Traffic wardens coming

Work is underway to amend the Traffic Law so that private individuals can serve as traffic wardens, Mr. Arden McLean revealed Thursday night.

Mr. McLean, Minister for Communications, Works and Infrastructure, said the wardens would be able to do ticketing and direct traffic. He hoped to bring amending legislation to the House by its next meeting.

The arrangement will enable police officers to attend to other duties, he indicated.

The minister was responding to comments and questions from one of the 70-some persons attending the People’s Progressive Movement national council meeting at the William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre in East End.

Leader of Government Business Mr. Kurt Tibbetts, the final speaker of the evening, referred to the police in his remarks.

He said the new commissioner was taking his responsibilities seriously. Prior to the commissioner’s arrival there was basically a holding pattern. But now there was direction and Mr. Tibbetts expressed confidence that Cayman would see results.

‘If we want to make our country better, let us not waste time,’ he urged. He questioned the value of talking about what someone had done 12 years ago, an oblique reference to old news re-circulated about Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan. Crime in Cayman in recent months was of far greater concern, Mr. Tibbetts submitted.

He pointed out that the elected government does not have constitutional responsibility for police matters on a daily basis. But members voted funding for the department.

He encouraged people to support the police, encourage them and cooperate so they could do their job.

Mr. Tibbetts segued from law enforcement to the visa issue, which he detailed again at Friday’s press conference, reported elsewhere.

Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford primarily reported on last week’s tourism conference (Compass, 10, 11 November).

He said he had pledged to work with the Ritz-Carlton so that the new tourism facility could meet its announced opening date. Mr. Clifford confirmed that the gala opening, in early January, will be attended by Sheryl Crow, the popular singer who has nine Grammy awards.

Later, during questions from the audience, one man asked, since Ms Crow was coming, would Lance Armstrong be coming, too.

Mr. Clifford replied, ‘I can check into that for you.’

The minister also spoke of the tourism apprenticeship programme, which will be jointly funded by government and the private sector. Students will do theory at University College, he explained, and do practical work at a hotel, restaurant or tourism-related business.

He mentioned tourists from destinations other than the US and Canada and the airlines that could bring them. He said the present runway could accommodate planes from such airlines, so he did not see runway extension as absolutely necessary right now.

Mr. Anthony Eden, Minister for Health and Human Services, concentrated on the hospital.

He saluted Health Services authority chairman Pastor Al Ebanks as a man with a way of being able to connect with people at all levels. Pastor Al, appointed in August, was getting input from all hospital departments, the minister said.

‘I have decided to stop the criticism of what happened in the past. We’re looking at how we can build on what we have,’ Mr. Eden continued. One great asset was the people who work at the hospital.

One great difficulty was financing, in particular paying payables.

After Hurricane Ivan, he noted, the hospital pharmacy was able to distribute significant amounts of medication. No one had to pay for it. But the full story had not been told of the great difficulty they had getting money to build up supplies again.

Turning to the Department of Children and Family Services and the National Parenting Programme, Mr. Eden warned that Cayman could bring all the police money could buy, but until parents know where their children are and whom they are keeping company with, it wouldn’t matter.

He referred to Cayman spending resources on such international subjects OECD and FATF. ‘But until we deal with drugs and crime, the rest of it isn’t going to matter.’

He urged early anti-drug education, saying it could not wait till middle school or high school. ‘Let’s take these streets back from the druggies,’ he concluded.

Later, during question time, he replied to comments about the hospital, including the time-consuming, inefficient way of collecting and paying for medicine.

Mr. Eden said he was sorry for the difficulties experienced. He noted there had been a dramatic cut in staff when the department became an authority and it would take time to get things back up to standard.

Other topics touched on included road works, itemised by Mr. McLean; education, reported on by Mr. Tibbetts for Minister Alden McLaughlin who was on his way to a conference in Australia; cost of living and housing.

Mr. Tibbetts said the best way to deal with dishonest contractors was through the Trade and Business Licensing Law.

He said he had already received a draft for a law to license contractors and architects. The Landlord and Tenant Law is being reviewed.

Mr. Oswell Rankine chaired the meeting. MLAs attending but not speaking were Ms Lucille Seymour and Mr. Alfonso Wright from George Town and Mr. Osbourne Bodden of Bodden Town.