Archive for June 14th, 2010

Customs colour system nets results

| 14/06/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): After more than a year in operation at the airport the colour-coded clearance system has improved collections and the netting of smuggled goods the customs department has revealed. The channelling of arriving passengers through green, yellow and red areas, already common in many airports around the world was only introduced here last April. Assistant Collector of Customs Kevin Walton who introduced the system to Cayman said the airport had increased revenue by 6.7% April to December 09 as well as contraband. Although lower air arrivals in 2010 saw collections decrease the system itself has improved operations and the visitor experience.

 
Walton, the Customs manager of the airport and general aviation terminals explained that arriving passengers are now streamed through three channels – green for those with nothing to declare; yellow and red for persons who have goods to declare or should have but did not which he says improves passenger flow.
 
In the past customs officers had used a full confrontational approach and questioned every passenger coming through.
 
 “We found the outdated system had outgrown its usefulness. So we adopted the more modern primary/secondary clearance system,” Walton said, adding that the new system has generally speeded up customs clearance for incoming passengers.
“Whereas we had to rush before, it allows us to use our time more efficiently, and we’re better able to concentrate on those we are interested in verifying.”
 
Additionally, it does not hinder how officers clear passengers arriving on flights considered at higher risk for not declaring dutiable goods or smuggling of contraband, he observed, as the system has enabled the installation of extra tools to help officers screen bags, including an x-ray machine in the arrival hall.
 
“So far, we have received more positive feedback than negative from users, especially from tourists who state they have found the system to be very user friendly,” Walton said. “We strive to minimise negative experiences for honest passengers and I apologise if some have experienced any. But we are taking a proactive approach and we will continue to.”
 
Walton leads a team of 42 consisting of 24 customs officers, six senior customs officers, four cashiers and eight porters. The system, he said, has also improved job satisfaction for his staff, especially front-line officers who are no longer in a rush when clearing arriving passengers.
 
Customs Collector Carlon Powery said he was pleased with how the system had improved efficiency.
 
 “This system has already proved to be an asset by enhancing our capabilities and improving operational efficiency at the airport. Our hard working officers are able to offer better service to visitors and residents alike while also being more capable of dealing with those who break the law,” he added.
 

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Cayman Islands on Brazil’s financial blacklist

| 14/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman remains in the first list of 65 jurisdictions compiled by Brazil’s ministry of finance that do not tax income, or tax it at below 20%, or whose internal legislation does not allow access to information about the ownership or composition of legal corporations. This group includes the Channel Islands, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The ministry says that Brazil will be able to use special instruments to deal with tax planning structures, and that transactions between Brazilian entities and entities located on such jurisdictions are subject to additional scrutiny and/or unfavorable fiscal conditions.

The update from the Brazilian government also includes a second list of eight "privileged fiscal regimes” within high-tax jurisdictions, which do not necessarily have low tax rates but their legislation contains fiscal privileges for certain types of legal persons.This second list includes Luxembourg, Uruguay, Denmark, with respect to its holding companies, Netherlands, Iceland, Hungary, United States, Spain and Malta.

The first list of 65 countries is:

I – Andorra;

II – Anguilla;

III – Antígua and Barbuda;

IV – Netherland Antilles;

V – Aruba;

VI – Ascension Islands;

VII – Commonwealth of the Bahamas;

VIII – Bahrein;

IX – Barbados;

X – Belize;

XI – Bermuda;

XII – Brunei;

XIII – Campione D’Italia;

XIV – Channel Islands (Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey e Sark);

XV – Cayman Islands;

XVI – Chipre;

XVII – Singapore;

XVIII – Cook Islands;

XIX –Costa Rica;

XX – Djibouti;

XXI – Dominica;

XXII – United Arab Emirates;

XXIII – Gibraltar;

XXIV – Granada;

XXV – Hong Kong;

XXVI – Kiribati;

XXVII – Lebuan;

XXVIII – Lebanon;

XXIX – Liberia;

XXX – Liechtenstein;

XXXI – Macau;

XXXII – Madeira Island;

XXXIII – Maldivas;

XXXIV – Island of Man;

XXXV – Marshall Islands;

XXXVI – Maurítius Islands;

XXXVII – Mônaco;

XXXVIII – Montserrat;

XXXIX – Nauru;

XL – Niue;

XLI – Norfolk Island;

XLII – Panamá;

XLIII – Pitcairn Island;

XLIV – French Polinesia ;

XLV – Queshm Island;

XLVI – American Samoa;

XLVII – West Samoa;

XLVIII – San Marino;

XLIX – Island of Santa Helena;

L – Saint Lúcia;

LI – Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis;

LII – Island of São Pedro e Miguelão;

LIII – San Vicente and Granadines;

LIV – Seychelles;

LV – Solomon Islands;

LVI – St. Kitts and Nevis;

LVII – Suazyland;

LVIII – Switzerland;

LIX – Sultanate of Oman;

LX – Tonga;

LXI – Tristão da Cunha;

LXII – Turks and Caicos Islands;

LXIII – Vanuatu;

LXIV – American Virgin Islands;

LXV – British Virgin Islands

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One Laptop per Child updates design for older pupils

| 14/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The so-called $100 laptop has undergone a facelift in order to be used by secondary school children. The machines, designed by One Laptop per Child (OLPC), are based on the original XO laptop, which was built for primary school children. The new computers feature a larger keyboard and upgraded software. Uruguay, which has already distributed nearly 400,000 XO laptops to primary schools, has ordered 90,000 of the new laptops, known as the XO-HS. It has also ordered 10,000 machines designed by rival Intel, which makes the Classmate PC, also developed for children.

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Student raising money for peaceful primates

| 14/06/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Montessori By The Sea student Jared Harrison, 12, has launched a campaign to raise money and awareness on behalf of the bonobos of Africa. “These apes are amazing, beautiful creatures,” said Jared. “I’m trying to do everything I can to get people in the Cayman Islands to learn about them and make donations to try and save them from extinction.” Bonobos are a species distinct from the common chimpanzee that most people are aware of. Unlike chimps, Bonobos walk upright and show remarkably high levels of cooperation and peacemaking in the wild. Scientists estimate there currently are only some 10,000 left alive in central Africa. (Photo by Guy P. Harrison)

Wild populations have been ravaged by war, habitat loss and poaching. Without increased efforts, conservationists warn, the bonobos could be gone forever within a few decades.

Last week Jared wrote a research paper about the bonobos and delivered a passionate presentation to his class. “My dad has always been very interested in bonobos and he made me aware of how special they are,” Jared explained. “I was touched by how peaceful and kind they are. Other primates, including us, have wars, kill each other, and have a hard time sharing. Bonobos are so different. When they get upset about something they just hug it out. We can actually learn from them. They cooperate and take care of each other so well. They’re extraordinary.”

Jared hopes to spread the word and stir interest in these unique primates that most people have never heard of. Once people are aware of them, he believes, they are likely to want to help prevent their demise from habitat loss and poaching.

“I can’t let this [extinction] happen to them. I feel like Ihave to try and help them. I’m going to give all the money I have saved and my friends at school are going to give money too. I hope adults in Cayman will visit the Web site, www.bonobos.org, and donate money. You can even adopt a bonobo on the site. You don’t get to keep it but you help keep it safe in the wild. I’m begging Caymanians to please help save these majestic creatures.”

Jared encourages people who are interested in bonobos to email him at jaredconservation@gmail.com so he can send them more information. He also says he hopes to connect with others and form a kids’ conservation club.

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US makes plans to deport 1000s of Jamaicans

| 14/06/2010 | 40 Comments

(The Gleaner): Jamaica should brace itself for a wave of deportees from the United States as the numbers in jail has swelled. Clifford Chambers, security attaché at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, told The Gleaner that more than 6,000 Jamaicans were now in US custody facing deportation proceedings. Chambers, said he could not estimate how many of this number would eventually be sent back as each case would be considered on merit. "In recent times, we are faced with an influx of Jamaicans in US custody who are facing deportation, and that has to do with the beefing up of staff in the immigration and customs sections by the US authorities," Chambers said. "The majority of them are not really felony charges. The majority of them are people who come here legally and have overstayed their visas."

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Robbers used stolen car

| 14/06/2010 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Following the armed robbery at a Bodden Town gas station on Friday night, police have now said that they believe the armed robbers had stolen the car they used to commit the robbery from a man who was attacked in South Sound on Thursday night. Police have also confirmed that they have recovered a loaded shotgun as a result of coordinated search operations carried out the area after the arrests were made on Friday night. Police had arrested two men immediately after the robbery following a chase in which officers were fired at by the suspects. Following those arrests officers then made another two arrests on Sunday after an RCIPS operation in the Prospect area. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

 
Police established during their enquiries that the getaway car used by the suspects to hold up Mostyns Esso on Bodden Town Road had been stolen. The white Honda Civic was taken during another robbery in the George Town area on Thursday evening (10 June). In that incident a man had been driving his car in the South Sound area when he was confronted by two masked men armed with a shotgun. He was then struck with the weapon and was forced to stay within the car as it travelled along Crewe Road.
A short time later he escaped from the vehicle and contacted a friend who conveyed him to hospital. He is currently being treated for serious facial injuries. 
Detective Inspector Collins Oremule, the officer leading the investigation into the Bodden Town incidents, is appealing for information about the movements of the stolen vehicle since Thursday night.
“The white Honda Civic was stolen on Thursday night sometime around 10.00 pm. Because of the nature of the injuries sustained by the victim we have, as yet, been unable to ascertain the exact location of the incident. It happened somewhere between the Grand Old House in South Sound and Crewe Road,” he said. “I would be keen to speak to anyone who saw a white Honda Civic in suspicious circumstances between 10.00 pm on Thursday night and the time the car was recovered by police in Bodden Town on Friday evening, as soon as possible. If you have any information about any of these crimes I would urge you to call us now.” 

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