Archive for December 10th, 2012

Consultants cost $2.2M

Consultants cost $2.2M

| 10/12/2012 | 7 Comments

executives_money.jpg(CNS): The finance ministry spent more than CI$2.2 million of public money on consultants in the period from November 2009 to September 2011, according to the response to an FOI request made by a CNS reader. The applicant requested information on consultant and travel costs in the premier’s ministry. Although the response refers only to the financial part of McKeeva Bush’s areas of responsibility, it reveals that the Financial Services Secretariat alone spent more than $2 million on expert advice and around $175,000 was spent by the UK office, the Financial Services Administration and the Department of Commerce.  It also shows that the financial departments in the ministry spent over $500k during the same period on travel.

The request does not detail who the consultants were or what they were advising on but it is understood that the majority of the sum represents the contract government has with Sidley Austin, a legal firm that lobbies on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government on the political scene and in the corridors of power in both the United States and Europe.

The section referring to travel does not offer any details about who was traveling, where they went or for what reason but it indicates that between November 2009 and September 2011 the General Registry, the Department of Commerce and Investment, the Tax Information Authority, the Financial Services Secretariat, the UK office and the Financial Services Administration racked up a travel bill of more than half a million dollars. The largest sum was over $277,000, which was spent by the Financial Services Secretariat.

The request also shows that during the same period the ministry spent just $17,000 on its overseas connections via the Department of Commerce in its Hong Kong office, while it spent some $135,000 on the London office.

CNS is still waiting on the results of an FOI request, which it made to the premier’s ministry on 5 October. Although the response is more than two months late and the Information Commissioner’s Office has now intervened, the ministry has still not been able to answer the CNS request, which asked where the premier had travelled to on official business over the twelve months to October of this year, with whom, why and how much it has cost the public purse. 

The public recently made its concerns abundantly clear on the CNS comments board regarding the CI$213,000 spent on official travel by the deputy premier since she was elected to office. A story based on an FOI request that revealed the details and costs of Juliana O’Connor Connolly’s travel since June 2009 generated well over 90 comments, very few of whichwere supportive.

The revelations that the fnance ministry alone racked up more than twice that amount in just two years suggests that once the cost of the premier’s travel on behalf of his tourism portfolio is added to trips made in his role of premier, the bill will be quite significant.

Related articles on CNS:

DP racks up 200k travel bill

No sign of Mac travel FOI

Seedetails of the freedom of information request below.

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CITA members participate in Aqualung clinic

CITA members participate in Aqualung clinic

| 10/12/2012 | 0 Comments

Ted presentation 2.jpg(CITA): On Thursday, 6th December, dive equipment manufacturer Aqualung held an equipment service clinic in Cayman for 16 employees of local dive operators, all members of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). Keen to maintain the Cayman Islands' reputation as a safe diving destination, attendees were trained on how to inspect gear and identify servicing needs. A certification of training from the equipment manufacturer means dive operator employees can carry out cleaning and servicing at their local shop, saving them from having to return the equipment to the manufacturer. The Cayman Islands attract tens of thousands of visiting divers annually.

Keen to maintain the Cayman Islands' reputation as a safe diving destination, attendees were trained on how to inspect gear and identify servicing needs. A certification of training from the equipment manufacturer means dive operator employees are able to carry out cleaning and servicing at their local shop, saving them from having to return the equipment to the manufacturer. The Cayman Islands attract tens of thousands of visiting divers annually.

The training session was led by Ted Foreman of Aqualung, who sampled some of Cayman’s other tourism products during his visit from sponsors of the course, including the Westin Casuarina Resort, Budget Rent-A-Car and Cayman Airways, the islands’ self-professed ‘divers’ airline’.

The training course was coordinated by local dive shop, Divers Supply. Adam Gibbons of Divers Supply said, “Typically, this type of course would only be held at the annual Dive Equipment and Marketing Association’s (DEMA) annual expo in the US. Instead of each participant paying to travel to Las Vegas or Florida, as well as the cost of a hotel, meals, car rental and the US$250 registration fee for the clinic, this was a much more affordable training opportunity that Divers Supply was happy to coordinate.” He continued, “Because of the support from Cayman Airways, the Westin and Budget, the cost to participants was only US $125 – a true bargain to attend this training that will help our island maintain its designation as a safe place to dive.”

Another resort tech training course with will take place in January for CITA Watersports members, this time with ScubaPro. Aqualung and ScubaPro are popular brands of dive equipment in the rental fleets of Cayman Islands dive operators.

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New ID evidence fails to persuade appeal court

New ID evidence fails to persuade appeal court

| 10/12/2012 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Matio Dinnall will remain behind bars for several more years after his appeal was rejected by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal on Friday, despite the emergence of new evidence. Dinnall is serving 15 years for shooting up a Bodden Town home in a gang related incident in 2005. Despite the fact that the resident of the home, Carlos Russell, who had identified Dinnall at trial, said he no longer believed he was the man who shot at his house, Cayman’s top court was not convinced that Dinnall’s conviction was no longer safe. Although Russell attended court to say he made an honest mistake in identifying Dinnall and that he had come to believe he was wrong, the court still denied the appeal.

The three member panel of judges said they were not convinced that Russell’s original identification at trial was incorrect, because his change of heart seemed to be as a result of the constant boasting, bragging and threats of Anthony Connor, a former cell mate in Her Majesty's Prison Northward, who claimed he was the shooter, rather than any true reflection on the part of Russell over what he had seen on the night in question.

Russell, who was serving an eleven-year sentence for the manslaughter of the second man he believed had fired on his home that night, wrote to the authorities stating that he believed he could have made an honest mistake and that Dinnall was not the man who shot at him. He told the court that he had agreed to come and give evidence about his letter but he had no intentions of testifying against Connor, whom he now believes to be the man that shot at his house, as he “wanted to see him on the road and not in there”. 

In the letter he wrote about the identification, Russell explained how he had come to be convinced that he made a mistake. He noted that Connor and Dinnall looked alike and on consideration Connor had more of a motive against him that Dinnall.

However, the Court of Appeal said that while Russell may now have convinced himself that Connor, rather than Dinnall was responsible for the shooting in March 2005, it was not as a direct result of Russell reflecting on his own evidence. His state of mind, the appeal court said, appeared to be entirely as a result of an outside influence, as they reaffirmed the original conviction against Dinnall of possession of an unlicensed firearm with intent to commit an offence.

Following a judge alone trial, Dinnall, who was only 21 at the time he was found guilty, was found to have been one of two men who shot at the house in Carrington Lane, Pease Bay, during a spate of gang related gun violence on Grand Cayman in 2005.

He was convicted on the basis of testimony given by Russell, who had told the court that he crawled to a front window during the shooting to see who was firing at his house and he recognised Dinnall, who was holding a nine-millimetre gun. At the time of the trial, Russell was adamant about the accuracy of his identification and said he had known the defendant since he was a baby.

Russell also identified the second gunman as Phillip Watler, the man he later killed in a chase through the George Town Hospital. He was convicted of manslaughter as a result of provocation and was given an eleven-year sentence, part of which was served in a cell next to Connor. Russell said that Connor spent several years bragging and threatening him, resulting in him changing his mind over the true identity of the gunman. 

At the time of Dinnall’s trial however, the sitting judge, Justice Lloyd Hibbert, said he accepted Russell as a witness of truth who was reliable and not mistaken.

As a result of that evidence, Dinnall was convicted and sentenced to fifteen-years. At the time of the shooting, Russell was at home with his family, including his two-year-old grandchild, when some 27 shots were fired at the house. The gunmen were armed with a nine-millimetre hand gun and an M16 automatic assault rifle. No one was injured during the shooting,

The judge said at the time that Dinnall had not paid attention to the fact that the family was at home and he could have been facing for more serious charges.

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Miss Lassie’s home receives world monument listing

Miss Lassie’s home receives world monument listing

| 10/12/2012 | 12 Comments

lassie.jpgCNS): The Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) will be opening the restored and renovated house of one of Cayman’s most famous local artists this weekend. The 'Mind's Eye’ project, which has resulted in the preservation of the home of Miss Lassie, Cayman’s world renowned visionary artist, will officially open on 15th December. This site is where Gladwyn K "Lassie" Bush lived her entire life and extensive work has been undertaken to restore and preserve both the buildings and her paintings, many of which are on the property itself.  The unique markings on the walls add to the cultural significance of the home and earned it a place on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Watch List.

"The 2012 WMF Watch List designation is quite prestigious as it recognises the importance of the property in a global context and, by extension, the life and work of Cayman's mother of art, Miss Lassie," the CNCF stated. “It brings the local cultural heritage site, now called 'Mind's Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie', to the attention of other like-minded international institutions and gives CNCF greater leverage in seeking and obtaining funding.”

Last year the Minister for Culture announced that the government was continuing its support of the project by injecting $500,000 dollars into it over a four year period. 

"To think the Cayman Islands has a cultural treasure that shares the company of amazing sites such as the Great Wall of China, Quetzalcoatl Temple, Taj Mahal and Valley of the Kings, is truly inspiring," said Martyn Bould, Chairman of the CNCF Board.

Miss Lassie, a fourth-generation Caymanian, had never painted before the age of 62. It was only when she began to have religious visions that she picked up a paintbrush. From then until her death in 2003 she painted prolifically with any kind of paint she could lay her hands on. Miss Lassie painted not only on canvas but also on the walls, windows and ceilings of her house. Even some of her pillows and furniture were decorated with her images. 

The opening of the museum will be marked with a special celebration in partnership with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI), which will be displaying 25 original works from the CNCF collection for its 'Prayer Canvases' exhibition, which opens on 18 December until 15 March, 2013.

Natalie Urquhart, NGCI Director, said, "We are delighted to be partnering with the CNCF on the Miss Lassie exhibition 'Prayer Canvases' and to help celebrate the end of what has been a remarkable year in the preservation of her home and work. CNCF and their supporters are to be commended for their efforts in securing her legacy for future generations,"

Once Miss Lassie's House opens to the public on 15 December, the CNCF said it will offer guided tours and intuitive arts sessions. Tours will be scheduled from 10am – 11am on the second and last Saturday of each month and will be by appointment only. The waterfront duplex, known as the Mind's Eye Intuitive Art Centre, will also become available for hire for private functions and events.

Lorna Bush, CNCF Programmes and Public Education Officer, commented, “All of us at CNCF are looking forward to working even harder in the coming year as we continue the essential work of preserving the cultural heritage that tells our islands' story."

The CNCF revealed that it is still in need of cash to help maintain the national treasure for future generations. The generosity of the community has allowed the foundation to stabilise Miss Lassie's House and to partly restore the Mind's Eye Intuitive Art Centre on the property.

However, the cultural foundation says that work remains to be done and funds are still needed. It appealed to anyone wishing to make a donation to send a cheque made out to CNCF to PO Box 30201, Grand Cayman KY1-1201, Cayman Islands, or call 949-5477 for credit card or debit card donations.  To book a tour, intuitive art session or enquire about rentals, interested parties can contact CNCF at or call (345) 949 5477.

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Minister officially opens new primary buildings

Minister officially opens new primary buildings

| 10/12/2012 | 4 Comments

BTPS's New Bldg (300x271).jpg(CNS): Both Savannah Primary School and Bodden Town Primary School recently celebrated the official opening of their new school buildings, which were completed earlier this year. Aside from the new building, Savannah Primary School has also become the second government school in the Caribbean to receive International Baccalaureate (IB) Authorisation. Education Minister Rolston Aglin congratulated the school on its achievement and lauded the new classroom block. He also noted that the new facilities would allow the schools to remove the modular classrooms and extend their playing areas.

The minister said the new building would create more space for the increasing number of students at that school.

“The new building has eight classrooms containing storage rooms, adds 12,638 square feet of working and learning space, and a new library.  Along with the new building, the old library space has been converted into a vice principal’s office and two specialists’ rooms, and the two modular classrooms have been removed from the compound to create space for the reception play area.”

He explained that the new building was designed to withstand up to a category 3 hurricane and contains a disabilities elevator and restrooms for students with special needs.

With the construction of the new building, the entrance for the school has been relocated and a parking lot to the east has been created for staff members. The school has a new football field and a 200-metre four-lane walking track is being developed to the side of the site.

“As the school is now the second largest primary school on the island, it allows us to create a quality learning environment for all our students,” said Principal Brian Allen. “The school recentlyreceived authorisation to teach the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, a world renowned philosophy of education which allows students to develop into lifelong learners and to become inquiry minded. Within the PYP, attention is devoted to the creative arts, ICT and the library. The new block at Savannah allows us to fulfil all the requirements expected of this world class educational programme.”

Meanwhile, at Bodden Town Primary School the two-storey classroom and administration block adds 10,710 square feet of learning space. It includes six classrooms, each containing a restroom and storage room, a new library and a disabilities elevator. It also has an administration office for the principal and vice principal, as well as a conference room and a reception area. Along with these changes, a netball court was re-built on the school compound.

The minister said that when he first took office he toured all the schools and it was apparent that some of the primary schools were in desperate need of new facilities.

“Through the support of my cabinet colleagues, I was able to secure the funds needed for these important upgrades and am delighted today to open this new building,” he said. “I am also thrilled to have seen the modular classrooms removed from the site and the now expanded outdoor play area as a result. This further adds to the healthier and improved school environment for our Bodden Town students.”

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Committee calls on public to help fight corruption

Committee calls on public to help fight corruption

| 10/12/2012 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Following Anti-Corruption Day on 9th December, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has called on the people of the Cayman Islands to join in the fight against bribery and corruption, while promoting its confidential reporting hotline. According to the commission's annual report, this year it has received 33 complaints and conducted 149 interviews. It has served 12 letters for the production of documents and given nine reports to the legal department. So far however, only two people have been charged under the anti-corruption law and two people have been disciplined. Cayman’s small anti-corruption unit says it cannot combat the problem of corruption alone and it has called on the public to help.

The commission has remained tight lipped about the work it is undertaking and so far the only charges that have been brought are against low ranking public officials. One police officer is accused of asking for a bribe to not pursue a possible theft charge and one civilian member of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) staff is accused of misusing information.

Although the country's premier, McKeeva Bush, remains the subject of three police investigations, it has never been made clear if it is the ACC that is investigating these complaints. The three enquiries relate to what police have described as: financial irregularities; the premier's instructions over how customs should deal with a shipment of illegally imported dynamite; and a land deal which took place in 2004 relating to developer Stan Thomas.

As part of its promotional efforts to promote public awareness regarding corruption, the commission said that corruption threatens Cayman’s development, democracy and stability.

“It distorts financial markets, curbs economic development and discourages inward investment,” the commission says in a flyer circulated to mark the international day. It continues, “ultimately corruption erodes public services and your trust in public officials. The Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) calls on the public service, private sector and NGOs to implement anti-corruption policies that promote sound ethical performance collectively."

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Cops launch crime initiative to combat burglary

Cops launch crime initiative to combat burglary

| 10/12/2012 | 17 Comments

burglar (230x300)_0.jpg(CNS): With well over 400 burglaries committed in the Cayman Islands this year, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is launching a new burglary prevention campaign and urging residents and business owners to join forces with the police. Chief Inspector Frank Owens said the number of homes and businesses being violated by burglars is still a serious concern, even though the figure fell this year. As a result, in an effort to make people more security conscious and reduce the opportunities available to burglars to convert stolen goods into cash, the RCIPS is launching a crime prevention initiative later this week.  Neighbourhood officers will be at various locations on Friday launching a new scheme to register valuables with the police.

An RCIPS spokesperson said that police will be available to meet with members of the community and discuss crime prevention issues. They will also encourage people to take part in the new scheme where they can voluntarily lodge details of their valuables and electronics with the RCIPS. The collation of property details – to include make, model, serial number and descriptions – will, if a burglary does take place, help officers quickly track down that property when the burglar attempts to make a fast buck by selling it on.

“From 1st January to 25th November this year 408 burglaries were reported in the Cayman Islands, representing a decrease of 43 when compared to the same period in 2011,” Owens said. “The number of homes and businesses being violated by burglars is still a serious concern for the RCIPS. That’s why it’s important that we continue to do all that we can to make sure people are provided with the right information about how to make their homes and business more secure.  This is about us all working together to reduce the opportunities available to would-be burglars."

He said simple crime prevention steps can make premises less vulnerable and it will reducethe opportunities available to burglars. “If a break-in does occur, then the database of property will help cut off the options available for burglars to sell on their stolen goods. That, in turn means that the odds of them being caught and hauled before the courts greatly increase.”

People who attend the event on Friday will be provided with property forms – aptly named NAB forms (Neighbours Against Burglary). They will be asked to complete the forms and then return them to their local police station. The information will be logged in a database, which will be available to the RCIPS investigation teams.

Officers will also be taking steps to encourage retailers to maintain a database of the property they sell, again to include serial numbers. In addition, they will be asked to include serial numbers on the receipts of the goods they sell. Officers will be visiting business premises throughout all three islands in the next few days to request that staff sign-up to the scheme.

Owens also reminded those who may be tempted to buy items privately that the onus is on them to satisfy themselves that the sale is legitimate.

“If the item is being offered at a price that just seems too good to be true, or the seller can’t provide proof of where he or she purchased it, then it may be stolen property. If you decide to take the risk and buy it then you too could end up facing charges in court and ultimately spend time in jail," the senior cop warned.

Officers will be at the following locations between 11.30am and 2.00pm on Friday, 14December:

Foster's Supermarket, Airport.
Kirk's Supermarket, Eastern Avenue.
Hurley’s Supermarket, Shamrock Road.
Foster's Supermarket, Countryside, Savannah.
Republics Plaza, West Bay.
Foster's Supermarket, East End.
Tibbett’s Supermarket, Cayman Brac.

Everyone is encouraged to go along and talk about crime prevention issues with the Neighbourhood Officers. Those who can’t make it to the event can contact their local police station for advice. NAB forms are also available on the RCIPS website and can be uplifted from local police stations from Friday 14 December.

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FCO wants good governance

FCO wants good governance

| 10/12/2012 | 23 Comments

simmonds (235x300).jpg(CNS): The British government has said that it expects democratic and accountable government in its territories and that it is committed to adopting and implementing the highest international standards to combat corruption and bribery. Making a commitment to help territories to reform their public servicesand improve expertise, the UK has said it wants to see the territories adopt and implement the seven principles of public life established by the UK’s own integrity committee. In the communiqué, which came out of the recent Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is once again pushing the good governance agenda hard.

Although Premier McKeeva Bush has been railing against bureaucracy following instructions from the UK on adopting the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) and shutting down the talks with China Harbour Engineering Company on the cruise port facilities, the FCO is not letting up on the pressure regarding the need to follow process.

Talking about the necessity for well managed public finances, the agreement reached between the territories and the UK also focuses on integrity.

“We believe in transparency over public finances and the need to strengthen assurances, as necessary, that public spending delivers overall value for money. We also believe in open, transparent and competitive procurement processes which are operated and applied in accordance with international standards. We are committed to building and preserving those institutions required to promote and protect good governance, while respecting and preserving their independence," the communiqué states.

The UK and the territories have agreed to work together on a list of priorities, including the need to put in place and implement codes of practice for ministers, parliamentarians and public servants.

The list also includes the needs: to strengthen public financial management and ensure it is undertaken transparently and is open to external scrutiny; to strengthen public sector procurement as necessary in line with good international practice; for each territory to adopt a framework for public finances that demonstrates a commitment to limits on borrowing; to build reserves; build a strong and sustainable revenue base; ensure transparency and accountability and effective budgeting and management of expenditure; and to monitor and take action to mitigate fiscal risks and ensure that liabilities are sustainable.

Attached to the communique are the 'Seven Principles of Public Life', which were established by the UK Committee on Standards in Public Life for all who serve the public in any way, and the FCO is pressing the territories to adopt the principles. Given the perceptions of government corruption, it remains to be seen how the UK will measure whether or not territory governments are adhering to the principles.

Politicians and all public servants in Cayman and the UK's fifteen other territories will now have to adhere to the principles, which include integrity, selflessness, accountability, openness and honesty among others.

“Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends,” the principles state. “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”

See communiqué in full below.

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Lawyers’ law still not right

Lawyers’ law still not right

| 10/12/2012 | 72 Comments

law_books.png(CNS): The president of the Cayman Islands Law Society, Alasdair Robertson, has made it clear that the latest draft of the proposed revision of the legal practitioner’s law is still not acceptable to the profession.  He stated that the industry will need more time for consultation and that it will be submitting extensive comments to the draft currently on the table. The on-going impasse with lawyers and government over the bill seems set to continue, despite the premier’s recent comments that this draft had to form the basis of the law which he wanted to see the new draft reach the Legislative Assembly early next year .

“We are going to make extensive comments on this latest draft,” Robertson said, adding that he wished government had opted for a previous draft of the law which had been drawn up by the profession based on a commitment paper. “An updated legal practitioner’s law is both necessary and long overdue. It has been delayed because of concerns raised over the practice of Caymanian law outside the islandand because of other issues regarding Caymanian and aspiring attorneys.”

The continuing impasse on the proposed law is that this latest bill directly ties immigration issues, commitment to the community, and the training and promotion of Caymanian attorneys to the criteria for firms to qualify for an overseas practitioner’s licence, which Robertson says is far too subjective. He warned that local law firms would need more certainty attached to the requirements for this important license and would not seek to grow overseas business if their license depends on so many variables and possible interpretations.

Speaking publicly about the draft law on behalf of the profession at a press briefing in Ugland House last week, Robertson denied that Cayman law firms’ overseas offices were ‘outsourcing’ work, maintaining that overseas offices were exactly the opposite as they acted as a marketing tool in different jurisdictions to bring work to Cayman. However, he said, those satellite offices needed to be regulated to advance the profession internationally and to separate the real Cayman firms from the equivalent of legal cowboys who advertise practicing Cayman law without any connection to the islands.

The Law Society head said that things had changed in the local legal profession and successful Caymanians were now advancing in the sector, with many local students finding articles with the big firms. He said the new bill could not be about punishing the profession for the wrongs of the past.

The controversy has mounted since the publication of the latest draft, which was formed by local lawyers Theresa Pitcairn, Sherri Bodden-Cowan and Samuel Jackson. There have been accusations made about the draft law being based on sour grapes, not least because Pitcairn has taken issue with her previous firm, Maples and Calder, accusing it of discrimination.

Nevertheless, the issue of discrimination in the profession against local lawyers is an enduring one, and despite the claims by Robertson that the profession is now a meritocracy, complaints of bias persist. Pitcairn is by no means the only Caymanian attorney to highlight the issue.

She and others involved in the creation of this law are hoping to guarantee access to the profession for locals by tying in overseas practice licences to a bigger commitment to promoting and developing local law students in general.

However, Robertson insisted that in order to compete effectively and continue the success of the offshore industry and in turn be in a position to employ more local lawyers, Caymanian firms had to employ the brightest and the best. He said Caymanian lawyers also recognised the importance of meritocracy as it affected them too. He said smart young Caymanian lawyers wanted to be rewarded for hard work and commitment, and did not want to see those who had not worked as hard as them advance simply because of birth right.

Robertson said the profession had real concerns that its membership was not being listened to and that Cayman could end up with a very bad law that would damage the offshore profession. He said he was not scaremongering but there was a very real danger that if government did not get the law right, firms would leave. He added that the profession wanted to make constructive and positive comments on the bill and he hoped that logic and reason would prevail.

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Cayman joins in Human Rights Day

Cayman joins in Human Rights Day

| 10/12/2012 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Finally, back up with a Bill of Rights, the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission (HRC) joins today's world-wide celebration of International Human Rights Day.  In light of the recent implementation of the local bill, the HRC urged the country to remain dedicated to the cause of promoting, protecting and preserving human rights.  “We urge all persons to peacefully and democratically assist in the campaign of raising awareness for human rights, observing human rights principles, and working to hold the government and public officials accountable for infringements of human rights,” the commission stated.

Encouraging everyone to participate in this year’s observance and to reflect on the meaning, importance and need for human rights, the HRC said it was an institution supporting democracy and that it supports the notion that there are universal rights and fundamental freedoms that governments are obligated to secure for everyone in the country.

This year marks the 64th anniversary of the ratification of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “All human beings are born free and equalin dignity and rights;” and that “the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Although the Declaration is not legally binding, the principles are supported by the international community, including the Cayman Islands.

For more information on the Human Rights Commission or to learn more about the Bill of Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities, call 244-3685, visit the website: or

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