Archive for August 5th, 2013

WB election decision Friday

| 05/08/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands chief justice will deliver his decision on the election petition regarding a challenge to the West Bay result on Friday afternoon. Three weeks after the three day courtroom argument, when Tara Rivers, the Coalition for Cayman candidate, fought to keep her seat as the second elected member for West Bay and, by extension, her new Cabinet job as education minister, Anthony Smellie will be revealing his findings on her qualification. The election petition was filed by John Hewitt, the husband of Velma Hewitt, who was beaten into fourth place in the district and the only UDP candidate not to get a seat in McKeeva Bush’s West Bay stronghold.

The ruling will be delivered by the country’s top judge at 2:30pm on 9 August in Courtroom 5 in Kirk House, according to the amended Grand Court list posted on the judicial website on Monday afternoon.

The petition challenging Rivers' qualification to run for office was filed on two grounds: one relating to the renewal and use of her American passport as an adult, and the other based on her residency outside of the Cayman islands for a significant part of the seven years prior to Nomination Day. If the chief justice finds that she was not qualified to run on either or both of the two grounds, a further hearing will need to be scheduled to hear more arguments regarding the issue of a bye-election.

The challenged claimed that Hewitt should be automatically returned if Rivers was found to be unqualified. However, the parties involved did not argue that issue as the CJ required that the attorneys representing both Hewitt and Rivers argue the main points of qualification first before he turned his decision to the remedy.

However, if Rivers is found not to be qualified, it is not clear who will take up the argument for a bye-election, as the issue will become immaterial to her as she will be prevented from running in the election in any event. Section 62 (1) (h) of the constitution states: "No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly who is disqualified for membership of the Assembly by any law in force in the Cayman Islands relating to offences connected with elections." 

Although Attorney General Sam Bulgin is also a defendant in the petition, acting on behalf of the district’s returning officer who the petitioner accused of wrongfully accepting Rivers' nomination, it is not clear how far the AG would be prepared to go to fight for a bye-election, given the political element, or whether a separate action will need to come directly from the elected government to fight for another ballot on behalf of the 1,400 or so people who had voted for Rivers.

Although Rivers is not a member of the PPM, she joined the Progressive’s Cabinet after a week or so of negotiations when it became clear that the C4C candidates and other independents were not it a position to form a government or prevent the PPM from doing so.

Rivers was offered the post of education and employment minister, and the new premier also agreed to have Winston Connolly, who was elected to George Town on the C4C ticket, join government as a backbench counsellor in Rivers’ ministry. Following that move, the remaining successful C4C candidate, Roy McTaggart, also finally crossed the floor of the House, boosting the government’s numbers to thirteen, including the speaker.

As a result, the automatic return of Hewitt would not alter government’s majority but it would necessitate a Cabinet reshuffle. In addition, the PPM would certainly welcome the opportunity to have one of their own returned to the seat in the district, or Mervin Smith, River’s running mate, who came in sixth place, just seven votes behind Hewitt.

Related articles:

‘I am qualified’ Rivers claims (CNS,17 July 2013)

CJ faces ‘enormous’ decision (CNS, 19 July 2013)

See election results and court list below.

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UWC scholarship fund receives boost from law firm

| 05/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Maples Foundation has donated US$25,000 to the United World Colleges Cayman Islands National Foundation (UWC Cayman Islands) as part of its ongoing support for the scholarship fund. Each year, UWC Cayman Islands provides full scholarships for students selected to attend one of twelve prestigious UWC colleges worldwide. Since 1984, almost 70 Caymanians have studied the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma in this international boarding school setting designed to foster excellence in academics, civic participation and leadership qualities while promoting international understanding and sustainable living.

The impressive growth of this local scholarship programme has been made possible through the generous support of a few major corporate partners and individual donors. 

Vice Chairperson Aubrey Bodden thanked Maples and Calder (Maples) on behalf of UWC Cayman Islands, saying, “Maples has been an integral part of the local UWC movement since 2006 and their annual donations have supported scholarships for over a dozen exceptional young Caymanians. Our recent alumni have all directly benefited from their long-standing commitment to this shared vision and we are so proud of their accomplishments and grateful to our sponsors for making their experiences possible.”

"Maples has been a supporter of this programme for many years and are proud to stand behind such an important initiative that has afforded many students the opportunity of further education," said Paul Lumsden, Managing Partner of the firm's Cayman Islands office. "We believe that investment can have a profound impact when spent locally and, as such, The Maples Foundation is committed to our responsibility as corporate citizens. This drives us to assist organisations that will benefit the youth – essentially, the future – of our community."

Worldwide, over 50,000 UWC alumni from over 180 different countries share a lifelong commitment to positive social action to achieve the UWC mission of a more peaceful and sustainable future. The two-year pre-university programme is a transformative experience and equips individuals to make a difference in their local and global communities, whatever they choose to do. As the most recent alumni, this year’s three Caymanian graduates reflected on their own UWC experiences and opportunities they have been given.

After graduating from Atlantic College in Wales, Abigail Drummond will continue her education in the United Kingdom, having been accepted to the highly selective University of Bristol. HerUWC experience helped her to focus on the positive attributes of the legal profession and the ways in which it can impact her community. Being part of the Sustainability Council and seeing how the college reused, composted and recycled the great majority of its waste influenced her career choice. Abigail hopes to focus her major on environmental law and advocate for mandatory recycling in the Cayman Islands.

Zachary Jones recently graduated from UWC-USA in Montezuma, New Mexico, where he was Co-Leader for Stage Management and Orientation, the Caribbean and Latin American representative for the Student Council and a Resident Advisor in his dormitory. At UWC he learned how to balance his studies with extra-curricular activities and developed important leadership skills and confidence in his abilities. Zachary will go on to attend Penn State, a prominent Big Ten school, and study Marketing & Public Relations.

While at UWC Costa Rica, Kathryn Schirn proudly represented the Cayman Islands and embraced the UWC values of international and intercultural understanding and a celebration of difference. She has become more aware of and curious about the world around her and will continue her studies at a small, top-tier liberal arts and sciences college. At Colorado College, Kathryn will design her own major in Global Health, focusing on the impact of global politics and economic issues and how to reduce inequalities and improve public health.

As these three alumni begin their tertiary education this fall, Madeleine Rowell will enter her second year at UWC-USA and 2013 scholars Tyleisha Galbraith and Simon Watson will begin their studies at Pearson College in Victoria, British Columbia and UWC Adriatic in Duino, Italy, respectively.

Companies & individuals interested in donating to UWC Cayman Islands are invited to email uwccaymanislands@gmail.com. Applications are accepted in March each year from students aged 15-17 and more information is available at www.uwc.org.

Photo top — UWC Cayman Islands Vice Chairperson Aubrey Bodden and 2013 UWC Scholars Simon Watson and Tyleisha Galbraith accept the Maples and Calder donation from Paul Lumsden, Managing Partner, Cayman Islands. Photo below – Caymanian UWC scholars who were supported by Maples and Calder (L-R): Ridhiima Kapoor, UWC Adriatic ’07; Zachary Jones, UWC-USA ’13; Chloé Delanney, Guest; Madeleine Rowell, UWC-USA ’14; Abigail Drummond, AC ’13; Kathryn Schirn, UWCCR ’13; Hailee Robinson, UWC-USA ’12; Kelsey Dixon, UWCCR ’12; and Tom Kelly, Mahindra UWC of India ’07

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‘Twitchers’ in for treat with expert view from the hide

| 05/08/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Coinciding with two exhibitions marking International Migratory Bird Day for 2013, "Passing Through: Migratory Birds of the Cayman Islands" and "Birdie" an exhibit designed for children, the Cayman Islands National Museum is hosting a special birder’s presentation entitled "Birding in the Cayman Islands". A panel of experts will discuss research on parrots, new birding records for the Cayman Islands, migrant birds, endangered species, and Trust birding tours. Around 230 species of birds live or visit Cayman during a given year many of which are rare and vulnerable.

Paul Watler, the National Trust’s Environmental Programmes Manager, Stuart Mailer a local field officer and birder, and Christine Rose-Smyth, a volunteer and keen birder, will make up the panel.

The event will take place at the Cayman Islands National Museum’s audiovisual theatre  at 3 Harbour Drive at Shedden Road on Tuesday, 27 August at  6:00pm. The event will cost $10 General Admission, $6 for Museum Members. This includes talk, refreshments to follow, and free entrance to all museum exhibitions.

Spaces are limited. Interested parties should contact the National Museum to reserve a seat as soon as possible at (345) 949-8368, info@museum.ky or maiamuttoo@museum.ky.

Both the current exhibits on birds at the National Gallery will run until November. For more information, go to the museum website.

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UK clamps down on passport fraud & cuts costs

| 05/08/2013 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The British government is making changes to the passport service for UK nationals living overseas in an effort to cut costs and clamp down on fraud. According to local officials, applicants will no longer be able to send copies of their passports with their renewal application rather than the original during hurricane season. Original passports will need to be submitted with applications all year round. From 12 August the passport application process will also be centralized and British citizens in Cayman will need to send their application to the passport office in  the UK, while British Overseas Territory Citizens (BOTC) passport holders can still submit theirs through the local passport office.

Currently, British citizens living in the Cayman Islands submit passport applications to a regional processing hub in Washington, United States. However, from 12 August applicantswill be required to send their applications to the Passport Customer Service Centre in Durham, though there will be no change to processing times.

All the information required to make an application will be found on the UK Government website, which will be amended shortly to advise British nationals on the new passport application process.  

The changes come on the heels of a review by the National Audit Office in the UK. Officials from the governor’s office said they are designed to achieve economies of scale, greater security and consistency in decision making.  

All British passports have enhanced sophisticated security features designed to reduce the likelihood of identity theft and passport fraud.

Passports can be renewed up to 9 months ahead of the expiry date with no loss of validity. Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead and submit their applications in good time.

Fees charged to British nationals applying overseas are based on the current costs of providing the service. As overseas volumes are much less than those in the UK it is harder to gain efficiencies overseas, which, officials said, is why the UK has taken the decision to repatriate the issuing of passports to British nationals overseas to the UK. 

Once this has been completed Her Majesty’s Passport Office will be seeking to create closer alignment between the two sets of fees.

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Air arrivals climb higher as cruise calls stall

| 05/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): In the continuing success story for air arrivals in the Cayman Islands the latest statistics from the Department of Tourism show that at the halfway point of 2013, overnight visitors to Cayman have increased by 6% compared to 2012 which was also a record breaking year. So far over 192,000 people have visited Cayman and stayed overnight guaranteeing that 2013 will be a great year for tourism. In addition, June 2013 had the best statistics since current records began. However in stark contrast the sorry saga for the local cruise industry continues as officials report another all-time low when it comes to the number of cruise visitors coming to Grand Cayman with the worst June on record.

Read more and comment on CNS Business

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Veteran lawyer dies peacefully at aged 92

| 05/08/2013 | 8 Comments

(CNS): A prominent member of Cayman’s legal profession, Charles Adams, OBE, JP, died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Thursday morning at the age of 92. The founder of local law firm, Charles Adams and company, now Charles Adams, Ritchie 
and Duckworth, he was also the founding Chairman of Cayman Islands National Museum and had a great love for and understanding of the heritage and culture of the Cayman Islands. Primarily known for his law practice, which focused on local land, planning and estate matters, Adams served the community as the secretary of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association for 27 years. 

The funeral service for Adams will be held at the Elmslie Memorial Church on Tuesday, 6 August, at 3:00pm. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cayman Hospice Care or the Cayman Islands Veterans Association. As a mark of respect to the Chairman Emeritus of Jacques Scott Group, all their locations will be closed from 12:30pm on Tuesday.

"It is often easy to forget the generosity and rigor of key individuals who have given their time and resources towards the betterment of our community," said Gonzallo Jalles, CEO of Cayman Finance, on hearing the news about Adams' passing. "On behalf of Cayman Finance, I wish to acknowledge the contributions of Mr. Adams and his influence in the development of the financial services industry over the past few decades.

"Mr. Adams was clearly distinguished as an unwavering professional who helped build one of the country's largest economic sectors and whose accomplishments in the legal and banking industries, as well as the community in general, will not be forgotten,”  he added.

Having arrived in the country in 1966 as manager of the first trust company on island, Scotia Trust Company, Mr. Adams subsequently founded his own law firm in 1976 and was later the Senior Partner of Cayman Finance member firm, Charles Adams, Ritchie & Duckworth.

“Mr. Adams was clearly distinguished as an unwavering professional who helped build one of the country's largest economic sectors and whose accomplishments in the legal and banking industries, as well as the community in general, will not be forgotten.”

Adams came to Cayman in 1966 from Jamaica as manager of Scotia Trust Company, the first trust company in the Cayman Islands. He established the Jacques Scott Group in 1972. Then, in 1976, Adams founded his law firm, Charles Adams and company, now Charles Adams, Ritchie 
and Duckworth. 

A justice of the peace since 1987, he was also a founding member of the Legal Advisory Council and sat as a magistrate in the Summary Courts. He served as president of the Cayman Islands Law Society and helped to establish the Cayman Islands Law School. 

Adams was also the islands’ sole recipient in 2007 of an Order of the British Empire honour (OBE). 

As well as his involvement with the museum and the associated law, he was involved with the National Trust and surveys of wrecks in Cayman waters by the Institution of Nautical Archaeology, and was the founder of the Goldfield Foundation, which brought an original Caymanian turtling schooner back to Cayman after it was discovered in Seattle.

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Unlawful arrest leads to suit

| 05/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Sandra Catron, a local activist who was the victim of what was found to be an unlawful arrest, has filed suit against the police, the attorney general and a member of his office. Catron was arrested over one year ago in connection with allegations of misusing a ICT network, but a courtroom review, in which she represented herself, found that the arrest was unlawful because the justice of the peace who signed the warrant admitted hehad no clue what he was signing and because the police had not followed the proper process. Since then, the Attorney General’s Chambers has offered Catron just $3,000 in damages and the director of public prosecutions has continued to press ahead with the charges against her.

Catron, who is expected to represent herself in a Grand Court jury trial later this year defending allegations that she sent harassing texts, has complained of significant mistreatment at the hands of the police since she was arrested and handcuffed outside her place of work on 27 July last year.

In a lengthy statement of claim, Catron sets out the series of events, in which she describes poor standards of behaviour from police and what appears to be excessive action in relation to the allegations. In addition, Catron catalogues a disturbing list of allegations over how she was treated by counsel during the judicial review of the arrest.

In the law suit Catron alleges trespass, assault and battery, unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. She also claims a malicious abuse of process and prosecution.

Setting out the particulars, Catron describes in detail her arrest and the search of her home, inappropriate comments from thepolice involved and sexual harassment by one of the officers who interviewed her. She says that the police made unlawful decisions and actions about her confiscated property because she had instigated a judicial review of that arrest.

Catron claims she has suffered emotional distress and financial losses as well as professional damages as a result of the unlawful arrest and the subsequent saga. She says she was suspended for six months from her employment and, as a result, suffered irreparable damage to her professional reputation.

Despite making numerous attempts to settle both the judicial review matters and other claims to which she would have been legally entitled, she has been subjected to a continuation of the criminal prosecution in what she said is the crown’s hope of lessening the civil liability that the police and AG’s office face as a result of the findings by Justice Alex Henderson that she was unlawfully arrested.

Catron is no stranger to the courtroom, having taken on the police, prosecution and AG’s offices before in cases relating to a stolen dog and damage to property.

Catron is currently also under investigation by the authorities in connection with a sex offenders registry that she has posted on Facebook in defiance of local legislation, which in many cases prevents the publication of the names of convicted sexual predators because of the dangers of identifying their victims in such a small jurisdiction. Having campaigned for years to no avail to remove this restriction and for a formal register of convicted offenders, Catron has taken direct action and set up her own informal register, which is now under police scrutiny.

See writ below.

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Taylor: Governance improved

| 05/08/2013 | 11 Comments

(CNS): After his three and a half year tour of duty as Cayman’s governor, Duncan Taylor believes that standards of good governance have moved forward but he has said it is an area that his successor must continue to press as it is a constitutional role of the governor’s office, despite its limited powers. Describing some of his time as “very challenging”, he said he was satisfied that he had done what he could to try and work with the previous premier. However, when he arrived in Cayman he noted during his acceptance speech that a governor could govern with a light touch when good governance was followed, but if wasn’t he would intervene.

“And I have had to intervene where I believed things were not being done properly,” he told the local media during his final press briefing.

In light of the tense relationship between Taylor and the former premier, McKeeva Bush, who made various very public allegations about the FCO’s representative in Cayman, the governor said he was satisfied that he had done everything he could to try and work with Bush and that a governor must be prepared to work with whoever is elected by the people. This meant that there would be tensions in Cabinet but, he said, the tension should be constructive because the goal for a governor was to work in partnership with the local government to achieve good governance.

Taylor said he could mark his success in achieving improvements in good governance locally with the prominence that goodgovernance played in the country’s election in May.  All parties and candidates campaigned for good governance during the run-up to the vote, illustrating how important a factor it has become in the local political landscape, as everyone is now aware they must operate with integrity.

“I take comfort from the feedback I have had about this particularly since the recent election and the new government is strongly in support,” he said “If I have moved the bar up a bit and moved things forward, it’s a positive thing to take away. There is still a lot to do but I am encouraged by the clear commitment from the new government.”

He said that with a new procurement system, which would remove ambiguity and misunderstanding about how contracts are awarded, the public would soon see improvements in that field. Taylor also said that the legislation to support the Commission for Standards in Public Life, which had not made its way on to Cabinet’s agenda under the previous administration, was expected to be approved shortly and taken to the parliament. He said this would cover issues such as board appointments and the new Register of Interests law.

Taylor said that he expected that his successor, Helen Kilpatrick, would also be focusing on the concept of good governance as this is the area which has the potential to expose the UK to risk. The outgoing governor noted that the next governor would also need to balance what tensions arise between her role and that of elected politicians and try to be constructive.

Pointing to the UK’s white paper on its relationship with the territories, which he said has a vision based on constructive partnerships, he said, “It is early days and inevitably there will be tensions as the interests of both sides won’t always coincide, but with both sides willing to listening and discuss the issues, it feels like a partnership.” Pointing to the benefits of a harmonious relationship in Cabinet, he said there was more to be gained to get the relationship Cayman needs with the UK.

Taylor said he hoped Kilpatrick would be able to build on what he had started and he was encouraged that things would continue to improve.

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