Archive for June 19th, 2013

Controversial cop moved to Sister Islands

| 19/06/2013 | 23 Comments

frank owens.jpg(CNS): The long rumoured move of Frank Owens from George Town police station to the commander’s post on Cayman Brac has been confirmed. According to the RCIPS’ Facebook page and website, Owens is the subject of a current civil suit filed by a serving officer and has also faced allegations of assault which were not prosecuted as the director of public prosecutions (DPP) said it was not in the public interest. He is now in charge of the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman police. He replaces Inspector Pearson Best, who has been transferred to George Town police station. Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell is now the District Commander for George Town.

Among other promotions, Chief Inspector Robert Scotland was promoted to Detective Superintendent. Scotland is the new head of the Specialist Operations portfolio, which includes Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force, Joint Marine Unit, USG, K-9 and Air Operations Unit. Scotland has over 23 years experience in the RCIPS, having joined the service as a cadet in 1990.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Cranswick is now Detective Superintendent. He joined RCIPS in October 2010 as Detective Chief Inspector (SIO – Senior Investigating Officer). Prior to this, he had 28 years policing experience with South Wales Police in the UK, the majority of that time was as a detective and SIO.

Acting Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks was confirmed in that position and he will remain as Commander in the Eastern Districts. Ebanks joined the RCIPS in 1986 and has served in a various roles in the Uniform Branch from West Bay to the Financial Crimes Unit and was the Commander of the Joint Marine Unit for four years. He is currently pursuing a course in Public Administration.
 

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Local Red Cross manager part of regional team

| 19/06/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s Red Cross Disaster Manager, Danielle Coleman, has been certified as part of the International Federation of Red Cross Societies’ Regional Intervention Team (RIT) following intensive training in Jamaica. Coleman was selected to take up the one spot open to the Overseas Territories following an intensive competitive bid. The eight-day training included a combination of camping disaster simulation and classroom work, with accommodations reflecting the training style. Over 20 participants from all over the Americas were present. As a RIT, Coleman will now be part of the local and regional response supporting other Red Cross Societies in their post-disaster response.

This will help to further compliment her training as a member of the British Red Cross Emergency Response Unit (ERU), which make her a part of the global network of responders.

“The training was intense, both on the practical and the theoretical side,” Coleman explained. “It’s important to ensure that you can, as much as possible, simulate that level of intensity because that is what happens in a real scenario. Part of the preparation is learning how to cope with the pressures and surroundings and the constant “lack of”- sleep, water, etc.”

The training covers a myriad of topics, ranging from water and sanitation, to psycho-social support, management of the deceased, communication and logistics, among others.

She will also be able to train local Red Cross volunteers as National Intervention Team (NIT) members, which is the highest level of training for a local responder within the Red Cross system.

“It’s great to be able to continue to offer support to our fellow Red Cross Societies around the region, which is something that the Cayman Islands Red Cross has done for years,” Coleman added. “Exposure to other Red Cross Societies, be it in times of peace or disasters, allows us to look more critically at what we are doing here at home and fine tune that which needs improvement. It always comes back to Cayman- the training, the knowledge and the experience- and as a community we are always better for it, even if in a small scale. That’s a great reason why we do it, because it makes us here better,” she said.

For more information or to join contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross on 949-6785 ext. 29 or pso@redcross.org.ky.

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Bermuda press makes hay quoting error-riddled Bloomberg article

| 19/06/2013 | 35 Comments

Cayman’s mid-Atlantic competitor has been making hay from a Bloomberg article about the as-yet-unknown fate of 2,000 Cayman residents working under term limit exemption permits (known as T-LEP's). Unfortunately, both Bloomberg and the Gazette seem to have grasped the wrong end of the stick on several points. Let’s look at them before the nonsense traverses the echo chamber again.

Here’s a point by point (Gazette quotes in bold italics):

“Cayman’s new Premier Alden McLaughlin has made it 'quite clear' to his immigration department that he wants to find a way to keep the expatriates while reducing a growing unemployment situation for Caymanians, according to Eric Bush, the nation’s chief immigration officer, who Bloomberg interviewed for the story.”

This would have been the most accurate statement in the entire article, had it not wrongly identified Eric Bush at the “chief immigration officer”.  Mr Bush is the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs (previously the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs). Linda Evans is the Chief Immigration Officer.

“Mr McLaughlin’s ruling party has also said they will now require foreigners to work on the island for 10 years before they can apply for citizenship.”

They have? When?

“Currently there is a seven-year requirement.”

No there isn’t.

“Bloomberg also reported that the government plans to scrap a provision that enables companies to pick 'key' workers who could indefinitely extend their stay for two-year increments.”

This makes it sound like an adverse development for foreign workers. Yes, they will likely scrap the “key employee” provision allowing workers so designated to remain a further two years, but that wouldn’t mean everyone gets sent home early, it would mean EVERYONE would get to stay an extra two years.

And key workers could not “indefinitely extend their stay in two year increments” or any other increment; they could indefinitely extend their stay by applying for permanent residence.

“… a two-year permit for a foreign auditor can cost $16,500 …”

Wrong, it’s worse than that.  A ONE year permit costs US$16,646.

“… while large firms may pay more than $21,000 for a visa for financial controllers.”

Also worse than that, small firms pay this too!

“In Cayman with unemployment among local citizens exceeding ten percent, the offshore financial centre is reining in the number of staff that funds, accounting firms, construction companies and hotels hire from abroad.”

No they aren’t. There has been no official announcement to that effect and no implication to that effect in the statements of officials quoted in the article.

" 'Limits on expatriates, who make up half the island’s 39,000 workforce, will ensure more jobs for Caymanians,’ reported Bloomberg, quoting Mr Bush.”

Actually, if you read the original Bloomberg piece, this was not a direct quote from Mr Bush. It was clearly a paraphrasing, indicated by the last of quotation marks. Are there limits on the hiring of expats? Yes, naturally, in instances where suitably qualified Caymanians apply. But the article, with some creative attribution on the part of the Gazette, makes it sound like some hard limit has been put on the number of expats.

“While the Cayman Islands tightens conditions for expatriates, Bermuda has loosened them, ending a limit on how long foreigners can work there as it seeks to lure funds and reinsurance companies.”

This is absolute bunk. There is no evidence cited (and none that I’m aware of, and I watch these things closely!) of tightening in Cayman Islands immigration. In fact, the T-LEP amounted to clemency for those threatened with rollover, so the policy has for all intents and purposes been shelved. The only loosening in Bermuda has been the abolition of the same rollover policy (some 18 months after Cayman). The only reason the new Bermuda government was able to act swiftly is that Bermuda’s policy is just that – a policy, whereas in Cayman the policy is enshrined in law.

And in any case, Cayman’s starting point was considerably more generous to expatriates, allowing them to apply for permanent residence after nine years, citizenship after ten and full Caymanian status after fifteen. Counterparts in Bermuda enjoyed no such progressive residency rights.

Most egregious of all, both the Royal Gazette and Bloomberg failed to point out that nobody in the financial industry expects for one minute that the government will fail to act to remedy the situation before the first cohort would be affected in October.

Bloomberg +Gazette = Fail.

Report: Cayman Islands could eject 2,000 work permit holders (Royal Gazette, 18 June 2013)

Paradise Lost Facing Expats in Cayman Work Visa Crackdown (Bloomberg 13 June 2013)

This commentary was first published on the CML Blog.

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Business women host sexism guru for lecture series

| 19/06/2013 | 0 Comments

Laura-Bates-LP.jpg(CNS): The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Grand Cayman will be hosting the internationally renowned feminist Laura Bates later this month as part of the 2013 Annie Hudlah Bodden Lecture Series. Bates, from the UK is the founder of the “Everyday Sexism Project” which is an ever-increasing collection of over 35,000 women’s general experiences of gender imbalance, sexism and other stories that reflect the continued problem of inequality among the sexes the world over.  Andrea Williams, the BPW president said the group was delighted Bates was coming to share her knowledge and passion about combatting sexism in the workplace. 

“This lecture will be of interest to all working men and women,” she said.

Established in 2001, the Annie Hudlah Bodden Lecture Series is designed to educate and empower individuals for the betterment of the Cayman Islands.

"Annie Huldah Bodden, OBE, was one of Cayman's most influential women,” Williams said. “She was the first female auditor of the Cayman Islands Government, the first female elected Member of the Legislative Assembly and the first Caymanian female to be awarded an…OBE. I believe she would be thrilled to have Laura Bates as a speaker under the lecture series named after her.”

The event will be held on 28 June from 12 to 2pm at Hollywood Theatres, Camana Bay.

 

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Coral gardening project doing well say scientists

| 19/06/2013 | 2 Comments

tim coral gardening (219x300).jpg(CNS): Marine scientists at CCMI's Little Cayman Research Centre say the coral nursery project established in September last year to help replenish local reefs is doing well. As a pilot project, researchers deployed a single structure, multiplying four parent colonies of staghorn coral to 58 new individuals. After 3 months of the trial, all colonies have survived and are growing rapidly. These positive results provide the basis for installing additional structures and further developing the nursery, according to CCMI. Focusing on the fast growing staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) which experienced massive mortality in the 1980’s, the nursery will augment existing populations, enhance the existing reef structure and could potentially improve overall coral reef health.

“The indirect benefits of this conservation project and a healthier reef ecosystem will positively impact local tourism and improve local fish stocks,” noted a report from the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). 

The nursery site was selected after a workshop at the centre to ensure good water quality, low predation, and workable depths. It is located due north of the centre which provides easy access for maintenance and oversight.

The coral projects is one of many important marine conservation initiatives and research studies taking place at the centre, some of which is recorded in the research summary posted below. 

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Ozzy queries lack of local medical staff

| 19/06/2013 | 138 Comments

Min tours xray (222x300).jpg(CNS): The new health minister has already pointed to one of the many issues he hopes to tackle in his ministry as he toured the departments now under his area of responsibility following his appointment. During a tour of the hospital in George Town last week Osbourne Bodden commented on the apparent shortage of locals administering healthcare to patients. Stating that the provision of health services offered a rewarding and lucrative career for Caymanians, he promised that he would address this area in the future. Bodden also said that he would be looking closely at local employment in his other areas of responsibility as he gets to know his new ministry.

Bodden is now responsible for Health Regulatory Services, Mosquito Research & Control Unit (MRCU), Department of Environmental Health (both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac offices), National Gallery, Department of Sports, Youth Services Unit, Cadet Corps, National Museum, Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF), Cayman Islands Museum, as well as Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac.

Expressing his gratitude to the staff at the Health Services Authority (HSA), which was the first stop on the tour, Bodden said that visiting the hospital really drove home the level of commitment and hard work of staff members. He said he was very encouraged by the progress being made and the dedication and professionalism shown. 

“I am confident that you will continue the great work and I look forward to getting to know you more closely, as we provide quality services and programmes for the people of these islands,” he told hospital workers.

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Child protection cop is CS employee of the month

| 19/06/2013 | 0 Comments

DG with EOM Dausea Scott June 13 (212x300).jpg(CNS): Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Detective Sergeant Dausea Scott was awarded the civil service Employee of the Month for May for her dedication to duty.  Sgt Scott works with victims of domestic abuse and began working as the sole employee in the central referral unit (CRU) of the family support unit (FSU) just over a year ago. Her job is to centralise the management of reports made to the police about child protection, domestic violence, vulnerable adults and welfare related issues. She also works to facilitate a multi-agency approach, by RCIPS departments and external public sector organisations. The RCIPS created the post following recommendations made by an independent review of the (FSU).

On presenting her with the Employee of the Month Award for April, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said she was a genuine humanitarian “who remains impartial, courteous, understanding, receptive and patient with clients” who obtained positive outcomes and left clients feeling satisfied. 

“I have also learned that you follow up with external agencies or internal departments, which provides the sense of urgency that is expected. Finally, I understand that your dedication to the Cayman Islands Government is beyond compare, despite the demands of your personal life and devotion to your family,” Manderson added.

In the time that Sgt Scott has been with CRU, her superiors say that she has embraced her role and quickly created a referral system so sound that it impressed a follow-up review of the new unit’s work, according to a release from GIS.

In her work Scott processes referrals which involves meeting with clients, assessing their needs, including any risks, as well as determining whether there is a criminal component to the case. 

Although this is time-consuming, Sgt Scott manages a workload that should be shared by two, processing an average of 25 referrals a week.  She regularly works long hours and sacrifices annual leave to ensure her clients’ needs are met. She has been praised by clients and managers for her willingness to listen to individuals who are in an understandably emotional state. Her readiness to follow-up with external agencies and internal departments to expedite results also drew commendations.

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Cayman to host regional ladies footy tournament

| 19/06/2013 | 0 Comments

JeffreyWebb_EFE.jpg(CNS): The Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football has revealed that the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 will take place in the Cayman Islands in January of next year. The competition will include eight teams from across the region vying for the three spots in the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, to be played in Canada,in July of that same year. The three qualifying teams will join a fourth CONCACAF nation, Canada, which automatically qualifies as host of the World Cup.

“We are proud to witness the continued growth of the sport inclusive of both genders in our Confederation, traditionally among the strongest in the world in the women’s game,” said CONCACAF President and Cayman’s own Jeffrey Webb. “The CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands and the upcoming World Cup in Canada will give us yet another opportunity to showcase these advances on the world stage.”

The regional championship kicks off on January 9 and concludes with the third-place match and final on January 19. The host Cayman Islands will be joined by three-time Confederation champion the United States and 2010 runner-up Mexico, as well as teams from the Caribbean and Central America yet to be determined.

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Privy Council ends legal saga with big pay out

| 19/06/2013 | 0 Comments

Alastair&Meg Privy Council (201x300).jpg(CNS Business): Alastair Paterson, who has fought a more than seven year legal battle as a result of what were found to be malicious and unjustified civil proceedings against him, has been awarded damages of CI$1.375 million. The payout for the Caymanian surveyor came in a landmark judgment by the UK Privy Council that re-writes the law books and vindicates him after his professional reputation was damaged by the legal action brought against him by Cayman General Insurance (now Sagicor). The ruling is being described as a ground-breaking departure from a law that has stood for over 300 years and lifts the centuries old restriction that has stopped payoffs following malicious civil proceedings. Read more on this and other stories on CNS Business

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Stepping Stones crowned touch champs

| 19/06/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS) Steppingstones finish the season undefeated, overcoming Sidebar NWNT in a thrilling back-and-forth final. After starting the match with a wide early lead, thanks to a hat trick from Weder, the result looked inevitable. Sidebar came out strong after the restart but ultimately, the National Touch Rugby Champions 2013 winners held off a second half comeback to end the game 9 tries to 5. The third/fourth place match was just as entertaining as the final. A nerve-rackingly close neck-in-neck battle saw Genesis Trust edge out Heineken Brew Crew 6-5 to claim the bronze spot.

The opening game of the day saw DART take on Walkers. A 3-3 draw with tries by Michael “Tana” Umulligan and Sheila Crosby for DART; Brad Stephenson, Paul Smith, and David Byrne for Walkers. Controversy came at the end of the match when DART mysteriously stopped playing as the timekeeper blew for full time. Of course, the game is not over until the referee blows and Brad Stephenson ran through and scored what he thought was the winner. However, the ref cancelled it out and the final result was determined in the more traditional social touch rugby fashion, with Walkers putting in a fine effort to win 5-4, in added time. 

 

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