Archive for June 10th, 2014

Independent members put pressure on officials

| 10/06/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The PPM government has three weeks to go before its appropriations from the current 2013/14 financial year end but it is making slow progress towards the full passage of its new budget. Finance Committee chair Marco Archer has cut out the long lunches and has members following his stringent time keeping but his efforts are up against some intense scrutiny coming from the opposition benches. The independent members for East End and North Side, in particular, are pressing officials for details on almost every line of the budget, ensuring spending plans for the more than half a billion dollars of public money are aired and the cash justified. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Finance Committee began on Thursday of last week, but so far appropriations for just one of government’s nine ministries and portfolios have been completed and a second one close to the end.

MLAs spent two days scrutinizing the premier’s Home and Community Affairs Ministry last week before work began on the planning minister’s appropriations on Monday. Despite working for some ten hours, the committee did not complete Kurt Tibbetts’ ministry and will still need to deal with his equity investments and transfer payments when the committee reconvenes Wednesday after the break Tuesday for Cabinet.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and his West Bay CDP (former UDP) colleagues, as well as Independent MLAs Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller and even some of the government’s own back-benchers have been probing officials about what the appropriations are for and the success of government programmes and asking ministers about the policies in the various departments that fall under their responsibility.

Miller told CNS there were two main reasons why it was important that members of the Legislative Assembly quiz the ministers and their civil servants over the allocation of public cash.

“It is the one and only time per year that we, as representatives, get an opportunity to ask questions about the government’s programmes and what they are supposed to be doing,” Miller said.

He explained that although government may be trying to rush the process because they left it so late to bring the budget, members had a duty to continue the scrutiny.

“The public has a right to know these details and unless you are familiar or know your way around the more than 250-page documents it is hard to determine what the appropriations represent,” he said, as he confirmed that he along with other members would continue the detailed questioning of government.

The UDP government changed the Public Management and Finance Law in 2010 to remove the April deadline for the delivery of the budget to the parliament, facilitating some 11th hour budgets and cutting back on the time left for Finance Committee to question government’s spending plans. 

Several times during the previous administration the committee sat into the small hours of the morning in the wake of the budget delivery. This led to many members missing the opportunity to grill those who are responsible for spending tax-payers money as they refuse to sit at two and three in the morning. Since taking up the post of finance minister, however, Archer is running the committee more efficiently but by doing so he has provided members with a more convenient opportunity than his predecessor did to probe civil servants and the Cabinet members.

The Finance Committee is expected to reconvene on Wednesday at 10am in the Legislative Assembly with the last few appropriations for the planning and agriculture ministry. Following that Osbourne Bodden, the minister of health and the man responsible for the dump, along with his staff will be taking the hot seat.

The proceedings are being aired live on the government TV channel CIGTV and being rebroadcast in the evenings on Radio Cayman.

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Ex NHDT director on trial

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(CNS): A former director and the deputy chair of the National Housing and Development Trust Board, who was charged two years ago after he was accused of using his position to sell insurance policies to potential affordable home owners, appeared in the dock Monday to answer nine counts of deception. Trevor Ward QC, the deputy director of public prosecutions, opened the case against Edlin Myles, who the crown says manipulated at least five applicants of the government’s low cost home scheme into buying life insurance policies to get the commission, even though most of them never became owners and did not need the policies.

As he summed up the charges against the former housing trust board director, Ward told the jury that ahead of a meeting to discuss the applicants for the East End homes in January 2011 Myles had asked the board secretary for a list of the applicants' ages and phone numbers.

Myles then contacted at least five of the applicants, introducing himself as the board chair and implying that the applicants were being approved for homes and they needed to see him. He asked them to come to the offices of Derek Bogle, where he worked as an insurance broker, asthey would need insurance policies for their new homes. He asked them to bring deposits but he said that the policy premiums would be free for the first year.

According to the crown’s lawyer, most of his victims were unfamiliar with all of the requirements of the NHDT’s application process. As Myles was a board director they believed him when he said they needed the policies and signed on the dotted line, eager to get their homes, even though the applicants had not yet been approved either by the Trust’s board or the banks, which were supplying the government-guaranteed mortgages.

They all later discovered from Myles that there had been a “change of plan” and that they would have to pay their own premiums. However, as the applicants were keen not to undermine their chances of getting one of the homes, they continued with the policies, even though most of them could ill-afford the expense.

The crown said that witnesses had given statements that at the meeting in January 2011 Myles queried why the board was not using him to supply the necessary insurance to potential applicants and directed the Trust to tell applicants they must come to him. However, the Trust did not implement Myles’ order as it did not, as a matter of its policy and regulation regarding applications, require those wanting a home to buy policies until their applications were approved first by the board and then ultimately for a loan by the relevant bank.

It turned out that only one of the applicants whom Myles sold policies to actually went on to acquire a home.This was the person, who was one of the crown’s key witnesses, who became suspicious about the circumstances and made a report, especially when she was approved for a home and the value exceeded that of the policy sold to her by Myles.

Ward told the jury that Myles had deliberately misled vulnerable people by making them believe their application was dependent on them buying a policy from him. The public prosecutor said that Myles earned commission from the policies that the applicants had taken out believing they needed them to secure a home. Some paid several months of their premiums amounting to around $1,000 worth of commission for Myles and one applicant even took out a loan to cover the cost of the premiums.

Ward said that the accused man falsely represented that the applicants needed policies before their approval when they did not and did it in order to earn the commission. The lawyer told the jury that Myles had tricked “poor people into parting with money which they could ill-afford”, as he summarized the crown’s case against him.

Despite the introduction of the anti-corruption law and the circumstances of Myles’ position on a government board, as a director appointed by the UDP administration, he is not facing charges under the anti-corruption law but charges under the penal code of obtaining property and pecuniary advantage by deception.

Myles, who has been in the insurance business for some thirty years in Cayman, has denied the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to all nine counts, claiming that there was nothing dishonest about the sale of any of the policies.

His case is being heard in court five before Justice Alex Henderson and a jury of five women and one man and it is expected to continue for two weeks.

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Judge confirms right to free legal counsel

| 10/06/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A Grand Court told a jury to acquit a woman accused of perverting the course of justice in a drug related case after he ruled that a police interview was inadmissible and the crown could offer no other evidence. Justice Alex Henderson made what could turn out to be a very important decision Friday, when he threw out the evidence and confirmed the right by anyone arrested by the police to free legal representation. Justice Henderson stated that legal counsel cannot depend on financial circumstances andany waiver had to be unequivocal. Itzel Anderson was found not guilty because her interview had taken place without a lawyer as she didn’t have the money to pay for one and was not told that she could have free advice.

Anderson’s defence attorney, Nick Dixey from Nelson’s, had argued last week, before his client’s trial was set to start, that criminal suspects must be informed by the police of their right to free legal representation before an interview, as he fought to get the evidence ruled inadmissible. Anderson had been charged with perverting the course of public justice in November last year after she was accused of trying to hide packets of cocaine from police making a search at her boyfriend’s house by throwing them in the bin.

When she was interviewed the police had told her she could have a lawyer, but she had no money so she agreed to talk with officers without a lawyer as they did not say she could have free access. It was on this interview alone that the police based their case and on which she was eventually charged. After the judge gave his ruling that her interview was inadmissible, the crown counsel on the case told the court she did not have any more evidence to proceed.

Justice Henderson said he would deliver his full ruling in writing because of the importance of the issue and also said the attorney general should amend the Criminal Procedure Code accordingly.

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Gallery hosts original works from Spanish masters

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(CNS): Local art lovers have a rare opportunity to see a set of original 18th century prints from the famous Los Caprichos series by the old master Francisco Goya and a set of hand-coloured and hand-signed etchings by Salvador Dali, who revisited Goya’s famous series. To complement this unique coupling of work, the National Gallery also invited 16 local artists to reinterpret Goya’s series like Dali did before them and their work is on display alongside the masters’ prints. The NGCI Metamorphoses exhibition will open to the public with special late night hours on Friday along with the screening of two documentary films about the Goya and Dali.

Curator of the exhibition, Emé Paschalides, said it features a blend of classical, modern and contemporary artwork, providing a forum for discussion and illustrating the evolution of artistic styles and techniques over the last 300 years. “This artistic progression is contrasted with the realisation that many of the ills of society have remained the same.”

Goya: Crazy like a Genius | 5:30 PM Screening
Written and presented by renowned art critic Robert Hughes, this film explores the world of Francisco Goya, charting his achievements as a court painter, satirist and war reporter, as well as a topographer of the inner self – of madness, fear and despair. This programme offers a detailed visual and intellectual analysis of Goya's masterpieces, including Witches in the Air, The Third of May and The Dream of Reason. Hughes professes himself incapable of summing up Goya's achievements neatly, but concludes that "to meet Goya is still to meet ourselves."

Dali: The Great Spanish Painter and Self-StyledGenius | 7:30 PM Screening
This major critical film biography of Salvador Dali presents Dali's entire body of work in the context of his extraordinary life and international career. It has been constructed through a combination of specially shot location footage, archive film, feature film material, rostrum filming of Dali's paintings and interviews with Dali's friends and colleagues. The narration of the film has been drawn from Dali's own writings, principally My Secret Life and The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dali, as well as from other critical writings.

The special late night at the National Gallery is happening Friday, 13 June 2014 from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM. Film screenings will take place in the National Gallery Auditorium. Admission to the late night is free and refreshments will be provided. All ages are welcome, however children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For details please contact info@nationalgallery.org.ky or visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.

Upcoming Events for the temporary exhibition Metamorphoses
Saturday, 19 July 2014 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Members-only tour of the exhibition Metamorphoses with the exhibition's curator.
National Gallery Lower Exhibition Hall
Saturday, 2 August 2014 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
"Decoding Dali", a special lecture by Emé Paschalides.
National Gallery Lower Exhibition Hall
$5 Donation Recommended

 

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Cayman preps for big game after win in Bermuda

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(CNS): The Cayman National Senior men’s rugby team posted a 24 to 3 away win over arch rivals Bermuda in their first round NACRA test match last weekend. A record win away from home for Cayman against the team, local officials said that this sets things up for the NACRA Northern final between 2013 champions USA South and Cayman in the SteppingStones Big Game 4 on Saturday. Despite the impressive score card officials said Cayman made more than their fair share of errors in the game and will need to eradicate these if they are going to beat the power of USA South. They will also have some work to do on scrummage and Line out which went well at times but also let the team down on several occasions.

Cayman pushed hard in the first half against Bermuda heading into a strong twenty knot wind which kept them pinned back and meant that they had to work hard with the ball mainly in hand to gain territorial ground. The deadlock was broken after around 10 minutes when Kes Wright fielded a kick from fly half DuPlesis to scamper between the posts for a 7 to 0 lead.

Bermuda struck back with a penalty and Cayman held on for a 7 to 3 half time lead. In the second half DuPlesis kicked a penalty for Cayman taking the score to 10 to 3 before Yohagn Regnard scored from a nicely executed line out to take the score to 15 to 3. Cayman then kept the screw turned with Heyward adding a further 3 penalty kicks for a final 24 to 3 win.

CEO Richard Adams said he was happy with the growth of the programme and the result. “

“This management team has been appointed until the 2016 World Cup qualification process so I am delighted to see the steady improvement in performance and results. The work of Brad Cowdroy, Tim Rossiter and JS De Jager is evident as is the conditioning and professionalism of Dave Clancy. Our Medical team of Sean Teeling, Al Bartice and Kate Macpherson are all making huge in roads into the professional approach of the team. They all deserve plaudits for what they are achieving.”

Adams said the CRFU has taken the steps to develop this High performance programme and the fact that the team will be ranked higher in the World than Cayman has ever been is cause to congratulate everyone involved in the success.

“There will be a lot of work to do in the week to get things absolutely right for Saturdays clash, “The said. “The staff will have to be aware that this is two hard test matches in seven days so it will not be easy. However we have a chance to make our first final right here in Cayman at Big Game 4…It will be great to hear the noise coming out  of the Stadium on Saturday as our nation rises to push the players all the way through.”

In the NACRA Southern Division Guyana emerged victors over Trinidad and Tobago with a 15 to 8 home win and advance to the finals on 28 June. The Venue of the final match will be decided on Monday when the new IRB rankings emerge after the weekends results.

Cayman will move to their highest World Ranking since records began but the team will have to see if the large away win boosts them over Guyana to set up a possible home field advantage for the final, USA South however are standing firmly in the way of that potential final being in Cayman.

The game against USA South is scheduled to kickoff at 3pm at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on June 14th. Tickets and Corporate packages for the game are still available but in limited supply at www.caymanrugby.com

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Rain is no match for local swimmers

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(SSC): Nature challenged them with thunder, lightning and squall but Cayman’s swimmers swam to outstanding results at the 2014 Caledonian Global Swim Meet last weekend. Friday night’s races went off without a hitch, despite the day’s earlier deluge but the start of swimming was delayed on Saturday due to lightning and swimming on Sunday started, was postponed and then resumed again at 2pm. Despite the rain, the meet was well attended with swimmers from hosts Stingray Swim Club, visiting teams Camana Bay Aquatic Club and Treasure Island; Special Olympic Swimmers; independent swimmers from Triple C School, the Brac Barracudas and Swim N’ Trim and also featured Masters Events.

Stingray’s Head Coach Andy Copley was delighted with the team’s performance at the event held at the Lions Aquatic Centre.

“All the kids were great,” he said. “Weather conditions were a little disruptive to their focus but at the end of the day there can always be circumstances which are out of a swimmer’s control when he/she steps on the blocks … the weather provided them with the opportunity to develop focus and concentration, and many swimmers had excellent swims.”

High Points Winners:
Girls: 6 & U Emily Palmer (TTI);  7-8 Veandra Robinson (BRAC); 9-10 Stephanie Royston (CBAC); 11-12 Alison Jackson  (SSC); 13 – 14 Samantha Bailey (SSC) and  15 & Over Catriona MacRae (SSC).
Boys: 6 & U Phinn Ellison (CBAC); 7-8 Connor McDonald (CBAC); 9-10 Corey Westerborg (SSC) – also recognised was Finn Bishop (CBAC); 11-12 Jake Bailey (SSC); 13-14 Jonathan Key (SSC) and 15 & Over Brandon Williams (SSC).

Stingray President Amanda Roberts thanked the volunteers, parents and swimmers.
“It was certainly very, very wet on deck this past weekend. Our trusty band of meet personnel, who are all volunteers, held their positions on deck even as the weather did its worst. The technical officials and timers bravely continued to record and judge the competition despite being soaked through and struggling with soggy papers. Our supporters and swimmers… and swimmers were fabulous too and we thank our sponsor Caledonian and trust that the success of our meet this past weekend is proof positive of how incredibly devoted the Cayman Swimming family is.”

For information on Stingray Swim Club or the Summer Swim Camp visit the website www.caymanswimming.com  or email stingraysec@gmail.com

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Busy footy season ends with awards galore

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(CNS): The Executive Committee of the Cayman Islands Football Association handed out dozens and dozens of gongs to players, coaches, and officials at the game’s annual awards ceremony at the Marriott Grand Cayman last Thursday. The event included members of the football family who participate in the association’s ten leagues for both men and women in all age categories. Over four hundred and fifty players, officials, and guests packed the standing room only celebration in a year in which the CIFA Vice President Bruce Blake said more games had been played in Cayman than ever before.

Award categories included, for each league: league champions and runners up; Fair Play Awards; Coach of the Year; Goal Keeper of the Year; Defender of the Year; Player of the Year; and the Golden Boot, awarded to the league’s top scorers. Awards were also given for Assistant Referee of the Year and Referee of the Year. Special recognition was granted to Ms. Shanelle Frederick for her outstanding performance in the women’s league, having scored 52 goals over the past four years.

Blake, commended the association on a successful season when he revealed that more games were played across all the leagues this season than at any other time in the association’s history.

He spoke about the association’s commitment to hosting international events and introduced Sharon Roulstone as the chairwoman of the upcoming CONCACAF Girls’ Under 15 Championship and Cayman’s own Girls’ Under 15 National Team and management staff. He also commended outgoing staff Damion Allen and Marcos Tinoco, who he said were instrumental in building capacity at the association.

See list of winners below
 

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Jump league closes on a new course

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(CNS): Local riders from the Equestrian Centre (EC) and Cayman Riding School (CRS) were out in force on 25 May for the fourth and final leg of the national show jumping league. The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF) league closer was held for the first time at the new jumping arena at the CRS and took place over four rounds. Tanya Neville-Dixon was in the judge’s seat and Juliette Forrester and Tanja Braendle kicked off the day with ponies Apollo and Harry in the 0.6m adult class. Both ladies completed solid, clear rounds, but Braendle picked up one time fault leaving Forrester to take the top spot.

In the 0.6m children’s class that followed, a few horses took time to settle in to the new arena, having never jumped in it before.

Most riders though, went clear, leaving time as the deciding factor. The top three riders were squeezed together in a time crunch. Chloe Fowler and Shirley Temple took first place, literally ‘by a nose’ as they rode home just 0.09 seconds ahead of Lea Rado and Never Ending Story who placed second. Jenna Boucher and Katrina were only 0.01 seconds behind in third place, with the rest of the pack scattered further back. Basil Humphries, making his debut at the CRS grounds, was a solid fourth on Zeus with Meegan Slattery and Max in fifth and Madeleine Aquart and Zeus in sixth.

Although Tanja Braendle was alone in the 0.7m adult class, taking first place, the 0.7m children’s class was harder to win. Like the 0.6m class, a group of junior riders fought it out for the top places.

This time, Jenna Boucher and Katrina steamed into first place ahead of Chloe Fowler and Shirley Temple in second place, both riders collecting four faults in the field. Madeleine Aquart and Zeus came in third but also clipped an unlucky rail.  Home from school for the week and making a very successful debut in the competition, NJS rider Libby Galloway took fourth on Dublin’s Bay. A couple of other riders were eliminated due to refusals or falls, but both riders were unhurt and determined to come back next time and try again.

Michelle Boucher and Alex Rado were pitted against each other in the 0.85m adult class. Boucher was first to go and took one rail down finishing in a time of 88.70 seconds. Rado followed her, also clipping a rail, but knowing she had to beat Boucher on time, took a thrilling short cut across the arena, risking the approach, but bringing it off beautifully to come home 8 seconds ahead. Rado took first place with Boucher in second.

In the 0.85m children’s class, it was faults that sorted the pack with Phoebe Serpell and Sunday’s Edition coming home first with 4 faults, Libby Galloway and Dublin’s Bay in second with 8 faults and Hannah Fowler in third place with 12 faults.

There were no faults for old hands Thea Millward and Iggy Pop as they coasted to first place in the 0.9m – 1m Open Class. Isabelle Smith and Edson Arantes MB followed in second with four faults alongside Phoebe Serpell and Sunday’s Edition in third, also with four faults. Serpell and Sunday’s Edition were jumping together at this height for the first time.

In the highest class, 1m – 1.1m, eliminations for refusals for two of the three riders left Isabelle Smith with the first place ribbon after she and Ed completed the course with just one rail down.

“It is always a challenge for riders to come to a new venue and jump their horses over a course they haven’t seen before,” said Sharon Hinds, CIEF President. Obviously some horses were more confident than others but it is all great practice for our riders to come to different venues and gain experience jumping their horses where they are not familiar. This is how it is when our more experienced riders go overseas to compete. Riding in circumstances like this at home is great training for those opportunities when they come.”

Now the final leg of the league is done, the scores will be totaled and the winners of each class for the year announced at the CIEF’s Inaugural ‘Sell-Out’ Annual Dinner on 21st June 2014 at George Town Yacht Club.

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Gag order imposed in TCI corruption case

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(CNS): A visiting judge has imposed a gag order on a case in the Turks and Caicos courts involving the UK’s Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT). The case against two high-profile TCI lawyers facing prosecution as part of the on-going corruption case in the overseas territory that sprang from an enquiry led by Sir Robin Auld is being kept tightly under wraps. Although charges against the politicians, including the islands’ former premier, Michael Misick and local businessmen which appear to be linked have been widely publicized the charges against Timothy Patrick O'Sullivan (57) from Miller, Simons, O'Sullivan and Gordon William Kerr (52) of the law firm Misick and Stanbrook are being kept secret.

According to local media reports in the TCI Sir James Bruce Robertson, a New Zealand Judge who was brought in specially to hear the case, has said the media can only print "the identity of the parties, the name of the judge and of counsel representing the parties and the date of any future hearings" and has threatened some serious penalties for any breach.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Turks and Caicos SUN newspaper Hayden Boyce said it was ironic that in the other high-profile cases involving the former politicians and lawyers, there have been no restrictions on reporting their charges. 

"The SIPT has a website that lists the names of a number of individuals, their charges and the background to those charges. The SIPT and the Governor's office have routinely sent out press releases to local, regional and international media houses listing charges against those said individuals. What is so difference about this particular case?"

Boyce has also raised concerns that the judge’s order signalled a system of “apartheid” in TCI adding that he will be making an application to the Supreme Court to vary or discharge the court order.

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Charity encourages parents to read with kids

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(CNS): More than 75 parents and several grandparents recently took part in a series of district workshops organized by a local charity to encourage parents to read with their young kids and offer them tips on how to make reading fun. During this school year Literacy Is For Everyone (LIFE) has hosted several other Partners in Print (PIP) workshops in nine of the 10 government primary schools. To mark child month it ran three one-off workshops at Sir John A. Cumber, George Town and Prospect Primary Schools when parents, teachers, and children worked together to improve literacy among kids aged 4-7 years old.

Organisers said the workshops are aimed at encouraging parental involvement in the development of their child’s literacy at a critical stage in their development. George Town Primary Literacy Coach, Sarah Douglas, said the programme helps teachers “explain and model specific strategies to support literacy development” in a supportive environment in which to practice these strategies.

“It’s a worthwhile programme,” said Faedrene McLaughlin, a teacher at Sir John A. Cumber Primary who assisted with the workshops. “It is very informative and helps parents to understand and appreciate the value of reading. It also helps to demonstrate the value of working with their children in building literacy.”

Su Mander, the Executive Manager of LIFE said the charity has received a lot of positive feedback about the programme. “We hope that the fun and engaging workshops have encouraged parents to give their children more focused reading and learning support at home,” she added.

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