Archive for July, 2014

DUI arrest after fatal crash

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): 21-year-old Daniel Grant died late last night after his motorbike collided with a Honda CRV driven by a 37-year-old man on the West Bay Road in the area of the Captain’s Bakery. Police said the accident occurred at 11:50pm (Tuesday 29 July) as the motorbike, travelling from the West Bay direction towards George Town hit the CRV going in the opposite direction, as the driver was turning right into Slate Drive from the West Bay Road. Police and medics attended the scene and the bike rider was transported by ambulance to the hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead at 12:23am Wednesday. The driver of the CRV and his 38-year-old male passenger did not receive any physical injuries. However, the driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police said that a person riding a bicycle may have also been involved in the accident and is asked to come forward.

Anyone who was in the area who may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the investigating officer, PC Chong at 949-4222.

 

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‘Ritch’ pickings for the falcons

| 30/07/2014 | 1 Comment

(CTA): Episode 1 of Season Two of Cayman’s own sporting docu-soap drama, Millennium Falcon Cayman Women’s Touch League, opened with a bang as four new teams pitted it out for the title. New plot lines and new characters will no doubt come forth over the course of this event but this time around we are transported to outer space where we have the Millennium Falcons, the Ebon Hawks, Raven’s Claw and the Eagle Transporters vying for intergalactic supremacy. The names have been chosen on a Star Wars theme and the standard of play was certainly out of this world … some might say from a galaxy far far away.

Kindly sponsored by local firm Millennium Entertainment and our good friends at Miller Lite, Women’s Touch League is becoming more popular than a final episode of The Bachelorette. Each team has been selected by a highly detailed algorithmic database to ensure that they would be evenly matched. And so it proved, with the winning margin being by only one try in three out of the four games, the other being a draw!

The Millennium Falcons, who allegedly voted against the shortened acronym of “the MIL-Fs”, have started the season at Light Speed with two wins out of two. In their first game against Ebon Hawks it was Evelin Ritch who nabbed two tries to down the Hawks by 2-1. One of Ritch’s tries involved some excellent foot work side-stepping the defender and then racing to the line. Captain Marida Montgomery was very happy with her team’s performance especially as it is the first time many of these girls have played together. She highlighted the performance of Julia Spurdle and Loletta Hanna in defense as invaluable to the team’s strong performance.

For the Ebon Hawks, notable performances came from Karlie Cross, who scored their only try, and Elena Testori. Both are extremely fast and will be players to watch next time round. Testori is completely new to the game and picked up the subtleties quickly, as did other newbie Roisin Liddy-Murphy. Quincy Clark led the team well, and Lluvia Hirsch and Jacky Rowland were outstanding with their tactical awareness and positioning play helping guide those around them.

On the second pitch, Eagle Transporter soared to a 2-1 victory over Raven’s Claw. Tries from Alison Linley and Sharlee Henshaw were enough to clip the Ravens’ wings, with Jo Remillard scoring their try to make the result in doubt right up to the final whistle.

The two victors from Round 1 met each other in Round 2 and fought out an evenly matched 2-2 draw. Try-machine Emma Santiago opened her account with Loletta Hanna getting the second. Rhian Minty pulled one back for the Eagles and Sharlee Henshaw made it two tries in two games to make the scores tied. Henshaw has the uncanny knack of being at the right place at the right time when it comes to scoring – an invaluable asset for any team. At this level, a high conversion rate of chances to tries is essential, especially when games are inherently tight.

Ebon Hawks beat Ravens Claw 1-0 with a fine Karlie Cross try. That’s two defeats in two for the Ravens but Captain Caroline Deegan was not downhearted. Jodie Hooper had a couple of stand-out matches picking the game up very quickly in her first start and demonstrated some really tenacious defense and showed some serious ball handling skills. Sheleese Green also played well and nearly had two tries herself, one that was finished with a wonderful dive only to be thwarted by a vital late touch before gettingthe ball down.  The game of Touch can be a game of inches and on such small margin fortunes can be won or lost.
 

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Passport2Success class achieves a full house

| 30/07/2014 | 3 Comments

(CNS): For the first time since the Passport2Success initiative started, every single participant graduated from the most recent class. On Monday 21 July all of the students who started the government sponsored 12 week programme to prepare them for work made it through to the end. This was the 14th group of people who have gone through what is proving to be a helpful initiative, given the mounting problems faced by young Caymanains, in particular, looking for work. Many of the hurdles to employment faced by local workers have been highlighted on CNS recently but this course helps to element the barriers to work that the job-seekers can do something about.

Employment Minister Tara Rivers said the programme is not an easy one. "It is designed to instill a sense of pride and a strong workethic in each person that participates in the programme.” 

The programme’s successes include a 90 percent average rate of graduation, a 32 percent average rate of employment at graduation and a 54 percent average rate of employment 12 months after graduation. 

Shannon Seymour, who coordinates the course on behalf of the ministry, said, “These statistics prove that graduates of Passport2Success are continuing to use the skills they have learned and developed well after they have leftthe programme. It also proves that the programme is working and helping our young Caymanians obtain employment and also maintain it as many of our graduates have been in jobs for over a year now.” 

Pleased with the success of this class of 24 young people, Seymour said the group set out with determination. “The 14th cohort set out with determination to accomplish several goals. We are extremely proud of everyone who succeeded,"Seymour said.

Winner of the Most Outstanding Participant award, Alfredo Cardoza Chow, spoke about his entry-level job shadowing and work experience.

“When I was placed at my job shadowing, which was at Burger King on the waterfront, I thought it was going to be easy. But what I learned was that the staff at Burger King doesn’t have it as easy as we think. They have to be very specific about hygiene, watching the orders come in, preparing the orders and being very specific so they don’t make mistakes,” he explained.

“I did my internship at Business Solutions Technology Group. My first career interest was accounting, but when I started working in my internship with fibre optics I gained a passion for this type of work. I learned so many things, like how to connect cable boxes, install internet and how to set an antenna. I felt very passionate about this work because my dad is an electrician. The people I worked with were very nice and they took their time to teach me things each day. When I asked questions they were helpful and took their time to explain and answer my questions.  It was a great learning experience for me. I felt proud of myself because I really accomplished something positive on my internship.”

The National Employment Passport2Success Programme is a Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs initiative that runs three times a year. The employment preparedness course offers a 12 week programme for 17 to 21-year-old Caymanians and a 16 week programme for Caymanian Single Mothers, both designed to enhance workplace readiness skills and increase the employability of its participants. The programme is sponsored by Butterfield Bank and Webster’s Tours.

Each participant attending the course receives practical hands-on training, valuable work experience, better occupational, personal and job-specific skills, as well as gaining a clear idea of what kind of job suits them and a chance to impress potential employers.  Participants receive a weekly stipend (pay) with potential performance related bonuses.

Application forms for Passport2Successand and information about the start of the next programme can be found on their website www.passport2success.ky or contact the National Workforce Development Agency at 945-3114.

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UK Tory MP backs no turtle meat for tourists

| 30/07/2014 | 72 Comments

(CNS): A British Tory MP was in the Cayman Islands this week to lend his support to efforts being spearheaded by a UK animal charity to transition the Cayman Turtle Farm from a butcher's shop into a conservation facility. Dr Matthew Offord is also backing the campaign to persuade local restaurants to take turtle off the menu and stop promoting the meat to visitors. The Conservative back-bencher hosted a reception at Grand Old House, the first restaurant to stop promoting the meat, with the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) as the charity and the Cayman government resumed talks about the issue.

The ongoing animal welfare problems associated with the Cayman Turtle Farm, which is now the last place in the world commercially farming endangered green sea turtles, were at the top of the agenda at the event. Offord is a member of the UK parliament’s Environmental Audit Select Committee who is offering his support to talks about changes at the Farm.

Offord was one of the UK politicians on the committee involved in the Sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories report, which supported the findings of the WPA and its concerns about conditions at the Farm. The Committee has also raised the issue of the UK Government’s role as part of its ongoing discussions with the Cayman Islands Government.

Offord noted conservation efforts in Cayman and what he described as the "positive dialogue that is occurring between World Animal Protection and the Cayman Islands Government in addressing issues of sustainability at the Cayman Turtle Farm," adding that he was looking forward to its "cooperation in the future”.

Talks with the government will aim to build on positive measures agreed upon earlier this year, include the funding of research into the true local demand for turtle meat and the effectiveness of the Farm’s annual turtle release and the current suspension of that programme until the results of such research are available.

Dr Neil D’Cruze, Head of Wildlife Policy and Research at World Animal Protection, said, “We commend Dr Offord for his admirable advocacy on behalf of animal welfare, and are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with Caymanian stakeholders to continue our discussions on how best to achieve positive change for green sea turtles.”

World Animal Protection has long advocated for the Cayman Turtle Farmnot to close but to transition into a true rehabilitation and release facility that fully protects sea turtles.

Concerned that the farm has no idea what the real demand for the meat is even from locals, De Cruze also said he was delighted to hear that the Department of the Environment has received funding from the UK's department of food and rural affairs' Darwin initiative to begin a comprehensive survey of that demand and research into the genetic profile of turtles nesting on the beaches to identify the connections of the local wild turtles to the Farm.

That project is unrelated to the WAP campaign and part of the DoE's broader research work into the endangered species and their survival in the wild. It is being led by Dr  Ana Nuno from the University of Exeter and is expected to provide the first truly objective information about the origin of turtles that are breeding in local waters as well as get a true assessment of how much demand there is for meat and the issues surrounding poaching.

The WAP maintains that the CTF slaughters animals without properly assessing demand and also keeps huge numbers of the animals without knowing the true level of consumption and whether it is necessary to breed so many. D'Cruze said that any figures that can give a truer picture of how much and how many local people do eat the meat may help reduce the numbers held at the Farm.

Understanding that the effort to transition the facility to conservation will be a long process, he said that simply reducing the numbers, which are estimated to currently be more than 9,000 animals held at the Farm, would be a step in the right direction.

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EU officials visit to check HIV project progress

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(GIS): The Cayman Islands are working with other British and Dutch Overseas Caribbean and Territories (OCTs) to strengthen the regional response to HIV/AIDS. As part of the evaluation process, an independent team of consultants arrived last week to assess the outcomes of the European Commission Overseas Caribbean Territories (ECOCT) six year project. The team leader and international consultant Dr Roberto Gutierrez-Ortega from Nicaragua, and Sexual Health and Social Protection Expert Dr Katarina Greifeld, of Germany, upon request of the European Commission, met with local officials on Wednesday (23 July). Councillor Alva Suckoo met with the team and thanked them for their work to date.

Dr Gutierrez-Ortega and Dr Greifeld are using the evaluation process to determine any gaps or needs and to make recommendations in their report to the European Commission. Some of the initiatives facilitated by the project and already undertaken in the Cayman Islands include: development of a draft HIV Policy/Work Plan, staff development – participation in various workshops for capacity building, development of the National Health Policy & Strategic Plan (2012 – 2017) and the development of a National Health Laboratory Policy and Strategic Plan.

Other project plans include working towards receiving certification by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) on the elimination of mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, a quality management review of laboratory support, a parasitology workshop for public and private medical laboratory technologists, along with case-based surveillance for HIV patient care tracking.

Health minister Osbourne Bodden explained that the initiative seeks to address common HIV/AIDS issues and needs among OCTs, as well as to craft strategies to strengthen technical cooperation in order to respond more effectively to the needs of each jurisdiction.

“As we continue to tackle HIV/AIDS issues, this opportunity will not only strengthen ties between OCTs but will also improve our capacity to respond to such issues both locally and regionally,” he said.

Other participating British Overseas Caribbean Territories include: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos. The Dutch Overseas Territories taking part are: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.

 

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Five cases of Chikungunya confirmed in Cayman

| 30/07/2014 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Public health officials say that since the first test case for the chikungunya virus in June, they have seen at least ten suspected cases. While blood sample tests for two of those cases are still pending, five have proved positive and three negative, but only one has been confirmed as a local transmission as the other four patients had all travelled to areas where the mosquito borne disease has taken a hold. The sole local transmission was in a patient from Bodden Town. The health department said Wednesday that since the last public update on 21 July there have been three new casessent for testing from a residents in West Bay, George Town and Cayman Brac.

Officials stated that one result was received this week from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which tested positive for chikungunya and that patient has a travel history to the Dominican Republic. In total so far, out of eight cases tested, five have come back positive and three negative. Two results for blood samples sent on 28 July are pending.

With the exception of the local transmission, four people who have acquired the virus had travelled to the Dominican Republic and two to Guyana. In all cases residents have come from the four districts of George Town, Bodden Town, West Bay and Cayman Brac. So far, no one in either East End or North Side has presented with a suspected case of the disease, for which there is no vaccine or specific medication that can cure the virus but physicians can treat some of the severe symptoms.

The number of Caribbean countries/territories reporting cases of chikungunya continues to increase. To date, cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in 36 countries/territories in the Caribbean region. The total number of confirmed/probable cases has reached 5,824. Regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Key Facts on Chikungunya

  • Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, similar to dengue. Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
  • The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Joint paint is predominant in chikungunya, while muscle pain is predominant in dengue.
  • There is no medication against the virus. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms- bed rest, over the counter pain killers, and plenty of fluids.
  • There is no vaccine against chikungunya or dengue.  Prevention of these diseases is through protective measures against mosquito bites by use of mosquito repellents on skin and clothing, and when outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wearing long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
  • The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya. People can greatly assist in reducing the local Aedes aegypti population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito.
  • Since 2004, chikungunya fever has reached epidemic proportions globally, with considerable morbidity and suffering.
  • The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.

For more advice on how to control mosquitoes in your yard, contact the MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 in Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.

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Government clamps down on school uniforms

| 30/07/2014 | 38 Comments

(CNS): Youngsters wishing to express their style, fashion sense and individuality won't be doing so in school next year as government is clamping down on how kids look at school and adhering to their uniforms. The education ministry has issued a national uniform and dress code for all government schools, which bans everything from coloured hair bands to boots. In strict new guidelines on top of each school's own policies outlining expectations regarding the uniform and PE kits, students are being told how those uniforms should be worn and limiting accessories and removing any flexibility with students appearance.

The code states that all uniforms should be properly fitting and skirts can be no shorter than one inch above the knee. All students are required to wear black shoes/sneakers that do not contain
other colours and boots, sandals and slippers are banned.

Students are limited to small plain stud earrings, without gem stones, only on the lower ear lobe. And with the exception of watches, all other jewellery is banned. For health and safety reasons government said all jewellery is banned at the lighthouse school.

Items that display connection with gangs, such as badges, tags and tattoos, are banned, though the ministry gives no indication what happens to kids already tattooed.

Dictating that hair should be groomed and, if worn long tied back with just black or brown hair bands and no beads, students are also being told their hair must be a 'natural colour' and no extremes of hairstyles, such as a Mohawk, shaved lines/words, will be permitted.

Shaved eyebrows are also not permitted. In addition, the authorities are clamping down on make-up, nail polish and false nails.

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Forbes and Morgan brothers fail to make grade

| 30/07/2014 | 5 Comments

(CN​S): Ronald Forbes missed out on qualifying Tuesday at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when Cayman's 110 metre hurdler came in a disappointing 5th place in his heat with a time of 13.89. Carl and Carlos Morgan also failed to advance in the long jump with the brothers leaping 6.99 and 7.41 respectively. However, Team Cayman's athletic hopes are still not finished as both David Hamil and Tyrell Cuffy will run in the men's 200 metre sprint tomorrow in a bid to make it through to the semis. The athletics team will then round up the games with the 4 x 100 metres relay later this week.

For more on the games, results and information log onto  www.glasgow.com

 

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Plant Health Directors meeting in Cayman

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Plant Health directors from 34 countries and territories in the Caribbean along with delegates from regional and international organisations, government entities and universities gathered on Grand Cayman Tuesday morning to kick off the 7th Caribbean Plant Health Directors Meeting. The CPHD Forum will be held over four days to address issues relating to the health of and threats to flora in the Caribbean. Premier Alden McLaughlin told those in attendance that agriculture has always played a pivotal role in the Cayman Islands. “Here in the Cayman Islands we have a deep interest in the welfare of agriculture,” he said. “Ourfore bearers understood what it was to farm.”

The premier said the forum is important to bring the region together. “It is understood that each of us must be able to compete in the international marketplace, but unless we come together through venues like this forum, we cannot do so effectively,” he said. “It is because of working with others and sharing technical information that we were able to successfully combat pink hibiscus mealybug in 2006. Today we have a new pest, croton scale or sooty mold, to combat.”

Minister of Agriculture Kurt Tibbetts said the forum helps those in the region establish and maintain common standards when it comes to agriculture.

“The unity of purpose is an overarching concept that the Cayman Islands wholeheartedly endorses, as it has been critical to our success over the years,” Minister Tibbetts said. “Therefore, our government’s decision to host this meeting shows the extent of our commitment to these ideals.”

He said that agricultural issues encompass the cultural, economic and health concerns of everyone in the Cayman Islands. “As a result, we cannot overstate the importance of food and nutrition security,” he said. “The central role of agriculture includes reducing our dependency on imports and providing fresh, healthy food choices.”

He reiterated that it is important for the countries and territories to share information about threats to agriculture and said the Cayman Islands remains committed to maintaining a strong and effective plant protection and quarantine regime.

Because of the country’s vigilance in agriculture, the Cayman Islands was recognised by the Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative and the Caribbean Plant Health Directors as the recipient of the Inaugural GCSI Safeguarding Award last year.

“But regional cooperation is more than a convenient activity … It is essential for us all, for none of us are immune from threats posed by new pests or invasive flora and fauna,” Tibbetts said.

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One Man One Vote – the Belly of the Tiger

| 30/07/2014 | 49 Comments

Recent events with regards to One Man One Vote (OMOV) reminded me of this line from JFK’s 1961 inaugural address where he said “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.” It is said that one of the purposes of election is to determine the will of the people.

I believe it is fair to say that a majority of electors in this country supports One Man One Vote (OMOV) and that their will is clear both in the 2012 referendum and the general election of 2013.

While some may argue that the referendum held in 2012 did not meet the criteria for passage into law – and legally they would be right – it does not change the fact that more people came out and said “Yes” than those that came out and said “No”.  If the same scenario had taken place back in 2009 when we voted for a new constitution – the constitution would not have passed. Why? Because, like many other democracies around the world, the only vote that truly counts is the one that is cast. If we were to even try to attempt to determine how some people would have voted if they came out, no one would truly be elected.

But here is something I want you to consider and also ponder. Why was the benchmark for the referendum set so high? And more importantly, why was this benchmark not challenged by the PPM members? While the constitution is clear that a people’s initiated referendum requires a majority of 50% + 1, the minute the Government of the day decided to call the referendum, it became a government initiated referendum and at a minimum the government should have considered using the benchmark established for the 2009 Constitution referendum, and equally so, the PPM members should have insisted or fought for that benchmark to be used.

They did not. I am sure that many people would agree that it is a retrograde step in our democracy to have the passage of a law held to a higher standard than our constitution. This is hypocritical and goes against the principles of democracy and the purpose of elections in determining the will of the people.

But the real truth in this matter is not tactics used by Premier McKeeva Bush at that time that would have made Machiavelli proud. The real truth is the sinister way in which those that did not support OMOV jumped on the band wagon to say that they supported OMOV when they did not.

Everyone and their aunty knew that, based on previous political trends, the real number that would have been required for the referendum to be successful was closer to 70% when considering average voter turnout. There were people in the UDP at that time that was urging Premier Bush to keep the referendum on a Monday instead of during the week just to create a “long weekend” and ensure that the voter turnout would have been even lower to ensure that the referendum failed.

While the position of the UDP’s elected government was clear with regards to OMOV, the PPM on the other hand took a calculated approach in supporting it knowing that it would have failed. In doing so, not only did they mislead their own members and some new candidates, they also misled the public. Credit should be given to Al Suckoo and Anthony Eden for their principled stand and we should not only commend them but support them in this endeavor. Some of the old guard politicians in the PPM saw a political opportunity and took advantage of it and in doing so foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger, and we now find them being chewed alive and the public is preparing to digest them, literally.

They have once again been given the power and responsibility to lead this country, and like many before them, the power as gone to the head of their Head and the only focus now is to retain power at all costs. Why are they doing this? If I was to make a political guess, I would say that they need to keep the 2 seats in the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman at all costs if they want to be returned as a government in 2017. In their ranks they have the Deputy Premier that was elected with over 75% of the votes, and since the election, his only true political opponent that was re-elected with over 55% of the vote has joined forces with him giving the PPM a formidable advantage in the Sister Islands.

Lately, I have listened to some PPM politicians used the term “equality of votes” in an attempt to bastardize our electoral system with “at large candidates” to try and eke out as much seats as possible from their George Town leader. There is however one problem with their argument with regards to equality of votes and that remains the Sister Islands. The real issue that OMOV as well as the equality of votes will highlight is that George Town will remain under represented and that the Sister Islands would be over represented and may be challenged by voters and/or other politicians in George Town.

While the PPM may have 4 seats in George Town, they too also recognize that their franchise and brand in George Town is diminishing day by day and at the current trend would be worth even less come 2017 when consider the record that they would have to defend. Their number one vote getter for the last several elections is the Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, and like the Hon. McKeeva Bush and Anthony Eden, have developed serious coat tails over the years with one exception in George Town.

While McKeeva and Anthony have maintained polling numbers around the 50% mark, Kurt’s numbers have not been holding up. At his peak, back in 2000, Kurt got 2,753 votes from 3,400 ballots that were cast. 13 years later, Kurt received 2,470 votes – 283 less despite 2,428 more votes being cast. He went from receiving 81% of the votes in 2000 to 42% in 2013. Clearly his coat tails are wearing thin as not only did 58% of the people in George Town not vote for him, 63% of the voters in George Town did not vote for Alden.

The credit that I give to Mr Eden in this regard is that by supporting OMOV he is actually opening his district for serious challenges as he is guaranteed to lose one seat in Bodden Town (Bodden Town East) where he has not topped the polls in that division for the last 2 elections and knows he has no coat tails there. He is also putting Bodden Town West and Newlands in play as the only safe seat that will be left is Savannah proper. Kudos to him for leveling the playing field and bringing more accountability in the process. All Bodden Towners should be proud of his stance. 

The UDP also needs to let go of this position. In the past, they could count on 4 seats in West Bay simply from having a dominant position in 3 polling divisions. Quietly, we always knew that West Bay South was the Achilles heel and the last election proved that with Tara Rivers receiving 99 more votes in that division than Mr Bush. However, despite his other personal challenges, he was able to pull 3 seats and remains confident that he will pull all 4 once his challenges pass away. 

Both political parties have their reasons for not supporting OMOV and maintaining the status quo. Afterall, why mess with a system that allows them to interchange power? Both have agreed in the past to leave Sister Islands alone as they were each guaranteed a seat. However, in these modern times where people are advocating for equality of all types of rights neither party can remain blind to the disproportionate level of representation that the Sister Islands receive compared to that of George Town. While some may argue that the same principles would apply to East End and North Side that they should be merged to ensure equality of voters – I beg to differ for 2 reasons.

Firstly, from a historical context we cannot have a district within a Westminster style democracy without any representation. Secondly, we cannot only use the number of registered electors in any district to determine the level of representation. We need to also consider the number of Caymanians living in a district. To do otherwise would imply that a Caymanian that is not registered to vote should not be entitled to any representation. The following table provides a breakdown of the population by district using the 2010 census and the number of electors as at July 1, 2014 per the elections website:

From the table above, it is clear that there is some alignment between the number of voters per each district and the number of Caymanians in each district for Bodden Town, West Bay, East End, and North Side. However, there is a clear anomaly between George Town and the Sister Islands that needs to be corrected to ensure equality of votes. Adding one seat in George Town and taking one from Cayman Brac would fix that anomaly. For the record, if one seat was added to George Town or one taken away from the Sister Islands, the table would look like this:

I am sure that you would agree that this would be better equality of votes both in terms of voters and number of Caymanians. Similar to the United States, we can revisit the boundaries and number of seats every 10 years after a census is conducted.

I don’t want anyone to believe that this article was intended to be an attack against Cayman Brac. Anyone who knows me and my family also knows that when my grandmother arrived here in the 1940s she first settled in Cayman Brac. Additionally, my own personal views have always held Cayman Brac in the highest of regards as they have created more Captains and Titans of industry and serves as an example for others to follow with achievements and accomplishments in the development of our islands too much to list.

The real truth is that the issue of OMOV has always been about electability rather than accountability. For too long in our political history there have been people that have been elected on the coat tails of others and know that they can’t stand on their own two feet if they have to face down a serious challenger. We have pockets within the multi member districts that skew the overall results of the districts and by doing so not only skew the quality of representation but more importantly distort the will of the people.

The reality is that our country and political landscape is changing. There are a lot of serious issues out there that needs to be addressed such as the direction of our country, cost of living, opportunities for all, and the overall quality of our lives. It is said that not even the march of a mighty army can be greater than an idea whose time has come. It is now time for OMOV to be implemented and put to rest. The result of the last election is clear with regards to OMOV. The result of the 2012 referendum is clear with regards to OMOV. The will of the people is clear with regards to OMOV. I therefore say to all the members of the political family, put your own personal views aside and respect the will of the people. If not, you can follow in the PPM’s footstep and find yourselves inside the belly of the tiger.

One love. Walk good.  
 

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