Archive for September 16th, 2013

McLaughlin compares notes with Jersey counterparts

| 16/09/2013 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The new premier and leader of the PPM, Alden McLaughlin, said his trip to Jersey to compare notes on how that crown dependency has remained debt free was very worthwhile.  With travel by leaders a touchy subject with the electorate at present, McLaughlin, accompanied by Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and backbencher Roy McTaggart, had added the Jersey visit on to his trip to Gibraltar and London for Joint Ministerial Council meetings with other overseas territories ahead of the main meeting in London in November. “Cayman, like Jersey, is a top-tier Financial Services Centre and we face common challenges and threats," the premier said on his return.

“We are looking at ways to work more closely together to deal with the issues of navigating the difficult waters of being international Financial Centres,” he added.

McLaughlin is not the first premier to visit the island; McKeeva Bush, as premier at the time, also went on a fact finding mission to the island in 2011 to discuss their public management and finance law and accounting procedures.

While in Jersey, thelatest Cayman delegation also reviewed that government’s procurement process, as the localgovernment is still in the process of implementing new procurement legislation. The politicians also discussed the topical issue of immigration.

“Immigration, for them, as for Cayman, is a key issue and concern,” McLaughlin added. 

High on the list of items to discuss was budgeting. Jersey’s government sits for three-year terms and recently introduced the concept of a budget that covers the full three years.

“We looked at how that benefits planning and reduces time and energy instead of every year having to go through the full budgeting process,” he said. “It is something to consider.”

The idea for the meeting came in June when the premier met with Jersey Chief Minister Ian Gorst and Minister for Treasury and Resources Sen. Philip Ozouf. Prior to that, Minister Ozouf had been in the Cayman Islands in May as part of the UN Elections Observers Mission.

“He had a chance to see what Cayman did and he was hugely impressed by the state of Cayman’s financial industry,” said McLaughlin.  “We share the vision with Jersey being recognised internationally as a high quality, properly regulated jurisdiction that we are. The trip was a very useful exercise and I look forward to hosting Jersey for a reciprocal visit next year,” he added.

Jersey’s parliament is the States of Jersey, which consists of 51 elected members, far more than the 18 that comprise Cayman’s Legislative Assembly. The island is home to almost 100,000 people on a land mass of 45 square miles and is a leading offshore centre and one of the UK’s crown dependencies.

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Annual anglers shoot out moves to catch the Wahoo

| 16/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Rooster Radio 101 has announced that the 10th Annual Rooster Shootout fishing tournament will be held next month with more than U$25,000 in cash and prizes on offer for anglers in numerous categories including Wahoo, Dolphin and Yellow Fin Tuna and Marlin. Organisers said that the annual fishing tournament has been moved this year from March to October to coincidewith the beginning of the Wahoo season. The competition will be held at Harbour House Marina and will kick off with a Bimini Start on Friday, 14 October at 8:30am. Then each afternoon the anglers will return to the marina for the weigh in of the days catch on each boat.

The District Cup introduce last year will be up for grabs again rewarding the Cayman district that earns the most points from their top three scoring boats taking part in the contest. So far George Town has taken that title for the last two years. Prizes will also be given for the top weight of individual Wahoo, Dolphin and Tuna as well as the heaviest combined weight per angler. There will be an award for the top lady angler, best rookie and the elusive! Grand Whopper sponsored (obviously) by Burger King. Kirk Freeport is also sponsoring the Captain’s Prize which is for the heaviest combined weight per boat

The Blue Diamond team emerged as the premier team last year, Captained by Chris Kirkconnell it took home over $10,000 in prize money so they will be the ones to beat but Strike! Force, captained by Chris Briggs who won the Captain’s prize, the Jack Pot, and the top scoring boat for the district of George Town will also be one to watch.

Registration is on Wednesday 12 October at 6pm at Guy Harvey’s Grill and for more information go to www.rooster101.ky

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Pastor accused of sex assault

| 16/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Former TV personality and youth preacher at the Church of God in George Town appeared in Grand Court Monday on trial for one count of indecent assault. Felix Manzanares is charged with sexually assaulting a woman in her West Bay home on the evening of 19 December 2011. The woman, who took to the stand at the opening of the case, told the court that she knew Manzanares well through the church, where she played and sang in the worship band. She told the court that on the evening in question the young pastor had pestered her to come to her house to talk, and when he did he sexually assaulted her. Manzanares has denied the charge and claims that what advances he made were welcomed.

The court heard the witness say that the pastor, who lives in Bodden Town, had “tried to rape” her when he kissed and fondled her breasts and inner thighs and made unwelcome sexual advances in her home, which she had rebutted.

The witness said that she had declined several invitations from the young preacher for lunch and dinner earlier that day and told him she was busy with other plans and was not able to meet him. She explained she had to visit her parents after work before going to dinner with another friend and that they would have to arrange another time to meet. However, when she arrived at her parents’ home that evening to drop off medication, Manzanares was waiting for her and pressed to come to her house to talk for just a few minutes.

Stating that she felt some level of obligation to the young pastor, who “had driven all the way to West Bay” and seemed very anxious to talk with her, she reluctantly agreed. She told the court that she allowed him to follow her for the short distance to her house, where, she said, he had been in the past.

On arrival, as she questioned him to find out what he needed to talk about, he instead made unwelcome advances and, despite her refusals, he persisted, she told the court, and said it was not until the arrival of another friend at the house that the unwelcome sexual advances stopped.

During cross examination the witness, who admitted she was several years older than the young pastor, whom she referred to as ‘a kid’, denied wanting Manzanares to kiss her or engaging in behaviour to encourage his advances, as suggested by the defence attorney.

Defence counsel Keva Ried suggested that the witness was not telling the truth and put it to her that she had engaged in, and enjoyed, two French kisses with Manzaneres and that he had not fondled her breasts or touched her inner thigh but had merely touched her foot and the side of her body.

However, the witness insisted that the pastor, who is a married man, had made several unwanted advances and had become aggressive in his persistence, as he tried to kiss her and pushed his hand up her skirt.

She said that had her friend not arrived at her home, she believed Manzanares would have tried much harder. She told the court that she was shocked by what had happened, and when her friend did arrive at the house she went out to immediately greet him, and that was when she told him that the defendant had tried to rape her.

The trial, which continues tomorrow, is being presided over by Justice Alex Henderson and is set before a jury of four women and three men. During the selection of the jury panel more than 20 potential jurists were challenged or dismissed as a result of their connection to the defendant via friends, family or church. Three jurors who failed to show up to court were fined $500 by the judge.

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Woman shot at outside her home in BT

| 16/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 56-year-old woman was confronted by a man with a handgun Sunday night, and as she quicklyentered her home a shot was fired, which struck the building. The police have already arrested a man in connection with the incident, which happened on Shamrock Road, near to Will T Drive in Bodden Town, around 9.00pm on 15 September. A grey/silver saloon car was seen to leave the vicinity at high speed towards the direction of Northward. The suspect is described as 5’8” to 5’9” in height and of medium build. The woman was not injured but was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town as a precautionary measure. She has since been released.

Police said a 30-year-old man was later arrested in the Northward area in relation to this matter, but did not say if he is the suspected shooter. He is currently in custody at George Town police station.

Anyone who was in the area last night and witnessed the incident or the car speeding away is urged to contact Bodden Town police station 947- 2220, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477(TIPS).

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Judge warns defendant to leave booze alone

| 16/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Justice Seymour Panton sat as the acting Grand Court judge Friday, overseeing the progress of a number of cases through the local judicial system. He also gave some rehabilitative advice to a defendant charged with assaulting a man with a beer bottle while intoxicated. "If you can't control yourself, don't drink," the judge said, when commenting on David Smith's level of intoxication on the night of the offense. He continued by telling him to "leave the drinking to those who can control themselves", before scheduling a sentencing hearing for Smith in the next two weeks, following his anticipated guilty plea.

The court also heard that in the upcoming week two more accused men may be added to a charge for the robbery of a local television company with three other alleged accomplices.

During the morning’s proceedings local attorney John Furniss was able to gain the judge's agreement to return a client's passport in exchange for a $5,000 surety so that Neith Rheingold could complete his studies overseas. Rheingold pleaded not guilty to inflicting and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The victim was punched several times outside his residence while sitting in his vehicle and sustained some facial injuries, including a broken nose. Rheingold is set for trial in July 2014 after sitting his exams in the United Kingdom.

Justice Panton has been President of the Jamaican Court of Appeal for over 6 years and will continue to sit as an acting judge in the Cayman Islands until the 23 of this month.

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Island Air ‘touch’ the sky

| 16/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): Island Air sealed the deal and were crowned Division One winners of the KRyS Global Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League 2013 with an final emphatic 11-2 win over Maples2. Over the last few weeks they have turned their potential into reality as recent wins over head-to-head rivals SteppingStones confirmed that their stars are very much in the ascendency. This was their first season together under the Island Air banner and congratulations must go to Captain Brad Stephenson who has put together a potent mix of sizzling pace, solid structure, guile, and a great team spirit.

Gathering a diaspora of touch nomads from a variety of other teams Island Air shook off a couple of early season wobbles and finally started to believe that they could take on reigning champions SteppingStones and not only gain parity but move ahead.

Momentum is key in all sports and the old adage of “It’s not how you start the season that counts, it’s how you finish it” could not be more applicable.

One of the key factors to their success was their strength in depth right across the pitch with both guys and girls playing pivotal roles at different times throughout the season. For sheer speed off the mark and to burst through the gap look no further than James Waters and Neal Ainscow, the former starting the season on fire and the latter revved it up as the season came to its conclusion. Then there was Shaun Hardcastle, a veteran of Touch and in his first season here in Cayman he ran their training sessions and provided the structure to many of their plays.  

However, games of Touch are not just about those who get the glory of scoring tries. In fact, many of their victories were achieved because of the miserliness of their defence. Many an attack aims to find for mismatches – fast against slow, fresh against tired, guys against girls. It is in this regard that Island Air take all the accolades. Major credit must go to their sorority of sisters who, not only weighed in with their fair smattering of tries but also were nigh on impossible to score against. Special shout-outs go to Laney Kerr, Ashley Waters and Chandra Friesen. 

Captain Brad Stephenson was brimming with pride in his description of the season, “It’s a lot of hard work getting a top team out on the park each week, but it really helps having a lot of dedicated touch players in the squad. A good mix of solid structure and champagne rugby is how we got there in the end, especially as the girls we have allow us to spread the ball right across the field. A special thanks to Marcus Cumber and Island Air for sponsoring the season.  Marcus is passionate about the game and was a great addition to the squad.”

So, congratulations to Island Air – League One winners of the KRyS Global Summer Mixed Touch Rugby League 2013. The question is – can they do the double and also win the Finals Day play-offs? What is for certain is that the likes of SteppingStones, Maples1 and Genesis Five Nations will not lie down and roll over. It should be quite a spectacle.

Island Air Winning Team: Brad Stephenson (capt.), Ashley Waters, Richard Sawle-Thomas, Chandra Friesen, Laney Kerr, Emily Vaka-uta, James Waters, Jacqui Davis, Joanne Remillard, Keswick Wright, Lisa Bird, Marcus Cumber, Neal Ainscow, Nic Swartz, Shaun Hardcastle, Sheila Crosby, Brandon Smith.

 

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CIAA selects ex-pat HR boss

| 16/09/2013 | 227 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Airport Authority has taken on a new chief human resource manager in order to get to grips with a number of employment issues at Grand Cayman’s airport. However, the decision to take on an ex-pat has created a backlash from local quarters as the new recruit was one of six people shortlisted for interview and the only non-Caymanian. The airport has defended its decision, stating that not only is the new HR boss the best candidate but she has agreed to recruit and mentor a Caymanian understudy to take the post before the end of her two year contract. Airport officials said Janet Peters successfully transitioned a local at the tourism department and they are hoping for the same outcome.

In a statement released on Friday following the circulation of an open letter of complaint, the airport said that Janet E. Peters was interviewed, along with five Caymanian applicants for the position of chief human resources officer, in late July, in accordance with a process undertaken by the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism & Transport (DAT&T) on behalf of the CIAA.

“The Ministry compiled an interview panel comprising its Human Resources Manager, independent Human Resources consultant from the private sector, the Human Resources Management Advisor for the Portfolio of the Civil Service as well as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the CIAA," the statement from the authority said.

“Mrs Peters was considered the ideal candidate as she possessed the requisite experience andprofessional qualifications required to achieve the strategic aspects of this position. However, she was recruited with the stipulation that within six months, the CIAA will recruit a Caymanian understudy to assume the post at the end of her two-year maximum contract, an arrangement that she also recently completed with another Governmental agency, where she mentored a Caymanian who has since assumed the role of Manager, Human Resources.

“The CIAA is committed to making this exceptional opportunity available to a Caymanian who will be developed to assume this role under the guidance of a qualified and experienced Chief Human Resources Officer,” officials added.

However, a group of Caymanians circulated letter of complaint to the press about the decision, indicating that there was no need to hire a foreign worker to train a local when there were people qualified for the post. They said that the former HR colleague of Peters at the department of tourism should not have been on the interview panel because of the perception of bias. They also said that the local candidates were not informed that they had been unsuccessful until the authority had made an application for a work permit for Peters.

The group of Caymanians, who said they wished to remain anonymous for a number of reasons, said that they are concerned that this recruitment process is part of a wider problem in government where local workers are overlooked, mistreated and discriminated against on a daily basis and where civil service management in general is not prioritising the recruitment or promotion ofCaymanians.

“The CIAA's decision to seemingly disregard the opportunity to promote the hiring of qualified Caymanians comes when the Authority is under scrutiny for apparent mismanagement by the past CFO (a permit holder) and former Director,” the authors of the letter state.

Earlier this year a catalogue of issues at the airport were exposed following the leaking of a report by a board member. The report condemned the former airport CEO, Jeremy Jackson, and the finance manager, Shelly Ware, both of whom are understood to be taking legal action against the authority after they were both fired. Soon after the exposure of a number of problems in the management, serious potential conflicts on the board were also highlighted, as well as criticisms that the board was interfering with the day to day management of the airport.

As a result, the airport was at pains to stress that the board was not involved in this latest recruitment process. It is understood that the only post the board should have any involvement with is the recruitment of a new CEO. Currently Jackson’s post is being held by the deputy director, Kerith McCoy. He was put in place by the previous board as acting director when Jackson was sacked. Since the election of the PPM administration in May, however, a new board has been appointed, with former chief fire officer Kirkland Nixon at the helm. 

The complainants have rejected the position that Peters is the best candidate for the job, which pays up to CI$104,757 per annum, and that her role training a Caymanian in her last position is justification. They believe that with qualified Caymanians already capable and willing, there was no need to recruit a foreigner to train a Caymanian.

“Everywhere Caymanians turn they are bypassed by a system designed to be more advantageous for foreigners, to the extent that we, the people of these islands have become the true visitors to our own country," the authors stated, as they urged the community to stand up against the decision.

However, the airport made it clear that a Caymanian currently holds the position of human resources manager and that the new chief HR officer will be responsible for the strategic leadership and day-to-day management of the department.

“The CHRO’s responsibilities will include oversight of all programmes, policies, processesand services that support the CIAA’s goal to attract, develop and retain a high-performing and diverse workforce.

“While the CIAA Board of Directors was not involved in the recruitment process, it nevertheless supports the Ministry’s interview panel’s decision to hire Mrs Peters and the CIAA’s submission for a work permit to be considered. The CIAA is proud of its current track record of having achieved a 100% Caymanian staff complement and will only recruit non-Caymanians when no suitably qualified Caymanians are available and the roles are considered essential to the achievement of the Authority’s strategic objectives,” the management stated.

“The CIAA, however, will remain committed to ensuring that Caymanians are given the mentoring necessary to assume those positions,” it said.

According to Peter’s CV she has worked for the DoT since January 2008 as a human resources manager, but has worked in human resources since 1995, prior to which she was a captain in the US Army. The CV shows that as well as professional qualifications she has an MsC in HR.

In interview notes released on request to CNS by the authority Friday, Peters, who is an American, was given the most points by the panel. However, the first reserve candidate beat Peters on the assessment and has an MBA as well as professional HR qualifications. That candidate has 13 years’ experience in HR but the panel found that the candidate had “limited senior level strategic experience” and gave short answers in interview “with little depth and few examples”.

See details of CV of the successful candidate, interview panel notes and the original advertisement for the job below.

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Murder in West Bay

| 16/09/2013 | 43 Comments

(CNS) Updated: Police have begun the first murder investigation in West Bay since September 2011, when there was a string of gang-related killings in the district. An RCIPS spokesperson confirmed the fatal shooting of a man in Daisy Lane at around 10pm Sunday night. Police said officers responded to a call that gunshots were fired in the area, and when officers arrived at the scene, they found that a man had been shot dead. The murder victim is Irvin Garlon Bush (52) of Miss Daisy Lane. "It would appear that he was entering his residence when he was attacked," police stated early Monday. The man is understood to be the father of Robert Mackford Bush, who was killed in the district's gang related shootings in September 2011.

A murder investigation has been launched with an incident room at George Town police station. The murder incident room hotline is 925-7240.

Anyone who was in the area at the time of the shooting, or has any information can also contact George Town police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

The murder of Irvin Bush is the first this year and nine months since the last fatal shooing in the islands, when Jackson Rainford was shot and killed in George Town. Tareeq Ricketts (22) was convicted of his murder last month following a trial by jury and sentenced to life in prison.

Robert Mackford Bush, the son of the latest victim, as well as Andrew Baptiste and Preston Rivers were the three young men killed in the gang related violence two years ago in September 2011 in West Bay. Since then Brian Borden has been charged with Bush's murder and has been on remand at Northward since August last year.

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Sculpture to create artificial reef in West Bay

| 16/09/2013 | 33 Comments

(CNS): Owners of a local dive company and eco-condo development in North West Point, West Bay, plan to sink a 13-foot sculpture to create a artificial reef in the area. According to reports from the dive industry, Jay and Nancy Easterbrook commissioned a sculpture of the “Guardian of the Reef”, a mythological creature, half ancient warrior, half seahorse, from Canadian artist Simon Morris. It will be sunk in January pending approval of permits from the Department of Environment as a new underwater attraction and to launch a 12-month celebration of Divetech’s 20th anniversary. The statue will take up position on a sandy flat in 65 feet of water just off Lighthouse Point.

The top half of the sculpture is a guardsman wearing Greco-Roman armour and carrying a circular shield and a staff and sphere. His helmet is a stylized sea horse head, and a dorsal fin protrudes from the back of his breastplate. At the waist, the creature morphs into a seahorse with a tail coiled around a bronze ring mounted on a 4’ bronze column. The Guardian will be perched on a 4-foot concrete pedestal that will raise him to 17 feet and help the sculpture become part of the reef.

“We have a little pod of seahorses out front, so he’ll fit right in. I’m very excited about that,” Nancy Easterbrook told the local online dive industry magazine, The Cayman Bottom Times.

One dollar from every dive made on The Guardian will go to the conservation education programme, and the goal is to raise $20,000 the first year. Donations will also be accepted for the cause, and Jay and Nancy Easterbrook say this initiative may be extended after the year is up and the celebration is over. “I think its appropriate and it has meaning,” says Easterbrook.

Her husband, Jay, explained that the concrete pedestal should “attract underwater life almost immediately and we’ll see coral and sponges begin to grow on the base.”

Simon Morris is the creator of the famous mermaid sculptures "the Emerald Princess" and "Amphitrite" that were placed underwater in British Columbia and Grand Cayman.

“The Guardian of the Reef was inspired by the fact that I could provide a focal point for divers to understand and appreciate that the ocean is a gift to us from our ancestors, and a responsibility to pass on in a healthy state to our descendants,” says Morris.  “All the world’s reefs need protection and guardianship and if we don’t do it, who will? It’s my greatest hope that the Guardian will start discussions around the world of the need for environmental awareness of the fragile marine environment, not just with divers, but with everyone.”

The bronze sculpture, which is being cast in an American foundry, will journey to Cayman in October via the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show in Florida, where it will be unveiled. It is expected to arrive here in November, and the Easterbrooks plan to have him on display at Divetech’s facility at Lighthouse Point before the sculpture is sunk, if permission is granted by local authorities.

“The Guardian looks like a salty old dog and he’ll be out there protecting the reef,” says Nancy Easterbook. “He’s very symbolic – a tangible, physical creature, half man, half fish. I think he’s a cool-looking dude with his seahorse tail,” she added.

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