Archive for December 31st, 2014

Assistant labour boss retires from DLP

| 31/12/2014 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The Assistant Director of the Department of Labour & Pensions (DLP) Robert Whittaker retired Wednesday after 24 years in public service. Whittaker was the longest serving employee at the DLP and officials said he has played a major role in significant change at the department over the years. This included the revamping of the Labour Tribunals in 2002, which divided the original body into six separate boards and saw the introduction of formal training for all new members. He also assisted in the establishment of the Conciliation and Mediation Unit in 2002, which separated the Complaints Section from the Enforcement Unit. Since 2000 Whittaker has served as Assistant Director and Senior Labour Officer. 

From 1998-2000 he worked as Senior Labour Inspector, and prior to that was Labour Inspector from 1991 to 1998. In 1998 he also spent time seconded to the Turks and Caicos Labour Office. For much of his tenure at DLP he also served as an ex officio member of the Immigration Board.

“I can’t say enough about Mr. Whittaker’s work ethic and leadership,” said the director of labour and pensions, and acting superintendent of pensions, Mario Ebanks. “His commitment, dedication and sincere interest in helping people are commendable.  He will be missed.”

Acting Chief Officer in the Ministry for Employment, Christen Suckoo thanked Whittaker for his “exceptional commitment” to the Department and his outstanding service. “I wish him the very best in his future endeavours and hope he enjoys his retirement which he rightly deserves,” he added.

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Hospice doc gets royal gong

| 31/12/2014 | 36 Comments

(CNS): Dr Virginia Hobday (Clough) has been given an MBE in the Queen’s 2015 New Year’s Honours List. Dr Hobday was recognized for her services to hospice care in the Cayman Islands in the annual list of royal gongs. She is presently the medical director for Cayman Hospice Care and has served on the organisation’s board of directors since 2001. She was the only Caymanian to receive a mention on the honours list this year. More than a thousand people were recognised by the Queen mostly from the UK including celebrities, politicians and other famous faces. See full list here.

Check back to CNS later for more on Dr Hobday

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Premier optimistic for 2015

| 31/12/2014 | 45 Comments

(CNS): The country’s leader spoke about “amazing” opportunities for Cayman in his New Year’s message Tuesday. Premier Alden McLaughlin said his government would continue to build on what he described as it accomplishments over the past year. He said that during 2014 the economy had improved and there was a return of public and investor confidence. Admitting there was lots still to be done, he urged employers to take on more local workers in 2015, even if it meant training them, to help government address the ongoing employment problem among Caymanians. He said that much of the growth in the economy and employment expected next year would depend on development projects by both government and the private sector.

McLaughlin said that the PPM government’s negotiations with Dart to amend the terms of the NRA agreement were on the right track, although after some 18 months of talks there was still no deal for the premier to announce in his New Year message.

“Our discussions continue to be meaningful and productive and I am confident that we are now near the end of this saga,” he stated.

In addition to the much anticipated construction projects which the current administration, like the last, sees as the answer to getting Caymanians back to work, the premier said government would continue to grow and support the main economic pillars of tourism and financial services.

Talking about the need to fight crime and “stamp out the scourge of armed robberies”, he pointed to the importance of creating job opportunities and helping people find work as a major goal of the administration.

“I again appeal to employers and business owners, especially as the economy continues to improve, to give more Caymanians employment opportunities, even if that means that you need to train them. Government is doing its part to create the environment that allows businesses to succeed and to provide educational and training opportunities for potential employees. But we do need greater involvement, investment and commitment to hiring Caymanians from the business community if we are to return to full employment,” McLaughlin urged.

Describing himself as an optimist, the premier said he believes the future of the Cayman Islands is bright.

“The sense of certainty and confidence we felt at the beginning of 2014 continues to gain momentum and is taking us into 2015. We are only going to get better and better,” the premier promised.

He took aim at the press, however, for what he described as the “negativity about all things Cayman and Caymanian that has unfortunately become the stock-in-trade of certain media houses” and said Cayman is still one of the best places in the world in which to live.

“There is much to celebrate about this country. My prayer is that in the New Year, the positive things about Cayman and Caymanians, the things which make us unique and attractive to the rest of the world, could be given even half the prominence in the media as is given to the bad news stories. There is much good in these Islands and its people. It would be good to see it in a news story now and again,” he lamented.

“There is much to be done,” the premier acknowledged, adding that the road ahead will not be all smooth but said he was confident government would meet the challenges head on.

See full speech below.

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Sponsors step up at 11th hour

| 31/12/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Following the revelations on Cayman News Service Tuesday that the National Drug Council was unable to find backers to support the annual New Year’s Eve Purple Ribbon Bus, three last minute sponsors came forward yesterday afternoon and the service will now run. Cayman National Bank and Jacques Scott stepped up with the first part of the cash required, and the Health City Cayman Islands topped up the amount to enable the government agency to run the free service that helps keep the roads safe following the NYE celebrations. The police had raised their concerns that the service was not running as the buses carry well over a thousand people home safely.

The NDC said the bus will now run from 9pm on New Year’s Eve until 4am on New Year’s Day. Having found the sponsors at the last minute following the CNS story, this will now mark the 14th year since the inception of the programme aimed at reducing the number of drinking and driving incidents.

“We know that many of our residents and visitors make every effort to drink responsibly or designate a driver. However, there are still many people who remain confident in their abilities to drink and then drive safely, regardless of the evidence and information available which clearly indicates the negative impacts of drinking and driving,” said Joan West-Dacres, the NDC director.

There will be approximately six buses from Reid’s Premier Tours running a regular route from West Bay to George Town on New Year’s Eve between the hours of 9pm and 4am, with intermittent travel available to the Eastern Districts of Bodden Town, East End and North Side.

The buses will display Purple Ribbons on the front and will pick up passengers at all major restaurants, bars and nightclubs, or at regular bus stops on the route.  If you see a bus approaching you can signal the driver for a pick up.

“On behalf of the National Drug Council, I wish to again extend our appreciation to our sponsors of the 2014 Purple Ribbon Bus Service, Health City Cayman, Jacques Scott Group Limited and Cayman National Bank. I would like to encourage each of you to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure you arrive home safely. The NDC wishes you a SAFE and Happy New Year,” said West-Dacres.

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80% say no to beneficial ownership register

| 31/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Government released a report Tuesday on the public consultation it carried out earlier this year regarding how the jurisdiction should tackle the issue of access to who really owns offshore entities registered in the Cayman Islands. The report revealed that over 80% of the people and organizations that responded do not believe Cayman needs a central register with public access and opted for the status quo, leaving the collection of information to the corporate service providers. Most of those who took part in the consultation said a publicly accessible central registry would create a significant financial burden, violate privacy and information security and put the offshore industry at risk. Read more on CNS Business

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