Archive for February 24th, 2009

Agriculture on centre stage

Agriculture on centre stage

| 24/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s 42nd Annual Agriculture Show takes place Wednesday 25 February at the Stacey Watler Pavilion in Lower Valley. The traditional Ash Wednesday event offers a cultural experience with local food, family-oriented entertainment, arts and crafts displays and offers Cayman’s farmers the chance to show off their life stock and produce. The event starts at 8:00 am and last until 8:00 pm and visitors are being encouraged to car pool.

“I’m proud to be part of this annual showcase of the best of Cayman’s farmers, plant nurseries, backyard gardeners, and traditional artisans,” Minister for Agriculture, Kurt Tibbetts said. “Not only is it an opportunity for camaraderie, but it’s also a chance for families to spend wholesome time together while learning a few gardening tips, and enjoying some of the more traditional aspects of our Islands.”

Accoding to the ministry visitors can look forward to the ever-popular Department of Agriculture (DoA) plant sale; beautiful baby, and tug-of-war, competitions; an old-time fashion show; equestrian performances; and a talent show and gospel concert. Just for the little ones, a special Buttonwood maze, complete with a thatch-roofed playhouse, has also been added, courtesy of the Dart Foundation.

With the focus on backyard and patio gardening this year, attendees can get insightful tips from the DoA, Garden Club, and National Trust on topics such as grow boxes, grafting, and the beneficial properties of traditional teas.

Other interactive seminars will be presented by the Orchid Society, Health Services Authority, and the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. These will be held under the pavilion, which has been rearranged this year to offer an additional rest area for residents.

General admission tickets to the event are CI$10 for adults, and $5 for children from 2-12 years. Infants enter free. Raffle tickets, which offer attendees a chance to win CI$20,000; a yard package from AL Thompson; or a getaway for two to Escape Villas in Jamaica, are CI$25. Ticket proceeds will be added to the Agricultural Society’s scholarship fun.

Continue Reading

New technology helps Cayman business stay on track

New technology helps Cayman business stay on track

| 24/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): One local firm in Cayman says it is working hard to help other businesses keep track of their valuable resources through the use of modern technology. Sat-Trak has been successfully providing satellite tracking services to Cayman’s businesses for about a year, but has now expanded its team to include a young Caymanian sales person and launched a new website.


Described as a cost-saving tool for businesses and the only one of its kind in the Cayman Islands, manager Derek Larner said it gives fleet Managers and business owners the ability to monitor the movements of their assets – usually vehicles – in real-time from any Internet enabled PC via a secure online portal. It gives them access to valuable information and data like current location, vehicle speed and engine idling time, so managers can really make sure their fleets are running at optimum efficiency levels.

 “Sat-Trak is a must-have for any organization with a fleet of vehicles”, Larner said. “It’s the only effective way of keeping track of where drivers are, who is closest to pick-ups and whether valuable time is being spent in the most efficient way. This technology can save a business thousands of dollars over the course of any year by minimizing fuel consumption and idling times, and speeding up pick-up and delivery times. Knowing where their vehicles are at any given time helps companies better manage their employees’ activities. Sat-Trak is also totally affordable and easy to use.”

 Many of Cayman’s businesses have now embraced the new technology and Melissa Ebanks has come on board to spearhead the company’s expanding sales efforts. “This is a great opportunity for me to help grow Sat-Trak because its business benefits speak for themselves,” she said. “I can’t wait to get out there and start spreading the word.”  

Sat-Trak also recently launched its new website, at To monitor their assets, Sat-Trak’s customers log-in to their own personal account from any Internet enabled PC. From there they can view the location of their vehicles, assets and people, as well as information about their movements. For prospective customers, the new Sat-Trak website lists the company’s products with all their features and benefits, as well as the various applications for the technology, such as delivery and service vehicles, transport operations, construction fleets, public transport (buses and taxis), boats, car dealerships, equipment rental companies, emergency vehicle fleets and teen driver monitoring. Users will also find the site’s savings calculator handy when working out the business benefits and its copious FAQ’s section tells them just about everything they could need to know before buying. 

Ebanks explains that currently Sat-Trak provides three products. However there are plans to expand the range with some exciting new offerings later in the year, details of which will soon be up on the website.  Larner and Ebanks are encouraging their existing customers and Cayman’s fleet managers to come out and meet them, as well as learn more about Sat-Trak’s technology and their new products, at this year’s Car and Boat show at Camana Bay on 27/28 February.

Continue Reading

Senior dies snorkelling off Seven Mile Beach

Senior dies snorkelling off Seven Mile Beach

| 24/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police said this morning that an investigation is now underway following the death of a 76-year-old man who passed away on Monday, 23 February while snorkelling in the area around at London House off Seven Mile Beach. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at approximately 1.10pm from a staff member at London House reporting that two guests were in the sea and appeared in be in difficulty.


Police and medics responded to the scene and found that the man had been brought to shore unconscious. The man was taken to hospital but unfortunately was pronounced dead. The victim, who was from the United States, had been visiting Grand Cayman with relatives. The RCIPS sends its condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

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.

Continue Reading

Referendum bill passes

Referendum bill passes

| 24/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Staying late into the night legislators have now passed the referendum bill in the Legislative Assembly facilitating the country’s first ever referendum. On Monday 23rdd February following the day’s debate, the new bill was passed which will enable the country to decide if it wants to adopt the proposed constitution in a nationwide vote on 20 May, the same day as the General Election.


In keeping with section 29 (2) of the present Constitution, the Referendum (Constitutional Modernisation) Bill 2009 states that for the referendum to pass and the final constitution draft to be accepted, more than 50 percent of the voters taking part in the referendum should vote “yes.”

The referendum question stated in the bill requires a simple yes or no vote, and reads, “Do you approve the Draft Constitution, which was agreed by the Cayman Islands Constitution Delegation and the Government of the United Kingdom on 5 February 2009, and tabled in the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands on 11 February 2009?”

The bill provides for the manner and procedures of conducting the referendum, including regulations by Cabinet. Under the present constitutional provisions, referenda can take place only for questions of national importance, which have to be brought to the House and accepted by the majority of Members.


Continue Reading

An ill advised suggestion

An ill advised suggestion

| 24/02/2009 | 13 Comments

It seems that every few months the suggestion resurfaces that a small ad valorem tax be levied on transfers in and out of accounts held at Cayman licensed offshore banks.

Several years ago a small fixed per debit transaction duty/fee (now CI 25 cents) was introduced for local accounts, as the stamp duty revenue from cheques was declining with the increased use of debit cards (rather neatly this new charge is also applied to debits for payments by cheque so the Government is double-dipping).

This fixed fee is regularly debited from local customer current accounts here (i.e. the customer pays) and paid over to the Cayman Islands Government by the local retail (Class A) banks. When I last enquired of the Portfolio of Finance and Economics here, the amount raised annually by the Government is useful but relatively modest as a percentage of the total revenues of the Islands.

The suggestion that this levy be extended on an ad valorem (i.e. a percentage) basis to the international bookings of the offshore (Class B) banks licensed here is risky for several reasons. First, the number of offshore licensees and their bookings is already declining and, post the financial crisis, is likely to decline further. Second, the levy would probably be difficult to enforce and collect from these banks as most have no physical presence or record-keeping here and the transactions are activated and recorded by bank officers located in say London or New York. Third, to attempt to require them to programme and remit the necessary payments to Cayman on a regular basis is likely to produce a swift and unhelpful reaction. The transactions will simply be booked elsewhere (and there are indeed options), the branch perhaps closed and the licence fee lost. Finally, there would also be the potential for wider reputational damage to the Cayman Islands, as no longer being “offshore bank friendly”.

We should continue to encourage and welcome quality offshore banks, their annual licence fee of $57,000 or so  and the related beneficial spin offs and leave it at that. There are various ways that the financial position of these Islands could be improved. The proposed ad valorem levy, however superficially attractive, is not one of them.

Continue Reading

HRC accused of exploitation

HRC accused of exploitation

| 24/02/2009 | 20 Comments

(CNS): During the debate on the Referendum Bill (2009) Minister Alden McLaughlin said he was very disappointed with the Human Rights Committee’s campaign against the draft constitution that will go before the people in May. He accused them of exploiting members of the disabled community by giving them the impression that rights had been taken way from them when the non-discrimination Section 16 in the Bill of Rights was changed. The HRC has strenuously denied both charges and said the minister is misrepresenting its position.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Monday afternoon, McLaughlin who has been the driving force behind creating a Bill of Rights in the new Constitution that would be acceptable to a cross section of the Cayman community, including the church, as well as the UK, criticised the HRC for its position since returning from London and said that they were misleading people about what had happened to Section 16. He noted that the HRC was sacrifcing the constitution on the "altar of perfection."

He also confirmed that the referendum question would be a straight ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and that, had the HRC wanted to see a choice question over Section 16 added, they should have voiced that position in London. To request it now, he said, was simply too late.

Referring to a public meeting at the Family Life Centre last Thursday night, where a number of people from Cayman’s disabled community came out to ask about their rights, he said the HRC had “rallied the troops” to voice their opposition to a the Bill of Rights. He said given that Cayman has no rights at the moment at all, while not perfect, the Constitution with its enshrined Bill of Rights was a vast improvement.

The HRC, however, has denied either campaigning against the constitution or exploiting the disabled community. Sara Collins, Chair of the Committee, has persistently said that the HRC would rather take the Bill of Rights as now proposed than no rights at all, but that the committee has a duty to inform people what has happened and why.  

“We have not said, as some members of the government suggest, that rights are being ‘taken away’ from anyone,” Collins told CNS. “It is true that, at present, there is no constitutional protection of any rights, so there are no rights that can be ‘taken away.  In all of the public statements we have made since the conclusion of the constitutional negotiations, we have consistently said that it would indeed be worse to have no rights at all.”

However, Collins explained that the HRC is merely explaining that the alternative would be to offer the people of this country the full protection from discrimination that was in the original draft. 

“By changing the original draft of section 16 during the second round of the talks, the Government did “take away” the opportunity for us all to have better protection from discrimination by the Government. The only reason given for the change at the time it was made wasthat it would be unacceptable to the leaders of the churches and the majority of the people in the Cayman Islands to include gays and lesbians in the full protection of the original draft section 16.”

Collins also regretted that Keisha Martin, who has been blind for most of her life, was used as an example in the LA as someone the HRC exploited. “She is a private citizen who simply asked a question at the public meeting,” she said. “The HRC did not contact or encourage any of those people to attend. They did so of their own free will. If the Minister is nowsuggesting that Ms Martin or any of the other speakers at that meeting were “exploited” into attending or speaking up for themselves that is misleading. It belittles the intelligence and independence of those who came to the meeting to speak for themselves, as well as the value and importance of this process to the country as a whole. “

Martin herself told CNS that the suggestion that she was being exploited or manipulated by the HRC was “ridiculous and appalling”. She said she had not met Sara Collins or Melanie McLaughlin before that day and they had not tried to contact her. On the contrary, she had spent hours trying to track them down and had asked them for a few minutes on the floor to speak at the meeting. Matrin added that she thought that Minister McLaughlin was “back peddling”. “He’s very wrong and he knows he’s wrong,” she said.

Some of the stories told at the public meeting involved complaints about discrimination suffered at the hands of private citizens and the HRC did not suggest the Bill of Rights would apply between private individuals and has sought to explain that the current draft Bill would apply only “vertically” -between government and citizen.

“We explained that the Bill of Rights would not solve all of the discrimination problems of discrimination faced by the disabled or others from private individuals or companies,” Collins added but she said there would be some benefit for vulnerable groups in a stronger section 16 as it would compel the Government to pass legislation which would have a positive impression on the wider community.

“If the Constitution provides that Government should not discriminate on the ground of disability, the Government will have to take this into account when passing employment, planning or other laws and would also arguably have to update those laws to ensure that they are not discriminatory,” Collins added.

She said that she too was disappointed that the HRC’s position was being misinterpreted and that the committee was not campaigning against the draft Constitution. We asked the Government to give the people a choice on the referendum between the full right to be protected from discrimination by the Government and the limited right which is now contained in the draft Constitution. That request was rejected on 16 February 2009.  We must now respect that decision,” she said but noted the HRC still has a responsibility to educate the public about what is included in the draft so everyone can make an informed decision on 20 May.

In his presentation to the house on Monday, McLaughlin defended the government’s decision to limit section 16 to the confines of the constitution for a number of reasons. Aside from being the only way he said that the church could accept the Bill of Rights he also said it would be very costly for government to have a stand alone non-discrimination section. McLaughlin also said that Caymanians would be at risk as government would not be allowed to discriminate in favour of them.

However, Collins notes that the right to protect Caymanians above foreign nationals is already enshrined in section 16 and a stand alone right would not have undermined that protection.

McLaughlin has also talked about the concept of human rights creep where litigation based on rights is filling the courts with suits and seeing judges make decisions about discrimination and not government. Ultimately the Minister said the Bill of Rights was an excellent first step and compared favourable to many other documents around the world. He lauded the inspirational rights to environmental protection and education and stated that given the controversy caused by the document over the years as Cayman strived to write a constitution to get agreement from all of the stakeholders, aside from the HRC was something Cayman could be proud of.

Continue Reading

Struggling without rights

Struggling without rights

| 24/02/2009 | 17 Comments

(CNS): None ofthe churches have ever helped her and nor have her local West Bay MLAs, said Keisha Martin, blind since she was a child and now very upset that Section 16 of the Bill of Rights in the new Constitution has been changed from its original form which would have prevented government from discriminating against anyone at any time. “Government doesn’t hear me,” she said, and thought the section had been changed “sneakily to please the Christian pastors”. (Photo: Keisha Martin with HRC chair Sara Collins)

Martin, who gave an impassioned plea at the at the public meeting on the Constitution at the Family Life Centre on Thursday, 19 February, said she met Sara Collins for the first time right before the meeting. “I truly believe that Sara wants to help me,” she said.

“In every hole in the Cayman Islands there is a church,” she told CNS, but said she has never received any help from any of them. People come to her house to invite her to church (she’s Catholic), but no one ever, for example, said they’d take care of her water bill that month.

She lives in West Bay in one of the homes built by the Affordable Housing Initiative, which is “practically falling down”, with her daughter Asiah, who is almost five, and her husband, Jerrian Martin, a school teacher she recently married who last week started work part time at St Ignatius Catholic School.

Her MLAs have never visited her, she said. “I found the emails of Rolston Anglin and Cline Glidden and sent them emails two months ago but they haven’t replied. I left three messages at the MLA office for McKeeva Bush to make an appointment to see him but I’ve not heard a thing.” She said she phoned Anthony Eden when he was Health Minister in a previous administration but he never returned calls.

The only response from a politician she has ever had was from Education Minister Alden McLaughlin. “He was the only one who made anything happen, the only one who didn’t push me off,” she said. In 2006, they met and talked and within a few weeks she had a student visa and a stipend from the government to go to the US to take a 16-month computer studies course at Daytona Beach Community College, which has certainly helped in her job as a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) communications officer.

What’s more, the RCIPS also paid her a full salary while she was away. And when she got to the US and found that there was more that she could do at the college, Minister McLaughlin told her to go ahead and he found the funds to pay for it.

In 2001, the Lions Club raised funds to buy her a guide dog, which could have made a huge difference in her life. Unfortunately, there was no one to help her once she had Baby. “I was not working and it was a struggle to get the dog food … I had very few friends interested in helping me,” she said. (Left: Keisha and Baby with one of the trainers)

Because there are no anti-discrimination laws for the disabled, most bus drivers would not allow her onto their buses. She was standing by the road at 6:30 every morning, but many times she was late for work because she had to wait for the only two drivers who would let her board – one was a relative and the other just understood her situation.

She lived for four months in a hotel because people wouldn’t rent a place to her with the dog, and she was refused entry into restaurants with Baby. Only one supermarket and two banks would let her bring dog in, and she was allowed into the hospital. One restaurant owner, who even donated money to get Martin the dog, wouldn’t allow Baby in her restaurant but made Keisha stand outside and sold her a soda through the door.

He was a young dogand she could have had him for many years, Martin said. “He could have taken me anywhere I wanted to go.” But life was so impossible with Baby that she called the trainers in the US to come and get him. “He was the perfect dog. I have two real regrets in life and one was the dog. Hell is a small part of what I went through,” she said.

According to Sara Collins, chair of the Human Rights Committee, there is no specific statute in the Cayman Islands to protect disabled people from discrimination. The Labour Law (2001 Revision) contains a very narrow provision that employers can be fined for discriminating on certain grounds. The draft Constitution proposes only to protect disabled people from discrimination by the government in relation to the rights set out in the Bill of Rights, like the right not to be tortured, enslaved and others.

“If I get a dog today, there is still nothing in law that forces people to let me in,” Martin said, noting that Baby was the first guide dog for the blind in the Caribbean. “That should have been very positive for the Cayman Islands but it was negative because of the backward thinking here.”

Martin feels discriminated against in so many ways every day. For example, she needs signs on bathrooms in Braille so she knows which is the men’s and which is the women’s. Elevators and ramps, which assist people in wheelchairs, are also much easier for her than staircases. “The meeting was very upsetting but a small part of me thinks that government is now listening,” she said.

Collins told CNS, “The debate between the HRC and the government is about how far the protection from discrimination should go. The HRC has said that it should extend to all areas of daily life. An actual law is still needed to protect disabled people from discrimination by the private sector or private individuals, as the draft Constitution will not do this. However, if we demand a strong Constitution, it will be possible to make the government pass effective laws.

“The Cayman Islands government has been aware for some time of the kinds of issues and concerns being raised on behalf of disabled people and other vulnerable groups. We are concerned that such a law has not yet been passed in spite of this knowledge. We are also concerned about the inordinate delay (in some cases more than a decade) in implementing the Children’s Law or passing legislation to ensure non-discrimination against women. For these reasons, we do not believe it is satisfactory to wait for the government to decide to enact legislation. Rather, we should build strong protection into the Constitution which will require it to do so.”

Collins added, “We have also pointed out that laws can be changed by successive governments, who could decide that it is too expensive, or not politically expedient, to give protection to certain groups.”


Continue Reading

Pitcairn aims to get job done

Pitcairn aims to get job done

| 24/02/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Declaring her intention to run as an independent candidate for the district of Bodden Town, Theresa Lewis-Pitcairn says that entering the political arena is a tremendous personal sacrifice for her and her family but it is one she is prepared to make because she truly wants to get the job done. That job, she says, is creating a new future for Cayman, one that sees education take centre stage.

“There are a number of issues that concern me — unemployment, the economic situation, borrowing and more — but many of the problems that we face in the community are interconnected and they are fundamentally linked to education,” she said. “Everything converges on this point. We need to find a way to make everyone, young and old, appreciate the merits of education.”

Stating that her campaign will focus heavily on this point because of its direct impact on most of society’s issues, Pitcairn says education needs to be marketed, its benefits literally sold to the people. She said that in the past the promotion of intelligence and learning has sometimes been sacrificed to the promotion of trade and business.

The need to educate our children and employees is far from a novel concept, she noted,but for many years the community has undermined its value. “It is crystal clear that we have to find ways to increase our skill, educate our workers or we will certainly stagnate. We are already experiencing a palpable increase of unease and uncertainty,” she said. “There is no future, no hope and no jobs without education.  We live in a knowledge-based era where the economy that we have will simply die of thirst without it,” Pitcairn added.

Pitcairn, who is now the third female candidate to declare their intention to stand in the 20 May General Election, is a qualified lawyer and has an impressive CV, including being the first female president of the Caymanian Bar Association. Although she recently resigned from her post as a lawyer with Maples and Calder, as a result of a law suit she has fled for discrimination, she has a long solid track record in Cayman’s offshore sector and understands some of the more complex issues facing the country’s financial industry as well as the domestic economy.

Pitcairn said that one of Cayman’s major problems over the years has been balancing the recurrent budget, our revenues-expenses, without leaving a surplus. “We tell the community that we have a ‘balanced the budget’. We then, as a developing country, borrow to fund capital development projects, like roads and schools. This is normal. It is how we as individual consumers get paid, pay our expenses and borrow from the bank to get a house or a car. The difference is our government does not save and we need to resurrect the discipline of saving every year, which for government means building reserves and sovereign funds.”

She said that government shouldn’t be limiting itself to the rules as required by the current Public Management and Finance Law.  “Once the entire community saved,” she said. “We went from a community that saved in the 60’s and 70’s, we barely went to the bank for a mortgage and lived within our means, to a community that lives hand to mouth in the 21st century.”

 With a high standard of education and professional experience,, Pitcairn is also a mother and a daughter and says she is very concerned with those issues that affect all families in Cayman. She said the time had come for politicians to stop bickering and get down to work and she intends to be one of them

“For me public service must be about solving problems and providing opportunities for people to improve their lives, more so now than ever,” she said. “I just want to get the job done. No one will work harder than me to instigate change. This is so important to all of us.”

Not motivated by power, money or status, Pitcairn says she will be guarding her independent status and has no intentions of joining any party or even an alliance to carry her to the House. However, once elected she will work with those who, like her, see getting the job done as a priority. “I will work with anyone who is willing to put egos aside and get on with the job. It is not about individual politicians, this is about the issues,” she said.

Although this is her first time in the political arena, over the years her work with the Business and Professional Women’s Club, as chair of the Labour Appeals Tribunal, and more recently as deputy chair of the Planning Appeals tribunal has given her insight into the complex issues facing the business community, and in the past she has been involved in advising and drafting legislation.

Without accessto party funding or an existing political machine, Pitcairn, like many other independent Candidates, will depend on help from friends and supporters and will run a grass roots campaign, going door to door and holding public meetings, the first of which is scheduled for mid March.

Continue Reading

Rehabilitating burglars

Rehabilitating burglars

| 24/02/2009 | 0 Comments

According to a news report last week, there is a shortage of volunteers to teach Northward prisoners to read. That suggests there is something wrong with our Islands’ rehabilitation system.

There’s not much point in appealing for more volunteers if the system is flawed. Actually, I don’t know if there even is an overall rehab program. If there is one, its public relations program needs working on. We have a Probation Service and Parole Board, a halfway-house for druggies, and several components of a prisoner-education program, but are all their activities coordinated?
I remember a senior prison officer who worked with an enthusiastic troupe of regular volunteer teachers some years ago. Unfortunately he crossed swords with some political crony in the service.

What happened to him next has happened to other expats in similar circumstances. He was suspended and confined to the island for three or four years while the police and Legal Department gave him time to confess to some dubious criminal charge. He refused the option, and paid the standard penalty. (I’ve met him, and he came across as a good man. A bit too outspoken to flourish during Cayman’s current retreat from the rule of law… Well, of course.)
A friend of mine was one of his volunteer reading-coaches for three years, until 2003. She loved doing it. The interaction with caring civilians was welcomedby most of the pupils, some of whom still keep in touch.

Unfortunately, the Immigration Board of the day killed her enthusiasm stone dead by telling her (in writing, in response to her next Status application) that her “continued residence would be contrary to the public interest.”

Ah well, who knows why Immigration Boards do all the mean things they do? Maybe she withheld a Gold Star from some Board Member’s Cousin. Maybe she told Somebody’s sister’s boyfriend to stop cleaning his ears with the communal pencil. I’ve no idea. What a slap in the face for any expat, to be told that their volunteer work is not in the public interest.

Recidivism (repeatedly offending) is more of a problem here than it ought to be. We are three tiny islands. If we can’t rehabilitate our prisoners, there is no hope for the world. If our governor or his London masters were seriously interested in reducing recidivism, they would appoint a Prisoners Rehabilitation Committee modelled on the Vision-2008 Committees. This Committee could be asked to recommend a comprehensive rehab program for prisoners – including teaching them to read. That would be one good way of preparing them for civilized society again, or maybe for the first time.

It’s an old joke that all a burglar really needs to read is a few necessary signs: “Beware of the Dog”, and “These premises are protected by…” But that is wrong and unfair. Illiteracy limits his choice of jobs, and burglary is one job that doesn’t require reading skills. It is a foolish society that prefers to keep them in prison all their lives instead of making a genuine effort to reform them. Many criminals were poor scholars; some of them are dyslexic. They’re not necessarily stupid. If the FCO favours punishment without rehabilitation – especially for younger criminals – then it is doing us all a disservice.

Prison should not be only a place of punishment. In liberal theory, all but a few criminals are deemed to be capable of becoming productive members of society. That’s why even habitual criminals aren’t locked away for life, and why most of their basic human rights are recognized even during their incarceration. Prisoners lose some of their freedom of movement and freedom of expression; but they never lose (in theory) the protection of the law. They aren’t out-laws, to be killed out of hand, or turned over to thugs to be raped and beaten in prison.

Maybe my proposed Rehab Committee could comment on our islands’ entire imprisonment policy. A good place to start might be to question why consuming ganja is a felony requiring prison-time. Pot-heads aren’t normally violent people. They’re not nearly as likely as drunks to beat up their spouses or children. So why turn them into real felons by sending them to prison for training?

There is no logic in counting drugs-consumption as a crime – of any sort, any time. Making ganja legal would release a fair percentage of Northward’s inmates at a stroke. Hasten the day.
Here in Cayman we tend to look to government for the solutions to all our community’s woes. That’s a mistake. As President Reagan said, “Government can’t solve our problems: government is the problem.” Empire-building bureaucrats should never be a first resort.

Rehabilitating prisoners is too important to depend on nine-to-five government clerks. Why not turn the problem over to volunteer members of the broader community? There are plenty of us out here who would be glad to be called on. A secretariat of a few paid employees could be financed by those householders and businesses who would rather not be burgled. Criminals who aren’t rehabilitated remain criminals. They will re-offend without remorse. Is that what we want?

Northward might as well not bother washing their bedsheets when theywalk out the door. The governor could set the wheels in motion by next weekend, if he had London’s approval to do it. Let’s hope he asks for it, and gets it.

Continue Reading

Cadets visit cruise ship

Cadets visit cruise ship

| 24/02/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Cadets from the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps were ship shape as they went aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Liberty on Wednesday, 18 February, to see how the vessel operated. Organised by the Department of Tourism and the Parents Committee of the Corps, the visit also gave the cadets a taste of seafaring opportunities for the future, according to Lieutenant(N) Robert Sutherland, CICC Marine Detachment Commander.

Parent Chairperson Sherry Ann Smith said, “On behalf of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps, its officers, instructors, and parents of the cadets, we would like to express our gratitude to the Department of Tourism for organising the recent cruise ship visit and a special thank you to Ms Dianne Connolly for her involvement in making this visit possible.

“Although, the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps is a unit of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, its annual plans and programmes are subject to the constraints of the government’s budget. Therefore, donations and any assistance that is afforded are greatly appreciated and are most relevant in helping us help the youth of the Cayman Islands realise their dreams and meet their full potential. It is designed to be a deterrent from drugs and crime and create future prominent citizens of these islands,” said Smith.

The purpose of the Marine Detachment is to provide specialized skills to cadets who have a particular interest in sea-faring activities. It also serves to develop the adventurous life of the Cadets Corp and gives them a better appreciation on the seas, which is the base-line of the history of the Cayman Islands. They learn and/or develop such skills as swimming, diving, life savings procedures at sea, ship-husbandry, knots and splices , navigation, communication and signals, Morse Code, Kayaking, sailing, boat handling and numerous other marine skills.



Continue Reading