatives, please email


Continue Reading

Fire chief hangs up his cap

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

Dennom Bodden (229x300).jpg(CNS): After more than 40 years in the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Chief Fire Officer Dennom Bodden has retired. Bodden, who moved up through the ranks to become the fire service boss in January 2008, ended his career last month. “I’ve enjoyed my time as a civil servant and my years of commitment to the Cayman Islands Fire Service, but now the time has come to move on,” he said. Acting Chief Fire Officer Rosworth McLaughlin, who was mentored by Bodden, is now holding the top job, while after 34 plus years of service, Craig McCoy has been promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Aerodrome.

Paying tribute to the former fire chief’s hard work and dedication, Chief Officer in the Ministry of Tourism & Development Stran Bodden said he had many distinguished years of service that could be emulated by officers throughout the ranks of the Fire Service. 

“The ministry has confidence in the Fire Service, and will continue to provide support to its senior team especially during this transition period,” he said. “The Cayman Islands Fire Service is an essential agency for our country. It is charged with fire prevention, as well as domestic and aerodrome rescue and fire fighting. Its objective is to ensure the safety of all residents and visitors to our shores.  I would like to personally thank all Fire Service personnel for their hard work and sacrifices over the years,” the CO added.

During his tenure Bodden encouraged his team to engage in professional development and growth. This led to the Fire Service becoming the first uniformed services department to encourage learning through the Civil Service College. Seven fire officers have already received a diploma in introduction to leadership as a result of this initiative. Meanwhile, a further ten are actively pursuing associates degrees.

Continue Reading

Alden sets out new path

| 30/05/2013 | 81 Comments

alden speach dennie.jpg(CNS): The premier of the Cayman Islands, in his first address as the country’s leader, said the Cayman Islands was on a new path with an inclusive government. Alden McLaughlin said Wednesday that it was “abundantly clear” that although the Westminster system of government is adversarial in nature, the challenges facing the nation would not be solved by “opposing for opposing’s sake”, as he asked all elected members to use their experience to move the country forward.  “I am not asking for a free pass, and my government will always welcome constructive criticism, but I believe that the experience that resides in this Chamber must be utilized for the benefit of the country at large,” he said. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Arriving in office at a critical point for the future of the offshore sector, McLaughlin said the re-ordering of the world’s finances was far from complete.

“A new world economic order is gradually emerging from the ashes of the 2009 global meltdown and if we are to continue to have a stake in the global financial industry, we must be prepared for further upheaval and indeed threats to the model on which our prosperity has been built. The signs are already there. It will not be business as usual,” he warned.

He said his government would do its part to protect the financial services industry from the onslaught, as he asked stakeholders to join government in the goal to keep the financial services industry on the cutting edge.

The premier also asked stakeholders in tourism to employ Caymanians and ensure they play an integral role in the industry. “A happy, safe and stable social environment is a prerequisite to a successful tourism industry,” he said, adding that it was in the interest of investors to ensure that Caymanians feel included in the sector which showcases their country and culture.

McLaughlin said in the long term a plan that was agreed to by the UK was needed to bring certainty to the budget process. Having already spoken to the Overseas Territories Minister, the premier said Mark Simmonds had indicated a willingness to work with the government to get the economy back on track.

“Within the next two weeks I will take a delegation including the Minister of Finance to the UK to meet with the British Government to resolve some of our budgetary issues for the upcoming fiscal year,” he added.

Pointing to the port and the airport expansion as key projects, he said getting them properly tendered and on stream would be an early priority for the new government. However, creating jobs was priority number one.

With a heavy workload ahead, the premier said the elections were over and the people had spoken.

“The country expects us to get on with the people’s business,” McLaughlin said. “It is time that we all put aside the differences that characterized the election campaign and come together as one people for the betterment of our beloved Cayman Islands. This is our country. Let us show the world that we are capable of working together for the greater good,” he added.

See full statement below.

Continue Reading

MLAs choose sides

| 29/05/2013 | 107 Comments

mctaggart n miller.jpg(CNS): The formation of Cayman's new parliament took shape Wednesday, following the formal swearing in of the 18 newly elected officials. With Alden McLaughlin as premier and McKeeva Bush as opposition leader, the MLAs took their seats in the House indicating where their loyalties would lay. C4C member Tara Rivers took up her seat on the government’s front bench while Winston Connolly joined the non-executive PPM members on the government back-benches. However, the third C4C candidate, Roy McTaggart, opted to sit in opposition with the UDP members and sandwiched between the independent members, Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller, in the “southeast corner”. Photo Dennie warren Jr

Bush, as Father of the House, presided over the nomination and election of the speaker, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, without objection, who in turn presided over the appointment of her deputy, Anthony Eden.

Cabinet was then sworn in on the steps of the LA by Governor Duncan Taylor. McLaughlin delivered his first national address as premier, setting out the key priorities for his new administration and pointing to a new more inclusive style of government.

The members then spent the afternoon nominating and voting the various committees of the Legislative Assembly, themost important of which was the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which presented the new parliament with its first disputes and confusion over who is, and who is not, independent.

Although the opposition leader nominated Roy McTaggart as chair of the PAC, he objected to the premier’s nomination of three PPM government members along with himself to make up the rest of the committee. Pointing to the claims of a new and inclusive government, Bush asked McLaughlin to replace one of the PPM members with an independent member. The new premier agreed and moved to nominate C4C member Winston Connolly, which saw the opposition leader immediately rise to his feet to object.

“Let’s be clear and stop messing around,” the opposition leader said, as he pointed out that Connolly was on the government benches. “You are either fish or fowl but you can’t be both,” the opposition leader observed as he asked McLaughlin to nominate either the member for East End (Arden McLean) or the member for North Side (Ezzard Miller).

McLaughlin said the opposition leader was “expecting too much” and refused. As a result, Bush then nominated Miller, which was seconded by Bernie Bush, but confusion reigned as Miller stood to accept his nomination to the committee and proceeded to nominate McLean, a move which was then seconded by McTaggart in his first act of opposition, not just against government but his own C4C colleague across the aisle.

As a result, the three southeast corner rebels managed to force a secret ballot for the committee members in an attempt to overturn the premier’s nomination. However, as was anticipated, the attempt failed and the result ended with McTaggart, a former auditor, as the PAC chair and members consisting of Al Suckoo, Joey Hew, Winston Connolly, and, in an irony that will not be lost on the auditor general, McKeeva Bush.

The former premier and leader of the UDP will now be sitting on a committee which will be scrutinizing the reports from the Office of the Auditor General. A batch of four new reports from the OAG are due to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly over the next two to three weeks, all of which raise significant questions about the inappropriate spending of the previous UDP administration as well as its management of the public purse. With four inexperienced legislators, including the chair, serving on the committee alongside the political veteran, Bush, the next PAC meeting is likely to be one to watch.

Meanwhile, Wayne Panton was elected chair of the Register of Interest Committee, a committee that never met during the last adminstration. Members also appointed committees to deal wih various issues, including the operation of the LA building, the actual business of the House and to deal wih the complaints commissioner's reports, among others.

Vote in the CNS Poll: How do you rate Alden McLaughlin job performance after his first task – choosing his Cabinet team?

Continue Reading

Female body found on 7MB

| 29/05/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS) Updated Thursday 3-30pm: Police have now confirmed that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a 31 year old woman whose body was found outside the Caribbean Club in the heart of Seven Mile Beach, Wednesday. Police said yesterday that the woman’s death was unexplained and were in the process of contacting her family. An RCIPS spokesperson said Thursday that Police had confirmed the woman’s identity who is a British national who was resident in the Prospect area implying she had taken her own life. The woman was found at about outside the entrance to the luxury condos on West Bay Road at about 12:30pm. She had sustained serious head injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.


Continue Reading