Archive for September 1st, 2014

Pension cases drag on

| 01/09/2014 | 38 Comments

(CNS):The National Pensions Office has revealed that just four of the cases being pursued in the courts against delinquent employers have been closed since its last update in February. While it is understood that hundreds of employers are failing to comply with pensions contributions, efforts to prosecute some are moving very slowly. In reality very few bosses are being held to account not only for failing to make their lawful contribution on behalf of their staff but deducting pension payments from their wages without paying it into their funds. Of the four cases recently closed only one boss was fined $350 in relation to the charges of failing to make contributions.

Since the pensions office made the decision to name and shame employers who have been referred to the courts, just fifteen cases are still being perused with warrants out for the arrest of at least four bosses who failed to show up for their court appearances. Another eleven employers who are making an effort to pay are being given every opportunity to deal with their arrears.

In 2010 Nicola Williams released a report into the shocking levels of delinquency in pension payments among employers and in October 2013 the complaints boss updated that report and detailed even more disregard for the law by bosses. She said tens of millions of dollars are missing from pension funds. But despite the revalation that hundreds of bosses are non-compliant less than two dozen have ever gone before the courts.

Following Williams’ findings last year the employment minister, who has responsibility for pensions, has still not stated when the new legislation will be brought to the Legislative Assembly, nor has the government revealed its policy regarding the future of private sector pensions. In a long and rambling address in the LA following Williams’ update, the current minister, Tara Rivers, said that the regulatory oversight and supervision of pensions was a national objective, and spoke about the need for “a robust and efficient regulatory framework, which leverages technology and other innovations.”

However, almost a year on little has changed for employers or the sixteen registered pension plans which hold the future pensions of almost 51,000 people.

See the latest update from the NPO

July 2013 – August 2014 Report on Matters before the Summary Court

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Gallery remembers Ivan ten years on

| 01/09/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A photographic exhibition will open at the NGCI this weekend commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Ivan featuring the work of well-known local artists as well as lesser known photographers who captured the devastating event. The gallery’s curator, Natalie Urquhart worked closely for this exhibition with photographers Courtney Platt and David Wolfe, whose stunning photos of the aftermath of the storm were featured in the 2004 exhibition Emergence.

But a decade later Ivan Remembered will consist of more than 45 fine art photographs against a backdrop of quotes from the commuity about their experiences during and after Ivan.

“While it has been ten years since the storm passed, most of us continue to have strong, emotion-laden memories associated with Ivan and its aftermath so we felt it was important to commemorate the anniversary via this exhibition,” said Urquart.

“This is really a ‘part two’ of the Emergence exhibition that we hosted soon after Ivan in 2004. It is a closure of sorts. It has been a very emotional process to review and select images for Ivan Remembered. They really take you back to those initial days after the storm.  I didn’t expect to be so moved so many years on,” she added.

While Platt and Wolfe’s work will feature heavily other artists include Sheree Ebanks, Juilie Corsetti, Mary McCallum, Jenna Arnold, and Darvin Ebanks.  “If we'd had pictures like this of the '32 storm I'm sure we would have built differently before Ivan retaught us that hard lesson,” Said Courtney Platt. “Having been taught twice I pray that we will not forget to instruct our youth and newcomers to remain watchful and properly prepared each season.”

The exhibition will also showcase a short film, created by NGCI and Monster Media as part of the 2004 Emergence exhibition, which features interviews of well-known local artists and was filmed shortly after the natural disaster.

The NGCI is also hosting a variety of programmes and events at the Gallery to engage the public throughout the month of September including Sharing Stories with Courtney Platt on 10 September from 5:30 PM until 7:30 PM; Free Family Event on 13 September from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM; Late Night at the Gallery on 26 September from 5:00 PM until 9:30 PM; and documentary film screenings of Trouble the Water showing 26 September at 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM; as well as self-guided family activity worksheets for all ages throughout the duration of the exhibition.

“We hope that this moving collection of images, taken by a variety of well-known and lesser-known photographers, will help to memorialise this moment in our history and provide a path through this complex emotional terrain,” Urqhart said. “Following a narrative that moves from shock, through action, to a kind of collective redemption, these images enable us to grieve for what was lost, yet still recognise and be thankful for what we have gained in the process of healing. As a curator it has been one of the mostimportant and meaningful projects that I have worked on.”

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, 6 September 2014 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, and the exhibition will run until 27 September 2014. For more information visit, email, or call (345) 945 8111.
The exhibition is sponsored by Fidelity Insurance

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Minister optimistic in face of expanded GDP

| 01/09/2014 | 29 Comments

(CNS): The local gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by an estimated 1.5 percent in the first quarter 201 the 2014 financial year, according to the latest statistics published by the Economics and Statistics Office. Despite inflation running at around 2.3% due to an increase in the consumer price index, local imports grew 5%. The economic growth occurred against the back-drop of improvements in the government’s fiscal surplus from CI$131.8 million in the first quarter of 2013 to CI$149.4 million this year. This was generated by strong growth in revenue and a decline in total expenditure. The central government’s total outstanding debt also fell to CI$558.3 million as at March 2014 compared to CI$582.6 million a year ago.

As a result of the latest economic figures, Finance and Economic Development Minister Marco Archer said the performance during the first quarter of 2014 pointed to stable economic recovery. “Furthermore, it is broad-based as a number of sectors have contributed to it. Given this performance, I am cautiously optimistic that we will see an overall GDP growth of 1.9 percent in 2014,” he added.

The growth in GDP is a positive indicator but for those either out of work or at the bottom of the socio-economic pile the inflation that comes with it makes life even tougher.

Food and non-alcoholic drinks increased by 2.5% because of higher global food prices. But the average price of household equipment also rose by 6.8% in the first quarter.

Miscellaneous goods and services rose by 7.6% because of higher insurance costs, while restaurants were running at a whopping 11.6% inflation rate because of what ESO officials said was the demand from tourist arrivals.

See more details below in the full report on the first economic quarter of this financial year.

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Police patrols boosted in WB

| 01/09/2014 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Following a series of drive-by shootings in the district recently, the head of the West Bay Police Station told members of the community that patrols had been boosted in the district and police were aware of a heightening of gang tensions. As residents expressed their concerns about getting caught up in random shootings after at least three properties were shot at, reportedly by young people on motor bikes, in the early hours of 23 August Chief Inspector Harlan Powery said that the USG and the regular officers were all on alert and heightened their street presence. Powery revealed that police believed the motive behind the shootings was an escalation in a petty dispute.

CI Powery expressed his concerns that what he said was nothing more than a “silly argument” between some gang members had escalated to the point where guns were being used.

Powery said he was unable to confirm at that point how many weapons had been fired last weekend and despite calls for information as yet no one had been arrested. He pointed to work being undertaken by the RCIPS in the district however, to diffuse the escalation of tensions and try to keep a lid on what could be more eruptions in violence as tensions rose.
Speaking at a meeting at the district primary school on Thursday CI Powery acknowledged the concerns of the people present regarding the use of firearms. Residents spoke about the need for those who knew anything to go to the police and support them in their endeavours to arrest the people who had the firearms.

Residents pointed the finger at “SuperC’s” as a key area where crime was rife and one local resident said there was drug use gambling and prostitution all taking place in the area of the local food place as she asked the police to patrol that area more. She said however, that the residents of the area had to stop being afraid of the local criminals and start reporting what they knew. 

In the early hours of 23 August several shots were fired in at least three different locations in West Bay by people on motorbikes. Although no one was injured police recovered bullets, bullet holes and shell casings from Super C’s at a residence on Jefferson Road and at another in Topaz Lane.

Anyone with information regarding on what are understood to be targeted drive by shootings is urged to contact the West Bay Police Station CID at 949 -3999 or CRIME STOPPERS at 800-8477 (TIPS).


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Local college gets stamp of international approval

| 01/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The International College of the Cayman Islands has successfully achieved its re-accreditation from the Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Initially accredited in 1979, it must be periodically re-evaluated which college officials said was “extremely rigorous,” with the college being judged on student retention, graduation rates, learning outcomes, and job placements. Representatives visited ICCI in February and sat in on classes to evaluate teaching methods and interviewed students and faculty.

“Our entire team of faculty and staff worked very hard for months to write our re-accreditation application. Their efforts have really validated that our students are receiving a very high quality education,” said Dr David  Marshall the ICCI president said, “ACICS is a very tough accrediting body. It means serious business when it comes to student outcomes. We either have to be in compliance with accreditation standards, fix any problems if ACICS determines that we are out of compliance, or be removed from membership; it’s just that simple.”

Based in Washington D.C., ACICS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation

Board Chair April Cummings said the accreditation process is designed to ensure continual growth and improvement to the academic programmes and the four year grant will ensure students receive their degree from an accredited institution.  “It would not have been possible without the hard work of the faculty and staff at ICCI,” she added.


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Players wanted for Academy’s first female U15 team

| 01/09/2014 | 0 Comments

CNS): One of Cayman’s leading youth football clubs will be holding try-outs this coming Saturday for local girls between the ages of 12 and 14.  Academy Sports Club is aiming to launch its first U15 girls’ team in this year's CIFA league. "We are having try-outs this Saturday September 6th at the Academy field on Outpost Road and hope to see a lot of young female footballers there", said the club’s coach, Virgil Seymour. He explained that the club has discussed introducing a girls’ team for a while and felt this season was the right year to do it.

"Since we have announced that we will be having try-outs there has a been a great response so we are really looking forward to achieving similar success with the girls team as we have demonstrated with our bouts teams over the years", he added.

The Academy U15 girls’ team try-outs will start at 9:00am and last until on Saturday September 6th. Girls must be born in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.

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NWDA goes on the road to help job-seekers

| 01/09/2014 | 18 Comments

(CNS): The government’s workforce development agency is going on the road again this month with its outreach programme to help job-seekers in the districts. Representatives from the agency will be setting up shop at the various district libraries starting in Bodden Town on Wednesday, 3rd September between 2pm and 5pm. The roadshow then moves to North Side where staff will be at the library there on Monday, 8th September between 10am and 1pm, then East End Library on Tuesday,  9th September 10am to 1pm and lastly West Bay library on 10 September 10am-1pm.

Officials said the goal is to provide “improved customer service to its clients in their job seeking efforts,” and offer those looking for work a chance to register online with the NWDA, search the online job portal and self-referring for jobs, get help preparing resumes and assistance preparing for interviews.

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DVDL issues warning on heavy equipment imports

| 01/09/2014 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing are warning prospective importers off heavy equipment that they need to follow the formally-established policy otherwise their equipment may be refused entry. In a short release the DVDL said it was the importers' responsibility to ensure that the equipment being imported meets vehicle inspection requirements as stated in the Traffic Regulations 2012. “It is strongly recommended that persons complete the application process before purchasing the vehicle overseas. Failure to so do may result in the vehicle being refused entry at the port,” the officials warned in a release at the weekend.

The import procedures are now outlined in a new document which relates to the importation of trucks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment into the Cayman Islands. First, an application form, which is available from the DVDL, must be completed in respect of each piece of equipment intended to be imported in the Islands. Once completed, it must be submitted with a non-refundable $100 processing fee for each application. Applications will be processed in no more than five business days by the Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure.

Following this, the ministry will inform DVDL of the approval/refusal, and the applicant will be advised to collect the decision letter, from the DVDL’s Customer Service Desk. Letters of approval are valid for six months only – but, upon expiry, may be extended for a further six months if a written request is submitted to the ministry.

Applicants must present their import approval letter to Customs when the vehicle arrives in the Cayman Islands. Once cleared by Customs, the applicant must ensure that the vehicle is registered at DVDL in accordance with the Traffic Regulations 2012. Failure to do so is an offence under Section 6 (1) of the Traffic Law 2011.

The DVDL will carry out follow-up checks to ensure that registration process is completed. Anyone with queries may contact the DVDL’s Acting Deputy Director Courtney Myles at: Tel: 945 8344 (ext. 5512), direct line: 244-5512; or e-Mail:

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