Archive for March 15th, 2011

Mac to attend royal wedding

| 15/03/2011 | 65 Comments

(CNS): The premier and his wife will be heading to London in April as a guest of the queen to attend the wedding of Prince William and his bride, Catherine Middleton. According to Cayman27, McKeeva Bush has received his official invitation to attend the royal nuptials taking place at Westminster Abbey on Friday, 29 April, and he has accepted. He is unlikely, however, to be one of the 600 guests that will attend the lunch reception at Buckingham Palace. Although foreign royals and heads of Commonwealth countries are attending the wedding, the palace has stressed that this is not a “state wedding" but a "royal wedding”.

The wedding list has created a certain amount of controversy over who was on it and who was not. The US president, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle are not on it, while Victoria and David Beckham, a reported friend of William, have both been invited. While the former wife of Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson, will not be attending her nephew’s wedding, Elton John, who sang at his mother’s funeral, has made the coveted guest list.

1,900 gilt-edged invitations were sent for the Westminster Abbey service but only six-hundred of the guests will go on for lunch thrown by the queen. And an intimate 300 will dine and dance that night at the palace.

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Three-year-old is UK’s ‘youngest ever alcoholic’

| 15/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(Yahoo News): A three-year-old child who was treated in hospital for addiction to alcohol is thought to be Britain’s youngest ever alcoholic, health officials said Monday. The youngster was one of 13 people under the age of 12 who were diagnosed as alcoholics by the state-run National Health Service (NHS) in central England between 2008 and 2010. Health officials declined to give details of the three-year-old’s condition or disclose the toddler’s identity due to patient confidentiality rules. The news, revealed by the NHS after a request under Freedom of Information laws, highlights Britain’s uphill struggle to curb its heavy-drinking culture.

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New law may spell trouble

| 15/03/2011 | 18 Comments

(CNS): A new bill dealing with medical negligence that will be debated in the Legislative Assembly when it reconvenes on Wednesday may spell trouble for the financial sector, the independent MLA for North side has warned. Ezzard Miller said he wants the assurance of the attorney general that one of the clauses in the law won’t impact other legal awards cases going through the local court system. Miller, who is objecting to the bill on a number of other grounds, also says it will do nothing to address the growing malpractice insurance rates as government claims but is being brought to the LA merely to satisfy one of the many demands of Dr Devi Shetty for the proposed health city.

Miller, who will be holding a public meeting in his district on Tuesday night just before the parliament’s sitting, which has now been postponed to Thursday, said he wants to talk to his constituents about the Medical Negligence (Non-economic Damages) (Amendment) Bill, 2011, as well as a change made public just last week that will provide for deportees to return to the islands and the current situation regarding the proposed East End Seaport and dredging in the North Sound.

The MLA told CNS that he has several concerns about the medical negligence legislation. Aside from not addressing the issue of medical insurance, the clause relating to the $500,000 capon awards greater than that made in foreign jurisdictions could have implications for Cayman’s court system and other awards unrelated to medical cases.

“I need a clear indication from the attorney general that his office was fully consulted over this law and that the judicial arm of government is completely comfortable with the bill and that it will not undermine the standing of our courts in the international arena and that this does not impinge on any international or bi-lateral agreements,” he stated.

He said that he suspected the bill, and in particular clause four, is there purely to satisfy the requirements of Dr Shetty and the proposed hospital, despite being sold to the public as a way of reducing health care costs because it will reduce malpractice premiums for doctors.

“That’s hogwash 101,” Miller stated. “All the evidence I can find reveals that there has never been a medical malpractice case in the Cayman Islands where the award exceeded $300,000, so how can a higher cap reduce the premiums?” he asked rhetorically. “If anything, it could increase them.”

Miller stated, however, that the problem of high insurance premiums for medical malpractice insurance, especially for obstetricians, had to be addressed but he said this law was not the way to go about it.

He noted that the first thing government should do to tackle the problem was reverse the recent changes to the health practitioner’s law, which introduced a second tier of medical staff who would not be required to reach the normal practice standards, as that was likely to lead to further increases in premiums for all doctors. Secondly, he said, doctors had to be limited to practicing in their specialist fields, and thirdly the country needed to perform regular medical standard reviews to prove the quality of care.

Aside from the medical practitioner’s bill, Miller also revealed that he was very concerned about the new immigration amendment which will allow people who have been deported to return to the Cayman Islands.

“Why would we want to bring back non-Caymanian criminals?” he asked. “We have enough crime of our own.” Miller said he couldn’t understand government’s motivation behind the change.

He also warned it was another move by the government to override the courts, as he said by far the majority of deportations were ordered by judges and he raised concerns that the administration was in danger of undermining the wide respect commanded by Cayman’s judicial system on the international stage.

Miller also noted that he was not letting up on his goal to introduce a minimum wage and this time when the LA met he was planning on bring the same motion that was rejected in the last sitting to introduce the basic rate via a private members motion. “We will see what happens with that,” he added, as he waits to see if the motion will appear on the order paper during the next session.

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UK Tory ambitions of HRC withdrawal blocked

| 15/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): Conservative hopes of pulling out of the European convention on human rights in response to its perceived interference in issues such as UK prisoners’ votes have been dashed by Liberal Democrat objections. Nick Clegg has won a battle to prevent the inclusion of total withdrawal from the convention in the terms of reference of an expected seven-strong commission of inquiry in UK human rights law. The decision will infuriate Tory right-wingers angered at the way in which they believe the Strasbourg judges have interfered with UK rights. Some Tory backbenchers have argued that withdrawal is not as complex as some human rights lawyers claim.

The commission, due to be announced shortly, will discuss reform of the court’s procedures, and the possibility of a British bill of rights acting as a supplement, but not as a replacement for the European convention. It would also look at a bill’s relationship with the Human Rights Act that incorporates the European convention into British law.

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Teenager charged with tourist robbery

| 15/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 17-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the robbery of two tourists on Barefoot Beach in East End last month. The teenager, who was arrested on Saturday, joins two other men who have already appeared in court charged with the crime in which the suspects stole $20 in cash and an underwater camera. The robbery occurred around noon on Monday, 7 February, at the remote location. The couple, who were visiting the Island from the US, were confronted by three men wearing T-shirts around their faces. Two of the robbers were armed, the victims reported, one with a baseball bat and another with a knuckleduster.

One of the men grabbed the male tourist, placed him in a headlock and demanded cash. The victims then handed over a wallet containing the small sum of cash. As the suspects were making off from the scene, they smashed the window of the couple’s hire car with the baseball bat and stole the camera.

Police said that the 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of the robbery on Saturday during an operation in the Eastern Districts. He has now been charged with the crime and is expected to appear in court today, Tuesday 15 March.

Michael McLaughlin and Trent Bodden, the two other men accused of the robbery, appeared in Grand Court on Friday under the new system which allows serious crimes to be sent up to the higher court within days of charges being laid. However, neither of the men have yet answered the charges as the crown’s case against the men was not prepared. McLaughlin also appeared without representation.

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Turks bank lays off staff in wake of complaints

| 15/03/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Nine months after opening, International Banking Group (IBG), a subsidiary of Cayman National, is reportedly making redundancies, the Turks & Caicos Sun reports, but the staff is calling for president and chief executive Ivan Browne to be sacked. The newspaper reports that following the receipt of their redundancy notices, the employees complained to The Sun about Browne’s management style, which they alleged has contributed, among other things, to rapidly deteriorating morale among the staff. The redundancies were said to come on the heels of a letter from bank chairman Stuart Dack (CEO of CNC), which revealed that a disciplinary panel found that Browne “exhibited inappropriate behaviour” towards a number of female staffers.

Sources told The Sun that a number of female employees had formally complained about sexual harassment from and by Browne since 2010 and it was these employees that appeared to be facing redundancy. The paper says it has a copy of a letter that Browne wrote to staff in the wake of his own disciplinary hearing warning them about the potential loss of their jobs.

“The general economic conditions have conspired against our original projections and we have no alternative but to now reduce staff members,” the letter states. “In order to achieve sensible economies some functions will now be further supported by our parent company in Grand Cayman and in other cases existing positions will go as work volumes and activity do not justify the role at this time.”

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