Asia welcomed the lunar Year of the Pig on Tuesday with visits to temples, family banquets and the world's biggest travel spree. Celebrations took place throughout the region, from Beijing and Seoul to Hanoi and Singapore. The streets of Beijing and other major Chinese cities were quiet and empty after millions of people left to visit relatives or travel abroad during the year's biggest family holiday. [image_gallery] Families gathered at home for multigenerational banquets. Companies, shops and government offices closed for official holidays that ranged from two days in South Korea to a week in China. ___ Worshippers stood in line for hours at Hong Kong's Wong Tai Sin Temple to welcome the new year by lighting incense. Lana Wong, a prominent Hong Kong actress, wore a pig costume for the event. "My first wish is for world peace," said Wong, 88. "Everyone has food to eat, employment and houses to live in. The elderly also hope the government will take better care of them." ___ In Beijing, performers in traditional Qing dynasty robes strummed zithers for a re-enactment at sunrise of a sacrificial ceremony at the Chinese capital's Temple of Earth park. An actor portraying an emperor bowed before an altar as dozens of people in ceremonial dress behind him. Acrobats and drummers also performed. Vendors sold toys branded with the British cartoon character Peppa Pig, which is enjoying a surge of popularity for the Year of the Pig. "My wishes for new year are a promotion, a raise and finding a boyfriend," said a spectator, Cui Di, a 28-year-old employee of a foreign company. ___ The holiday in mainland China is marked by the biggest annual travel boom as hundreds of millions of people visit their home towns or travel abroad. The railway ministry forecast mainland travelers would make 413 million trips during the three-week period around the holiday. ___ Chinese set off billions of fireworks to celebrate the new year. An explosion at an illegal fireworks shop in southern China killed five people early Tuesday. Investigators said it was triggered by fireworks set off by the shopkeeper outside the shop. ___ In Bangkok, people lit incense sticks and burned paper money and other symbolic offerings for deceased relatives despite government appeals to avoid contributing to smog. Some shopkeepers sold symbolic ballots to burn as offerings following official promises of an election this year, the first after four years of military rule. ___ In the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, visitors left bouquets of flowers at statues of former leaders Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il.

The Westmoreland police have arrested and charged a 36-year-old male educator at a prominent high school in the parish with raping a 16-year-old female student of the institution. The accused is scheduled to appear in the Westmoreland Parish Court on Tuesday, June 25. According to police reports, the offence was allegedly committed at the school on Friday, February 1, 2019. The police say further investigations are being conducted into other sexual-related offences that have reportedly been committed against other female students at the same learning institution.

Concerned persons gather around the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands after she collapsed at the graveside on Sunday, shortly after the interment of Edward Seaga at the National Heroes Park.

Turks and Caicos Premier, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, was whisked away to hospital after she collapsed at the graveside of former Jamaican Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, minutes after the final burial rites were performed. As mourners were leaving the area and dignitaries were being picked up by their respective drivers and security teams, Cartwright-Robinson was placed on a stretcher and put inside an ambulance by medical personnel and some Jamaica Defence Force Military Police personnel. The extent of her illness is not yet known. The Turks and Caicos Premier being placed in an ambulance. A number of persons had also collapsed or fainted during the long funeral service, and had to be assisted at a makeshift health facility at the church grounds. Officials from the Ministry of Health refused to give a figure of the number of persons who were treated for illnesses, citing 'protocol' as their reason for declining to provide the information. However, a teenage schoolgirl was seen being taken to the facility in an ambulance after she fainted while standing in the sun.


The average monthly total compensation in the Cayman Islands two years ago was$4,550, according to theOccupational Wage Survey (OWS) 2017 Report. Male employees had an average monthly total compensation of $4,707 while female employees had $4,396. The average monthly compensation for Caymanian employees was $4,696 while the corresponding average for Non-Caymanian employees was $4,379. Employees from theProfessional, scientific and technical activities(mainly legal and accounting) sectors had the highest average monthly earnings with$7,231 per month; whileFinancial and insurance activitiesearned $6,555 per month. Employees from the following sectors had the lowest average monthly compensation:Activities of households as employersearned $1,058 per month; andAgriculture, forestry and fishingearned $1,736 per month. The median monthly total compensation was $3,667; this is lower than the average monthly compensation, indicating that majority of the employees (64.6%) had total compensation less than the average of $4,550. The Report also shows the percentage of employers (excluding households as employers) who indicated providing various benefits and allowances, including the following: health insurance – 94.7%; pension - 92.2%; vacation leave – 92.8%; bonus – 57.8%; and training and education allowance - 47.3%. The Economics and Statistics Office releasedtheOccupational Wage Survey (OWS) 2017 Report today (June 21).The OWS was conducted across all types of businesses from October 2017 to February 2018, and among a sample of households with employees from November 2017 to April 2018. There were 1,270 respondents to the OWS 2017 who supplied data on the 19,215 employees represented in the Report. Basic earnings is comprised of basic salary and wages including overtime pay while total compensation is comprised of basic earnings and other compensation types (acting or duty allowance, commission, bonus, gratuities and tips). Describing the565-page occupational wage survey as historic, Finance Minister, Hon. Roy McTaggart said: “Designed to an internationally comparable standard, the report brings together, for the first time, information about the local labour market that will help inform Government policy and future legislation across a number of areas. “The Ministry of Finance is committed to working with employers, employees, human resources professionals and other stakeholders, across all sectors, to ensure that we all have access to the information that we need to make decisions that will ensure the Cayman Islands remains a competitive labour market, that attracts and retains the best talent from around the world." More information on theCayman Islands’ Occupational Wage Survey 2017 Reportmay be obtained fromwww.eso.ky.

The Ministry of Community Affairsover the years has made an unwavering commitment to five non-profit organisations (NPOs) with grants totaling almost $2.5 million annually. Recognising the important functions that these entities provide in our community, such support from the Cayman Islands Government has been consistent for more than a decade. As the Ministry compiles its 2020/2021 budget, it again is pledging to maintain the current level of funding to the NPOs, namely: The Pines Retirement Home, National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Rehoboth After School Programme, and Meals on Wheels. In addition to the grants, extra government funding and services have also been provided through the DG’s 5K Challenge, assistance with food deliveries and other fund raisers. ”Given the invaluable community services that these NPOs provide, the Ministry remains committed to supporting them through annual grants,” says Chief Officer Teresa Echenique. “These grants and the overall services of the Ministry of Community Affairs through the Department of Children and Family Services and Needs Assessment Unit reflect our commitment to supporting the Government’s broad outcome of ‘Stronger communities and support for the most vulnerable.’ However with the need to earmark funds for various community initiatives and services, it is not always possible for the Ministry to increase funding at each budget cycle.” “As a result, we encourage the private sector and the public as a whole to partner with and support these remarkable entities by contributing financially and on a volunteer basis and extend our sincere gratitude to these NPOs."


The Ministry of Community Affairsover the years has made an unwavering commitment to five non-profit organisations (NPOs) with grants totaling almost $2.5 million annually. Recognising the important functions that these entities provide in our community, such support from the Cayman Islands Government has been consistent for more than a decade. As the Ministry compiles its 2020/2021 budget, it again is pledging to maintain the current level of funding to the NPOs, namely: The Pines Retirement Home, National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Rehoboth After School Programme, and Meals on Wheels. In addition to the grants, extra government funding and services have also been provided through the DG’s 5K Challenge, assistance with food deliveries and other fund raisers. ”Given the invaluable community services that these NPOs provide, the Ministry remains committed to supporting them through annual grants,” says Chief Officer Teresa Echenique. “These grants and the overall services of the Ministry of Community Affairs through the Department of Children and Family Services and Needs Assessment Unit reflect our commitment to supporting the Government’s broad outcome of ‘Stronger communities and support for the most vulnerable.’ However with the need to earmark funds for various community initiatives and services, it is not always possible for the Ministry to increase funding at each budget cycle.” “As a result, we encourage the private sector and the public as a whole to partner with and support these remarkable entities by contributing financially and on a volunteer basis and extend our sincere gratitude to these NPOs."

The Sunrise Cottage in East End, the oldest of the Department of Children and Family Services’residential facilities for older persons, has closed for good. Having been in operation from the 80s, the decision for this closure was made in the best interest of the residents and staff and will allow for future options to be considered. After the closure on May 29, the six residents were relocated to the Golden Age Home, which is a more suitable facility. And theMinistry of Community Affairs’ Chief Officer, Teresa Echenique has revealed thatthe residentsarare comfortably settled in at their new location, which is also a residential facility operated by DCFS. “The benefit of this location is that it is hurricane certified, which means they don’t have to be moved to a shelter if a storm is approaching,” explainedMs Echenique. “They also have access to a large and airy daycare room with the opportunity to interact and take part in group activities daily. The move included staff they are very familiar with, which has greatly helped the transition." Factoring in the age, size and overall structural restraints of the existing Sunrise Cottage facility, both the Premier and Minister for Community Affairs, Hon. Alden McLaughlin - as well asthe Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Arden McLean -agree that a purpose-built facility will best meet the needs of our older persons in the Eastern districts. As a result, options are being explored to accommodate a future home that will not only provide residential services for older persons, but will offer a day programme and respite care when necessary.