Archive for December 31st, 2009

Mac begs criminals to stop

| 31/12/2009 | 105 Comments

(CNS): Although written before the discovery of the body of 27-year-old Fabian Powell on Tuesday, in his New Year message the premier pleaded with those committing crime to stop. McKeeva Bush said that the issue of crime was a scourge upon the community and was threatening national security. He said, however, that his government was supporting several measures to combat the escalation of crime that he said it had inherited, including the installation of closed-circuit cameras.

“I want to make a plea in the name of God. Those of you committing these crimes consider the damage you are inflicting on these islands forshort-term gain that can only amount to nothing but grief,” Bush said. “Those of you who know the individuals committing these crimes – report it. It is your bound duty to the community and to your family. I ask the perpetrators – in the name of God – stop the criminal activity.”

Bush also promised that in 2010 he would be increasing resources for schools and after-school programmes; improving the quality of education and training; offering more vocational and professional training programmes; and creating more employment opportunities.

 

Full Message from Premier McKeeva Bush: 

It is with great pleasure, and much thanks from the all-mighty God, that I bring greetings for the New Year to all our residents and visitors. I wish for you all a blessed, happy and prosperous year.

I also hope that Christmas was pleasant, and peaceful,  and that it brought with it opportunities to reconnect with family and loved ones, as well as chances to extend the hand of friendship in assisting those in need. It is that spirit of kindness and giving, of love and of sharing that I hope will guide us through the year.

As no day is promised to any of us, it’s definitely a blessing when we can celebrate the coming of a New Year, and for that alone, we ought to be thankful. Challenges will undoubtedly arise, and I hope we will all use them to learn, grow and become stronger, more resilient individuals.

This government will have its own share of testing this year, but already we have in place and are implementing policies designed to help us look for opportunities, and take advantage of them as they arise.

Of greatest importance is our human development. This may seem clichéd but it is undeniably true: Our youth are both our most valuable asset and our greatest responsibility.

They represent Cayman’s future and we must ensure that they have the necessary tools and opportunities to realise their potential.  Equally, we have our elderly to thank for our economic foundations, and even more vitally, for our character.  We must recognise where we come from, but not be limited by it, in clarifying where we aspire to go.

We are this year committed to increasing resources for schools and after-school programmes; improving the quality of education and training; offering more vocational and professional training programmes; and creating more employment opportunities.

Of course this is not a task for Government alone. I also encourage the many youth-oriented organisations within our community to continue developing strategies to aid human development; to work with this government in developing your vision; and to continue working with us towards the future of these Islands.

Taking this country from one developmental level to the next must be a collaborative effort involving everyone – from government to business leaders, to service clubs and guest workers – because we all live and work here, and are affected by the physical, social and political environments. 

 The Government has taken a very vigorous lead, with private sector partnerships, in promoting new investments and protecting what we have built up in the Cayman Islands over the years.

Whether it is the status of our successful bond issue; development of cargo and cruise berthing facilities; new private health facilities to enhance medical tourism; or new niches in cultural and sports tourism, we will continue to resolutely pursue opportunities for the benefit of you the people of the Cayman Islands, to keep you informed of our progress and encourage your participation.

I therefore urge you to embrace this cause of true development, and do your bit to enhance this community for the benefit of all. Ask yourselves key questions – What can I contribute? What can I do to make Cayman a little better? How can I make a difference?

The issue of crime is a scourge upon our community. And it has grown to a point where it is now threatening national security by threatening residents and national development.

This government is supporting several measures to combat the escalation of crime we have inherited. One such measure will be the installation of closed-circuit cameras, which will assist in the apprehension of criminals.

But I want to make a plea in the name of God. Those of you committing these crimes, consider the damage you are inflicting on these islands for short-term gain that can only amount to nothing but grief.

Consider how your family will be affected by your activities in the long-term. What you are doing can only bring you hurt in the end – for you will suffer in one shape or another.

And those of you who know the individuals committing these crimes – report it. It is your bound duty to the community and to your family.

I ask the perpetrators – in the name of God – stop the criminal activity.

If you are in need come to me and we will do our best to address your needs. Turn over a new leaf, get a different start in life, make a change for this New Year and you will be more pleased with your own lives.

We are reminded daily that we share this small community of three islands.  Whether we reside here permanently or for a season, its health and safety, in their many facets, impact everyone.

So as we make our resolutions and set plans for the coming year, let us bear these things in mind. But let us also seek divine guidance through the challenges ahead.

Before closing it is appropriate – in the beginning of this New Year – to thank all those people who have done so much to make life better here for more than one person.

I want to thank the workers of Industry, the civil servants, the service clubs, and those who give and continue to give, for all that you do. Our government could not ever afford to pay for the work you do, on your own and sometimes in groups, for the people of these islands.

May I therefore, on behalf of all residents, thank all of you for what you do to make the Cayman Islands a better place.

I’ll leave with you these inspirational words from His Majesty the late King George 6th in his famous1939 New Year’s message:

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And he replied: Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”

I pray that the Lord will continue to bless and keep us as a country, that fortune will smile upon us all and that 2010 will bring fulfilment and success.

Let us remember that God is our help today as He has been in ages past, and as He is our hope for years to come. May He then bless each and every family that has their being in our lovely Islands.

Thank you, and happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Cops arrest three teenagers for high-end car theft

| 31/12/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Police said today that one teenage man and two teenage juveniles have been arrested following a police operation in the West Bay area last night which resulted in the recovery of two high value stolen vehicles. About 2.40 a.m. on Wednesday 30 December 2009 police received a report that two motor vehicles – a Nissan 350z convertible and a Nissan Murano – with a combined value of CI$70,000 had been stolen from Automotive Art in Shedden Road, George Town.

Following the report at about 5.00 pm yesterday officers from West Bay, CID and DTF raided several addresses in the West Bay area. During the operation both stolen cars, and various other items of stolen property including a number of tyres, were recovered by police. A 17-year-old man and two 16-year-old male juveniles have been arrested on suspicion of theft and burglary.

Police said that enquiries into the theft are ongoing.

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Detective seeks cyclist witness

| 31/12/2009 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Police investigating the murder of 27 year old Fabian Powell, whose body was found near Welly’s Cool Spot on Tuesday, are asking the owner of a red and black bike found near the scene to make contact with them. DCI Peter Kennett, the man leading the hunt for Powell’s killer, renewed his appeal for information and asked the owner of an abandoned bicycle found close to the scene to contact the enquiry team. Following a post mortem on Wednesday, 30 December, police confirmed that Powell died from gunshot wounds.

“We have already spoken to a number of people who were in Welly’s Cool Spot on Monday night – but there are still people who were at the location who have not yet come forward,” DCI Kennett said. “It is absolutely imperative that we speak to everyone who was at the bar and in the area of Sound Way on Monday night / Tuesday morning so that we can piece together the victim’s last movements.

“A red and black bicycle has been recovered from the scene. It was found on the ground very close to Welly’s. At this stage I do not know if it is linked to the murder or if it is completely unconnected. But obviously I need to speak to the person who left it there as soon as possible,” the senior officer added.

Anyone with information can call the murder incident room at George Town police station direct on 244-2924 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Duty increase starts to pinch on Monday

| 31/12/2009 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Most non-essential imported goods will be going up in price on Monday as the new duty increases come into effect on 4 January 2010 with the implementation of the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill. Most things that have a levy will be increasing by around 10% following a 2% rise on the current average duty rate. Things currently charged at 20% go to 22% and those at 25% to 27%. Government officials said that the increase will not affect goods which were currently duty free under the old tariff as well as motor gasoline and diesel oil. 

The increase has been seen as a controversial move because it could have a significant negative impact on the man in the street and small businesses. However, government hopes to earn some $16.5 million from the increase in the tariffs to fill its cash strapped coffers. The hike has also been seen by many as preferable to the idea of imposing some form of direct taxation such as property or income tax which the UK wanted the government to impose in order to address the country’s financial difficulties.

Independent MLA for North side Ezzard Miller recently criticised the government for not taking the opportunity to change the current duty system across the board making it fairer and more beneficial to the wider community. He recently told CNS that government had missed the chance to correct a number of anomalies in the customs duty tariffs, improve health and stimulate local business.

He noted oddities such as duty free lard compared to a 22% tariff on olive oil, disappointed that the government did not adopt any of his suggestions he said, “I thought, since the government was reviewing the customs tariff, it gave parliament the opportunity to influence behaviour and encourage a healthier lifestyle,” he said. “Diet is a big problem in Cayman; most of the problem diseases in the community are diet related. Government needs to the lead the charge on healthier lifestyles and this was a chance to place a 22% duty on lard, a food stuff that’s bad for you, and reduce it on healthier oils.”

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Businesses must display signs for new smoking ban

| 31/12/2009 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Although some business owners were under the impression that the tobacco law would take effect at midnight tonight is in fact already in place. Anyone smoking indoors in a public area as of today is breaking the law. Implementation of the law Cayman’s Tobacco Law, 2008 is in effect from Thursday, 31 December 2009 and government is reminding business owners that all legislated smoke-free areas must be clearly marked.

These include enclosed bars, restaurants and pool halls, parks, any commercial transport, public toilets and public transportation terminals (e.g. the cruise terminals) and all shops and shopping centres.  Tobacco vendors must also display the necessary signs according to the law.

A long time in coming, Cayman now joins a number of other countries around the world that have taken the initiative to clean up the air and help improve health.  Although the law was a disappointment to some anti-tobacco activists and health campaigners as it did not go far enough there are still restrictions and limitations now on where people can smoke.

Smoking areas must be at least 10ft away from the non-smoking areas and they cannot be in, or within 10ft of, any entrance, exit or any other openings of the enclosed section. The Law defines ‘enclosed’ as a place which has a full or partial roof and where the sides are at least 50% covered with walls, windows, blinds or curtains.

Despite the fact that the legislation has been in place for well over a year business owners are still being given time to comply with the Law. The Public Health Department, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Society and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), has developed sample signs for tobacco dealers and restaurants and bars. Officials have also met with members from the business community to explain the new legislation and its impact on businesses.

 “We are all working together to ensure compliance, and although we urge business owners to have the necessary provisions in place by the end of this year, we are also realistic. As such, we will give business owners until 30 April 2010 to have the necessary, permanent signs in place,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said.

Similarly, tobacco dealers – retailers and wholesale distributors – have until 30 April 2010 to register with the Medical Officer of Health (Public Health Department). This will be an annual registration and dealers must display their Certificate of Registration (similar to a Trade and Business License). There is a once-off non-refundable application fee of $100, and the annual registration fees are as follows: CI$500 for a retailer; CI$750 for a cigar bar; and CI$5,000 for a wholesale distributor.

Those whose primary customers are minors (children under 18 years), for example indoor play areas; recreational facilities such as gyms, cinemas, parks (e.g. Botanic Park) or games rooms, and vendors inside health care, educational and cultural facilities (e.g. the Harquail Theatre) will not be able to apply for a tobacco registration.

For many people the legislation did not go far enough and ban smoking in other public places that are outside such as the beaches and parks. However, even in what is considered a diluted form the legislation is expected to save lives. Research in other jurisdictions has revealed that smoking bans can reduce deaths from heart related diseases by as much as 35%.

Application forms for the tobacco registry are available from the Public Health Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital in the New Year. For more information on the Tobacco Law and Regulations, business owners can contact the Public Health Department at 244-2621.

Sample signs are available from the Public Health Department. For more information call 244-2621. The law and regulations are also available on www.gov.ky

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Five Caymanians receive royal gongs

| 31/12/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): There were no knighthoods, OBEs or MBE’s for Cayman in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list but Julene Dorris Banks, Betty Baraud, Frank E. Flowers (left), Brian Patrick (Pat) Randall and Sharon Elaine Roulstone are to receive the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour (Cert. Hon). These five also have the honour of being the first people awarded royal gongs by the first, albeit acting, Caymanian governor, Donovan Ebanks, who happens to have his own MBE.

According to a statement from GIS, Baraud is honoured for services to the community through the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, Randall has been recognized for services to the youth of Cayman through Junior Achievement and Roulstone Banks and Flowers for services to the community.

All five are actively involved in the community from working with the elderly, local sport, young people to serving on boards and helping local NGOs.

The Cert. Hon is the only royal gong which is considered as well as nominated locally and was first awarded in 1959. As with other honours, long service is not enough and nominees must have shown outstanding, innovative or self-sacrificing services, whether paid or unpaid, in one field or several, which has raised them above those of others performing similar services.

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