Archive for October 27th, 2010

East End port plans official

| 27/10/2010 | 125 Comments

(CNS): Recent speculation that property developer Joseph Imparato was planning to build a commercial port in the district of East End was confirmed on Wednesday morning when he revealed that a proposal had been submitted to the Cayman Islands Government for consideration. In a press release Imparato said the ‘East End Seaport’ would be a maritime infrastructure project facilitating five different types of marine based commercial activities, as well as a selection of complementary land based activities. These include a commercial cargo port, hydrocarbon storage facility, cruise ship home port, transhipment of containerised cargo and a luxury mega yacht marina.

The concept of creating a commercial port in the East End, High Rock area has raised considerable controversy across Grand Cayman as well as in the district itself, in particular from the local MLA Arden McLean. However, Imparato has said he will be holding a series of public meetings in the coming weeks, allowing the people of the Cayman Islands to take a closer look and learn the facts about the proposed East End Seaport.

Addressing some of what he said were the misconceptions circulating in the community, the property developer said in the release that the seaport would be developed on privately owned land and would be privately funded, but the port facilities would be managed by the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands, not a private entity. Imparato also stressed that there would be no oil refinery.

He said that an appropriate Environmental Impact Assessment would be conducted, the results of which will inform the design, engineering and construction methodology of the seaport.

In advance of the community presentations, a web site will be launched that will provide information on the proposed seaport, the release revealed. “Once it is launched, the site will provide a central location for information about the project, from project specifications to the proposed timeline,” the release said.

Imparato said that work had begun clearing paths on the property to allow access for preliminary site works prior to the commencement of the environmental impact assessment.

“The East End Seaport is an infrastructure project that allows for genuine economic diversification and expanded socio-economic benefits of this new project for decades to come,” Imparato’s release stated, adding that he was committed to making the facts available to the public and was encouraging the people of the Cayman Islands to take a closer look at the proposed East End Seaport.

 

Vote in the CNS poll: Are you in favour of the Est End Seaport?

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Ministry denies further delays over school projects

| 27/10/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Despite the fact that there appears to be no work going on at either of the construction sites for the government’s two new high schools and the remaining subcontractor has left the job, the Education Ministry denied that the projects were subject to any further delays on Wednesday. Re-confirming that Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools 2008) Limited (CMHSL) were leaving the work sites, the ministry claimed that the relationship between the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) and the sub-contractor had always been an interim one. In a second statement in a week on the school projects, the ministry again stated that the new construction management team was expected to mobilise shortly.

The ministry said the departure of subcontractor CMHSL was part of the anticipated transition process of both projects by the new construction management team.

"The Cayman Islands Government (CIG) and Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools 2008) Limited (CMHSL) have mutually agreed to terminate their interim relationship, which was forged in the immediate aftermath of the general contractor’s departure," the ministry stated. ‘It is anticipated that the new construction management team will shortly mobilise. Work at the project sites will increase to full capacity under their supervision."

Following the departure of Tom Jones International from the school projects in October 2009 as a result of s dispute between it and government, CMHSL, a sub contractor which has been one of the leading work groups on the site since its inception, returned to the sites at the beginning of 2010 to maintain the integrity of the work already done.

At that time government explained it had assumed responsibility for the CMHSL contracts to ensure the continuation of certain work at the project sites, pending the appointment of a new construction management team.

"Both parties anticipated that this interim arrangement would be terminated at an appropriate time, and this is exactly what the parties have now agreed to do," the ministry said in the official statement.

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Law Reform Commission says don’t limit claims

| 27/10/2010 | 26 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman island headline news, Tort reform(CNS): Following a request by the minister of health to reform the country’s tort laws to put caps on personal injury awards and to limit the time period in which they can be made, the Law Reform Commission (LRC) has recommended against it. Opening the review of the law for public debate and consultation, the LRC has published its findings and recommendations and is now seeking comment. The pressure for reform has come as a result of escalating fees for doctors’ insurance cover because of a number of high awards. However, in its provisional recommendations the LRC has warned that capping claims does not necessarily remove the problem of increasing premiums but can undermine access to justice for those who have suffered because of medical malpractice.

The LRC has instead proposed introducing a standard of care in medical negligence; establishing an expert witness rule and introducing alternative dispute resolution rather than limiting the court’s hand and claimants’ access to justice.

In their preliminary findings the law reformers said research suggests that there is no solid empirical evidence that limiting claims will alleviate the problems in the insurance markets but that it will impact access to justice. “The appropriate approach should strike a balance between responding to the concerns of reasonable critics about civil law remedies whilst affording relief to those who suffer as a result of serious and perhaps avoidable mistakes in the provision of health care,” the reformers said in their report

The pressure for reform has come from the Cayman Islands Medical and Dental Society as a result of escalating Medical Protection Society subscription rates for practising obstetricians and gynaecologists, which provides their professional indemnity cover. A 400 percent increase in annual premiums had been proposed by the MPS as a result of local judgment award precedents in personal injury cases and a number of unresolved malpractice claims pending in the courts of the Cayman Islands arising from the mismanagement of new born deliveries.

In the process of its review the LRC examined the proposals put forward by the Ministry of Health to impose legislative caps on the award of non-economic damages in cases of personal injury, with a particular emphasis on medical malpractice, and to reduce the limitation periods applicable to the time frame within which an aggrieved party may pursue a claim for damages.

The paper may be viewed on www.gov.ky Submissions should be submitted in writing no later than 19 November 2010 to the Director, Law Reform Commission, c/o Government Administration Building and may be posted, delivered by hand to the offices of the Commission on 3rd Floor Anderson Square or emailed to cheryl.neblett@gov.ky.
 

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Immigration board policies to go public, Mickey hears

| 27/10/2010 | 8 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman island headline news(CNS): Despite long held perceptions that some immigration board decisions are made based on anonymous complaints or ‘poison pen letters’, the board has revealed in a recent freedom of information request by Mickey Mouse that none of the immigration boards are supposed to consider anonymous correspondence against applicants. The information manager has also said that the boards are in the process of putting all of their policies in writing, which will soon be available on the website for everyone to see. The FOI revealed that the draft policy document for dealing with complaints states that only written and signed complaints can be considered.

If the complaint against a work permit applicant is signed then the person being complained about has to be informed, and if the complainant is not prepared to disclose the details of the complaint openly then again it is not considered during the board’s deliberations.

When a complainant is prepared to stand by their complaint, according to the policy the applicant will see the details of the complaint, the evidence against them and be provided with an opportunity to respond. The draft policy reveals that boards will then consider both sides before making a decision.

With the advent of freedom of information both work-permit holders and their employers making the application are entitled to request the details of their files and all of the decisions made about them to see what weight a board gives to complaints.

FOI Response Letter

DRAFT Policy of Immigration Board on Complaint Letters

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MLAs call for more fee cuts

| 27/10/2010 | 48 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand cayman island headline news(CNS): Both the opposition and the independent legislative members expressed disappointment on Tuesday over government’s decision to reduce only the cost of key employee applications and no other work permit related fees. In the wake of government’s announcement on Monday that it was halving the fee employers will have to pay to secure key status for staff, Ezzard Miller said he was dumbfounded that government would choose to reduce the one fee of least assistance to Caymanians. His legislative colleague and opposition frontbencher Alden McLaughlin said the PPM was also disappointed that, having recognised the damage the fee increases are doing to business, government would choose to reduce only this fee and called for an across the board fee reduction.

McLaughlin said he would be filing a motion for the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly to ask government, yet again, to reduce fees as the increases were having the opposite affect intended by government. Instead of bringing in more revenue, the increases were stifling business and leading employers to cut staff rather than pay more fees.

“We said from the beginning that all the additional work permit fees, generally were going to have the opposite affect from that intended by the government, " McLaughlin told CNS. “More importantly, we warned that it would result in increased pressure on small businesses.”

Despite calls from the opposition and the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, for government to reduce the fees and stimulate the local economy, the calls have gone unheeded until now.

“We are disappointed that when government finally recognises the damage the increase in fees has had, it has chosen to reduce only the key employee fee," McLaughlin said. “I am submitting a motion requesting that government reduce all of the fees associated with work permits now that it has recognised that the fee increases are an important issue.”

Miller also told CNS that he was very disappointed when he heard the news that from the entire fee reductions government could have made it chose to reduce the one that was of considerably less benefit to Caymanians than it was to foreign workers.

“What frustrates me, the thing I find confounding, is why the government continues to pass legislation that makes it harder for Caymanians to progress in the work place,” he said. “I have a moral obligation to represent the interests of the Caymanians who elected me. When are we going to make it easier for those people to get on in the work place rather than people who come here out of their own choice?" Miller asked rhetorically.

The North Side representative pondered the possibility that government members were getting very different representation from their constituents than the ones he received. He pointed out that none of his constituents were asking for a reduction in key employee fees but they were all asking for a reduction in the work permit fees for the staff needed in small businesses, such as bookkeepers.

Miller also issued a warning about the wider implications as key employee status became more common. He noted that the permanent residency board would find it increasingly difficult to turn down residency requests that will be made by those individuals when they reached the eligible time. Miller pointed out that the reasons that are given to justify key status are similar to those given for PR.

“It is going to get very difficult for the PR board to deny residency to these persons who have been designated key after one government board has conveyed such an important status on them,” Miller suggested.

The Legislative Assembly is set to resume next week, when immigration is likely to be only one of a number of controversial subjects before the House members.

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