Archive for August 4th, 2010

Little Cayman’s tourism pioneer passes

| 04/08/2010 | 4 Comments

Samson “Sam” McCoy, 16 September 1930 to 9 June 2010: In June this year Little Cayman lost a true visionary and an icon of the Sister Islands, who saw the wonder of the beautiful reefs around the island and, together with Bob Soto, pioneered the diving industry on what remains one of the most loved diving destinations in the Caribbean by those who make the journey to Cayman’s smallest island. A hard working Caymanian, a son of the soil and a man of the sea, with a passion for the land and marine environments, Sam made an indelible mark on the development of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Samson Sylvester McCoy was born in Spot Bay, Cayman Brac on 16 September 1930. He was the third child and first son of James and Enid McCoy. Mr Sam, or Sammy as he was affectionately called, was a man of many visions.

He was united in Holy matrimony to Mary Delrose Scott on Wednesday, 17 October 1956, in Spot Bay, Cayman Brac. Sam and Mary were blessed with a loving family – Maxine was born in September of 1958, followed by five sons, Craig in 1961, Carl in 1962, Chris in 1966, Croy in 1967 and Charles, or Chip as you affectionately called him, in 1970.

Sam lost his father in the 1939 hurricane, so that left him then a young head of the family of 5 siblings along with his mother, Enid. At the tender age of 14 he left on the SS Tanner for Jamaica and then was dispatched on the SS Ore Titan beginning as a messman. He worked hard for the next 8 years, sending money home to his mother to help raise his other siblings. On his last voyage on the SS Ore Titan Sam decided that he had had enough of the sea and wanted to be back in Cayman Islands nearer his family.

In 1966 he met Dr Logan T. Robertson of Ashville, North Carolina, who was interested in hiring someone locally who could build a fishing and duck hunting club on Little Cayman. Sam was a man of many trades, carpentry being number #1 on the list. He was also a mechanic, plumber, electrician and cook – he was the local man who could accomplish everything Dr Logan needed in order for his dream to become a reality in Little Cayman, so Sam was hired.

First, he helped expand the already established Southern Cross Club, which would become world famous for many years, being the “members only” club for fishing and duck hunting in the Caribbean. Then he helped with the hiring of other men to work for Mr Lloyd Rhian Sr to build Head O’ Bay (the Rhian’s private residence). And finally, the last project Dr Logan wanted was the building of his own very Pirate’s Point.

Sam with Mary and their growing family of one daughter and five sons, together with Mary’s father Pastor Carl E. Scott, worked together on the construction of Pirate’s Point. This was Dr Logan’s own private home where he could visit anytime he wished. Those were the days that Little Cayman was infested with mosquitoes and sand flies, and in order not to be eaten alive he used to spray the screen around Pirate’s Point with diesel oil and burn coconut husks.

The only electricity that was available was by generator for about 6 hours a day for the basic necessities – no air conditioning, only ceiling fans were churning hot air and an AM radio tuned to Jamaica radio stations, RJR or JBC, was Sam’s company a lot of the time.

The only telephone on island was the battery operated one at Ms Eleanor Bodden’s home which was located in Blossom Village, South Hole – the site of Little Cayman’s District Officer’s Office and Residence today. Sam would visit in the evening with Ms Eleanor, Mr Joe Grizzell, Mr Christie, Ms Nada and Mr Guy Banks and his family. This is the time that he would use the telephone to call his wife and children on Cayman Brac. Every weekend, Easter and Christmas holidays, Sam would take his wife and family to Little Cayman in his boat, which he called “Wompa”. Most weekends Sam would travel to Cayman Brac for much needed supplies and to see his family. He transported gas, diesel and propane between the islands for anyone in need. He also served at one time as the customs and immigration officer for Little Cayman. So it was only natural that when the opportunity arose for him to start his own business, Little Cayman was the place Sam chose to establish Sam McCoy’s Fishing and Diving Lodge in 1983.

Sam McCoy’s Fishing and Diving Lodge Ltd was known for never disappointing a visiting fisherman or diver. Sam’s hobbies were a natural fit with his newly founded venture – snorkelling, free diving and spear-fishing. This was how he found out about the beauty of Bloody Bay & Jackson Wall on the North Side of Little Cayman. Many days he would venture out into the awesome beauty of the sheer wall and blue abyss and was able to provide a tasty meal for his family and guests from his knowledge of the sea. By that time he had also learnt to dive with scuba tanks and he named some of the dive sites on the north coast and attributed their names to a particular historical happening or unusual circumstance during the dive, such as “Marylyn’s Cut” and “Bus Stop”.

He decided to contact his friend Mr Bob Soto, who was at the time active with his own scuba diving adventures in Grand Cayman. Bob told him that this could be a lucrative business for both of them in the diving industry. Sam laughed and told “Bobby” that they would probably starve to death before that would happen, but he persevered anyway. Over the years Sam agreed with Bob that he was right in that the dive industry was profitable.

Sam and Mary wanted to give their family what they did not have themselves and that was the opportunity for a good sound education. Through dedication and hard work, with Mary by his side (and with the earlier contributions of the children at various times) they worked for many years building a solid business which not only supported his family but also helped many others who later founded businesses and homes on Little Cayman.

Sam’s dream had become a reality and when he passed onto his heavenly home on Wednesday, 9 June 2010, he had lived a great life and seen his vision come true for Little Cayman, including a part of the North Coast road being named Sam McCoy’s Drive in his honour.

Sam envisioned Little Cayman to be as it is today and lived his life to the fullest each and every day. He was a sincere, hard working, happy man, who always had a smile on his face. He loved taking care of the environment, above and below the sea. He was honoured by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Mr Jean Michel Cousteau as the “Pioneer for Tourism in Little Cayman” in 2003 when he was inducted into the Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.

Sam made everyone happy just being in his presence and he will be missed both locally and abroad. His memory will live on in the minds of those who were blessed to have been able to meet and talk with him, listen to his stories under the “Hammock Shed” and enjoy the pristine wildlife, fishing or diving, in Little Cayman.

Left to mourn his passing are wife of 53 years, Mary; daughter Maxine; sons Craig, Carl, Chris, Croy and Charles; daughters-in-law Dorita McCoy, Annette McCoy, Yolanda McCoy and Nicoela McCoy; three granddaughters Vicki, Arianna and Natalia; nine grandsons Miguel, Arrowe, Diego, Xavier, Rhyann, Kyle, Arren, Paxton, and Nathan; two great grandsons Jovian and Kai; one step great grandson James McLean; his sisters Nerissa, Enid, Evry and Nadia; lots of family and friends in the Cayman Islands and around the world.

In lieu of flowers the McCoy family wishes for donations to be made to the Seaman’s and Veteran’s Association of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

May he rest in peace.

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Grand Cayman #15 in worlds top islands to live on

| 04/08/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Grand Cayman has once again been listed as one of the best islands to live on in the world according to the July/August issue of Islands Magazine. Listed at number 15 in the editor’s top 20 islands to make your home, the magazine says foreigners who invest over $900,000 in property or a business in the Cayman Islands, can apply for a 25 year residency certificate. Each year, editors of Islands Magazine which has a circulation of more than 204, 000, rank the top 20 islands, based on criteria such as real estate values, ease of immigration, expat communities, and quality of island life.

The article which particularly references Grand Cayman’s diving and the famed Seven Mile Beach, also includes an interview with a locally based tourism industry worker. This is the third year that Grand Cayman has been included as one of the Islands on the list following a mention in 2007 and 2009.

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Mickey finds no cop policies

| 04/08/2010 | 35 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news, Cayman freedom of information(CNS): A Freedom of Information request by Mickey Mouse to the RCIPS has found that the police do not appear to have any policies in place for informing the rank and file of their policies. In response to Mouse, the policesaid that officers are informed of RCIPS policies via email when necessary but that no documents existed covering how policies are imparted. Mouse also asked the RCIPS to reveal any documentation they had relating to police pursuit procedures. In the first instance Mouse was told the police did not hold any such documentation on the subject, but he was later informed that his request had been deferred and would be released on 30 August of this year in line with, ironically, new policies.

In his letter to Mouse, the police FOI officer Raymond Christian said that the RCIPS Contingency Planning Unit is currently reviewing all of the police policies and guidelines and indicated these would be available to the public at the end of the month.  
The issue of the RCIPS policy with regard to publishing policy documents has been raised in the media in Cayman a number of times for many years.
The question of police high-chase pursuits and its policy towards shooting out tyres during such incidences was raised some years ago when officers shot at the tyres of a car in George Town because the driver had refused to stop .
The incident took place in 2008 during the day and in a public area, which raised concerns about the danger posed to the public if it was police policy to shoot out tyres of fleeing suspects. At the time the RCIPS said an enquiry was underway into what had occurred but have never revealed the official position regarding the pursuit of suspects and if shooting out tyres was or was not allowed, nor has the outcome of that particular internal inquiry been revealed.
Other sources have confirmed to CNS that the police did have a pursuit policy which dealt with safety issues relating to the public, police officers and suspects during car chases.
In today’s Caymanian Compass, Angelique Howell, the head of the Contingency Planning Unit, is reported as revealing that “half the time” police officers did not know what policies were or where to find them. The goal, she said, was to put everything where everyone could find it.

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Two arrested in fatal smash

| 04/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police had now confirmed that two people have been arrested in connection with the car smash which claimed the life of 24 year old FederAnn Faustino. According to other sources Faustino’s boyfriend was driving the Honda Civic in which she was killed and an 18 year old girl was driving the Toyota Land Cruiser. Police said that both drivers have been arrested. One on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and the other on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. One of the drivers remains in George Town Hospital under going treatment for non life threatening injuries and the second is on police bail pending interview.  (Photos Dennie Warren Jr)

The major collision occurred on Tuesday the 3 August at around 12:30am. 911 Centre received a call regarding the crash which occurred on the Esterely Tibbetts highway near the Lakeside Condos. 
Faustino who was a passenger in the Honda civic sustained serious injuries and was later pronounced dead at the George Town Hospital and police said an autopsy will take place today (Wednesday) at 2pm. 
The Vehicles are in the process of being inspected by the RCIPS accident reconstructionist and police said that further information will be made available to the public as the investigation progresses. 
The RCIPS is appealing to anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the collision, came up on it after or have any information. No matter how insignificant it may seems we would like to hear from you, or you can please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 (TIPS) 
Investigating Officer PC Watts of the Traffic Management can be contacted at 926-3136 or Traffic Management Unit at 946-6254. 

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South Africa announces TIEA with Cayman

| 04/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): According to reports in the South African press, that country will be one of the next jurisdictions with which the Cayman Islands will be signing a tax exchange deal. The Cayman government has already signed 19 different Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) with countries around the world surpassing the OECD’s standard of at least 12 deals. Although there is no indication of when or where the TIEA will be signed with South Africa on the Tax Information Authority website, The Times reports that the details of the TIEA with Cayman and four other jurisdictions were presented to South African law makers this week.

The last deal Cayman signed was with Canada in June, here in George Town between Premier McKeeva Bush and Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Stephen Hallihan. The premier has signed a number of deals locally, sone haave even been signed via courier. However, others have been signed on location by the premier and it is not known if Bush will be travelling to Johannesburg to sign this deal or if it will be signed locally.
The Cayman Islands is on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) „white list‟ of jurisdictions that substantially implement international tax standards and currently has 19 bilateral arrangements with the following countries for the provision of tax information: Aruba, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom. Copies of the agreements can be found via the following link: 

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Cops:Gambling not a priority

| 04/08/2010 | 30 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Headline News, Cayman gambling(CNS): Following reports that an international gambling firm was able to purchase illegal lottery tickets with little difficulty during its research in Cayman, the police have revealed that illegalgaming is not at the top of the RCIPS list. As the debate about legalising gambling continues, those who are against it suggest that the failure of police to enforce the gambling laws is an example of the ‘official lawlessness’ that is widespread in the islands. Others see the open flouting of the law as one of the many reasons why it is time for it to be legalised to facilitate a national lottery or casinos. Police did state that when reports are made about illegal gaming they follow through but admitted it was not a priority. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

A police spokesperson said that there were 45 recorded offences this year involving gambling, lottery tickets and illegal gaming, and 57 people were arrested for circumstances surrounding illegal gambling. “Having said that the RCIPS clearly deals with the offences that are reported to them, it is not a Force priority,” the spokesperson stated.
Although asked about the circumstances surrounding the consultant firm, G-Tech and the ease with which it was able to purchase tickets, meet and discuss the illegal gaming industry with its players, the RCIPS made no comment.
While there is support in the community for the decision by the RCIPS to prioritise other crime, others are concerned that the illegal numbers game fuels those other crimes. Billy Adam, a local activist and strong opponent of legalisation, said the police should be enforcing the gaming laws, not just because it’s illegal and the police have an obligation to enforce it, but because it is linked to other crimes.
“This is yet another example of the lawlessness in Cayman of the authorities,” Adam said. “Who gets to decide which laws we enforce and which we chose to ignore when it suits us? We should not be surprised that all crime is rising when the authorities are not enforcing laws that don’t suit them.”
Adam said that there was a direct link between gambling and crime and the police had a duty to enforce the gambling law.
His point was shared by the former commissioner, David George, who said in September 2008 that the police service would be enforcing the law with regard to the illegal numbers game and other forms of gambling.
“The fact is, the ‘numbers’ game is illegal and can often be linked to other forms of crime,” George said at the time. “In addition, any place that carries large sums of cash, and is known to carry it, increases their risk of becoming a victim of serious crime. This is a holistic approach to crime prevention; through tackling the selling of numbers, we hope to prevent crime from taking place and demonstrate a proportionate response to crime.”
George’s comments were made in the wake of charges brought against Assistant Commissioner Rudy Dixon (who remains on suspension since March 2008) related to a gambling arrest.
Dixon was accused of misconduct because he had allegedly instructed Chief Inspector Reginald Branch in Cayman Brac to release two men who had been brought in for illegal gambling and to give them back the cash and gambling registers which had been seized.
The charges were brought by the UK special police investigation team (SPIT) Senior Investigating Officer, Martin Bridger, during Operation Tempura. However, the charges were dropped as Dixon demonstrated that during 2003, the last time the question of legalising gambling was up for debate, it was the RCIPS policy, as instructed by the then commissioner David Thursfield, not to bring prosecutions over gambling at the time.  
The premier said earlier this year that he wishes to put the gambling question before the people of the Cayman Islands to decide one and for all whether or not it should be legal. He has suggested there will be a referendum in November but it is not yet clear if this will be for just a lottery, exclusive casinos for visitors only, or for all types of gaming. McKeeva Bush has also said publicly that if the country decides ‘no’ in a referendum he would want to see the law properly enforced and the illegal gaming stopped.
G-Tech, the international gaming firm which was able to purchase illegal gaming tickets during its research into the potential lottery market in Cayman, is reportedly one of three gaming firms that have submitted proposals to the government to create a legal national lottery and related games.
The government is expected to receive between $1.2 and 1.4 million in receipts based on the illegal market, which is worth around $11milllion.

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Public accounts on track

| 04/08/2010 | 15 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news(CNS):The chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Ezzard Miller, says that the civil servants involved in pulling together the government’s annual accounts are working hard to make the September deadline. Despite the significant number of reports still outstanding, Miller said great strides have been made recently and he is confident that most government entities will be completely up to date by the end of next month. He also stated that financial officers have been working hard with the audit office to make the deadline for the 2009/10 year end accounts as well. The PAC chair said he hopes to achieve the goal of having a full set of government accounts audited and ready to be reviewed by PAC well before the end of this financial year. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Government has not completed a full set of annual accounts since 2005, but Miller told CNS on Tuesday that he still had high hopes that the 2009/10 financial year accounts would be completed and audited on time, serving their purpose of helping government draw up its annual budget based on real audited figures from the previous year for the first time in several years.
“The focus for PAC remains on addressing the backlog of reports, and priority is being given to 09/10 accounts so that we can finally get all government accounts on track,” he said. “What I want to happen before I leave this chair is to have the audit process on schedule and complying with the Public Management and Finance Law. We need government departments and agencies to close their accounts by 31 August, submit those to the Auditor General’s Office, which should complete its work by 31 October so that the PAC can then play its part before the figures become worthless. We also need time to point out any fiscal problems before the budget is drawn up.”
While Miller said he was confident that a lot of work is being done to really tackle the government’s delinquent accounting process, hehad other concerns about the PAC itself and the failure of members to show up to meetings.
Miller said that he has consistently tried to have the committee meet every month but he revealed that other members of PAC are still otherwise occupied on most of the occasions that he has attempted to set up PAC meetings recently.
“As I made clear in the PAC report this year, which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly, I am concerned that committee members are not able to attend meetings because of other duties,” he said. “Every time I call a meeting and no one attends it is being recorded.”
The chair said he was disappointed that while he had shifted the day for PAC members to meet from Thursday’s to Tuesday to accommodate the needs of the government members, PAC had still not met since April as a result of them not turning up.
The public accounts committee has four other members aside from Miller, who is the chairman. The three government members are Dwayne Seymour, Elio Solomon and Cline Glidden and the one opposition member is Moses Kirkconnell.

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Young Progressives speak out over project proposals

| 04/08/2010 | 17 Comments

(CNS): In June, CNS intern Ashleigh Hydes spoke with the Young United Democratic Party leaders (YUDP) about the government’s proposed private-public development projects that it hopes will rejuvenate Cayman’s economy. Last week, Ashleigh sat down with Denise Miller, (Left) the president of the Young Progressives (YP), to get their take on government plans and the same debate. Not surprisingly, Miller had a number of concerns about government plans, especially over the East End cargo facility, but she did offer support for the idea of a hospital and the development of medical tourism.

With government backing a hospital proposal by Dr Devi Shetty, the channel for the North Sound, cruise berthing in George Town and a cargo port facility project in East End, CNS asked Denise about the YP’s opinions on the same issues.

“The YP is very concerned about national conservation and our islands’ marine life,” she said. "There is a reason why the development law was written: to enforce proper checks on the development," stated Denise. She told CNS that the young politicians are also against the development of the channel in the North Sound because it is unnecessary and the ecosystem will be destroyed.

When asked about the new hospital, Denise said that the medical tourism is possibly the most beneficial of all government’s proposals. "It could be another pillar to our economy if it is done right," she said, offering support and adding that she hoped it would bring in more revenue from tourists, which is a plus.

In regards to the George Town cruise berthing, Denise had a few suggestions of her own. She thinks it needs to be improved and an environmental assessment should be done. The cruise berthing isn’t as attractive as it could be to the tourists who frequently visit the island, she suggested.

The Young Progressives are against the cargo facility in East End, Denise revealed, because "it is the last bit of real Caymanwe have left," she said. They feel that the government is trying to industrialize the area against the will of the people to have the port in that district.

Although all the costs needed for the projects are, according to government, being taken care of by the developer, Denise does not think that will be the case. Her reason for that belief is that the main road will have to be moved, which will be in the hands and expense of government. She also said that so much of the untouched flora andfauna in the district will be destroyed.

"We need to have all hands on deck!” Denise declared. “The voice of the opposition and the voice of the people isn’t being heard. They are the government for all of us not just for the people that voted them in."

Since he announced these different projects, McKeeva Bush, the country’s premier, has said he will be going ahead with them even if there is opposition, but Denise made it clear that the views of the Young Progressives are definitely going to be heard. They are willing to stand with Arden McLean, the People’s Progressive Movement representative for East End, in front of the bulldozers if it comes to it, Denise told CNS.

15-year-old Ashleigh Hydes worked with CNS as a work link student earlier this summer.

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London world capital of reputation laundering

| 04/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): It has a strong claim to be the world capital of everything from finance to design, but now London can add a new, more dubious distinction: it has become the reputation laundering destination of choice for foreign heads of state whose controversial activities may have stained their countries’ public images. An investigation by the Guardian has revealed that the capital’s public relations firms are earning millions of pounds a year promoting foreign regimes with some of the world’s worst human rights records, including Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka.

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