Archive for June 29th, 2010

Teen faces serious charges

| 29/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Yet another local teenager is facing serious charges after police brought an 18-year-old man before the courts in connection with last week’s shooting at Kelly’s bar in West Bay on Thursday evening, 24 June. Police confirmed that the man, whom they have not named, has been charged with attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm. The police have refused to confirm if the victim of the shooting was the father of a four-year-old child shot and killed in West Bay earlier this year. The victim was shot in the leg at around 8:40 in the evening. A friend took him to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where he was treated for the gunshot wound before being released from hospital. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

The teenager was arrested later that night and is expected to appear in court later today, Tuesday 29 June. Anyone with any information about the incident is urged to contact DS Dave Morrison of West Bay CID on 949-3999 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477.

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Mac steadfast on fuel duty

| 29/06/2010 | 45 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): Despite suggestions made by the North Side member and the opposition as alternatives to the 25 cent increase on gas, the country’s premier remained steadfast on Monday on his decision to raise over $10.2 million through a fuel duty increase. The Import Duty Tariff Amendment bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly by eight votes to six when all five opposition members and the independent member voted against the government’s new revenue measure. Government could not win over the opposition benches but even with one government member missing from the chamber it was able to enforce its fuel tax hike, which will come into effect on Thursday. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Following the leader of the opposition’s contribution to the debate, McKeeva Bush wound up by saying the leader of the PPM had nothing to offer as he scoffed at suggestions of a fee on cell phone bills combined with an increase in vehicle licenses. 
“They are scaremongering at best,” the premier said about the opposition’s position that the fuel duty increase would lead to an increase in prices across the board. He denied that the increase in duty would be inflationary as the supermarkets would absorb the cost and CUC would only increase bills by 5%.
Bush pointed to a study by the previous government which had revealed that the wholesale fuel suppliers in the Cayman Islands had the biggest profit margins in the region and he said they could afford to absorb the duty.
He again described the import duty increase, which will take effect on 1 July, as better than either property or income tax, although none of the opposition benches have said they support that kind of direct taxation.
The premier said that if the wholesale suppliers will not absorb the duty and people find the pump price too high, they would have to plan their days better and stay off the roads. The premier advised those living in the outer districts not to make more than one trip per day to George Town. People could cut their electricity bills by turning things off and not "having every light burning in the house," he added.
Bush told the Legislative Assembly that he did not think businesses would increase their prices as they needed to remain competitive in the current tough economic climate.
CNS contacted two of Grand Cayman’s supermarkets following the vote and both said they were fighting to keep prices down but could not guarantee this would remain the case. Randy Merren from Hurley’s said it should be able to cope with the utilities bill but between 35-40% of the supermarkets’ goods are purchased on island and Hurley’s will have no control over those prices. Other things were putting pressure on prices as well, he said.
“As all of the other components that make up our operations cost increase, along with the projected inflation numbers this year, we will most likely start to see price increases as compared to the price deflation we experienced over the last 18 months,” Merren said, adding that he believed government could implement a flat duty on all imported food products as a significant number of high tonnage goods are still duty free.
Woody Foster said that, despite taking on a lot of new increases, the Fosters group was doing its  “absolute best to not raise prices” by reducing more expenses but did not know for how long. “We are not committing to long term at this point because we do not know what else will be coming down the line in the way of more increases,” he said.  “We have been successful so far in finding ways to reduce expenses but that cannot go on forever if fees are going to continue to go up.”
Foster added that he hoped government would figure out how this works and start to reduce some expenses of their own while not reducing essentials like policing, education and programmes to help local children.
The fuel duty increase will apply on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman but not on Cayman Brac.

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Haven clients receive interim treatment

| 29/06/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Repairs at the Caribbean Haven Women’s Centre following a fire in one of the bedrooms on 2 May are expected to be completed in early August. According to Judith Seymour, director of the Department of Counselling Services, women in the community needing help with their fight against substance abuse are, in the meantime, accessing treatment services, including individual and group therapy as deemed appropriate, at The Counselling Centre until such time as the Women’s Centre can be re-opened. The contract for the repairs is expected to be awarded on 7 July, Seymour stated.

The 12-bed centre, which opened in June 2009, is located on the same property as the men’s unit in Breakers but in a separate building.

The four female clients who wereat the residence at the time of the fire were immediately moved to the Men’s Centre on the night of the fire, Seymour said. One resident left the programme the following day, and two women remained in the temporary accommodation at the Men’s Centre until 13 May, when they chose to return to the community. The fourth client remained in the Men’s Centre until she successfully completed the programme and transitioned into community housing on 11 June, the director said, noting that all four women have engaged with counsellors at The Counselling Centre, where they receive counselling on an outpatient basis according to their perceived need.

“In the immediate period following the fire, the department attempted to re-organise the clients within the Men’s Centre to facilitate having both males and females in treatment there. Unfortunately, that situation created numerous issues that became the primary focus in the treatment community rather than treatment (as was our experience prior, which had driven the development of gender specific programmes),” Seymour explained.

“As addicts and alcoholics have very poor boundaries and many of them are developmentally delayed due to their extensive substance abuse, co-habitation for the men and women was clearly counterproductive to the treatment process and it became a disservice to all our clients in residence. As such, the existing female residents were transitioned into the community and the interim provisions for their treatment are limited currently to the services offered at The Counselling Centre.”

She said the cause of the fire was still under investigation but electrical and mechanical failures have been ruled out. Most of the fire damage was confined to one bedroom and its contents, but smoke also got into the air conditioning system for the building. Remedial works were conducted immediately to mitigate against water damage and an assessment was conducted by the Public Works Department on 6 May to determine what repairs were necessary. This is now being put to tender and the contract is expected to be awarded by 7 July. Completion of repairs is expected by early August, according to Seymour.

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Fire crews battle with Brac dump blaze

| 29/06/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Crews from both the Fire Services and the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) have been battling with a fire at the Cayman Brac landfill since Sunday afternoon (27 June). The fire, which is burning in the scrap metal area of the landfill, has now been alight for over twenty-four hours. DEH and fire services officials confirmed that the fire started around 4pm on Sunday among the derelict vehicles. Emergency services responded and the blaze was initially contained around two hours later. Unfortunately, it rekindled a short time later and crews have been working to extinguish it since.

The Minister of District Administration and Works Juliana O’Connor-Connolly along with Chief Officer Kearney Gomez as well as DEH Director Roydell Carter visited the on Monday to view the containment efforts. Carter said the situation is being monitored and updates will be provided.  

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