Archive for October 4th, 2012

Private sector may take on mental health care

| 04/10/2012 | 6 Comments

Man-Stressing-in-Handcuff-006.jpg(CNS): A private group is currently investigating the feasibility of constructing a long-term mental health care facility in Cayman, according to a press release from government. In the wake of the publication of a damning report by the complaints commissioner regarding the treatment of local mental health patients and their continued presence in jail, the health ministry released an update this week about the progress on the revision of Cayman’s mental health law. Officials said that a long term care facility on island would “enhance treatment and stability for patients requiring long term hospitalization,” as well as keeping patients close to family and friends, reduce costs to government and avoid potential human rights conflicts.

According to government officials, Health Minister Mark Scotland had established a National Mental Health Taskforce Committee to revise and update the current Mental Health Law. For almost a year and a half the taskforce worked on changes to the law and has gone through four drafts.

The statement said that currently the taskforce is working on the development of the Mental Health Regulations including procedures for the various detention orders, the role of the responsible medical officer, the appeals process, the detention forms for each order and the statistical reporting form.

The proposed new law will, officials stated introduce a number of changes, including a request for review which will allow a guardian or relative who is of the opinion that a person is suffering from a mental impairment to report the matter to a medical officer.

Emergency Detention Orders will allow medical officers of the opinion that a person is suffering from a mental impairment or serious mental illness to have the person detained for up to 72 hours. Observation Orders, Treatment Orders, Assisted Outpatient Treatment and orders for “temporary holding power” and “emergency medical treatment order” are some of the additional changes including the establishment of a Mental Health Commission

The Mental Health Commission will also designate a “place of safety”, which is not a “safe facility”, the statement revealed.

“The provisions for “Place of Safety” designation in the Law are there to deal with a situation where patients are so ill that they are likely to become a danger to themselves or others, and they cannot be safely managed in the standard accommodation provisions,” the statement reads. “Consideration of the safety of the patient, the other patients on the ward, and the staff members are all factors that must be taken into account when determining whether to invoke the 'Place of Safety' provisions of the law,” officials stated.

With Cayman only weeks away from the implementation of its Bill of Rights, the failure to address the issues surrounding mental health patients in particular those in jail could present a significant problem for the authorities. In many cases inmates in HMP Northward are using drugs because of mental health problems for which they are self-medicating.

See related stories:

Mental health failings persist

Man held in jail for setting fire to his own sofa


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Minister aims for best education system in world

| 04/10/2012 | 1 Comment

WTD2012_final_web_ENG (212x300).jpg(CNS): The education minister has said there is still much to be done in Cayman if the country is to achieve an education system among the best in the world. In a message to mark World Teachers’ Day on Friday, he said this year’s theme, “Take a Stand for Teachers”, encourages adequate training, professional development, and protection for teachers’ rights, which “fits well within the strategic work undertaken by my ministry over the pastfew years.”  Rolston Anglin said the education system prepared nation builders — "global innovators and lifelong learners and achievers, strong individuals and future leaders” — capable of making the Cayman Islands even better.

“Skilled, passionate teachers, who can lead, care and inspire our children to strive for and achieve success, are an important key to achieving this goal,” Anglin stated.

He said the standards achieved by students were improving and the ministry was introducing “solutions to address critical needs” in the local system. “Our teachers’ involvement in and implementation of these initiatives are one of the most important factors in their success.”

See full speech below.

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Domestic rugby returns with AR Scott 10s

| 04/10/2012 | 0 Comments

final3 (296x300).jpg(CRFU): As the CRFU summer mixed touch rugby league, one of the most popular sporting leagues in the Cayman Islands, wound down, the 9th annual AR Scott 10s tournament kicked off on 1 September much to the joy of those Cayman Rugby members who have not enjoyed the sight of local full contact rugby since the John Gibson Hangover match which featured rugby great Shane Williams in June of this year. With the DHL Cayman Storm on tour in Jamaica only 3 teams took the field, the Krys Global Buccaneers, the John Doak Architecture Iguanas and the Queensgate Pigs Trotters. (Photos Caroline Deegan)

10s, as the name suggests, is 10 a-side rugby which doesn’t provide all the contact and structure of the XV a side game (and is not as high scoring as the 7 a-side game) is played on a full pitch, 15 minutes each way and allows for rolling substitutions.

The Buccaneers and the Iguanas faced off in an early tight game which the Buccaneers won 14-0. The Iguanas controlled much of the ball early on and indeed had some strong opportunities to take control of the gamewith speedy Tom Mann providing ample breaks but the Iguanas could not finish any forays into the Buccaneer territory and it was left to Buccaneer fullback Joel Clark to seal the win for the Buccaneers.

In the second game the Pigs Trotters looked to overcome the tired Buccaneers but it wasn’t to be with the Buccaneers running ragged over the quicker, fitter Pigs Trotters. The final game of the day was also a tight affair with the Iguanas being eventually overcome in the second half to give the Pigs Trotters their first win of the tournament.

Week 2 saw the return of the DHL Storm to proceedings and provided an interesting prospect in the fact that games against the Storm counted for double points. All but the Iguanas took advantage of the double point prospect but an upset win in the opening game of the day between the Iguanas and the Pigs gave the Iguanas their first league points in the tournament! The Pigs Trotters, clearly unfazed by the loss took out the league leading Buccaneers too keep their tournament hopes truly alive and well.

The final week saw yet more exciting 10 aside Rugby with the Iguanas looking to build on their solitary win over the Pigs Trotters and were close against both the Buccaneers and the DHL Storm but the Pigs Trotters made no mistake the 3rd time round to build towards a winner take all final against the Buccaneers.

final1 (1) (500x310).jpgThe Buccaneers sealed the final win in a tournament which saw them lose only 1 game. Had the Pigs Trotters recorded a win in the final the tournament would be decided on points difference but it wasn’t to be for the young Pigs who finished the tournament in 2nd place.

The prospect of a strong Pigs Trotters side coming into the Rugby XV’s season has got the local rugby punters talking as the Pigs Trotters only recorded 1 win last season!

Final Standings:
1st: Krys Global Buccaneers
2nd: Queensgate Pigs Trotters
3rd: DHL Cayman Storm
4th: John Doak Architecture Iguanas

Contact Rugby continues this weekend at the South Sound Rugby Pitch with the kickoff of the CRFU Summer 7s series featuring a Men’s divisions and a Women’s Division with all action kicking off at 130pm.

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Courier robbed at gunpoint

| 04/10/2012 | 17 Comments

crime-scene-tape.jpgCNS): Police have confirmed that a courier was robbed by an armed man outside an insurance firm in George Town this lunchtime. An RCIPS spokesperson said that the incident took place around 1:10pm on Thursday afternoon (4 October) in the car park of the BritCay offices on Eastern Avenue. The courier from Sprint was in his vehicle when the robber who was carrying a firearm threatened the witness and made off with stolen property, police said. No details have been given about how much cash the culprit managed to get away with. He is said to be around as 5’8” to 5’ 9” in height with dark skin and made off in a Mitsubishi Galant turning right onto Eastern Avenue.

No one was injured and no shots were fired, the police stated as they appeal for witnesses to the latest armed heist which comes in the wake of news that robberies and serious crime have fallen in the Cayman Islands.

Anyone with information on the daylight stick-up is asked to contact the Drugs and Serious Crimes Task Force on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line. 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8744(TIPS)

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Three months before election registration cut-off

| 04/10/2012 | 6 Comments

vote here 2_1.jpg(CNS): The elections office is reminding unregistered people who qualify to vote to take advantageof the current registration drive. There are just three months more to go for anyone who is entitled to and would like to vote in the May 2013 General Elections to get their names on the voter’s list. The elections office has confirmed that the final day for people to make the register in time for the national poll is 2 January 2013. Registering officers in the six electoral districts are urging all unregistered persons to take advantage of the on-going drive which will continue each Saturday until 1 December from 10am  to 2pm in all districts. 

Alongside the election’s office drive, local activists from the Grasp your Future Group have also been spearheading a campaign to help take the hassle out of the registration process. When the drive started there were an estimated 10,000 people in Cayman who qualify to vote but who have never registered. Spokesperson Kenneth Bryan told CNS Thursday that things were going really well with the campaign to get as many of those as possible signed up before Cayman goes to the polls next year.

The team has already undertake a number of in-house workplace voter drives with major local companies and is planning more over the coming weeks.

photo (4).JPG“Things are going great,” said Bryan. “We have started the in house initiative where we go to major companies and register their employees there at their office. That initiative has been very fruitful.”

A little disappointed with a lower than expected number of individual calls to the drive’s hotline, Bryan was hopeful that as the election cut-off date draws closer more people will call and ask to sign up to vote. Describing the profile of those that have used the service he said many were new Caymanians.

“It is interesting to note that close to 50% of the new registration we have done have been Caymanians via status.  I take this as a good sign that everyone seems to be getting involved and will take part in the next elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, anyone wishing to go to one of the election’s office district mobile units or to the office in Smith Road must complete the relevant forms and submit supporting evidence of their qualification to be a voter. 

The registering officers also reminded those who are already registered but have changed their name, street address or occupation that under the law they must, within 3 months after such a change, give notice in writing in Form 13 to the registering officer in the electoral district where they are registered to vote. If the change of street address is within another electoral district the elector must also provide a copy of the form to the registering officer in the new district.  Failure to comply with the Law will result in the elector being removed from the register of electors if he or she is no longer ordinarily resident in the district from which he or she has moved, officials warned.

Any companies that would like in invite the Grasp your Future team into their offices to facilitate their employees registration they should contact or call 326 8556 to arrange times.

See related story on CNS Business:
Businesses help voter drive

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Civil service bosses face performance targets

| 04/10/2012 | 17 Comments

men%20with%20targets%20_267x200.jpg(CNS): The deputy governor is understood to have now completed all of the Performance Agreements that senior civil servants will now face. According to the latest minutes from Franz Manderson’s weekly meeting with chief officers released by his office, the civil service boss had planned to complete these new agreements by the end of last month. Chief officers, he said, will be expected to meet commitments set out in the Crime Reduction Strategy and the Review of the Public Service, all of which will be included in the senior public sector workers' performance agreements.

The review of how civil servants are paid and monitored has gone on for some time but the finalization of these agreements heralds a new era of accountability in the public sector

The minutes also reveal the limited progress made on an internal review of the Public Service Management Law, which covers the management of the entire civil service,  that was conducted in 2008 by a subcommittee of Chief Officers. The report was reviewed earlier this year by the portfolio of the civil service which found that of the 53 recommendations contained in the report only 18 had been implemented or were in the process of being implemented while 16 recommendations have not been agreed, 14 require further clarification and nine had been facilitated through other provisions in the Law.

The issue of how the civil service is managed, held accountable and reduced has become a critical focus for government given the increase in the cost of public service in the face of dwindling government revenue. The reviews, reports, assessments and analysis are all expected to help government cut costs.

At the same meeting the minutes also revealed that following a meeting with Robert Lewis, the Director of the Policy Coordination Unit and his colleague Jason Webster the Deputy Governor has suggested that a workshop on policy development would be beneficial to all senior Civil Servants, especially those involved in policy development.
The monthly analysis of key HR data across the civil service, the comp time policy audited accounts and the need of intern placements were some of the other issues on the agenda at the top level government meeting held on 24 September.

See released minutes below

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UK Lord is focus of probe

| 04/10/2012 | 22 Comments

lord tory toff.jpg(CNS): The director of the Cayman Islands London Office, Lord Blencathra, is the subject of an enquiry by a House of Lords committee in the UK as a result of his job with the Cayman Islands government. Although the British peer released documents in May of this year that suggested there was no probe into his appointment by the Cayman government, the office of the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards confirmed Thursday that an enquiry was underway after a complaint was filed in July. A spokesperson told CNS that the office was unable to comment as the process was on-going but a report would be delivered to the relevant committees in due course.

In May of this year, as reported on CNS, Lord Blencathra had contacted the UK Commission for Standards in Public Life for the House of Lords, supplying various documents, which he said at the time demonstrated there was no conflict of interest in him taking the job as head of Cayman’s London office. The Standards Commissioner, Paul Kernaghan, wrote back to the peer confirming that no complaint had been made and there was nothing for him to investigate.

With the confirmation that this is no longer the case and that an enquiry is now underway, local independent MLA Ezzard Miller called for the Tory peer to resign or be removed.

“This enquiry should prevent Lord Blencathra from being employed by the Cayman Islands but, given the principles displayed by this current government, it is no surprise that being under investigation presents no barrier to advancement,” the North Side representative added.

Lord Blencathra and his consultancy firm are, according to records released under the local FOI law, paid $23,000pcm to represent the Cayman Islands' interests in the UK and in Europe.

However, issues had been raised in the UK press about the potential conflict the Tory Lord faces by being paid to lobby for the Cayman Islands while retaining a seat in the House of Lords as a Conservative member. The appointment of the former Scottish MP was questioned by Labour MP Paul Flynn, and Tim Farron, the president of the Liberal Democrats, the party which is the junior partner in the current coalition government in the UK, also questioned the peer’s activities in a statement to the UK media.

Farron pointed to the controversy in the UK surrounding lobbying and tax and suggested it was “astonishing that a Tory peer is now the lead advocate in Britain for one of the world’s biggest tax havens.” He added that if the peer was using what he described as a very privileged position to “lobby for a government that wants to see money that should be for our schools, hospitals and our armed forces sailing off in luxury yachts to be stored on the Cayman Islands”, it was a “mockery” of the system.

It is understood that a complaint has now been formally filed by at least one UK Member of Parliament about the appointment, which had also raised concerns at the Foreign Office. 

In a report on Tuesday the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK revealed that papers released from the Foreign Office confirm CNS reports that the FCO had raised its concerns about the appointment, which it said previously it was not involved with.

Correspondence released to the bureau under the UK Freedom of Information law shows that when Henry Bellingham was the Overseas Territories minister he had approved Lord Blencathra taking the job, despite the potential for conflicts of interest.

Notes from an FCO meeting state that the department was “considering the implications of a member of the House of Lords being appointed on contract to an Overseas Territories government to represent its interests.” 

The FCO was also worried that there was a question of party allegiance. “The FCO had taken the view in the past that Ministers could not include MPs of their own party with no role in government in governmental meetings,” the FCO officials had noted.

At the meeting, Lord Blencathra had reportedly told the FCO that he wanted to avoid the perception of conflict and that he “had no interest in advancing his party’s politics through this job.”

Sources have also told CNS that the FCO had queried the appointment but it was made by the Cayman Premier McKeeva Bush before the UK officials had examined if indeed a conflict did exist. Bush has also since publicly complained about the governor, Duncan Taylor, attempting to stop the appointment.

During a tirade by the premier about the governor in May, in which Bush accused the UK’s representative in Cayman of “stealthily and insidiously” undermining what Bush said he was trying to do, he accused the governor of not supporting the move to take on the Tory peer.

“We have suffered unemployment. Has he tried to help us? What has he done? He has done nothing of substance to help these islands,” Bush said in a damning statement. “He opposed Dr Shetty’s hospital project and I had to tell him 'you don't like this but you have no vote in Cabinet.' He didn't support me hiring Lord Blencathra. This is just a bit of what I've had to put up with; that’s the way he has performed.”

Related articles:

No complaints about UK Lord

UK Lord costs £14k+pcm

See UK Bureau of Investigation story here.

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TV Dinosaur expert to present lecture in Cayman

| 04/10/2012 | 9 Comments

Dinosaurs%20Unearthed.jpg(CNS): Dr Phil Manning a noted palaeontologist, scientist and TV personality will be coming to the Cayman Islands next week where he will be giving a free lecture at St Matthews University. The event is part of the National Trust’s guest lecture series in partnership with the local medical school. Manning, recently hosted Jurassic CSI, a six-part series for Nat Geo TV on how dinosaurs really looked and lived. He is a leading expert on dinosaurs and heads the Palaeontology Research Group in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester, and is also a Research Fellow at the Manchester Museum.

Among his many other accolades, Manning is also a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and has collaborated on numerous international projects in Europe, South America, Australasia, and North America.

Manning loves to spread the word about issues surrounding natural history, dinosaurs, science, and environmental stewardship, officials from the Trust stated adding that his talk, entitled “Shedding Light on Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs to Birds”, will cover topics in science and the environment.

People who come along to the free talk will be invited to stay fora meet and greet with him after the lecture. It will be held at the St. Matthews University Campus located at Leeward 3, Lecture Hall 1, Regatta Office Park on 10 October at 6:00pm. Anyone interested in attending is requested to contact the National Trust in advance to reserve a spot. For more information, please contact Basia McGuire at 749-1129 or

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Church wants more cash for fit out of youth centre

| 04/10/2012 | 6 Comments

Fusion Youth Center - the completed structure (277x300).jpg(CNS): Although the Frank Sound Church of God has received around $125,000 from the controversial nation building fund alongside the money it fundraised to build a new centre for youngsters, the local pastor says the church still needs more cash to finish the project. Pastor Ellen Peguero said a further quarter of a million dollars to fit out what is currently a bare building. The church’s leaders are asking people in the Cayman community to become one of 800 people contributing of CI$312 each. Peguero said the church had received money from the government fund “for which we're very thankful as it helped us to get the centre to where it is presently–Hurricane ready."

However, now that the building is finished the pastor said more cash was needed to complete the fit out. “This money will be used to transform the Fusion Youth Centre into a state-of-the-art facility that appeals to the needs and sensibilities of young people and teenagers,” she said.

Colourful lights, an internet café, iPod docking stations, a stage for performances complete with sophisticated stage lighting and sound, music, food, pool tables and Wii stations are just some of the conveniences that are envisioned. The church will also use the Centre to provide after-school programmes for children and youth in the community.

“There is an urgent need for youth group programmes to be more relevant to the needs of today's youth,” explained Pastor Peguero.  “Our vision for the Fusion Youth Ministry is that it be an extension of what we hope is being taught to our children in the homes and schools.  We want to give our youth the tools that will help them to grow spiritually, socially and emotionally; stand firm and not give in to peer pressure; and understand their worth as the leaders of today and the future.”

Over the next few weeks the church will be reaching out to companies and individuals in the community and soliciting their support for the campaign.

“We know that our target of $250,000 is more than achievable because we believe the donation amount is reasonable,” Peguero added. “We will be offering a structured environment and a safe haven that provides wholesome and challenging activities which cater to the spiritual, social, and emotional needs of our youth.  It is these types of programmes that will curb the social and moral decay that we are currently experiencing in our country.”

The church will be hosting an open house at the Fusion Youth Centre on Sunday, 28 October where the public will be able to learn more about the Fusion Youth Ministry, hear about the plans that the church has for the building and make donations.

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Falklands braces for changes from oil wealth

| 04/10/2012 | 0 Comments

24_falklands_oil_k.jpg(Jamaica Observer): With commercial oil production projected to commence in 2017 for the 3,000 population Falkland Islands, efforts are now underway to ensure that the impending wealth does not upset the order here. According to government minister with portfolio responsibility for the sector, Dr Barry Elsby, the government of the islands is well aware of both the dangers and the advantages which come with the discovery of oil at Sea Lion field, which is north of Falkland waters. Falkland Islands is located in the South Atlantic. "It is expected that the first oil will be in a super tanker by 2017 and the Falkland islands will then become an oil- exporting nation," Dr Elsby said.

At present, the majority of the Falklands revenues come from fish exports.

"Fishing despite all the efforts we put into maintaining viable fisheries, fishing is not entirely within our control… so our economy could fail, but the oil gives us much more security. But we also recognise that it carries downsides — mass immigration, huge amounts of money suddenly hitting a small community — so we are very much aware of that," the Falkland official said.

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