Archive for April 22nd, 2013

PPM vows to pass ethics law

PPM vows to pass ethics law

| 22/04/2013 | 69 Comments

alden (2) (229x300).jpg(CNS): With the latest revelations regarding the Nation Building Fund and the conflicts of interest faced by members of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority Board, the PPM has committed to passing legislation to enable the Commission for Standards in Public Life to fulfill its constitutional mandate. The commission has been waiting for such a law for several years and has been forced to sit by and watch mounting allegations of corruption among public officials without being able to act. However, the Progressive party has made a promise to pass the necessary laws as quickly as possible and to also strengthen the standards of good governance and existing anti-corruption legislation. (Photo Mark Lewis)

In its latest report the commission stated that the final draft of the Standards in Public Life Bill was submitted to Cabinet via the deputy governor. At a recent press briefing, asked why the law had not been considered, Premier Juliana O'Connor-Connolly said that because all Cabinet deliberations were confidential she would need to seek leave to explain this to the public. In the interim, the commission remains unable to take any action regarding questions over conflicts of interest or poor ethical standards facing politicians, civil servants, board members or other public officials.

However, the PPM leader said  that the revelations in Monday’s CNS article, "Airport board in conflicts", was just one more reason why it is time for new leadership in Cayman and that this must end if Cayman is to move forward to a positive future. Alden McLaughlin said the backroom deals and shady activities will end when the people of Cayman return a PPM government next month.

“Conflicts of interest are never good for the people of Cayman but without proper oversight, as we have seen for the past four years, they have become a way of life in Cayman. This behaviour will end with the Progressives pledge not to appoint members to statutory boards whose personal or business interests could cause any conflicts of interest to arise,” he said.

With a track record of passing legislation dealing with good governance and transparency, McLaughlin promised more good governance and anti-corruption legislation.

“We have a proud history of doing what is right in this regard. We enacted the Freedom of Information Law in 2007 and the Anti-Corruption Law in 2008. We are going to go further by enacting legislation to give effect to the Commission for Standards in Public Life once we are returnedto office on May 22nd,” the PPM leader added.

The continued revelations regarding the Nation Building Fund has also raised concerns for the PPM leader, who said that the fund, “championed by the disgraced UDP leader McKeeva Bush", was was just another one of the many ways he and his party and the splintered PNA have betrayed the hard working people of Cayman.

“What we face is a lack of transparency and accountability by the UDP and the PNA as political organisations,” McLaughlin said. “Churchgoers in Cayman need to understand that the Progressives, as a responsible government, will continue to support their programs through transparent and prudent means. It is not okay to continue the UDP and PNA controversial, back-room dealings, because with a system like that nobody wins."

Saluting the two churches which have agreed to give back the cheques doled out in the latest round of grants, he said, “All non-profits and faith-based organizations must understand that there needs to be a level playing field, and that only happens when supported programs, scholarships and initiatives are clear, organized and out in the open, as will happen under a Progressive government,” McLaughlin added as he promised voters a return to transparency and integrity.

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PNA hope for coalition

PNA hope for coalition

| 22/04/2013 | 55 Comments

cline (258x300)_0.jpg(CNS): Members of the People’s National Alliance are crossing their fingers and hoping they will be part of a coalition on 23 May as they begin their official campaign for re-election. With only five candidates in the political race, Premier Juliana O’Connor Connolly, Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin and Cabinet members Mark Scotland, Dwayne Seymour and Cline Glidden will need to join forces with independents or even their former UDP colleagues if they have any hope of regaining office. So far, however, only the premier has said she would not rule out working with former premier McKeeva Bush in a coalition if the people of Cayman Brac wanted her to serve as a Cabinet minister.

No other members of the PNA have commented yet on how they feel about being part of a new UDP government with Bush at the helm. Given that they supported the motion brought by the opposition and PPM leader Alden McLaughlin that removed the former premier from office, a return to government with him on 23 May would undermine the stand the members of the minority government took following Bush’s arrest and subsequent charge for theft and anti-corruption offences.

Cline Glidden, the least likely to return to a Bush-led government, told CNS Thursday that there were many good independent candidates running in this election. As a result, the PNA, which has used the word Alliance in its name deliberately, will be hoping to form a coalition government with the help of candidates running on the C4C ticket or those that are running on their own platforms. Glidden had intended to leave the political scene at this election and it wasn’t until he joined forces with his PNA colleagues against the former leader that his interest in retaining his West Bay seat was re-ignited.

Getting off to a slow start with the campaign, the members of the minority government will be launching their official bid for political office this week with meetings in Bodden Town on Monday and West Bay on Tuesday. Although no dates have been set for Brac meetings for the PNA, O’Connor-Connolly is campaigning on her own on the island, starting with a rally in Watering Place last Saturday, and is almost certain to be returned. The focus for the new alliance will be on the four men who are facing a much harder battle.

Glidden acknowledged that the situation for him and his West Bay running mate Anglin, as well as his Bodden Town colleagues Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour, were much tougher. He explained that, as a result of the PNA’s split from the UDP, their role in the downfall of the UDP administration and the ousting of Cayman’s first premier from office following his arrest last December, the government members have spent the last few weeks engaging in smaller yard meetings, where they could answer direct questions about those events.

“We didn’t feel that we could get up on a formal political platform and start talking about future policies until we had answered voters' questions about the events at the end of last year,” he said. “We felt that was better achieved in smaller settings where people could interact with us, and rather than deliver campaign speeches, we simply let everyone ask questions and we explained why we did and what it all means going forward.”

Since the formation of the PNA, the members have begun distancing themselves from the concept of party, and although both the West Bay candidates and the premier herself were long time party supporters, Rolston Anglin told an audience during last Thursday’s Chamber meeting that the new team, which is not a formally registered party, was formed to move away from party politics, as he said the country is rejecting that system of government.

“The PNA was formed because parties are no longer the answer and as a response to the community's rejection of party politics,” he said, echoing Glidden’s comments about the team being an alliance rather than a political party. He said they would be working with independent candidates to form the next government.

Although holding office and in a position to access the media and the public via the government television channel, the candidates say they are being very careful not to campaign while carrying out their government work. Glidden also said that what may seem like an advantage because of their visibility was also a hindrance.

With no party machinery to take care of their campaign, and each member holding a cabinet post and its related workload, finding time to get on the hustings is not easy. Glidden said that the Cabinet job he and Seymour have held for just a few months may have thrust them further into the limelight but it may also undermine their chances at re-election.

The PNA will be hosting its first major public meeting in Bodden Town by the post office at 7-30pm.

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Youngest candidate commits to youth issues

Youngest candidate commits to youth issues

| 22/04/2013 | 39 Comments

301934_10151580824193407_688720570_n.jpg(CNS): The PPM’s Kenny Bryan is the youngest candidate contesting this year’s election, and although the former TV reporter is not the youngest candidate ever to run, at only 32 he has promised that he will be ensuring that the issues affecting the young people of the community take centre stage if the Progressives are elected to office next month. Bryan was lauded by his leader at the PPM national launch last week as a “passionate and dedicated” candidate who will not let the party leadership neglect the nation’s youth. Bryan told CNS that tackling unemployment among the youngest members of the working population will be a priority once in office. (Photo by Mark Lewis)

Bryan said that once he is elected he will not be hiding in an office and will be out working in the community and taking a hands-on approach to the things that he says are undermining the Caymanian people and in particular the younger generation.

The PPM candidate for the capital said young people don't want politicians, they want representatives. “You want to see them, feel them, and know that they will be there for you when you need them," he said. "As the youngest candidate in this election and the youngest on the team, I have taken the responsibility of being the voice of the youth.  The Cayman Islands currently has an unemployment rate of 27 percent among those under the age of 30,” he said as he warned of the consequences if these young people continue to be out of work.

“The younger generation don't care about rich or poor, black or white, old Caymanian or new Caymanian,” he said.  “What we care about is a fair opportunity for all, a fair chance to live, grow, prosper and to build our country.”

Pointing to the divisions that have grown over the last few years, Bryan said a Progressive government would be the glue needed to bring people together.

Despite being one of the party’s newest members, Bryan is already receiving considerable support from the wider party membership and is tipped to do well in George Town in the upcoming poll. He has demonstrated his willingness to work hard with his involvement with the one man, one vote campaign and then the voter registration drive.

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CONCACAF publishes report on corruption scandal

CONCACAF publishes report on corruption scandal

| 22/04/2013 | 5 Comments

warner.jpg(CNS): A committee established by the regional football management body, CONCACAF, has published its findings after an investigation into corruption within the association. The results of the Integrity Commission’s work are now available online after the report was released by the chairman, Sir David Simmons, at the confederation’s XXVIII Ordinary Congress in Panama City last week. The committee found that Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer committed a number of acts of fraud and misappropriated funds from the footballing body as well as violating the rules and code of ethics governing the management of the game.

From dodgy land deals to tax dodging, Warner and Blazer were also found to have repeatedly issued financial statements that they knew contained misrepresentations and material omissions.

Speaking at the congress, CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb from the Cayman Islands said the congress marked “a defining moment for CONCACAF’s vision of a truly transparent future.” He added, “The development of the game in our region will surely be safeguarded by the oversight of an accountable governance structure, as demanded by all of our member associations.”

Chairing the congress, Webb, who was unopposed in his re-election as Vice President of the Caribbean Zone, told the members that they had the opportunity to empower through development. “This is our time to continue forging a common agenda to build on solid foundations and guarantee professional excellence,” he said

During the congress five national associations were granted admission as new CONCACAF members, which included French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten. Also, the island of Bonaire was accepted by the congress as an Associate Member of CONCACAF, bringing the total membership to 41 nations.

The committee’s report can be found at

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Cops release all suspects in shooting case

Cops release all suspects in shooting case

| 22/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Updated 2pm – An RCIPS spokesperson said Monday that the police are still appealing to the public for information regarding an incident on 11 April when armed men fired on local police following a car chase through Lakeside Condos in George Town. Police said said that two people arrested in connection with the case had been released on police bail pending further enquires. Although police have arrested around half a dozen suspects since the incident, no charges have yet been brought and no one remains in custody regarding the incident. Meanwhile, Cayman Crime Stoppers has offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information in the case, from a special fund backed by government, for information that leads to the conviction of serious or gun-related crimes.

The shooting happened after a suspect vehicle crashed through the fence of the condo complex, with the police in pursuit, and the occupants abandoned the car. As the people inside the car got out and began their escape on foot, they fired at the police officers who were preparing to run after them. No one was hurt in the shooting, and it is understood the RCIPS did not return fire.

Cayman Crime Stoppers Chairman, Malcolm Ellis, appealed to the public to call the tips line to help the police with the investigation. “The police need as much information as possible in order to solidly identify those responsible and secure a conviction.” Cayman Crime Stoppers is able to offer a reward for information which proves valuable in solving a crime, and callers are given a unique code which they can use to make a claim. They never have to disclose their identity," he said.

Anyone with information relative to this incident is asked to contact any of the police stations or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477(TIPS) Tips can  also be submitted anonymously through the Crime Stoppers website at

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Killer to be returned to Jamaica in wake of appeal

Killer to be returned to Jamaica in wake of appeal

| 22/04/2013 | 16 Comments

(CNS): A Jamaican national who was jailed for killing his girlfriend when she told him she was leaving him had his sentence reduced by the Court of Appeal last week, effectively freeing the defendant from custody and triggering his deportation to his native country. Collin (Sheldon) Ovid Scott (41) appeared before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal on Thursday and, with no objections from the crown, his attorney’s application to reduce his 13 year sentence to nine years was granted. As Scott has already served close to six years in prison following his arrest in the wake of the killing in 2007, his release from HMP Northward is now imminent, which will also lead to his deportation to Jamaica.

Scott denied murdering his girlfriend, Maureen Grant, who was 34 at the time of her death in July 2007. He stabbed her three times at the home they shared in West Bay after she told him she was leaving him for another man but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of provocation  in January 2008.

At the time, Grand Court Justice Priya Levers, who had sentenced Scott, said the crown had been generous in accepting the manslaughter charge. Grant, who was also Jamaican, had left the house where she had lived with Scott the day before she was killed. She then returned to collect her possessions from the house on Erenette Lane at 8pm, just before Scott arrived at the house. Soon afterwards he stabbed her during an argument.

Scott handed himself into police within an hour of the stabbing and a doctor found he was suffering from a hysterical stress disorder. The killing was described as spontaneous and almost involuntary.

Scott had no previous criminal convictions, no previous record of violence and had never before raised a hand against the deceased. But had indicated he was not above killing her if she ever left him. He had told relatives that he loved her so much that if he could not love her, no one else would, he had said.

Despite accepting the manslaughter plea, the judge described the case for provocation as extremely borderline when she handed down a 13 year sentence.

In light of a recent decision by the Court of Appeal in the case of Paul Gordon, who was also convicted of manslaughter after he stabbed local DJ Sherman Alvin Bodden, also over a woman, the crown made no objections to the reduction of Scott’s sentence.

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$3M of coke found on Brac

$3M of coke found on Brac

| 22/04/2013 | 35 Comments

coke (236x300).jpg(CNS): Local law enforcement officials have recovered a massive haul of cocaine on Cayman Brac, which appears to have washed up on the beach. Around 61lbs of the drug in 25 packages was discovered by the customs K9 on Sunday afternoon between Brac Reef Resort and the old Divi Tiara Resort on the South side of the island. A police spokesperson said that 24 of the packages were tightly sealed and measured around 8x6x2, while the last packet was loose and was seen to contain a small amount of a white substance resembling cocaine. The total weight of the drugs found was 61lbs, which, if confirmed as cocaine, would have a street value of around $3 milllion.

Following the discovery of the massive haul, an aerial, beach and land search was carried out by officers of the RCIP, customs and the RCIP Air Support Unit. The suspected drugs were taken to Grand Cayman and are currently in police custody. It is now the subject of an investigation by the Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force and will be destroyed as soon as all forensic opportunities are explore.

The RCIP is asking anyone with information on this discovery to contact any of the police stations or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Volunteers wanted for another busy hurricane season

Volunteers wanted for another busy hurricane season

| 22/04/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the National Hazard Management Council are looking for more volunteers to act as Hurricane Shelter Managers and District Representatives ahead of what is expected to be a busy 213 Atlantic hurricane Season. According to early predictions from weather expert professor William Gray and Research Scientist Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University the Atlantic basin can expect 18 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes of category 3 or higher this year. With the start of the season less than six weeks away the NHC needs to sign up more help.

The National Hurricane Committee (NHC) is the agency responsible for managing shelters, as well as coordinating assistance within districts. Shelter managers are responsible for monitoring sheltered persons and managing the overall shelter operations on a twenty-four hour basis. Meanwhile district representatives secure and monitor an inventory of food and supplies for post-disaster distribution.  They also liaise with the shelter operations sub-committee, in particular shelter managers, and assist in post-disaster damage assessment.

Officials said candidates for these positions must be responsible, mature, dependable, service-minded and willing to work in emergency situations. Previous experience is not necessary as training will be provided.

“Over the years, our managers and district representatives have played a vital role during hurricane seasons, in meeting the needs of the community and ensuring safety for many families, Director of DCFS Alicia ‘Jen’ Dixon said as she called for more volunteers to come forward. To sign up as a volunteer or for more information, please contact DCFS’ Disaster Services Coordinator Ernesto Carter at 925-5346 or email The deadline to register is 30 April, 2013.


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Brac MLA calls on RCIPS to step up after burglaries

Brac MLA calls on RCIPS to step up after burglaries

| 22/04/2013 | 47 Comments

moses kirkconnell.jpg(CNS): Updated 2:07pm – On Saturday night Kirkconnell's Market became the latest business on Cayman Brac to be robbed in a string of burglaries on the island, including one at the Brac Reef Beach Resort two weeks ago. First elected member for the district, Moses Kirkconnell, who is managing director of the supermarket in Stake Bay, said that he has voiced his concern to the police after each incident in a rash of robberies this year but is now calling on the police commissioner to publicly assure the people of Cayman Brac that the RCIPS is doing everything it can to protect them from the thieves. Seven businesses and two homes on Cayman Brac have been burgled since the beginning of 2013.

Kirkconnell's Market was broken into between 10:00 on Saturday night (20 April) and 8:30 Sunday morning. The thieves smashed the front glass and metal door with an object and made off with a 300-400lb safe containing a substantial amount of cash belonging to the supermarket and Kirkconnell Investment and Development Company (KIDCO), which is managed from the Kirkconnell Ltd office within the store.

Officers from the Cayman Brac Police Station attended the scene, where forensic analysis was carried out. 

"I am extremely concerned with the hardship inflicted on the burglary victims and the harm these burglaries cause to undermine Cayman Brac’s reputation as a safe place to live and work," Kirkconnell stated. "After each of the incidents, I have spoken with police to voice my concerns and ask for their commitment to do everything possible to stop these break-ins. Today, I ask the commissioner to publicly reassure our community that law enforcement is doing everything they can to solve these burglaries and to provide protection for our citizens, our homes, and our small businesses. Cayman Brac is a struggling community and these thoughtless, selfish thieves must be found and prosecuted."

On Saturday, 6 April, burglars broke into the Brac Reef hotel. Police said they were alerted to the burglary around 4:30am. They found that the front entrance door had been forced open and entry gained to the cashier section, where a safe was forced open and a quantity of cash was stolen, police said.

The RCIP is appealing to anyone who may have information that can assist with these investigations to please call any of the police stations or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS)

Related article:

Three break-ins at Brac businesses

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Airport board in conflicts

Airport board in conflicts

| 22/04/2013 | 35 Comments

Brac airport renaming.jpg(CNS): Although the chairman and other directors of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) have always said that they have removed themselves from discussions relating to their own businesses at the airport when the need arises, documents given to CNS, which include minutes of board meetings and a letter written by the current chair in 2010 when he was a director, indicate otherwise. Between January 2010 and May 2011 on at least nine occasions issues which directly relate to ground handling agents were discussed in the presence of directors with direct business interests. In addition, Dick Arch, who was later to become chair, complained about competition for his business in a confidential memo to the board. (Photo: right Dick Arch, left Jeremy Jackson on Cayman Brac)

The question of conflicts of interests at the airport has been an issue throughout the last four years because at least two members of the board during that time have direct business interests at the airport. Director Frank Flowers is the owner of FADS and Arch, a board director who became chair after Norman Bodden resigned, co-owns Air Agencies with his wife.

Questions regarding various issues to ground handling came up at several meetings where the two parties did not always recuse themselves, despite claims that they did.

Arch also appears to have had very direct involvement with some of the issues relating to companies in competition with his business interests, as illustrated by a memo he sent to the board in July 2010 where he says that Cayman Dispatch Services (CDS) was being allowed to operate at the airport without a proper contract and was in direct competition to his and other authorized companies, causing losses to those businesses.

The memo states that former premier McKeeva Bush had set out the policy of having two unrestricted agents at Owen Roberts International – Cayman Airways and Air Agencies – and the third restricted handlers, Island Air, which deals with private planes. However, in the memo Arch complains that the CIAA chief executive officer, Jeremy Jackson, had allowed another local agency to supply unrestricted services as well as American Airlines, in direct competition with his business.

In the letter Arch demands that the CEO remove an item from the agenda of the July board meeting regarding CDS, as he makes it clear he does not support the CEO’s decision.

In addition, the minutes reveal that questions regarding other handling agents had been raised and discussed at the board meetings throughout 2010 and 2011. In the board minutes from January 2010 Universal Ground Handling Service gave a presentation to all board members, including Arch and Flowers, about offering its services to the airport. And in May 2010, while both Arch and Flowers remained in the meeting, Jackson, who has since been dismissed as CEO of the airport, raised the issue that there were no policies and regulations in place regarding handling services.

In July the subject came to the fore and was discussed at two July meetings but Flowers and Arch only removed themselves on one occasion. In a September Jackson also revealed that the only licences in place for any of the agencies at the airport was Island Air, despite the claims Arch made in his July memo.

In March 2011 at another board meeting, despite their declared interests, Arch and Flowers were both present and voted on new policies to regulate ground handling agencies, which directly affected their businesses.

It was recently revealed in a report by the board that Jackson had been accused of mismanagement and was suspended from his job. Shortly after the report was leaked to the press the airport boss was fired. The latest revelations show that the board chair had been displeased with the CEO, not just because of allegation over boozy lunches but because he was allowing companies in direct competition with his business to operate at the George Town Airport.

See memo from Arch to board below.

Related article on CNS:

Airport boss report leaked

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