Archive for September 26th, 2012

Mac may reject some of FFR

| 26/09/2012 | 69 Comments

rejected-stamp.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier has said that he has not committed to making the entire Framework for Fiscal Responsibility he signed with the UK last year into law. In a statement released by his office Wednesday, McKeeva Bush, who is currently in Greenland, contradicted comments from the governor’s office about when the document will be made law and how much of it will make the statue books. Evidence of further difficulties in the relationship between the premier and the governor, Bush said the office had created a “misleading picture” of what he had discussed in London last week with the new OT minister Mark Simmonds.

“The statement from the Office of the Governor regarding assurances given by Premier McKeeva Bush to Minister Mark Simmonds during a 20 September courtesy call that the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility will be transposed into law 'no later than 9 November 2012' has omitted important information that creates a misleading picture of what was discussed,” the statement from the Premier’s Office said.

Bush was in London on Thursday and made a courtesy call on the new UK minister, which his office said was initiated by the Cayman leader, who was on his way to Denmark and then Greenland.

The meeting reportedly included the premier’s Chief of Staff Leonard Dilbert, his Senior Political Assistant Richard Parchment and Cayman’s UK representative Lord Blencathra. Bush was said to have reassured Simmonds that Cayman would cooperate in putting the FFR into law.

“However, Premier Bush also stressed that it was necessary, and important, for the government to consult with the private sector on the FFR prior to the bill going to the House. At no point did the premier indicate that the entire FFR as was signed in 2011 would be enacted in law," the Premier’s office stated, adding that this was not made clear by the Governor’s Office this week.

During the meeting the premier was said to have confirmed that the FFR bill was going to the House on 5 November but no further timing on the legislation was given except to say that  it “should take no more than a few days to have it passed and to have the UKG, give assent to it, to bring it into effect."

According to Bush's office, he “could not and did not give the specific date of the 9 November, contrary to what is now being reported in the governor's statement. The date from the premier was the 5 November. That is the date the House will resume.”

The UK said recently however, that he agreement which was signed between Bush and the former UK FCO minister for the territories in November last year had to become law in the Cayman Islands by the end of September as a condition for the UK’s approval of the 2012/13 budget.

However, this is the first official and wider public comment the premier made about his decision not to honour that commitment and the revelation that he does not necessarily intend to implement the FFR as it is.

The opposition leader and both the independent members of the House have expressed their concerns about the premier’s reluctance to pass the FFR into law and the continued deterioration of the relationship between Cayman and the UK.

CNS has contacted the Governor’s Office and is now awaiting official comment regarding the latest development in Cayman-UK relations.

Meanwhile, in the same statement from the Premier’s Office, the issue of Bush’s attendance at the EU-OCT meeting in Ilulissat was addressed. The office said the premier was going to the EU territories meeting in Greenland to deal with possible measures that if not addressed, could negatively impact Cayman's financial services industry.

See the full statement below.

Related articles:

Mac heads for frozen north

FFR won't make UK deadline

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Beach sellers face clamp down

| 26/09/2012 | 64 Comments

3780419-Beach_Vendor_Varadero.jpg(CNS): Despite the tough economic times, the government has issued a warning to vendors who set up shop in public spaces, in particular beaches, without a valid Trade and Business License that they will be prosecuted. There is a growing number of people selling a variety of craft, cultural items and local produce around the island recently, including on Seven Mile Beach and the West Bay public beach. Officials said Wednesday that the goal of the clamp down was to prevent vendors from harassing visitors and to maintain Cayman’s place as a premium destination. The Trade and Business Licensing Unit said that at the start of next year all illegal public vendors could face prosecution but public beaches are the primary concern.

The unit is now working with the Parks Unit, tourism and the RCIPS to ensure that vendors are not violating the law. Anyone found guilty of contravening section 163 of the Penal Code is liable to a $1,000 fine for the first offence, and a $5,000 fine and imprisonment of up to six months for the second offence.

“If vendors are found without a valid trade and business license after 1 January, they will be immediately prosecuted by the RCIPS,” said TBL’s head of business licensing and enforcement, Ryan Rajkumarsingh. “And as far as using the public cabanas on Seven Mile Beach for vending purposes, this is strictly prohibited. These are intended for leisurely use by beachgoers only.”

TBL will consider granting licenses to individuals who have received Cabinet approval to use public property to carry on their trades, Rajkumarsingh said. However, this was dependent on the type of business and said that individual must also meet requirements from various government departments such as planning; environment, for food handling; and DoT, for PRIDE customer service training.

Rajkumarsingh acknowledged that an immediate prosecution of vendors who are breaking the law may pose a threat to their livelihood. “We therefore are offering a grace period of three months to give persons time to get in compliance with the law,” he said.

“But this grace period will definitely end on 31 December 2012,” he emphasised. “It is important for vendors to know that there are serious repercussions for not having a valid trade and business license.”

Department of Tourism Director Shomari Scott said the goal was to prevent visitors from being harassed, not to hinder vendors.

"DoT welcomes vendors offering visitors and residents a taste of our culture and heritage in public spaces. However, it should never occur to the extent where our visitors and residents begin to feel harassed,” said Scott.

“We support the Department of Commerce and Investment and its Trade and Business Licensing Unit in their enforcement campaign to manage and regulate public vending on our beaches. We hope all business persons see this campaign not as a hindrance, but as an initiative to ensure the Cayman Islands maintains its place as a premier tourism destination,” he added.

Scott said anyone dealing with visitors had to meet certain standards and pointed to the DoT’s PRIDE programme created in 2008 as a baseline for customer service across the local tourism product.

"It is important that persons who are interfacing with our visitors are equipped with the necessary tools to provide the best experience possible,” said Scott. “Our guests continue to choose our destination because of the ‘no-hassle’ factor and the wonderful spirit of relaxation and safety which we provide. We should endeavour to maintain this element in all manners possible,” he added.

Officials said that to get a trade and business licence they can visit the Trade and Business Licensing Unit’s website at www.dci.gov.ky, or call 945-0943 to find out the requirements for setting up a business. Potential vendors must obtain permissions from the relevant Government departments/agencies and Cabinet and complete the PRIDE training certification programme.

Once all of the approved documents re submitted to the Trade and Business Licensing Unit the application will be considered for license.

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Ritz brand to remain despite hotel auction

| 26/09/2012 | 0 Comments

auctioneer (300x297).jpg(CNS Business): It is business as usual at Cayman’s only five-star resort, the Joint Receivers at the Ritz-Carlton said Tuesday, despite the fact that the hotel is on the auction block. KMPG, appointed by the new owners of Cesar Hotelco (Cayman) Ltd, CondoCo Grand Cayman Resort Ltd, Cesar Properties Ltd and CondoCo Properties Ltd, the companies seized from the developer by RC Cayman Ltd, said the sale would include the long-term management agreement with The Ritz brand. Next month’s auction was described by the firm as “part of the process” for the lender to recover its debt and will have no impact on the hotel and the guest experience. Read more on CNS Business

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Football training session heralds relaunch of PFL

| 26/09/2012 | 0 Comments

pfl training (238x300).jpgCNS): The first-ever training course for Primary Football League for coaches, parents and volunteers took place recently as a first step on the road to re-launching the local grassroots football programme.  Jeffrey Webb, President of CIFA and the regional boss for the international footballing body FIFA said improving grass roots football was one of the main goals of the association. The course was sponsored CUC who also sponsor the Primary Football League. With the success of the course and the assistance of various associations, the PFL Committee now has plans for a referee and a first-aid course as they strive to improve youth football on and off the field.

“The partnership between CIFA, CUC and the PFL Committee to offer the training course for PFL coaches, parents and volunteers is the first step towards re-launching CIFA’s Grassroots Programme later this year,” said Webb in a release from CUC. “One of our main focusses going forward will be on grassroots football, and I am thankful that we are able to work with CUC and the PFL Committee in this regard.”

The 10-hour PFL Coaches Training Course was based on FIFA’s Grassroots Programme and was facilitated by Marcos Tinoco, CIFA’s General Manager and a FIFA Grassroots Instructor.

The training course, which took place at the George Town Primary School, focused primarily on core areas of the Grassroots Programme including the philosophy of Grassroots Football, FIFA Fair Play Code, the coach-educator, the basic techniques, the characteristics of children, the educational approach, the Grassroots football session, example exercises, small-sided games and field and material preparation. A review of the

PFL Laws of the Games was also included in one of the sessions.
The course concluded on Saturday, September 22 at the Annex Field with a practical session for participants when participants incorporated some of the skills, techniques and drills they learned during the course as they worked with Under 11 and Under 12 players from the PFL Youth Programme and the Cayman Prep School.

 

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Professionals opt to swap to teaching career

| 26/09/2012 | 32 Comments

teacher.JPG(CNS): In a bid to increase the pool of home grown teachers, the Ministry of Education has joined forces with the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom to offer a local post graduate teaching course. Thirteen would-be teachers have signed up for the new Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) one year course, including ten Caymanians. All of the graduates are professionals in other fields who have opted to make a career change to teaching. “We need passionate, dedicated, hardworking and highly-skilled teachers in our education system to shape our youth and provide our students with the best opportunities,” Rolston Anglin told the inaugural class.

The local manager for the programme is Cetonya Cacho, the former Principal of Bodden Town Primary School, who explained that the course is a blend of online and practical study. Theoretical course information, readings and assignments will be provided through online distance learning from the University of Sunderland and this will then be directly linked to school experience in classrooms in the Cayman Islands.

During the school experience, PGCE students will have opportunities to put theory into practice with the support of a mentor teacher,” she said.  The mentors are experienced teachers from the Government’s Education System who have volunteered to provide this service.

Cacho said a large component of the course includes weekly workshops on national strategies and school initiatives, such as the Cayman Islands National Professional Standards for Teachers.

Mary Rodrigues, chief officer in the ministry, congratulated the candidates on passing the rigorous selection processes administered by the ministry and the University of Sunderland, and on their desire to become teachers. “Teaching is a wonderful profession that too many people overlook as a potential career path. Work hard and focus on the difference you can make in a child’s life,” she said.

The PGCE is offered annually, starting each September, to interested persons who hold a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. The main aim of a PGCE is to provide anyone aspiring to a career in teaching in primary schools with the professional training and experience necessary to develop as effective and reflective teachers.

Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler said teachers have a great responsibility for every child in a classroom. “It is very important that, no matter how hard it seems, you have a positive attitude and create a positive learning environment," she advised the would-be teachers. “You control the weather in your classroom and as a result of this, your students control the climate of our country.”

For more information on the PGCE please visit www.education.gov.ky or email teachcayman@gov.ky.

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Girls encouraged to join ranks of cadet corps

| 26/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(xfs_890x300_s54_900_DSC_1149.jpgCNS): With the first every female Commandant in the Caribbean region now at the helm of the local Cadet Corps the military boss is hoping to attract other young women to its ranks. Lieutenant Colonel Bobeth Daley-O’Garro said she wanted to see more females involvement and as adult instructors, as she believes the Corps is a great way to develop leadership skills. “The Corps is a place for women to thrive, build confidence, and learn about themselves,” she said recently.   “Women may hold any position in the Corps, and female enrolment in the Cayman Islands has increased consistently over the last 10 years.”

Lt. Col. O’Garro holds a Master of Education in Counselling, a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology (Major) and Sociology (minor), said that already half of the current recruits are female and the corps activities provide participants the opportunity explore various areas of interest.

Ten years after joining the Cadet Corps on secondment from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, she was appointed the first-ever female Commandant to be a chairperson of the Caribbean Commandant Association.  She is a recipient of the Caribbean Cadet Medal for her service in the development of cadetting in the Cayman Islands and is also a recipient of the Cayman Islands Cadet Long Service Medal, Disaster Mitigation medal for services given during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, Dean and Paloma; as well as the Good Conduct and Meritorious Service Medal.

Major Ricardo O. Henry, Adjutant Training Officer said her work has been instrumental in keeping the Corps going. “She goes above and beyond the call of duty; is always the first to volunteer when help is needed and is seen at nearly all of our activities.  She has a way of making Cadets, parents, and volunteers feel at ease and welcome.  We are extremely proud and feel lucky to have her leading our Cadets,” he added.

The Cadet Corps has places for 70 recruits this year. The deadline for applications is this Friday 28 September and the programme is due to start 6 October.  Interested persons can contact the Cadet Corp at 345 946 9810 for registration information or visit www.cicadetcorps.ky. Students attending JGHS, CHHS and Triple CCC can obtain forms at their schools.

 

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Gas leak causes temporary supermarket shut-down

| 26/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Fosters supermarket in Savannah has re-opened the store was forced to close its doors to customers in the face of a gas leak on Wednesday morning. The Countryside branch of the local store was shut down by management  until technicians dealt with the problem. “The store was temporarily closed for about an hour as there was a Freon gas leak,” Ayiesha DeCoteau the Marketing Manager stated. “To ensure the safety of our customers and employees and also ensuring they are provided with the best customer service and shopping experience possible we found it necessary to close the store until that situation was rectified.” The store has now resumed its regular business hours.

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Professor continues push to exonerate Garvey

| 26/09/2012 | 14 Comments

marcus_garvey_mdm.jpg(CNS): Following a popular presentation on 18 September at Miami Dade College, Florida, Professor Geoffrey Philp said he would be giving another performance of “Marcus Garvey: (Still) The Most Dangerous Black Man" next month. The lecture will support the ongoing drive to raise 2,000 signatures for a petition to persuade US President Barack Obama to exonerate the late Jamaican national hero. In 1925 Marcus Garvey began serving a five-year sentence in the US penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, for mail fraud. "The injustices committed against Marcus Garvey, including the denial of his most basic human rights will be highlighted," Professor Philp said about his second presentation.

The lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy’s "Dive into Democracy" campaign and Philp combines texts, music, and video in his presentation on the man who inspired millions of followers with his messages of black pride and self-reliance.

The Jamaican government recently announced plans to introduce a new mandatory civics programme in its schools that will teach students Garveyism. Although students are taught some of the less controversial values the leader promoted, the school curriculum previously omitted any mention of Garvey’s promotion of a “Back to Africa” movement, his use of the title “provisional president of Africa” and a campaign for racial separation, born of the conviction that whites would never allow blacks justice. American civilrights pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois once called him “the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race”.

“The teaching of Garveyism in schools is something that politicians of all stripes have shied away from, partly because of their own intellectual ignorance and partly because they don’t know what to make of this complex subject,” said Robert Hill, a Garvey expert who is professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Born nearly 50 years after the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, Garvey founded the United Negro Improvement Association in 1914 on the island, and then built it into a mass movement in New York from 1919 to 1927. He established a network of “Liberty Halls” as venues for political debate, theatre and scholarship around black themes, raising awareness of African achievements and calling for economic empowerment to circumvent racism. Garvey urged people find pride in their African history and assured the descendants of slaves that there were no limitations to what they could accomplish.

A petition was launched earlier this year, which is the 125th anniversary of Garvey’s birthday, by the Celebrations Committee, Institute of Caribbean Studies, and the Rootz Foundation Inc, which launched the drive the same year that Jamaica celebrated 50 years of Independence.

“The petition has the full support of Dr Julius Garvey, Marcus Garvey’s son,” said Justin Hansford, legal counsel. “We hope that this effort will help to undo the historic miscarriage of justice.”

The petition currently has 1,805 signatures and can be signed at SignOn.org

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Major Atlantic weather satellite out of action

| 26/09/2012 | 1 Comment

vis-l_7.jpg(CNS): An important weather satellite that monitors Atlantic hurricanes has been shut down, as a result of a number of technical glitches, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials have stated. The US weather agency has activated a spare satellite as a result of the erratic behaviour of the GOES-13, which tracks weather and hurricane traffic along the East Coast of the USA and across the Atlantic. NOAA said engineers shut down the satellite on Sunday and are still trying to diagnose the source of the problems.  A spokesperson said there could be a decrease in the accuracy of weather forecasts and NOAA is checking to see if hurricane forecasting could be affected.

"GOES-14 will remain the primary GOES satellite over the Atlantic basin and Continental U.S. until the imager and sounder data issues on GOES-13 can be fully diagnosed and hopefully fixed," NOAA officials said Monday.

The failure of "GOES-13" has left a gap for meteorologists in the eastern Atlantic and experts say this is likely to make monitoring of tropical storms more difficult. According to Accuweather the substitute satellite may be better than nothing but not perfect as images over the eastern Atlantic, are distorted because of the position of the temporary replacement satellite farther west.

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NRA denies forced job cuts

| 26/09/2012 | 46 Comments

roads (241x300).jpg(CNS): Government officials have denied speculation that the National Roads Authority (NRA) will be laying off as many as fifty members of staff before the end of the year. The deputy premier has stated that her ministry will not be making any forced job cuts and that the roads authority was managing its own budget and personnel issues. Officials from the ministry responsible and the NRA board chair held a meeting with employees at the authority Monday to quash what they said were rumours regarding redundancies. However, the need to cut costs was made clear by the board chair, Colford Scott, who asked staff to work together to achieve that.

The news of the meeting comes three months after Scott, in his capacity as board chair, wrote to the former NRA managing director, Brian Tomlinson, laying him off as a result of downsizing at the department.

Last week, speaking at a Public Accounts Committee meeting at the Legislative Assembly, Tomlinson said the NRA had been downsizing for the last three years and staffing levels had been reduced gradually through the departure of ex-pat workers on contract and retirees who were not replaced. Tomlinson was giving evidence in relation to a $3.5 million public roads project in Cayman Brac, where half a million dollars of public money had been used to pave private driveways and commercial parking lots.

He revealed that when the ministry began the Brac paving project, it was the NRA team and equipment which were moved over to the Sister Islands, even though that project was undertaken by the ministry and District Administration, not the NRA. Tomlinson revealed that during the controversial project the NRA had acted merely as an agent on the project and was essentially depleted of resources by it. This forced the NRA to turn to the private sector paving companies on Grand Cayman, such as ARCP and Island Paving, and contract them to undertake the regular maintenance of the roads on Grand Cayman.

Since then, there have been concerns from staff at the NRA that the authority could be downsized to merely a technical organisation, with the work of actually laying and paving roads being distributed between public works and the private sector companies on contract.

During Monday’s meeting with NRA employees Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor Connolly reportedly denied that jobs would be forcibly cut from the authority.

“My ministry is not involved in compulsory personnel cuts,” she told NRA staff, according to a release from her ministry. Stating that the ministry was not directly involved in personnel mattersas that was in the hands of the board, she said she felt that she had to reassure staff that the rumors concerning 50 job losses at the authority before December were not true.

“It is not the ministry’s purview to lay off any staff at the NRA,” O’Connor Connolly said. “Government departments and statutory authorities have been given their own funds to work with and we have to live within our respective budgets. Just like we all do, even in our personal lives.”

Scott, the NRA chair, also denied any impending layoffs and asked staff to concentrate on working together to find ways to cut back on spending and maintain the good name of the NRA.

“We need to find ways to improve efficiencies, and continue our progress and staff can assist in that process. You all work in the field; you know your jobs, so if you have any suggestions on how we can fine-tune the work, then please let your supervisor know. We are all in this together and we must work together to find solutions,” he added.

Related articles:

Government road boss fired

Brac paving left NRA short

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