Rivers in Africa as LA meets

| 04/09/2013

(CNS): The education minister will be missing when the Legislative Assembly meets this morning, as well as the speaker, as the two women are both understood to be in South Africa at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting. Although government had revealed that Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Cayman's CPA representative, would be attending the annual meeting, which is in Johannesburg this year, there had been no indication that Tara Rivers would be joining her, as she was said to be on leave. The LA will be presided over this week by deputy speaker and backbench Progressive MLA, Anthony Eden, while Winston Connolly was sworn in last month to cover Rivers' work while she was absent.

CNS has submitted questions to the premier’s office to establish why Rivers is attending and whether she is doing so in an official capacity. While there has been no confirmation that Rivers is attending the CPA or that she is in Africa on any government related business, sources close to government have confirmed she is in Johannesburg.  We have also asked for details of costs, as the CPA foots the bill for some expenses but flights are usually paidfor by the CPA representatives’ own governments. There has been no response as yet.

A press release was issued on 23 August about the resumption of the LA today, 4 September, which confirmed that the speaker would be absent and that Eden would fill in, but there was no mention of Rivers. On the 19 August, a release had been issued by the office indicating that history would be made the following day when two councillors would be sworn in as temporary ministers. This, the release indicated, was because Rivers would be on leave from 27 August until 8 September and Marco Archer would be absent from 16-26 August. Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly have stood in for their respective ministers.

Archer has returned and will preside over the Finance Committee hearing being held today to regularize the extra appropriations made by the previous UDP administration over the last four years, but Rivers remains in Africa. It is not clear if she has gone as part of her own personal leave time or whether she is attending as a government representative.

Rivers, the Coalition for Cayman member for West Bay, caused considerable controversy when she took several days to accept the ministry position offered by the new PPM administration, and had at first engaged in closed door meetings with the other two C4C members and the two independent MLAs, as the five sought to negotiate a different shaped government.

With huge public support for her to accept the post, however, Rivers eventually took the job and negotiated for her C4C colleague, Winston Connolly, to be given a job as counsellor in the ministry. This eventually led to the recruitment of the third C4C member, Roy McTaggart, to the government benches.

Shortly after the government line-up was settled and ministries shaped, Rivers was embroiled in further controversy when a petition was filed on 12 June in the Grand Court challenging her election to office on the basis that she was not resident in Cayman for the required seven years prior to nomination and that she had a US passport which she continued to use. The challenge was filed by John Gordon Hewitt, the husband of the unsuccessful UDP candidate, Velma Hewitt.

The subsequent preparations for the trial and then the trial itself took Rivers away from her desk until the issue was resolved on 12 August by the chief justice, who found she was qualified. Having returned to her post for two weeks, the minister then began a vacation when news also broke that the election petitioner was appealing the court’s decision in the case on constitutional grounds, which is expected to drag the minister into more legal wrangling over the coming months.

The LA was scheduled to begin this morning at 10am and the proceedings were expected to be televised live on the government TV channel, CIGTV20.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well well, people of Cayman Brac. I hope while you are sitting down by the table trying to figure out how you are going to manage your bills and find even the hope of employment I sure hope you all take comfort in the fact that Juju is working hard for you!! I am sure she is up in that hotel worrying about you all, forcing herself not to have a good time and eat like a queen that she has become. I hope as you drive on those pretty blacktop roads that she so graciously provided, contrary to the law in respect to the manner it was done, you all hold your headds high and ignore the grumble of your hungry guts!!! I know, I know, because of Juju's traveling Cayman Brac has seen development and economic prosperity unlike before. What you all got over there is what you deserve. In the words of George Shaw "Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve". In other words, fool fool people make fool fool decisions. So to you I say, YOU DESERVE everything that you all get over there!

  2. Blessed says:

    What has this woman done since being elected!!  Mhhmmmm let me see………NOTHING.

  3. Anonymous says:

    this government (ppm)is a mess ….100 days gone and nothing done …somebody Alden want to help with the emigration new law ,this island going down ……

  4. Anonymous says:

    The small minds and big mouths in this islands has a lot of educating to do. Can never please this people here. Most do not understand protocol and diplomatic. I am sure that if Obama lands in Cayman Islands those at the front line and general public will be asking "who he think he is" he might be president but he nah ga nuttin do wid cayman, make em wait in line like everybody else" Every where else in the world the various person are treated as they should. Only in cayman we do not respect our leaders. If they did not attend, then it would be told they snubed the conference , ohh I have a good one,, she snubbed it because she dont like africa.. And please whodatis, im getting very bored.  start to miss you since im not keeping up as much. Are you on vacation?, because we know its the UK fault , yep here is a good one, because we are UK related she had to attend. see now if we was independent we not have to spend money to attend anything. Come on Cayman have some respect for your own leaders. stop bashing every single little thing.

    • Whodatis says:

      What da heck?


      Honestly, the CNS comment section is a perfect example of how things can go drastically wrong when differing levels of understanding are thrown in the same barrel.

      I appreciate your attention to my posts however you appear to throw too simplistic and reckless a net over Whodatis' perspective.

      No fish today bobo.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tara….Sorry guys, we've got loads of work back here.

    Mac…..Girl, you have a lot to learn, jus go na'


  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes it's clear. This will help us.

  7. Dog gone says:

    Three years is a short time! Better start planning for your next career change.

  8. 4Cayman says:

    Tara you're pepole are hungry, losing their jobs, their homes, Can't afford their light bills and this is the best you can do? I am disappointed in this action?  I can understand Ju Ju but I never saw this coming from you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    thank god for the ppm!…things have really changed……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  10. 4Cayman says:

    Obama owns his own plane……don't understand the need for the house speaker and her entourage to be in Africa?

  11. Rusty says:


    Great news our politicians are still traveling around the world and ministers going on much needed rest even before the house sits to make and examine laws of this country.  Nothing new eh Alden? Same old bull. Funny how your manifesto was about assisting the people who are in need of this country's assistance and nothing has gotten done since May. This is how I see iit caymanians unemployed, you now what to give TLEPS permanent residency to compete.
    people being sent home at 60 with nothing to do and is unable to keep up with insurance premiums.
    crime has gotten so bad that people are afraid to go out and try to enjoy themselves. 
    Cuc and gas is out of control.
    when is this all going to stop?
  12. Anonymous says:

    Unemployment is sky high her government looking out for expats instead of Caymanians and she in Jo'berg messing around with Ju Ju and Mac what a mess. Her priorities as minister are all messed up

  13. Bling Man says:

    Miz Tara I don think that right and I nah gone vote for you agin.

  14. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    Ju Ju, is going teach Tara everything she knows. Don't spare the horses!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Does JOCC do ANYTHING other than fly around the world going to conferences? If she loves being away so much why won't she just leave for good?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I hear Juju can shop till she drop and knows a thing or two about catching dem red shanks on dem Brac roads.  

  16. Anon says:

    Which passport did she use?

  17. Anonymous says:

    One wonders why they are not in their seats doing their jobs so early in the new government. I guess there's no burning issues to deal with at home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Commonwealth meetings are compulsory for members…whats all your problems? You now saying Cayman should not honour its international committments? Just like it should not honour its committments to Dart that a Caymanian elected government gave?

      No wonder this place is in a shit state…if all the bloggers on here had there way no-one would ever keep a promise or committment!

      That attitude kind of makes sense of the employment situation too right? In exchange for a salary one promises to do a full days work and do it properly…unless you are in Cayman when you can show up when you want…not come back from lunch, spend all day on the phone to the friend you will see later in the day and talk shit too…and wonder why your ass is fired and then have the front to complain about it…

      Seems serious attitude changes needed here people…this would be expected in Jamaica or other failed nation states…if the comments on here are a reflection of the nation we are in serious trouble.


      Frankly speaking you should be glad Tara has gone, at least she will be giving everyone a good image of Cayman. Go girl! Put the naysayers to shame.




    • SSM345 says:

      Babysitting and providing a report on Mac and JuJu is the job at hand for Tara in South Africa I would imagine.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If I'd had her last 6 months, I'd want to be in Africa too, or maybe space.

  19. Raffael says:

    The fleecing of government continues by our so called CPA representative sending Minister Rivers is big mistake if she has to take part they will sure tell the diffrence between the two. I wonder Sir Paul travel too????

    • SSM345 says:

      Raffael, did you miss the part in the story when it clearly states that Tara is on leave? Do you know what leave is?

      "Tara Rivers would be joining her, as she was said to be on leave."

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ah boy! The travel spree starts again!! Now she has a travel buddy!!! When will things ever change? Lord help us!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don't we try and host some of these conferences here for a change?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Oh my another big government bill with this one!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    One thing we can all agree on regarding Juju – this woman sure knows how to keep her a$$ on a plane. She travels just as much as Obama!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, same ol' same ol'.  Nothing new here which is dissappointing.  I have to believe that if Govt/Cabinet takes advice from Mr Manderson they might not run into this sort of PR disaster.

  24. Anonymous says:

    oh it's two of them now.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Another total waste of time freebie for Tara and Julie. But Jo'burg is a nice place to visit so they couldn't say no.

  26. Anonymous says:

    In the interest of transparancy it would be i=nice for the government to let us know who went and the associated cost.  Tickets  (coach, business class, or First Class).etc.  Also if personal assistants were involved at the peoples expense.

    They have been good about being open on this up to now.  They should continue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. What will be particularly telling is if the opennes continues but only from certain Ministers. (Or certain trips.)

  27. Anonymous says:

    her we go again .travel…. travel…. travel …  all these STUPID useless conferences all over the world !!!!     like the post master general who went to Dubai ( or somewhere like it ) for an USELESS award !

    STOP the travel madness !!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Perfect choice of Guide for Tara!

    Nobody does it better, shopping, foreign trips in First class style, and precious little purpose, thats Ju Ju!

    Seriously though, I do hope Tara has gone for other reasons, it would show that we have honesty in the LA at last, this Tara is a chance to show what you are made of and we hope that its not the same stuff as Juliana. Heres your blue print, only go for good purpose, travel with the Islands' interest at heart and at reasonable cost, report back on why you went and what you achieved, show value for our money and we will support you, behave as Juliana has in the past and you will quickly be reviled as she is!

  29. Knot S Smart says:

    If I was a 'gambling man' then I would bet that this administration will end up spending just as much on travel as the last administration did…

    But then again I dont gamble (while on island) cause I am a God Fearing, Church-going, Christian man, who does not like to travel, and who has clean hands and a pure heart…


    • Anonymous says:

      You would lose that bet, so it's a good thing you're not a betting man.

  30. Anonymous says:

    What's the big deal? MLAs go to CPA conferences all the time.

  31. Bubba Conch says:

    Unnecessary junkets are essential to mismanagement.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Same ole Same ole.

    I have been following the movements of the PPM Administration and it seems everyone of them in the last 4 months have been jet setting somewhere. I find it surprising that the press and media has not been reporting their every movement like was done to the UDP Government.  

    You may be shocked to see how many trips have been taken so far.  CNS why don't you FOI this and give a complete round up.

    Nothing changes.  Should had put a few others in than the lot of these.  4 months and I have seen nothing but increased CUC and Water bills. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The press has indeed been reporting the travel of this govt. which by the way pales into insignificance beside the UDP govt. travel both in terms of days outside the country and cost.  

  33. Anonymous says:

    She's been out of the country for years, so what's a few more days?

  34. Anonymous says:



    first 100 days in office

  35. Anonymous says:

    the jollies continue…

  36. Anonymous says:

    Is it true that Mac & Julie travelled to Africa first class?

  37. Anonymous says:

    How many MLAs went? Did they fly coach or business/first class?