Archive for September 24th, 2013

Health city to open February

| 24/09/2013 | 57 Comments

(CNS): The much anticipated first phase of Dr Devi Shetty’s hospital in East End will open on 24 February, officials have announced. With the construction of the project on schedule, local partner Gene Thompson was confident when he announced the opening date at a special lunch on Tuesday, where Shetty was present to give a presentation about the vision. Prior to introducing Shetty, Thompson told the audience that the construction had gone very well. Having waived the requirement for clean police records, previous references and avoided implementing random drug testing, the site maintained a rate of 70% local workers and moved ahead of schedule without a single on-site incident.

Once the hospital opens, however, a significant number of the workers will at first come from India, it was revealed during Tuesday’s presentation, but there will still be lots of vacancies for local workers. Thompson also said that the staff coming from India are currently undergoing cultural sensitivity training about Cayman before they arrive to facilitate their integration into the local community.

Several hundred people were present for the lunch presentation at the Marriott, which reflects the serious interest the community has in this unique development. Dr Shetty told them that two of the Narayana Hrudayalaya Group’s Indian star doctors will be coming to the Cayman Islands to head up the 150-bed tertiary care facility when it opens next year but at least two local doctors are expected to be joining the Health City Cayman team.

In his presentation Shetty spoke about the vision and how the hospital is expected to become a centre of medical excellence for providing surgery, highly specialised affordable care and medical training. He spoke of brave new medical technologies and techniques that will be available at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital that are not yet approved or available even in the US but that his staff is already expert in providing.

Shetty has been called the Henry Ford of medicine because his group takes an almost production line approach to surgery and uses a unique model to cut health care costs, training medical doctors and technicians to be specialists in a narrow field with the assistance of modern technology.

The model has had incredible success in his native India, where the economic realities are very different. But there are still those who doubt that in a jurisdiction as expensive as Cayman he will be able to deliver the same kind of efficiencies to facilitate his now world famous model for delivering top quality health care at drastically reduced rates.

Cayman has embraced Shetty’s vision and adapted legislation to facilitate his hospital and is hoping it will trigger a new area of economic development for Cayman with medical tourism.

Prior to Shetty’s presentation to the wider community, he met with the new government on Monday for the first time and shared information about the success of his medical model with the new ministers.

Acting Premier Moses Kirkconnell and Kurt Tibbetts led the Cabinet team, which pressed for involving as many Caymanians as possible as future employees, landlords housing the hospital’s employees, and as patients seeking the specialities offered at the hospital.

CIG is also seeking preferential rates for treatment for Caymanian patients and, in turn, Dr Shetty sought assurance that the government would refer to his institution its tertiary care patients that require treatment in the specialisations that his hospital will offer. He and his team also showed keen interest in working with the CIG in all possible areas and he sought better airline connectivity in transporting medical tourists to and from the Cayman Islands.

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| 24/09/2013 | 0 Comments


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Airport denied permit for new HR boss

| 24/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Following the public controversy over the decision of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority to appoint an ex-pat to the post of chief human resource officer, the acting director confirmed that the work-permit application has been denied. Jan Peters, the former head of HR at the Department of Tourism wasawarded the post following a recruitment and interview process in which she was the only non-Caymanian shortlisted.  Although there were several local human resource specialists who appeared to be qualified, because of Peters' experience and the work she had done at the DoT solving their HR problems, she was identified as the best person for the job. Read more on CNS Business

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Back-to-work programme for jobless Caymanians

| 24/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): A local recruitment agency has developed a not-for-profit programme to help find jobs for local people who are registered as unemployed, maintaining that this will lower unemployment, which stands at around 10.5% for Caymanians, and expand the local labour supply. Alan Brady, operations manager at Baraud, said the agency will launch a 13-week pilot back-to-work programme, Re-Start, on 14 October for 20 Caymanians looking for work and they are hoping it will be rolled out nationally if the pilot programme goes well. “Employers very often overlook people who have been out of work for a period or have a gap in their resume, particularly in times such as these with an abundance of people on the market,” Brady said. Read more on CNS Business

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Fourth suspect charged for Crewe Road burglary

| 24/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police say a 27-year-old man has been charged in connection with a burglary at Cayman Contractors, Crewe Road, last June. He has been charged with burglary and handling stolen goods and is expected to appear in court today (Tuesday 24 September). The two men and one woman, aged 29, 30 and 43,  who were charged earlier this month in connection with the same incident will also appear in court today.

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West Bay cop shop boss to host local meeting

| 24/09/2013 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Chief Inspector Harlan Powery, the man in charge of policing in West Bay, is calling on residents and business owners to attend a community meeting tonight Tuesday 24 September. The meeting will be held at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School  and will begin at 7.30pm. “It’s important to me as the District Commander to meet with members of the West Bay community and hear their views on local policing,“ he said.” I would encourage anyone who wants to have their say to come along on Tuesday night and take part in what I hope will be a very productive and informative session. “

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Rollover’s last days approach

| 24/09/2013 | 112 Comments

(CNS): The government is pressing ahead with the decision to remove the seven year term limit and allow all foreign workers in Cayman an opportunity to apply for permanent residency after being here eight years. Despite unconfirmed suggestions that not all of those sitting on the government benches are supporting the changes, the premier is pressing ahead with the first phase of the promised immigration reform. The amendment bill which is expected to be debated in the Legislative Assembly next week, when legislators will be meeting for the budget session, has now been released and sets out a number of changes that the PPM government hopes will be a first step in dealing with a myriad of issues relating to immigration.

The bill, which is being driven by the new premier, Alden McLaughlin, is not without its controversies, however, as it will allow for more than 1,500 workers currently holding term limit exemption permits to stay and apply for PR. These certificates were an emergency measure introduced by the UDP government to prevent a mass exodus from the island when all of the workers that had arrived in Cayman post Ivan were coming to their seven year term. The goal had been to give employers time to replace the staff gradually. But very few TLEP workers left, and as a result, the new government was facing the same economic problem that the departure of so many people and their dependents on the same day could cause.

With local unemployment soaring, however, this move has caused controversy. Even Cabinet was said to be divided on the issue and it is not clear if McLaughlin has managed to persuade enough of his team to support the amendments and see the bill’s safe passage. Questions sent from CNS to the premier about the split have been ignored.

Among other changes will be a much tougher PR regime but one which seeks a wider cross-section of people that can benefit the country and not just employers. The 'key employee' designation, which had allowed employers to select which people it wanted to keep and allow them to pass the eight year residency barrier, will be removed and enable government to approve or reject PR applications for everyone who stays. Those who do not apply must leave at the nine year point and not ten as anticipated, and PR applications are expected to be processed more quicklyso those who are refused will be leaving more promptly as appeals will be more tightly controlled.

The extensive new bill also provides for the chief immigration officer or her designate to decide permanent residence applications and work permits instead of the boards, cutting down the time applications take.

The board system for immigration has long been a problem since the significant increase in work permit holders and, as such, on the campaign trail McLaughlin promised to deliver a review of the administrative process to speed things up. The new bill also proposes removing the final one year work permit. Instead, those who choose not to apply for PR or who are turned down must leave within three months.

Although the overall result of the bill is that more foreign workers will get to stay a little longer, PR grants will be controlled by government and not the private sector, but in tandem there will be tighter parameters for employing foreign workers and stiff penalties for employers that ignore Caymanians during the recruitment process. The bill makes it an offense for employers not to report any applications they receive from local workers, introducing a maximum first-time fine of $20,000.

Permanent residents will also be monitored and required to declaration their investments, employment and other factors on an annual basis and inform the relevant immigration board or chief immigration officer if there is any change to their employment situation.

If it is passed next month, the bill will not impact any applications being made before it is law so current PR applications will be dealt with under the old law.

Despite the controversies, McLaughlin has persistently argued that the rollover and the process leading to PR has nothing to do with the problems Caymanians face in the workplace but that it was deigned to limit the number of people who can go on to get status. The difficulties some Caymanians have finding work are created through a number of other factors which were unrelated to the seven year rollover.

See bill posted below.

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