Archive for July 10th, 2013

$1m spent by candidates

| 10/07/2013 | 22 Comments

money-bags-cash.jpg(CNS): According to the submissions from the 46 candidates in the May general elections who complied with the law and submitted their accounts to the Elections Office by the 28 June deadline, they collectively spent close to $1 million on their respective campaigns. The PPM, which fielded 15 candidates, ran up a bill of $336,808, averaging $22,454 per candidate, well under the $30,000 limit per head for party members, and the UDP spent a more modest $225,326.37, an average of $18,777 per candidate. However, while both parties had a shortfall between the money they spent and the money they raised, the PPM came closest to raising the full revenue of its campaign, with just a $18,456 gap, compared to a difference in revenue raised and cash spent by the UDP of $39,224.

The spending by independent candidates, who were allowed to spend up to $35,000 each, varied greatly, with the losing candidate in North Side, Joey Ebanks, spending the least at only $5,119.02, while Bo Miller exceeded his spending allocation with an election campaign bill of over $35,568.

Ten candidates failed to reveal their expenses at all, but the new supervisor of elections said there were no sanctions in the law regarding candidates who do not submit returns if they do not win. All of the candidates who were returned submitted their expenses but none of the ten who missed the submission deadline were returned.

Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell told CNS that the Elections office is writing to Miller, who ran in George Town, to clarify his expenses to see if there was an error in his accounts that led to him to exceed the legal limit on any an individual campaign.

The results, which were published by the Elections Office this week, also reveal some interesting differences in the amounts of money some candidates managed to raise for their campaigns and the ones which were left to pick up the costly bill themselves, despite not gaining a set in the LA.

Ebanks, who spent the lowest amount, submitted that he raise no money at all and therefore used his own finances to fund his controversial campaign, which was conducted online and on the airwaves of Vibe FM. Meanwhile, his opponent, who swept to victory in the district of North Side with over 75% of the vote, spent $29,143.06 from the $29,500 he raised.

The lowest spend by a candidate who was actually returned was Juliana O’Connor Connolly, who ran to return to office in the district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. She spent considerably less than her two PNA colleagues in Bodden Town, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymore, who both spent just under $25,000 each, and her West Bay colleagues, Cline Glidden and Rolston anglin, who spent almost $29,000 each. O'Connor-Connolly, who joined the PPM after the elections and was appointed Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, laid out just $14,223.30 on her campaign, having raised some $14,195.00. Given that she now holds one of the top earning posts in government, O’Connor-Connolly achieved one of the best results for her campaign investment.

Shortfalls between revenue raised and money spent was common for several independents, including most of the C4C candidates. Jackie Haynes, who failed to win a seat in the capital, raised only $2,342.86 but spent $22,476.96, leaving her out of pocket more than $20k. Her colleague, Jude Scott, spent $25,342.76 on his campaign but received only $2,342.86 in revenue, leaving him with a personal bill of some $22,000. C4C candidate Sharon Roulstone managed to raise $9,194.29, but having spent almost $23k, she too faces a significant tab.

Meanwhile, Mervin Smith and Tara Rivers in West Bay both spent $24,399.49 each on their joint campaign, but having only raised $2,342, the bill for Smith is likely to be considerably more painful, since he failed to gain a seat. Both Winston Connolly and Roy McTaggart also had shortfalls in their revenue versus their expenditure, but having won their seats, the $19,000 shortfall for Connolly and the $10,000 for McTaggart, who raised the most money of all the C4C candidates, may feel like money well spent.

One of the most unusual expense returns was that of Stefan Baraud, who raised the most revenue of any candidate — a whopping $60,718.16 — but spent $34,375.52.

The campaign expense period only covers the eight weeks following Nomination Day, however, and expenses incurred before that date are not included in the expenses submitted.

Of the ten candidates who failed to submit their expenses, Matthew Leslie, who ran an almost entirely web-based campaign in George town, told CNS that he estimated having spent about $28,000. He said he had missed the submission deadline due to ill-health and intended to send in his expense account as soon as possible.

The other nine candidates who failed to reveal how much they raised and how much they spent were independents Frank McField in George Town, David Bodden and Maxine Moore in the Sister Islands, John McLean Jr in East End, Arnold Berry, Charles Clifford and Vincent Frederick in Bodden Town and both the independent candidates in West Bay, Dwene Ebanks and Andrea Christian.

Addition: Charles Clifford contacted CNS on Thursday to say that he had submitted his returns but had missed the deadline. He said that he spent $18,233 and raised $14,800 in contributions.

See details from elections office below.

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Cop chopper medevacs North Side patient

| 10/07/2013 | 13 Comments

Landed Hutland Casevac (273x300).jpg(CNS): An elderly patient was taken to the Cayman Islands hospital Wednesday, 10 July, via the police helicopter when the medical emergency called the cop chopper into action. The 81-year-old man was suffering from chest and back pains this morning when the Fire Service emergency medical responder arrived at his home around 10:40am. The EMR determined that he needed to get to hospital for further assessment but the North Side ambulance was engaged with another medical call. In order to ensure the sick man received medical attention quickly as possible,  911 dispatched the police helicopter with an HSA paramedic and the RCIPS emergency medical responder trained crew, configured as an Air Ambulance.

The fire service assisted in blocking off roads in the area to allow the helicopter to land at the entrance to Hutland Drive. The patient was then flown to Owen Roberts International Airport where he was picked up by a waiting ambulance and transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital.

This latest medevac follows one which took place on Tuesday, 2 July, when a 62-year-old man was transported from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman.The patient had been suffering from a suspected heart complaint and was medevaced along with a paramedic by the RCIPS Air Operations Unit as no other air ambulance options were available.

Despite the criticisms,the RCIPS has received regarding the helicopter and the complaints of its cost, Steve Fitzgerald, the officer in charge of the RCIPS Air Operations Unit, explained how important the unit has become now that it can function as an air ambulance as well as fighting crime.

“The versatility and speed of response of the helicopter and the training of our crews, together with our partnerships with the HSA and other agencies, ensure that we are continuing to maximize the potential for the benefit of the people of the Cayman Islands, residents and visitors alike,” he added.

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Lawyers get on their bikes for charity

| 10/07/2013 | 0 Comments

images_49.jpg(Walkers): Cyclists from a combined team of Intertrust and Walkers staff recently endured the challenge of riding a 100 miles through the an annual fundraising  initiative coordinated by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to assist in efforts to defeat leukaemia and blood cancers. The ride, which featured a series of demanding peaks at high altitude around Lake Tahoe, took place on Saturday 2 June, 2013. This was the fifth consecutive year that a team from Walkers had competed in 'America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride'. With Intertrust's recent acquisition of Walkers Management Services, a joint 'Team Intertrust-Walkers' signed up for this year's ride.

Representing Walkers were: team captain Peter Slocock, Wade Tamasa, Rowena Lawrence and Ramesh Maharaj. From Intertrust were Nancy Lewis, Lesley Connolly, Elenie Falconer-Cloutier, Angelica Thijssen, Warren Keens, Jan Willem van Drimmelen, Jon Herrick and Neil Gray.

The riders enjoyed perfect conditions for the event, with experienced cyclist Rowena Lawrence leading the way for Team Intertrust Walkers and crossing the finish line after less than seven hours, which was a team record.

Staff at both Intertrust and Walkers in Cayman got heavily behind their team and helped to raise over US$57,000 for the cause. Staff contributed in a variety of ways from direct donations, special dress down days, office raffles and attended a fundraising quiz night.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who helped make this event such a success, from the team members who devoted so much time and effort to fundraising and training, to our friends and colleagues who helped us exceed our target by seeking donations, donating prizes, and selling raffle tickets," said Peter Slocock, Technology Director at Walkers. "Our colleagues at Walkers and Intertrust have shown incredible generosity and what we all have achieved together will really make a difference."

“The generosity of our employees and business partners for this cause was truly overwhelming,” said Nancy Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of Intertrust. “The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society continues to do an outstanding job of providing support to persons throughout the Americas affected by these illnesses and we’re delighted that our efforts can help the organisation continue to help others.”

Team Intertrust/Walkers would also like to thank all the corporate sponsors that have supported them in this venture, especially the 'Gold Sponsors' whose significant generosity helped the team reach the target that much faster: Alphasoft, Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Digicel, Stepping Stones, Inova Solutions and Workplace Environments.

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PWC to cut jobs across Caribbean

| 10/07/2013 | 0 Comments

P7230158 (226x300).jpg(CNS Business): PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said Wednesday that it is transforming its regional offices to bring together a strong Caribbean network but has admitted that this will see a reduction in the headcount across the region. In a press release from the Cayman office, officials from the firm said that job cuts in Cayman would be minimal but indicated that there would be job losses in the Caribbean. “Our steps are about strengthening our network to the benefit of our clients, and to preserve the long-term viability of our business. Regrettably, a small proportion of our fine, hard-working people will depart as a result of this process,” said Frazer Lindsay, Cayman Islands Territory Senior Partner. Read more and comment on CNS Business

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Tourism minister heads to Miami for cruise line meet

| 10/07/2013 | 45 Comments

miamicruiseport2 (214x300).jpg(CNS): The deputy premier and the PPM’s tourism councillor are headed for Miami to meet with cruise stakeholders for talks on Cayman’s port development. In the wake of the numerous controversies surrounding the proposed cruise berthing development in George Town during the UDP administration, DP Moses Kirkconnell, who is the new tourism minister, has picked up the process which was placed back on track by the interim PNA minister Cline Glidden. With the new government having presided over the selection of PricewaterhousCoopers to prepare the business plan, following a competitive bid, the deputy premier said government needed to maintain the momentum with the cruise lines.

Kirkconnell is set to meet with FCCA officials and cruise line executives in Miami to continue talks. He will be accompanied by government back-bencher Joey Hew, who is working as a tourism councillor, and Chief Officer Stran Bodden, who has been overseeing the return to a proper procurement process after some four years of failed talks with three different developers.

The new tourism minister is expected to meet with representatives from Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise lines, the three main companies cruising the Caribbean, for intensive discussions on the way forward regarding the cruise berthing project and to encourage the cruise lines to keep Cayman on the schedules until the project is complete, according to a release from the ministry Wednesday,

“The Cayman Islands is still a highly sought after destination by cruise passengers but our lack of facilities and inability to provide a top-quality and seamless disembarkation experience continues to place us at serious disadvantage with the cruise lines,” said Kirkconnell, adding that, as a consequence, cruise officials were increasingly excluding the Cayman Islands from their schedules.

“We have known for several years that existing infrastructure is grossly inadequate to service the changing needs of the industry and having a clear understanding of these important stakeholders’ views is vitally important,” he said. “While this government takes the appropriate steps which will lead to the construction of the piers, I am hopeful that discussions with the key players will lead to the identification and agreement of strategies which will increase the quota of passengers to the Cayman Islands in the short to medium term,” the minister added.

The latest statistics from the tourism department confirm that cruise arrival numbers are falling to record lows. Just over 76,000 people came to the Cayman Islands via cruise ship this May, one of the lowest ever monthly figures since records began.

However, the prospect of cruise berthing facilities was given a boost earlier this month when government signed the financial services consultancy contract with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) on 2 July, following a transparent bidding process. Following that important step forward, the deputy premier said meetings with the FCCA would also serve as the precursor to PwC subsequently meeting with the individual cruise lines to ascertain the specific needs and requirements of this important stakeholder group.

Critical to the growth and sustainability of the cruise industry, the piers are also expected to deliver significant commercial benefits, including employment opportunities and increased economic activity derived from higher visitor numbers.

“With cruise lines typically formalising their itinerary schedules up to two years in advance, it is imperative that plans move ahead swiftly so that our Islands can be included in the schedules for 2015,” Kirkconnell said.

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Eleven official public holidays confirmed for 2014

| 10/07/2013 | 4 Comments

shutterstock_53141959.jpg(CNS): With no elections, referendums or extra royal events expected, Cayman will enjoy the normal eleven official holidays next year. Workers can look forward to New Year’s Day on Wednesday 1 January but they will be back on the job the next day, with Thursday 2 January a normal working day. The next break isn’t too far away, however, as on Monday 27 January Cayman celebrates its National Heroes Day. Ash Wednesday will be on 5 March and the Easter break will be late next year, with Good Friday falling on 18 April followed by Easter Monday on 21 April. The next break will be on 19 May, when Cayman celebrates Discovery Day, and the Queen’s Birthday holiday is expected to be some four weeks later on Monday 16 June.

Constitution Day takes place as always on Monday 7 July, but then workers have to wait for their next official long weekend until November, when the islands marks Remembrance Day on Monday 10 November. Finally, in December Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall on a Thursday and Friday next year, transitioning into a long festive weekend.

See public holiday schedule below.

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Man suffers violent robbery

| 10/07/2013 | 69 Comments

Crime-Scene.jpg(CNS): A man is recovering in hospital after being stabbed during a violent robbery as he attempted to enter his home in the early hours of this morning. Police have confirmed that the victim was mugged as he was opening the door of his condo in Raleigh Quay at about 1:30am Wednesday. The robbers appear to have suddenly jumped the victim from behind, hit him over the head and, in an act of worrying violence, stabbed the man in his abdomen before grabbing his iPhone and running along Raleigh Quay towards the new Esterley Tibbetts bypass. The 34-year-old victim was taken to the hospital by the emergency services, where he remains in what is described as a stable condition.

Police said that detectives are currently interviewing the man and so far they have acquired a brief description of just one of the suspects. The robber is described as being between 5ft 8-inches and 6ft in height, with a dark brown complexion. His hair was cut short and is said to be ‘close to his scalp’ but there is no description yet for the second suspect.

The RCIPS is asking for anyone who was in the area at the relevant time and saw the attack, or the men before or after the incident, to contact West Bay police station on 949-3999, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS)

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Dart reveals hotel and condo plans to WSJ

| 10/07/2013 | 0 Comments

dart 7mb site_0.jpg(CNS Business): In the face of mounting speculation about the Dart Group's plans for the projects under the ForCayman Investment Alliance (FCIA), the islands’ largest developer remains silent at home but has been speaking to The Wall Street Journal. CNS submitted questions some five weeks ago asking about plans for the site, the prospective ten-storey hotel and speculation about an additional ten-storey condo development on the former Courtyard Marriott plot but the developer has failed to answer any of them. However, in an interview with the US-based paper, Jackie Doak revealed that Dart plans to start construction in September on the boutique hotel, which will be operated by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, as well as 56 condominiums and beach bungalows, which will be for sale. Read more and comment on CNS Business.

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