Archive for March 25th, 2009

Brac drivers warned

Brac drivers warned

| 25/03/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Cayman Brac police officers are warning drivers who insist on carrying passengers in the back of trucks that they could find themselves in court. Stressing the extreme dangers of carrying passengers in this way, police say drivers who do not heed these warnings will be prosecuted. Sergeant Matt Dawson said. “This practice is extremely dangerous and any such truck involved in even a minor accident could result in the death or serious injury of a passenger carried in this way.”

Referring to a recent fatal accident, he added, “Tragically a man was killed on Grand Cayman after been thrown from the back of a truck and we are determined to prevent any such needless loss of life here.” In 1977, four young men – two of them in high school – died and one was seriously injured following an accident at the Creek district on Cayman Brac, in which they were thrown from the back of a pick-up truck.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in Cayman Brac should contact the
local police station on 948-0331 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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Three surprises in West Bay

Three surprises in West Bay

| 25/03/2009 | 38 Comments

(CNS): UPDATE: 3:15 pm. Previously undeclared candidates for West Bay, Henry Orman Morgan, Dora Ebanks and Woody DaCosta, were nominated today to run for the General Elections set for 20 May 2009. The Election’s Office this morning said it anticipated around 40 people or so would declare themselves for election. However, as of 3:00 pm this afternoon the opportunity for nominations closed. Keep checking CNSfor updates. (Left: Maxine Moore in the Sister Islands)

Sandra Catron, the first candidate to declare in Bodden Town who is embarking on her second attempt, told CNS that this time it feels so right.Ten candidates have now been nominated for the district: the three PPM incumbants – Anthony Eden, Charles Clifford and Osbourne Bodden; two UDP candidtes – Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour; and five independents – Sandra Catron, Theresa Pitcairn-Lewis, Gilbert McLean, Justin Woods and Vincent Frederick.

The first candidate on Cayman Brac, incumbant Julianna O’Connor-Conolly, who has represented the Sister Islands since 1996, said she was never confident of winning an election as it is always the will of the people. "You just work as hard as you can to retain the confidence and trust of the people for another four-year term, Gods willing," she said.

Moses Kirkconnell, running for a second term for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, said he was confident of being re-elected. "I have done everything I can do in my first term and we have tangible results," he said. "We are workign extremely hard in the recovery after Hurricane Paloma, something every one of us should be involved in. I’m looking forward to a second term to complete the projects we have started." (Left with supporters)

Lyndon Martin, MLA for the Sister Islands from November 2000 to May 2005, and Maxine Moore, who has run three times before unsuccessfully, were also nominated. Despite his legal difficulties, Martin believes he has a good chance of success in the elections. "I think I have a lot to contribute and I have many supporters who have rallied behind me to contest the election on Cayman Brac," he said.

John McLean Jr was the first candidate to arrive at the nomination venue at East End, while in North Side Oswell Rankine arrived at 9:30 am before another Independent candidate Ezzard Miller, who said, "As the underdog it’s going to be a hard fight but I’m going to do everything I can to win and I’ll be dealing with the issues that are good for North Siders."

According to the Elections Law, a person can run for office only if he or she is officially nominated. It is an important step in the elections process, said Deputy Supervisor of Elections Orrett Connor.“After tomorrow, the public will know exactly who is running for office in all of the districts,” he noted. “It doesn’t matter if a person has said previously that he or she is running for office; Nomination Day is where the rubber hits the road.”

Returning officers will receive completed nomination forms, along with the required $1,000 deposit per candidate and other documentation, between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at these venues:

West Bay – John Gray Memorial Church Hall, 27 West Church Street;

George Town – Family Life Centre, 49B Academy Way;

Bodden Town –  Bodden Town Civic Centre, 445C Bodden Town Road;

North Side –  Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre, 923 North Side Road;     

East End – William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre, 80 John McLean Drive; and

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – District Administration Building, 19 Kirkconnell Street, Cayman Brac.

After 3:00 p.m., the nominations will be collated at the Family Life Centre on Walker’s Road, George Town, by the Elections Office’s returning officers.

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Cayman’s first green candidate supports environment

Cayman’s first green candidate supports environment

| 25/03/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): One of the first candidates to place the environment firmly on their political agenda is Lana Mae Smith, who is running as an independent candidate in West Bay. She says that while the economy, education and crime are important campaign subjects, the topic that filters everything is the environment. “That is because it affects all areas of our life style; i.e. health, education etc. It is a number one priority for future generations and, as other countries in the world are becoming more and more conscious of  going green, with recycling programmes, solar power being implemented, it is going to take a lot of work for Cayman to catch up.”

She said it that she is in favour of the National Conservation bill and hopes to see it implemented, noting that we need specialist people who can begin cleaning up the George Town Land Fill to start recycling scrap metal and find ways to use the remainder as fill. She says she would like to see the waste-to-power project started where we can recycle the dump’s waste to generate electricity, giving us cheaper and cleaner air.

“This could be achieved with a partnership of the private sector and government to generate power from the dump. As we have the earth’s greatest resource (manpower) we could be using our prisoners for this specific task in our islands,” she said.

Seeing the current administration’s spending programme as its main failure, Smith said the projects could have been undertaken at a better price and staggered over more time.  When it comes to tackling the government’s revenue problem, Smith points to one possible income generator — a tax on the money transfer agencies by a 2 or 3% of the amounts sent out of the country.

She says that the schools project were an over extension and she says we are not currently utilizing the existing buildings to their fullest capabilities. “As every district has a school building, they could be used at nights for technical studies so that persons would not have to leave their districts for studies.  The present high and middle school buildings could have been used for college and vocational training at nights as well,” she added.

She is, however, in favour of the revised education bill as well as the constitution as it sits now, but against party politics. “If and when I am elected I will not join either mainstream party, as I truly do not think the party system works for us, it only divides us, but will be willing to work with whomever forms the new government,” she said.

Smith is well known in her local community and as an outspoken advocate on a number of issues for young and old alike. She has served as President of the Business & Professional Women’s Club, during which time the Domestic Violence Law was passed and recommendations made for the establishment of the Young Business & Professional Women’s Club. She was also the first female President of the Life Underwriters Association of Grand Cayman.

From its inception and while working with the Cayman Against Substance Abuse Association she established the Community Development Action Committee (CODAC). Smith says she is qualified to represent the people of West Bay, as an elected representative in the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands.  “To this end, I pledge to work diligently to revitalize our district, rejuvenate our Caymanian heritage and culture, as well as to inspire our young people who seek to have their hopes and dreams come true,” she said.

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Blog quizzes candidates on issues

Blog quizzes candidates on issues

| 25/03/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): As the day of elections draws closer, a group that describes themselves as “professional young Caymanian voters” have today launched a new blog called Ten Questions Cayman, which, as the name would suggest, poses ten questions relevant to the current situation in these islands and offers a non-partisan, online tool to assist voters to assess candidates in the upcoming elections. Group members told CNS they would like to remain anonymous at present as they want the tool to stand on its own and not be influenced in the public’s eye (one way or the other) according to which individuals are behind this non-partisan effort.

With questions on topics such as the draft Constitution, the environment, the economy, health care, education, immigration and crime, the blog invites answers from the candidates and comments from the public.

The Ten Questions Cayman group say they are interested in understanding the substance and not the rhetoric of candidates for the May 2009 elections. In a release about the launch of the blog, the group says, “This tool offers questions that, when answered, can provide more meaningful and direct information, than the broad, sweeping statements typical of some political manifestos. To provide transparency and accountability on key election issues, all candidates are encouraged to share their views in this online forum for the information of all voters in Cayman.”

According to the group, they were themselves trying to find a way to evaluate the candidates, and they decided to develop a tool that would help them decide whom to vote for in this coming 2009 election. The release says the group is made up of professional Caymanians from diverse backgrounds, joined together by love of country. They say they have expertise in law, economics, social development, education, the environment, tourism, real estate development and financial services as well as other specialist areas.

The release says the group gathered to answer one question: ‘Whom do we vote for?’ “As there are many candidates running in this 2009 election, both new to the political process and experienced, the group thought it was important to make an informed decision based on issues rather than personalities. They decided to design a tool to solicit answers from political candidates. The questions stem from 10 issues that the group thought were critical to the future of Cayman Islands.”

While the group acknowledged that the questions represented their unique perspective, they thought it important to make the tool public with the hope that it would help stimulate debate and provide a basis for further questions that can be used by other groups or individuals.

Everyone, including political candidates, can view the questions at Ten Questions Cayman and are encouraged to leave comments on the blog. Political candidates can also email their answers to the ten questions to

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Clifford laments enquiry

Clifford laments enquiry

| 25/03/2009 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Having faced a considerable amount of controversy during his tenure in political office, Minister Charles Clifford chose to speak about the most controversial time of all in his farewell speech to the House — the Commission of Enquiry — and lamented the negative message it sent to civil servants who wanted to blow the whistle on what they perceived as corruption. The enquiry concerned documents he took with him when he left his civil service post as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.

When he joined the People’s Progressive Movement as a candidate in the 2005 election, the documents that Clifford took, which concerned the financing and management issues surrounding of the Royal Watler Port, Cayman Airways, Turtle Farm and the Boggy Sands Project, were leaked to the press and used on the 2005 campaign trail.

During his final presentation to the House, following his thank yous and a justification of his time in office, Clifford turned to the circumstances of the enquiry and said he had never had anything to hide. “What I did in 2004 when I resigned from public office is no secret to the people of this country," he said. “I spoke about it very publicly from the campaign platform, and when allegations were made against me about removing files, I admitted I had taken my files with me.”

He explained that he had even written about the documents to the governor at the time, Bruce Dinwiddy, who saw nothing wrong with his actions, Clifford said.

Following intense speculation regarding the documents that Clifford took, Governor Stuart Jack announced the enquiry in November 2007 when he said that after considering legal advice he had decided that the public interest would be best served by facilitating a full enquiry into the circumstances relating to the alleged unauthorised removal of files.

Clifford said when he heard this he was happy to go along with the process as he knew he had nothing to hide, but said there were times when he questioned whether he should have raised those irregularities he saw as permanent secretary, given what was happening, and asked himself if it was indeed worth it.

“But I came to the conclusion that it was worth it. It was more important to stick to the principles of honesty and integrity. I feared that this country was heading down the road of institutionalized corruption and it was not something I could ignore. While it was a challenging time, I believe I did the right thing. No one can tell me the people of these islands have lost their moral compass. I think they needed that knowledge when they went into the last general election,” he said.

Chaired by Sir Richard Tucker, the enquiry began on 21 January 2008 and concluded that Clifford should not have taken confidential files, and although no sanction was handed down recommendations were made.

Clifford said that the enquiry had sent the worst possible message to anyone who was serving in public office who saw wrongdoing as they would now be far less likely to reveal what they have seen. "They have heard: If you see irregularities don’t you dare expose it or you too will face a commission,” he said. ”But I want to say to civil servants, if you see it expose it!”

He emphasised the PPM administration’s introduction of the Freedom of Information Law and that the message from the enquiry may be unfortunate but public servants could be confident under a PPM administration that there were now channels for them to expose any wrongdoing.

Unbelievably, the commission investigated the leak instead of the corruption it revealed, he said. “Why was there not an enquiry into the irregularities?" he asked. “There are a whole case load of auditor general’s reports and I wonder why they have not been properly investigated?”

He said he believed that, had there not been a change in government in 2005, the Cayman Islands could be in the same position as the Turks and Caicos Islands, where the UK government has suspended the constitution as a result of the level of corruption.

Despite being concluded in January of 2008, the Commission of Enquiry is likely to find itself a tool in the May election campaigns 2009 for both sides. The UDP began making use of it in its first campaign meeting in Bodden Town on Tuesday evening with regards to its findings and the declaration that Clifford was wrong to leak the documents. The PPM, on the other hand, will be lamenting the fact that the contents of the documents and the reasons for the leak were as they see it never properly investigated.

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