Premier taking Gibraltar trip

| 05/09/2013

(CNS): Officials revealed this morning that the premier will be leaving the islands on another government overseas trip, this time to Europe. Alden McLaughlin will head to Gibraltar at the weekend for a pre-meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC), which coincides with that contested territory’s National Day, and then on to Jersey for a meeting in relation to the G8. Accompanying the premier to Gibralta will be the chief officer from the health ministry, Jennifer Ahearn, in the role of ‘Sherpa’ – or emissary – for Cayman, to work with others from the Overseas Territories and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to develop the agenda for the JMC meeting in London in November.

The news comes following the revelations on CNS yesterday that Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor Connolly, the leader of the opposition and the education minister were all in South Africa for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association while the Legislative Assembly was in session here.

The premier's week long trip is reported to be laying the groundwork for the main JMC meeting in London later this year.

“The pre-meeting will be held from 8-11 September and is an opportunity for all Overseas Territory heads of government to exchange views on political and constitutional issues, especially as they relate to the United Kingdom and its relationship with the OTs,” officials from the premier’s office said.

JMC members last met in London in December. Since then the Council has identified issues to be worked on, which include economic growth and jobs; protecting the environment; harnessing international support; and delivering better government, better education and stronger, healthier and safer communities.

After that, McLaughlin is travelling to Jersey at the official invitation of the Jersey government, to meet with the country’s chief minister, Ian Gorst, as a follow-up to discussions relating to the pre-G8 meeting in London in June of this year and the action plans that were published by Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies.    

The premier will be joined in Jersey by Financial Services, Commerce and Environment Minister Wayne Panton and his councillor, Roy McTaggart, while Ahearn will head to London for a Sherpa meeting. They will all return to the Cayman Islands on Saturday, 14 September.

According to details from the Gibraltar press, the Cayman Islands premier will be one of 8 OT leaders going to the island for the meeting; the others are from Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos and Pictairn.

“A full programme of activities and events has been prepared for them. This will include working meetings in advance of the Joint Ministerial Council between the Overseas Territories Governments and the United Kingdom Government which will take place at the end of the year,” an release from Gibraltan officials said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Same Old, Same Old

    Not sure why I try to keep track as local politics is so full of musical chairs and slights- of- hand but why is the Health CO traveling with the Premier? With the garbage up to our eyeballs in this country and the debt we are in from the cost of medical care choking us out like weeds we have the CO responsible traveling as Sherpa? Any who … let me get to my bed early so I can get up to take garbage to the dumpster up the road before the residents in that apartment complex get up. Garbage nah pick up since last weekend. Can't make weekend come and go and it still around. Same crap different day.         

  2. Anonymous says:

    How much am I paying for this lot? Certainly hope they're not flying first class, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is incredibly important for the Premier to attend these meetings.  How is he going to make policies and respond to international demands and policies unless he understands the issues? How can be influence international policies unless he is there?  How can he represent the Cayman Islands position unless he is there?  Do we want an isolationist Premier?  Do we want to become isolated and lost in the huge international arena?

      No question he needs to attend these important meetings — and, sorry, but it is a bit simplistic to  suggest that a conference call could do just as well.

      However, the last time the Premier travelled he travelled economy, and I don't think he will stay at the Ritz like some of his predecessors.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope you werent one of those hypocrites condeming Makeeva for the same travelling. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

        What i have to say, these are our deplomats and it is part of the protocal for them to visit different countries and meet different dignataries…so let it be!

         lets stop the small island stupidity…crab-in-the-bucket mentality.

        • Anonymous says:

          Buit it wasn't the same travelling at all. There was no transparency about McKeeva's travel until FOI responses could be obtained and much of it was lavish with large entourages touring all corners of globe where there just happened to be casinos. There was no clear agenda for these trips, just that he was supposedly drumming up business for Cayman which never materialised.  

        • judean people's front says:

          Diplomats? Duncan Taylor is a diplomat.

          What you have here is the equivalent of a small village council with access to frequent travel.

          Please, let's not get confused as there has been enough ridicule and embarrassment already.

        • Anonymous says:

          Isn't it "boot"?

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no question that there is a need for travel by people that we have voted in.

        The problem that some elected members may have is that now they are accountable and will be scrutinized for everything they do. Even outside of the jurasdiction.

        They have been put there by us and ultimately, will have to answer to us upon their return.

        After all, we are paying their wages and life pension, travel, etc.

        The game has changed now … there is an expected transparency and an openness that requires accountability.

        The voters will not blindly accept that what is said or written by a candidate is gospel, so do not be dissappointed when a candidate or party member is challenged or questioned on this.

        That old 'Respect my authority' shouting unfortunately will just not wash with reasonable, intellectual and educated voters and a vast section of the community that cannot vote.

        There is also a sense of urgency now, as sitting back and watching the last shower consistently underperform and over embarrass themselves was painful to say the least.

        Therefore, any hint of any repetition, then let's get them out of the way.

        Either by votes of no confidence or any other instrument that can be used, if there appears that the process is drawn out or lengthy then we demand that they are removed and the United Kingdom are invited in to oversee things for a few years.

        It is time to earn that 'pension for life' that you all voted to draw early whilst in office.

        So, anyone want out now?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I work in the financial services (a senior officer) and as a part of my role, I'm required to travel often to meet with senior members of our sister offices in the USA, Europe and Asia.  Companies in the financial services industry allocate quite a lot to the travel budget as travel is vital to business.  If this is the case for a company, it can surely be the case for a first-class financial services country leading the way ahead of Bermuda and other such Islands.  Therefore and with all due respect, I believe that those who do not understand finance, economics and globalization are the ones idling here with their "nothing to add" comments.  

    Read this if you're really bored:

    Business travel in the U.S. is responsible for $246 billion in spending and 2.3 million American jobs; $100 billion of this spending and 1 million American jobs are linked directly to meetings and events. For every dollar invested in business travel, businesses experience an average $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits. A 10 percent increase in business travel spending would increase multi-factor productivity, leading to a U.S. GDP increase between 1.5 percent and 2.8 percent. (Source: The Return on Investment of U.S. Business Travel).


    • Anonymous says:

      Hurray for USA!

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with you, it is a requirement by business to do this.

      So if you do not generate any business or justify this, you are not generating any profit and become a drain on your employer.

      I would suggest then that you would not be employed much further.

      This is all we ask the government to bear in mind.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So what is the difference between the current Premier and the old one…nada! Zilch! same old crap different day.

    We need to stop recycling politicians and get some real men of the soil to run for office. Alden and gang are delving straight into the spoils when his ass should be here trying to find us jobs rathter than galavanting around the globe trying to make people think he is something he isn't . We had the same crap from McKeeva and this one is no different. At least Mckeeva put off the expats for four years, this one gave 1500 expats carte blanche for permanent residency not even 90 days after getting elected. This while our people languish in poverty without jobs, the banks take away our houses and our children go hungry. Yeah Im sure that comes to his mind while he is sitting in first class on the British Airways flight having his galls of wine and cutting into his nice thick juicy steak…Time longer than rope  though…mark my words. Like Mckeeva, Alden's time will come too.

    Does anyone remember how much the PPM spent last time…and that was without all the travelling..imagine with the travelling this time how much will be spent…Dog will eat our supper!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am pleased to note that this government has not adopted the same attitude as the previous group when it comes to informing the public of their travel plans.  We have been told who will be attending and the general purpose of the travel.  They have already set out expense guidelines for official travel so why the complaints?  Are some of you really naive enough think that our cabinet members will not be required to travel from time to time?  Seriously, how riducolous!

    I would however be interested in why Tara Rivers is off to South Africa.  

  6. Anon says:

    The travel bug has bitten – and having bit, must travel. 

  7. Good move says:

    This is an excellent and well thought out move.  If we are to model ourselves after an Offshore Jurisdiction that actually has their act together, then Jersey is where our government should go. 

    I'd say this is better than Big Mac buddying up to T&C Mesick and learning two-party power politics from our Eastern Caribbean cousins.

    Pay attention CI Delegation:  School is in.  Sharpen your pencils and sit up straight!


  8. Anonymous says:

    I am not at all surprised at what is emerging from this PPM govt. Anyone with agrain of sense would have seen this coming because there is but little difference between PPM and UDP.

  9. Dog gone says:

    CNS can you find out if politicians claim frequent flyer miles when they travel on official business? If so who get those points? Government or the individual?

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone gets frequent flyer miles on company business and uses them for private use, it is one of the few perks. Anyone that travels on business knows it is not the bed of roses it is cracked up to be, jet lag, different food and water meaning digestive systems complains bitterly, being on guard every minute you are not in your hotel room.


      So shut up will you before you spoil it for the rest of us!! Concentrate on what they are spending cash and whether that is legitimate, the correct price and so on.

      • Please donate says:

        Good point, how about we ask the government to donate all travel miles to the cancer society so people can go to Miami for chemotherapy treatment until our chemotherapy centers open?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Looks like 'Same old, same old' here. You can change the name but you can't change the game.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I love CNS because they put this out in the public domain. We, the taxpayer, have every right to know what trips politicians take. We should be allowed to scrutinize their every action because its all happening on our tax dollar.

  12. Knot SSmart says:

    I gave a thumbs up – but thats for CNS reply to your post…

    PPM needs to get with the program and get the economy going – not waste our money travelling…

  13. Anonymous says:

    As we the public pay their wages and take a gamble that these people may do something constructive for us, I think you should shut the …. up.

    We pay their wages and pensions so they work for us, not you.

    We pay ultimately, so we, the public, decide whether it is worth our money to send them. If it isn't then they have to go.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Spot on CNS


    08.35, if your plan was to intimidate CNS I can assure you I will be here to set you straight every time- what on earth are you thinking? A free press is essential to a thriving democracy.

    • Sunny Side Up says:

      Other tabloids rely on gimmicks such as "page 3" to attract readership and sell advertising space. CNS relies on comments such as yours. It has nothing to do with "free press". 

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe, but it's certainly better than the new Compass!

      • Anonymous says:

        Too bright for me 18.59, I had not realised that my comments pay CNS bills. I thought it was advertising. Silly me. Free press has everything to do with it, exposure is one of the ways of keeping corrupt and abusive politicians in check.

        Now, pray tell me, dear Guest, exactly which planet are you from?

      • Anonymous says:

        Surely you're not advocating CNS introduces a "Page 3"? This would be an outrage. I'll be checking every morning to make sure this isn't the case (while the wife makes breakfast, of course).

  15. Anonymous says:

    Now I'm an ordinary joe and not wise in the way of the political workings of the world, so could some one enlighten me. Does attending these conferences actually benifit us? All I see is OUR elected officals traveling the globe on OUR dollar.

    Same ole shit different day. recycled politicans will never fix the problems with this country. I saw we take to the streets in George Town and throw these people out of the offices that WE elected them into. It's time to DEMAND change!



    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that travel must be carefully considered, however, we have to be realistic and accept that some travel is obviously necessary. It would be impossible to tell whether some of those travels do benefit us or not, but it would be equally difficult to determine whether NOT attending some of those conferences will do more harm down the road.

      There is obviously a need to network and if you are not seen or if you don't stay in the loop you are forgotten and left out. Simple as that. Absence can, and often will be misinterpreted as disinterest. Some matters can be dealt with via conference calls, some not. I don't think you can expect that this kind of meeting is dealt with via conference call. Obviously, there is a difference between flying to the Middle East to accept some BS postal services award and tagging on a weeks vacation etc.

      Perhas you want to ask the banks and financial institutions why they attend a lot of conferences in their field and how they gage whether attending or not attending is benefical or harmful. I guarantee you, a lot of those conferences are attended only to rub shoulders and network and the finacial gains maybe not there immedisately or directly, but it is vital for them to make their presence known in order to compete and survive.

      So while I agree that we must keep a close eye on what Government is up to and whether they deliver on their promises, we can't start bitching every time they go on a plane just for the sake of it. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The delegation that is going is the right group.  Now Tara in South Africa is another dish all together.  A serious slap in our face.  And someone please take away Julianas passport, there is  no reason under her responsibilities for her to attend!  Ju Ju please stop your wasteful madness!! 

        • Anonymous says:

          Demand accountability people. Do not let the snouts in the trough remain.

    • Anonymous says:

      What ignorance. Let me ask you a question:

      Are the political leaders of all other OT's attending the meeting? You make it sound as if this is simply a jolly which the premier has decided to go on.

      Cayman does not exist in a vacuum. We can learn much from other territories and perhaps present a united front on certain issues to the UK. According to the OT Minister the Council "provides a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues and has a mandate to lead work to review and implement the strategy and commitments in the June 2012 White Paper The Overseas Territories: Security Success and Sustainability and to promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development".

      This is about fixing the problems of the country.




  16. Anonymous says:

    It is sad that our populace is so beguiled by the words of politicians and fail to study for themselves, become enlightened and move forward.  The present Administration filled your heads with the vociferous lament of look how your government is travelling and what they are spending, now its their turn.The truth be told about Government travel, is that a) it is a neccessity and an obligation in certain instances, b) it is essential in many cases to protect our interests particularly as it relates to theTourism Industry and teh FInancila Services we provide,from the incursions of the OECD, FACTA, the G8 and for Marketing purposes etc ; and C, the Governor or Depuy  is fully aware of the travel, the need, location and costs, this is part of the process people.  PLease do not get bent out of shape on these trips, they are neccessary.  We must judge the success, the outcome of these trips, not the trip themselves.  If they do not keep us apprised of the efforts and lie about results, or dont show any, then lets hit them with the kitchen sinc nd the frying pan over and out.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good thign Mckeeva was travelling too much!!  What a joke!!

  18. Knot S Smart says:

    I am fast becoming disillusioned with this government.

    The economic situation has worsened since May and instead of bringing measures to spur the economy, they are on a travel spree wasting our tax dollars…


  19. Magic Jack says:

    These are at least meetings of some substance. But one does wonder why they never think to get on a conference call……..

  20. Anonymous says:

    CNS, if you plan to try to embarrass every single member of the government who ever flies anywhere, rest assured I will be right here in the comments setting you straight. There is NOTHING WRONG with official travel, as long as it is in aid of legitimate purposes (not 3 week trips to sign contracts civil servants don't know about), and disclosed in advance. It doesn't matter how big you make the font.

    CNS: We plan on reporting all trips by members of government so that you and other members of the public can scrutinize it and decide for yourselves whether they are worth the money. All state leaders and ministers must travel from time to time but they should also have to justify the trip. Part of the value for money perception will be the reasons given for the trip in the first placeand subsequent reports to the Cayman public on what was achieved.

    The public should also have access to the costs of the trip if they are paying for it and we would like to see the current government establish the mechanism for this so that future governments are unable to take jollies unbeknown to the public.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS is just reporting it, the MLAs are more than capable of embarassing themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Original poster here.

      CNS, I fully agree with you, but your 'red-top' style always seems to suggest everything is wrong with the world unless and until it is proven right. You put as few words as possible in the title so people can project their own prejudices, politics and jaded perspective onto it even if the matter at hand is perfectly legitimate.

      Smart people on this island can see what it is that you do; you trade in controversy and unless you can make targets out of the senior figures of this new government your ad revenues will decline as people realise there is no daily scandal to read about. UDP was good for business. You will try to make Alden a spendthrift, Tara an overachiever and so on until revenues are back where you want them. 

      You and all of us are not best placed to judge whether a personal appearance is needed in a particular setting or not, only the government is. Yes people can judge the cost and the outcome but that happens after – you are just encouraging people to be cynical from the start. Where that cynicism is demonstrably justified that is one thing but we are 4 months into a government such as we have not had in well over a decade here that is comprised of serious people who know what they are doing. Give them a chance and find something else to be shrill about. 

      CNS: A couple of points:

      1. Our headings for the large font titles are 28/29 characters. It is only a few words long because that is all that will fit. Not sure how you read nefarious intent into that.
      2. Government is one of the biggest advertisers on the island. One of the next biggest is Dart (Camana Bay). You see where I'm going here? We do not make money out of our readers but by selling ads. If the sole aim of our content was to generate ad fodder, the best way to do that is not to cross government and to write glowing articles about all developments — and never ever touch an article about the environment. 
      3. No politician in the world is so good that they should not be scrutenised by the public, and politicians who are aware that they must justify their actions and that all decisions will be challenged are likely to make better judgement calls.
      • Porky Pig says:

        Original poster states that only government is best suited to judge whether a personal appearance is required – sorry to disagree, but government is the least suited to make such (any) decisions… Care to take a guess why?

      • Anonymous says:

        CNS, you state that Government and Dart are the biggest advertisers on island and that may be the case, but nowhere on the page I am looking at whilst I type this reply can I see an advert by either of those entities so your reply to the posters comment means little I'm afraid. If they are advertising it's certainly not on the pages of CNS.

        CNS: That's my point. The commenter was accusing CNS of publishing controversial articles in order to boost ad sales. Read pt 2 again.

    • Porky Pig says:

      Oh yes, you really set CNS straight – not only them, but the world!

    • Anonymous says:

      We don't want you on here 'setting people straight'.

      We want you in front of a commission or public inquiry should no apparent worth or benefit be brought back.

      Yes, declare it in advance, give it legitimate purpose but the proof will be presenting the results in a tangible form to the public and making it happen quickly.

      If you can do this, you may stay in the job.