Archive for October 20th, 2009

Severe weather warnings continue as front lingers

| 20/10/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Satellite pictures continue to show extensive cloudiness and showers covering the northwest Caribbean associated with a stationary front, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service said on Tuesday afternoon. As a result the Cayman area will continue to experience overcast rainy weather conditions through tonight with improving conditions from early tomorrow morning as the front dissipates. An additional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is expected during the next 12 to 24 hours. Residents in low lying areas should continue to take all necessary precautions.

Winds over the open seas are expected to be moderate with higher gusts in squally conditions in and around heavy showers through tonight. Light winds and seas are expected to prevail from tomorrow morning. Rough seas are expected in squally conditions in and around heavy showers. Small craft should continue to exercise caution over open waters.


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HRC says legal aid is a right

| 20/10/2009 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Access to legal representation paid for by the public purse is a right enshrined both in Cayman’s new Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Committee said on Tuesday. Following statements made by the leader of government business on the radio last week and the recent announcement of policy changes to how legal aid will be funded, the HRC has raised concerns. It said that the assumption of innocence until proven guilty should be reaffirmed by government and warned that the reduction in legal aid spending could lead to delays in the courts and much higher costs in the long run.

On Monday 12 October, as Finance Committee proceedings drew to a close, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush introduced an amendment to the budget to remove $1.5m from the chief justice’s legal aid appropriation, leaving $300,000 in the allocation for remaining cases. He said government would be changing its policy on how the benefit would be funded in future as two local lawyers would be establishing a legal aid clinic on a reduced budget.

In the face of surprise from the opposition benches and in the absence of the attorney general, Bush said the new clinic would be allocated $500,000 for this year, which would from now on come from his Ministry of Finance, with plans to increase the grant to $1.2 million next year – but still more than $600,000 short of the amount which had originally been allocated.

The HRC said that as the proposals have not yet been finalised it was cautious about making any comments until its members have had an opportunity to review and consider the final terms of the new scheme. However, the committee raised a number of general concerns, including fears that the $300,000 left as an appropriation would not be adequate to meet the pending cases.

“If this sum runs out before all cases are finished, and current lawyers are not provided with further funding, they will be unable to continue to act. In such a situation the new public defender’s office will be faced with having to repeat work already done at public expense. The delays and wasted costs will be significant,” the HRC warned.

The committee said it was particularly concerned about comments made by the LoGB on the radio, as reported on CNS last week. The HRC explained that under the Cayman Constitution, Article 7 will provide that everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to a fair trial and, amongst others, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Bush had said that "the country should not have to pay to get criminals off the hook" and that he was "no longer prepared to vote money for lawyers to defend people who shoot up our children”, during his appearance on Rooster’s morning phone-in show, Crosstalk.

The committee observed: “This is one of the most fundamental tenets of any civilised criminal justice system and the HRC is confident that the reasoning behind it is so obvious as to require no explanation. The HRC believes that, in the light of those statements, the government should reaffirm its commitment to the fundamental principle that all defendants have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

The committee also said people had a right to have a legal representative provided at public expense through an established public legal aid scheme if they did not have the means to pay for their own legal assistance and they faced serious criminal charges.

“The new Constitution makes specific provision for the provision of legal representation at public expense. This particular constitutional provision is based on principles enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.”

LoGB said last week, “Whilst the system of jurisprudence might say everybody deserves a fair trial, nowhere does it say that the country should pay for it." However, the HRC said that as matter of law that position was wrong. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Currently, residents of the Cayman Islands can enforce these rights through petition to the European Court in Strasbourg. Cayman’s incoming Constitution will import the rights directly into local law.

The HRC also warned that under the Constitution those charged with a criminal offence have the right to a lawyer, and this does not mean just the presence of an attorney but the right to a proper defence and to ‘equality of arms’ with the prosecuting authorities who are financed by the state.

The HRC noted that the budget allocated to the new legal aid service was $1.2 million and that it was proposed that this sum would cover not just criminal defence but also employment matters, landlord and tenant disputes, domestic violence issues and, presumably, civil and matrimonial legal aid (as the former budget did). "It is worthy of note that it currently costs over twice as much as this just to prosecute criminal allegations,” the committee said.

Welcoming the government’s commitment to the funding of legal services for all these diverse areas, the committee said it was concerned that the suggested budget would be far too limited to provide proper services. The previous legal aid budget was extremely tight and these further cuts are significant. With insufficient defence lawyers and resources the already lengthy delays in the criminal justice system will increase, it feared.

“If trials cannot be heard within a reasonable time defendants and the victims of crime will suffer, as will the quality of justice as witnesses’ memories fade,” the committee stated. “Criminal litigation is a highly specialised, complex and technical area of law. Therefore, in order properly to defend Grand Court cases, sufficiently expert criminal lawyers will have to be recruited. The HRC notes that at present no explanation has been given for how such suitably qualified experts will be recruited.”

 With many questions still remaining unanswered about how the new legal aid clinic or public defenders’ office will function and how it will be funded, the HRC said it looked forward to the opportunity to review the new draft legal aid law which will be needed before it can come into force.

“The HRC looks forward to having the opportunity to comment on these important Bills and to being able to see, in detail, the substance of the government’s new plans for Legal Aid,” the committeesaid.

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US report says death penalty is waste of money

| 20/10/2009 | 2 Comments

(UPI) — States are wasting millions of dollars on the death penalty when funds could be used elsewhere in the U.S. economic crunch, a report indicated. "With many states spending millions to retain the death penalty, while seldom or never carrying out an execution, the death penalty is turning into a very expensive form of life without parole," said Richard Deiter, Death Penalty Information Center executive director and the report’s author. Also released Tuesday was a companion poll indicating police chiefs rank the death penalty last among crime-fighting priorities and the least efficient use of taxpayer funds.

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Tourism road show seeks public opinion

| 20/10/2009 | 16 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Tourism is going out into the community to find out what people think the Cayman Islands tourism product will look like in 2012. A decline in visitor numbers due to the global recession, fierce competition and a lack of consensus within the community about what the tourism product should stand for has put the Cayman Islands tourism business under pressure, the DoT said. As a result, a new set of tourism business development strategies are needed to address these issues and the DoT hopes members of the community will contribute their views to that process.

“The first step in creating a shared vision for tourism is to understand what stakeholders want the Cayman Islands tourism product and business to look like in the medium and long term,” said Acting Director of Tourism Shomari Scott. “We will be asking participants of the sessions to help us define this so we can develop clear, compelling tourism business strategies that key members of the government and tourism communities have bought into and which allow the Cayman Islands to speak with one voice.”

Anyone with a vested interest in creating a brighter future for tourism in the Cayman Islands is asked to attend on of the series of town hall meetings, which will be held this week in each district on Grand Cayman.

The DoT aims to increase visitor volume as well as the lifetime value of each customer or visitor and gain more in-destination spending from each visitor. It seeks to lower the marketing/sale acquisition costs for acquiring each visitor but generate higher profits for individual tourism businesses. The future strategy will also be seeking more effective decision-making about tourism related investments and an increase in civic pride as community members share a belief of “who we intend to be”.

Scott said he hopes people would come to the meetings and talk about their opinions.  “We encourage participants to aim high, be open and share ideas as we start the process of creating ‘Tourism 2012’,” he added.

The meetings begin in West Bay this evening, Tuesday 20 October, at the John A Cumber Hall at 6:30pm, moving to Bodden Town tomorrow, Wednesday 21 October, at the Civic Centre at 5:30 pm, and at the North Side Civic Centre at 8pm. On Thursday, 22 October, the roadshow moves to George Town Mary Miller Hall where the meeting will start at 6pm. For more information, interested parties should contact Carol Britton at the Department of Tourism on 949-0623.

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Police make Quik-cash arrest

| 20/10/2009 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Updated —  Police have now confirmed that two men have been detained and are helping them with thier enquiries regarding the Quik-Cash armed robbery last month. According to the owner of the Shedden Road store, Delroy Howell (left), three men who were believed to be involved in the armed heist returned  to the store this morning. Police said, however, that they received a call from a member of staff at the store who said they had seen two men they thought they had recognised from the 23 September robbery.

Howell told CNS that he could not believe what was happening and said he never believed he would see the day when such things would happen in Cayman. Howell also said he believed the young men involved in the robbery last month who returned today were young men from the West Bay area.

Police said that no robbery or attempted robbery had taken place today and did not say what the two men were arrested for.

So far police have offered no further informaiton or updates about any of this weekend’s armed robberies or on the status of the murder enquiry regarding the fatal shooting of Fabian Ried on Tuesday evening in Newlands.

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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Royal gong nominations open

| 20/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the current strained relationship with the UK the Cayman Islands, royal accolades, regardless of their colonial connotations, remain popular among the local community and the public is being given the opportunity to nominate people for the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2010. The governor Stuart Jack said nominations must be received by Friday 6 November. Recommendations for OBEs and MBEs are considered in the United Kingdom but recommendations for the Certificate and Badge of Honour are considered locally.


According to the governor’s office the criteria for the gongs is more than long service. The nominations must be supported by a persuasive account of the outstanding or innovative or self-sacrificing services and achievements of the nominee, whether paid or unpaid, in one field or several, and what has raised them above those of others performing similar services, the governor’s office said.

Over the years the royal awards have increasingly been refused by those who are offered them. Famous refuseniks include the Caribbean poet Benjamin Zephaniah, actors and comedians Lenny Henry and Dawn French, author Roald Dahl, celebrity cook Nigella Lawson, artist LS Lowery, who holds the record fro refusing the most amount of honours, and film director Michael Winner who in 2006, said:  "An OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at King’s Cross station."

Honours nomination forms can be requested by e-mail from Copies can also be found on the Governor’s Office website ( Please make every effort to fully complete all the relevant sections.  Once completed, the forms should be submitted, under confidential cover, to the Governor’s Office. While all recommendations will be acknowledged, the governor’s office said it cannot enter into correspondence about the action taken onthem.

For further information, please contact the Governor’s Office on 244 2401.




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Miller challenges governor on evidence of corruption

| 20/10/2009 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The recent comments by the governor, Stuart Jack, that people who think there is no corruption in the Cayman Islands are deluded has, not surprisingly, incurred the wrath of the MLA for North Side, Ezzard Miller. The independent candidate has challenged the UK’s representative to bring his evidence of corruption and put it on the table. Miller has also condemned the governor’s constant comparisons of Cayman to the Turks and Caicos Islands, which he noted as a veiled threat and something it seemed the governor wished was happening.

Responding to the recent statements by Jack in the wake of  Auditor General Dan Duguay’s report on the costs of the investigation, and discussing his own private members motion with regard to the Special Police investigation Team and their operations, the MLA said on Rooster’s morning talk show, Crosstalk, on Tuesday that he was not corrupt and he would not stand idly by when the governor insinuated as such. Miller said the governor could not expect to make wide sweeping accusations without being challenged.

“It is beginning to look as though there is something deliberate about these things,” Miller said. “The fact that the whole system the police and judicial administration have been called into question but crime is mushrooming, and all we hear from the governor is the need to continue with the investigation because everyone is corrupt — the criminals are enjoying the holiday.”

Miller noted that the police are reluctant to take action as they are caught in a situation of not knowing who is being investigated or for what. “We don’t know who in the police service is under investigation or what for, so there is a reluctance of rank and file, but I don’t blame them,” he added.

The private members motion which Miller has asked the government to consider will be discussed in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, and Miller hopes that he will be able to persuade the government to file a law suit in the UK to recover some of the costs of the investigations and hold the governor, the FCO and the senior investigator, Martin Bridger, accountable.

“This is not just about recovering the money,” Miller explained. “It is necessary in principle to let the UK know that we are not going to let their unilateral appointed master to do these things and not question it. This will demonstrate that Caymanians are prepared to stand up to him.”

Parliament, he said, needed to make a statement to the UK government to demonstrate that the people of this country are not happy.

He also noted that the governor’s remarks that those advocating independence should come out and say so may have been pointed at him, but he said everyone in this country knows that Ezzard Miller is an advocate for independence. “But what I don’t want to happen is for the UK to manoeuvre us into position where there is no other option but independence when we are not ready.” Miller said, as he has for many years, that Cayman needs to set a date for the future which will put the country on a path to release it from the “shackles of colonial administration".

The governor issued a long public statement on Thursday evening denying culpability regarding the special investigations and offering his continued support of Operation Cealt, indicating his conviction that there is corruption in the RCIPS but not offering any evidence.

Less than 24 hours later the Daily Mail, a UK tabloid with more than 4 million readers, published an exposé on the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), further undermining the credibility of the investigations. So far, the governor has made no commentregarding the pictures of SPIT or the content of the article.

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Support for net neutrality

| 20/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A group of the world’s largest internet companies has written a letter of support to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter is the latest in an ongoing debate about "network neutrality" – or how data is distributed on the web. Some internet providers have called for a tiered system, in which bandwidth-heavy data like videos travel slower. The FCC is opposed to this and wants to preserve an open internet in which all data is treated equally. The letter, signed by the chief executives of Google, Ebay, Skype, Facebook and Amazon among others, says that maintaining data neutrality helps businesses to compete on the basis of content alone.

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Football action on the Brac

| 20/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Shanelle Frederick gave her team “Brac United” an outstanding performance and a superb advantage going into leg-two of the CBP&L Knock-Out Cup semifinals by scoring a hat-trick. Shanelle’s three goals and Nicholas Laurendo’s single gave team “Brac United” a comfortable 4-2 win in their leg-one encounter with Un-Tiro Ballers. Team “Lion Tail” was on the losing end of their first leg game against a harder working and more organized team “Bracka Boys”.

 Captain Geoff Scott and Akito Lewis both scored a pair each to give “Bracka Boys” a 4-2 advantage going into leg-two next week. “Lion Tail” was seriously suffering from not having their top goal-scoring sensation Jacob Scott in out-field. Instead he was restricted to goalkeeping duties because of an injury.

While the Honduras national team was battling El Salvador for a spot at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, fellow countrymen and Brac six-a-side teams of “Olimpia” and “CD Marathon” were going at each other in the CBP&L Knock-Out Cup semifinal leg-one. Cayman Brac’s U-17 Kerry Antunez and Brian Martin were taking control of this game for CD Marathon by launching relentless attacks on team “Olimpia” while Jovonnie Anglin and Devin Conolly held the fort tight in defense. Unable to take advantage of all the numerous opportunities that came to them, the game finished 0-0.

“Bad to the Bone” disposed of team “Gazza” 2-0 in their Knock-Out game by goals from Fabio Smith and Jamie Sanford. Team “Bad to the Bone” is favorites to claim the Knock-Out Cup and add it to their League Championship that was won last week.

Next week we will be the second-leg of the Knock-Out Cup as well as the finals in all divisions. A new champion will be crowned and another chapter would have been written in

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Stats office to ‘show and tell’ for business

| 20/10/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Economics and Statistics Office said this week that it has produced two inaugural reports aimed at improving local information for both business analysis and planning purposes. The System of National Accounts (SNA) Report and the Balance of Payments (BOP) Report, considered two of the most fundamental collections of statistics that a country should produced, are now available and will be presented to the wider community during a series of forums, the office said.

The BOP is a system of accounts that measures the receipts and payments of Cayman’s residents against residents of the rest of the world, and the SNA is a report of the economic growth and contribution of all sectors in the Cayman Islands.

“These two economic statistics are considered among the most basic that every country in the world must produce, and we are pleased that the Cayman Islands also have them now,” said ESO Director Maria Zingapan explained.

At the forum the ESO will updatethe local community on this latest data and place the figures in context. The first seminar on 29 October will feature the two inaugural reports and reviews of the reports from key users of economic statistics. Among those who confirmed is Tim Ridley, former chairman of the CIMA Board.

In the SNA report, the economic growth and contribution of all sectors in the Cayman Islands are presented for the first time. There are 15 sectors: financial services, real estate, renting and business activities, hotels and restaurants, construction, electricity and water supply, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, mining and quarrying, transport, storage and communication, public administration and defence, education, health and social work, and other services.

In the inaugural BOP report, Cayman’s receipts and payments for the following are estimated: merchandise goods; financial, travel, insurance and other services; direct investment, portfolio investment and other income; and transfers.  

Both reports are now available on and have been commended by the Financial Secretary’s Office, the ESO said. The first forum will be held at the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau (CIIB) Conference Room from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. Due to limited space, those wishing to attend should please pre-register on or before 23 October with Julietta Beaupierre at or call 244-3500.  

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