Archive for July 16th, 2014

Cops round up more suspected burglars

| 16/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The police have charged five people from across Grand Cayman in connection with various break ins and burglaries in the capital and in Bodden Town. A 44-year-old man from George Town was charged with burglary following a break-in at the Cayman Cabana in George Town, which was reported to police on 7 July. Meanwhile, a 33-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man from North Side, along with a 22-year-old man from West Bay have all been charged with burglary in connection with a break-in at a house in Bodden Town reported to the police on 1 July. All three appeared in court Monday.

Police have also charged another West Bay man with a number of offenses. The 33-year-old was charged with two counts of criminal trespass, harassment and two counts of driving while disqualified following an incident reported to police on 4 July.

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Estranged husband attacks wife’s friend

| 16/07/2014 | 20 Comments
(CNS): Police are investigating an incident which took place between an estranged couple last night in the district of Bodden Town. A RCIPS spokesperson said that a 40 year old man armed with a rock broke into his wife's home in Savannahthrough her back door at around 9:15 on Tuesday evening. The man's 46-year-old wife who is separated from her husband was with a male friend when he turned up. She told the police that after his arrival an argument ensued between her estranged husband and her friend during which time her ex appears to have thrown the rock at his wife's friend. The rock hit the victims face but the complainant refused medical assistance. 

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Suckoo to file OMOV motion

| 16/07/2014 | 64 Comments

(CNS): Disappointed that his leader appears to be abandoning the PPM’s election promise to introduce equality of voting in time for the 2017 elections, government back-bencher Alva Suckoo is taking matters into his own hands and is preparing a private members motion on the issue and is hoping to win enough votes from inside the PPM and C4C members as well as the opposition benches to demonstrate that, contrary to claims from the premier, there is enough support to make the change now without his government falling apart. Meanwhile, the Chamber of commerce boss and a prominent member of the original OMOV campaign is also urging the premier to keep his word.

Suckoo’s announcement that he will file a private member’s motion to introduce 'one man, one vote' in single member constituencies is a political risk for the legislative novice but it’s one he says he is willing to take in order to fulfill the promise he said he made to Bodden Town voters.

“I am disappointed that the electoral reform that so many of us campaigned for and promised is now becoming a political football,” Suckoo told CNS Tuesday evening as he announced his intention to bring the proposal to the Legislative Assembly at the earliest opportunity.

“I campaigned heavily for the change and I believe that my eventual election in Bodden Town was assisted by my stand for equality. Some will say that this is not a priority for the country and we need to get on with more important initiatives, and while I agree that there is much to be done, I also maintain that voter equality is a major priority.”

He added that government could not justify maintaining the current system which favours some people.

“Votes are political currency and when you have an unequal distribution of voting rights, those with the most power will always have an advantage over the others,” said Suckoo, who is a counsellor in the premier’s as well as Osbourne Bodden’s ministry.

“I know that I will be criticised for taking this step and I will take whatever political punishment that comes with taking this position but I also want to assure everyone that I plan to remain with the government and to continue to contribute and do the job I was elected to do.”

Suckoo said the government has a mandate to introduce electoral reform and he said he was committed to keeping the promise he made.

“This issue is becoming a huge distraction from the work we need to do with unemployment, poverty, discrimination against Caymanians, economic development, education and all the other campaign promises we made, and it needs to be settled once and for all.”

Like many, Suckoo believes the country cannot go the polls again without equality in voting rights and his concerns have been echoed by the Chamber of Commerce president. Johann Moxam. who campaigned heavily for the introduction of OMOVs in SMCs in the referendum of July 2012. Although that passed in favour of OMOV with a simple majority, it did not reach the bar set by the then UDP government of a majority of all voters. As a result, hopes in the community for reform shifted towards the election of a new government.

Concerned over comments by Premier Alden McLaughlin that he is not willing to bring a government motion on the issue because of what he says is opposition within the PPM-led administration, Moxam said his position contradicts the PPM’s manifesto pledge.

“I would encourage him to consult with his colleagues in order to fulfill this campaign promise,” he said, pointing to the list of his current government front- and back-bench members who were instrumental in the citizen-driven initiative that lead to the referendum.

“The premier stated that the PPM would restore trust and confidence in the government and the Cayman Islands as a whole and pledged to be open and accountable. Fulfilling manifesto promises is the bedrock for maintaining credibility and the confidence of all stakeholders. I would encourage the premier to lead his party to fulfill the promise to introduce single member constituencies and implementation of one man, one vote prior to the 2017 election … otherwise, their manifesto becomes an empty shell and merely words printed on paper that have no meaning.”

Moxam, who personally a supports OMOV, said the Chamber has also always backed it because of the basic principle of guaranteeing equality. He said smaller constituencies with a single member encourage stronger connections between representative and constituent and increases accountability and guarantees equality.

The Chamber boss said he appreciated the challenges facing government, from the cost of living and the dump to creating jobs for locals and the revitalization of George Town, but noted that electoral reform was also a campaign pledge.

McLaughlin is facing political heat on this from all directions. On Monday evening the Coalition for Cayman members of his government made it clear that they were not the stumbling blocks to reform, as has been implied by the country’s leader.

Several of his own PPM members, including Marco Archer and Wayne Panton, were also prominent in the referendum campaign and support electoral reform to OMOV in this term. While they were able to fudge their positions during the motion brought by Arden McLean earlier this year, suggesting public discussion on the shape of the future political landscape, the PPM leader’s more certain announcement this week that he won’t be dealing with this matter before 2017 has left them with a stark choice.

While McLaughlin looks increasingly isolated in his position on electoral reform, the question that remains is how many of his 12-strong team (exclusive of the Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly who is known to oppose OMOVs in SMCs) will support Suckoo’s motion, to fulfill an election promise.

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Simmonds keeps job but gets new boss

| 16/07/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The overseas territories minister has survived the UK Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle but he will be dealing with a new boss following the resignation of the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, from the front bench. Hague is retiring from politics at the next election and will now sit on the backbenches for his last year in office as leader of the Commons. Mark Simmonds will now be working under Phillip Hammond the new head of the Foreign Office, who is considered a Eurosceptic and will represent the UK on the world stage until the British elections next year.

The MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, Kent, Hammond is likely to focus his overseas efforts close to home renegotiating the UK government’s relationship with Europe. Hammond is the second richest member in Cabinet with a net worth of £8.2 million, just under Lord Strathclyde's £9.6 million.

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