Archive for September 10th, 2009

Precious metal provides safe haven for investors

| 10/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(Reuters): Gold broke through the $1,000-an-ounce barrier this week, and many on Wall Street believe it can keep going higher. Traditionally, investors have viewed gold as a "safe haven" in times of economic uncertainty, and analysts have no reason to believe it is any different in the current recession. Despite signs that the economy is clawing its way back, the dollar remains weak and inflation fears are rife, and investors are looking for reliable places to put their money. "One of the reasons why the gold rally has been so strong is because it is not just an inflation story, it is not just a dollar story," said Jeffrey Christian, managing director of New York-based commodities consulting firm CPM Group.


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Martin found not guilty

| 10/09/2009 | 59 Comments

(CNS): Full story update: — Following the not guilty verdict this afternoon, former MLA Lyndon Martin said words could not express how he felt now that the ordeal was over. Despite the best efforts of Operation Tempura, he said that the justice system in the Cayman Islands prevailed and it was still fair and strong in its service to the people of the Cayman Islands. He said it was a good day for Cayman as well as for himself, as he said, in the words of one of the Crown’s own witnesses, what he did had always been with the best intentions on behalf of the Cayman people. Martin was cleared of both of the charges against him — doing acts intending to pervert the course of public justice and falsely accusing Anthony Ennis of a crime.

Thanking his friends, family, legal team as well as the judicial system and media for its fair reporting Martin also offered his apologies to Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis and his family for the hardships they had suffered, who he said, like him, were innocent victims. He said he would also like to appeal to the Cayman people to consider wisely where they spend their fifty cents for a newspaper each morning and think if Desmond Seales deserved their hard earned money.

The former Sister Islands’ political representative had insisted throughout the long ordeal that his allegations against Ennis had all come as a result of what he had been told and led to believe by Seales, the editor in chief of Cayman Net News and Martin’s former employer. As Martin chose not to take the stand during the trial, only a limited amount of what Seales did to lead Martin to such a conclusion regarding the deputy commissioner was revealed. He has maintained since his arrest that at the time he had very good reasons to believe that Seales’ source was Ennis, although he acknowledged that there was no truth to the allegations several months ago.

Asked if he would be taking civil action, Martin stated that he had been thinking hard and taking advice about that and if it were possible to make Martin Bridger and the Operation Tempura team pay for his ordeal he would. “It would be unlikely that the people who are really responsible for what happened to me would pay; we know it would be the people of the Cayman Islands that suffer and that would be unfair.”

Martin said the impact on his life had been tremendous and enormously stressful. “They locked me up and took away my liberty; they took me from my children; they accused me of a crime when all I believed I was doing was my civic duty, and for two years I have lived with this ordeal,” he said. “It also undermined my political campaign at the General Election and gave fuel for others to use against me.”

Martin, however, said he was delighted to be able to go back to Cayman Brac this weekend and be with his children with the trial no longer hanging over him and his family.

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Yellow Pages helps Elite

| 10/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Elite Sports Club Football Programme is better equipped to tackle the upcoming league season thanks to a donation of CI$5,000 from the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages. With the motto “Building Character through Sports”, the Elite Sports Club formed in January 2006 with only 3 teams, and has grown over the years to become the biggest football club in the Cayman Islands. Elite Sports Club presently fields all genders and categories of Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) domestic league.

These are: U-13 and U-17 girls’ team, a women’s senior team, a U-13, U-15 and U-17 boys’ team, men’s first division team and also a premier teamCurrently the Elite Premier team, which is the flagship for the club, is the League Champion and Digicel Cup Winner for 2008 to 2009 season.

“Elite Sports Club welcomes and is also proud to be partners with the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages for the 2009 to 2010 football season,” said Elite coach Greg Ebanks. “This contribution will make possible the purchase of equipment, medical supplies and uniforms. It will also assist to provide payment of registration fees.”

On behalf of the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages, James Chiweshe congratulates the team, its coaching staff and numerous volunteers for their achievements in such a short period of time and for an excellent performance during the past season. “We are also very proud to be able to support two colleagues that are part of the Elite Premier Team, Jedd Ebanks and Benjamin Cupid, our own talented footballers and trust that the upcoming season will be filled with much success so that they can continue to excel,” he said.

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UK and US keep AAA rating

| 10/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): The United States and Britain have retained their top sovereign debt ratings but both countries will need to "severely adjust" fiscal policies in the wake of the global financial crisis, Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement released late on Tuesday. The credit rating agency continues to divide its triple-A governments into three categories: the resistant, the resilient and the vulnerable. Moody’s said in the new quarterly report about debt levels in the world’s major economies. The U.S. and Britain are both viewed as "resilient": the second strongest of the three subdivisions.

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Women get recovery support

| 10/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): More than seven months after the former Minister of Health cut the ribbon on the new women’s facilities at the government run residential, rehabilitation centre, Caribbean Haven in Breakers in November the first female residents finally arrived at the centre in June. Since 2006 there has been no residential facility for women in Cayman battling addiction and substance abuse and Department of Counselling Services Director Judith Seymour said the in-patient treatment for women was desperately needed.

She said the women’s facility provides a carefully guided around the clock care for women on the road to recovery. “With the operation of the 12-bed facility, we can now provide much needed in-patient treatment for women, in separatefacilities from the men,” Seymour said, adding that the centre is now home to eight female patients.

In 2006 the decision to abandon co-ed residential treatment left women without the necessary facilities to help with addiction problems. “

When Caribbean Haven first opened in 2000, it rehabilitated men and women in the same setting,” she recalled. But department officials decided that mixing the sexes did this approach did not meet the needs of either group. This was confirmed by a consultant from the US National Institute for Drug Abuse, who was invited in 2005 by local officials to review Caribbean Haven’s operations.

“We then decided to discontinue treating women until a separate unit could be built,” Seymour explained. “It was a difficult decision, but it was based on the fact that at the time, most of the persons in treatment were men.”

The women’s centre comprises bedrooms, a kitchen, group therapy and family rooms, and an area for withdrawal management. It is located on the same property as the men’s unit in Breakers, but the two entities are in separate buildings. There is no male-female interaction among the clients, Seymour emphasised.

“Each facility is a standalone, with its own amenities and its own programmes,”she added.

Persons seeking substance-abuse services are to first contact the Department of Counselling Services at 949-8789. The department accepts walk-in clients at its offices in George Town, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“An initial assessment is done to determine the appropriate level of care for a prospective client. Residential treatment is recommended only if it is needed, and the ultimate decision to pursue this option rests with the client,” Seymour said.


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Cops seek rightful owners of stolen booty

| 10/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): George Town detectives said this week that they are seeking the owners of a range of stolen goods that have been recovered in police operations. The RCIPS has released pictures of the various items in an effort to locate their rightful owners. Detective Sergeant Winsome Prendergast said the items have been recovered from across the Island “These items have been recovered during searches carried out as part of burglary enquiries,” she said.

“The people whose possession they have been found in cannot legitimately account for them and there have been some arrests in connection with these goods. We need people to come forward if they think they are the rightful owners.” DS Prendergast said that anyone who believes the items to be theirs should come forward. “We will need people to show that they own the goods,” she said. “This could be through producing serial numbers, receipts, photographs, or by knowing identifying marks on the items. Once the true ownership has been confirmed, the items will be returned to their rightful owner.”

The RCIPS stresses that it is important for to people report break-ins to the police and also that residents take precautions to help identify items if they are recovered. All serial numbers should be recorded and photographs should be taken of valuable items. Residents are also reminded to keep their homes secure and protect themselves as best they can against break-ins. Always lock windows and doors, use a stopper on sliding doors and windows and never leave valuables on display. More crime prevention information can be found on  The haul of goods includes:

Various Dewalt tools

 Various Ridgid tools

 Cannon camera and numerous Fujitsu batteries and Fujifilm items

 Compaq laptop – black

 Sony Playstation 3

 Sony Blu-ray disk player

 Sony DVD player

 Rotel surround sound processor and power amplifier

 Furuno navigation system – likely from a boat.

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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Murder in Next Level

| 10/09/2009 | 142 Comments

(CNS): Update Thursday 4:10pm — Police say that, despite the many rumours, they have received no credible information about a second shooting in West Bay following the fatal shooting incident early this morning at a nightclub on the West Bay Road which left one man is dead and another injured. In response to a photo of the deceased victim which has been widely circulated via email, a police spokesperson said, "The RCIPS is disgusted with the circulation of this picture. The people responsible have shown no regard or respect to the victim or his relatives and loved ones.

"Anyone who has forwarded this picture and contributed to its circulation should be ashamed of their actions."

Detectives are appealing for information about the incident which took place around 1.30am this morning (September 10). The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from a member of the public reporting that a shooting had occurred inside Next Level. Police responded to the scene and found a man in his thirties inside the club who had received fatal gun shot wounds. Another man was then found at the rear of the club suffering from a gun shot wound to his abdomen.

The man is currently in hospital where his condition is said to be stable. Police said the communications centre had received a number of calls reporting the shooting. “One man has died and another is seriously injured. We need to find out who did this and we need those who were present to help us,” said Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett. “There were many people in the club last night and we need them to come forward and tell us what they saw.”

Detectives would like to hear from anyone who was inside the nightclub who has information about what took place. They would also like to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of the club who may have seen the offender or offenders leaving the area. “Did you see someone leaving the area or a car driving away, perhaps at high speed?” asked Mr Kennett. “If you did, please come forward.”

Next Level is located in the heart of 7MB and as well as being a popular spot with a cross section of locals it is also frequented by tourists and visitors to the islands.

Anyone with information about the shooting can pass it on to police in a number of ways; people can speak with an officer they know and trust, they can reach George Town detectives on 949-4222, they can leave information on an anonymous voicemail service by calling 949-7777 or they can call 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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Mac blamed for bad press

| 10/09/2009 | 71 Comments

(CNS): The leader of the opposition said yesterday that the leader of government business had damaged Cayman’s international image through his political posturing. Kurt Tibbetts suggested that in McKeeva Bush’s bid to undermine the previous government he had caused panic. At a specially convened PPM press conference on Wednesday afternoon at the party’s headquarters, Tibbetts also defended the last government’s financial management and said that their capital development programme was not the primary source of Cayman’s current financial troubles.

“In his determination to discredit and demonise the past administration which I led, he has painted a picture of hopelessness and pessimism which has invited the international media to conclude that the country is bankrupt,” Tibbetts told the press. He added that Bush’s comments regarding the economic challenges facing Cayman had generated the negative publicity, which was an “inevitable result” of his numerous statements characterizing the country as bankrupt. “He must accept responsibility and cannot escape accountability for the consequences of his reckless acts.”

The opposition leader went onto defend the PPM’s financial management and said that the performance of the PPM administration over its entire time in office was being judged entirely on the outcome of the 2008/09 fiscal year. He said it was being unfairly held responsible for the present economic challenges that the government faces, despite what is being considered as the worst ever global economic recession.

“The reality is that there are several factors which have created the dilemma which the country faces. The issues span more than one government and more than one term,” Tibbetts claimed. He said that, aside from the economic crisis, over the four year term the PPM administration had to inject some $27 million into the Boatswain’s Beach and pay a $15 million bill incurred by the governor in his endeavours for good-governance. He said the PPM assumed office eight months after Hurricane Ivan had struck Grand Cayman and spent millions rebuilding. Following that Hurricane Paloma cost government $9 million in 2008.

He said the UDP administration had lost and wasted money during its previous term, including what the auditor gGeneral concluded as $1.6 million in unnecessary financing fees for the Turtle Farm development, $4.4 million in overpayments on the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal project, and around US$14.5 million in questionable payouts and spending on the ill-conceived affordable housing programme, as well as the forced write off of approximately $50M of government’s Ivan insurance claim from Cayman General Insurance.

“Despite these challenges, the PPM produced and operated within budgets with healthy operational surpluses in each of the three years preceding the 2008/09 fiscal year,” Tibbetts said. “Even in the final year of our term an operational surplus was initially projected.” He added that his government had also grown the country’s reserves to the highest level ever. “Even the present government has had to concede that reserves stood at more than $90M at 30 June, the end of the 2008/09 fiscal year. These reserves are more than sufficient to cover the operational deficit for the 2008/09 fiscal year.”

However, he conceded that the debt had doubled to a record level but he said it was all relative. Tibbetts explained even if the annual cost to service the debt for capital projects was as much as $18 million it did not account for the massive deficit. He said the projections for government revenue, which turned out to be flawed, had been much higher at the start of the financial year than at the end, and operating costs were also considerably higher than expected.  He said that his government had tried to reign in spending and if the higher echelons of the civil service had made the effort and called the meetings back then as they had now, the deficit may not have been as bad.

“Mr Bush has devoted a disproportionate amount of time and energy over the past few months to attempting to characterise and define the former PPM administration as spendthrifts and poor money managers,” Tibbetts stated, claiming it was not true and the record reflected that.

He lamented the blame on capital projects, which he said were necessary due to the failure of previous governments to work on the country’s aging infrastructure. He then noted the irony following the massive criticism that Bush is now planning a number of major projects through Private Financing Initiatives, which he said would not be free.  

“One thing is forcertain: all government projects will cost the people of these Islands real money. There is no such thing as a free lunch,” the opposition leader observed. He criticized PFI as merely a way of deferring payments on what is in reality an off balance-sheet loan to the government at higher than usual interest rates. “It also presents much greater opportunity for improper dealing and preferential treatment of the contractors involved,” Tibbetts warned and called on Bush to make public the details of arrangements for the PFIs and selection of contractors.

Tibbetts said that Cayman was facing challenging times and the PPM was willing to work with Bush if he was to put party politics aside, but he did not think that would happen. He said the dilemma for Cayman was that operating costs continued to grow and the more successful Cayman was the more people expected better public services.

He said he believed that when the economic crisis in the US was over, Cayman would rebuild its revenue and, if it found a way of reducing the cost of running government, the longer term issues would be addressed. In the short term, he said, the UK should be persuaded to allow the Cayman government to do what just about every government in the world is doing – borrow.

“We urge the government and in particular the LoGB to continue to press the UK in this regard. We entreat Mr Bush to continue the more reasoned tone and rhetoric he has employed in the past few days in relation to these issues,” Tibbetts said, adding that Cayman, contrary to earlier impressions, is not bankrupt.

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Butterfly Nebula 3,800 light years away

| 10/09/2009 | 7 Comments

(NASA): This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly. But it is far from serene. What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour — fast enough to travel from Earth to the moon in 24 minutes! A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope.

See more amazing new images from the refurbished Hubble Telescope

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“Keystone cops” got it wrong

| 10/09/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Despite the fact that Crown counsel told the jury that their feelings towards newspaper publisher Desmond Seales or Operation Tempura shouldn’t impact their decision on the guilt or otherwise of Lyndon Martin, his defence counsel pointed out that both were, in fact, central to the whole “scandalous” trial. Trevor Burke QC told the jury that almost the minute "the keystone cops stepped off the plane they got it wrong.”  He said that all roads led to Seales and that the behaviour of the Operation Tempura officers at the cost of the Cayman public was “an outrage".

During his closing submissions to the court, Andrew Radcliffe QC, on behalf of the Crown told the jury that neither Desmond Seales nor the officers from Operation Tempura were on trial, and while the fallout from the investigation had been enormous, it was essentially down to Lyndon Martin.

Radcliffe told the court that Crown witnesses had been angry at the wrong people. He said Seales was angry at Evans, Evans was angry at Tempura, Ennis was angry at Kernohan, but Radcliffe told the jury that Martin was where they should be directing their anger. Radcliff even implied that while everyone was angry with Martin Bridger over the unlawful arrest of Justice Alex Henderson, Bridger and the other officers were only in Cayman because of Martin, who had made the allegations against Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis.

However, in his closing address on behalf of the defendant Lyndon Martin, Burke pointed out that the suggestion that Martin was responsible for the unlawful arrest of Justice Henderson was preposterous. No one was suing Lyndon Martin, he observed, adding that Martin had never even spoken to Justice Henderson. The defence counsel told the court that the Operation Tempura team had got it wrong at the outset when they fixed on the idea that the 3 September 2007 entry into Net News was a burglary, even though they were categorically and repeatedly told that it was not a burglary by the chief justice.

Burke noted that, on a slight contribution from John Evans, Bridger unlawfully arrested Justice Henderson and implied he was complicit in a burglary that never happened. “It was Bridger that got everything wrong and now we have the Crown saying it’s all Lyndon Martin’s fault!” Burke exclaimed.

He suggested that Martin was being used as the scapegoat for the Operation Tempura fiasco and explained how Martin had been arrested for the burglary that never happened, locked up for 15 days, grilled for hours, denied food and then the police had even denied having custody of him to his family.

Burke explained that all Martin had done in the first instance was to pass on information to Deputy Commissioner Rudy Dixon that someone was leaking information to Desmond Seales about senior police officers and it could be Anthony Ennis. He explained how Martin had said over and over again that he did not want to make a formal complaint, but because of a series of events, circumstances and agendas things spiralled.

He pointed out to the jury how Dixon would have been concerned because Seales was clearly being leaked information about his personal life and it would serve Dixon’s interests if it was Ennis that was the source of the leak given their continuing feud. Burke noted that it was Desmond Seales’ lies that had convinced Martin that Ennis was the source – and not just Martin, but John Evans as well, who had entirely and independently corroborated Martin’s accusations when he went to the commissioner with the information that Seales had told him Ennis was the source of the false information on the helicopter. Stuart Kernohan was therefore a willing listener when Dixon told him about Martin’s fateful comments that August evening in Royal Palms as he had already heard the same from Evans.

Burke said the prosecution had also presented the jury with a significant burden as they had placed two people on the stand as key witnesses of truth that were in conflict with each other. John Evans, the first of the Crown’s witnesses of truth, told several people, including the court, that Seales had told him Ennis was his source. Seales, who was also presented as a witness of truth, Burke explained, had said that Evans was lying, so clearly one of the Crown’s witnesses of truth was lying.

“This dog’s breakfast of a prosecution doesn’t work when one prosecution witness is calling the other a liar,” said Burke. He suggested to the jury that John Evans was telling the truth and that Seales performance in the court was probably enough for the jury to work out that Seales would lie at the drop of a hat. Far from Lyndon Martin triggering off the whole investigation, Burke told the court that “all roads led back to Desmond Seales”, who, he suggested, had spun a web of deceit for who-knows-what grandiose plans.

Burke reminded the jury that several Crown witnesses had got on the stand and described the kind of person Seales was, aside from being described as a weasel, vindictive and prepared to treat people like dogs, they had noted how he cultivated an image that he had a hotline to the prison, that he was all powerful and had a hold on everyone.

Burke noted that while Martin had eventually realized that his assumptions about Ennis were wrong, he had in the first instance many, many reasons to suspect that Ennis was Seales’ source because of Seales’ own comments and behaviour. Burke said Martin had gained nothing and got no reward for what he did. He took great risks to warn a friend and had ended up on trial for his trouble.

Burke observed that there clearly was a leak from the RCIPS to Seales, even though it was not Ennis, and Burke noted how the Operation Tempura team had just ignored that fact and never sought to discover who it was. Burke stated that they had “bigger fish to fry” and had gone after a high court judge and seniorpolice officers for a burglary that never happened instead.

He said Martin had reported hearsay suspicions, which had been picked up by the senior officers in the RCIPS for their own reasons, and then it was Kernohan’s decision to bring in the officers from Scotland Yard and he soon came to realise that Bridger and Ashwin had got it all horribly wrong. Burke said he suspected that the whole trial against Martin would put everyone off ever telling the police their suspicions ever again, because if what they revealed to authorities turned out to be wrong they might just be arrested.

He also pointed out to the jury the irony of the sudden exoneration of John Jones, who was given his job back on the morning of the trial some seventeen months after his suspension from office – again for the burglary that never happened — as it was the only way the Crown could get the statement that Lyndon Martin had never signed into evidence.

Burke said that John Evans had been right when he said that Martin should not be on trial and described it as "little short of scandalous”, before telling the jury they had no choice but to find Lyndon Martin not guilty.  

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