Archive for May 20th, 2010

Stab victim airlifted to US, suspect remains in jail

| 20/05/2010 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The young man, who received a severe stab wound following a major incident in Lawrence Boulevard over the holiday weekend, has been airlifted to Miami for further medical treatment. The man who is in his early twenties was stabbed with a knife through the neck during what witnesses described as a major street fight in the early hours of Monday 17May close to Marquis Plaza. Police were at the scene when the fight erupted and the stabbing occurred and a 24 year old Jamaican man was arrested at the time for attempted murder. Police confirmed today that he remains in custody but has not yet been charged.

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Police renew appeal for guns

| 20/05/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Following an armed robbery in George Town last night the Police have renewed their appeal to the community to bring in firearms and ammunition under the RCIPS gun amnesty. Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden, the officer co-ordinating the amnesty said that so far seven firearms and 70 rounds of ammunition have been dropped off in the first ten days of the initiative but he appealed to anyone who had possession of an unlicensed firearm for whatever reason to take it to a police station. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

 
During last nights armed robbery of the Food 4 Less store the gunman used a flare gun which exploded in the shop. “Luckily no innocent bystander was injured as a result of the robbery last night, but there is the possibility the suspect may have been wounded,” Bodden said. “Flare guns are commonplace on the island, after all the weapon is an essential part of boat safety kits. It’s when they fall into the wrong hands that they cause problems – like the incident we saw last night.’
 
Bodden said the no question’s asked amnesty was an opportunity for flare guns which are not being used on boats are any other weapon that is not licensed to be taken off the streets.
 
However, the senior officer said while no questions would be asked by those delivering the guns to the police weapons would be examined for any connection to crime.
“I will say again that this is not a blanket amnesty and that any weapons handed in will be tested to ascertain if they have been involved in a crime. It is an amnesty which covers possession and disposal – that does not mean immunity from prosecution from being involved in violent crime,” he added.
 
Aside from the seven guns and ammunition a number of detonators and a bow with arrows had also been brought in. “We are still only ten days into the month long amnesty, but already we are seeing significant numbers of guns handed in. The public are supporting the amnesty and we are sure that they will continue to do so. Events like last night only make us even more determined to do all we can to crack down on firearms crime and work with our partners and our communities to make Cayman safer for everyone,” Bodden stated.
 
Police said that Food 4 Less in McClendon Drive, George Town was robbed at about 9.10 pm last night, Wednesday 19 May 2010 by a man, dressed in black and wearing a black mask. The suspect threatened staff, before aiming the gun at a display cabinet within the store. He fired off a shot, causing the flare gun to explode. He then grabbed a cash drawer and ran off from the scene.No-one within the store was injured, but the display cabinet was damaged.
 
The robbery suspect is described as being of slim build; about five foot two inches in height, wearing a black hooded long sleeve jacket, black pants, black shoes, and a black mask.
 
Anyone with information about the robbery last night should contact George Town CID on 949-4222. Information can also be passed to the RCIPS confidential tip line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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BA strike: Ban lifted by High Court

| 20/05/2010 | 1 Comment

(BBC): Fresh BA strikes look set to go ahead next week after a panel of judges overturned a ban on industrial action. BA was granted an injunction on Monday after the High Court ruled that the Unite union had not reported results of its strike ballot correctly to members. Unite’s success means a series of five-day strikes could start on Monday unless an agreement can be found. "We shouldn’t have been in this process," said Unite’s Derek Simpson. BA was "disappointed" with the ruling. "We will implement our contingency plan to keep British Airways flying," the company said in a statement.

 

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Texas schoolbook fight heats up

| 20/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Tempers are flaring in Texas over controversial proposed changes to the US state’s public school curriculum. The changes, put forward by the Board of Education’s conservative members, include referring to the slave trade as the "Atlantic triangular trade". Critics say the changes are ideological and distort history, but proponents argue they are correcting a long-standing liberal bias in education. The conservatives are expected to prevail in Friday’s final vote. The changes eliciting the most concern include diminishing the role Thomas Jefferson – principal author of the Declaration of Independence – in history courses because of his belief in the separation of church and state, and dropping references to a landmark court case that barred schools from segregating Mexican American students.

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What Separates Us?

| 20/05/2010 | 2 Comments

Often in dictatorial regimes posing as democratic systems, elections are held but often rigged, composed of one choice or any opposition is expelled or intimidated. The defining difference(among lesser ones) between a democracy and dictatorship is the ability to hold elections where citizens are freely allowed to vote for representatives.

Often in these elections, rather than people running for office independently they associate themselves with a political party. The party hierarchy itself then appoints a leader and, if successful in an election, that person will then hold the highest office in the land and over the course of their tenure will proceed to enact policies. These policies will, of course, reflect the ones held by the party which won the majority of the support of the voters. Therefore, they have in some way formed those policies.

Sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? However one question rarely asked in all the excitement of election time is: what information are people basing their votes on? In most cases it’s very scanty. I would say that’s being kind because in the majority of cases it’s non- existent.

Yet for the next four years, all policies and major decisions will be directed and steered by a particular political party and its leader with very little recourse, if any, for the voting public if they should happen to "stray" from these "perceived" policies. On occasion in this situation, especially if many of the policies were not clearly stated or are contrary to previous election banter, people can begin to get the feeling that what they have is closer to a dictatorship. Yet,remembering back, they were allowed to vote. So it becomes confusing and often frustrating, not only for the people, but for those who have assumed positions as their representatives. Then, the blaming begins.

The confused representatives blame the people for not giving them sufficient support for their policies. But, also remembering back in all the excitement, many of these policies weren’t clearly stated or not stated at all. Whose fault is that? Is it the people for not asking or the representatives for forgetting? That is an important question, as crucial as the statement often made when this blaming and complaining begins, that people get the governments they deserve.

That can’t be said, of course, for a dictatorship because people weren’t given a choice, so obviously they don’t deserve what they get. But even after a democratic election, people say they don’t deserve what they’ve got, or that somehow something was lost in translation between the election and what they’ve got now.

Speaking of deserving, no one deserves this – governments intent on moving things forward don’t deserve this and the people certainly don’t.

Where does this problem begin? If an election is based solely on discrediting another party and if that’s all we hear then it should come as no surprise to any political party or any leader when later their policies and their decisions receive the same treatment from people who weren’t given any details of their policies or foreknowledge of their decisions. For want of a better term, I call this "governing by surprise".

It has seemed to me that in order for democracy to work as intended the people we elect need to begin to prove to themselves, and to us, that there is a very definitive difference between the system we are operating under and a dictatorship. Dictatorships are full of surprises, so those differences must be so obvious and so important as to prevent confusion. The most direct way to that and to preventing future confusion and animosity would be to simply state major policy and programs during an election. Put it on the table and state them with as much detail as possible (devoid of rhetoric). Then if the choice is made to follow those policies, they can be guaranteed the support of at least some and hopefully the majority of citizens. No surprises either.

The fragile and wonderful differences between democracy and dictatorships is that all the transactions that take place between our governments and ourselves are recognized as precious and worthy of protection, and until ALL OF US recognize how fragile they are, they have to be watched over carefully by government … and the people. We have equal responsibility.

Relax Mr Premier! When we bloggers act surprised, rattle on sometimes and disagree, we are trying to do that. Nothing separates us and nothing can separate us from our love of our nation – except sometimes ourselves.

 

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UDP done nothing, says PPM

| 20/05/2010 | 92 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news(CNS): As the United Democratic Party’s first year in office drew to a close, PPM member and former Cabinet minister, Alden McLaughlin, described the last 12 months as ones of “spectacular unachievement and over promise”, saying he could think of no single initiative that had changed anything for the better. He said nothing had been done to tackle the budget crisis, and as far as he could see, the country was still no closer to a real plan for solving it. He conceded that not all of the bigger problems, such as the economic downturn or the rising crime, were the fault of this administration, but little had been done to improve the lives of the people.

“It is a year since the election and on this anniversary there is still no evidence that the government is any closer to a real plan to tackle the budget crisis. Perhaps I am wrong and we will be surprised before the end of May but so far we are all still waiting,” said the People’s Progressive Movement MLA.

McLaughlin also criticised the premier’s recent attack on the press and FOI, and raised concerns over the irony that such outbursts would be far more successful in causing problems overseas for the Cayman Islands than the press itself, as McKeeva Bush had suggested in his criticism of the local media.
 
The former minister pointed out that those people the premier was trying to attract here to invest and do business wanted more than just the ability to recruit talented people and modern resources. “These are sophisticated people and they take into account issues like press freedom,” McLaughlin said.
 
Given that the primary goal of the UDP was to attract new business, McLaughlin said that when people see the leader of the Cayman Islands ranting and raving it was not going to be looked upon favourably and help to attract that much needed business.
 
He said that the recent behaviour and comments by some members of government already had shades of that associated with the previous UDP administration, and the premier’s outburst against transparency was a worrying reminder.
 
The former minister said that the 2005 election had been fought over allegations of impropriety in government as well as concerns that there was too much emphasis on self interest, bias towards affiliates and patronage, which had in turn led the PPM administration to adopt a culture of transparency to prevent it happening again.
 
“A big thrust of that campaign was to introduce a new culture and a new style of government,” McLaughlin said, adding that the PPM had achieved that — so much so that by the time of the next election transparency was taken as the norm.
 
McLaughlin said people had to be allowed to express their views and criticize government and he said Bush’s reaction over the last few days was very worrying. “Anyone in public office should expect to be questioned and criticised,” he added. “You have to grow a thicker skin. It is very, very wrong to launch such a full frontal assault on the media.”
 
However the media is not sacrosanct, McLaughlin observed, saying there was nothing wrong with criticising imbalance or correcting misinformation when the papers got it wrong. “It is quite another, however, to threaten journalists with jail,” he added.
 
Following the direct attack on the media and FOI on Thursday, the premier continued his criticisms when he called into the local radio station Rooster 101 during its morning show Crosstalk on Tuesday.
 
While his attack on Thursday had been aimed at solely at Cayman Net News and Cayman News Service, by then he also widened his criticisms to include the Caymanian Compass following its editorial which had called the premier to task over his criticisms of FOI and the press.
 
In a letter to the Compass on Wednesday Bush said he had observed how most of the press corps operates, and in his opinion most of them were not here because they loved Cayman. “When this country suffers more and more – you will then leave us in the lurch,” he wrote.
 
 
How do you think the UDP has done in its first year in office? Vote in the CNS poll. 
 
 

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Late-night food store robbed

| 20/05/2010 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Police have not yet confirmed the details of an armed robbery which took place at the Food 4 Less store by Foster’s Airport at around 9:30 last night (Wednesday 19 May). Although no one was hurt, sources told CNS that the robbers who got away with an undisclosed sum of cash did fire bullets in the store as they fled the scene of the crime.  Three members of staff were reportedly in the store at the time the gun men entered with what witnesses told News 27 appeared to be a modified flare gun. According to reports on the television station’s website, police have recovered a weapon and possible bullet fragments from the scene. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Part of the same group of companies, the Reflections Liquor 4 Less store at the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Shedden Road in George Town was broken into on Monday night (17 May).
 
The incident is the second crime in the last few days involving a firearm which comes in the middle of the RCIPS gun amnesty. On Monday night a 50-year-old man was shot on his doorstep by an unknown gunman at his home in George Town.
 

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Tomorrow’s business leaders cross fingers for prize

| 20/05/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A group of young local entrepreneurs will be biting their finger nails this weekend as they wait to find out if their business skills have been enough to take them on their first ‘business’ to represent the Cayman Islands at the Junior Achievement (JA) International Canadian Conference. Pat Randall, the President of the Board of directors for Junior Achievement in Cayman, says the students had to take part in an oral presentation as part of the competition to win the trip.

 
“The students give a presentation of up to seven minutes on a topic which is pertaining to the economy of the Cayman Islands. They are judged by three independent judges. The top eight will then be awarded the free trip,” he said adding that it was difficult to judge because the standard was so high.”  
He explained that they are judged on content and delivery. “The judges ask questions after the presentation and award marks on their ability to answer a question and their true understanding of the subject.”
 
The Junior Achievement after school program is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and the Chamber of Commerce. It teaches high schools students about business by having them form their own company, manufacture a product and sell it.
 
 Kendrick McField, a year 12 John Gray High School student, took part in the competition for the first time this year and said as a shy person he joined JA to break his nervousness. “This has kind of broadened my horizons a little bit more,” he said.
 
Nikita Durant, a grade 12 student at Wesleyan Christian Academy, would really like to go to the conference in Canada and said JA was a great experience. “It’s one thing to learn about business in school, it’s another thing to experience it. You learn that sometimes things don’t always go right so, you have to be flexible”, she said.
 
Shemina Barnes, a year 12 student at John Gray High School, says she thought she did pretty well in the competition. “The questions were a bit tricky, but everyone is telling me I did really well,” she said and recommended the JA program to all High School students. “I got the experience of knowing how to run a business, what I should do, what I should be looking for in a business”, she said.
 
Shemina says she did a lot of research for the presentation. “I went on line, I looked up on all the different sites, especially Cayman News Service, which helped me really well”, she said.
 
 The awards banquette is taking place Saturday night at 6:30 at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach resort. Tickets are 50 dollars and will NOT be available at the door. Contact the JA office for more information, 949-4306, or email jacayman@candw.ky
 

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Conservation not radical idea

| 20/05/2010 | 24 Comments

(CNS): A week after launching the campaign to push for the passage of the National Conservation Bill the general manager of the National Trust, Frank Balderamos, said he wanted people to understand that conservation is not some radical new idea. As the campaign gathers momentum he said he hoped people will read the proposed legislation so that myths regarding the law are dispelled. Although support is growing for the campaign, Balderamos said some people still misunderstood and believed the law was about stopping all development, which was not the case, but it was about having a conservation framework for the future.

With the backing of the wider membership of the National Trust Balderamos is focused on the campaign to get an even wider audience behind the proposed legislation.
 
“The idea of having a conservation framework is not a radical idea,” he said. All the National Conservation Bill is doing is setting out a proper framework so that everyone, including developers, considers the environment when developing, giving a better and more strategic direction for where we are going, which has been lacking so far.”
 
Balderamos pointed out that at present there is no thought to the bigger picture when development projects are approved, which is why there is a need to introduce the law before it is too late. “The law is not about stopping development; it is about having an obligation to consider environmental issues when we are developing.”
 
He also said that the law did not concentrate power in the hands of the DoE director, as has been suggested, but that conservation issues would be managed by a council, which will include representatives from planning and other departments as well the Department of the Environment.
 
 “I would encourage everyone who is interested in the future of our islands to read the law,” the National Trust manager said. “It’s not difficult to read; it’s written in a very accessible way and worth spending some time on.”
 
As another year passes without the law coming before the Legislative Assembly, Balderamos noted that the recent economic downturn had prevented some developments going ahead, preserving some of the environment by default but he said it was crucial that the law was passed soon, as, he added, once the recovery begins development will start again and without this framework Cayman’s natural resources were ever more vulnerable.
 
Asked by CNS what the situation with the law was at present, he said he had heard that it was under review yet again and was being circulated among certain sectors but it had not yet reached the Trust for comment. “I really hope that this legislation does not turn into some endless promise that never takes effect,” Balderamos added.
 
As the campaign continues the trust leader said he wanted to see the wider public become more involved in lobbying their political representatives to bring the law to the table as he believed it would not happen with support from the National Trust of DoE alone but it needed the wider public to get on board.
 
With a Face Book page already established, Balderamos said he hoped to see other ideas and initiatives as well as prominent people speaking out to help make the National Conservation Law a reality before any more of Cayman’s natural resources were lost forever.

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