Archive for June 9th, 2010

Chamber to measure impact of economic crime

| 09/06/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS):  In 2006 the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Economic Crime Survey found that businesses lost an estimated $20 million as a result of fraud and other economic crime and had spent another $40M in trying to prevent it. Four years on the Chamber is launching a new survey to find out how much this type of crime is costing commerce today. The report is also expected to show what progress has been made in tackling this type of crime and highlight any new trends or concerns that the business community should be aware of.

 
Each member business will be sent the survey via email on Thursday, 10 June and is asked to respond by 16 July. Data will be gathered and compiled by Krys & Associates and then distributed for use by the RCIP, policy makers and Chamber members.
Stuart Bostock, President of the Chamber of Commerce explained how the results can assist business and inform public policy decisions.
“In order to understand one’s risk during difficult economic times, one must truly understand one’s weaknesses and losses.  Not only is it important to understand internal losses but equally important is gaining an understanding of the losses being experienced by the individuals and the business community in which you live and operate,” Bostock said.
“In a true free-market society, the strong survive by being innovative and adaptive and by utilizing the various business tools at their disposal. From this, a stronger, better-positioned corporation will emerge.  The Economic Crime Survey will give all readers an insight into the thoughts and concerns of local businesses owners and how this type of crime is affecting sales, operations, and profits.”
The president said the survey would provide a tool to help local businesses better protect themselves against the same types of threats that many other countries deal with.
“This is not a problem unique to us. We must never lose sight that doing business in the Cayman Islands is still a very viable and prosperous proposition,” he added.
Kenneth Krys, Founder and CEO of Krys & Associates said hewas pleased to be able to work with the Chamber again on the project.
“Although the focus in Cayman in recent months has turned primarily to violent and other traditional forms of crime, economic crime is still highly relevant during the current recession due to the potential magnitude of losses, the significance of any loss to a business whose profit margins are thin or non-existent already, and the likely increased motivation of perpetrators to commit economic crime,” stated Krys asking people to take a few minutes of their time to complete the Survey on behalf of their business.
The survey is made up of 77 questions that can be broken down into the following categories: 37 Economic Questions, 11 Retail Questions, 16 Physical/Property Questions and 13 Violent Crime Questions.
The term ‘Economic Crime’ is used to describe asset misappropriation, bribery, cheque and credit card fraud, debit card fraud, corruption, cyber crime, identity theft (individual and corporate), insurance fraud, insolvency fraud, money laundering and theft. The survey aims to discover just how prevalent each of the areas of economic crime are really becoming, and to determine what extent they impact business.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2006 Economic Crime Report or any other Fraud Prevention tools compiled by the Chamber of Commerce please go online to www.caymanchamber.ky

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Students tackle CAL privatization question

| 09/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): More than forty students from a variety of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI)’s graduate course engaged in a heated academic discussion recently on one of the country’s most controversial topics – the privatisation of the national flag-carrier Cayman Airways. UCCI’s Air Transportation Management Lecturer Edward Jerrard proposed the privatization of the airline and former cabinet minister turned radio talk-show host Gilbert McLean opposed the topic in a debate designed to encourage the students to question established opinion.

Director of Graduate Studies and Executive Training Dr. Carolyn Mathews explained that a primary UCCI objective is to help students develop their critical thinking skills, which, is why the college chose such hot topic.

“We intentionally select contentious topics that encourage students to ask questions and challenge established opinion,” she said. We want our students to be thinkers …..to understand that university education goes beyond preparing a skilled practitioner and develops skills of critical analysis. That way students go on to become society’s problem solvers.”
 
Edward based his privatisation proposal on the changing nature of the airline industry, citing the link between alliances and profitability; and between privatisation, liberalisation and success. “Airlines are service businesses,” he argued. “To be successful they must be effective in attracting and retaining their customers, as well as in managing their fleet, people and finances.”
 
He added that privatisation did not necessarily mean the complete absence of government involvement because essential services such as evacuation during natural disasters would still need to be subsidised.
Arguing against privatisation, McLean challenged the belief that privatisation equals profitability saying very few airlines operate profitably – including those that have been privatised. “The assumption that the ‘private-sector does it best’ has not been adequately tested,” he said citing the recent US Government bailout of major US banks and the automobile industry as examples of private sector mismanagement. He also doubted that a private owner of CAL would take on the Sister Islands’ airports since they are less than profitable.
 
UCCI confirmed that this was not the usual academic debate format and no votes were taken before and after the presentations to see if the speakers had achieved the goal of swaying the audience to their position.

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Minister pays tribute to special athletes

| 09/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As the Special Olympic National Games and Week of Awareness continues today in the pool, government officials have released the address made by the sports minister at the opening event. Mark Scotland paid tribute to the athletes who he said “train silently, pushing personal limits and overcoming physical challenges,” and are the true winners. The special athletes will be competing in aquatic events this evening at 5:30 pm at the Lions Pool while on thursday players take to the basketball courts in the First Baptist Church Hall. The closing ceremony is set for Friday, 5:00 p.m. at the Camana Bay Arts and Recreation Centre.

 
Minister Mark Scotland’s opening address for the 2010 Special Olympic National Games:
Sports have forever given us heroes – people we can idolise and regard as role models. From Bryan Lara to Usain Bolt – we admire athletes for their devotion, tenacity and passion. We follow their triumphs, trials and tribulations as if they were our own, because through them we experience the joy of accomplishment and the pain of defeat.
 
But even as these international sport champions stir us, they are not the only competitors to merit our admiration, praise and respect. Many times the true heroes are those ordinary athletes who train silently, pushing personal limits and overcoming physical challenges in order to walk out on the field with pride. To me, these are the true winners – competitors who have the courage to turn the impossible into the doable—and all through sheer determination.
 
All the athletes before me today have passed that test, and you are therefore already victors. Your Olympic oath “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” embodies the commitment and courage that you display every time you compete—rightly earning our respect and admiration. Moreover, the dedication and perseverance you display make you positive role models for all our young people.
 
And so today we celebrate your special talents. You are the doers, the achievers who recognized a challenge and did something about it, and we commend you for that.
 
On another level, this week’s performances are sure to show us once again how sports can unlock hidden potential, uplifting others beside those who compete.
 
I accordingly congratulate the Special Olympics Cayman Islands for committing to this unique sports programme. For the past 21 years you have opened doors and changed lives as you made it possible for our Special Olympians to compete around the world.
 
I also thank the many coaches and other volunteers for their tireless efforts. Our athletes shone at this year’s Special Olympics Latin American Regional Games in Puerto Rico, bringing home thirteen medals, seven of them gold. While we are very proud of their performances, we know that they could not have achieved such success without your priceless support.
 
I wish coaches and athletes only the best as you prepare for the 2011 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Greece.
 
But for now, I happily look forward to an entire week of local competition. I know it will be an experience that will certainly uplift, empower and move us and so I urge the entire community to come out this week and be inspired by our athletes and their families.

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Cops release CCTV footage of recent armed robbers

| 09/06/2010 | 61 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has released video footage showing two of the recent armed robberies that took place in Grand Cayman over the last few days. Police hope that pictures from the security CCTV cameras, which caught the villains in the act, may help the public recognise the robbers, despite the fact that their faces are covered with hoods, hats and T-shirts. The tape includes Monday night’s (7 June) armed robbery at the Burger King on the waterfront in George Town by three young men, in which one of the employees was hit in the head with the a gun, and the robbery at the ESSO on West Bay Road (Seven Mile Beach) in the early hours of Monday morning by a man and a woman.

The tape can be viewed on the News 27 website (see below). Chief Superintendent John Jones said the footage may help people identify the criminals as someone my recognise the way people are dressed or the way they move.
Anyone with information or who may recognise the robbers is asked to call George Town Police station 949-4222 or crime stoppers at 800-8477.

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Info boss welcomes review

| 09/06/2010 | 33 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Cayman captive dolphin facilities(CNS): The application for a judicial review by a government department over an FOI decision has come at good time, the Information Commissioner has said. Commenting on the first challenge made to any of her decisions, Jennifer Dilbert said she is interested to see what a judge will say about the process as it will help inform the upcoming review of the law. The Department of Agriculture is the first public sector body that has sought the court’s intervention regarding the Freedom of Information Law. It is seeking to keep secret the guidelines which it has supposedly used to create local standards for the management of dolphins at the country’s two captive facilities.

Dilbert said that, while she stood by her ruling that the document should be in the public domain, the law is written to enable people to challenge any decision she makes and this will add to the wider public understanding of how freedom of information works and the independence of her office.
“It will send a clear message that the Information Commissioner’s Office is not government, but truly independent,” she said, pointing out that the DoA was using the Attorney General to file its application with the courts but the Information Commissioner’s Office would seek its own independent legal counsel to defend the decision and how the decision was made.
“We are due to review the Freedom of Information Law in July as it is written that it be re-examined after 18 months to ensure that it is working well, and if this judicial review can be carried out before then it will help inform that process,” Dilbert said. “It is all part of the learning curve.”
However, she acknowledged that now the process was in the hands of the courts she could not be sure when a hearing date would be set but she hoped in would be at the earliest opportunity, not just for the sake of informing the review of the law, but to satisfy the principles of the FOI that the requester is given the information in a timely manner.
Dilbert explained that the judge will review the process — the way she arrived at her decision and if her choice not to consider certain exemptions was fair, and then whether her decision was reasonable. He will then decide whether another hearing should be held or if Dilbert’s decision was made in accordance with the law and it should stand.
It is not clear yet if the judicial review will be heard  in public given the aim of the DoA is to keep the document in question under wraps.
The document that is the cause of this first FOI government challenge is a set of guidelines which the DoA has used to set its standards for the management of captive dolphins in the Cayman Islands. Following the refusal of a freedom of information request for the “Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquarium Standards and Guidelines”, in April Dilbert ruled that the document should be released and pointed out that, as it had been referenced as informing public policy, it should be accessible by the general public.
The DoA objected to the release as they said it was received in confidence as only members of the alliance usually have access. In correspondence to the DoA the AMMPA had specifically asked it to keep the document from the anti-captive dolphin groups based in Cayman.
The individual who made the request has pointed to the absurdity ofthis document being secret, especially as neither Dolphin Cove nor Dolphin Discovery are members of the AMMPA. While both facilities claim they follow the highest international standards in the management of the captive dolphins, the question is how, if they have never seen these particular guidelines, they can be sure.
All other guidelines are public and if the AMMPA were released than it would be possible to compare and contrast, and establish how well dolphins are being managed, an issue which has become even more important to the anti-captive dolphin activists since the recent death of a young dolphin born in captivity.
During her ruling Dilbert had said it was difficult to see how a document can be meant to “enhance and compliment … government standards for the care and maintenance of marine mammals” and at the same time be considered confidential.
She ruled that the DoA should release the document by 3 June. However, the attorney general filed the application for a judicial review on 2 June placing the decision into the hands of the courts.

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