Archive for December 15th, 2008

Another attempted murder

| 15/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following another stabbing which occurred this weekend, a 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The stabbing occurred in George Town in the early hours of Saturday morning (13 December) and left a 46 year old man injured. Police said that the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at around 1:30 am from a woman reporting that a relative had sustained injuries which appeared to be stab wounds.

Officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) responded to the address in Greenwood Drive, George Town, and found that a man had been injured. He was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries for treatment. Investigations commenced and at around 2:30 am a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The man remains in police custody at this time.  

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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UK urged to help OT wildlife

| 15/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(Surfbirds News): The Tristan albatross, one of the world’s most threatened birds, has suffered its worst nesting season ever, according to RSPB research. The number of chicks making it through to fledging has decreased rapidly and it is now five times lower than it should be because introduced predatory mice are eating the chicks alive on Gough island – the bird’s only home and a South Atlantic territory of the United Kingdom. Go to article

 

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Burglar arrested following robbery at cleaners

| 15/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police said that they have arrested a 47-year-old man on suspicion of burglary shortly after a break-in at a George Town business in the early hours of Sunday morning (14 December). The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from Island Electronics at around 12.50 am reporting that an alarm was sounding at Puritan Cleaners owned by Cardinal DaCosta (left) on Eastern Avenue.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said that officers responded to the location and found that the building had been broken into and some items appeared to have been taken. Investigations commenced and at around 2:00 am the suspect was located in the Watlers Drive area of George Town and arrested on suspicion of burglary. The man remains in police custody at this time and police said that detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department are carrying out enquiries and appeal for anyone with information about the break-in to contact Detective Constable Andrew Bowen on 949-4222.

A well known local businessrun by the DaCosta Family, they recently made a generous donation to the Lion’s Club’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and celebrated fifty years in business earlier this year.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Body to undergo DNA tests

| 15/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Police have confirmed this morning (15 December)  that a post mortem has been conducted on the human remains found in the area of Moon Bay on Friday 12 December. Although believed to be the body of Ian Cummings, who was reported missing at sea on the night of Wednesday 10 December, this has not yet been confirmed. Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett (left), who is leading the inquiry, said that while there are some indications that the body is that of Cummings, DNA tests would be carried out over the next few days to confirm the identity.

The body was found by local divers who were assisting police in the search for Cummings throughout Friday. The search first began on Wednesday evening when Cummings (36) was reported missing after the boat he was in capsized. The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at around 10 pm from a man who had been out fishing with Cummings. He explained that after the boat capsized Cummings started swimming to shore leaving the other man with the boat for a short while before he was forced to abandon it and made his way to shore, but Cummings could not be found.

Police and medics attended the scene and a search of the area by Marine and Air Support Units and foot patrols began but had to be called off at 2:45 am on Thursday, 11 December, due to worsening weather conditions. The search resumed at first light by sea, in the air and on land, but there’s no sight of Cummins. The boat however was recovered and police concluded that he had tragically drowned.

“I can’t see any other logical explanation. The currents are very strong and treacherous in this area,” Kennett said on Thursday. The remains were then discovered in the Moon Bay area when divers from three local firms volunteered to assist. The RCIPS said it extends its condolences to Ian’s family and friends.

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UCCI students get hands-on experience

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(CNS): The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau (CIIB) has just concluded a 10 week programme of practical hands-on experience for the University’s Business Students. The Student Consulting Programme, now in its second semester, allows UCCI students to get first hand experience utilizing the skills and knowledge gained from the theory of their Entrepreneurial and Business studies.

The programme benefited from the sponsorship of Cayman National Bank, which covered the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the students over the course of the projects.

The small business clients that participated in this Fall’s programme were selected from a pool of applicants and given an opportunity to reap the benefits of having the Student-Consultants working with them and their businesses.

The two companies selected were: Shauna’s Early World and Business Links. The students met with the business owners to identify key objectives and parameters for the students to work through. The goal at the end of ten weeks was a comprehensive report which sought to address the identified challenges for the business and its owner.

“The Student Consultation Programme’s genesis is rooted with collaboration and integration as a strategy, to the broader longer term Economic Development objectives for Business and Entrepreneurial Development,” commented Dwene Ebanks, CIIB’s Business Development Advisor and the coordinator for the programme. “The Investment Bureau is pleased to be able to carry through with our goals for increased awareness and practical applications of entrepreneurial education. Our Learning Intuitions are the gateways for good Human Capital Development, one such tenet of the broader Economic Development.”

The final student presentations were made to a small audience on Tuesday, 2 December, at UCCI. These presentations were well received by the business owners, lecturers and sponsors of the programme. Shauna Haylock of Shauna’s Early World said “I am very pleased and grateful for the excellent work of the students. They have opened my mind to the many opportunities for growth and have helped me to better focus on the business issues of running my business and making a profit.”

“The experiences of the students were invaluable and allowed them to explore the limits of theory, practicality and the day to day realities for businesses and their owners,” said Annette Murphy, one of the UCCI Lecturers involved with the programme.

Manager of Bank Marketing, Marilyn Whittaker, said, “We are pleased to sponsor this very useful programme as it presented a win-win situation for all involved. The students have an opportunity to study all the facets of a small business and the business owners are provided with recommendations on how they can improve the operations of their business and its profitability. All business owners are reminded that Cayman National Bank offers small business facilities. We are committed to working with the Investment Bureau during the next semester.”

The Student Consulting Programme will be offered during the January 2009 semester. Businesses that are interested in participating in the programme should contact the Investment Bureau 945-0943 or via email at info@investcayman.gov.ky. For more information, visit www.investcayman.gov.ky 

Photo: Student teams, partners and sponsor at the final project  presentations at UCCI. Front row (left to right) – Shena Ebanks, Maribel Guballa-Dada, Lotoya Dell, Marilyn Whittaker of Cayman National Bank. Back row (left to right) – Annette Murphy (UCCI), John Frederick (UCCI), Shauna Haylock (Shauna’s Early World), John Bogle (Business Links), Nicola Williams, Dwene Ebanks (CIIB), Giselle Webb.

 

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Canaries in the coal mine

| 15/12/2008 | 2 Comments

The vandals who broke into the Cayman Brac High School Thursday night could have done a great deal more damage if they’d had a mind – initial reports from the Education Ministry of “extensive damage” appear to be greatly exaggerated.

While it is not yet known how much damage the foam from the fire extinguishers actually caused, most of the mischief, in this observer’s eyes, seems to be in the setback to getting the school back to normal. Particularly for students in the upper years who will be taking exams in a few short months, the potential damage to their future was significant. However, it seems as if the clean-up crews, as if they didn’t have enough to do, worked all weekend and only one more day was lost.

Which isn’t to diminish the demoralising effect that the incident had on a community still struggling to regain normality after Hurricane Paloma. Education staff, led by our new Learning Community leader Tammy Banks-DaCosta, have been working tirelessly so that students could get back to school, despite the fact that many teachers were also dealing with the effects of Paloma at home; Public Works staff as well as clean up and construction crews have been working long days and weekends to make the facilities functional, not to mention the Cayman Brac Power and Light crews still working gruelling hours to restore power to the island, including the schools.

Having to deal with the huge mess left by the 8 November hurricane is burden enough, but the fact that someone in the community could deliberately add to the destruction at this time is inconceivable to many people here.

Nevertheless, perhaps the greatest blow is that an act of wanton vandalism like this happened at all on Cayman Brac. Crime of this nature is rare here, and there is little real trouble at the schools – certainly no gang activity. As has been demonstrated many times over, students from CBHS do exceptionally well in many areas, consistently shining in debates, Junior Achievement, competitions, and not least, exam results.

But results of our over-achievers reveal only half the picture and paint the Brac as an ideal community without problems – though it’s worth noting that a particularly daft editorial in the Caymanian Compass (17 May 2007) depicting all our young people as binge drinkers on their way to degeneracy and alcoholism is equally ridiculous.

The truth is that the Brac high school has, alongside its commendable academic achievements, a high rate of special needs students (currently about a third of the students) and an unacceptable rate of teenage pregnancy – both markers to fundamental problems in our society or in the education system. Learning difficulties combined with problems at home is the perfect recipe for troubled youths.

The current Education Minister and his team at the Ministry and the Department of Education Services have laid the foundation for real change here on the Brac, as on Grand Cayman, and the focus on Special Needs has been a very positive step in the right direction. The Brac now has a much needed speech therapist and a school counsellor (a proper one), and at long last an education psychologist, not to mention a Chief Education Officer who, as a past principal of CBHS, is very much aware of the issues on the Brac.

However, elections are looming once again and a change in government is possible. Who knows if these welcome changes in the direction of education would survive a new administration under heavy budget constraints. Whichever party wins the majority, the Sister Islands will need representatives who have a real understanding of the problems of young people within our community as well as their strengths so that they can challenge whatever government is in place after the general elections to maintain the current education policy – job creation is not a panacea if the education system fails young people before they graduate.

The questions voters needto ask our candidates are: How many times have you visited the schools? How often have you sat down with the Learning Community Leader, with principals, teachers and special educationstaff and asked them about the issues they face? What is your understanding of these issues? Have you read all of the schools’ inspection reports? What still needs to be done to ensure help for all students, not just the high fliers?

Once all the finger-pointing and hand wringing over last week’s act of vandalism is done, the incident should stand as a reminder that the Brac is not and never was Shangri-La.

Admittedly, the problems in the Brac schools are not, in many ways, as great as those on Grand Cayman, but if it turns out that the culprits of this latest incident, which targeted the heart of the island in troubled times, are young people from within our community, they are the canaries in the coalmine and the people here and their representatives should take note.

 

 

 

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Hurricane experts predict another busy season

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(CNS): Following the end of a record breaking Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2008 the pre-eminent Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have predicted another above-average active season next year. Researchers William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say they expect 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes three of which will be major i.e. with winds over 110 mph.

 As Cayman Brac continues its clean-up operation after taking a serious hit from the last major storm of the 2008 season, Paloma, Grayand Klotzbach said there would be an above average risk in 2009 of major hurricane landfall in the Caribbean.

In their extended-range forecast there is a 63 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline — the long-term average probability is 52 percent. This is Gray’s 26th year of forecasting hurricanes. His predictions are watched closely by emergency responders and others, but many say such long-range forecasts don’t have a lot of practical value beyond focusing public attention on the dangers.

Gray and Klotzbach agree that the predictions are more to satisfy curious and raise awareness than for scientific purposes as it is impossible to precisely predict exact hurricane activity at such an extended range.

“There is however much curiosity as to how global oceans and atmosphere features are presently arranged as regard the probability of an active or inactive hurricane season for next year,” said Klotzbach in his report. However, he noted that the fundamental reason was to bring attention to the hurricane problem.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Last December, Gray and Klotzbach predicted 13 named storms for the 2008 season, including seven hurricanes, three of them major. In June they revised that to 15 named storms, eight hurricanes — four major. The season produced 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, with five major. That makes 2008 the fourth most active season since 1944, when aircraft started flying into hurricanes. Only 2005 (with 28 storms), 1995 (with 19 storms) and 1969 (with 18 storms) were more active.

Klotzbach said the new forecast is based on factors including warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures and the likely absence of El Nino conditions. El Nino is a warming in the Pacific Ocean that can have such far-reaching effects as changing wind patterns in the eastern Atlantic, which can disrupt the formation of hurricanes.

The experts also noted that we are in a period of active hurricane seasons which began back in 1995 and could last another decade. Since 1995, 13 of 14 seasons have had more storms than the long-term average.

They also suggest that it is not necessarily global warming that is producing greater activity. Although sea temperatures are increasing it is only in the Atlantic basin and not the Pacific where storms are significantly increasing.

“The Large increase in Atlantic major hurricanes is primarily a result of the multi-decadal increase in the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation,” Klotzbach said adding that this change is not directly related to sea temperatures or CO2. “Changes in ocean salinity are believed to be the driving mechanism.”

Gray and Klotzbach will issue five more forecasts before the end of the 2009 season: April 7, June 2, Aug. 4, Sept. 2 and Oct. 1.

 

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OECD Tax expert starring in offshore conference

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(CNS): Next year’s Offshore Alert conference is likely to draw a considerable amount of attention this year from Cayman delegates as Jeffrey Owens (left), Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration at the OECD, has agreed to give the Keynote address. According to David Marchant the organizer and publisher of the Offshore Alert newsletter, these are tough times for Offshore Financial Centres with even the Vatican coming out against them.

Marchant said he expects the 7th Annual OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference to be particularly busy one as more than ever as people need to know what’s acceptable internationally to prosper in the economic downturn.

“Building on nearly 12 years of exposing serious financial crime, we’ve constructed a programme that will people do business legally, profitably and with reduced risk,” he said. “Our programme addresses the hot issues in the world of offshore finance.”

Owens, Head of Tax at the OECD, will explain how to adapt to the new political realities with the world’s major countries and political organizations having upped their assault on OFCs.

As a US Senator, Barack Obama co-sponsored the ‘Stop Tax Haven Abuse Bill’ the conference will also examine what are his plans are for those working in the business?

The tax investigations into Switzerland’s UBS and Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank and their clients will be examined and a look at the new boom area of ‘Insolvency & Asset Recovery’ will reveal how to legally profit from financial crime – and help victims in the process.

As ever  a number of topical issues ill be discussed such as issues surrounding compliance legislation; Know Your Customer databases; How to Identify & Evaluate Risk in complex financial transactions: Which Offshore Insurance Products are legal – and which are not; the latest legal, regulatory & product developments in the world’s leading OFCs

Marchant said anyone in the business worried about surviving the economic crisis and political onslaught shouldn’t be deterred by the current in the end everyone has to keep doing business with the outside world. To help with business overheads however he is offering an  Early Bird Discount for anyone register by Friday, 30 January and OffshoreAlert Subscribers and Government Workers receive an additional $200 discount. The 7th Annual OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference will be held at the Eden Roc Resort & Spa, in Miami Beach, Florida on 26-28 April 2009.

For more information log on at www.OffshoreAlertConference.com

 

 

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Local students meet big star

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(CNS): Hollywood movie star turned musician, Terrence Howard, took time out when he was here in Cayman for the jazz fest to meet local students from John Gray High School from the music, drama, and school reading programmes. Howard spoke with the students about life, limitations and persistence. “No matter what you decide to do in life, in order to be successful you have to be willing to break your shell," he told them.

The students were chosen to attend the informal session at the Dart Park Amphitheatre because of the high level of interest that they exhibited in their respective classes. Howard’s hour-long talk was followed by a question and answer period where the students got the opportunity to interact and take pictures with him.

 "Wewere so pleased to have the opportunity for an artist of Mr. Howard’s caliber to address some of our top students," said Christopher Bounds, Head of Year 12 at JGHS. "Occasions like these give students incentive to want to strive further and drive them to accomplish their own personal goals."

The session was coordinated by the Department of Tourism as a special jazz fest outreach programme to motivate and encourage Cayman’s youth. "The Cayman jazz fest brings so many influential artists to the island that we also wanted to use the opportunity to inspire the youth," explained Acting Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott.” As Mr. Howard is an acclaimed actor and musician, his appearance to this group was extremely fitting and the department is so pleased that we could coordinate this gathering.”

A self taught musician, who plays both the piano and the guitar, Howard’s first album, "Shine Through It", was released in September 2008. The artist’s performance at Cayman jazz fest was well received by the packed Pedro St. James crowd. Howard broke onto the entertainment scene first as an actor, making notable television appearances on shows such as "Living Single" (1993), "NYPD Blue" (1993) and "Soul Food" (2000). He also became well known for his lead role in the UPN TV series "Sparks". However, it was his riveting performance in the 1995 feature "Mr. Holland’s Opus" that put him on the big screen radar. Howard continued to expand on his movie career by taking roles in popular films such as "The Best Man" (1999), "Crash" (2005) and "Hustle and Flow" (2005).

 In 2008, he made his Broadway debut, playing Brick in an all-African-American production of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Debbie Allen and also starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose.

In addition to his acting accolades Howard performed on several music tracks for the Hustle and Flow movie soundtrack. The song "It’s Hard out Here …" was written by Three 6 Mafia and produced by DJ Paul and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 78th Annual Academy Awards

 

 

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Container shortage delays animals

| 15/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local farmers waiting on the arrival of livestock this month will have to keep waiting until at least 5 January before their new breeding stock of cattle and goats arrives from the United States. The Department of Agriculture (DoA) said it has been told by the shipping company that the shipment could not proceed as scheduled, because of insufficient availability of  specialised livestock containers. 

DoA said the new target date is the week of 5 January 2009 and Assistant Director of Agriculture (Acting) Brian Crichlow explained the problem.

 “This unexpected situation has arisen as a result of a number of these specially outfitted containers not returning to Florida as scheduled, from a previous shipment to another country. Although a partial shipment was possible, this option was logistically impractical, and the DoA decided to delay the shipment until all the animals can be imported together.” 

This initiative is being led by the DoA and the Ministry of Agriculture, working in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society. The shipment will contain 102 head of cattle, and 22 goats. The new breeding stock was selected and purchased in October by local farmers, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Agriculture. The animals have since been in quarantine, and underwent rigorous mandatory tests to ensure that they met the necessary health standards, allowing them to be safely exported to Cayman, the DoA said.

Arrangements have been made for the animals to continue to be housed at the quarantine facility. While the delay does represent additional related costs, these will be absorbed by government. The DoA will continue to monitor the animals’ conditions during the extended quarantine, and livestock insurance will be extended to cover the additional period.

Farmers with any queries are invited to call the DoA at 947-3090, or visit the office in Lower Valley.

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