Archive for September 24th, 2009

Search for missing diver over as family mourns

| 24/09/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): UPDATE Thursday 5:00pm — A search for a 60-year-old tourist who went missing during a dive on Monday (21 September) has been exhausted. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has now also identified him as Charles Lynn Titus from Las Vegas. Mr Titus, who was visiting the Cayman Islands from Las Vegas with his wife, went missing during a dive at Eagle Ray Pass, North Wall, just outside the Main Channel. A family liaison officer has been assigned to his wife and the Department of Tourism is also assisting. An investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department is ongoing into the man’s disappearance.

Rose Titus, the wife of the missing man, said in a statement, "On behalf of the entire family of Charles Lynn Titus, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the unconditional support and kindness from the community of Grand Cayman in the search and ongoing recovery of our beloved family member. The amount of time, resources and dedication to this tragic situation from the staff of Divers Down, the Grand Cayman police department, the staff at the Marriott Grand Cayman Resort and from all the volunteer boaters and divers has been unequivocal. Our family will be forever grateful for the immediate and relentless attention to this catastrophic event."

The RCIPS would like to thank all parties who were involved in the search including the Department of Environment, commercial and private vessels and the Air Support Unit. Special thanks are sent to Dive Tech who conducted a deep dive on Wednesday morning.
 

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North Sound Road now open

| 24/09/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A police presence and a closed road are thought to be the reason behind erroneous rumours that there has been a robbery at Reflections. However, the RCIPS says the cause was not a crime scene but an oil spill. However, the section of the of the North Sound Road, from Parkers to the Mirco Centre roundabout, that was temporarily closed is now open.
 

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Man robbed at gunpoint in George Town

| 24/09/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Three men, one of whom brandished a firearm, approached a 30-year-old man who had just left a local bar on Tuesday night, 22 September and demanded cash. The man had left the bar around 11:00pm and was robbed on Bodden Road, George Town. The offenders took an undisclosed amount of money, making off on foot in the direction of North Church Street. The victim was unhurt in the incident. The incident was reported to police the next day (Wednesday, 23 September).

Detectives from George Town are investigating the incident and would like to hear from anyone who was in the area that may have seen something. Anyone who can help should contact Detective Constable Angela Scarlett on 949-4222. People can also 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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BBC reports on Cayman Islands fears as debts grow

| 24/09/2009 | 16 Comments

(BBC): As the G20 nations prepare for their meetings in Pittsburgh, the consequences of one of their campaigns, against offshore tax havens, is leading to a stand-off between Britain and some of its overseas territories. At around the same time as the world’s most powerful leaders gather in the US, the head of one of the world’s smallest nations, the Cayman Islands, will address his people to tell them how he intends to solve their financial worries. Such is the depth of their problems that the Cayman Islands face having a major construction project frozen this week as they have not paid the contractor.

 

Go to article (and listen to the audiopod)

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Broken water pipe in Bodden Town

| 24/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Water Authority has now completed repairs on the broken line in Bodden Town and water has been restored to all customers affected. The Water Authority again apologizes for any inconveniences caused and would like to thank their valued customers and the motoring public for their patience and understanding.

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PPM leader must resign

| 24/09/2009 | 51 Comments

Kurt Tibbetts must resign his position as leader of the PPM for the good of his party and the country. There must be a more viable younger leader that can make the transition to better leadership and compete in the political arena.

The main point is he must be held accountable for the fall of his party and the governance it used to manage these Islands for better or worse.

There is a big difference between true leaders and mere holders of power. A true leader will do the right thing at the right time. A mere holder of power will hang around like an unwanted mother-in-law mucking up the process with old visions of what used to be and totally forgetting about what has to be done to prepare for the future. That being said, there are younger, more multifaceted members of the PPM that should be pushed to the front to lead and rebuild. This will enhance the competition in the political process for these Islands a good thing. Change has taken place around the world but the leader of the PPM is in denial of this fact.

Some leaders do the right thing for the wrong reasons and there are some that do the wrong thing for the wrong reason and keeping Mr. Tibbetts on as leader is the wrong thing for the wrong reason at a time the Party needs rebuilding. The longer he stays as leader the further the PPM will sink in the voter’s conciseness. This is a fact. This happens to most parties that have been in existence. The PPM must fish or cut bait now. The question remains, will Mr Tibbetts do the right thing for the right reason?

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Turtle release to return

| 24/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Once a regular and important event that was meant to be part of the turtle farm’s commitment to conservation, the annual turtle release is returning to Pirates Week. It has been more than two years since the farm returned any of the turtles it breeds back to the wild, however Casandra Hibbert, Director of Cayman’s Pirates Week has announced that it will be happening during the West Bay heritage day on Tuesday, 17 November on the Seven Mile Public Beach.

Hibbert said she was very exited about the return of the release and added that anyone who would like to join in with a hands on approach can try their luck at being one of the chosen few to release the turtles into the water by visiting the Boatswain’s Beach attraction and sign up.

The draw for the winners will then take place on Friday 13 November (fireworks grand opening night) and all will be contacted via phone/ email. “This is a once in a lifetime event so I would suggest you getting up to Boatswain’s Beach quickly and adding your name to the pot,” said Hibbert.

The release has had its critics in the past however, some say the numbers released into the wild are so low as to not be bale to have any impact on the dwindling species numbers in the region and note that the risk to the endangered wild population from these farm bred turtles is not worth it.

Others however, have stated that part of the Cayman Turtle Farm’s reason to be is to help withthe conservation of the species as a pay back for selling these endangered species for meat. In recent years they say the farm for a number of reason’s including its own breeding difficulties has failed it is claim to have any role in the species conservation but merely adds to the struggle of turtles to survive because the farm condones the consumption of these at risk marine creatures.

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Use your right to probe government says info boss

| 24/09/2009 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The country’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is urging people to use the law to exercise their right to know what the government is doing. Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert said that the law was an essential part of democracy and that the ICO would be using the forthcoming annual International Right to Know Day, celebrated on 28 September, to promote the importance and benefits of government openness and accountability in any democratic society. Meanwhile, Natasha Bodden, a trained lawyer and former policy analyst has been named as the FOI Unit’s acting co-ordinator.

The ICO, which works with but is separate from the FOI, will be hosting a full week of FOI themed events from 27 September to 3 October to promote its 9 month old law and educate the public of their rights afforded under that law. The ICO said the message for this year is Exercise Your Rights – Make a Request.

“Freedom of Information Legislation is paramount to a democratic and forward thinking society which is why promoting this new law and educating the public on how they can use it is essential to its continued success” said Dilbert. “By introducing this Law in our Islands our government, both past and present, has demonstrated that it is wholly committed to an open and transparent government that is fully accountable to its people in accordance with core principles of democracy”.

The FOI law gives everyone, from anywhere in the world, of any age and without giving a reason, the right to access all government held records, subject to a few limited exceptions.  To make an FOI request, simply contact the relevant public authority and submit your application. The public authority must respond within 30 days and if it refuses your request you can appeal.

During the FOI week the commissioner and her staff will be hosting an afternoon tea from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the ICO in Elizabethan Square (above the Thai Restaurant), where staff will be on hand to answer questions and offer guidance on how the public can make FOI requests.

There will be a rolling presentation highlighting various aspects of the ICO’s work. This event is open to the public and all are welcome to come along and to learn about the role of the ICO and to get assistance with making a request. Other Right to Know Week activities include the Information Commissioner’s appearance on CITN’s Daybreak, the Rooster Crosstalk Show, Radio Cayman’s Talk Today and presentations to the Sunrise Rotary and Rotary Grand Cayman Clubs.

On Friday, 2 October  the commissioner and her deputy, Gary Cordes, will be visiting Cayman Brac to open the Sister Islands Information Commissioner’s Office and host a number of other events. ICO staff will be visiting the Brac periodically during the year to further promote FOI and to assist individuals. The week concludes with a Right to Know Fun Walk / Run / Ride-a-thon on Saturday, October 3rd.  This event is hosted by the FOI Unit, who in previous years hosted the Sunshine Walk. 

The unit, which is part of the Cabinet Office, monitors and supports government’s internal policies, programmes and procedures arising from the ongoing implementation of the Freedom of Information Law.

The new unit co-ordinator said this week that she will strive to ensure that the FOI unit continues to promote transparency and accountability within government, and carries on training civil servants to understand their duties and responsibilities under the law. “We are thrilled with the prospect of helping to create data protection legislation for the Cayman Islands, as this goes hand-in-hand with FOI. I look forward to dealing with the challenges of the next few years.”  

For application forms and further information on events, please call 747-5402 or visit www.INFOCOMM.ky

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Tax the tax havens says regional president

| 24/09/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández has called on the United Nations General Assembly to introduce a tax on tax havens, off-shore banks and international financial centres to make up for the damage the global economic crisis has had on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a UN release. Statistics from the World Health Organisation suggest that an additional 400,000 children and tens of thousands of women will die each year because of the global financial crisis, and Fernández called on the Assembly to declare “a state of emergency”.

“The onlyway to really tackle achieving the MDG by the scheduled date of 2015 is for this General Assembly to help create the conditions for a real commitment by nations, governmental and non-governmental institutions to assume as a matter of urgency the tasks of economic and social development for peoples stricken by poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy,” he said.

The MDGs seek to slash a list of other ills in the developing world by 2015 and Fernandez noted the human cost of the financial meltdown. “Just today, while this session of the General Assembly of the most important organization in the world is being held, 25,000 children will die in various parts of the planet,’ he said. “That means that one child dies every three seconds and 18 children every minute. At the end of my 15-minute speech before this plenary, 270 children whose deaths could have been avoided will have died.”

Fernández called on the 192-member body to consider new possible funding sources for the MDGs, proposing that a working group be set up to present an action plan for his suggested tax on tax havens.

“It cannot be argued that there are not sufficient resources to confront this huge task (of funding the MDGs),” he declared. “The diligent way in which the collapse of the international financial system has been addressed show us something that has always been on the lips of the people, that ‘when there’s a will, there’s a way’."

He said, “There are abundant resources in the world. What is happening is that they are distributed unequally and unjustly, and this is due, among other reason, to the existence of a global financial architecture prone to lack of transparency, secrecy, withholding of capital, evasion and fraud.”

 “The only way to really tackle achieving the MDGs by the scheduled date of 2015 is for this General Assembly to help create the conditions for a real commitment by nations, governmental and non-governmental institutions to assume as a matter of urgency the tasks of economic and social development for peoples stricken by poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy,” he said.

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Bush proposes payroll tax

| 24/09/2009 | 248 Comments

(CNS): After several days of tough negotiations with representatives from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, McKeeva Bush told CNS on Wednesday evening that London was still holding out for some form of tax and had not granted approval for the government to access pre-arranged borrowings. The leader of government business said that he had offered the idea of a community fee or local tax, which would, he explained, have to be linked to payroll. Although the details of the proposal have not have been finalized, Bush said it would be based on earnings.

During another tough day of negotiations with still no go-ahead from the UK to access the $372 million loan which government has already negotiated with private banks in order to balance the 2009/10 budget, the planned resumption of the Legislative Assembly for the budget presentation on Friday was postponed until Monday 28 September.

Bush said that he would be meeting with the business community tomorrow afternoon before he convened a wider public meeting at the Court House on Thursday evening, by which time he was praying that he would have a decision from the UK and be able to outline where government intends to go. He did not say if the community enhancement fee would be across the board or apply just to work permit holders.

“Hopefully by tomorrow we will know. I am praying we will have an answer,” Bush said. He added that the planned meeting with the press on Thursday morning would have to be cancelled as he expected to be continuing talks with the UK, but he believed the meeting would be televised.

Explaining that to the keep the UK happy Cayman would have to implement some form of sustainable revenue raising measure, he said the community feewas the only type of tax he had not taken off the table.

“As you know, we have been opposed to property and income taxes but the community fee has been an idea that has never been ruled out. We will, however, have to bring in a mixture of this new fee and raise other fees as well to get the necessary revenue,” the LoGB explained, adding that he had been involved in the negotiations via telephone since he returned from his trip to the UK at the weekend.

Bush told CNS it was regrettable that Cayman was in such a difficult situation and he placed the blame squarely at the door of the previous PPM administration, which he said had really “messed up” and in particular the former education minister, Alden McLaughlin, whose insistence on the schools, the LoGB said, had contributed to the precarious financial situation the country was now in.

Vote in the CNS online poll: Is the idea of a property tax a good one?

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