Archive for July 8th, 2013

Camera catches cop blocking disabled parking slot

| 08/07/2013 | 105 Comments

Cop at coffee shop.JPG(CNS): A serving female police officer has been given "advice and guidance" by her superintendent and the police have offered a public apology after the cop parked outside a coffee shop and blocked a disabled parking spot. The officer, who was in uniform but in an unmarked car, was caught on camera as she entered the local café and left the vehicle she was driving parked right outside the door in a no parking area as well as blocking access to the parking space designated for disabled drivers and passengers. In the wake of a recently launched campaign to name and shame inconsiderate drivers, the cop was snapped on film and the picture was circulated around the island and to the officer’s bosses.

In a statement released Monday afternoon following the distribution of the picture, Superintendent  Adrian Seales offered a public apology.

“The RCIPS apologizes to the public for the action of the officer responsible. The officer has been identified given advice and guidance by their superintendent,” he said. “The RCIPS will continue in our support to persons holding disable permits fully recognizing the need in finding designated parking within public spaces. We remain committed in this campaign and heightening awareness and public education.”

The campaign to name and shame inconsiderate drivers continues and organisers are still asking members of the public who see vehicles blocking or parked in disabled slots to take pictures of the vehicles and to send them to the RCIPS. It was started by West Bay parent Chelsea Rivers, who created flyers to place on the windscreens of drivers who have abused disabled spots.

"I realise this is a work in progress (sadly) and that we'll have to build the awareness over time to the point that people actually stop and think about what they're doing. I would hope that the RCIPS would be on board in every way," Rivers said when she saw the picture of the officer. "People should understand that they will be called out in a very public way. With the need and means to keep the public honest, everyone is open to criticism … especially law enforcement officers."

Rivers said this latest picture made her angry that a police officer would feel it is ok to do this but she was heartened that the public is noticing and not afraid to challenge such behaviour.

"The RCIPS needs to know that the public is watching and will do as they do, be it driving and texting/talking or parking in blue spots. There can be no double standards with this," she added. "We are organising ourselves to move to the next level, gearing up for sensitivity training at offices, setting up meetings with the RCIPS and the hospital and working with the government to ensure that the needs of the disabled are considered and met. It's more than just about parking spaces for us, but this is a very important start."

Local community activist and supporter of the campaign, Sandra Catron, added that everyone needs to obey the law.

“We, the residents of the Cayman Islands, believe that everyone should obey the laws of this country – especially those seeking to enforce the laws and garnish our respect. There’s a general move on social media to expose RCIPS officers who break laws and I am personally making sure that the commissioner is made aware of every incident that is brought to my attention.”

Catron said she has particular concerns about police who continue to use their phones while driving, even when it is clearly not an emergency.  Although the police are exempt under the law, there is growing support that officers pose just as much threat to road users when using their cell phones casually as any other driver.

Visit The Blue Spot Facebook page, and email TheBlueSpot345@gmail.comwith photos of inconsiderate drivers.

Related article:

Mother takes on inconsiderate ‘parkers’

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Primary students show-off at year end

| 08/07/2013 | 0 Comments

Student shows Minister Rivers her experiment (238x300).jpg(CNS): Students from Sir John A. Cumber Primary School (SJACPS) in West Bay were showing off what they had learned recently on their unique Primary Years Programme (PYP) which is part of the school’s authorized partnership as an International Baccalaureate (IB) world school.  The IB PYP is an international programme focusedd on the holistic development of children as inquirers both in and out of the classroom.  As an IB school, one of the functions is to keep the parents, and general school community informed of the students’ learning and other actions and activities of the school.  SJACPS provided that opportunity with a year-end display open to the public June 12 – 14.

All year levels are involved with the IB PYP at SJACPS and were on-hand at the open house to talk about what they learned through the programme.  One of the visitors was the new education minister and district MLA Tara Rivers who was guided by the students who explained their projects and how these projects evolved.

One of the projects displayed was the students’ consideration of natural resources.  In pursuit of the central inquiry of how human activity can harm or protect our natural resources, the students presented the Minister with an educational information brochure they produced on how the public can reduce, reuse and recycle. 

“I was most impressed with the student’s comprehension of the impact of waste not only to our country, but across the world and their influence as citizens of the world,” said Rivers.
While the IB PYP programme develops trans-disciplinary skills such as social, thinking, communication, research and self-management, the purpose is to help these young people develop into citizens of the world in relation to culture, language, learning and living together. 

Wallace, principal of SJACPS added that students are engaged and producing high-level of work.

“It is evidence of their growing research and analytical skills. These are skills that are becoming critically important for learners to master as they become more exposed to uncensored sources of information such as is represented by the internet,” she said.

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Webb launches regional anti-racism campaign

| 08/07/2013 | 7 Comments

293980_heroa.jpg(CNS): Local soccer boss Jeff Webb, the CONCACAF President and Chairman of FIFA’s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force, launched the football body’s new campaign this week ahead of the Gold Cup’s first game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Embrace Diversity is a regional initiative created to provide a strong, recognized, effective and influential voice to promote integration within the football community and society. "We have a special responsibility in the way we can impact football and society," said Webb during his opening remarks at the launch. "CONCACAF has the opportunity to lead the way by implementing its first awareness campaign that supports the basic social principle of integration among cultures, religions, genders and races.

“We need to recognize that we have a great deal to learn about each other and must embrace this opportunity for the evolution of our beautiful game,” he added.

The Embrace Diversity campaign, unveiled before the opening match between Canada and Martinique, will be showcased on field boards throughout each of the competition’s 25 games. By working towards creating an environment of deference that fosters football’s continuous journey to impart positive role models to society, CONCACAF has initiated a long-term crusade to instil values that advocate integration.

“Even though we have come a long way in the pursuit of integration, discrimination still plays an active role as an unfortunate reflection of society within our game,” added General Secretary, Enrique Sanz. “The CONCACAF family is committed to enhancing the benefits of embracing diversity within our region in our quest to eliminate any type of discrimination from our fields. These are the first steps into a broader global mandate led by President Webb.”

Following FIFA Member Associations’ approval of the Anti-Racism and Discrimination resolutions during its 63rd Congress held in Mauritius, the implementation of CONCACAF’s campaign will support the goal of bringing universality to the mechanisms that combat racism and discrimination across all regions. The resolutions proposed by FIFA’s newly-formed task force, led by Webb, were developed to promote equality of rights to all people and eliminate race-based discrimination in every region and every country where football is played through sanction, education and prevention.

"I am extremely pleased that the football family has finally united with a firm stance to provide a strong, effective and influential voice against all forms of racism and discrimination through focusing on education, prevention and sanctions," said Webb. "I am honoured to have been asked to chair this crucial task force."

CONCACAF’s Embrace Diversity campaign was developed as a first step to take action on discrimination concerns raised within the football community in the region. In the future, it may include educational and awareness activities, coalition campaigns, prevention and legislation that can facilitate the referral of concerns around discrimination incidents within football.

“By safeguarding the basic principle of respect amongst all individuals in our stadiums, we hope to contribute to remove discrimination barriers within society,” added Webb. “Ignorance and prejudice are the ill of humanity. We want to make sure that nothing steers the focus away from the game of football.”

Webb was appointed Chairman of FIFA’s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force by President Joseph Blatter in March 1st, 2013, with the directive to oversee all matters related to racism in football.

“Needless to say the challenges are numerous, but creating an environment of cooperation and establishing a clear roadmap to the desired goal will surely advance football’s continuous journey to fostering integration within the football community,” Webb added.

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CIFA to hold meet and greet for volunteers

| 08/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Come Tuesday, July 9, CIFA’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the CONCACAF Under 15 Boys’ Development Tournament will be opening its hospitality doors to its volunteers. “Wefeel that it is important that our CIFA Ambassadors have an opportunity to meet with members of our LOC, become familiar with our short and long –term goals, and gain an understanding of what will be expected of them.” said LOC’s Chairman Bruce Blake.

The tournament, scheduled for August 13 – 25, promises to bring some 600 players, officials and their families to Grand Cayman. It presents an opportunity for members of the Cayman community to share in hosting them in a variety of ways such as liaison officers, sales clerks, administrative assistants, hosts and hostesses, translators and medical personnel, among other roles. Venues for the tournament are the Ed Bush Football Field in West Bay, George Town Annex and Truman Bodden Sports Complex which takes organizing the event to another level.

Said Charmaine Moss, Chairperson for Volunteers, “The two-hour event is designed to give all those attending an opportunity to interact with Chairpersons of our various committees and sign-up for their area of interest, in addition to sharing their ideas for providing first class Cayman hospitality to our visitors. It’s a great occasion for students on holidays, Cayman friends and families who are returning home for the summer and community service individuals and groups to contribute towards strengthening our tourism product. ”

Persons interested in and /or requiring more information on becoming a CIFA Ambassador should attend the Meet and Greet Information Session at the South Community Centre on Tuesday, July 9 at 5:30pm. Those unable to attend may email the LOC at

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Mac says bank robbed CIG

| 08/07/2013 | 81 Comments

Mac good1.jpg(CNS): The former premier of the Cayman Islands attacked Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, accused CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank of robbery and expressed his distrust of members of the Central Tenders Committee in correspondence relating to his failed attempts to once again re-package the public debt by circumventing the tendering process towards the end of last year. Correspondence released following an FOI request by CNS reveals a tirade from McKeeva Bush to FS Jefferson after he had advised the premier to use the CTC and follow process. However, Bush blamed Jefferson for the collapse of the Cohen deal in 2011 and the subsequent deal with the local bank, which he described as "robbery".

The exchange of emails (attached below) between the former leader of the Cayman Islands and Jefferson was copied to the governor, who expressed his concern about the abusive correspondence, and reveals that Bush believed the local authorities were conspiring to make him “look bad” and undermining his constitutional right to make the potential new loan deal.

The correspondence, which includes expletives, also shows that Bush regarded Nick Freeland, who was appointed as chair of the CTC last year, as the “governor’s man” and he expressed his distrust of the appointment of Richard Harris, which he said had been made without his knowledge. Inaddition, Bush accused Jefferson and other government officials, including the governor and the auditor general, of conspiring to deliberately stop him from trying to get a better deal for government and the country.

Warning the FS that he would not allow him to go “down the same road again”, as he had implied that it was Jefferson who had “shoved” CIBC into the mix, Bush said that if the governor, Jefferson and others got their way, it would not be the last of it.

The emails sent in October and November of last year make it clear that Bush believed Jefferson had a hand in the collapse of the controversial deal with Cohen and Co and suggested that Peter Young, who had advised on that deal and who was a leading member of the UDP at the time, “should have sued everyone” in relation to the failed deal.

This latest correspondence relates to attempts by Bush, with the assistance of attorney Wilton McDonald, to contract Caledonian Bank to organise the re-financing on more than $300million of the government’s debt. Bush made it clear he did not want to use the tendering process and was insisting that Caledonian, with whom he signed an engagement letter, remained in the mix, even if the issue went to tender.

The finance ministry confirmed Monday that an invoice sent to government for $300,000 for that bank’s services, as per the engagement letter signed by Bush, without the knowledge of the UK or local ministry officials, was never paid. Wilton McDonald also contacted CNS and stated that he had taken no fees for his services in arranging the negotiations with Caledonian.

Emails between Jefferson and Freeland, the CTC chair, indicate the concerns raised by officials by the efforts to circumvent process once again. Freeland told Jefferson that his advice to Bush to terminate attempts to deal solely with Caledonian and engage in a proper tender was not just a matter of rates but penalties that the CIG could incur by an early termination of some loans. He also noted the need to consider the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, an agreement the premier had signed with the UK the previous year, and the need for an independent business case to justify the re-packaging.

Bush’s efforts to re-finance the deal were eventually scuppered by the UK. However, the ministry has withheld part of the FOI request relating to the letter sent to the FCO requesting the re-packaging and any response that may have related to it. CNS has requested an internal review of the decision.

See related article on CNS:

Mac tried more loan deals

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SOY foundation scores with football event

| 08/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The ninth annual Save Our Youth Foundation Football Extravaganza/Family Fun Day, co-sponsored by SaxonMG, proved a great event for both players and their supporters after rain caused a two-week postponement.Held at the Annex field in George Town, the day comprised matches among various age groups for boys and girls representing football clubs from throughout Grand Cayman. The final match was between select adult players from the Cayman Islands and Jamaica vying for the Unity Cup.

The event, themed “Positive Choices”, was aimed at bringing as many young people as possible together for a friendly competition. More importantly, the organizers also wanted to provide a forum where they could discuss various issues affecting young people, including drugs, violence, prison and gang-related activities. The event was coordinated to educate Cayman’s youth about the importance of making healthy, positive decisions in their lives.

SaxonMG joined as a major sponsor this year, as part of their ongoing commitment to the community.  In addition, volunteers from the company were on hand throughout the day to help out. Brian Williams, CEO of SaxonMG, believes events like the Football Extravaganza can have a beneficial effect on young people.

“The event was a great opportunity to bring home the message of making positive choices by offering our young people the chance to compete with their peers in a healthy, friendly way in the spirit of good sportsmanship,” Williams said.

In addition, speakers from Saxon, as well as others, were able to address the players in small groups, to stress the value of staying in school and working toward a positive goal.

“We are always looking for ways to contribute to the well-being and growth of our society. We will continue to support events like this so we can reach out to as many of our youth as possible,” he added.

At the end of the day, the winning Under-17, Under-15 and Under-13 teams received trophies, presented by Eric Bush, chief officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

SOY President Iris Stoner said the enthusiasm of the young football players and the positive feedback from their coaches, family and friends who came out to support the teams, show that the event continues to be a worthwhile experience for Cayman’s youth.

“The Football Extravaganza is our signature event and one that we at SOY are committed to organising every year. The opportunity to promote a healthy, enjoyable activity while speaking to young people about the importance of making positive choices has proven to be a winning combination.

“We appreciate the support of all of our sponsors and are excited to welcome SaxonMG this year. We also want to thank all the coaches for their contributions in making the day a success. In addition, we want to recognize the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and Cayman Islands Prison Service for their support leading up to and during the event. We look forward to making the Football Extravaganza even bigger and better in 2014.”

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New board still in conflict

| 08/07/2013 | 44 Comments

airport sign.jpg(CNS): Following the major controversies that surrounded some of the members of the previous Cayman Islands Airport Authority board, the new line up gazetted by the PPM government last week is still being criticised for possible conflict. According to the government publication, Kirkland Nixon has been made chair of the new board, while Thomas Guyton has taken up the post of deputy, replacing Dick Arch and Steve McField. In addition, Frank Flowers, Roy Grant, Larry Bryan, Arnold Berry, Langlie Powery and Jewel Hydes have all resigned and been replaced by new faces, including Joel Jefferson, Nathaniel Tibbetts, Bruce Smith and Ministry Chief Officer Stran Bodden.   

However, despite the PPM’s well publicised concerns about possible conflicts on the previous airports authority board, questions have also been raised about the new representatives as some have possible conflicts with family and historic connections to both the airport and airline services.

CNS contacted the new tourism minister, Moses Kirkconnell, to ask him if he was comfortable that the chair and board members were qualified, capable and non-conflicted in their roles, but so far there has been no response.

The revamp of the airport board comes following a host of issues and problems at the airport, which began with the dismissal of the financial officer, who is now taking legal action against government, and the suspension of the former CIAA director, Jeremy Jackson, and his subsequent dismissal by the board after details of an internal report were leaked to the media.

In addition, the auditor general had raised serious concerns about board conflicts and the members’ interference with the day to day operations at the airport, as well as the direct political interference by former premier McKeeva Bush, who had limited the ground handling service licenses.

As well as changing the line up at the airport, the new minister has also re-shaped the Cayman Airways board, though the services of the chair were retained for a period to ensure a transition for the national flag carrier, which is struggling with major debt and heavily dependent on capital support from the public purse.

The new deputy chairman at CAL is Norman Bodden and the new directors include James Tibbetts, Chris Kirkconnell, Andre Ebanks, as well as officials Eric Bush, Stran Bodden and Department of Tourism Director Shomari Scott.

See new boards on Government Gazette on pages 967/8

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Teenager faces robbery trial for $5 and change

| 08/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 15-year-old boy appeared before Justice Michael Mettyear in Grand Court Friday facing charges of robbery and common assault for stealing just over five dollars. The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied robbing his victim on Watlers Drive in George Town earlier this year and pleaded not guilty to both counts, with the assistance of his attorney John Furniss. The teenage boy is alleged to have robbed a man of CI$5.48 along with a group of others on 20 February this year. The young defendant is expected to stand trial with his alleged co-conspirators in January of next year.


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Minister and junior support existing education plan

| 08/07/2013 | 12 Comments

IMG-20130708-00654 (1) (282x300).jpg(CNS): Although Alden McLaughlin, who began a massive overhaul of education in 2005, is now premier, his new education minister and her junior appear to be sticking with the plan created by his successor. Before McLaughlin was booted out of his education job following the 2009 election defeat for the PPM, a new education law was passed. However, the regulations were never implemented. and Rolston Anglin, who took the reins of education in 2009, followed a different path, which resulted in the national education plan a few months before the former cabinet minister lost his West Bay seat.

During a recent visit with government school principals and the back-bench coalition MLA and councillor in the education ministry, Winston Connolly madeit clear that he and his boss, Tara Rivers, the coalition cabinet member, were in support of the Strategic Plan for Education created by Anglin, the former UDP minister and then PDA member. 

Connolly said the ministry team was well advanced in an exercise to identify and fill any gaps in the action plans that had been identified by the new government.

“The good news is that there are a lot of synergies,” he said, adding that special education needs (SEN), was also a key area of focus for the minister and government.

Connolly offered his support for the Principal’s Consultative Council as a mechanism for principals to be involved in advice and decision-makingwithin the education system, and to support networking and their professional development. He also told the school heads that Rivers was committed to visiting each school in the new school year. 

However, Rivers has a major hurdle to cross before September as she will be in court next week defending her election to office, having been challenged by the spouse of the UDP candidate Velma Hewitt, who came in fifth in the West bay race just outside the four seats. Rivers is been challenged on the grounds that she did not meet the residency requirements for candidates and because she possesses a current US passport.

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Defendant refuses to appear in court as case drags on

| 08/07/2013 | 0 Comments

court house_4.JPG(CNS): A 41-year-old man from George Town, who has been on remand in HMP Northward for more than a year as a result of his on-going difficulties with appointed counsel, refused to come to court Friday when his case was set for mention in the Grand Court ahead of his trial this month. Garry Hurlston is charged with attempted murder following a stabbing June, in which Wesley Clarke received a serious stab wound to his neck and remains in hospital. Hurlston began a trial in April, but part way through he sacked his attorney, John Furniss, and the matter was adjourned. Now unrepresented, Hulston has said he wishes to mount his own defence with the assistance of Furniss.

On Friday the local lawyer told the judge that he was willing to assist Hurlston throughout his trial but he would not be willing to represent him as counsel.

Hurlston is accused of stabbing Clarke during an altercation at a party in the Windsor Park area during the early hours of 21 June last year. Hurlston continues to claim his innocence and has denied ever stabbing the victim. A friend of Clarke, who was also a witness, reported that Clarke grabbed his neck and shouted, "They killed me!" just after the two men were seen arguing. The victim was taken to the hospital immediately following the incident but slipped into a coma. Clarke has been in an unresponsive state connected to a life support machine since and it is reported that he did not name his assailant before he lost consciousness.

Throughout this case, Hurlston has had multiple trial conflicts and personal disagreements with his many attorneys but during his last appearance he explained that he wants this matter "disposed of as soon as possible".

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