Archive for July 11th, 2013

Dilbert retires among ministries’ CS reshuffle

| 11/07/2013 | 30 Comments

LEONARD (234x300).jpgCNS): The deputy governor has confirmed that Leonard Dilbert has now retired from the civil service but all other staff have been accommodated in the newly aligned government ministries and portfolios without an increase in headcount or job losses. Dilbert had been the premier’s chief of staff, a position created by McKeeva Bush when he held that position, but he had been left out of the reshuffle when the new PPM government took office and reshaped the ministries and portfolios to accommodate the additional two cabinet ministries, as per the 2009 constitution. Franz Manderson confirmed Thursday, however, that Dilbert had asked to retire after 25 years of public service.

Meanwhile, in an email to CNS Thursday, the deputy governor also noted that he was hoping to soon resolve the situation regarding two other senior civil servants who have been on the government payroll for the past four years but who have not yet been given posts. Deborah Drummond, the former deputy financial secretary, and Diane Montoya, a former chief officer, were both left out of the ministerial reshuffle after the UDP election victory in 2009. They have since been receiving salaries but have not had formal posts.

Manderson did not indicate what his plans were but he said he was hopeful of addressing the situation “in the short term”.

Confirming Dilbert’s retirement, Manderson said he had accepted the former chief of staff’s request and his last day was 4 June, as he thanked him for his many years of service.

During his tenure Dilbert served on the team that produced the framework for the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, led the work that gave rise to the establishment of the National Drug Council and played leading roles in the Cayman Islands’ (and the region’s) first ever National Assessment of Living Conditions, the Porter-Groome review of the Cayman Islands’ educational system and the Allen & Clarke Report on the health system and wellness in the Cayman Islands.

Dilbert is a well respect and published poet and he will be using his retirement to further his literary work. Dilbert said he would continue to work to “broaden and deepen public and corporate understanding, ownership, and enjoyment of the many opportunities and blessings available to us in this community, especially through the language of the arts and crafts.”

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Cruise line to add ship

| 11/07/2013 | 30 Comments

(CNS): The flagging cruise tourism sector may have a small boost ahead of the development of cruise berthing facilities. During a short trip to Miami this week, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said he managed to persuade at least one cruise line to add Cayman to the calls of an additional ship, boosting passenger figures by around 200,000 over the next two years, ahead of what is hoped to be at least one completed pier by the end of 2015. Kirkconnell said his meeting with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and other cruise stakeholders was very positive and they were very interested in the moves Cayman has made recently, with the business case for the berthing facilities being produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the removal of politicians from the process.

Speaking to members of the press Thursday, Kirkconnell said that he believed the FCCA and cruise lines needed to see the commitment from the new government to the cruise industry. He said they needed some reassurance over the much needed improvements for passengers at the terminals in George Town, such as more shade and better signage, among other issues. All of the requests, Kirkconnell said, could be dealt with relatively quickly as most of the changes were already underway.

“We put our best efforts forward and asked them what they needed us to do, and most of it was what you could describe as low hanging fruit which has already been identified and is in hand,” he added.

While the progress on the cruise berthing facilities was an important part of the meeting, Kirkconnell said the business case for the potential development will not be complete until at least October. As a result, something needed to be done, he said, to try and improve the situation in the short term and increase the number of ships that plan to call on Cayman.

“I believe local businesses and operators involved in cruise tourism will begin to see improvements soon,” he said, as he acknowledged the worrying decline in numbers so far this year. Although the cruise ships set schedules two years out, Kirkconnell said at least one line has already committed to adding a ship to its Cayman schedule.

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U-15 football may bring 3,000

| 11/07/2013 | 5 Comments

13548762-sylwetki-fanow-obchodzi-gola-na-mecz-pilki-noznej-pilka-nozna (237x300).jpg(CNS): With around 800 players and officials coming to Cayman next month for the CONCACAF Under-15 Tournament, the addition of friends, family and fans could see almost 3,000 people coming to the islands during the almost two week football contest. Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said that the tournament, a development competition for young players, could be worth more than $20 million to the local economy. With a hotel tab of more than one million dollars being picked up by the regional football federation just for players and officials, plus a need for some 50 rental cars, food and drink and other sundries, the ultimate spend by them and their guests with local business is expected to be many more millions of dollars.

From the preparation beforehand and the flight revenue for Cayman Airways, which is organising charters to bring teams, officials and guests to the contest, to the money that will be spent by the many guests coming with the players and officials, Cayman can expect a significant boost to the economy during what is traditionally one of the slower months of the year.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Cayman Islands Football Association VP Bruce Blake, Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden, Tourism Minster Moses Kirkconnell and former sports minister Mark Scotland all lauded the hard work of everyone involved so far and promised an entertaining event that would being economic reward and, more importantly, provide great experience for Cayman’s national teenage players.

The tournament will see 23 teams coming to the Cayman Islands from the Caribbean and Central America to compete in the tournament, which is part of the vision of Jeff Webb, the president of the regional football body, to develop youth football. As a Caymanian, Webb was able to pull strings to enable CIFA to host what is a major completion that could open the doors for more sports tourism events, an area which Kirkconnell said the government was extremely keen to exploit.

“It is an investment for the future, too, as our goal for sports tourism is as a partnership and there is not a better partnership than one that builds youth programmes,” the tourism minister said, adding that government would do what it could to make this a successful tournament. In addition to the millions that CONCACAF will spend in Cayman for the tournament, he said, the money spent by the guests and the ultimate showcasing of Cayman would have a massive multiplying impact, making the tournament worth more than $20 million for the domestic economy.

Bodden said it was a “win win situation” as it would be great experience for local teams as well as for the tourism sector.  “It is pleasing to see the return of international football to Cayman and it will be a great stimulus for our players. We have some already on football scholarship overseas and this should generate more local interest,” he said, adding that it would help Cayman to measure where youth football is as he encouraged everyone to come out to the games.

Mark Scotland appealed for more volunteers. So far, around 70 people had committed, he said, but CIFA expected that it would need around 200 people in just about every sphere, including IT, security, administrative support, as well as ushers, and many more hands were needed to help the football competition go well.

Blake explained that the 24 teams would play each other in four groups of six at three of Cayman’s local grounds but other pitches would be used for practice. The eventual winners of each group will move on to the semi-finals and the two winning teams will then meet in the final at the Truman Bodden Stadium. He said all of the first round games would be free but there would be a $10 charge for the semis and $15 for the final. He said he had big hopes for Cayman to make it through to at least the semis as the local teen players had shown they were playing well at the recent friendly matches with a visiting Honduran team.

He, too, urged people to volunteer and explained that the money being spent was targeted at local service providers but where Cayman business could not meet the needs they would have to buy overseas.

Blake also pointed to some of the logistical issues that a small nation like Cayman faces with such a major tournament, from not enough coaches to ferry players and officials around to a shortage of ambulances, but he said they were being as resourceful as possible. For example, Cayman’s school buses could become the team coaches for the duration of the contest.

In addition, Blake called for sponsors from the local economy to help CIFA offset some of the costs it was expected to fund to upgrade facilities at the pitches. Although the bulk of the tab for the contest is being picked up by CONCACAF, government is spending around $200,000 on the upgrades and CIFA would also have to pay some of the bills.

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Robbers mug local bus driver for fares

| 11/07/2013 | 13 Comments

(CNS): A driver was robbed of a small sum of cash on Wednesday evening by two passengers who wanted to be taken to Rock Hole. The report was made to the RCIPS at 8:07pm last night (10 July) and the robbery took place at the Bus Depot in Edward Street, George Town. The bus driver told police officers that he had collected two men from Coe Wood Beach in Bodden Town, but when the bus reached the depot, the men asked to be taken to the Rock Hole area. When the driver refused, one of the robbers pushed an unknown object against his neck and demanded his cash. The men made off with a small amount of money from inside the vehicle and were pursued by people at the scene. However, they escaped on foot in the Mary Street area of the capital.

An extensive search was conducted involving armed officers, the K9 Unit, Marine Unit, and uniform officers but the subjects were not located. No shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident.

Police released a description of the two men, who both spoke with a Caymanian accent.
One man was around 5'3" tall, 23-25 years of age, slim built, side burns with a well-kept beard and haircut, brown complexion, wearing a white t-Shirt with light blue 3/4 jeans. The second man was said to be about 5'6", in his early 30's, with a slim build and wearing a black T-shirt.

Police are appealing to anyone who was in the Coe Wood Beach area of Bodden Town around 7:30pm on 10 July or at the bus depot at around 8:05pm to contact Detective Constable Bowen at the George Town Police Station at 949-4222, or if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(Tips).

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C4C backbencher takes first official overseas trip

| 11/07/2013 | 7 Comments

Councillor & DLP Director at ILO Conference (221x300).jpg(CNS): Coalition for Cayman government back-bencher, Winston Connolly, who has been appointed as a councillor in the education and employment ministry, took his first official overseas trip recently when he accompanied Director of Labour and Pensions Mario Ebanks to a conference in Trinidad. Ebanks and Connolly attended the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 8th Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour.  The meeting focused on the theme "The Caribbean and Labour, 2013 and Beyond: Strengthening Decent Work for Development", which officials said was paid for by the organization and not the Cayman public purse. In a release from the department, Ebanks said he and Connolly were able to network and share ideas and concerns.

“One important fact reinforced at the meeting is that while we are all different territories in the Caribbean, our issues and challenges are very similar,” he said. “I was particularly pleased that the meeting, and the final communiqué, also began to look at the impact of social issues on the workplace, and the importance of focusing on productivity, resilience, and competitiveness within the Caribbean workforce and industry. It is important for the Cayman Islands to maintain a prudent presence at such regional and international meetings and conferences, while recognizing the budgetary pressures and time constraints.”

Nineteen of the 22 ILO Caribbean Member States and non-metropolitan territories were represented at the meeting, the largest turnout ever for the conference. The Cayman Islands is considered a non-metropolitan territory as it is a United Kingdom overseas territory.

“Meeting and collaborating with our neighboring countries on the topic of labour was extremely useful,” Connolly said. “It helped us get a better sense of what other countries in the region are facing and how they are overcoming issues in their labour market. It was also very important to meet with our Caribbean counterparts and extend the hand of collaboration. I look forward to interacting further with them and the ILO.”

According to the release, the meeting focused on a range of topics, including the development of Decent Work Country Programmes, ratification of ILO Conventions on Occupational Safety and Health, employment policy and the maritime sector, the execution of a number of capacity building initiatives targeted at government officials and social partners, and the establishment of a Caribbean Labour Market Information System and its deployment in various countries.

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British man dies after being shot with police Taser

| 11/07/2013 | 8 Comments

_68663881_68663541.jpg(BBC): A man has died after being shot by police with a Taser stun gun in Manchester. Police said the man, named locally as Jordan Begley, "suffered a medical episode" after the Taser was used at about 20:15 BST in Gorton on Wednesday. Paramedics tried to resuscitate the 23-year-old at the scene before he was taken to hospital, where he died. Greater Manchester Police have referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: "Police received a 999 call reporting a disturbance on Beard Road in Gorton where there was a man with a knife. Officers were dispatched immediately and arrived in eight minutes. On arrival, a Taser was discharged to detain a 23-year-old man.”

"At this time it is unclear what happened, but at some point afterwards the man suffered a medical episode. Paramedics performed first aid on the man at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he sadly died," he added.

IPCC files show ten people have died following the police discharging a Taser.

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