Archive for October 15th, 2014

PJ Patterson presses slavery reparations case

| 15/10/2014 | 61 Comments

(CNS): European nations conceived the African slave trade, put the enterprise into motion, controlled its operation and were massively enriched by it, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, PJ Patterson, said on Sunday night when he gave an address during the opening ceremony at the regional conference on reparations in Antigua and Barbuda. Patterson urged the new generation of Caribbean leaders not to give up the pursuit of reparations for native genocide and slavery. In his address Patterson dismissed arguments that Africa was complicit in the genocide and pointed to the culpability of European countries. Africa, he said, was the victim of exploitation that crippled its potential for development.

At the latest meeting to press forward with the legal case for reparations, Patterson passed the torch to Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

“As one who belongs to the older generation of Caribbean leaders, I am here today to present that torch to a leader of the younger generation and to say: Never let that torch be extinguished,” Patterson said. Browne assured him that the regional leaders have accepted the torch and “will never allow it to be extinguished”.

Patterson also challenged the critics that assert Africans should share moral responsibility for the crime against humanity because they were complicit.

“One should not place on a victim the guilt for a crime; so we should stop putting the guilt of the collaborator on the shoulders of the victim. The African continent was the victim of imperial exploitation and slavery and suffered a massive loss. It resulted in a major depopulation of Africa, with its heavy male bias. It destroyed age old political traditions, undermined tribal systems, corrupted both moral and civil practices. In short, it crippled the potential for economic growth and social development,” he said.

He added that the infrastructure established to support trafficking of Africans was not known there before the mass exportation of Africans to the West. From forts along the coast to the floating prisons that transported the captured human beings, he also noted the banking and insurance sector that financed the whole process.

“The ideology of racism and the articulation of superiority and inferiority linked to race and colour were absent in Africa before the trans-Atlantic trade in Africans.”

Patterson said African leaders were induced by intimidation or bribery as well as greed to collaborate in the trade but many leaders opposed vehemently the capture and shipment of their people.

“There is no principle in law which permits the organizers of a criminal enterprise to escape responsibility because others collaborated in carrying out the enterprise. Legal responsibility is not affected by any collaboration,” Patterson added. “It was European nations who conceived the trade, put the enterprise into motion, controlled its operation andwere massively enriched by it.”

CARICOM officials said the objective of the conference was to widen the dialogue and intensify the scientific and popular discourse on the reparations commission’s ten point reparatory justice plan and map out national and regional strategies to advance the case for reparations from Europe. Since CARICOM established the formal committee it has also re-energized the reparations movements on the African continent, the United States and the United Kingdom and has generated international attention.

Continue Reading

Brand New Cayman Express Plane

| 15/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): A 30-seat Embraer 120 aircraft, which will be in use by Cayman Airways Limited (CAL) until early next year, completed its inaugural flight between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac Wednesday 15 October.  The Embraer was obtained under a temporary wet lease arrangement and will be operated by interCaribbean Airways. According to CAL President and CEO, Fabian Whorms, this aircraft type will be utilized for an interim period while Cayman Airways completes the necessary steps to introduce slightly larger Saab 340 aircraft on the route in early 2015.  “The Saab 340 will be owned and operated by Cayman Airways, staffed with our top ranked Cayman Airways staff and featuring Sir Turtle and the full Cayman Airways livery,” he said. Read more on CNS Business

Continue Reading

More Chikungunya Cases Picked Up From Jamaica

| 15/10/2014 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Another five people have tested positive for the chikungunya virus, public health officials said Wednesday all of which had a travel history to Jamaica. With Cayman’s close neighbour now experienced a major outbreak, Dr Kiran Kumar, the medical officer of health warned locals to ensure they protect themselves from mosquitoes given the frequent travel between the two countries to help Cayman continue to contain the spread locally. The public health doctor said that Cayman has done a good job controlling the disease because of the work of the MRCU and because the wider public were protecting themselves.

Following the receipt of the most recent blood sample results Cayman has now recorded 25 cases of the mosquito transmitted disease which causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. However, only four of those that contracted the virus do so locally the rest all had a travel history to countries where the disease has become endemic.

Fifteen of the 21 people who picked up chikungunya did so in Jamaica, three were infected in Guyana, two in the Dominican Republic and one in St Lucia.

Officials said none of the  patients who have been confirmed as having chikungunya remain contagious but those who have had the illness are residents of both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town. The chikungunya virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes biting infected persons during the first week of illness.

Although Kumar is confident that Cayman can continue to control the spread of the virus with many people travelling to countries where the virus is still endemic he is urging people to keep using mosquito repellent and covering up when outdoors during the times when the  Aedes aegypti are biting. The HSA is also still waiting on the results of more than 20 other potential cases.

As at 13 October 2014, there were ofer 14,000 cases of the virus in the region.

More information is available at www.hsa.ky and regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website onhttp://carpha.org/What-We-Do/Public-Health-Activities/Chikungunya. In addition United States updates are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.html.

Continue Reading

9 Daytime Burglaries on Tuesday

| 15/10/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Police received reports of nine different daytime burglaries over an eight hour period on Tuesday, an RCIPS spokesperson had confirmed. The break-ins took place in mostly residential areas from the outskirts of George Town and into Bodden Town. Burglars also broke into a George Town bar on Shedden Road sometime in the afternoon where both booze and cash were taken. Detectives said all nine break-ins happened between 8am and 4pm yesterday in broad daylight.

Homes in Prospect Savannah, Newlands and Bodden Town were burgled with cash, phones and other personal property stolen.

“Resident need to be aware of strangers within their communities, and any person whom they believe should not not belong there should call their respective police station to have that person checked,” the RCIPS stated in a release about the crime spree. 

Continue Reading

Free Heart Surgery for Jamaican Mom

| 15/10/2014 | 26 Comments

(CNS): The Shetty hospital in East End has repaired a heart valve in a Jamaican woman during a complex surgery which was offered free of charge. Officials said that Lesha Matthews (25) was diagnosed with a heart condition as a child. For the last six years her condition has worsened, doctors from the hospital said, as a result of a leaking heart valve and she was finding day to day tasks increasingly difficult. Financial constraints had prevented the young mother, who has a two year old child, from getting the treatment she urgently needed. Her cardiologist in Kingston, Dr William Foster had reached out to doctors and clinics in the United States but to no avail. 

"The young woman was suffering, and none of the clinics on the US mainland contacted by her doctor was able to perform the procedure at no cost to the patient. Something needed to be done, so we stepped in," reported Shomari Scott, marketing director at Health City Cayman Islands, the new state of the art facility established by Indian heart surgeon Dr Devi Shetty.

When Dr Binoy Chattuparambil, Senior Consultant, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, at the East End hospital got to hear about Matthews he examined her health records and invited her to Health City for the surgery.

Dr Foster arranged transportation and Cayman Airways donated the airline ticket. When she arrived in Cayman Dr. Binoy said the patient was undernourished and frail because of her longstanding heart disease.

"One of the main valvesin her heart was leaking severely and the pumping ability of the heart was compromised…. it was decided to take her up for surgery at the earliest."

The heart expert said his team decided on a more complicated operation to avoid the problem of the young woman being dependent on medication for the rest of her life.

"The planwas to repair the valve and not to replace it – even though repair is more technically challenging than replacing the valve – as replacing the valve with an artificial valve will make her dependent on blood-thinning medications for the rest of her life, with its associated complications."

The procedure took three and half hours, the hospital said in a release about the free surgery.

"She was sitting on a chair the same evening sipping juice," Dr Binoy said. "She will be on a few medications for three months and after that she will be free from all medications. The prognosis for a healthy, normal life is a very good one," the surgeon said adding that Matthews has now returned to Jamaica. 
 

Continue Reading

Bosses need to be fair

| 15/10/2014 | 143 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier has called on employers to be fair to Caymanian workers against the backdrop of what he described as a growing feeling of “dissatisfaction, even resentment” among many locals about their treatment in the labour market. Alden McLaughlin said that government is doing what it can to try and tackle the problem of jobless growth with investment in the NWDA, changes to the labour law and its stewardship of the economy. But he said that employment issues here have to do with more than just economic conditions with concerns about qualified and able Caymanians not being given proper preference for jobs and fair treatment increasing.

“Government is becoming more and more concerned at what appears to be a trend among some companies of declaring jobs held by Caymanians as redundant, then retitling them and applying for work-permits. The complaints about unfair treatment in the work-place, calls for a greater voice for workers and the demands for a minimum or living wage continue to strengthen,” McLaughlin told an audience of Chamber of Commerce members last week when he delivered his state of the nation address.

“An unhappy local workforce must be a matter of concern, not just to Government, but to the Chamber as well,” the premier warned, as he added that the government cannot address these issues alone. “The fundamental issue of the treatment of the Caymanian worker in the Cayman job market needs more than legislative change; it requires a change in attitude.”

As he noted the Chamber's pendulum continues to swing in favour of business he said the Chamber's leadership has an obligation and a duty to demand a standard of ethics and fair play from its membership.

“The hiring of capable and willing Caymanians and paying a good and fair wage should not be a matter for debate,” the premier stated clearly.

He said that government was doing its part to provide an environment where business can flourish with its economic strategy and recent concessions aimed at reducing the cost of doing business. But he warned bosses not to take the savings in duties and license fees straight to the bottom line to increase profits as he said that was a short-sighted approach that would be bad for business.

“It is important that business plays its part by passing on the savings to its customers to generate more business and ultimately provide more opportunities for employment,” he told the room in which there were many bosses. “Unemployed people cannot support your businesses.”

He said government had developed a multi-pronged approach to grow jobs but there was no single or simple solution.A new director has been hired for the National Workforce Development Agency to "enhance economic and educational opportunities for Caymanians.

“He will work with Government, businesses and educational sectors to ensure NWDA meets the needs of both job seekers and employers,” McLaughlin said as he revealed the latest statistics from the NWDA which is still struggling to make a serious dent in the more than estimated 2000 local people looking for work.

Over the last 14 months the NWDA has placed just 179 people in work, but now over a 1000 firms have registered jobs with the agency and permits have fallen over the same period by 2.2 per cent. He said the NWDA was helping Caymanians with an intake and assessment process that includes the identification of barrier and an appraisal of skills, interests and abilities of job seekers. McLaughlin also spoke about the increase in transparency between the agency and the Immigration department’s work permit process. He also said that government planned to publish the draft bill to amend the Labour Law before the end of the year for public consultation.

However, this was just one prong of the attack on joblessness in which he said the business community had to play its part.

During his address at the legislative lunch the Chamber president Johann Moxam had also called out his own membership about the issue of employment. He said as the membership called fro the rationalization of the civil service it had a responsibility to employ those government workers impacted as he called on the membership to take greater responsibility.

“Businesses must do more to hire competent and qualified Caymanians and provide them with a fair career path and opportunities for advancement,” he said but added that companies who did make decision to grow, hire and retain Caymanians must be rewarded.
He said that there was a time when large firms were standard bearers in training and development of local workers such as Cable & Wireless and CUC.

“These companies made the strategic decision to invest in Caymanians; they have a trained, Caymanian workforce and their staff is dedicated and long serving,” but few local companies are making that type of investment today he warned.

However, Moxam still pointed the finger at local workers when he said that being Caymanian in today’s competitive business environment was simply not enough as he called for higher standards across the board, “and honour our previous generations of men and women who made sacrifices and were world renowned for their work ethic and attitude.”

“Government policies must not facilitate or reward any form of discrimination, but we must also prepare ourselves to be today’s workers, tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, and Cayman’s next generation of leaders,” Moxam added.

 

Continue Reading