RSSElection 2009

Manifestos same but different

| 19/05/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): As Cayman goes to the polls tomorrow (20 May) the side shows — of accusations and counter accusations, qualifications and even disqualifications — of this election campaign should prove less important than what is contained in the political manifestos. However, a comparative read of both of the political parties’ manifestoes does not reveal any massive political differences between the two, with both parties promising similar policies in the key areas.

Although both of the political parties produced manifestos late into the campaign, the contents are meant to be the most effective way for them to sell themselves to the voter and reveal their intentions if either the United Democratic Party or the People’s Progressive Movement returns enough candidates to form the next government. With the economy, employment, education and environment taking centre stage in this election, the PPM and the UDP are both making broad promises on all of these issues but there are as many similarities when it comes to policy and intent as there differences, making it a difficult decision for the voter genuinely interested in politics as oppose to personalities.

According to the PPM manifesto, if re-elected it promises to lead a “national effort” to shore up the twin pillars of the local economy: financial services and tourism. The party says it will not raise taxes but take measures to cushion people and businesses from the global crisis, encourage Caymanian entrepreneurship through the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau, and give Caymanians a greater stake in the economy. It will also press on with its government capital projects to help stimulate the domestic construction market and spin off industries.

The UDP has also promised to shore up financial services and tourism but has also said it will simulate the local economy through more private sector development and inward investment. The UDP manifesto says that if the Caymanian people return a UDP government it will conduct an impact assessment of the medium-to-long term implications of the global crisis on the financial services industry to find out what the sector needs.  It says it will also review spending to ensure that the tourism dollars are spent primarily to generate business, improve the guest experience and maintain or elevate service standards. The UDP also says it will develop an aggressive plan to identify and attract new industry to diversify the economy. It states, “We will take action to support small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship among Caymanians.”

Meanwhile, to tackle unemployment the UDP has promised to talk to the financial services sector to find out how to get jobs that have been lost back to Cayman. The manifesto also promises that the UDP will meet with all major employers to discuss lay-off arrangements and establish an aggressive job placement programme in partnership with the business community to relocate laid off Caymanians to other jobs and the introduction of a Human Resources Agency to better balance work permits and unemployed Caymanians, but it has not stated it will overturn the rollover policy.

The PPM also promises to do similar things, saying it will also introduce new labour regulations as well. Although it failed to implement the Labour Law, which was passed during the UDP’s previous administration, it says this term if it is returned it will establish a national minimum wage across all industries, to ensure that mandatory severance pay of one week’s pay for each completed year of service shall be without a maximum, and establish a single tier, independent Labour Tribunal. The PPM says it will also seek to improve the balance of work permits and unemployed with the promised changes to the Immigration Law, which were announced earlier this year. The PPM has also promised, in conjunction with the business community, a review of the “rollover policy” to ensure that it is operating effectively and achieving its objective, but it will not overturn rollover.

Having invested a significant amount of time and resources in completely restructuring Cayman’s education system, from the way it is governed to the National Curriculum, the PPM’s manifesto has a significant chapter on its continued ambitions for overhauling education from top to bottom. The party is promising to follow through with that work should the electorate return them to office tomorrow.

“Educators have indicated that improvements in standards, conditions and the learning environment in which they teach students are as important as increases in remuneration,” the manifesto reads, and goes on to state it will continue the plan that has seen 94% of education professionals engaged in professional development, intensify efforts to increase the recruitment of Caymanian teachers, address overcrowding as the new schools come on line, introduce the post sixteen education and early education plans, convert George Hicks into a vocational college and focus on results now that the Education Law has been passed and policies put in place and implemented. The party also promises to focus on improving literacy standards and special or additional needs education, as well as promoting a culture of life-long learning for all.

Meanwhile, the UDP is also promising to establish an accredited Technical and Vocational Training Institute and a review of teachers’ salaries and working conditions. Although national standards have been introduce already under the new Education Law, the UDP’s manifesto states that it will establish National Standards for primary school leavers and high school graduation, but it does not say how this will differ from the policies already in place. It promises a review of the existing curriculum (which its MLAs just voted for along with the government in March of this year) and the party promises a restructure of the education scholarship programme to ensure that all deserving students benefit from tertiary education here and abroad, it says. It does not say, however, if it plans to increase or reduce the current spending on scholarships, which is currently at  $8.3 million annually, or make reductions back to the figure of $2.9 million, which was spent annually under the last UDP government.

TheUDP also promises a National Training Initiative (NTI), which it says would be a tool to centralize all efforts towards long-term humancapital development. “A highly collaborative approach with all stakeholders and economic sectors in the Islands,” the manifesto reads. The UDP is also promising to create a Centre of Excellence for the Treatment and Support for people with Autism.

When it comes to the environment the two parties are making various promises but there is no commitment to the National Conservation Bill in the UDP manifesto, and while the PPM claims it as its first objective if re-elected, it is worth noting that this law has been promised by the minister in question for more than two years.

The PPM goes on to promise cross-ministry collaboration to implement a National Recycling Programme, the development of a National Energy Policy, changes to Planning Laws and Regulations, and facilitate the Climate Change Adaptation strategies, while simultaneously continuing to reduce our carbon footprint. The PPM also says it will approve a new National Development Plan and the National Sustainable Development Policy.  If returned to office the party also promises to implement the Darwin Initiative funded action plans for species and habitats and significantly expand the Blue Iguana conservation programme utilizing the Crown property in East End that was recently vested, as well as a commitment to public education of environmental issues.

The UDP says it will also launch an aggressive campaign to encourage consumers to conserve energy and adopt measures to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels. The manifesto promises the development of low carbon technologies. The party also promises a long-term strategy to handle Municipal Solid Waste as a priority. “This landfill must be addressed in a manner that will yield the maximum benefit,” the manifesto states. “The UDP will seek to deploy sustainable technology that will allow for the waste to the disposed in a manner that will result in minimum environmental damage. The strategy will also include a Waste to Energy component to allow for the generation of electricity.”

The PPM manifesto also says that a tremendous amount of effort and thought has already gone into developing a Waste Management Strategy for the Cayman Islands. “Additional elements of this strategy will be implemented over the next term,” it reads adding that the reorganization of the George Town land fill will include the Waste to Energy Facility and recycling initiatives.

In the end however, despite their promises and similarities, whether it‘s to be a “better way forward” or “don’t stop the progress” or a rejection of both is down to the 15,000 plus people who have the right to cast their vote tomorrow in the country’s General Election.

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Group raps for referendum

| 19/05/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A local rap group is encouraging young people to make their mark in tomorrow’s referendum through song. A new track from C.B.R. (Cats Brought up Restricted) “Choice” is a collaboration between the group and the Constitutional Review Secretariat (CRS). Geared towards the 18 to 20+ voter, the song encourages listeners to get informed, make a choice and then vote. “It’s all about civics and participation in the country’s democracy,” CRS Deputy Director Christen Suckoo explained.

 

“We need to encourage more young people to get involved. These young men are leaders in the community, and the song is an excellent way to get the message to their peers,” Suckoo added.

The group said it had jumped at the opportunity to get involved. “This was our chance to make a positive, historically significant contribution,” C.B.R. Manager Fritz McPherson explained. “We all need to learn about the constitution and how it will affect us in the future,” group member Michael ‘M-Lito’ Muthen added.  “We have to be aware of what’s going on in our community and have our say in it.”  

 To listen to the song, visit the Constitutional Review Secretariat’s website at www.constitution.gov.ky, select news & events and click on media room. A link to the 2009 Draft Constitution Explanatory Guide is also available on the site’s homepage.

 

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Benson Ebanks tells district to vote for West Bay Four

| 19/05/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Certainly not happy about the mistaken endorsement from the PPM when CITN incorrectly attributed their paid programming to the party, the West Bay four however were delighted recently to receive an endorsement from Benson Ebanks. A former MLA and member of Cabinet, the well known community leader offered the four West Bay independent candidates his wholehearted support when he said he had heard what they had to say and he liked it.

Telling the audience that he would keep his speech short, he said, “As Henry VIII said to one of his wives, I shan’t keep you long.” Ebanks, who still plays a role in the West Bay community and remains as Chairman of the Board of Cayman National, made the endorsement of Lana Mae Smith, Choppy Delapenha, Woody Da Costa and Paul Rivers at the independent’s joint meeting at Boatswain Beach on Thursday (14 May).

“I have known these candidates for most of their lives,” Ebanks added. “They have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and when elected on 20 May they will apply those same qualities to representation of this district in the Legislative Assembly.” He said he would be voting for the four and hoped everyone else would do the same.

Speaking on behalf of the four candidates Delapenha said it was an honour and pleasure to have the endorsement of someone of his stature, who he described as a statesman whose service to the Cayman Islands is unsurpassed.

“Having Mr Benson’s endorsement is a strong testimony to the high calibre of representation which he feels that our four independent candidates can offer to West Bay in particular and to the Cayman Islands as a whole,” he noted.

The four candidates have been quick to stress over the campaign that they are not a party, born out by they differing opinions on some political issues, but they say they have campaigned together in order to pool resources and because they have common ground in that they say they all agree that West Bay is in dire need of better representation.

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Joey may go back to the farm

| 19/05/2009 | 23 Comments

(CNS): PPM North Side candidate Joey Ebanks has said that instead of the requirement for six months leave of notice from Boatswain’s Beach (Cayman Turtle Farm Ltd), as stated in his contract, he has agreed to act as a paid consultant for the same period. However, if elected he would not be able to accept the paid position offered by the Board but would still, in his role as MLA, offer advice to the new management team, as he would do for any government body.

Ebanks resigned from his post as managing director of the company on 24 March, the day before Nomination Day when he was declared a candidate for the People’s Progressive Movement in North Side. However, news that he had received a substantial salary advance during the period that he was employed by the Turtle Farm emerged shortly afterwards.

Turtle Farm Board Chair Joel Walton has said that while the Turtle Farm does offer advances to staff “ in unusual circumstance”, these are normally approved by its management. Asked about Ebanks’ salary advances, he said the Board became aware of them whilst conducting its due diligence procedures upon Ebanks’ resignation, and that there were several advances and trade credits obtained by Ebanks over a period of time. The repayment of salary advances, amounting to over $50,000, was made in cash. Walton said the cash payment was made, “Because the Board wanted it paid. It was the correct thing to do.”

Ebanks told CNS that he has been asked to do an audit on advances by the chief financial officer of the TurtleFarm, but that he had no issue with paying the advance salary back. He also noted that when he resigned his position, he still had $18,000 or $19,000 vacation pay due to him.
The terms of his separation from the Turtle Farm are being negotiated by attorneys, Ebanks said, and explained that because statuary bodies might be scrutinized by the complaints commissioner or the auditor general, they are now being very meticulous in taking advice from lawyers.

Walton said the Board had not yet revealed full details of Ebanks’ salary advances since the matter had yet to be closed. “The Board will not prejudice its position nor take lightly its responsibility to protect the interest of Company and it shareholders by making premature statements on the remaining matter,” he said.

Ebanks is running for the North Side seat long held by Edna Moyle, who officially nominated him for the elections. He is running against Ezzard Miller, a former minister and experienced politician, as well as Oswell Rankine, who previously ran for office in East End. Ebanks has himself taken to the hustings in the past when he tried his hand in Bodden Town in 2000 as independent.

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Voters must check where to vote

| 18/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The Elections Office has released a list of the polling divisions and polling dis-tricts that voters should attend on Wednesday, 20 May, to cast their ballots in the General Elections and Referendum. The list tells each voter where to go to cast their vote and Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez points out that the polling place might not be the same as in the 2005 elections. Copies of the official List of Registered Electors have been placed in district post offices, major supermarkets and gas stations. Gomez stressed that voters are not permitted to cast their ballot at any other station – only the one assigned.

Ballot counting: The three electoral districts of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, East End and North Side have only one counting station, referred to as the Main Counting Station.

For Bodden Town, George Town and West Bay, there will be a sub-count of election ballots at each polling division, but the Main Count Counting Stations are where the postal ballots and mobile ballots will be tabulated along with the sub-count totals. Therefore, each district’s Main Count Counting Station is where the final election results will be announced.

Voters are reminded that the referendum ballots will be counted at one venue on Thursday, 21 May.

Voting locations are as follows:

BODDEN TOWN POLLING DIVISIONS
SAVNEW = Savannah Primary School, 1659 Shamrock Rd
Station 1- surnames A-E; Station 2- surnames F-O; Station 3- surnames P-Z

BTE = Bodden Town Primary School, 6 Condor Rd
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z

BTW = The Grounds, 199 Agricola Drive
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-P; Station 3- surnames Q-Z
The main count is at the James M. Bodden Civic Centre, 445C Bodden Town Road.

CAYMAN BRAC & LITTLE CAYMAN POLLING DIVISIONS
CBE1 = Creek Primary School, 28C Student Drive
Station 1- surnames A-Z

CBE2 = Spot Bay Primary School, 107B Spot Bay Road
Station 2- surnames A-Z

CBW&LC = West End Primary School, 10A West End Road East
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z
The main count is at the District Administration Building, 19 Kirkconnell Street.

GEORGE TOWN POLLING DIVISIONS
GTN = Victory Tabernacle, 325 Eastern Avenue
Station 1-surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z

GTW = Prep Kindergarten School, 242 Smith Road
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z

GTE = Red Bay Primary School, 271 Shamrock Road
Station 1- surnames A-E; Station 2- surnames F-P; Station 3- surnames Q-Z

GTC = George Town Primary School, 42 Gresscott Lane
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-P; Station 3- surnames Q-Z

GTS = George Hicks High School Hall, 73 Academy Way
Station 1- surnames A-I; Station 2- surnames J-Z

PROSP = Prospect Primary School, 169 Poindexter Road
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-Q; Station 3- surnames R-Z
The main count is at Mary Miller Hall, 223A Shamrock Road.

NORTH SIDE POLLING DIVISION
NS = North Side Primary School, 907 North Side Road
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z
The main count is at the Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre, 923 North Side Road.

EAST END POLLING DIVISION
EE = William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre, 80 John McLean Drive.
Station 1- surnames A-L; Station 2- surnames M-Z
The main count is also atthis civic centre.

WEST BAY POLLING DIVISIONS
WBNW = New Testament Church of God, 28A Boatswain Bay Road
Station 1- surnames A-F; Station 2- surnames G-Z

WBE = Church of Christ, 24 Batabano Road
Station 1- surnames A-G; Station 2- surnames H-Z

WBC = John A. Cumber Primary School, 44 Fountain Road
Station 1- surnames A-F; Station 2- surnames G-Z

WBS = John Gray UnitedChurch Hall, 26 West Church Street
Station 1-surnames A-H; Station 2-surnames I-Z
The main count will be at the John A. Cumber Primary School Hall, 44 Fountain Road.
 

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Voters warned to mark ballots clearly

| 17/05/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Spoilt ballot papers placed into the voting boxes will be discounted the Supervisor of Elections Kearny Gomez has warned. He explained that failure to mark a ballot correctly could result in it being rejected by the officials who do the counting. He said that for the General Elections, voters are instructed to place an X within the space to the right of the candidate or candidates for whom they wish to vote and for the Referendum they should mark their X next to ‘Yes’ or ‘No” on the ballot paper.

The Election Law states that where a vote is marked otherwise than by an X, it is valid if it is clear what the voter’s intention was. Gomez explained that in the past, some people have used a check mark or a cross or have even written yes and no but any mark other than an X will slow down the counting because the officer in charge of counting must allow candidates and agents to see all ballot papers and they may wish to scrutinise unusual marks.

“The X should be inside the box with the candidate’s name. If the X intersects on the line between the names of two candidates, that vote will be invalid,” he added. East End and North Side voters may choose one candidate and voters in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman may choose up to two candidates. In Bodden Town, he noted voters may choose up to three candidates and in West Bay and George Town, voters may choose up to four candidates.

“If a voter marks more candidates than he or she is entitled to, the ballot will be rejected and none of the votes will count, “Gomez said adding that voters who have two, three or four votes will not help their candidate by putting more than one X behind that person’s name. And that even XXX for one candidate will count as one vote. However, where a voter may choose more than one candidate, but some of the marks are not clear, the whole ballot will not be rejected. Marks that show a clear intention will count as long as the voter has not marked more candidates than he or she is entitled to.  

He explained that those voting in the Referendum are being asked if they approve the new Draft Constitution and the answer is YES or NO. “Voters should place their X in the space to the right of their answer, within the box,” Gomez aid. “Any mark other than an X will slow down the counting process, since observers will be scrutinising all ballots. He also said voters should not sign or initial their ballots for either the election or the referendum explaining that if the voter could be identified by any writing or markings, the ballot will be rejected.

He noted that voters need to check the location of the polling division and station they should attend on Wednesday, 20 May, to cast their ballots pointing out that the polling place might not be the same as in the 2005 elections. “Copies of the official List of Registered Electors have been placed in district post offices, major supermarkets and gas stations. The list tells each voter where to go. The list is also on the website www.electionsoffice.ky” he said.

Voters are not permitted to cast their ballot at any other station – only the one assigned.

There will be only one counting station for the three electoral districts of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, East End and North Side have only one counting station, referred to as the Main Counting Station. For Bodden Town, George Town and West Bay, there will be a sub-count of election ballots at each polling division, but the Main Count Counting Stations are where the postal ballots and mobile ballots will be tabulated along with the sub-count totals.

The Supervisor said each district’s Main Count Counting Station is where the final election results will be announced and voters are reminded that the referendum ballots will be counted at one venue on Thursday, 21 May.

 

For more details log on to www.electionsoffice.ky or click on the link at the top of the CNS home page.

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TV apologises to independents over mistake

| 17/05/2009 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Cayman 27/CITN has issued a letter of apology to four of West Bay independent candidates for a production error which resulted in their paid for advertisement being attributed to the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), but not before the United Democratic Party (UDP) were able to use the error to accuse the four of being PPM members. “Sadly the UDP in its infinite wisdom and maturity chose to smear the reputation of our independence by illegally reproducing a portion of the segment and projecting it onto their platform backboard during a recent meeting,” said Woody DaCosta one of the candidates.

The independent candidates that paid for the airing of their launch rally on local TV explained that CITN had issued the apology because the programming guide had inferred that their public meeting was paid for by the PPM. The four candidates, Woody da Costa, Lana Mae Smith, Paul Rivers and Choppy Delapena, said that after the UDP used it as a political tool to try and suggest they were posing as independents but were really PPM, they were forced to meet with CITN to negotiate damage control, one remedy among many they said was a letter of apology.

The open letter from General Manager Mike Martins explains that the PPM attribution was made by one of CITN’s vendors dealing with the TV guides and acknowledged that it was totally incorrect. “CITN would like to make it clear to all electors, the programme that aired was 100% paid for by independent candidates and not by the PPM or any other political party,” the letter states.

The issue of the genuine independence of independent candidates has been particularly contentious as both the political parties have raised the issue that independents will be forced to support one party or another if they were to be elected. The UDP has already claimed a number of independent candidates for itself during the campaign, such as Ezzard Miller, Theresa Pitcairn and John McLean, while they in turn have jealously guarded their independence.

Although the PPM has not staked a claim to the West Bay Four independents, the members of the UDP have nevertheless accused them of being PPM in disguise. The unfortunate mistake by CITN offered the UDP an opportunity to make further political mileage on the subject.

Meanwhile, last month another inferred error in attribution made by the PPM was corrected by the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, which denied having any connection with the party following the appearance of Christine Sanders, one of its employees, on the PPM promotional billboards.

“Neither Ms Sanders nor the Society is affiliated with any political party, group or individual,” the board of directors said in a statement. “The PPM never asked Ms Sanders or any member of the Board of Directors for approval for the use of any imagery featuring the Cayman Islands Cancer Society or its directors or employees, and no such approval was ever provided. As such, the use of such imagery was not authorized by the Society.”

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Martin: “I feel victory!”

| 17/05/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Claiming that he provided the only possibility of a unified team of representatives from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, joining with either the PPM or the UDP candidate, Lyndon Martin said it was a known fact that over the past four years the two incumbents had not worked well together. “The party divide inheritantly makes it impossible for them to get along,” Martin claimed, and asked voters to give him their second vote, saying the word on the street was that he would be elected on Wednesday.

Speaking at Scott’s Dock in WestEnd, where he was introduced by his brother Linburgh Martin, Managing Director of Close Brothers, the independent candidate said, “The smiles on the faces of those who thought it would be a walk in the park this election are disappearing. Some individuals thought it was going to be no contest … but I see now that everybody is paying attention and giving recognition to the campaign for the wings of change.”

Mocking the campaigns of the two incumbents, he said, “I watch with interest as we see the bickering in the political environment in Cayman Brac. We hear the camps that say – oh, I am going to be first elected … oh, no, I am going to be first elected…” Martin pointed out that there was also a position of second elected member for the district, and he was perfectly content to take that since nobody else seemed to want it. “I don’t hear anyone else campaigning to be second elected, so when you make that second ‘X’ you vote for the only man who’s applying to be second elected member for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman,” he joked.

Calling the right to cast two votes “a constitutional privilege”, he urged voters to examine their conscience freely and mark two X’s in the privacy of the voting booth and told them not to be intimidated by those who told them to only use one vote. “Elect two individuals who can work together in harmony, who can leave Cayman Brac on 21st May as a united team sent by the electorate of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman,” he said.

“The political landscape of this country has changed drastically and not all for the best. Party politics is here and is now embedded in the system,” he noted. However, adamantly maintaining that he was committed to remaining an independent, the former UDP member explained that the advantage of having an independent representative was that he was an independent thinker, not guided by the party caucus. “I want to have the ability to say this is right or this is wrong. That is the role of the independent candidate. My caucus is each and every one of you.”

To illustrate the point, he gave credit to the work done under the leadership of PPM Education Minister for the past four years, Alden McLaughlin, saying that the next government must continue the positive process of reform of our education system. “He did well for education. He made some mistakes, spent a little too much … but on the whole the education system over the past four years received more attention than it has in any other four year term.”

On the other hand, he said that tourism had done well under the previous UDP government. “The reason I can say that is because I have no political beef with either party.”

On education, he said there was a need to look at introducing a comprehensive curriculum for the pre-school years to ensure smooth transition into primary school. He also emphasized the need to reward teachers, and said that regardless of buildings, “if teachers are not motivated to teach, children will not learn.”

“Our tourism product is no longer competitive and we must continually look at the pricing versus the value that we’re offering in the tourism industry,” he said, adding that we must make sure that we are evaluating what we’re doing as a tourism industry to ensure that our tourists want to come back – “and feel like they got a good deal while they were here.”

Irrespective of who forms a government following the election, Martin said he had already conveyed to both sides of the House that he was prepared to work with whoever was elected. “All I want is a fair share for Cayman Brac,” he said, noting that he had been invited to run in a district in Grand Cayman but said, “That would not have been fair to the district because my interest and passion is still with the people of Cayman Brac.”

Martin promised to represent “people who are from somewhere else but are Brackers now”, and said a good representative does not look at colour or gender or how successful you are, nor was it about just taking appointments in an office but rather going to constituents’ homes to understand their issues.

Turing to the economy, he said the average “Jo Bloke” was living hand to mouth, pay cheque to pay cheque, which was “wrong and unnecessary”, and that everyone should share the economic prosperity of this country. He further said that Brac graduates must have the benefit of staying and working on this island, and that when jobs in the Cayman Islands were created that people were trained to take those jobs.

Martin said he supported the introduction of a human resource authority, as called for in the Vision 2008 document, which balanced the needs of employment against the supply of employees, as well as the balance between the Labour Department, which understands who in the industry is looking for work, and the Immigration Department, which is granting work permits. He said it was important to have a body that combined these things under one unit.

While the campaign so far had been clean, he warned that in the final days, “because we’re getting so tight and the race is so close, you’re going to see other tactics employed. You’re going to see desperation begin; you’re going to see panic kicking in. People will start to throw mud.” Promising to stick to his pledge of no mudslinging in his campaign, though reserving the right to defend himself, he claimed, "I feel victory!"

“Those of you who … believe that your country has delivered to you all the opportunities that you deserve as a citizen, you don’t need change,” Martin said. “But for the rest of you who believe that the country has sold you short, that there is more that can be offered, that you are losing control of your country … that we’re losing our identity, that our tourism product is diminishing, that our financial industry is in threat , that we are facing challenges that we have never faced before … for those of you who want change, I’m asking you to join with the wings of change campaign.”

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LIME keeps elections office in touch

| 16/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Efficient and reliable communications will be a key factor in the forthcoming historic election on Wednesday, which will not only see the country go to vote for a new government in very uncertain times for the Cayman Islands, but will also see the electorate participating in a referendum on a new constitution. As a result, local telecoms provider LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless) has said that it is committed to help keep information flowing during the process.

“This is an important time for our country; not only are elections taking place but also the referendum for the new constitution, which meansthat it is a very busy time for the Elections Office and critical that they are able to stay in touch,” said Country Manager Anthony Ritch.  “LIME has donated 50 mobile phones along with credit so that election officials can assist voters with information about polling station locations and also to keep the Elections Office staff in touch with one another across the islands.”

Everton Stewart, Elections Office IT Manager, said the cell phones are being used by the elections field officers, returning and deputy returning officers to communicate with each other and to the Command Centre.

Last week, the LIME phones were used to help with mobile polling in Grand Cayman to contact people at their homes, to advise that the elections team would be polling them that day, and then once more when the teams were actually on the way.

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Political rival “threatened to kill my wife”

| 15/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the cease and desist letter sent to him from Bodden Town rival candidate Sandra Catron, UDP hopeful Mark Scotland has publicly defended statements made on a radio call-in show last week by his campaign colleague Dwayne Seymour, who said on air that Catron had threatened to kill a woman and had stalked her former boss’s children. While the United Democratic Party has said it will not comment on the matter at this time, Scotland has sent a statement to CNS that Catron once threatened to kill his wife.

Scotland said, “The proof I have that Sandra Catron did in fact threaten to kill my wife is an extract from the Police Incident Logging System (IRB no. 196631) dated 17th June 2003. It states that our housekeeper received a call on May 24th, 2002 from a female who advised her that she was going to kill my wife. It further states that, following investigations by the police Sandra Catron was warned of her actions in the incident and accepted the warning. She also stated ‘I will be moving on with my life and have now put the incident behind me’. The question for Sandra is – if she did not make the threatening call why would she accept the warning and ‘put the incident behind her’?”

Responding to the UDP candidate’s comments, Catron said, “Mark Scotland has demonstrated how desperate he is by pulling out of his archives a police report from almost 8 years ago. The police report stated that his Filipino helper had relayed a message to Cindy Scotland that a threat had been made against her. No one denies that a call was made; but that was NOT the message left. In fact, the police were so dumbfounded with this case that when they spoke to me in 2002 they simply asked me to leave the matter alone at which point I stated that I had already moved past all of that.”

She went on, “It is quite clear that by releasing a barely legible police report and not providing the full details Mr Scotland is being deceptive at best. He has gone about maliciously outright distorting the facts in this matter. For example, in his statement given to CNS he does not divulge that the helper conveyed this message and I never admitted to such a threat. He also does not divulge that neither he nor his wife is in a position to say that I have ever said anything as there was no communication with them.”

Catron said, “In Dwayne Seymour’s on air comments he accused me of stalking Mark’s children – there’s no mention of that in the police report because it never occurred and they did not have “children” at the time. So they continue to add on to the story as it suits them to do so and only strengthen my defamation case even further. What this report states is that a helper received a phone called, incorrectly conveyed a message and Cindy filed a report. The police spoke to me about thematter for about 5 minutes at my residence and that was the end of the matter.”

She added, “Mark’s question about why did I accept the warning – I’m not sure there’s any other response that one can give to a police warning. It’s not an admission of culpability and it’s not a trial or hearing. I thank the officer for her time and that was the extent of it.”

 See: Legal action threatened between candidates

 

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