Archive for May, 2010

Armed men invade home

| 31/05/2010 | 21 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): George Town detectives are now investigating an aggravated burglary which occurred in the early hours of this morning (Monday 31 May). Police said that at about 2:41 am the RCIPS received a call from the victim who stated he was robbed, in the area of Point Four Street off South Church Street, by two unknown and armed men, who forced they way into the house. The victim stated that the two men had what appeared to be a shotgun and a hand gun. No shots were fired and no one was injured as a result of the incident. The victim and his son were held at gunpoint as the offenders demanded money. They were given an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene.

Detective Sergeant Richard Scott of George Town CID is appealing for anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the suspected armed robbery and witnessed anything out of the ordinary to come forward and share the information. Or call 949-4222 or crime stoppers at 800-8477.
 
Meanwhile, officers are also looking into an assault which occurred at the LI night club in the West Bay Road area.
 
At about 11.49 pm on Sunday night a fight was reported to the 911 Emergency centre. Investigations revealed that a 20-year-old female was injured in an altercation with a male patron of the club. Officers responded and on arrival the injured party was already being transported to the George Town Hospital in a private vehicle. The woman received minor cuts from the incident for which she was treated at the hospital and discharged.
 
A male was later arrested at another location in connection with the assault and investigations into this matter are continuing.

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More kids’ meds pulled from store shelves

| 31/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Foster’s Food Fair IGA said this morning that it has removed a number of children’s cold medicines produce by Blacksmith Brands from its stores. The medicines are part of a voluntary warning and recall in consultation with the US Food and Drug Administration and Fosters said it had proactively pulled all the affected PediaCare Children’s Medications. The affected products sold by Foster’s Food Fair IGA are: PediaCare Multi Symptom Cold 4 oz, Long Acting Cough 4oz, Decongestant 4 oz as well as Allergy and Cold. Blacksmith Brands initiated the recall as a precautionary step because the products were made at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare Fort Washington, PA plant that has been temporarily shut down.

A recent FDA inspection at that facility found serious problems in meeting the FDA’s current good manufacturing practice requirements. The recall was not initiated as a result of any consumer reports of adverse events and no consumer complaints have been received about the safety or purity of the products.
 
While the recall was not initiated as a result of either any consumer reports of adverse events or complaints with respect to the PediaCare products, tiny particles have been found in other non-PediaCare products which were manufactured at the McNeil plant.
 
While the potential for serious medical events is remote, the company advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use.
 
Until Foster’s Food Fair IGA has a further correspondence from the manufacture on these affected products moving forward, they will not be available. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, however the safety of our customers is our top priority. We encourage all customers who have purchased these products to return the affected product to their Foster’s Food Fair IGA of purchase for a full refund.
 
 
 

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Club offers opportunity to try sailing for free

| 31/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) says it will be hosting an open day this Sunday 6 June fromnoon-5pm to give people interested in learning how to sail or windsurf an opportunity to try it for free. Aside from the fact that the North Sound provides one of the best natural protected sailing locations in the Caribbean, June is said to be a great time to learn to sail. CISC sailing Director, Mike Weber said with lighter winds the beginning of June presents a great opportunity for novices to give the sport a try and is encouraging young and old to come out next weekend and test the waters.

 
The club is inviting all members of the public to come and enjoy its facilities for free and give sailing a try. The Club is situated in Red Bay on the edge of the North Sound which forms one of the largest and most protected sailing environments available in the Caribbean and with its warm, clear waters it is an ideal place to learn how to sail.
 
As well as interested adults, school children are especially encouraged to bring their parents and go for a sail.
 
The Club will be offering free sailing and windsurfing rentals and will be taking registration for adult and children’s sailing programmes available during the summer. There will be food and drinks available.
 
For sailors keen to race, the second annual Storm Chaser Regatta, this year sponsored by Red Stripe, will also be held this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. The regatta, held on the first weekend of hurricane season, is open to all dinghies and for the first time will include catboats.
 
Sailing Director, Mike Weber, notes that the beginning of June is the start of a busy summer for the CISC.  “With lighter winds, the summer season is a great time to learn to sail so we encourage people to give sailing a try during this time of year,” he said
 
Weber added that the popular summer camps will once again take place in July and August. “Our summer camps are well known for high quality instruction for young children. Our finest young sailors first learned to sail during our camps and we encourage parents to register for the limited number of places.”
 
The CISC is located in Red Bay. Take Selkirk Rd, just past Hurley Supermarket and follow the CISC signs.     
 
For more information, visit www.sailing.ky or call 947-7913. 
 
 

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Ofcom unveils anti-piracy policy

| 31/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Lists of Britons who infringe copyright are to be drawn up by the UK’sbiggest ISPs, under proposals from the regulator Ofcom. The plan is contained in a draft code of practice it hopes will curb copyright infringement. Names and the number of times individuals infringe will be logged. Music firms and movie studios can request details from the list so that they can decide whether to start their own action against serial infringers. However, any suspected infringers will be sent three warning letters before any action can be taken. The letters will contain "easy to understand information on the nature of the allegations made against the subscriber and on what actions a subscriber can take."

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Government to exempt carers from rollover

| 31/05/2010 | 30 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news(CNS): The chair of the Immigration Review Team has revealed that government intends to create a new special category of permits for domestic workers in a care-giving role that will be designated as ‘key employees’, bypassing the seven year rollover. Sherri Bodden-Cowan said government wanted to find a way to help people in the community who are long-term sick, elderly or disabled as they were the people who were least likely to be able to cope with a change to the carers they depended on as a result of the seven year limit. The IRT chair said the premier was determined to push through a new care-givers certificate that would enable these key workers to stay.

“The premier has made it very clear that there is a sector within our community – the sick, elderly and the handicapped … that need to be protected as those people are highly dependent on the domestics who care for them. They are the most vulnerable members of society, who are the least able to adapt to change,” Bodden-Cowan said at the recent Chamber of Commerce ‘Be Informed’ event on immigration issues
She explained that the IRT has recommended to government the concept of a special care-givers certificate, where an individual employer who is elderly, sick or disabled or the parent or guardian of a disabled child, would be able to apply to the immigration officer for this special care-givers certificate at the end of their term limit. This certificate would then be renewed annually based on the continuing need and the employer being able to demonstrate that the carer was still required.
Addressing the risk of people passing through the year ten residency stage, entitling them to claim security of tenure and permanent residency and then the right to apply for Caymanian Status, Bodden-Cowan said the number of people was quite small and given the importance of these people to society the government was willing to allow them through the term limits net.
“We got the chief immigration officer to run some statistics and we have calculated that the number of domestics who deal with this category of people is relatively small, so government feels it is worth the risk as they care for the most vulnerable in our society,” she added.
The premier had indicated some time ago that he wanted to see domestics taking care of those most vulnerable in society and had also indicated the exemption on domestics could extend to those taking care of children as well. However, Bodden-Cowan did not say if this certificate would apply to carers in this category.

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Drugs go up in smoke at dump

| 31/05/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): In one the RCIPS’ regular burnings of illegal drugs seized in various operations or found wash up on the shore line, a significant amount of ganja and other substances went up in smoke at the dump on Friday, Chief Inspector Scotland said that the police had set fire to over 605lbs of ganja, almost 3lbs of cocaine and a small quantity of hash oil were destroyed. The drugs would have been worth thousands of dollars of profit for the dealers if they had made their way onto the streets. (Photos by Dennie Warren Jr)

CI Scotland explained that all of the drugs that were destroyed in the controlled burning at the George Town landfill on Friday, 29 May, had been seized in various police operations or arrests where the cases were all ready through the courts and dealt with. Some of the drugs had been found along the beaches and could not be connected to a specific crime or dealer.

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Loopholes hard to find in latest tax proposal

| 31/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): US Lawmakers have given the investment fund industry an uphill task to try to find any loopholes in a proposal to raise taxes on the profits made on investments. While lawyers have been working around-the-clock advising private equity clients on the impact, there aren’t obvious ideas left that would avoid or skirt the tax. The threat that Washington would raise taxes on the "carried interest" dollars executives earn has been looming for years but escalated in recent months and days as the government faced increasing pressure to raise money.

The proposed tax, currently in a White-House backed jobs bill pending a vote, has become even more contentious by including a proposal that taxes also be raised if the companies themselves are sold. Carried interest is typically the 20-percent slice that private equity executives take from the profit made on their funds. The amounts can be huge if the funds perform well and has made many managers very wealthy.

 

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Local law firm founder makes UK House of Lords

| 31/05/2010 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Former British Conservative minister John Maples, one of the founding partners of Cayman Islands based law firm Maples and Calder, has been given a peerage in the UK post election dissolution list. More than 50 people have been ennobled in this honours list, which includes a number of British politicians from both sides of the UK parliament. Maples founded the law firm when he was only 24 with Jim MacDonald, in the early 1960s. Following his departure from Cayman, Maples joined the British political scene, where he served in William Hague’s shadow cabinet from 1997 to 2000 as shadow health secretary, defence secretary and shadow foreign secretary.

Following his controversial call for Britain to help the Russian government in its fight against Chechen, Maples was dropped from the shadow cabinet. He returned to the opposition front bench in a minor reshuffle in November 2006, when the Tory leader and now prime minister, David Cameron, appointed him Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.
In the recent MPs’ expenses scandal Maples claimed a prominent private London club as his principal residence. The former Cayman lawyer stood down at the recent election from his Stratford upon Avon constituency.

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Permit fees bite business

| 31/05/2010 | 69 Comments

(CNS): The pain of the recent increases in work permit fees is too much to bear, some local business owners revealed at a Chamber of Commerce business seminar on Thursday. A number of well known members of the business community said they were really struggling to stay afloat as a result of the permit hikes, which have seen some permit fees triple, forcing them to let people go. Following the implementation of the fee hikes, according to immigration statistics, the number of work permit holders has declined sharply as employers cut staff to try and ride out what is proving to be an extremely difficult recession for small and medium size enterprises (SME).

Fees were one of a number of concerns raised by the audience at a special Chamber of Commerce seminar which took place at the Westin. Part of the ‘Be Informed Series’, the free event involved a presentation by Chair of the Immigration Review Team Sherri- Bodden Cowan, who updated the Chamber members on a number of issues, from the rollover policy to the new investment certificate for entrepreneurs.

David Kirkaldy, the Chamber’s Vice President, said in his opening address that in its latest survey of over 200 local businesses immigration issues were top of the list of concerns, in particular the recent hikes in work permit fees. Wil Pineau, the Chamber President, also said that the fees were really hurting small businesses in the Cayman Islands and suggested that it might be time to create a tiered fee schedule for smaller businesses.

Local business owners and past Chamber presidents, Eddie Thompson and Morgan DaCosta, both revealed how the current fees were literally crippling their respective small businesses.

Thompson, who runs a small architect firm, said he had reduced his headcount from five to two members ofstaff but was still having to pay the same work permit fees as larger companies. He said the playing field was not level and that the “overwhelming fee” hikes were the last straw for many small businesses. “Immigration issues were the proverbial nail in the coffin for small businesses,” he said, adding that the challenges presented by immigration were driving him to consider closing his business.

Morgan DaCosta, who owns Maedac Supply, illustrated the struggle of small business when he explained the problems of selling goods with very small profits and what the increase in fees really meant. “I sell potato chips … it’s no joke – that’s our business. How much you pay for a bag of potato chips puts it into perspective when I must pay (immigration) $2,000 for a man to drive the truck,” he said, adding that it was unreasonable to say a driver was in the professional category because he holds a driving license.

He said the impact of work permit fees, such as $16,000 for an accountant and $8000 for inventory clerk, was ridiculous and simply too much for a small business such as his to cope with. He said he was well aware of busineses that were leaving the islands because of the work permit increases as he was seeing the exodus affect his own customer base and said everyone was hurting.

Maria Bodde, who owns a small land surveying company, said that she had faced increases of three times the fee the firm paid last year for their land surveyors. “For one of our professionals we paid $2,500 last year, this year we are paying $9,000,” she said, explaining that at first the Immigration Department had asked for $12,000 as they did not know how much to charge for a Land Surveyor because it was not on the list.

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said that her department did not have any control over the fee hikes but she said the sub-committee led by Canover Watson which had recommended the increases to government had done so on the basis that the fees increases would have been offset by the pension holiday which is now clearly not the case.

Confirming earlier reports this week that the pension take up has been very slight, Evans said the pensions office had indicated that only around 100 people had taken up the pension holiday, creating concerns in government. Evans said that she had not consulted with the Portfolio of Finance about the fee situation and did not know if they were set to be revised.
 

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Women focus of No Tobacco Day

| 31/05/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS):  The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said today that tobacco could kill one billion people during this century. One of a number of health world health awareness days organized by the WHO the World No tobacco day theme this year is Gender and tobacco looking at the importance of controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women. Although women make up only around 20% of the world’s smokers experts say they are vulnerable to the industry marketing. Cayman’s health minister Mark Scotland says local statistics also reveal women here are less likely to smoke than men but the country cannot afford to be complacent.

 
Health Minister Mark Scotland’s World No Tobacco Day Message:
 
Currently, women comprise only about 20 percent of the world’s more than one billion smokers. Ironically however, this makes them especially vulnerable as the tobacco industry is constantly seeking new and under-utilised markets.
 
As such, the World Health Organisation has dedicated this year’s World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing on women.
 
Although National Drug Council statistics confirm that women are still less likely to smoke than men, we cannot afford complacency and I therefore urge everyone to join the no smoking campaign. We must continue to support those who want to quit, but even more importantly, we have to actively discourage people, especially our teenagers, from even starting.
 
Whilst World No Tobacco Day 2010 will bring overdue recognition to the importance of controlling the epidemic of tobacco use among women, we must also be mindful that our boys and men still need protection from the tobacco companies’ advertising tactics. Limiting everyone’s exposure to second-hand smoke in the home, at the workplace or in public settings is clearly a good place to start.
 
And there is no place for procrastination for worldwide, approximately one in five young teens (aged 13 to 15) already smokes. Research shows that if you start smoking in this age group, you are more likely to continue doing so throughout your life.
 
But the bottom line is that smoking extracts a heavy toll on the heart and lungs and imposes huge long-term costs. With their devastating effect on health, smoking-related diseases kill one in ten adults, severely taxing governments, families and individuals. Yet in spite of these devastating impacts, people continue to smoke, putting their lives, and the health of those around them, at risk with each and every puff.
If we are to stop this destructive habit, we need to universally commit to the anti-smoking effort, – not just on national levels, but individually as well.
 
In Cayman, the enactment of our Tobacco Law has taken us a great step forward and I thank local businesses for adhering to it. I also commend other local efforts to reduce the smoking habit, such as the Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s free Quit Smoking Programme.
 
Let’s all use this World No Tobacco Day to support and enhance these efforts, making Cayman a healthier, smoke-free place.
 
 
 
 

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