Archive for July 22nd, 2013

AG in awkward position

| 22/07/2013 | 42 Comments

(CNS): Despite being a co-respondent in the election petition heard in the Grand Court last week, the attorney general has remained largely silent on the question of Tara Rivers’ qualification. The government lawyer has also been quiet regarding the actions of the returning officer in West Bay who accepted the Coalition for Cayman’s candidacy on Nomination Day, whom he is representing. Although the question over the actions of the returning officer only arise if the chief justice finds that Rivers is not qualified, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin’s defence of those actions may prove to be a conflict, since his office is understood to have given the advice on which the Elections Office disqualified Richard Christian, a proposed PNA candidate in Bodden Town.

During the second day of the case Bulgin asked just a few short questions of Professor David Rowe, the expert witness called by the election petitioner, John Hewitt, when he gave evidence on why he believes that Rivers is not qualified and had shown allegiance to the United States by taking out and using an American passport past the age of majority.

Bulgin asked Rowe, who has given evidence in similar cases in Jamaica, if that evidence would have been different if the wording of the Jamaican constitution had included what the AG described as a “carve out” for those born overseas, as is the case with the Cayman Islands Constitution. Rowe was not able to give a definitive answer, however, as he said it would depend on many other issues.

Abraham Dabdoub, the attorney representing Hewitt, whose wife, Velma Powery Hewitt, lost the election, argued that thesection referred to as a "carve out" by the AG was not an exception. The expert in election petitions in the region also observed the AG’s failure to make any submissions during the three day hearing.

He said he was disappointed that they would not hear from the attorney general regarding his legal interpretation of the petition.

“It is a bit disappointing to hear that the learned attorney general has declined to make any submissions,” Dabdoub said. “I would invite him to contribute, however, as here is an allegation against a returning officer and this is a major constitutional issue." But it was clear that Dabdoub was well aware of Bulgin’s position, having placed a copy of the letter sent to Christian, which included the AG’s thoughts on the matter, into evidence.

During his closing submissions Dabdoub focused on the wording of Section 61 and that the so called “carve out” merely acknowledged the fact that people will have citizenship from another country because they were born there and, provided they don’t act on their right to dual citizenship, they can run for office.

Bulgin’s description of the section as a “carve out”, however, places him in a difficult position as he had already given written legal advice to the Elections Office regarding the question of Christian and the returning officer’s refusal to accept his nomination on the basis that he had applied for and had used an American passport past the age of majority. Christian, like Rivers, was born in the US to Cayman parents, and so is entitled to dual citizenship.

It is understood that Christian admitted that he had the passport but believed that the same section of the constitution was a carve out for him, hence his openness about the document. But the Bodden Town returning officer disagreed and the formal rejection of Christian's nomination is understood to have been set out in writing by the returning officer, who took advice from the AG.

However, Bulgin, who is a co-respondent on behalf of Delano Solomon, the West Bay returning officer, by his defence of the petition has not accepted any liability that the election official should not have accepted Rivers’ nomination.

It is not clear how Bulgin will defend the returning officer, who the petition alleges was derelict in his duties and did not make sufficient enquiries to establish if Rivers was qualified. It is understood that the officer offered Rivers the voluntary declaration form, which she refused to sign. Further enquiries about her qualification were allegedly made by the Elections Office.

Having already given an opinion of the disqualification of Christian, the attorney general has not been in a position to make any public defence over the qualification of Rivers, but nor did he make any moves before the election to recommend that she also be disqualified.

If the CJ finds against Rivers, who is now the education minister, in his anticipated ruling, then Bulgin may be forced to defend the actions of Solomon. However, if the country’s top judge rules that Rivers was qualified, the AG may be facing even greater legal difficulties with Christian possibly filing suit.

Kent McTaggart, a C4C member who had planned to run in the Bodden Town district, may also consider a suit regarding his own position. McTaggart made a decision to pull out of the political race ahead of Nomination Day based on information he received from the Elections Office about what wassaid to be his failure to meet the residency requirement in the seven years preceding an election – the second ground on which Hewitt brought his petition against Rivers.

Related articles on CNS:

Christian says process unfair

C4C candidate steps aside to avoid controversy

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Duchess gives birth to baby boy securing male line

| 22/07/2013 | 28 Comments

(CNS): While succession rules for the British Royal family have changed to allow the first born child of Prince William and Kate Middleton to be third in line to the throne whether a girl or a boy, the chances of a female monarch after Elizabeth II faded for one more generation when the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday afternoon. The baby boy, weighing 8lb 6oz, was delivered at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London, where the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to remain until tomorrow. The Duke of Cambridge said the couple "could not be happier" in an official statement. The Cayman Islands premier arrived in London just in time to hear the news, where he said there was tremendous excitement.

“I am currently in the UK having arrived earlier today,” said Alden McLaughlin in a message home. “There is tremendous excitement and happiness here at the birth of the royal baby boy. The Cayman Islands joins the throngs of delighted people in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world in celebrating this tremendously happy event and in offering our warmest and sincerest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

McLaughlin is in the UK beginning a ten day vacation, during which he will watch his own son graduate from university.

Meanwhile, at home in Cayman Acting Premier Moses Kirkconnell said the people of the Cayman Islands sent their best wishes to the couple. "If the Royal Family is a living embodiment of our historical and cultural ties with Great Britain, its newest member represents a shared future full of potential and hope," he said.

Governor Duncan Taylor also congratulated the royal couple. “I join with the Acting Premier in congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first child, our newest Royal Baby.  I wish the parents and their son health and happiness.”

The news of theroyal birth was displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in line with tradition, signed by the Queen's gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby. It said: "Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well."

The baby is third in line to the throne, behind his father William and grandfather Charles. The queen is 87 and celebrating her 61st year on the throne.

The Kensington Palace press release said the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth of his son, who will be known as the Prince of Cambridge.

"The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news," it said.

Prince Charles, in a separate statement, said he and the Duchess of Cornwall were "overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild". He added, "It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy. Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone's life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future."

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside Downing Street, said it was an important moment in the life of the nation but mostly a wonderful moment for the couple.

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Rivers returns to work following courtroom drama

| 22/07/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The education minister was back to work Monday, as she returned her attention to issues regarding education and employment after three days in the Grand Court fighting to keep her West Bay seat. With the courtroom drama in limbo until the chief justice delivers his decision,Tara Rivers will be focusing on the issues facing her ministry, which include rising unemployment among Caymanians and the myriad problems still impacting local schools. Hopeful of a positive result, Rivers recently visited the Department of Education Services (DES) to meet with staff. She was accompanied by backbench MLA Winston Connolly, who has been given the role as councilor in her ministry.

During the visit she met with Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler to discuss the role of the department and went on a tour to meet departmental staff.

“It’s important that councillor Connolly and I meet with the departments that fall under the ministry, to understand their responsibilities, workings and issues they face so that we can all work together to improve the services provided to the public,” Rivers said, adding that she looked forward to further departmental meetings in the future.

“I now have a better understanding of what occurs at the DES and how it interacts with the ministry,” said Connolly. “I look forward to working with the chief education officer and her team throughout the next four years.”

With Rivers' continuation in office still very much in question, government officials said that the minister would nevertheless be continuing with familiarization visits, including the Cayman Islands Public Library Service, the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and UCCI.

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CARICOM to pursue slavery reparations for region

| 22/07/2013 | 51 Comments

(CNS): The leaders of Caribbean countries have agreed to create national committees regarding the pursuit of reparations for the region regarding Caribbean slavery and native genocide. During this month’s regional CARICOM meeting government leaders reportedly considered the issue and received submissions from the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Hilary Beckles, and a legal team to facilitate the deliberations over the still controversial issue. While some experts believe the Caribbean case will be stronger if governments act collectively, the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition of Europe (PARCOE) has voiced concern about the top down approach being taken by the Caribbean Community.

At the Thirty-Fourth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago between 4 and 6 July the members were unanimous in their support for action and agreed that a committee under the chairmanship of the prime minister of Barbados will oversee the work of a Reparations Commission made up of the chairs of National Reparation Committees and a representative of a research unit at the University of the West Indies to drive the issue.

The communique published at the end of the meeting reported that an undertaking has been given by all the states to establish national reparation committees and to convene their first meeting as soon as possible. “The approach would be to hold a development conversation and to use all reasonable avenues to reach an amicable solution,” the communique stated.

While a number of experts in the field have applauded the move of CARICOM countries coming together as it strengthens the case, there are those that believe CARICOM has no political strength. Long time reparations activist, Jamaican MP Mike Henry, welcomed the move but stressed that there still needs to be a political decision on the matter from each country.

"It is good to see that finally people are waking up to the long fight that I have been carrying. What I want to see is some immediacy and urgency on the issue," Henry noted, adding that he was looking to see what would be the terms of reference, mandate, and overall charge of the CARICOM Reparations Commission.

Meanwhile, however, PARCOE has warned that the “top down approach” may end up not achieving the reparations aspirations unless there is a concerted effort to enable the facilitation of constructive engagement, dialogue, debate and deliberation within and between civil society, non-governmental organisations and social movements across the Caribbean.

In a letter to CARICOM, the members of PARCOE also voiced concern about the employment of the law firm Leigh Day & Co to present the case for reparations for Caribbean slavery to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The organization said the firm had secured compensation for thousands of Kenyans from the nationalist Mau Mau movement who were tortured in the anti-colonial uprising in the 1950s.

But according to PARCOE, the agreement reached with the British government represented a “paltry sum and is not commensurate with the torture and suffering of the Kenyans” and what is being heralded as an historic victory for the Mau Mau was described by the NGO as “a well-orchestrated imperialist swindle”.

PARCOE has also suggested that what the UK owes the descendants of the enslaved in the Caribbean “is not just a matter for those currently living in the Caribbean to determine.”

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Last gasp Shelver try downs Island Air

| 22/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): As the dust settles after Round 3 of the KRyS GLOBAL Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League we can start to see who the movers and shakers are in each Division. The quality on show is getting better with each passing week and all teams have had to up their game to secure valuable wins. In Division 1 SteppingStones took on their closest rivals Island Air in a gripping game that saw few tries as each team seemed to nullify the play of the other. SteppingStones have, over the last eighteen months, been viewed as the newcomers to touch rugby, upsetting the old order. However, even they are starting to look like an old regal aristocracy as compared to the new revolutionaries of Island Air.

As the likes of James Waters, Nic Swartz and Brad Stephenson stormed the ramparts of the ‘Stones defence, they were thwarted by the robust and solid resistance of ScottMcCarty, Vikki Piaso and Rudolf Weder. Even when the dashing Neil Ainscow broke through the barricades he was run down as he tired by the retiring Weder. This will not go down well in the Ainscow household as “speed” and “stamina” are generally considered to be his middle names (actually I think they are Rupert and Winston). 

Indeed, it was the diminutive Weder who struck the first blow with a scorching burst. Waters and Swartz grabbed two back and Vangie Steen notched one for SteppingStones. It looked like an honourable draw may be acceptable to both teams but Morgan Shelver had other ideas and in the dying embers of the game his exceptional try to make it 3-2 to SteppingStones was decisive.

So the uprising may have been squashed for now and this skirmish will probably have little bearing on the final outcome of the season as Island Air will feel they did enough to win the match. SteppingStones will applaud their own never-say-die attitude and the crowd can look forward to the return fixture later in the season.

Possibly the most compelling game came when Genesis Five Nations took on Maples2. The latter have traditionally been the quieter, younger sibling to the bigger, bolder, brasher and better Maples1. Spending many of their early years in Division 2 they went about their business in a quiet and unassuming manner. However, of late they have been invited up to the big table of Division 1 and many thought they would be found wanting, starved of tries and having to survive on crumbs of possession.

Last year they put paid that idea as they bit chunks out of many an opposition. This game certainly whetted the appetite for touch rugby and the crowd were asking at the end, “Can I have some more?” You see, this is a new, leaner, fitter Maples2 – possibly better described as Maples2.0.

Recent additions of Dave Acutt and Mike Smith to the roster have reduced the average age and increased the average speed. These guys combined with the irresistible Sophia Dilbert, the irrepressible Marc Randall and the irredeemable Andrew Dean have made Maples2.0 a handful for anyone. Dilbert had three magnificent runs in the first half missing out on a stunning hat-trick only by desperate defensive work. She got one though and it was fitting reward for her Velcro hands and electric feet. Up against them Genesis have re-booted their own team-sheet augmenting their familiar line-up with Neil Montgomery and Chris Brussow.

The game itself was intense and frenetic and the score swung from side to side like a smoking thurible in the hands of an overly enthusiastic altar boy. And the play was smoking hot too. The key period came just after half-time when losing 2-1 Geneses’ Montgomery, Brussow and Mick Kehoe combined three times in a signature wrap-around manoeuvre that had the Maples2.0 defence at sixes and sevens – ironic really because if they’d had six or seven defenders they might have been able to stop the scores. For Maples2.0 the alarm bells were ringing more than at the World Campanology Championships as they looked dazed and confused at the turnaround.

Leigh Bottomley scored her first ever touch try with a superb catch, run and dive in the far corner. As she lay prostrate on the floor the crowd feared that the unfortunate collision with the defender may have rendered her mortally wounded. Anyway, she’s a good Yorkshire lass and as hard as nails so no accidental knee in the head was going to get her down. As Maples2.0 travailed they could not break through and Dave Acutt’s try at the death was naught but a consolation. A final score of 5-3 will be recorded in the record books but a thoroughly entertaining game gives it a 10 out of 10 on the judge’s scorecard.

Maples1 recorded their first win of the season, 8-3 over Harmonic. Riley Mullen (4) and Jyoti Choi (3) were the principal scorers as Maples1, bereft of senior squad members, took some time to break down a resolute Harmonic. In return, Brad Cowdroy scored his third in as many games and Mark Soto executed a wonderful solo effort, wriggling between two defenders to score.

DIVISION 2
DART secured their first win of the season with a good 3-1 win over Deloitte. Securing tries has thus far proved difficult but improved defensive solidity has made them difficult to beat so once the tries came then the win was always a possibility. It was the pacey Ruan Van Vuuren and the buzzing Bryan Fitzgerald who scored the tries but the win was most notable for the team spirit and togetherness which DART demonstrated.

Deloitte pulled one back through Grant Hiley but their second defeat in three will give them cause for concern.

In a tight game, Walkers beat Zolfo Cooper 4-3. In spite of a brace from Kenin Gulrey and another from Joel Edwards, it was the experienced heads and hands of Walkers that eventually put Zolfo to the sword. One a-piece by James Melen, Paul Smith, Vikki Piaso and MVP Nino Dilbert gave Walkers the win and will help erase the memory of last week’s defeat. They should have plenty of guile to do well in this league but will need to keep a full squad available throughout the summer.

The Village Greenies continued their assault on the Division with a third win in three over Delta Force. Karen Hart was pivotal with a well-executed and quickly taken penalty to score. Nick Quin and Dicky Sawle-Thomas both scored twice. Watch this space for the forthcoming “behind-the-scenes-exposé” on all things Greenie as this reporter gets embedded in the frontlines of touch rugby’s most notorious gang. The performance of Justin Vasquez for Delta, particularly in the first half, was mouthwatering with some sublime back-of-the-hand passing and basketball-like offloads. 

Dave Acutt stretched his lead at the top of the Top Try Scorer’s table with four more for Broadhurst in their 6-1 win over Travel Pros Ticklers. Travel Pros would probably have been hoping for a First Class ticket to the bar given his proficiency in crossing the whitewash. Broadhurst are undefeated this season whereas the Ticklers are 1-0-2 so far.
UBS earned a valuable 4-4 draw against the unbeaten PwC. Agueda Blake was sensational with her sprinting ability and Claude Plamondon took the MVP with a fine performance topped off with his first two tries of the campaign.

DIVISION 3

In Division 3 the front running is still being made by GCM and KPMG2 who both remain undefeated with wins over Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas (8-1) and EFG Bank (4-0) respectively. Joanne Woods was outstanding for GCM with a couple of important tries and her overall energy and quality in both defence and link-play gave her the Most Valuable player accolade. KPMG2 have a number of players who are equipping themselves well and Daniel Jones (2), Emily Le Couteur and Ian Roberton made the decisive scores.
Ogier and Appleby had an interesting duel and James Waters got his fifth try of the season with a brace against his opponents.

DMS sunk Trident3-0 with Joe Rossi standing out with a couple of tries, one a real pearler of a break through a static defence. Taryn Rusnell also deserves special mention for her performance, especially in tenacious defence.

LIME TV notched up their second consecutive win with a 3-0 defeat of Ernst & Young. Rick “Ronnie” Biggs got two, and Jonny Hillyard the other. Ernst & Young, boasting probably the most dedicated squad in terms of numbers turning up, are still seeking their first win but their heads never dropped and kept going to the end.

BDO narrowly missed out in their 2-0 loss to Rawlinson & Hunter. BDO remain the only team now who has not scored a try all season. When it does come there should be fireworks as it will be richly deserved for the passion they bring to their game. If they could mix it with a little more guile the tries will surely come.

 

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Judges and finalists revealed for construction awards

| 22/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Governor Duncan Taylor has revealed the panel of judges and the shortlist for his awards in Construction and Design Excellence.  The Cayman Society of Architects, Surveyors & Engineers (CASE) and the Cayman Contractors Association (CCA) in conjunction with Taylor said three nominations have been selected from a “very strong entry of nine nominations,” to make up the final shortlist which includes Barcadere Marina in George Town, Kirk Harbour Centre also in George Town and the West Bay Office Building, West Bay. Norman Boddenr Jim Scott and Natalie Urquhart have been invited to be guest judges.

Gary Benham of the Governor’s Office, along with Jacqueline Bleicher, the president of  the Cayman Society of Architects, Surveyors & Engineers and Heber Arch, the president of the Cayman Contractors Association complete the judges pannel.

The  six nominations which missed the final short list include the Appleby Tower, George Town,  George Town Library, George Town, Mayfair House, Britannia Estates, 94 Solaris Building, Camana Bay,    Willow House, Cricket Square, George Town, Spanish Colonial Revival House, Yacht Club.

The Award recipient will be announced on Thursday 25 July, 2013 at an Award Ceremony at the Governor’s House.

See full release with judges bio’s and award criteria below

 

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Excessive violence lands first time offender in jail

| 22/07/2013 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Acting Judge Michael Mettyear sentenced a 21-year-old West Bay man to six years imprisonment on charges of wounding and a robbery. Chadwick Dale pleaded guilty to the wounding of Trevor Campbell after the two got into a physical dispute and Campbell ended up with a chop to his head and shoulder from Dale's machete. Dale was also convicted of a robbery that occurred 9 December on Seven Mile Beach, in which he stabbed a woman twice with a screwdriver during the crime. Dale had no previous convictions and the judge said as he sentenced him Friday that it was "sad and somewhat unusual to see a person like you appearing in the dock for such serious offenses".

The judge said he accepted the fact that Dale's victim had provoked him but he had used excessive force as an act of self-defence when he had chopped the victim in the back of his head and shoulder during their confrontation in September of last year. Both men were armed with machetes and Dale was reported chasing the victim as he attempted to flee and suffered a fractured foot during the attack. A neighbour was able to intervene and called the police and Dale was granted bail shortly after.

The judge granted Dale a substantial discount for his guilty plea to his alternate charge of wounding with intent rather than the attempted murder allegation.

While on bail for his previous offense, Dale committed the robbery in the heart of Cayman’s tourist district along Seven Mile Beach near the Calico Jack's bar last December. Canadian national Jessica Roberts had arrived at the bar to have a drink when she realized that everyone was scattered on the beach and heard someone yell to call the police. Unsure of the situation, Roberts went onto the West Bay road and called 911.

During her call to 911, she spotted someone acting suspiciously and concluded that he had been a part of what was going on. She said that Dale approached her and took her bag before running off along the dark beach, where she followed.

“I was thinking some punk took my bagand wanted to get it back,” Roberts said. “I wasn’t thinking ‘psycho with weapon’.”

The chase continued until the end of the Surfside Bar property, where he turned to face Roberts and she begged for her bag to be returned. The bag was dropped and the victim handed the mugger the money from her purse, believing he would be satisfied. Instead, Dale placed the money in his pocket and said, "Now you're dead, girl!" before he pulled out a screwdriver and attempted to stab her.

Having been certified in Krav Maga (a brutal form of martial arts that focuses on incapacitating opponents as quickly as possible), Roberts was able to dodge the majority of Dale's attempted stabs and punch him in the throat a few times.

Roberts managed to escape with two puncture wounds from the tool used. One jab was blocked by her right hip bone and the other just narrowly missed her liver. “I’m very grateful that it happened to me and not someone else,” she said. The judge reported that she made a good recovery from what he believed must have been a "terrifying" experience.

Justice Mettyear handed down a two and a half year sentence for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to run consecutively to his three and a half year prison term for robbery.

Immediately following his ruling, the judge told the first time convict, “Unless your behavior improves greatly upon your release, I fear you will be facing more lengthy sentences in the future."

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Deputy governor releases travel policy for government

| 22/07/2013 | 9 Comments

(CNS): As expected, the Deputy Governor’s Office has published the government’s new policy on travel, which openly sets out the rules and criteria for all civil servants. The 17-page document aims to implement service-wide standards, with regards to assessing whether travel is required, and help to manage the costs. Although it is designed to apply to all public sector works, the elected officials from the new Progressive government have also agreed to adopt the policy and have been adhering to its criteria since they took office in May. “The ministers and I have already travelled in accordance with these guidelines,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said, as he offered his support to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson last week for the policy.

“My government is committed to reducing expenditure and we congratulate the deputy governor for developing this extremely useful document,” he added.

Going forward, civil servants who travel to conduct government business or attend events or conferences on government’s behalf must demonstrate that they have considered alternative means to achieve their business or training objectives even before they travel. When they do travel, they will have to follow strict guidelines.

“Our goal is to ensure that we manage the costs of official travel consistently across the civil service,” Manderson said.” This policy ensures that the public’s money is spent only when it is absolutely necessary. These new rules are in keeping with our policy of ensuring value for money in everything that we do.”

Public servants will be asked to consider teleconferencing, use of local resources or online training as an alternative to travelling, but if there is no feasible option, the policy sets out proposals for reducing travel-related expenses.

It suggests planning airfare, transport and accommodations as far in advance as practical and recommends the use of public transport where readily available.

Civil servants must also use coach or economy class tickets on flights under five hours and premium economy is restricted to senior managers on flights in excess of five hours, excluding layovers. Before civil servants can travel in business class, they must establish a business case and receive prior approval. 

Appropriate length of travel, per-diem allowance rates by country of travel, criteria for reimbursement, health-care, driver’s licences and automobile insurance are among other topics that the very detailed policy covers.

See the full policy below.

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Officials volunteer details of premier’s vacation

| 22/07/2013 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier is taking a ten day vacation in the UK and the USA, officials have confirmed. The premier’s office voluntarily sent out a short release Monday morning stating that Alden McLaughlin would be away from the Cayman Islands between the 21 and 31 July. McLaughlin has headed first to the UK, where he will attend the university graduation of his son, Daegan, on 23 July, and then he will take some vacation time in the United Kingdom followed by some time in Florida. With the premier taking some down time, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell will be holding the reins until the premier is back at his desk on 1 August.

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WP holders to get 10 years

| 22/07/2013 | 165 Comments

CNS): The PPM administration is planning to move quickly on major changes to the immigration law and policies, as promised during the election campaign. The government is abolishing the key employee status, enabling all work permit holders to stay in the Cayman Islands for up to ten years and apply for permanent residency after eight. Cabinet has agreed that these major changes to the legislation will be implemented in two phases. Phase One will include extending the term limit for work permit holders to ten years, the removal  of ‘key employee’ and amending the requirements for permanent residence, which will be scheduled to take effect by the end of October.

The PPM had promised some time ago that, if elected, they would drop the seven year term limit and the associated key employee and make the PR application the place where government will decide who should stay or go. In his role as opposition leader, the now premier, Alden McLaughlin, had spoken about the need to ensure different types of people got to stay in Cayman and not just those from the financial services sector.

In a release from the new home affairs ministry at the weekend, officials explained that Phase Two will be a full scale review of the work permit system, with the intention of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

Following through on the commitments made in the Progressives’ Manifesto and taking into account the recommendations of the Term Limit Review Committee, officials said that Cabinet had agreed to extend the length of time that a worker may remain in the Islands on a work permit from seven to ten years.

“At the same time the key employee aspect of the term limit policy will be abolished and all work permit holders who have resided here for at least eight years will become eligible to apply for permanent residence,” the release stated.

Term Limit Exemption Permit holders will be allowed to return to an ordinary work permit up to their ten years and apply for PR.

As a result of the increase in the number of people who will be able to apply for PR, the home affairs ministry is reviewing how PR is granted. It will focus on redefining the assessment criteria to align with the government’s economic, cultural and social objectives.

“The aim is to ensure persons granted Permanent Residence are drawn from a diverse cross-section of our society and are also assets to the community,” the officials stated. The new criteria will also take into account the impact of removing the initial filter of key employee and will speed up the appeals process by removing as quickly as possible those without merit.

In the second phase, government will tackle the even bigger issue of processing work permits to “reduce bureaucracy and eliminate the current system of boards and the way work permits are processed to ensure Caymanians are given the opportunity to participate fully in the local economy. 

“With over 20,000 work permit holders in Cayman’s workforce, coupled with over 1,500 Caymanians registered as unemployed, the processing of work permit applications is critically important to Cayman’s economic and social fortunes. The system must be fair, reliable, efficient and transparent,” the ministry officials stated.

The committee that will review the entire WP process will include members of the business community and is expected to submit recommendations for legislation and polices by January.

See full release below.

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