Archive for July 22nd, 2010

Chevron charged Brac duty

| 22/07/2010 | 34 Comments

(CNS): Despite the fact that government waived the fuel duty increase on Cayman Brac, local gas station owners have revealed that the islands’ retail fuel stations have been charged the extra 25 cents per gallon by the bulk fuel supplier. Nathanial Tibbetts, the owner of the Texaco station in Watering Place, told CNS that Chevron informed the retailers by email earlier this week that the fuel was increasing by 25 cents and then charged the stations on delivery yesterday. As a result, Tibbetts said, he had no choice but to pass on the charge as he has not yet been given any officialconfirmation that he will be refunded. Lenaris Ebanks, the part owner of the West End Texaco station, concurred and said he was happy to show customers his invoice from the wholesaler as proof.

Tibbetts explained that he only learned from government earlier today that Chevron charged the duty in error and that the Brac was exempt, but he has not yet been given any written assurance that he will be reimbursed. Ebanks also said the same thing — that he had been told by Chevron that the firm wanted government clarification before offering any reimbursements to the retailers.
The gas station managers both said that until they could be certain that the wholesaler would give back the 25 cents extra on the gallon they had been charged for their latest deliveries they will have to maintain the price increase.
“This is a chicken and egg situation. Until I know that I will get my money back I can’t risk reducing the price in case I don’t,” Tibbetts stated. “This is really unfortunate but I don’t have much of a choice. Chevron should not have charged us the increased price.”
Ebanks also said that the retailers, who make a very small profit on the fuel on the Brac, said they are constantly putting up with the licks because of what Chevron, the wholesaler for Texaco, does.
“We are stuck with this until they confirm what is happening. No one has reassured us we are getting our money back. I have no idea how we can reimburse people who have already filled up at the higher price,” he said. “This is not the retailers doing and I am happy to show anyone who asks the invoice I had to pay for yesterday’s delivery and the e-mail from Chevron saying the fuel was going up by 25 cents.”
Despite the fact that when government changed the customs tariff in the Legislative Assembly earlier this month and exempted Cayman Brac, the fuel supplier still added on the duty increase on the delivery to the Sister Island, causing considerable concern from Brac drivers who believed they were exempt.
Tibbetts revealed that he also received a call from the petroleum inspectorate today asking him to remove the 25 cents extra, but the gas station manager had to point out he had been charged by Chevron and the inspectorate needed to contact the wholesalers who had made the error.
Government issued a clarification earlier today (22 July) following reports that fuel had increased on the Brac by 25 cents on the gallon at both stations. The minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture said this morning the island was exempt from the duty as fuel prices on the Brac were already considerably higher than on Grand Cayman.  
“Increasing the cost of fuel further by adding the latest fuel duty will have a negative economic impact on the island without raising significant revenue,” Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said in regard to the waiver in her constituency.
CNS has contacted the fuel depot on Cayman Brac and the Chevron offices but has not been able to speak with management at any of the relevant offices to find out howthe retailers will be refunded.
The 25 cent per gallon duty increase was imposed on fuel sold in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman from 1 July, which resulted in price increases at pumps there around a week later.

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Brac fuel price increases despite duty waiver

| 22/07/2010 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Following reports that fuel has been increased by 25 cents on Cayman Brac, government has issued a statement confirming that the new duty increase does not apply to fuel sold on that island. CNS has contacted both Texaco Gas stations on Cayman Bra as well as the bulk fuel depot but has not been able to speak with management at any of the relevant offices. Calls have also been placed to the Chevron offices in Grand Cayman to find out where in the chain the fuel has been increased and why but so far there has been no response. The Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture said the island was exempt from the latest duty increase of 25 cents per gallon as fuel prices there were already considerably higher than on Grand Cayman.  

 “Increasing the cost of fuel further by adding the latest fuel duty will have a negative economic impact on the island without raising significant revenue,” Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said in regard to the waiver in her constituency.
The duty was imposed on fuel sold in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman from 1 July which resulted in price increases at pumps there around a week later. It is still not clear however, if the increase on the Brac is a trickle down effect or as a result of an increase in the cost of fuel itself.
CNS is continuing to contact both Chevron and the relevant gas station managers.

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Dead man was tagged

| 22/07/2010 | 61 Comments

(CNS): The Emergency Communications and Electronic Monitoring Department has now confirmed wide speculation that the man shot and killed by a homeowner in theearly hours of this morning, during an attempted burglary, was fitted with an electronic tagging device. The department stated that at the time of the incident the tracking device was showing the man was present at another location. The tag had clearly been removed but the department said it does not yet know how. Once the 911 centre realized that the person who had been shot was a client of theirs, police were sent to that location and recovered the tracking device, the department said. The dead man, who is Harryton Rivers (29), was on bail as a result of other criminal charges.

He was referred to the Electronic Monitoring Programme by the RCIPS on the 18 June 2010 under the provisions of the Bail Law. “The department has initiated a full investigation to determine under what circumstances the tracking device became detached from the client,” the monitoring department said in a statement.

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Cayman’s local stone at centre of art exhibit

| 22/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The unique beauty of Caymanite will be on show in its full glory at the National Museum from tomorrow until September in a new exhibition entitled ‘Our Rock’. Organisers say visitors will see firsthand the stunning jewellery and magnificent sculptures created from Caymanite by local artists.  The rock is a unique semi-precious stone found only in the Cayman Islands. The vibrant striations of colours represents millions of years of global geological events. 

Encouraging people to visit the new exhibit the organisers said, “The National Museum depends very heavily on funding programming through memberships and gift shop sales, so visit the National Museum, bring a friend and become a member, by choosing any one of the nine membership opportunities available.”
A special preview showing has been scheduled for today,  Thursday July 22nd, 2010 from 6:00 pm to 8:00pm for museum members.

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Sleepwalking past the jury

| 22/07/2010 | 40 Comments

It was only a few months ago that a local defence attorney warned that Cayman was sleepwalking into legislation which was slowly eroding the people’s civil liberties. He was speaking after his client faced being tried a second time for murder following his acquittal the first time by a judge. This double jeopardy situation is as a result of changes to the Criminal Justice bill that enables the crown to appeal not just against a sentence but against a verdict.

This legislative change was followed only a few months later by the Witness Anonymity bill. Although ‘paved with good intentions’ to protect victims and witnesses, who in some cases fear very serious repercussions, it also raised questions about a defendant’s right to a fair trial and their right to confront their accusers.

Now this month we have learned that government is currently considering removing the right to trial by jury for all firearms cases. This does not just mean the gang-bangers which the country’s law enforcement and prosecution services are having such trouble convicting, it means all firearms related cases.

When I first sat down to write this opinion piece I had intended to use the hypothetical example of a woman who finally shoots her husband with his own gun after years of abuse as an incident where the law would apply and obviously raise concerns.

In such circumstances, the wife may have planned and plotted the killing of her abuser and may even have committed the act when her husband’s back was turned or while he lay sleeping, but many would still consider the killing an act of self defence. However, the law would state otherwise.

Such a case before a jury may well bring a not guilty verdict, something many would consider a just outcome, as jurors also consider the human element and motivation for a crime. Before a judge, however, the same woman could expect to go to prison for life as he would likely be forced to interpret the letter of the law.

In wake of the news of the early morning shooting in George Town today (22 July) we have another example where most would agree a jury trial, if there is a trial, would be essential.

Although the details of this case remain sketchy as the police are still investigating, it is evident that a burglar is now dead as a result of a gunshot wound he received from a licensed firearm holder and the owner of the property he appears to have been attempting to steal from. The homeowner has not yet been arrested, we hear, and he may never be but it is possible he will face some form of charge for an offence relating to the firearm. If this law passes before he comes to trial he will be denied the right to a jury, something that I am certain the vast majority of people here would see as fundamentally wrong.

The problem we have with this piece of proposed legislation is that it is being floated as a way to address the inability of the police, and in turn the crown, to secure convictions in cases of serious crime.

This failure in high profile cases is motivating the authorities to change the law rather than change their methods of policing and prosecuting. We all want to see those who are gunning each other down on the streets and engaging in gang violence behind bars but we should be asking ourselves if we want that at the cost of everyone’s civil liberties and fundamental rights.

If a community does not care about rights and liberties then it is easy to dramatically reduce crime. Laws can be passed to introduce a curfew, for example, that states no one is allowed on the streets after dark and the police will shoot on sight anyone who is – no questions asked. Job done, crime goes down a lot. No one in a democracy could accept such a draconian approach, but every chip that authorities take from our civil liberties approaches this kind of eventuality where the authorities move to take ultimate control of our freedoms in order to address the complexities of criminality.

It is disappointing that the newly formed Human Rights Commission is not demonstrating on the court house steps on behalf of the community over yet another attack on civil liberties and human rights.
While the chair has raised his concerns to the attorney general in a short letter (published on the site), the commission, which was formed to defend everyone’s rights against the state, has been less than vociferous on this issue.

It will be crying shame if we have to wait for the unintended circumstances of this law to place someone in jail for life after being denied their right to a jury trial before the community wakes up and sees what is happening to this oh-so fundamental right.

Already the state can try you twice for the same crime, it can place an anonymous accuser before you who could be vexatious but you cannot know, and will, if this law passes, place you before a single judge, removing your right to be heard by a jury of your peers.

Not everyone who is arrested and charged is guilty. The police are not perfect; they are human beings too and they make mistakes. The pressure of rising crime and limited training is taking its toll on the RCIPS and there is no doubt that they will make more mistakes in the future.

However, the law should provide checks and balances to ensure the innocent are not convicted as a result of mistakes in policing. We have already lost two of those checks and balances and a third, perhaps the most serious of all, sits perilously close to being lost.

If the community remains silent on this, the change to the law will pass. The only hope is that the people of the Cayman Islands raise their voices and demand that their right to a jury trial remain. There are other ways in which the authorities can legislate for extreme circumstances to enable proven gang members to be tried without a jury and where tampering of jurors is a genuine possibility. The law does not need to encompass every firearms case to achieve this goal.

I have heard many people recently raise their voices loud and clear in an effort to fight the National Conservation Bill as they are convinced it threatens their rights over their own land. I sincerely hope that there are more and louder voices out there that will also seek to fight to protect this, the most fundamental of all rights. Let us hope that this time the community wakes up in time and does not sleepwalk past its right to a face a jury.

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Third tropical depression forms south of the Bahamas

| 22/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A tropical storm warning has been issued for the central and northwestern Bahamas as well as Florida and Keys following the formation of the season’s third tropical depression. At 11:00 am EDT the centre of the new weather system was located near latitude 21.9 north longitude 75.0 west. The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph and the NHC said on Thursday morning that an increase in forward speed is expected during the next 48 hours. Maximum sustained winds are currently near 35 mph with higher gusts and the depression is could become Tropical Storm Bonnie later today.

Winds near tropical storm force are already affecting portions of the southeastern Bahamas. Tropical storm conditions will gradually spread over the central and northwestern Bahamas tonight and Friday. Weather conditions will begin to deteriorate on the Florida coast and Florida keys on Friday.
Forecasters say the depression is expected to produce total rain fall of 2 to 4 inches over south Florida with possible isolated maximum amounts of 5 to 6 inches. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches are expected over the central and northwest Bahamas with possible isolated amounts of 5 to 7 inches.

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Home intruder shot dead

| 22/07/2010 | 268 Comments

(CNS):  Update 12:55pm Police have now confirmed that a man who was shot during an attempted home burglary has died. The victim who was Harryton Rivers (29) of Prospect was shot by the owner of the property at around 2am this morning (22 July). The man told police he woke up at his home in Liguinea Circle off Aspiration Drive, in George Town to find an intruder inside his house. The home owner, who is a licensed firearms holder, shot Rivers with a handgun but he has not been arrested at this time. Rivers was taken to George Town hospital with critical abdominal wounds, where he was later pronounced dead. Police have now confirmed that a knife was found at the scene.  (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Police say they are currently investigating the incident and will, as in all cases, submit the file to the attorney general for consideration. The RCIPS has not yet confirmed if Rivers, who was facing criminal charges, was on an electronic tagging device which he had allegedly removed.
Meanwhile, police say they are also investigating another home invasion in Cypros Road, George Town. At around 2.40 am a man and his wife were awoken by three intruders. One of the men, who was in possession of what appeared to be a handgun, struck the householder with the weapon and demanded cash. Police say the suspects, who were all wearing black clothing, made off from the house with around $3000 in cash. The householder sustained slight injuries as a result of the incident and George Town CID investigating this incident.

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National Conservation Law delayed again

| 22/07/2010 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Despite numerous rounds of public consultation since the first draft of the National Conservation Law in 2002, the current public consultation period, which was scheduled to end last Friday 16 July, has been extended another six weeks. Minister for the Environment Mark Scotland has previously stated that he wanted to bring the bill to the Legislative Assembly in September. Once it is passed, the NCL will require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for all major developments, such as the North Sound channel and a commercial cargo port, which the government is pushing for. An EIA assesses a project’s environmental and social implications.

“After ten years of consultation and hand-wringing I’m uncertain why the government needs six more weeks,” said National Trust General Manager Frank Balderamos. “My positive side says it’s good that the general public is now actively involved in the process and that the government is taking more time to listen. However, my negative side says this is just another stalling tactic. Maybe their belief is that six weeks from now the public will have moved on to other issues and then they can simply sweep this legislation under the rug. But Caymanian society won’t sit still on this issue. I have heard from too many people, from 18 to 80 years old, who feel that the time for this legislation has not only come, but is long overdue.”

Over the last two weeks, the Department of Environment has held seven public meetings to discuss the bill and has encouraged feedback at the meetings, by postal mail, email, fax and via the DoE website.

Scotland said in a release this morning that over the past few weeks there had been a “rich and varied response to the Conservation Bill at multiple levels”. He said, “Several individuals, non-governmental organisations and community groups have indicated to me that while the public consultation period ended on Friday, they would still like an opportunity to make a contribution to the development of our national environmental policy.”

The minister said he has decided to extend the consultation period after consultation with his colleagues in government. “I recognise that the relationship between human society and the environment is complex and multidimensional, with changes in one domain affecting the other; and I also recognise that the way policy decisions are made has important implications for the outcome.”

Scotland maintained, “Historically, Caymanians have responded to the challenges posed to sustainable development by committing to and establishing policies for creating an enabling environment that supports sustained economic growth, environmental integrity, good governance and respect for human rights. Therefore, I see no reason why we cannot continue to achieve this.”

He said the process of moving our country towards a more sustainable future not only required better management systems, but it also a dynamic inclusive forum which brings together the demands of different social groups, values and discourses in a deliberative fashion. “We need a law that is inclusive, flexible and responsive to future needs of our country. One that will codify the norms of the Caymanian people, while simultaneously creating a structure for participation that helps to crystallise and protect our country’s environmental goals.”

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Saturday night at the movies with West Bay cops

| 22/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police officers from the West Bay police station are hoping to open up channels of communication with the community with e family movie night this weekend. The free movie screening will take place on Saturday, 24 July at John A Cumber Primary School and stars at 6pm. Although the cops were keeping the movie under wraps the law enforcement officials are promising a fun packed evening for film buffs of all ages. The movie night initiative, developed by West Bay neighbourhood police in conjunction with local organisations and private companies, has been a great success.

In 2009 almost 300 young people took part in a series of six events. Neighbourhood officer, Police Constable Sharon Baillie is urging children, young people and their parents to come along and join in the fun.
“This is so much more than just sitting down to watch a movie – it’s a party night for the youngsters with food and soft drinks,” she said. “Parents are also very welcome to attend the event.”
This year the sponsors include Rackham’s, Cayman Imports, Tortuga, James George of BDO, Agave Grill, and others who have contributed to the events.
“We always get great support from local companies, organisations and from people within the
community for the events,” Officer Baillie added. “It’s a great opportunity to sit with your friends in a safe environment to watch a movie and to meet other young people from your area. It’s also an opportunity to meet local Neighbourhood officers and get to know all about the police.”
Area Commander of West Bay, Acting Chief Inspector Frank Owens, said: “This is a great
initiative and it’s clear that the kids who came along to previous movie nights had a great time.
But it’s not just the youngsters who get the benefit – the West Bay officers love the fact that the
young people are so curious and eager to learn about the police.”

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Local steel band to appear on international stage

| 22/07/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The UCCI Cayman National Steel Band, “Pandemix”, will be making its second appearance on an international stage later this month at the 2010 Caribana Festival in Toronto, Canada. “Pandemix” has joined forces with local band “Panoramers” and one of Toronto’s leading bands, “Afropan Steel Pan Band: The People Band”, for a competition performance during “Pan Alive” on 30 July and the parade on 31 July, during the largest Caribbean festival in North America “Pandemix” will also participate in the very popular “Blokos” street party with several other bands.

“Afropan: The People Band”, which has won awards for the best playing Steelpan band at the Caribana Parade 26 times out of the 36 years of the competition has extended the welcome to UCCI’s young panners for the second year running, but this year, the band’s contingent has grown to 17 members, some of whom will experience playing with another band for the first time.
Band member and UCCI Student Trisha Cuffy said, “It is truly an honour for both UCCI “Pandemix” and “Panoramers” Steelpan Bands to be invited for another year to join The Afropan Steelpan Band in Canada. With a larger group this year, and new members, we expect the experience to be both challenging and rewarding. Collectively, we can all learn many things from each other and further develop our skills and technique.”
UCCI’s Music Director, Glen Inanga also explained that The UCCI Cayman National Pandemix Steel Band will be representing the Cayman Islands as artistic ambassadors.
“I am confident that they will make the most of this wonderful opportunity for educational development and cultural exchange” Inanga added as he thanked all those who have supported “Pandemix” since its inception in September 2008, in particular, Cayman National Corporation, the band’s principal sponsor and Earl LaPierre.
For more information about the UCCI steelpan programme or other course offerings in the music department at UCCI, please contact Mr. Glen Inanga at

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