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F….kng Driftwood

| 18/12/2014 | 264 Comments

That’s apparently what Minister Osborne Bodden thinks of you if you are not Caymanian by birthright or parentage, as evidenced by his aggressive verbal abuse of a Caymanian woman working as his chief officer. That’s what he ultimately thinks of approximately half of the Caymanians living in this country. In a single tirade Mr Bodden has threatened to set the country’s diversity back some 25 years.

But what has occurred in the past two days is just as harmful. A next to nothing statement from the premier and even less from the deputy governor suggest that this incident will be regarded as nothing more than a ‘serious-ish’ argument in the office. Requiring no more than a strong apology from the minister for his behavior and platitudes about how ‘tough things can get in the office environment when everyone cares so much about their work’. This response is also 100% sure proof that Mr Bodden’s actions have the support of his cabinet colleagues.

Because if you accept in this case that Mr Bodden’s actions are wrong, then you cannot come to any other conclusion other than that he must immediately tender his resignation. A sitting minister of Cabinet cannot hurl abuse at a woman. He/she cannot make a statement that threatens to divide a population of over 55,000 which has an unusually high percentage of expats. 

And for whats it worth to the premier politically, Mr Bodden’s actions threatens to further deepen the sentiment that his party has a tendency to be more than a little xenophobic; that those ‘paper Caymanians’ should somehow have less rights than the others; that it's time we take our country back from ‘them’, etc. While at the same time benefiting from your ‘driftwood votes’ come election time.

This country has gone through periods where its diversity has been threatened and in all cases it has managed to survive and come back out with some semblance of harmony. There is nothing easy about maintaining harmony on such a small island with a large percentage of expats but the fact that we managed to do so is a key feature of why we remain reasonably successful and safe compared to other countries.

Mr Bodden’s actions are wrong on many levels and deserve a response on many more. For example, the minister with responsibility for gender affairs would be keenly aware that violence against women includes actions that harm women mentally or psychologically, such as Mr Bodden’s tirade against the chief officer. Less than three weeks ago, after penning a viewpoint here on CNS about violence against women, Ms Rivers’s silence is deafening.

Mr Connolly, who went against the grain with such bravery to make a statement on how disappointed he was in the acquittal of the former premier on corruption charges, would do well to go against the grain on this occasion as well and publicly call for Mr Bodden’s resignation. The fact that the removal of Mr Bodden is more likely to result in someone other than Mr Connolly securing the position of minister should not deter Mr Connolly from doing the right thing.

Many of the sitting members of the LA, and in particular those on the government side, will try to hide behind the façade that their leader will take the lead on responding and that they must act united as a group. But the public will not rest this solely at Mr McLaughlin's feet. 

It is already resting not so quietly and growing by the day at the feet of Joey Hew, Alva Suckoo, Moses Kirkconnell, Marco Archer, Tara Rivers, Roy McTaggart, Anthony Eden, and Juliana O'Connor-Connolly (who waspreviously responsible for gender affairs). These members are especially important because they, as the ruling government, have the power to do what is right. The opposition has responded, although their response is at least partially politically motivated. But they are also on the hook and must call for Mr Bodden to do the right thing.

We understand that the governor and deputy governor will always do their best to ‘work’ with the existing political directorate but this issue rests squarely in their domain (security and the civil service). If they believe that Mr Bodden’s actions were wrong, they cannot hope that it quietly blows over with the Christmas breeze. And if they do not act, they should be among the first in line for the criticism.

As for the public, it has shown at least by the many comments online that overwhelmingly it feels Mr Bodden was wrong in his actions and would expect him to step down as a sitting member of what is increasingly difficult to call the Honourable Cabinet. The PPM would do well to listen and act quickly.

In Mr Bodden’s tirade he reportedly told his CO to get the f..k out of his office.

You sir (and without the profanity) should ‘drift’ out of ours.

 

CNS poll 1: Should Osbourne Bodden resign from Cabinet?

CNS poll 2: If Osbourne Bodden resigned or was ousted from the Health Ministry, who should replace him?

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US to restore full relations with Cuba

| 18/12/2014 | 47 Comments

(New York Times): President Obama on Wednesday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century as he vowed to “cut loose the shackles of the past” and sweep aside one of the last vestiges of the Cold War. The surprise announcement came at the end of 18 months of secret negotiations that produced a prisoner swap brokered with the help of Pope Francis and concluded by a telephone call between Mr Obama and President Raúl Castro. The historic deal broke an enduring stalemate between two countries divided by just 90 miles of water but oceans of mistrust and hostility dating from the days of Theodore Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill and the nuclear brinkmanship of the Cuban missile crisis.

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16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign

| 25/11/2014 | 20 Comments

Though we are mainly known for tropical weather and beautiful beaches, the Caribbean is also one of the most violent regions in the world and experiences a deplorable level of violence against women and girls. Here in the Cayman Islands we are not spared the evils of gender-based violence, which by definition includes rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, sexual harassment and harmful cultural practices.

Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and also the first day of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign, which runs through 10th December – International Human Rights Day – to reaffirm that women’s rights are human rights. We must respect the dignity of all people and their right to live a life free from violence.

Focusing on violence against women is not to ignore the suffering of boys and men, who are also victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as disproportionate victims of homicide and other violent crimes. However, historical inequities and cultural stereotypes do make women and girls more vulnerable to gender-based violence and at this time of the year we focus on their particular circumstances and needs.

Gender based violence encompasses many difficult topics that are often hard to talk about, especially in public. However, that is exactly what we must do in order to decrease such violence. We have laws on the books and many services and resources available, but until we change our mindset we will never eliminate this scourge.

We cannot separate public and private crime; robberies at our local businesses and murders in our streets are not removed from domestic violence in our homes and sexual assault in our bedrooms. Yet we do not condemn these crimes with the same conviction. We often think victims must have motives to lie about their experiences or that what has occurred is not a crime but rather a private matter between two individuals. Or we may ask what she did to anger her partner, or wonder how much she drank that night.

This social tolerance of violence and victim blaming and shaming is unacceptable. Those who would turn a blind eye to violence or who discriminate against victims of gender-based crimes by treating them differently than they would a person who states that he or she has been burgled or assaulted are not a part of the solution.

Government has a responsibility to keep people safe and the anti-violence legal framework in our nation is strong and progressive. We do recognise that there are areas where implementation and capacity building can be improved and are committed to strengthening our laws and policies, putting mechanisms in place to build more inclusive and supportive structures to enforce them, and also addressing the root causes of these crimes to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.

However, these laws and policies will not work without support from stakeholders and from the general public. As citizens and residents of the Cayman Islands, we must work together for a safer community, and national security must include a focus on making homes, schools, workplaces and social settings safe. Violence against women is systemic, and it has been allowed to flourish in our society as a result of gender inequality. We are therefore all accountable for changing this offensive reality.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign is an organising strategy and an opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing these pervasive abuses that are often unacknowledged, under acknowledged or worse, denied. Violence against women is a public health issue; it has severe negative effects on children who witness and/or are victims of violence; it affects national productivity; and it is an obstacle to social development and true and lasting peace. Violence threatens the physical integrity of women and girls, limits their choices and affects their daily lives.

On this occasion, let us all therefore engage meaningfully in action to address gender-based violence however and wherever we can. I urge you all to join me in considering the ways in which we can challenge the structures which perpetuate gender-based violence, enact positive change and eliminate violence in our Islands. We owe it to our women and girls and also to our men and boys.

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The Emperor’s qualifications

| 31/10/2014 | 133 Comments

Once upon a time there existed in the islands that time forgot a thriving opportunity for its people to develop and work in an industry that would welcome visitors to its shores.
These three emeralds in the northwestern Caribbean Sea were inhabited by a hardworking industrious people who had endured and even prospered through various farming and industrial initiatives. Then the need to establish transportation from and to the islands led them to become expert boat builders and seamen.

They even progressed to the great heights of building ships for the United States Navy to use in the Second World War to defeat and turn back the Nazis.

Their skills in seamanship and boat building led to the development of the turtle industry and the establishment of a canning factory for turtle products, some of which were shipped to the European countries and were even reported to have been consumed by Royalty.

These same home grown skills and the advent of Southwell led to many of the men taking to sea for lucrative careers as seamen and in the fifties decade they earned, through hard work, determination and commitment, the reputation of the world’s best seamen. They commanded and crewed the largest supertankers and transported the most dangerous of cargoes across the world’s most treacherous seas and oceans.

The tourism industry grew into a thriving industry and during the years of the greatest expansion every hotel in the Cayman Islands was managed and staffed by friendly ambitious hardworking islanders, who went out of their way to please a guest. The industry was built on relationships between the hotel staff and its guests. Many of our first time visitors returned because of the way they were treated by the friendly islander bartender, waitress or cleaning ladies.

The advent of corporate and brand name hotels led to their demands for qualifications unavailable to the islanders to work in their hotels, and the government’s response to their demands, which was to by allow them to get work permits for persons with qualifications, led to the deliberate exclusion of Caymanians without these Emperor’s qualifications (Emperor's new clothes).

While these persons on work permits may have possessed some types of qualifications on paper based on the needs in their own countries, they had no knowledge of the islanders' way of doing things or the Islanders' work ethic or personality. The guests complained about the changing level of service, the increased cost to provide these persons on work permits and the changing clothes of the Emperor.

The focus of the corporate name brand on profits led to the extraction of the Caymanian flavour and relationship-based tourism to get them in, take their money and send them back home. These Emperor's new attitudes led to blaming the islanders' laid back, respectful, accommodating, helpful attitude as being lazy unreliable and not good for profits (more Emperor’s new clothes).

The friendly island, bartender who would willing tell an entertaining seaman’s tale to ease the troubles of the guest, now his friend, and sometimes slowly invented new rum-based drinks like the mudslide, yellowbird and fluffypussy, were told they were not qualified because they could not and did not juggle bottles of rum or beer (more Emperors new clothes) in a flamboyant way and drip their sweat generated from all these body movements into your beer or mixed drink. The friendly honest islander bartenders were unlikely to inflate their friend’s bill that was now computer generated with other patron’s drinks or double bill for your drinks which could lead to loss of profits

The elected governments of these three emerald islands tried on several occasions to replace these Emperor's new qualifications with home grown qualification for Caymanians, only to have these efforts thwarted and eventually stopped by the corporate and brand name managers, through hirings and terminations in rapid succession  — often because they interacted with the guest against corporate policy.

These hardworking islanders who were used to having to find ways to survive and improve their lot encouraged their children to shift their focus to the fast growing financial industry and abandon the tourism jobs to the work permit holders.

It was not long before these easygoing accommodating islanders were overrun in the financial industry as well and the Emperor’s new qualifications that had been so effective in the tourism sector was introduced into the financial industry.

Political leaders in these emerald isles then abounded their principles of integrity, honesty and interest in the island’s welfare and progress for WIIFM (what is in it for me) philosophy and concentrated on inward investment (more Emperor’s new clothes) to stimulate and grow the economy.

A few brave and barefaced politicians tried to tell the people the Emperor was naked but they were ridiculed by the powers that be and told they were xenophobic and were against development and wrong. They enforced the Emperor’s qualifications on the gullible and corruptible, who were willing to sell out to the handlers of the emperor or just go along and do nothing.

Today the islanders are outnumbered in the work place, the Emperors command the top jobs, own most of the successful business in both the tourism and financial industries.

Crime is rampart and increasing daily. The police force, once all Islanders who understood their physic and behavior, is also overrun by the Emperor's qualifications. Gone is the caring friendly islander police who solved and prevented crime.

Social decay is everywhere as the islanders try to adopt and accept the Emperor's changing new clothes because as the islanders acquire the present emperor’s clothes, the emperor comes out dressed in different new clothes.

Un-employment amongst the islanders is at an all-time high and growing. The younger generation of islanders are getting restless; a revolution is brewing; trouble is coming. The islanders need a Moses to deliver them from the bondage of the Emperors.

From whence will it come? Can they save themselves from extinction?

Wow! Where can these troubled emerald islands be? Could they possibly be the Cayman Islands?

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EY report not a fix-all

| 05/10/2014 | 33 Comments

The Ernst & Young report (on the rationalisation of the civil service) has good and bad points and, despite whether or not I like Ezzard Miller, he has a very valid point (referring to Privatization will cost more). The editor of the Cayman Compass and many of the readers on CNS seem to think the content of the EY report will fix all and should be implemented ASAP. Well, as I wrote to the editor of the Compass website, which he/she refused to post,  many should note the following:

Recent research conducted by both academic scholars and business similar to E&Y actual DO NOT suggest that privatization has all the many benefit spoken of. One main argument is that the public sector service would improve because it is profit driven. However, this argument is flawed as recent research has emphasised the role of intrinsic motivation in public sector service. That is, most civil servants are civil servants not because of the wonderful great salary, but because they want to serve “intrinsic motivation”.

Contrary to belief, benefits aren't that great in the civil service/public service. Yes, they have 100% health coverage, but that is only for one health provider, the HSA. If they go elsewhere they pay 100%. And yes, they get full pension contribution, but that is in the absence of cost of living increase, no bonus and no annual increment, even if additional qualification have been earned. There is more to the pension story should someone wish to find out the truth as well.

According to Fehr and Falk, 2002, the standard assumption in economics is that only extrinsic motivation (money) matters: humans respond to the provision of pecuniary incentives. But by ignoring intrinsic motivation, reciprocity and fairness, economics has constrained itself to a narrow subset of human behaviours which may affect our understanding of contractual relationships. When services/companies go private or are outsourced, contract design will play an important role in determining the success of outsourcing arrangements.  Can we really trust the private sector to be fair to public servants, most of whom will be Caymanians?

Another caveat is that some public services may be less suited to outsourcing than others because the expectation that high-powered incentives generate improvements in productive efficiency may be flawed in instances where intrinsic motivation is important.  The fact is the public service provides a SERVICE to the entire country. Neither finance nor tourism do. Reports/studies also suggest that there is some evidence indicating that quality of service may suffer in certain circumstances as a result of outsourcing and that workers may be worse off (at least in terms of their real wage).

When privatizing or outsourcing, there may be savings but the savings may be transitory – although the empirical evidence is thin, there is some evidence to suggest that hold-up is a problem in outsourcing contracts.

Other studies have highlighted the following: READ AND TAKE NOTE

Private equity investors are increasingly banding together so that, either alone or with joint investors, they can privately provide public services. This is because public service incomes tend to be guaranteed by the national or local state and are thus less risky than in the purely private area and, once a long term contract is secured, the provider effectively acquires near monopoly status and the capacity to return very high returns on capital employed. 

This is a point Mr Miller was trying to make

Frequently outsourcing may effectively mean taking over a going concern without having to invest any capital at all, since the equipment and premises and initial staff may be provided by the host undertaking. Providing outsourcing to public services is thus less risky than venture capital, and provides much higher returns than building a company up from scratch.

What does that mean? It means, of course, EY would recommend that public services businesses should be sold/privatized as it would be easy pickings for the private sector to take over because they are buying a business that is already stable in terms of capital investment needed.

In the UK, too, there is evidence that outsourcing can compromise the quality of service and lead to a competitive race to the bottom for both terms and conditions of the employees and for the commitment these staff then have to providing high quality services. The sharpest example of the risks this strategy poses to the public has been the spread of the MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria in hospitals where out-sourced contractor cleaning has not been of the same standards as the previous in-house cleaning (Davies, 2010). Another disturbing example from social care has been the very high levels of agency working that occurred in the London Borough of Haringey, adding to the problems of detecting child abuse in two very high profile cases.

More studies on intrinsic motivation: the economic theory behind the drive to outsource public services is based on the concept that the absence of competition means there is little or no incentive on those delivering the services to reduce costs. This assumption underplays the fact that many public service workers bring strong motivation and commitment to their work, often a reason, indeed, why they choose to work in the sector (not my words but taken from empirical study).

One study states that the advocates of outsourcing then argue three indirect benefits: 1) the public sector can concentrate on its ‘core’ business; 2) contracting out services assists with control over their level and quantity; and 3) private providers are more likely to introduce innovation (Domberger, 1998).

Yet the distinction between ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ is open to challenge; the issue of improving output and quality is about good and bad organization and management rather than public and private; and while innovation capacity is notoriously difficult to tie down to any single factor, public funding is undoubtedly one of them. The issue of how people can exercise democratic control over the public services they receive when they are run by private companies whose reach will become increasingly global is not addressed at all.

What was most interesting to read while doing my research was that “there is little evidence to actually prove the 'many' added benefits of outsourcing. (Taken from WLRI Working Paper 11, May 2012, Shared business services outsourcing: Progress at work or work in progress? Steve Jefferys Professor of European Employment Relations)

VERY INTERESTING POINT: Instead of simplifying operations, outsourcingoften introduces complexity, increased cost, and friction into the value chain, requiring more senior management attention and deeper management skills than anticipated. In addition, outsourcing has allowed organizations to transfer financial and operational risk to vendors, but organizations are discovering that their contracts will never fully protect them against customer damage and business losses caused by service disruption (Deloitte Consulting, 2005: 2).

As Danish study stated: Studies analysing the financial advantages of contracting out over longer periods tend to show that the relative advantage of using private companies disappears over time. NO evidence is given at all for the private sector cost reduction claim.

a. One quarter of the empirical studies showed no savings, and the best claim that can be made is that ‘half’ of the services examined showed that range of cost savings. But the real picture is much less clear.

b. The absence of clear measures to demonstrate success of outsourcing is of concern.

The pressures to outsource often arise from a sense of underperformance. Often, however, higher quality outputs and cost savings carried out in-house will result by removing the old managers and involving the staff in reorganizing their work and people interactions. This was also another point Mr. Miller was saying

This is what Deloitte Consulting had to say (Deloitte, 2005):

In today’s economy and labor market, organizations looking for differentiated growth solutions should avoid outsourcing when based solely on cost savings. Many organizations have been compelled to adopt outsourcing to improve their technical, operational, and process management skills. However, companies should outsource only commodity functions to guard against a loss of knowledge and should plan for short-term outsourcing to prevent vendor dependency…

An unfavorable mix of rising costs and increased demand will drive up the cost of outsourcing for organizations and vendors. Weaknesses in operational management will result in more deal failures, prompting organizations to bring more operations back in-house. In the long run, organizations that continue to outsource will experience a loss of bargaining power to vendors as the supply side consolidates.

Something to remember: 6,900 public servants and the effect of the EY report if implemented without careful thought is not about 6,900 individuals but a minimum of 13,800 people inclusive of the elderly and children under 5.

I am not a public servant nor would I want to be, but there is no way I could support the EY report in totality. There are some good points to consider, many of which I have heard the public service themselves put forward over the years.

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Everything you always wanted to know about Government (but were afraid to ask)

| 26/09/2014 | 7 Comments

One of the things we hear people say all the time at the Information Commissioner’s Office is “if only someone would make an FOI request about that…” – whatever “that” may be. Well, why don’t you? We have all been there: a question sits on your lips, but before you know it you hesitate and daren’t ask. It’s not that the question is not important, and you know a lot of other people want to know the answer too, but in the end you don’t want to cause trouble and drop it.

The theme of this year’s Right to Know Week is “It’s Yours – just Ask”. Government shouldn’t be burdened with trivial questions, but if something is important for you, and you think the answer can be found in records held by government, you should consider making a request under the Freedom of Information Law.

To do so, make your request in writing and deliver or send it to any part of the Public Sector. If possible, you should address your request to one of the Information Managers listed in the official listing of public authorities on the ICO’s website. You can send your request by email, but you do not have to reveal your real name unless you request access to your own personal information, for instance your immigration file. You should receive an acknowledgment within 10 days and a formal response within 30. If you are not satisfied with the response or believe the Law has not been applied correctly, you have the right to seek an internal review, and eventually an appeal to the Information Commissioner.

If you think you are alone, think again. Last year more than 685 FOI requests were made, boosting the total since January 2009 (when the FOI Law came into effect) to above 3,500. This is one of the highest rates of FOI use per capita in the world, if not the highest. One could speculate why FOI is so popular in Cayman – could government be more secretive than elsewhere? Do people feel close to their government and want to know more about what it is doing – and have a say in decisions? Perhaps a bit of both.

The Cayman Islands Government operates both as a national and local government, and therefore holds records that are both of vital importance to the “big picture” growth and development of these Isles, as well as records that have a direct impact on people’s personal lives. As examples of the former, think of all the ministries, and of the latter, Immigration Department, RCIPS, Department of Labour & Pensions, and Health Services Authority. It is no coincidence that all of these entities are amongst the top 10 most
popular recipients of FOI requests, which together account for more than 50% of the requests received by all 90+ public authorities in the Cayman Islands Public Sector: their records are the most relevant for requestors.

If you want to know more about the latest FOI statistics in the Cayman Islands, please visit the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office and look for our Annual Statistics Report 2014.

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A failed constitution

| 03/09/2014 | 48 Comments

The 2009 Constitution was rolled out to much acclaim and educational expense. The public has not been notified of any review or results of review of our unconstitutional laws. It would appear that our overburdened attorney general, who spent almost $1.5 million dollars in the last three years on outside counsel, cannot find time to deal with this pressing task.

By his default our overworked and underfunded court system, which is yet to receive a much promised dedicated modern facility, will have to assume that task. Put another way, it would be easier for our highest law enforcement official to seek change of laws obviously unconstitutional than tie up the courts for days trying to perpetuate a fiction of his creation.

Perhaps the lawyer in his chambers on the government payroll who also has permission by the attorney general to do private outside work could be given the task.

Our esteemed and highly regarded minister of finance would appreciate the cost saving to the government and assistanceto our judiciary if such a review was performed.

These laws include banned publications, inhumane penalties and police laws in breach of human rights.

The most recent ruling of our Grand Court saw a most important decision that required accused persons to be advised of their right to free legal advice when interviewed by the police. As is commonly done, the decision was first heralded as going to appeal then quietly discontinued.

This decision will require substantial increase in the legal aid budget and it is debatable if Minister Archer has been advised of this by the highest law enforcement officer. He has not been advised of potential claims under the Constitution for quashed convictions.

A reasonable guess will see a tripling of legal aid costs to the government depending on the number of police arrests for minor offences.
The Cayman Islands are now required to pick up the tab for recently passed unconstitutional laws while the sinecure government legislative advisor reclines comfortably in the legislature as his retirement portfolio grows and these Islands decline.
 

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Volunteers make a difference for Cancer Society

| 02/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CICS): When 25 public spirited volunteers got together to help the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the real challenge was finding a project big enough for so many pairs of hands. This community minded collective from Deloitte ended up painting an entire building in just a day for the Cancer Society, brightening up what will become the site of the new Chemotherapy Facility for the Cayman Islands, which is an important new project between the Cancer Society and the Health Services Authority. "Our office at the Cancer Society is actually very small so we couldn't fit all of the willing individuals in our space and we had to think of something off-site for them to do," said Jennifer Weber – Operations Manager at the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. 

"We asked themif they would considerpainting a whole building for us and this eager group really rose to the challenge."

Spending a full day working outside in the hot sun, the group from Deloitte tackled the task in great spirits. "Our staff and summer interns were all keen to help the Cancer Society in whichever areas they needed the most and we were entirely in their hands," said Jennifer Skinner, Human Resources Senior Manager. "For our team, painting the building together was such a great experience and a really useful bonding exercise, between our interns and their mentors,” she added.

The building in question is located on Pines Road, where the old Lighthouse School was formerly housed and will house a new state of the art Chemotherapy facility for the people of the Cayman Islands. The new Chemo Unit will be located at the Cayman Islands Hospital in an existing building formerly occupied by the old Lighthouse School, Smith Road, George Town, Grand Cayman. The project encompasses a complete renovation and fit out of 1000 sq ft of existing building.

This project is being developed by the Cayman Islands Cancer Society to serve any patient who desires to receive Chemotherapy treatment in the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Cancer Society will hand the unit over to the Health Services Authority (HSA) upon completion. Going forward, the unit will fall under the auspices of the HSA, and will be operated as part of the health care facilities that are available to all visitors and residents of the Cayman Islands.

"On behalf of all our volunteers and also the HSA, I'd like to thank the group from Deloitte for their help with the painting project and for so generously donating their time and effort," Ms Weber of the Cancer Society said. "The joint project with the HSA is important because. The new Chemotherapy Unit will be an expensive project but it’s worth it because it will more than double the current Chemo unit’s capacity to provide healing treatment which will allow more patients to be treated locally, where they can recuperate surrounded by the comfort of loved ones and home. The unit will feature four infusion chairs in an open, bright, state-of-the-art space where patients will have a view of a beautiful garden to inspire feelings of hope.”

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is funded exclusively through charitable donations and fundraising events. The mission of the Society is to increase awareness among the people of the Cayman Islands of cancer as a major health concern, to initiate positive change in all areas relating to cancer, to prevent the development of cancer and to counsel and support cancer patients and their families.

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Our unsung heroes

| 26/08/2014 | 36 Comments

In the indecent haste to discard the civil service 3.2% cost of living allowance (COLA) many unsung heroes have been left behind. There are many government workers who do not show up on the radar screen of employee awards who daily give the people of the Cayman Islands free labour. Whether shortened lunch hours or uncompensated weekend workloads, there are many that go without regularly.

Daily days of extra minutes to hours can become astronomical over a year. Days in lieu cannot pay CUC or the supermarket. There are many uncompensated gifts of labour from all branches of the civil service from the economically depressed.

It must stop.

There should be a work to rule until those who receive the highest salaries face up to this inequality. They cannot comprehend the fragile existence of month to month pay life. Improbable as this may be, the unpaid must become the unreasonable.

Unpaid work in the private sector would find employers before the labour tribunal. In the criminal court this is called obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, more frequently applied to unpaid hotel bills. The cutbacks have overstayed their welcome in the hotel of free civil service labour.

If there is any intention to discard long serving, long suffering government employees or limit their compensation, it should only happen if free labour comes to a halt or arrears paid up.
A better start would be a higher salary reduction the higher the salary. Lower salaries would see a 1% reduction and highest salaries a 10% cut.

People are not beasts of burden to be taken to the abattoir of economic convenience.

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Teaching is not a business

| 18/08/2014 | 27 Comments

(New York Times): Today's education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology. 

Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, and with good reason. It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it inschool. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.

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