Archive for April 13th, 2012

Scratch card winner denies forgery and deception

| 13/04/2012 | 0 Comments

1179_strand_exterior.jpg(CNS): A 32 year old man from West Bay pleaded not guilty to three charges relating to forgery and deception on Friday in connection with a supermarket competition. Mark McLean has denied altering a winning Foster’s Supermarket punch and play card from a $5 prize to a $5000 prize and then dishonestly obtaining his winnings from the Strand store last year. McLean appeared before Justice Charles Quin in the Grand Court and pleaded not guilty to all three counts relating to the incident which took place in September 2011 when the crown claimss he cheated the supermarket’s promotional game.

McLean was released by the court on bail to return for his three day trial on 29 October.

The Foster’s punch and play promotional game requires customers to match three images on a card by scratching open the windows once the card has been fully punched as a result of the amount spent in the supermarket. When a triple match is made the winner then gets the sum of money that is allocated to that particular card.  In this case the crown claim that the winning card that McLean presented to the supermarket was a $5 card which the defendant altered to read $5000.

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PPM wants OMOV for Brac

| 13/04/2012 | 33 Comments

alden.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has said that his party fully supports the principle of one man, one vote for the people of the Sister Islands as well as Grand Cayman. However, the PPM’s position is that because of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman’s unique position it will remain one constituency with two members elected on a first and second past the post basis. In response to a Viewpoint on CNS, Alden McLaughlin said the opposition position on the situation in the Sister Islands was misrepresented as he said the party had always supported the principle of the electorate voting only once but the top two candidates then being returned.

McLaughlin said the PPM did not support voters on the Brac and LC having two votes.

“There are two issues here, one person one vote and single member constituencies and the most important element is addressing the inequity of some districts having multiple votes and others having one. The PPM supports the principle that electors in the Sister Islands will still have only one vote in a constituency that will have two members because of its unique situation,” he said.

He said that the petition had been circulated on the Brac and many people had signed on that basis. While not everyone wanted to lose one of their votes, he said, by and large the principle of one man, one vote was accepted on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman so long as the islands remained one constituency.

“The Brac is a special case,” McLaughlin told CNS on Friday. “It has always been treated differently from Grand Cayman because of its remoteness from the seat of government and the representatives also play a local government role.”

He explained that the Sister Islands are administered differently and independently, making the constituency situation different from those on the larger island. Despite the voting population being relatively small, it has two members constitutionally enshrined because of its geographical position.

McLaughlin said his party had as far back as 2002 come to the view that this arrangement could accommodate the wishes of the majority there as well as the uniqueness of the smaller islands.

He said there had always been concerns because of the Brac and Little Cayman’s isolation from the main seat of power that if there were two constituencies, one with an opposition member and one with a government member, there would be a danger of real inequalities in the local government or district administration.

McLaughlin said there was no conflict with this situation for the Sister Islands with the goal to introduce one man, one vote across the Cayman Islands. He said the real fight now had to be on ensuring the premier offered all voters on 18 July a clear and precise question on the ballot paper.

The PPM leader said that the premier “had hijacked the referendum process” on the issue and he had real concerns about multiple questions that could seriously undermine a clear majority result.

“There are many ways that this could play out and I believe the premier will attempt to put forward numerous questions to confuse and complicate the issue,” he said. “I am certain this will not be straightforward and there is lots of scope for the premier to play all sorts of games.”

McLaughlin echoed the sentiments of Ezzard Miller that the question has to be clear and precise and the ballot should require a simple majority to pass.

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RE/MAX-Purple Dragon scholarship contest

| 13/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Children between the age of 6 and 16 are invited to enter a competition to win a one year scholarship at Purple Dragon, which will set them on the road of one day becoming a Purple Dragon Black Belt. Hosted by RE/MAX Cayman Islands and Purple Dragon Martial Arts, the scholarship will be given to the applicant who writes the most deserving statement, starting with: “I want to be a Purple Dragon Warrior because …”  The winner will be chosen by a panel of three judges from RE/MAX and Purple Dragon.

Submission forms are available at and must be submitted by 5:00pm pm on Friday, 27 April, at the RE/MAX location in 7 Mile Shops or the Purple Dragon location at Mirco Centre.

“RE/MAX is very excited to be sponsoring a child to participate in this karate programme,” RE/MAX Broker/Owner James Bovell stated. “We feel that everyone should have the equal opportunity to become a Purple Dragon black belt, and this year membership is a great way to kick it off. This is also a great way for the children to express themselves in words.”

Purple Dragon has just celebrated the grand opening of their new dojo at the Mirco Centre with over 4,500 square feet. This larger space allows for more classes to be held, giving an opportunity to introduce karate to more people in the community.

“We are honoured that RE/MAX has decided to sponsor a child to become a Purple Dragon member,” Sensei Floyd Baptiste stated. “It is great to know that a child, who may otherwise not have the means to participate in our programme, will be able to do so.”

Karate empowers children, teenagers and adults of all ages in a safe positive environment, a release from Purple Dragon stated. Children learn the art of self defense coupled with confidence, self-control, discipline, goal setting and respect for themselves and their peers, parents and the world around them.

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ICTA can handle complaints

| 13/04/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Government officials are advising people who are having problems with their phone, cable, internet providers or complaints about radio content that they can complain to the Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA). Anyone who has logged a complaint with their phone company and exhausted all avenues but who has still not had their problem addressed can turn to the authority. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the minister responsible, said the ICTA requires licensees to clearly describe their services and rates in their marketing materials. Companies should also have complaint dispute resolution procedures to protect customer information and to ensure that their contracts, terms of service and bills are clear and understandable. Read more on CNS Business

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Duty debt not his, says Ryan

| 13/04/2012 | 35 Comments

30124_4320_l (222x300).jpg(CNS): The developer of the Ritz Carlton-Grand Cayman, who is currently facing a number of legal battles, says that the outstanding $6 milllion owed to government is in the hands of the receivers. When asked about the debt, Michael Ryan told CNS on Thursday that he was not authorized to make any statements about the companies now in receivership. He said, however, that he no longer hadresponsibility as the duty was owed by those companies set up to develop the resort and not him. Ryan said he had attempted to make progress on a payment plan but he did not know now whether the receivers would honour debts due to the creditors of the companies in question.

The companies associated with the development of the Ritz Carlton, now controlled by receivers on behalf of Ryan’s major creditor RC Cayman Holdings Ltd, are suing him over misappropriation of undisclosed funds. However, Ryan said it was the companies in receivership, “not me personally”, that owes government money.

“My plan at the time was to negotiate a payment plan and an on-going development agreement with government so that funds could be raised to pay the amount owing," he said in an email. “You have seen from the correspondence that Mr Jefferson was unable to make progress on this for over a year prior to the receivership. I do not know whether the receivers will honour the debts due to creditors.”

The financial secretary had pursued the debt, which the Treasury believed should not be tied to the future proposed development of Dragon Bay. But according to correspondence released under an FOI request, Ryan had persisted in attempting to tie in his desire to buy crown land at Safehaven and the Dragon Bay project with the significant duty debt.

Ryan said Thursday that the Dragon Bay project is legally distinct from the receivership of the property-owning companies, but the litigation would have a negative effect on its future as well.

“Which may be what the lender wishes to achieve,” he added. “I believe Dragon Bay is a tremendous project that I hope will get the support it needs to go forward. The Ritz developer also said he would not be leaving the islands and intended to fight the legal battle he now found himself in. “Cayman is my home. I've lived and breathed this development for more than 15 years and I'm proud of what we have been able to create."

Ryan or the companies he once owned that developed the Ritz-Carlton owes the Cayman Islands Government over $6 milllion in outstanding duty in relation to concessions he was given during the development phase of the hotel. Despite persistent efforts by the financial secretary’s office to get Ryan to re-instate his quarterly payments to address the debt, which was originally over $10 million, the developer has not made any payment to the Treasury since March 2009.

Government officials confirmed that they have approached the KPMG auditors, Kris Beighton and Keith Blake, appointed as joint receivers by RC Cayman for the companies associated with the resort about government’s claim but they were not confident that the public purse would be able to recover the significant debt.

The extent of Ryan’s legal and financial troubles was revealed in February with the news that RC Cayman Holdings LLC, which acquired the loan in May 2011, originally taken out with RSB to develop the hotel, had filed a legal action to take control of the Ritz.

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Miller presses for vote clarity

| 13/04/2012 | 47 Comments

ezz omov (229x300).jpg(CNS): The independent member for North Side says that the goal to secure equality and real democracy in Cayman politics is a long way from over, despite the premier’s surprise announcement on Wednesday. Ezzard Miller, who has spearheaded the one man, one vote campaign for a people-initiated referendum on the subject, said that there were now two main goals. Firstly, to ensure the ballot was based on the petition question and that government did not attempt to place several confusing options in front of people, and secondly, to encourage the entire electorate, despite the summer vacation, to came out and vote on 18 July in favour of single member constituencies.

He said the petition would also continue so that thepremier would see that hecould not stem the ground swell of support or momentum in the community for one man, one vote even with the announcement of the summer ballot and by campaigning against it. Miller told CNS that he would be pushing for a simple yes/no question on the ballot as advocated by the petition.

The North Side representative said that if the government ballot ended up being a confusing list of variables on the theme, such as a national list or other options, there would, if the petition continued, be a mandate to push for a people’s ballot with one simple question that could ensure a clean majority vote.

“We need to ensure this vote is not confusing,” he said. “A ballot containing more than one question could make it impossible to get the necessary 50% on any question.” This, he warned, could see government declare the ballot lost and maintain the status quo. “We need to ensure the ballot question is clear and that voters are not confused with multiple choices. A referendum should be just one yes or no question.”

He said that because the premier had indicated that the United Democratic Party would be campaigning against single member constituencies, the one man, one vote campaign needed even more volunteers to get out in the community and put forward the case.

Miller was not too concerned over the premier’s decision to opt for a summer poll at short notice as there was enough support to win, but, he said, it would require considerable work. Up against government machinery, Miller said he did not feel there would be a need to run an expensive education campaign for one man,one vote if they could recruit enough volunteers.

“We have found since we started the petition that talking to people one-on-one in their homes has been the most effective way of explaining the pros of single member constituencies. I am appealing to people to join the existing group of volunteers and get out into the community to spread the word about the opportunity that Cayman now has to embrace a truly equitable and democratic voting method.”

Miller admitted that he was surprised by the premier’s announcement. “Despite the obvious ground swell of support for one man, one vote, I still expected him to hold out on the referendum,” he added. He also said it would now be interesting to see how the other UDP members took to being informed that government would be mounting an education campaign that would seek to promote multi-member constituencies because he believed some UDP members were not opposed to one man, one vote.

Embracing the opportunity to do whatever he could to ensure the May 2013 elections would be held under the principle of one man, one vote, the single member representative said the window of opportunity to convince those who were not yet decided was short but he was confident that the people would support the change.

Miller said it was also important to debunk the myths circulating about single member constituencies, in particular the fallacies of extra costs. He said people had enough common sense to realise that the country doesn’t need 18 fire stations or 18 constituency offices in Cayman. People are sensible enough to know, he added, “that they deserve better and more accountable representation.”

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