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Job agency says website troubles tackled

| 24/12/2014 | 27 Comments

(CNS): The NWDA has been wrestling with gremlins on its website which a spokesperson from the agency said had posed difficulties for its clients accessing their account or registering online. However, following enquires by CNS after many readers contacted us about the problems logging on, the agency said they believed it is now resolved but it took longer than anticipated to address the issues as a result of the limitations of the software and budget cuts. Having found the solution Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia told CNS that the NWDA website was taken down for a period on Tuesday to implement the solution but it is now back up and running efficiently she also said that the agency was working with the computer services department (CSD) to ensure it stays that way.

“CSD has tested the site and based on its findings the solution has worked and the site is running efficiently,” she said. “The CSD commits to its continued support of the NWDA and the clients it serves.”

The employment ministry’s deputy chief who has oversight of the government job agency said that the problems were down to incompatibility issues.

“A review made by that Department’s help desk found that there were incompatibility issues with Google Chrome and Firefox browser that were a result of upgrades to the operating system in both of these programmes,” Ebanks-Garcia said. “Based on CSD’s examination of the problem it was determined that these issues were due to limitations in the legacy software supporting the site. As a result of resource and budget constraints the complex process of installation, configuration and testing ofnew software to resolve the issue has taken longer than CSD would have liked,” she added.

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Cayman e-business made easy

| 22/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): One of the problems with e-business in the Cayman Islands is the cost involved and the length of time it takes to set it up. But a new IT company makes it so easy, they say you can be up and running in 15 minutes for as little as CI $125 per month. CaymanAisles, run by John Bodden and Megan McLean, is designed so that retailers can sell their products through the internet via their website “The best way to describe it is that it’s like but for Cayman retailers only,” McLean explained. But unlike Amazon, retailers have their own website within, which they can customize, such as change colours and add headers. Read more on CNS Business

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Capt Marvin dies after a lifetime on the sea

| 22/12/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): One of Cayman’s best known tourism pioneers, Captain Charles Marvin Ebanks, died at the age of 98 on Saturday, having operated his local tour company for more than sixty years. He started his career on the sea in the turtling industry when he was still a teenager. Then in the 1950s he began taking tourists to Stingray City on a borrowed boat and was still taking guests out on one of his vessels well into his 90s. As well as being an ambassador for the country’s tourism sector, he made a significant contribution to local culture. Last year he was awarded the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s highest honour, the Gold Heritage Cross.

He is survived by his 15 children, 33 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren, and he also lived to see one great-great grandchild. 

The funeral service for Capt Marvin has been delayed in order to accommodate the numerous overseas guests as well as the many locals expected to attend and will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 3 January at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay.

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Police charge suspects in $100k credit card scam

| 22/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Four people arrested last week for using cloned credit cards at local businesses have been charged and are expected to appear in court today, Monday 22 December. The one woman and three men from Eastern Europe are accused of stealing over $115,000. The four visitors from the island have been charged with conspiracy to defraud, theft and possession of criminal property. The woman aged 33 is from Romania along with two men aged 38 and 42 while the fourth 39 year old man is from Hungary police stated and all four have been remanded in custody.

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Former Cayman police commissioner dies aged 90

| 20/12/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Former Cayman Islands commissioner of police, Jim Stowers, has died aged 90. Stowers first came to Cayman in in 1976 for two years to train the police and returned in 1980 to serve as commissioner of police, a post he held for five years. During the royal visit in 1983 Queen Elizabeth presented him with the Queens' Police Medal for distinguished service. While he was commissioner, he was very active in policing drug trafficking and money laundering measures, presenting papers and lectures at Interpol conferences in Europe, the Caribbean and USA, including the FBI, according to the local media in Cornwall, where Stowers lived. He was described by friends as “an exceptional, special gentleman”. (Photo: Former Police Commissioner Jim Stowers, left, with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in the Cayman Islands in 1983)

Stowers served on a river class frigate in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, both in the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, reports the Torquay Herald Express.

After learning the 48 letters of the Japanese morse code, he volunteered to join wireless intelligence, which took him to Burma and French Indo China. When he was demobilised, Jim joined the Merchant Navy for a time as a radio officer on the Cunard troopship Franconia for the evacuation from Palestine and India.

Stowers began his police career in Torquay and he served 18 years in the CID in South Devon, including a spell in Brixham. He rose through the ranks to become acting assistant chief constable for Devon and Cornwall.

After returning home from the Cayman Islands in 1985, he lectured at the Bramshill Police College and became a research fellow at the University of Exeter, and tutor on the MA degree course in police and criminal justice.

Between 1986 and 1989 he undertook two surveys covering 11 dependent and independent countries in the Caribbean as head of team on behalf on the British government.

Stowers married his late wife, Eileen, in 1947 and the couple went on to have two sons, Jim and John. 

Stowers’ funeral will be held on Saturday at St Michael's Church, Teignmouth, at 11am.

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Cruise passenger drowns snorkelling off 7MB

| 20/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 35-year-old man from Michigan, USA, died while snorkelling off Seven Mile Beach Friday afternoon. Police said they received a call at about 3:20pm from Red Sail Sports stating a woman could not find her husband who had been snorkeling in the water off TikI Beach, on the West Bay Road. Staff from Red Sail Sports responded onjet skis and found the man unconscious in the water. CPR was conducted but he was unresponsive. He was taken by ambulance to the George Town hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The man and his wife along with their seven year old child were visiting aboard the Holland America. Police said the matter was now under investigation by officers from West Bay.

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Drivers warned as Christmas lights draw crowds

| 20/12/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The police are asking drivers to be careful on the roads while families enjoy the Christmas lights on show around the island but particularly at the Bodden’s in South Sound and the Creighton’s in Spotts. Police said road signs are in place there to warn drivers about pedestrians are crossing the street near the Creighton property to visit the annual festive light show. Drivers travelling along South Church Street are also asked to use caution near the Bodden’s home and police are reminding pedestrians to look both ways before crossing the streets. Light clothing should also be worn at night and people should walk facing oncoming traffic. “Keep it safe this Christmas,” the RCIPS said.

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Scott takes up advocacy job for finance sector

| 19/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Former Ernst and Young partner Jude Scott is the new Chief Executive Officer of Cayman Finance, the umbrella advocacy group for the local offshore sector. CF Chairman Ian Wight confirmed Scott’s appointment Thursday and said the organisation was fortunate to have such a well-respected member of the community take up this vital role and help guide its strategic development over the coming years. Cayman Finance has been working more closely with government recently in an effort to get everyone in the industry to join forces against an onslaught of negative publicity about the offshore sector and the tax haven label. Read more and comment on CNSBusiness

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School students clean up East End beach

| 18/12/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): A science class from Clifton Hunter High School took to an East End beach last week to clean up the shoreline off of Spotter’s Way. Armed with bags and gloves donated by the Department of Environmental Health, the twelve students descended upon the remote beach, where they collected 28 bags of garbage and recyclables that had floated in from around the world. Among the more interesting finds were an inflatable pontoon and a refrigerator door. Linda Locke of the Reef Resort the closet accommodation to the beach, joined the crew and provided dry-fit T-shirts for the group.

The resort also provided a free meal and drinks for the students afterwards. More community support came from White Sand Water Sports which donated a ride on their newest attraction – the Jetovator. One student collected six large bags of rubbish and will be enjoying an airborne outing on this latest water adventure invention.

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‘Ozziegate’ causes outrage

| 18/12/2014 | 151 Comments

(CNS): More than three hundred and twenty comments were posted to the CNS website in the two-day period after the news story regarding the health minister’s profanity-littered tirade on his chief officer was published at just after 11:30 on Tuesday morning. Osbourne Bodden’s outburst has stirred up a public storm that the government may find hard to ignore, despite its best efforts. So far, with the exception of a short statement from the premier’s office saying that CO Jennifer Ahearn had reported the incident to the deputy governor, that the minister had apologised in writing and that there was a plan in place to address the issue, the country’s leaders have been less than forthcoming about the incident and the calls for Bodden’s resignation.

The member for North Side told CNS Thursday that he believed both the health minister and his chief officer should resign following the well-publicised altercation and set an example. Ezzard Miller said he did not believe that the incident was unprovoked but regardless of why Bodden had lost his temper, what he did was unacceptable and it should not be tolerated. The minister, he said, should show the necessary political maturity and step down.

He said that, given the circumstances, the chief officer should also resign as it was clear the two were no longer able to work together and that this disagreement would create a disruptive division in the ministry that would be hard to overcome.The independent member said Bodden should take responsibility for his actions and the people need to see accountability from their political leaders. But, he said, it would also set a good example for civil service accountability for Ahearn to resign as well, as she was not able to work with her minister.

Miller is so far the only member of the Legislative Assembly other than Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush to comment at all about the incident following Premier Alden McLaughlin’s short official statement that the matter was being dealt with and he did not want to air the details in the press. Bush told The Cayman Compass that he did not have all the facts about what occurred in the ministry offices but based on what has been said the premier “couldn’t whitewash” the situation.

No one else on the government benches has spoken about the incident. CNS has contacted the minister for labour and gender affairs but has received no response with regards to that ministry’s position on the health minister’s workplace behaviour and what appears to have been a bullying attack on his female chief.

No details of the tirade, which was loud enough for most people on the top floor of the government administration building to hear, have been confirmed but CNS understands that the insults and profanities used by the minister focused on Ahearn’s nationality rather than her gender.

The issue has raised considerable attention from the public at large, not just from the CNS commenters but across wider social media and on the local airwaves as well. Most of those participating in the online discussion on CNS and elsewhere are calling for Bodden to step down from his ministerial post and for government to act if he does not.

However, it appears that the government is hoping that the public backlash on this issue, like the situation surrounding the police commissioner and the recruitment of a murderer to the RCIPS, among other sticky issues for the current administration, will go away.

If it does not, the premier will be faced with a difficult decision on who can replace Bodden.

The obvious candidate to take over is Alva Suckoo, who has worked with his Bodden Town senior colleague in the ministry as a councillor. However, although becoming increasingly popular with his constituents, Suckoo is believed to be less so in the party ranks as a result of his outspoken and independent position on a number of issues.

He voted with the opposition on 'one man-one vote' when the PPM administration tried to deflect dealing with the change to the country’s voting system. He also defied the premier recently when he spoke out about the need for the police commissioner to be removed following the revelations about the recruitment of Tyrone Findlay to the RCIPS while he was under investigation for murder in Jamaica, and charged soon after.

Suckoo has also been outspoken about the failure by government to do enough to tackle the increasing number of problems faced by local people in the labour market and the numerous employer infractions that are preventing Caymanians from having an equal opportunity at securing work.

Anthony Eden had chosen not to take a ministry during this administration and it is very unlikely that the veteran politician could be persuaded to return to the Cabinet. Given the workload of Deputy Prime Minister Moses Kirkconnell, he probably not willing to give up his councillor, Joey Hew, so he is also an unlikely candidate to replace Bodden.

The remaining backbench MLAs, who are both Coalition for Cayman members, are also unlikely to be a favourite choice, as that may prove too much of a coalition for the PPM leader to embrace.

Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, who joined the PPM following the election result after she accepted the speaker's post, might be persuaded to return to ministerial office, leaving Eden, who is deputy speaker, to take up her post should the premier decide that 'Ozziegate' has left him no choice but to oust his PPM colleague. But this scenario would not be without its problems.

Although O’Connor-Connolly has proved a popular choice for speaker as a result of her experience and competency in that job, there are still some uncomfortable issues surrounding her ministry during the last administration. Questions remain over her travel bill and the paving of private driveways with public cash on Cayman Brac, which may prove difficult for the PPM, which took a vocal stand against the issues when in opposition.

CNS poll 1: Should Osbourne Bodden resign from Cabinet?

CNS poll 2: If Osbourne Bodden resigned or was ousted from the Health Ministry, who should replace him?

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