Archive for October 8th, 2014

Seymour aims to keep team in Premier League

Seymour aims to keep team in Premier League

| 08/10/2014 | 1 Comment

(CIFA): Head Coach of Cayman Athletic Sports Club Ernie Seymour believes words of advice from former national football Technical Director Carl Brown has helped set his team’s goals in Cayman Islands Premier League.  Seymour and Cayman Athletic are undefeated three games into the season and share the top of the league table with Roma United after, both teams battled to a close 3-3 draw in week three of the season on Sunday. In the last three seasons, Cayman Athletic has managed to stay in the top flight, albeit in the bottom half of the standings, but Seymour is confident that will change.

“We are looking to be in the top four, not in the bottom four,” Seymour told

“A lot of people told me that we would come up to the Premier League and go right back down. However, before leaving, Carl Brown told me, don’t go into the Premiership with the boys trying to win it, go in there to stay there; steal points from the big teams and try to stay above the teams at the bottom.

Seymour added “we have done that for three seasons, now this season we are competing for a spot in the top four. The time has come for the boys to start stepping up.”
Cayman Athletic has several players in their late teens and early twenties, including national Under 20 Boys team Captain Matthew Suberan. This season Cayman Athletic has shown a level of maturity not seen in previous seasons, an attribute Seymour said has emerged after difficult seasons.“The boys are maturing some more. Our teams want to compete now, not just stay above the relegation zone. The boys have changed their attitude towards competing in the Premiership.”

The team’s maturity was on full display in round three of the Premier League. Coming from behind to earn a draw against high riding Roma in the top of the table match up.

“Our boys showed character by coming from behind two times in that game, Seymour said. “Young players tend to lose their composure but they didn’t give up.”

Key to the team’s success has been the early season form of striker David Connolly.
He has scored four goals in three games and is the leading goal scorer in the Premier League after three weeks.

While happy with his start, Seymour still expects more.

“It is natural for him to score goals,” Seymour affirmed. “His physical conditioning is not in the position we would like it to be, but his goal scoring continues to be what it was since primary school football.”

Cayman Athletics’ start to the season has sent notice of a possible change of the guard in the Premier League, but the veteran coach cautioned, “It is a long season.”
“We can’t judge right now who will be the outright winner because of how the league has started. Look for power houses like George Town to bounce back in the rounds to come.”

WK 4 Cayman Islands Premier League – Fixtures

Saturday, 11 October 2014:  Cayman Brac Sports Field
Cayman Brac v George Town Sports Club

Sunday, 12 October 2014: T.E Mcfield Sports Centre (The Annex)
5:00 PM Cayman Athletic Sports Club v Sunset
7:00 PM Roma United Sports Club v Scholars International Sports Club
Ed Bush Sports Complex:
7:00 PM Elite Sports Club v Bodden Town Football Club

Continue Reading

‘Tom Cruise’ et al ham it up with Hamaty

‘Tom Cruise’ et al ham it up with Hamaty

| 08/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Proving that he can take a joke, Tortuga Rum Company founder Robert Hamaty has released a video in partnership with creators CML TV, making fun of himself for being “had” last week by professional Jack Nicholson impersonator Jack Bullard, who called in at the company’s outlet store during a cruise ship visit. Thinking that he was the real Jack Nicholson, Hamaty gave him a tour and some free rum cakes — a story that was picked up by the local newspaper and published without question. In response, Hamaty and CML TV have produced a video, “People Will Do Anything To Get A World Famous Tortuga Rum Cake”. Watch the video on CNS Business

Related article on CNS:

Newspaper’s 'Jack' blooper

Continue Reading

No verdict in Mac case

No verdict in Mac case

| 08/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After three hours of deliberation on Wednesday afternoon the jury trying the case against McKeeva Bush had not reached a verdict and as a result the judge directed them to return to the court tomorrow morning to continue deliberating. Justice Michael Mettyear warned the jurors they could not discuss the case overnight in small groups and must start again Thursday morning at 10am. During his summing up on Wednesday, the judge had emphasised the point that the case was not a moral one and regardless of how they felt about the gambling, and said it was “a court of law not a court of morals”, as he began his directions.

The judge was careful to point out to the jury that even if they found his conduct reprehensible that would not justify his conviction and it was the criminal allegations against him that they had to decide. He pointed out that the case against him was about a criminal breach of his duty as a public official.

“It maybe that you will be, at the very least, surprised at his conduct,”  he said, adding that the members of the jury may not expect the country’s premier to be spending hours and hours on slot machines when travelling overseas on the country’s business.

“You may be disappointed, even saddened by the conduct … you may even feel it is reprehensible but it won’t justify you convicting him,” he warned.

The judge explained that the jury had to find Bush guilty of the criminal allegations of breach of trust and misconduct to convict him. He said the charges of misconduct and abuse of office required a serious breach of the duty a senior public officer, such as the premier, has to the public, for the crime to be made out. The judge told the jury that the former premier had to have seriously abused his power or responsibility and that duty which he owed to the people to be found guilty of any of the offences.

He said the crown alleged that Bush had a duty not to abuse his CIG card which had been entrusted to him to use on behalf of the public and not for his own benefit. The prosecution said that Bush used the card as a line of credit, mostly for gambling, and with the goal of his own personal enrichment. The crown argued that such conduct was not only wrong but Bush must have known it was wrong, regardless of whether or not there was a written policy.

The judge pointed out, however, that the defence had argued that Bush did not have a duty where the card was concerned. The defence team lawyer had argued there was no formal policy or written rule regarding its personal use and the only rule regarding the card was that if you used it for anything other than government business you must pay it back. The defence said that whatever Bush did with the cash in such circumstances was a private matter.

The judge warned the jury about making too much of the conspiracy theory and the allegations by the defence that the charges were a political witch hunt because if they found that Bush was guilty of misconduct as a result of the use of his credit card in casinos, what the governorat the time, Duncan Taylor, said or did not say two and a half years later was irrelevant to the actual case.

However, Justice Mettyear said the governor’s behaviour was relevant in the jury’s consideration of what Bush had said to senior civil servants and others in connection with the allegations. If he believed he was the victim of a witch hunt, itcould have influenced his decision about what he said in public and why he had not taken part in the police interview or any lies the jury believe he may have told over the use of the cash he withdrew from casinos.

The judge noted that Taylor had not been present to defend himself or explain his motivation. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson had denied that the case was politically motivated or that he had any part in any conspiracy to deliberately bring Bush down for political reasons.

Justice Mettyear said it was possible that the governor genuinely believed the premier to be corrupt and that this was detrimental to the Cayman Islands, which was why he said the things he did, especially as he was responsible for good governance. However, the judge said the jury may consider that the former governor’s behaviour fell short of what would be expected of a man in his position.

He pointed to the manipulation of the press and comments about the investigation which he described as unacceptable. The governor, the judge said, did not demonstrate the “restraint, detachment and independence” that would have been expected.

The issue of dishonesty was also noted by the judge and as he concluded his directions. He said the jury must ask themselves about the allegations of dishonesty and what was meant by the handing over of blank cheques and the fact that Bush stopped using the card for cash advances after the formal written policy was circulated prohibiting personal use.

It had taken the judge less than three hours to sum up the crown’s case against the former premier Wednesday morning after a four week trial. The jury was sent out to consider their verdict at 12:55pm after Justice Mettyear gave them instructions on the law and summarized the evidence from witnesses as well as the relevant documentation. 

Continue Reading

Onus on insurer in disputes

Onus on insurer in disputes

| 08/10/2014 | 19 Comments

(CNS): If a health insurance provider refuses to cover a medical procedure on the grounds that it was not medically necessary, the onus is on the insurance company to prove it, according to Superintendent of Health Insurance Mervyn Conolly. The regulations in the health insurance law outline what is 'medically necessary', however, there are instances where the healthcare provider and the insurance provider may not see eye-to-eye concerning the diagnosis and treatment of the patient, Conolly told CNS, but in those cases the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) always puts the onus on the insurance provider to justify why that particular procedure is not medically necessary and to prove, with evidence to support their claims, that the care provided was really for the comfort and convenience of the patient or that it was not the appropriate level of treatment of that procedure.

“Then that is something that we would take up with the healthcare provider,” he said, “but we are usually able to work through most of those complaints without it escalating any further.”

In an instance of a true emergency where the healthcare provider has to provide treatment at that point of time, it is usually not contested by the insurer, Conolly explained. “It is usually the elective procedures that are planned where you could have those concerns as to whether it was medically necessary or not,” he said.

In these cases the doctor would generally seek a pre-certification from the insurance regarding the surgery or procedure that they are planning to carry out so that the insurer has the opportunity to look at it before they actually receive the claim, and if there any concerns they will then contact the healthcare provider, usually 24 to 48 hours before the procedure is actually carried out.

“Again, the onus is on the insurance provider to prove that it is not medically necessary,” Conolly stressed. “I can't recall too many instances where, once we put the facts together, that the insurance providers have not supported it.”

The approved insurers have their own medical consultants that they use to defend their position on the matter, he said. “In that case, you would have the medical consultants speaking directly to the physician, and a lot of cases are resolved in that way.”

He added, “The last thing we want to see is that the patient is negatively affected under these circumstances. In other words, if the medical procedure is necessary we want to defend that person.”

The Health Insurance Commission now has the power to impose administrative fines up to $1,000 for both employers and insurance companies for infractions of the health insurance law. If the accused person or company wants to challenge the HIC decision or if the matter is not resolved administratively, it will still end up in court but if it escalates to this level, the offender could end up with a much bigger fine imposed by the magistrate – up to $30,000 in some cases

The new powers given to the HIC, which kicked in at the beginning of this month, gives teeth to the commission for the first time. Conolly said they like to resolve cases before they get to the point where there is no cooperation and they end up in court, so having the administrative fines available as an additional tools to resolve matters is very useful. Only about 20% of cases end up in court, he noted, and they hope that these new powers will reduce that.

The HIC receives complaints about insurance providers not paying all the time, he said. The commission will then look at the benefit plans that that complainant has and assess the benefits that individual is entitled to under the contract. Ninety-five per centof the time they are able to resolve the matter, he said.

“Where the insurer is clearly not honoring the contract, in those cases we will definitely decide in favor of the insured person and require the insurer to honour the contract,” he maintained.

However, he said that in about half the cases taken to the commission it's because the insured people don't understand what benefits they are entitled to. He said that very often people don’t even read their plan of benefits. “And it's only when they go to the healthcare provider that they realize that they are not covered under the benefits, or if they are, they find that they are not covered to the level that they expected.”

Related articles on CNS Business:

$1,000 fines for health insurance offences

Medicare-type health insurance being proposed

Continue Reading

Chamber sweats labour rights

Chamber sweats labour rights

| 08/10/2014 | 44 Comments

(CNS): The Chamber of Commerce appears to be concerned that the employment minister’s plans to change the Labour Law giving employees more rights will increase the cost of doing business for their members. Tara Rivers said her ministry is proposing some 80 changes to the law, several of which are designed to protect workers, including a boost in severance pay for those laid off from their jobs and better compensation for wrongfully dismissed workers. Tara Rivers told her legislative colleagues that the proposed amendments would be put out for public consultation later this year but the Chamber is already worried that it could mean tougher times for bosses.

The Chamber has been blamed in the past for blocking improvements in protection for workers and once again the organisation which represents some 700 local businesses has said it wants to evaluate whether any of the amendments will lead to a higher cost of doing business or more red tape.

Johann Moxam, the Chamber president, has written to Rivers regarding her plans asking to see the proposals as he said labour matters remain a top issue for the members.

“Many businesses continue to face high costs and the challenge of obtaining the required skilled local labour to grow their businesses. If the cost of doing business continues to increase to a level which makes it unprofitable then good paying jobs will be lost or outsourced to other jurisdictions with lower costs, less bureaucracy and where businesses are welcomed,” Moxam said.

Offering support to the enforcement of existing workplace legislation, he said imposing higher fines and penalties is only effective if the system of enforcement and prosecutions is robust.

But the minister pointed out during a debate in the Legislative Assembly last month that the current law is inadequate and has not seen a significant overhaul for some ten years. The LA debate was on a private member’s motion brought by the independent member for East End, Arden McLean calling for firms laying off Caymanians to be required to notify and justify redundancies to the labour and immigration authorities. 

The motion, which received government support, was triggered by what is alleged to be a number of lay-offs of local workers at the Morritts Tortuga Club resort in East End, a member of the Chamber. It is understood that the local workers who lost their jobs believe their posts were filled with permit holders — an issue which is now before the labour authorities. Despite being praised by government recently for its commitment to employing Caymanians, according to the local MLA, the new management at the resort appears to have made an about face.

McLean also wanted to see an increase in the compensation given to wrongfully dismissed workers, an issue which the minister backed when she said that the current requirement to pay just one-week for each year worked in unfair dismissal or redundancy was not fair and changes to the law would see it increased.

Rivers said there had been more than 200 cases of unfair terminations to the Labour Appeals Tribunal over the last year.

Continue Reading

QC: Case too slim to answer

QC: Case too slim to answer

| 08/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The defence attorney representing McKeeva Bush said he had advised his client not to answer the charges of corruption and abuse because he believed there was no case against the former premier of the Cayman Islands and it should never have reached a court of law. Geoffrey Cox QC said the opposition leader had a right to silence, especially in a case which was as “slender and non-existent” as this one. That was why Bush had read a written statement to the police when he was arrested, refused to be interviewed, and why had not taken the witness stand during the trial. The lawyer said that Bush had been right all along about the witch hunt and in a free country he should not have to answer what the lawyer suggested were trumped up charges.

Cox said that Bush had never discussed the fact that some of the cash that he had withdrawn on his credit cards went into slot machines with senior civil servants because he knew his opponents would use it against him. While his client may have been foolish, Cox pressed home his position that Bush had done nothing criminal.

As a result, he made it clear that he had advised Bush not to answer the case, because “there was no case” and the crown had failed to prove anything criminal at all in the use of his CIG card. With witness after witness demonstrating Bush’s innocence, the lawyer said, there was nothing for his client to say from the witness stand.

Duncan Penny QC, the crown’s attorney who prosecuted the case against Bush for the alleged misuse of a government credit card and abuse of office, had focused on Bush’s silence and his decision not to take the stand. He questioned why the former premier was reluctant to address the jury on oath about his use of the government card as a line of credit for his gambling during business trips and personal visits overseas. 

But Cox said that in any democratic country with such a slim case, Bush did not have to prove his innocence and the truth had come from the mouths of the crown’s witnesses, who had said over and over again that there was no written policy regarding the credit cards and no formal ban on cash withdrawals.

The lawyer said Bush had been foolish to givehis opponents ammunition to use against him, referring to the gambling, and that was why he had not told the financial secretary, Kenneth Jefferson, or the deputy governor about how he used the cash as he knew what was happening. The lawyer said that the day after his arrest, when he called Jefferson to his house to discuss an independent and impartial review of credit card use in government by everyone, Bush already knew “what was cooking”, referring to the claims about a conspiracy to embarrass the then premier and tarnish the Cayman Islands.

“Knowing how he was being hunted, is it a surprise that he didn’t confide it?” Cox asked the jury rhetorically, as he justified why his client had not told anyone in government about the cash being used for slot machines. “He knew his political opponents would exploit it.”

Following the presentations from both the defense and the crown’s attorneys, all that remains is for the judge to direct the jury. Justice Mettyear is expected to begin those directions at 10am this morning (Wednesday 8 October) before sending out the four women and three men of the jury to deliberate on their verdict.

Continue Reading