Archive for July 30th, 2010

Facebook and Twitter are turning my mind to mush

| 30/07/2010 | 5 Comments

(Christian Science Monitor): Facebook is turning my mind to mush and I don’t like it. The IQ drop is palpable, and it’s really beginning to get on my nerves. I’m no Internet critic. Nor am I some dude who’s nostalgic for the romantic bygone era of steam engines and Fatty Arbuckle … Therefore it’s with more than a little regret that I have come to realize that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and any number of other catchily named applications and websites are taking my mind, the ripe fruit of the Wisconsin public school system, and spoiling it like an abandoned banana.

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West Bay MLA to graduate law school

| 30/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Nine Professional Practice Course (PPC) and 14 University of Liverpool LL.B students will be graduating this evening (Friday 30 July)from the Cayman Islands Law School (CILS) at a ceremony at the Harquail Theatre at 6 p.m. One of the graduates will be the government’s backbencher and deputy speaker, West Bay MLA Cline Glidden. The keynote speaker for the evening is the Director of Studies for the Cayman LL.B. programme at the Liverpool University Law School, Dr. Robert Stokes, CILS Director of Legal Studies, Mitchell Davies said.

Aside from the premier and deputy governor the country’s top legal officials will also be in attendance including the Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie, QC; Acting Attorney General, Cheryll Richards, QC, Grand Court Judge, Hon. Charles Quin, QC, and Commissioner of Police, David Baines.

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Luxury cars clamped outside Harrods

| 30/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A luxury car valued at £1.2m was clamped outside Harrods in central London after being illegally parked. The Koenigsegg CCXR and a £350,000 Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce were bothclamped on the afternoon of 22 July. Kensington and Chelsea Council said the light-blue vehicles were in serious contravention of parking rules. Both the cars are very rare with the Swedish-made Koenigsegg being one of only six ever made. A Harrods spokesman said: "Any matters relating to parking tickets and enforcement are strictly the domain of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea."

The council said £120 penalty charge notices were issued, but the cars were released for £70 each as the fines were paid within 14 days.

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Gambling fails to win support

| 30/07/2010 | 70 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news, Cayman gambling(CNS): Updated —  There was very little full support on show for the introduction of legalised gambling in Cayman at the country’s first organised open door public debate on the subject on Thursday. Hosted by Generation NOW at UCCI, the forum revealed that supporters of gaming still have some way to go before their case is defined and before the nation is convinced. Of the seven panel members only Gilbert McLean was prepared to fully support legal gambling for both a lottery and casinos, with Dr Frank McField backing the Bahamas’ model of casinos exclusively for tourists. Pastor William Peguero fell short of endorsing gambling but indicated some acceptance of the exclusive casino. (Photos Dennie Warren Jr)

As a member of the clergy, Peguero (above), who is also chair of the National Investment Council, which as a body supports the introduction of exclusive casinos for visitors, said that he personally does not support the principle of gambling but the tourist casino was one of 14 options that the council as a whole presented to the CI government as an alternative to direct taxation and it was only under those circumstance that he would tolerate the idea.
The other panel members included Billy Adam and Rev Nicholas Sykes, who both argued emphatically against any form of gambling including the exclusive model, and Annie Moulton, who was also opposed its legalisation. Carolina Ferrari, who was the only panel member who said she was undecided, raised many questions during the debate, which served to illustrate that Cayman is only at the very beginning of the dicussion and has a long way to go before the voting public would be in a position to make an informed choice in a simple yes-no referendum.
The audience also seemed less than enthusiastic about the introduction of gambling, and although some had indicated support at the start of the more than three hour forum, there were still many questions raised by attendees that indicated many people have mixed feelings on the subject and are a long way from enthusiastic about the introduction of gaming in Cayman.
Following the premier’s recent comments that he would be allowing a referendum before the end of this year, it is still not clear whether that would be for just a national lottery, for exclusive tourist casinos or for all forms of gambling.
Former Cabinet minister and current radio talk-show host Gilbert McLean has been a long time advocate of legalized gambling and has made it clear he wants to see the country introduce a national lottery. He said many people were already playing the local illegal numbers game on a regular basis and as a result a number of individuals had become extremely wealthy but government was unable to tax them or take any fees.
He suggested that more than $52million a year was being generated in profits and he said the whole country should benefit and not just a few who used the money to buy favours. McLean said government revenue from the lottery should be ring-fenced for education and medical services and not taken into the general coffers and become subject to political whim.
However, in direct contrast Billy Adam revealed that Gtech Corporation, a global lottery provider which completed a study of the potential lottery market in the Cayman Islands only this month, as part of its proposal to run the lottery here, had found the market was estimated to be between US$ 9-11 million. This Gtech said in its proposal (see more on CNS on Monday) would convert into just over $1million for government coffers or less than a ¼ percent of the country’s budget.
The point that government needed money was a major factor driving support from playwright and sociologist Dr Frank McField, also a former Cabinet minister, who favoured the Bahamas model of gambling where the casinos are the exclusive domain of tourists and locals are banned from going in. McField admitted that he did not believe the Caymanian people should be exposed to the negative social consequences of gambling so was only prepared to sanction it for visitors.
However, it was noted by Carolina Ferreira as well as a number of those in the audience that such a division in Cayman would be difficult to maintain given the significant number of foreigners and Caymanians with foreign passports.  Moreover, the issue of locals not being allowed to gamble in the Bahamas is now coming into question in that jurisdiction on the grounds of equality.
Rev Sykes also said he believed it would be difficult to enforce such a divide in the Cayman community with one rule for tourists and one rule for residents. He also said there was something particularly unpalatable about governments balancing the public purse on the losses of the public through games of chance, as had been observed by the Bermudan parliament recently, when it rejected any move towards legalized gambling.
The panel discussed a number of issues from the logistics of implementation, the type of gambling that is or is not acceptable, the possible social ramifications, the exploitation of workers and the nature of the industry, the community’s hypocrisy in their opposition to casinos but seeming acceptance of other societal ills and how any money to government would be used to benefit the wider community.
The panel were all agreed on only one thing and that was that that if government was to hold a referendum, then legally that could only be among registered voters and there was no way in law to encompass anyone outside the electoral list.
What was apparent from the first public debate on the subject was that there are a wide range of views in the community on gambling but there is little evidence of a major groundswell of supporters for the complete legalization of all forms of gaming. Although there were a number of people who had vindicated some support in the audience only one or two members of the public spoke in favour of full legalized access to gambling.
A spokesperson for Generation NOW, the organisers of the panel discussion noted that it was apparent that the community needed a lot more information on the subject and its possible ramifications. That sentiment was shared by a number of audience members who told CNS that before the country could be realistically expected to vote on the subject they need to know what they would be voting for and what the advantages and disadvantages of legal gambling in Cayman in any form would be.
Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news, Cayman gambling

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DoE rescues wild green turtle

| 30/07/2010 | 23 Comments

(CNS): A 300lb turtle has been saved from the hands of poachers as a result of a phone call from a vigilant resident to government authorities. On Saturday afternoon (24 July) Department of Environmentofficers were alerted by 911 that someone had seen a turtle in the bushes on Sandhole Road in West Bay. Mark Orr, the DOE officer who was part of the rescue effort explained that when he got there he found a large Green Turtle tied up on her back in the grape trees about 30 or 40 feet of beach. He said she had crawled up and started her nesting before poachers had caught her.

Orr told News 27 how officers had managed to untie and flip her around and although tired she had enough strength to get back to the water.
There are less than twenty each of greens and loggerhead turtles left nesting on beaches around Grand Cayman, Orr explained and said he was relieved that this particular acquatic mother to be had managed to return to the beach despite her trauma and nest.
Authorities have not caught the person or persons who were trying to poach the turtle, but warn if caught they could face serious fines or time in prison.

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Wyly bros accused of using Cayman to hide profits

| 30/07/2010 | 5 Comments

(WSJ): Billionaire brothers Sam Wyly and Charles Wyly hid $550 million in trading profits by using an "elaborate sham system" of offshore entities, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Thursday. The civil suit, following a six-year probe, targets a pair of entrepreneurs in their mid-70s who amassed a fortune over more than four decades through ventures including Michaels arts and crafts stores. The SEC said the Wylys used sham trusts and subsidiaries in the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands to avoid disclosure of their stakes and sales of stock in public companies where they were directors.

In one instance, the brothers traded on insider information about an upcoming sale of a company to make a $31 million profit, the SEC alleged. "The cloak of secrecy has been lifted from the complex web of foreign structures used by the Wylys to evade the securities laws," said Lorin L. Reisner, deputy director of the SEC’s enforcement division.
The Wylys’ lawyer, William A. Brewer III, said the brothers plan a vigorous defense and expect to be vindicated. "After six years of investigations, the SEC has chosen to make claims against the Wyly brothers—claims that, in our view, are without merit," said Mr. Brewer. He added that the Wylys relied on the advice of accountants and lawyers.

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Robber’s take pizza and soda

| 30/07/2010 | 13 Comments

Cayman Islands news, Grand Cayman Island local news(CNS): Police have confirmed that they’re investigating an armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver in West Bay. According to reports on News 27, an individual had called Gino’s Pizza delivery service at around 10pm on Wednesday evening (28 July) but when the driver arrived at the home delivery address on Billie Manderson Drive, off Town Hall Road, three men appeared from behind the home with their faces covered, one armed with what appeared to be a knife or a screwdriver. They demanded money, but instead the driver gave them the four pizza boxes and two bottles of soda. The men took the pizza and soda, and then ran away. Police say the person who lives at the home was not aware of any delivery.

Meanwhile, a George Town church was burgled this week and electronics were taken from the school area. The Power of Faith Deliverance Ministry in the swamp area lost a 27-inch flat screen Sonia Errison TV, a DVD player, flat screen computer with hard drive, wall mount for the TV, and a PA system. As an NGO church officials say the church will have to do some fundraising as a result of this crime to replace the equipment so they can keep offering the low cost school support. Police are asking those with any details on the burglary to come forward.

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Thieves rational, says cop

| 30/07/2010 | 45 Comments

(CNS): In most cases burglars think rationally and will target the property that is least likely to result in them getting caught, says RCIPS Inspector Dr Anthony White. Talking to tourism stakeholders last week at a special seminar designed to help them reduce the risk of their visitors and their properties falling victim to crime, the cop, who has a PhD in criminal justice, explained that the more they can make their properties look as if it was likely that a burglar would get caught in the act there, the less likely their condos will be broken into. More light, more natural surveillance and locked doors are more active deterrents to most rational burglars than long sentences or meagre pickings, he revealed. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Talking very specifically about the Seven Mile Beach and West Bay Road Area, White explained that by cutting hedges and introducing lights to parking lots and walkways owners, will dramatically reduce their exposure to crime.
He said that because of an increase in armed robberies and other crimes recently there was heightened fear and concern, but by and large only a small number of people were committing crime on the island and there are simple steps condo owners can take to make their properties less attractive to criminals and protect their guests.
White explained that in many modern town and urban developments designers take the possibility of crime into consideration when creating the environment in what is known as CPTED — crime prevention through environmental design — which includes designing walkways, parking lots, lighting and other elements of an environment to reduce the opportunity for crime.
However, in the case of older properties, especially in Cayman, this was not the case but owners could adapt their properties to take into consideration what it is that a burglar thinks about before making a decision to break into a property.
“The certainty of being caught in most cases is the most influential thing for a criminal,” white said. “Offenders think rationally and they are more influenced by the cues about being caught than the reward or the potential punishment.”
He explained that long prison sentences or the quality of what they are trying to steal have very little influence on most burglars, who are simply out to avoid detection. The goal, he said, for all property owners was to enhance the belief of the potential burglar that coming to your property would be the place where he would likely get caught.
Properties with lots of natural surveillance, where they are overlooked by other properties or where the windows and doors can be clearly seen, are not the first choice for burglars. Criminals are looking for dark properties with high hedges where they can enter and leave undetected, White added.
Security cameras have also been proven here in Cayman to be very effective and he pointed out one local gas station with cameras which had not been targeted in the recent spate of robberies while the ones without had been hit.
White also encouraged a number of local businesses to improve the lighting in the parking lots at night. Showing slides of the parking in and around Grand Harbour, which was very dark, White said it was unacceptable for customers to have to use such dark parking areas, especially when they had spent hundreds of dollars on groceries.
Peppers night club was another location that White criticised, noting how dark the outside area was and said it was no surprise that a considerable amount of serious crime had taken place under cover of the darkness provided to criminals there.
White also advised people to maintain their properties, as he said run down places with garbage piled around or broken fences were attractive to burglars who would not stand out if they were seen and would have easy exits through broken fences.
He singled out Wendy’s on West Bay Road, which had broken fencing at the rear of its property and was also very dark.
White warned property owners not to overdo it. Razor wire, he said, was not advisable as that sent a signal to burglars that there was less likely to be anyone at the property and therefore an easier target.
The crime expert said residents have a major part to play in protecting themselves when crime starts to rise in any community.
“It can take years for government initiatives or policy changes to have impact on the behaviour of criminals even if they work,” he saidn warning people not to expect the authorities to solve the crime problem for them. “You can’t sit around waiting for some big government entity to solve your local crime problems; you have to address it yourselves.”
He said cutting down a hedge or putting in lights would have an immediate impact on reducing the crime on any individual’s property.

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