Archive for November 28th, 2012

Moses crowned PPM deputy

| 28/11/2012 | 99 Comments

dennie-warren-jr-event-photographer-20121128-4681.jpg(CNS): The PPM declared Moses Kirkconnell the party's new deputy leader and the first ever official deputy leader of the opposition. Alden McLaughlin, the opposition leader, said Wednesday that the crowning of Kirkconnell was an indication of the “Progressives” advanced state of readiness ahead of the 2013 General Election and its preparations for government. McLaughlin said the announcement was the first of many that would see the party lay out its election team and the leadership that would, if the PPM is successful, form the next government. The PPM leader said he believed that he and Kirkconnell would work well together leading a new honest, competent government. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

With Kirkconnell now sworn in at the governor’s office in this key role, the opposition leader said he was increasingly confident of the Progressives ability to give the country the kind of government it needed. “I’m honoured and very privileged to have him take up this position,” McLaughlin stated, as he pointed to the post's creation under the 2009 constitution. 

“I believe we complement each other very well and have worked together since 2005,” he added, explaining that while his new deputy had not run on the PPM ticket that year, he had formally joined the government the day after the election. McLaughlin said they knew each other’s strengths and understood one another well, along with what needed to be done to lead the PPM to victory at the next election and return a credible and transparent government to office.

McLaughlin said that Kirkconnell, who was returned as the first elected member for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman at the last election, was already well supported on the Sister Islands but his reputation extended to Grand Cayman as well, since most people knew who he was and what he stood for. Seen as the business specialist in the party, McLaughlin said that Kirkconnell had concerns about the growing social problems in the community as well.

Kirkconnell said he was looking forward to working with the leader and conscious of the confidence that had been placed in him by his party colleagues. He pointed to the need for unity in the face of the continuing global economic problems and said everyone had their part to play, be it in opposition or government, in working to make Cayman a better place. He said that as time moved towards the elections, the country would be more and more pleased with the people chosen by the PPM as candidates and the direction the Progressives wanted to take the country.

Asked about his position on business issues and the ForCayman Investment Alliance, he said the party could not take a policy position until it saw more details of the project proposals. However, he said, the country needed infrastructure and there was a need to strengthen tourism. When it came to the financial sector, he said Cayman had to be 'best in class' but there was a need for diversification and new economic drivers. A supporter of the Dr Devi Shetty hospital, Kirkconnell also spoke about e-commerce and increasing efficiency.

Speaking about other developments in the party, McLaughlin pointed to the importance of setting out the team ahead of the election so that voters knew exactly who would be in government if they voted for the PPM. He said that swearing Kirkconnell in as the deputy was part of that process. The next step would be the district selections of candidates, and then the party would have a general counsel meeting in February ahead of the official election campaign launch.

“People will know in advance of the election who the leaders are if we get elected,” he said, adding that it was important to move away from the chaos and horse-trading of the past that occurred the day after the election. The PPM was now, he said, ready for the campaign.

“Over the past 18 to 20 months since I was sworn in as leader of the Progressives, we have had a challenging time reinvigorating the party, but we have done a lot of work and are now at an advanced state of readiness as far as the election campaign is concerned,” McLaughlin added.

Although it had not been easy and despite the obvious challenges in the last few months, the party had emerged strengthened and in a much better place. The opposition leader said he was confident the PPM could return to government with enlightened polices and competent honest candidates.

He revealed that the PPM would field a full slate of candidates in the districts of West Bay, Bodden Town and George Town. The new deputy would remain the single PPM representative running in Cayman Brac, and as the opposition party still has a good working relationship with its former member, Arden McLean, and the independent candidate, Ezzard Miller, they would not field any PPM candidates against either men in East End or North Side.

The opposition leader said Osbourne Bodden had confirmed his interest in running in Bodden Town again and new faces, Wayne Panton and Al Suckoo would, with party approval, join him and PPM veteran Anthony Eden on the PPM ticket for what is likely to be a crucial district in the 2013 election.

Meanwhile, in George Town he and Kurt Tibbetts would be joined by former MLA Lucille Seymour, and a new political face, Kenneth Bryan, had also expressed his interest in running in the capital as a Progressive candidate. Woody DaCosta has confirmed his wish to join the Progressives in a bid to represent the people of West Bay and McLaughlin said further candidates for both that district and George Town would be announced over the coming weeks.

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New Chamber boss demands equity for members

| 28/11/2012 | 0 Comments

Chris Duggan_0.JPG(CNS Business): The new president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce has called on government to ensure proper practices are followed in procurement procedures. Chris Duggan, who assumed his post at the annual general meeting last week, said he was not prepared to accept deviation from good governance and vowed to ensure that Chamber members were given a fair and equal opportunity to bid on all major government projects. He told members that, since they create the islands’ jobs, they should benefit from public sector developments. He also said that government must follow the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility and offered the Chamber’s support for getting public finances back on track. Read more on CNS Business

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Bush heads to Londonfor annual OT council

| 28/11/2012 | 48 Comments

Bush.jpg(CNS): The premier, the education minister, the attorney general, the cabinet secretary, the financial secretary, as well as both the premier’s chiefs of staff and his senior political assistant are leaving for London today to attend the annual meeting between British Overseas Territories and the UK Government. At a time when tensions remain high between the Cayman Islands and the FCO, McKeeva Bush will meet directly with OT minister Mark Simmonds, various UK ministers and other territory leaders, and he will also present a session on “resilient economies” at the council meeting.

Formerly the Overseas Territories Consultative Council, the annual meeting between the UK and its remaining territories is now called the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC). The new name is said to reflect the aspiration expressed in the White Paper of equal partners deliberating on matters of mutual interest.

It begins on Monday with meetings between the Caribbean OT leaders, who will be seeking a common position to present to the UK. Bush will also be having a sit down with Mark Simmonds — the first time the men will be face to face since the exchange regarding the FFR and the instructions from Simmonds for Bush to abandon the CHEC talks over the cruise berthing facilities.

The first meetings take place Thursday with pre-JMC planning with the London Office and other meetings. On Monday 3 November, the bilateral meetings begin with Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds.

“This is a very busy but important agenda. I will have the chance to get our message across to some key UK ministers,” Bush said Wednesday in a release from his press office. “I will remind them that we are a successful economy, but have gone through a deep recession. I will point out that our tourism business is continuing to expand and our financial industry is still rated among the best in the world. I will make it clear that we do not want aid or handouts – but the chance to let our entrepreneurial spirit flourish.”

Bush hoped the new format would enable the “British Government to recognize the incredible assets they have in the Overseas Territories and treat us as equal partners. The UK Government needs to recognize that the Cayman Islands, like many of the Territories, are punching above our weight. I hope that we can go forward together like true partners, using our combined strengths,” he added.

The Caribbean OT leaders are also planning to hold their strategic meeting early Monday to map out the presentation of common objectives. The pre-JMC Political Council of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) takes place on Tuesday morning, when the association will consider amendments to its constitution and the future role and direction of its work. The Political Council consist of the political leaders of the Overseas Territories. This is also another opportunity for the OT leaders to collaborate on issues before the start of the formal Council meeting later that day.

The formal JMC annual meeting begins on Tuesday afternoon with introductory remarks by Simmonds, in which he is expected to set out UK priorities. The opening session is scheduled to cover issues related to the White Paper, including legal and constitutional aspects ofthe relationship between the territories and the UK Parliament.

Bush will lead a session titled “Building successful and resilient economies”. This is a discussion of the UK’s prosperity agenda and focuses on how the UK and the territories can work together to advance the economic success of territories. Other OT leaders are expected to lead each of the deliberative sessions. The remainder of the first day’s agenda covers discussions on “The EU and the Commonwealth” and the important topic of “Health”.

Discussions on the second day cover sustainable environmental management; links between OT and UK public services, procurement, standards in public life and legal issues; sport and youth development, tackling disadvantage and discrimination, poor parenting, dissemination of Bill of Rights information; youth offending and gangs, national security councils; and raising standards in education. UK Ministers from the relevant ministries are invited to these discussions.

The Territories represented in London are: Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands, The Falklands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Turks and Caicos Islands.

As is the tradition, Premier Bush and Minister Rolston Anglin will host a reception for Caymanian university students attending school in the UK on Friday. Bush, through the London Office, will also host the Cayman Islands Government Reception on Tuesday for friends of and persons with an interest in the Cayman Islands.

The premier returns to office on 10 December. The deputy premier will be acting premier in his absence.

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