Honours, cruise berthing make news

Queen’s honours bestowed

Ezeithamae Eleanor Bodden was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to the community.

grand court opening

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie inspects the police guard of honour at the formal opening of Grand Court.
Photo: Jewel Levy

The West Bayer, who is an active member of numerous cultural and service organisations, was Cayman’s lone recipient on the New Year’s Honours list.

Diana Cynthia Whittaker, long-time Bodden Town resident, received the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour for services to the community.

Grand Court gets six divisions

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie announced plans for a commercial division of the Grand Court at the court’s ceremonial opening. He said this division will take charge of the more complex civil cases in the Grand Court.

‘The division will be styled ‘The Financial Services Division’ and there will be five other divisions designated for the general work of the Court: civil; criminal; matrimonial/family; admiralty; and probate and administration,’ the Chief Justice explained.

Legal aid funding used up

For the fourth year running, legal aid funding ran dry half way through Cayman’s financial year after legislators provided only half the money requested.

For the annual budget passed in July 2008, court administrators had asked for $1.875million for legal aid services, but only $937,000 was approved.

Cruise berthing cost revealed

The proposed cruise berthing project in George Town could cost between US$109 million and US$117 million while construction and relocation of the cargo facility could cost US$71 million, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts revealed on 8 January.

A public meeting the following week revealed concerns: the potential impacts of erosion and sand movement on Seven Mile Beach from dredging in the port; the desire that other locations be explored for the cargo port; concern that a Memorandum of Understanding to start negotiations was signed with a potential developer before open public consultation had taken place, a feeling that the cruise lines were dictating to the island and a request to extend the public consultation period for the terms of reference of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Elections office short 300 workers

The 2009 General Elections officially began on 19 January, with Governor Stuart Jack issuing writs to the Returning Officers of Cayman’s six electoral districts.

Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez said his office was almost 300 workers short of what would be required for a referendum to take place on the same day as elections. Letters have already been written to businesses in the financial industry seeking volunteers.

Investigations cost public money

The Judicial Tribunal appointed to hear allegations against Justice Priya Levers ordered Government to pay her legal costs. Governor Stuart Jack had opposed paying her costs out of public funds.

Her defence attorneys have warned the bill will be substantial. Costs of the tribunal itself were expected to be in the $1million range.

Later in the month, Mr. Jack requested funds to help pay $1.275million damages awarded to Justice Alexander Henderson for false arrest. Cabinet refused to vote any more money for an investigation into alleged misconduct in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service until the senior investigating officer of the special investigating unit, Martin Bridger, is removed.

Mr. Jack used his reserved powers under the constitution to secure the funds.