Archive for September 5th, 2008

New head of education on Sister Islands

| 05/09/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Department of Education Services now has new Learning Community Leaders in three out of four education communities, with the appointment of Tammy Banks DaCosta (left with CEO Shirley Wahler) as head of education in the Sister Islands. Elsewhere, Herbert Crawford has been appointed LCL in the Western Learning Community and Desmond McConvey is LCL in the Eastern Districts.

They join Adora Bodden, the LCL for the Central Community, who was appointed last year to what was then a brand new position within the education system.

Educators on Cayman Brac learned of Banks-DaCosta’s promotion at a teachers’ professional development workshop held at the Brac Reef Resort Thursday, 4 September, which was attended by Education Minister Alden McLaughlin, Chief Officer Angela Martins, along with the Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler. She steps into the shoes of Mexi-Ann Grant, who retired at the end of the last academic year, and will be replaced as Principal at the Creek campus of the Spot Bay and Creek Primary School by Claudette Lazzari.

According to the CEO, what impressed the interviewing panel about Banks-DaCosta was her clear vision of excellence in education. “There were dozens of applications for the three positions,” said Wahler. “Every one (of those chosen) brings extensive experience in our school system.”

Crawford, whose Learning Community Group includes JA Cumber, George Town Primary,the Sunrise Alternative Education Centre and Lighthouse School, steps up from a position as Senior Education Officer; and McConvoy, who now heads North Side, East End Bodden Town and Savannah primaries and George Hicks, has been promoted from Campus Director of George Hicks.

“We will continue to be the leading Learning Community in the Cayman Islands, as the purpose of a caterpillar is not to become a better caterpillar but to become a butterfly,” Banks-DaCosta said when her appointment was announced, and told her staff, “Like musicians in an orchestra, you play a vital role in the success of our learning community.”

"Tammy held a pivotal role in the collaborative planning work between the Eastern District and the Sister Islands. She will now be instrumental in overseeing the development of this work in the Sister Islands Community," said Head of Curriculum Services Clive Baker.

(Left: Education Minister Alden McLaughlin, Head of Teaching and Learning Caroline Dawes, CEO Shirley Wahler, Creek Principal Claudette Lazzari, Acting LCL Tammy Banks-DaCosta, Retired LCL Mexi-Ann Grant, and Chief Officer Angela Martins)

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Bracker takes the helm at C&W

| 05/09/2008 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Cable & Wireless Caribbean have announced the appointment of Anthony Ritch as the new Country Manager of its Cayman Islands business. Ritch, who has worked with the Cayman business for the past 24 years, will assume the role with effect from 1 October 2008. He will take over from Timothy Adam who in July announced that he would be moving to a part-time advisory role after being at the helm of the business for 10 years.

Richard Dodd, Chief Executive Officer of C&W Caribbean, said, “The recruitment process was a rigorous one with numerous applicants from the Cayman Islands and throughout the Caribbean. However, we are confident that we have the right person for this new position in our new operating model for the Caribbean, with the expertise to lead our Cayman business forward and ensure its growth while meeting the needs of and providing exemplary service to our residential and enterprise customers in the Cayman Islands.”

Ritch stated, “I look forward to taking on the challenge of leading our team of talented colleagues who are dedicated, dynamic, and loyal to this business and our customers. I will work closely with them and all stakeholders to ensure the solid reputation that Cable & Wireless has built is strengthened and taken to a new level. Our business is changing and I am committed to the regional transformation which will deliver enhanced products and services, greater efficiencies, more value, and exceptional customer services.”

As the new Country Manager, Ritch will be responsible for driving the growth of the already successful Cayman business and overseeing the day to day operations, which includes the company’s full suite of broadband, data, mobile and landline products and services.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Anthony and watching him grow into a very competent manager and a fine leader who not only inspires those around him but holds the respect of our entire colleague body,” said outgoing Chief Executive Timothy Adam.

“I look forward to seeing him create many successes for our Cayman business. This selection is a testament and proof of our commitment to developing our people and providing opportunities for their advancement, and I congratulate Anthony on his appointment. I consider one of the key responsibilities of leadership is to develop the next generation of leaders, so as my finishing touch to that vital task I look forward to working closely with him during the next few weeks to ensure a seamless transition to his new role”

Originally from Cayman Brac, Anthony began his career with C&W on Grand Cayman at the age of 17 as a Junior Technician. He attend the C&W Telecommunications Colleges in Porthcurno, Cornwall, where he obtained a diploma in telecommunications engineering which provided a solid background for the various engineering roles he later held. He advanced his career in engineering by embracing various training opportunities and leading numerous special projects. Ritch was promoted to a senior manager in 1997 and began to take a keen interest in the commercial side of the business, becoming more involved in business and strategic planning and the management of capital projects.

Ritch has also held the post of Product Manager in the Mobile department, responsible for developing, launching and promoting new mobile products across both the postpaid and prepaid sectors of the market. In 2006 he was promoted to Vice President of Broadband & Voice and has been credited with growing this arm of the business by repositioning the broadband products and service offerings. He has also been involved in revitalizing the company’s enterprise business model, the introduction of the new Virtual Office product and has been instrumental in developing winning propositions for a number of major corporate clients.

Ritch holds a BSc in Management with Honors from the University of Tampa. He is also devoted to serving his community and has been a member of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman for 15 years where he now serves in the role of President. He resides in Savannah with his wife Lisa, two sons Maxwell and Dimitri and daughter Jazmin.


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Drug Arrests on Little Cayman

| 05/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three men were arrested on Thursday 4 September, two on Little Cayman after a
vehicle failed to stop for police. Once stopped, the vehicle was searched and a quantity
of Ganja was found concealed in buckets. The two men, a 47 year-old and a 36 year-old, were arrested for Possession of Ganja with the Intent to Supply.

They were transported to Cayman Brac Police Station. Another man was subsequently arrested in Cayman Brac for Being Concerned in the Possession and Supply of a Controlled Drug.

These arrests came even as the Sister Islands were recovering from the damage done by Gustav, and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) pointed out in a release that police, customs and marine enforcement officers continued with their crime fighting responsibilities despite the storm.

“This was a significant arrest which resulted in more drugs being taken off our streets. We continue to be vigilant and have a zero tolerance for the use and sale of illegal drugs.” Stated Acting Chief Inspector Patrick Beersingh.

“Even though we were dealing with the aftermath of Gustav and its effects on the Island, the officers did not fail their duties. I commend them for their diligence and hard work through what was a very stressful time. They are a credit to the Police Service and these Islands,” he added.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Clifford: Turtle Farm enquiry needed to be independent

| 05/09/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Responding to the findings of the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) into potential wrong doing over the financing of the Turtle Farm redevelopment project, that there was no evidence of a crime, Tourism Minister Charles Clifford said that there should have been an independent enquiry. “I believe given what happened it should have been done by an independent team,” he said.

After more than a year-long investigation, the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) announced that it had found no evidence of a criminal offence surrounding the financial arrangements for the redevelopment of the Turtle Farm on Tuesday 26 August. Superintendent Mike Needham said that after a thorough investigation by his team there was nothing to substantiate a crime. Clifford said that he understood the problem of insufficient evidence but that it should have been an external investigation.

“I’ve read the statement from the acting Commissioner of Police on this issue and as a former Police Officer I understand what happens when you are involved in an investigation and you get to a certain point and you have to make a determination one way or another as to whether or not you have sufficient evidence,” he said at the weekly press briefing.  

“I believe the investigation, as well as the investigation with respect to the Affordable Housing Scheme, given what has happened with the Gold Command in the police service and the high profile nature of both of these investigations, they should have been taken over by an independent agency. Perhaps an independent team from Scotland Yard should have properly reviewed those two cases before they were submitted to the legal department for aruling.”

He said that from the position of public perception it should have been reviewed by an independent agency to satisfy the people that it had been properly reviewed and the conclusions were right — which ever direction those conclusion might have gone. “Regardless of the conclusion, the Caymanian public understand what has gone on at Boatswains Beach and they haven’t forgotten it,” he added.

The FCU investigation began as a result of findings in Dan Duguay, the Auditor General’s report that there were considerable irregularities in the financing of the Boatswain Beach redevelopment project and a potentially significant waste of public funds which could have had a criminal component.

In the wake of the FCUs findings, the Leader of the Opposition told CNS that he planned to bring law suits against the Leader of Government Business, Kurt Tibbetts and the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) for the comments and accusations they had made regarding his role in the financing of the project. Clifford said he would welcome such a move.

“This wouldn’t be another kangaroo hearing as we had recently with the Sir Tucker enquiry,” Clifford added.  “This would be a proper court hearing in which Mr Bush himself would be subject to cross examination and then those issues that are highlighted in the various Auditor General’s reports could then be properly ventilated in the court. If that is the direction he wants to go in that is fine.”

He said there were numerous occasions when the Leader of the Opposition had made defamatory statements about the entire government and individuals so if he was to choose the legal route there would likely be a series of counter suits. “If he pursues this,” the Minister said “it would be to distract the government leading into the general election.”

Clifford also noted that Bush must be receiving poor legal advice as the law of defamation assumes that if you involve your self in public life you must be prepared to take a certain amount of criticism and the law accommodates that.



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| 05/09/2008 | 0 Comments

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UK talks to go on with or without Bush

| 05/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Leader of the Opposition, McKeeva Bush has not responded to the government’s correspondence regarding its request for discussions prior to the start of the UK Constitutional Talks, the Leader of Government Business has said. Kurt Tibbetts told the media that he would not allow Bush to abort the process. “If he chooses not to participate the talks are going to continue,” said Tibbetts. “We cannot fall in line with his wishes.”

Speaking at the post cabinet weekly press briefing the LoGB said that he had seen in the local press that that the Leader of the Opposition, wants more time before he engages in discussions with the government, so he could spend two more weeks talking to people in the districts. Tibbetts said that he had written to Bush requesting a meeting on Monday 8 September, where the two sides could try to close the gaps on differences on the Constitutional Modernisation Process, before sitting down with the UK delegation.

“This is obviously a delaying tactic. We launched this process on 12 January of this year. We have asked on more than one occasion for him to come to the table. He has called me an ass because it didn’t suit him,” said Tibbetts. “Of course I haven’t said that I am going to sue him. But it is almost nine months since we started this process and he now chooses. At this point in time, to say it is going to take him two weeks to go to the districts and he has had all of this time to do this.”

Tibbetts indicated that he still wished the opposition to engage in the process but the ball was in Bush’s court and the constitutional talks will proceed. He also noted that if Bush does not meet with the government before the scheduled FCO talks in the last week of this month he would not be excluded but it would mean the process would not be seamless and it would be risky, if the British government hears a confused message. “He just wants to delay and confuse the issue because he is not running the show,” Tibbetts added.

Bush has persistently stated however, that the opposition should have been given the same financing, resources and expert advice, such as the services of a constitutional lawyer, like Professor Jeffery Jowell, or access to a Constitutional Secretariat, as the government had during the discussion process. The Leader of the Opposition has also consistently said that the United Democratic Party will not move on certain issues. He told CNS recently that he disagreed fundamentally with proposals to reduce the Governor’s powers and removing the Attorney General from the Legislative Assembly.

 “When the UK delegation of MPs came here they were quite shocked to discover the government had spent so much on special advisors and a secretariat and that the opposition had not been offered the same resources,” said the Leader of the Opposition adding that if the LoGB was genuine he should make sure that the opposition has the resources to establish what thepeople really want. “We still need to talk to the people before we can begin negotiations because we need to do everything we can to find out what it is the people want in their constitution.”

As far as the LoGB’s timeline is concerned, Bush told Cayman Net News this week that he was not interested and he would be talking to the people until next week. “We intend to have public meetings, talking to the people of this country, and we’ve got to go to every district,” he said. “It’s going to take at least two weeks.”




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Recovery Fund can help Sister Islands

| 05/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The people of the Sister Islands who suffered damage as a result of the passage of Hurricane Gustav will be helped by the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund. The Board of Trustees said it stands ready to help residents on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman adversely affected by the storm.

Huw St.J. Moses indicated that he had been in contact with officials of the Cayman Islands government to determine the assistance needed and the CINRF will work closelywith it and other agencies to ensure that those most in need of help get the relief they need as quickly as possible.

The CINRF, which is now a private charity, was formed in September 2004 following Hurricane Ivan to assist those of low income who suffered property loss and who were uninsured. Its objectives permit it to provide help and assistance whenever there is loss suffered as a result of a hurricane or other natural disaster. The CINRF relies on donations to undertake its work.

Residents of the Sister Islands will be provided with information on how to submit requests for assistance and the criteria to be adopted by the Trustees in determining eligibility for assistance in the near future.


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