Archive for September 22nd, 2014

EY report wrong, says Cayman Water boss

| 22/09/2014 | 40 Comments

(CNS): Although Cayman Water is supportive of government’s plans for rationalization and the recommendation that it should sell the Water Authority, the private sector firm has taken Ernst and Young to task over the recommendations in its report on the subject released earlier this month. The water company boss criticised the consultant’s lack of factual support or analysis on its finding that government should privatize the authority but should not sell it to Cayman Water. Rick McTaggart, President and CEO of Cayman Water, said the firm objected to the E&Y’s comment on page 91 of the report regarding the company, as he believes it is the ideal purchaser for the Authority.

“Through this comment E&Y has opined, without providing any factual support or analysis, that our company, a Cayman Islands business that has provided exemplary water utility services to the people of Grand Cayman for more than 40 years, should be excluded from potentially bidding for the Water Authority’s assets,” McTaggart said in a statement released Monday. “We feel a more thorough analysis of the facts support a different conclusion.”

McTaggart claimed the acquisition by Cayman Water would be a very low risk transaction offering the highest potential financial return to government and best value proposition for the Cayman Islands.

Although Cayman Water customers in West Bay pay around 15% more, according to government officials, for the exact same product as Water Authority customers on the rest of Grand Cayman, the company pressed its credentials as a long time close partner of the Water Authority. McTagga,rt who was once a director at the Water Authority before joining Cayman Water, said he knew both organisations well and the government consultants on the rationalization report got it wrong. He said the sale would result in a smooth transition and savings as a result of economies of scale

“E&Y’s reference to competition issues is inaccurate since the two utilities are not competitors,” the water boss said. “Each serves separate geographical areas of Grand Cayman and entirely separate customer bases. In fact, Cayman Water and Water Authority customers would significantly benefit from a combination of the two, as economies of scale would enable this combined utility to lower the cost of service to all customers, and the combined entity would have access to additional capital to fund the maintenance and enhancement of the Water Authority’s infrastructure."

He pointed to a government-regulated single water provider as the model employed by the majority of comparable communities and noted that not many were aware of the extent of the partnership that already exists between the water companies.

“Cayman Water’s sister company, Ocean Conversion Cayman, designed, built and financed all of the Water Authority’s desalination plants and has most importantly operated these plants on behalf of the Water Authority for more than 20 years,” McTaggart said. “We have a long and successful history of working with the Water Authority, so it is easy to envision asmooth transition to a combined organization, fully staffed by Caymanians, reliably supplying wholesome drinking water to the public as a fully (government) regulated service provider.”

McTaggart said the size of Cayman Water’s parent company would offer new career opportunities for the Caymanians currently working at the Water Authority and they would enjoy stock ownership and other benefits.

“We believe the government should provide an open and fair opportunity for all qualified entities, especially Cayman Water, to tender a proposal in any privatization process for the Water Authority, if and when it happens,” said McTaggart.

However, although the water company boss may have a point about the EY report's lack of real analysis, the government may not be too keen on selling the authority at all.

The premier has said very little about the report so far but he did say caucus would begin examining the report in more detail this week. Government had been focused on the Legislative Assembly over the past few weeks since the report was released.

What Alden McLaughlin did say at a press briefing announcing the report's publication was that government would not sell off valuable assets for some short term cash. During the previous UDP government McLaughlin had also noted that selling the Water Authority, which was one of the few government companies that made money and has a more than 90% Caymanian workforce, would be a short-sighted exercise.

See EY report below.

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Cops hunt armed carjacker

| 22/09/2014 | 46 Comments

(CNS): Police are looking for an armed man following a robbery and car-jacking in the early hours of Saturday morning. A 31-year-old man from Savannah was forced into his own car by an armed man who approached and threatened him in the Euro Car parking lot on Shedden Road in George Town at around 1am on 20 September. The suspect robbed the man of his wrist watch, wallet and two cell phones as well as the vehicle after a short drive, along with two laptops, other electronic equipment and four passports that were in the car, belonging to the victim and his family. Although the man was uninjured during the ordeal and no shots were fired, the victim said the car-jacker was carrying a handgun in the waist of his pants throughout the robbery.

According to the victim’s report to the RCIPS, he was opening the door to his blue Chevrolet LT Aveo when one of two men in the car park at the time came up behind him and told him to get in the car if he didn’t want to get hurt. The man complied and the suspect got into the front passenger seat of the four door vehicle.  The suspect ordered the complainant to drive, and when they were close to Cayman Academy on Walkers Road the suspect ordered the owner out of his own car.

The suspect took his watch, wallet and phones and drove off in the stolen car, with the man’s belongings, towards Boilers Road, leaving the victim on the roadside.

The car-jacker was said to speak with a strong Jamaican accent with a short dread-locks hair style. He was dressed in a black short-sleeved “T”- shirt and jeans pants.

The car was recovered by police later on Saturday along School Road in George Town with its keys in the ignition but all of the personal items had been taken.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who may have information that could assist the police with their investigation, is asked to contact DC Taylor at 949-4222, or the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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CIG tries again on data law

| 22/09/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government is launching another public consultation on the proposed Data Protection Bill. This 2014 draft of the proposed law aims to protect the right of individuals to have access to their own personal data held by private sector or government entities and to help protect it from getting into the wrong hands. Officials say this two month discussion will be the last public consultation on this latest version before Cabinet completes its review. Government has been trying to implement a data protection law for more than three years but has encountered a number of challenges in drafting legislation that is acceptable.

The goal is to ensure that any personal or sensitive information kept about people in the public or private spheres is accessible to those it’s about but not to others except in limited circumstances.

Cabinet is seeking public feedback again on the proposed law after the draft was published on Friday, as it will impact everyone who lives and works here as it applies to the private sector as well as government. The long delayed law needs to be implemented to meet government’s obligations under the Bill of Rights in the constitution, which relates to the right to a private and family life.

The proposed legislation requires that individuals must be able to access information about themselves but that data must also be properly managed by those who are holdingit. Anything from a home address of a customer or an email account of an individual to more sensitive information such as genetic, economic or health related data.

People holding information expressing an opinion about people as well as the intended use the data will be put to will fall under the law and data controllers will be required to register.  From documents relating to a person’s racial or ethnic origin to their political opinions, religious beliefs as well as more obvious information such as a criminal record could be considered sensitive. The draft legislation detail the procedures by which data subjects may request information about themselves from data controllers, and outlines fines for any failure to comply. It also requires the registration of data controllers.

The law does provide for some notable exceptions to the general rules relating to crime and government fees and duties, as well as journalism, literature and art, legal proceedings (clause 30), corporate finance and legal professional privilege. The law also provides for Cabinet, to make additional exemptions.

The draft also proposes that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which presently enforces the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law, would have a similar mandate with regards to the Data Protection Law.

Since work began on drafting the law members of the data protection working group have included representatives from the attorney general’s chambers, the information and communications technology authority (ICTA), the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), the ICO, and the FOI unit. Others were drawn from civil society organizations such as the Law Society, the Bar Association, and the Banker’s Association among others.

A copy of the document is posted below or can be viewed at and  Oofficials said, this is the third and final public consultation but information from previous consultations is available at

Cabinet will make its decision on the draft discussion paper following the two month discussion period which ends on 18 November. All comments and questions should be sent to before the deadline.

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Fishermen missing 8+ days

| 22/09/2014 | 44 Comments

(CNS): Three West Bay men who left their homes to go fishing on Friday 12 September and were expected back the following Sunday have not returned, police said today but revealed that they received a missing persons report a week ago. Alton Eddie Philips, James Michael Ebanks (Aka Fat Patty) and Ray Kennedy Smith left their homes aboard a yellow 28 ft. canoe powered by one 85HP. They were scheduled to return home on 14 September but police received a report from one of the men’s family to say they had not returned. Although the men had said they would be fishing outside Cayman waters, police did not say if they had given a planned fishing location.

Police said that following the missing person report last Monday, the RCIPS hadalerted the US and Jamaican Coast Guards and had also notified the authorities in Honduras and Cuba and circulated photographs of the missing West Bay men.

Although they did not notify the media, and by extension the wider public, until today, Monday 22 September, a police spokesperson said that the Cayman Islands Port Authority had been informed and they, in turn, had notified marine interest transiting Cayman waters.

Anyone who may have information about the whereabouts of the three missing men are now asked to contact the Marine Commander Inspector Ian Yearwood at 949-7710.

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Public invited to formal opening of BT grave yard

| 22/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A new cemetery in Bodden Town which was undertaken by the planning ministry will be officially opened on Wednesday and government is inviting the public to the ceremony. The land for the new burial site was purchased because the district’s original cemetery, not unlike many others, around the islands, had reached capacity. The new site covers 3.75 acres and the construction of vaults, parking, landscaping, fencing and walls was completed following a tendering process. This year, the opening ceremony will break ground for phase one of the project, which includes 24 newly constructed vaults.

Minister for Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, Kurt Tibbetts, spearheaded the project and acknowledged that other cemeteries are also full. “While there are similar concerns in other districts, this was the most critical area,” he said.
The new graveyard is situated just east of the Bodden Town Police Station and once opened responsibility for its management will fall to the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), part of the district’s MLA Osbourne Bodden’s health ministry

“Generations of our families have been buried at the original site,” Bodden stated ahead of the opening this week. With the need for additional burial space becoming a pressing issue, I am pleased to see that this project will finally come to fruition.”

Plans also call for a continuation into an adjacent beachside property, with a capacity for more than 500 vaults. This will also include a pond, driveway, roundabout and a cabana – all to be a part of the new cemetery site in what is now Grand Cayman’s fastest growing district.

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Opening rally kicks-off 10th CUC PFL season

| 22/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CUC-PFL): The customary Opening Rally kicks-off the 2014/2015 CUC Primary Football League (PFL) season this Saturday, September 27 beginning at 9:00am at the traditional home of local football, the T.E. McField Sports Field (Annex Field) in George Town. The 2014/2015 season marks 10 years of sponsorship of the PFL by CUC, a milestone the company is very proud of. Defending Rally champions Cayman Prep aim to continue their winning ways this season. The Rally was one of three trophies the school collected from the 2013/2014 season as they also claimed the Under 11 and Under 9 Champions Cups in January 2014.

The Opening Rally has always been highly entertaining and very competitive with 14 schools competing this year including defending Rally champions Cayman Prep, runners-up Prospect Primary, third-placed NorthEast Schools and fourth-placed St. Ignatius Prep. Other schools competing include Bodden Town Primary, George Town Primary, Savannah Primary, Sir John A. Cumber Primary, Red Bay Primary, Cayman Brac, Cayman International School, South Sound Schools, Truth For Youth and Triple C.

The Opening Rally is an exciting, fast-paced one-day tournament with games being a short 10 minutes per half with no offsides. Games must end with a winner. If games are tied at the end of the 20 minutes, penalties will decide the victor.

The first round of play is the group stage with schools being divided into two groups of three schools and two groups of four. Schools play each other once in their respective group with the two top teams from each group advancing to the second round – the knockout stage. From the quarter finals, the semi-finalists are decided with the resulting two winners advancing to the final and the two losers playing for third and fourth place.

The two groups of three schools include Zone A with Cayman International School, Prospect Primary and Savannah Primary and Zone D with Cayman Prep, Red Bay Primary and South Sound Schools. The two groups of four schools include Zone B with Bodden Town Primary, George Town Primary, StIgnatius Prep and Truth For Youth and Zone C with Cayman Brac, NorthEast Schools, Sir John A Cumber Primary and Triple C.

The PFL Committee encourages fans of “the powerful game” and youth sports in general to make their way to the T.E. McField Sports Field (Annex Field) this Saturday to cheer on the youngsters.

Special thanks to contributing sponsors Progressive Distributors, the CUC Primary Football League’s exclusive supplier of Gatorade.

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Leaders hang on office walls

| 22/09/2014 | 82 Comments

(CNS): Pictures of the governor and the premier are appearing on the office walls of government buildings around Cayman in what some may say is a retrograde step in a modern democracy. As other countries around the world are shunning old-fashioned ideas of having the faces of leaders posted in too many places, due to controversies surrounding the personality politics and potential leader cults, Cayman has for the first time moved to put not just the governor but its elected leader of government on office walls. The Protocol Office confirmed that this was its initiative and that this is the first time official pictures were being posted in government offices.

“I can confirm that this is a Protocol driven endeavor, utilizing the assistance of PWD to hang official photos of HE the Governor and the Hon Premier in several Government Buildings. This is the first time this has been done at this level,” Meloney Syms, the Protocol Coordinator, confirmed by email last week.

Although the Queen has traditionally hung on some office walls here, pictures of the governor or former elected leaders have not been common sights in government offices.

Hanging pictures of leaders is often associated with dictatorships and countries where the cult of leaders is strong. On his election victory José Mujica, the Uruguayan president, not only rejected the trappings of office and began donating most of his salary to social causes, but he also directed that his picture should not be posted on walls anywhere.

Ed Miliband, the leader of the UK’s Labour party, is also likely to reject formal images if he gets elected as the next British prime minister. He told the country’s voters not to vote for him if they wanted someone who looks good in a photo and rejected the concept of image-based politics.

Making reference to his unfortunate attempt at eating a bacon sandwich in public recently, he conceded, "David Cameron is a very sophisticated and successful exponent of image-based politics,” as he indicated his intention to pursue a different approach. "My true test of leadership is not just whether you look the part but whether you can retain your soul. Not being dismissive or contemptuous of people, whoever they are, wherever they come from," Miliband told the UK press recently.

However, both Alden McLaughlin and Helen Kilpatrick will now be smiling down from their official photos, seemingly unconcerned about the message such a move may send.

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CIG has failed to address turtle welfare, says charity

| 22/09/2014 | 33 Comments

(CNS): A UK-based international charity has said the Cayman government has failed to address the on-going animal welfare issues at the Cayman Turtle Farm despite earlier promising talks with the current administration. World Animal Protection said its year-long closed door discussions with the government about the controversial Farm and the conditions there have broken down as the charity has received no response for more than two months in connection with issues discussed during talks in July. Although some progress had been made on the myriad problems with the facility, the charity says government has failed to act on the serious welfare issues but they can no longer be ignored.

It said overcrowding, cannibalism, injuries and disease among the almost 10,000 endangered green sea turtles at the Farm remain a significant concern.

Discussions with the PPM administration started over a year ago and World Animal Protection’s CEO Mike Baker said early discussions highlighted key areas of mutual concern over animal welfare conditions related to the Farm, such as overcrowding, the possible introduction of infectious diseases into the wild through the Farm’s turtle release program, and the illegal poaching of wild sea turtles.

In November last year the farm suspended the turtle release programme as it finally acknowledged that releasing the farmed turtles could put the wild population at risk of infectious disease. Alongside the cancelation of that programme the Department of the Environment received funding from the UK to investigate the true scale of Caymanian demand for sea turtle meat.

But the conditions in which turtles are being kept at the farm remain little changed and although there is now a full time vet at the facility the husbandry issues have not been addressed.

“Despite highly positive discussion nearly two months ago, we are disappointed that the CIG has failed to provide World Animal Protection with any updated formal response on the Farm’s conditions,” said World Animal Protection’s CEO, Mike Baker. “It is impossibleto see how progress can be made without communication and participation from both sides,” he added as he stated that talks between the charity and government had broken down.

“After more than a year of patient engagement and talks behind closed doors, it is now time for the CIG to act. The root causes of acute animal suffering at the Farm, such as the severe overcrowding of turtles there, simply cannot be ignored any longer,” Baker added.

The charity which published a damning report just under two years ago about conditions at the farm is advocating to that the Farm transition from a butcher’s shop into a rehabilitation and conservation facility that fully protects sea turtles.

Following the statement on Friday from WAP, Cayman News Service contacted the Farm as well as the ministers and their officials from tourism and the environment but we are still awaiting a response.

Watch video interviews with Neil D’Cruse, WAP Head of Wildlife Policy and Research

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FIFA orders officials to give back luxury watches

| 22/09/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The world football body is embroiled in another scandal involving ethics issues following revelations that managers from the administrative arm of the game had received US$26,000 watches as gifts during the world cup in Brazil. FIFA has ordered that all 65 Parmigiani watches are handed in to the ethics committee investigators by 24 October and no further action will be taken against those who had accepted the ‘gifts’ in contravention of the football body’s rules. CNS asked CONCACAF if the regional president and VP of FIFA, Jeff Webb, had received and taken one of the watches but the question was unanswered and we were directed to the FIFA statement.

Given his position Webb almost certainly received one of the luxury watches which were delivered in gift bags to a group comprising the 28 officials on the FIFA Executive Committee, a representative from each of the 32 Member Associations competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and a representative from each of the 10 Member Associations in Conmebol.

Some officials immediately reported the delivery of the watches, which the Brazilian Football Confederation had said came from a sponsor and were bought for USD 8,750 each although they were alter valued at much more. FIFA said that in mid-June, “several football officials” reported that they had received what appeared to be valuable watches. It is not clear if Webb was one of those who alerted other officials about the gift bags.

An investigation into the issue was triggered and undertaken by the FIFA Ethics Committee in which the independent appraisal determined that the watch had a market value of US$26,604.

FIFA’s ethics code ban’s officials from accepting expensive gifts because of the obvious perception of bribery. The only gifts they can accept are of "symbolic or trivial value” and when they are offered anything that is more than of trivial value such as a $26,000 watch they are obligated to immediately report the potential breach to the Investigatory Chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee.

The watches which were distributed by the Brazilian football body on behalf of the sponsor were most definitely not trivial or symbolic and not all of those who received the gifts alerted the association.

“CBF should not have offered the watches, and those who received gift bags should have promptly checked whether the items inside were appropriate and, upon discovering the watch, either returned it or, like the football officials referred to above, reported the matter to the Investigatory Chamber,” FIFA said in a statement last week. “In an effort to resolve this matter expeditiously, the Investigatory Chamber will not pursue further formal ethics proceedings in this matter against officials who submit the Parmigiani watch they received from CBF to the Secretariat of the Investigatory Chamber by no later than October 24, 2014.”

FIFA said it will donate the watches to an independent non-profit organization or organizations committed to corporate social responsibility projects in Brazil.

However it may not be getting them all back. UEFA’s boss Michel Platini said he considered it rude to return gifts so he would prefer to make a donation to charity for the value as he criticised the handling of the situation by FIFA.   Platini said he had no idea how much the watch was worth at the time and as all the officials received one of the designer watches it should have demanded their return when they were given out, if there was a problem, not several months later.

Platini said that FIFA was only demanding their return now because of the media reports about the expensive gifts. “Because there’s an article in the British press, all of a sudden FIFA says that they need to return the watches,” said Platini.Platini also said watches were common gifts in the football world, which was illustrated by further revelations from FIFA last week.

It said that  the independent chairs of the FIFA Ethics Committee's Investigatory Chamber Michael Garcia and Domenico Scala had also been asked to investigate a request by Hublot to give out commemorating watches for the 2014 tournament to members of the FIFA Executive Committee. These 56  watches were proposed to be given during the Executive Committee's September 2014 meetings in Zurich but Garcia and Scala found the gift would likely violate the code of ethics and compensation policies.

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Premier welcomes Scottish referendum result

| 22/09/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): While the issue of Cayman’s own road to independence remains a contentious issue the premier welcomed the results of last week’s referendum in Scotland which will see the country remain part of the United Kingdom for a while longer but, if campaign promises are filled, will see Scotland enjoy even more devolved powers. Alden McLaughlin said a strong United Kingdom, including Scotland, is better for the Cayman Islands and other OTs than an alternative that may have created more uncertainty in an already uncertain world.

Congratulating the people of Scotland he said he wished them well “in their goals to attain a greater degree of autonomy while maintaining the historic, economic and familial link,” with the UK.

Pointing to the 84.5 per cent turnout he said the democratic process works and while democracy prevailed he pointed out that Scotland the United Kingdom must continue talking about the devolution of important powers.

“The UK will now be looking to provide the Scottish parliament, and by extension the Scottish people, with more devolved powers and authority over their own affairs while maintaining the benefits of being part of a stronger and bigger United Kingdom,” he said dropping hints about his own position on Cayman’s relationship with the UK and the need for more autonomy while remaining connected to the mother country.

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