Archive for March 4th, 2009

Bodden Town MLAs open Campaign 2009

Bodden Town MLAs open Campaign 2009

| 04/03/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Despite insisting that the meeting was merely a time to report back to their constituents, all three of Bodden Town’s MLAs did their very best to get the election campaign going last night (Tuesday 3 March) when they convened their second local political gathering in the district. Reminding constituents what they had done since getting elected, Osbourne Bodden said that the three of them had achieved 90% of the goals that they had set out in the Bodden Town team’s manifesto in 2005.

“I think that is a really good report card,” Bodden stated after telling the audience that he was not campaigning. He also went on to berate the previous administration over the allocation of status grants, and asked the audience if they were going to buy the idea of “change” that other would-be representatives were selling.

“You elected us to change from inaction in Bodden Town to action and we changed that, so what would you be changing now — back to no action?” he asked. The MLA listed a number of projects and what he described as achievements since he and his ministerial colleagues were elected, and reminded everyone that the PPM was all about love of country. He said it was an organised party, formed properly with more than 1100 members, and he was proud to be a member.

Minister for Health and Human Services and the First Elected Member for the district, Anthony Eden, opened the night’s speeches in the car park of the Bodden Town Library on an evening where temperatures dropped to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Eden reminded constituents about projects he had initiated in the district and also lauded a number of national projects undertaken by the PPM government, including the construction of schools and the new Government Administration Building, which was not only supplying jobs for local people, but when completed would save the government $5 million inrent per year. He said it was a state-of-the art building that would offer Cayman’s first on-site workplace day care centre which received wide applause.

He made the point that he believed government had spent wisely and could easily account for the funds as the money was invested in infrastructure and tangible assets. Eden also continued the nights theme of saying the meeting was not about campaigning but proceeded to campaign. He told the small gathering that the PPM was a government that was honest and hard working and its main goal was to help people. “This government has been about helping people,” he said. “We look forward to the next four years serving the people of Bodden Town.”  He asked the people to compare the current situation in their district today with how it was four years ago and consider that when they cast their vote on 20 May.

Charles Clifford Minister for Tourism closed the evening’s proceedings with a run down of his work in tourism and emphasized the Go East Initiative. He said that as a result of that initiative he had succeeded in bringing more cruise passengers to the Eastern Districts and had created opportunities for Caymanians to benefit from the tourism industry.

“People criticised the idea that cruise passengers would ever come to the Botanic Park as it was too far from George Town, but we proved them wrong and have dramatically increased visitor numbers there and to many of the other Eastern District attractions,” he said.

He also reminded people that if they had an idea for a business that fitted with the Go East campaign they could get assistance from the Development Bank to get started. He said that he had been criticised for taking so long to table the new National Tourism Management Plan but he said he was not concerned as he had always intended to create a plan that was about the people of Cayman, one that would spread the profitable element of tourism throughout the island and not just concentrate the benefits in the Seven Mile Beach area.

Clifford also reminded the people at the meeting that in the election campaign of 2005 he had stood on the hustings and told people the PPM government would create an effective coast guard for Cayman that would help protect the islands’ borders from illegal weapons and drugs. He said that campaign promise had been realised with the plans for a new marine unit building in Spotts and the arrival of four new sea vessels for the RCIPS .

Clifford, like his two colleagues, took the opportunity to make the most of the opportunity to convince the constituents that he had been a worthy representative and, regardless of how many times the three MLAs said they were not campaigning, it was clear and evident that the PPM campaign is now underway.  

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Why do we separate Church and State?

Why do we separate Church and State?

| 04/03/2009 | 47 Comments

After over 40 years of existence as a Caymanian, and now with children of my own, I’m perplexed at the narrow sightedness of some of my fellow Caymanian people on the Human Rights Issue regarding the Constitution and the continuous injection of out dated, religious views, especially in the area of homosexuality.

I attended the debate at the Family Life Centre and felt physically ill from the hate coming from the so called ‘church people’ at that meeting.

There is a good reason why in modern society there is a ‘wall of separation’ between the church and state. The Hon. Kurt Tibbetts said something at the debate that really resonated with me: “The constitution is only as good as the people we have in power or in charge.” How very true, and it’s concerning that it seems as if our country is being run by a few church leaders that have their own religious agenda and whom are being given the floor to preach this agenda to the population in the name of God. This is not being fair to all and is more the way that Afghanistan is indoctrinated by regimes such as the Taliban.

Please allow me to quote a scripture from the same Bible that gives us the foundation for our moral standing:

Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

If we were to follow the Bible literally, we all know that as parents existing in an intelligent society that we would have to kill most of our sons and daughters if we were to follow this quote from the Bible. We therefore should not be cherry picking the passages that we want to live by and need to understand that we can no longer abide literally by these archaic rules from a different time and culture. This is same reason that we cannot abide by the scriptures that say we should also execute gays (Leviticus 20:13) or put to death all those who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2) The scripture of Leviticus also states that it is prohibited to get tattoos, eat pork or shellfish, get your fortune told or play with the skin of a pig (there goes jerk pork and playing football!)

It really scares me that there are fellow Caymanians that live thinking that the only thing that will seriously erode the moral fabric of our society and culture is to give gays and lesbians any rights to exist. I commend the lady who quoted all the issues that are never discussed by the religious institutions during the course of our every day existence, yet which are crimes classed as abominations in the Bible and happen daily in our society, such as adultery, child abuse, domestic abuse and our ever increasing crime rate. Why don’t we look at how many of the gays in our community commit these acts? I can tell you without a doubt that these acts are being committed every day by some of our so called Christian members of society.

Do we really believe that acknowledging that some people in our society are gay will destroy the institution of marriage or corrupt our children? I ask you, how many couples are there that each of us knows that have been married more than once or twice. Or know of any child that has seen gay relationships on TV and decided that because of that they will ‘become’ gay. Yet we concentrate on taking the rights away from two people who only want to love each other, because it is not within the guide lines of what you as an individual see as ‘proper’. That is a sad society indeed.

The Hon. Mr. McLaughlin has started his fear-mongering campaign, trying to convince the Caymanian people that if we give rights to all we will have to pay for housing and medical care to ex-pats. Well, I know that if I went to America to work and couldn’t afford proper health care or housing, it would NOT be provided for me free of charge, so why would that be true of Cayman? It’s a ruse to try to steer you away from the real concerns the Church has regarding giving rights to all as that would include gays. The bottom line is if the person is not a citizen and doesn’t have health care then he/she has to pay the bill. Just like my family is now paying a CI$175,000 health bill incurred after my half brother (a born Caymanian) was killed by a hit and run driver here. Life is hard for some Mr. McLaughlin, and no one expects a Government hand out, but what we all want as human beings is the ability to live like human beings and have the same rights for all Caymanians whatever ‘differences’ they might have.

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Elections office aims to cut postal ballots

Elections office aims to cut postal ballots

| 04/03/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): With preparations underway for the 20 May General Election and National Referendum, the Elections Office is seeking to cut the number of postal ballots this year with the deployment of its mobile voting system.  Anyone who wants to use the mobile voting booths must still apply in advance the office said. The only people who will be allowed to use a postal ballot will be those who are overseas at the time of the election.

Mobile voting stations will actually go to the elderly or disabled so they can no longer apply for postal ballots, the election office explained but must instead apply to vote at a mobile station. Applications are now available at all post offices, the Elections Office website , the Elections Office or from district registering officers. Forms then need to be returned as soon as possible, with the absolute deadline being 7 May, to the Elections Office by handor post.

Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez said people applying for postal or mobile ballots must complete two applications forms – one for the General Election and one for the Referendum.  

Twelve days before the election, the Elections Office will post the names of voters registered to use the mobile booths and the schedule of mobile stations in each district.

“The first issue of postal ballots will be seven days after nomination day, which is on 25 March, and the ballots will be sent out by Returning Officers, via registered mail,” Gomez explained, adding that voters will have to sign for their documents.

Postal voters can return their ballot by regular mail or courier up until the actual polls close on the evening of Election Day .

Contacts for district registering officers from who forms can be obtained are as follows: West Bay Darlene Owens-Elliot 916 4402; George Town, Kathryn Myles 916 2117; Bodden Town, Kerry Nixon 916 4478; East End, Vernicia Watler 916 4647; North Side, Esther Ebanks 916 4349 Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Georgene Lazzari 948 0343

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SPIT still working says APC

SPIT still working says APC

| 04/03/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Despite claims published in an editorial yesterday  in one of Cayman’s local newspapers, Acting Police Commissioner James Smith has said that neither Operation Tempura nor the latest part of the Special Police Investigation Team’s work, Operation Cealt, have been or are about to be derailed by financial trouble. Nor, as also cited in the same comment piece, has the governor run out of reserve funds, not least because, as confirmed by his office, Governor Stuart Jack does not have a reserve fund in the first place.

An editorial in Cayman Net News, the publication owned by Desmond Seales,who has been at the centre of Operation Tempura since the SPIT arrived in Cayman, said that according to reliable sources, the Metropolitan Police investigations into alleged corruption within the RCIPS “may have to be shut down within the next two weeks because of financial constraints.” It also stated that "…the Governor has nothing left in his ‘reserve fund’ for this purpose.”

According to APC Smith, neither operation has been halted, although he did state that he is well aware of the fiscal challenges government is facing, and as such he will continue to work towards ensuring the best value for money in everything the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service does.

While it is common knowledge that the elected members of cabinet have refused to sanction funds for the investigation, the governor recently drew on his reserve powers to access the money from the Cayman purse to pay the damages to Justice Alex Henderson following his unlawful arrest by SPIT, and continue the investigation. However he did not draw on any reserve funds as they do not exist.

The Governor’s Office confirmed to CNS that he has no such funds but reserve powers, as set out Under Section 8 of the Constitution, whereby the governor is required by the Constitution to consult the Cabinet, but he may, with the approval of the British Secretary of State, act against its advice if he considers it "inexpedient in the interests of public order, public faith or good governance" to act in accordance with it.

The constitution also states that the governor may when necessary receive financial assistance from “Her Majesty’s Exchequer in the United Kingdom for the purpose of balancing the annual budget or otherwise…” However, the governor does not have any funds of his own to call on for any reason.

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Brown to address Congress

Brown to address Congress

| 04/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): Gordon Brown will today use his vital speech to Congress to urge US politicians not to lapse into protectionism, but he has insisted he has no need to apologise for personal errors in the build-up to the financial crisis. The speech – possibly the most important of his political life – comes after Barack Obama gave him a desperately needed political boost yesterday by reaffirming the importance of the special relationship between the US and UK, and offering the prime minister a valuable personal endorsement for his leadership during the financial crisis.

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