Archive for January 28th, 2011

Police recover loaded gun following pursuit

| 28/01/2011 | 29 Comments

(CNS): A 26-year-old man has been arrested after police officers recovered a loaded handgun. Police say that in the early hours of yesterday morning (Thursday 27 January) officers from the Uniform Support Group, Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force and the Air Operations Unit mounted an operation in the Red Bay area. About 12:50pm that day, officers involved in the operation attempted to stop a vehicle close to Grand Harbour. The vehicle failed to stop and drove off at speed but the driver abandoned the car a short distance away and ran from the scene.

Officers gave chase and arrested him nearby. They subsequently searched a nearby house and recovered a loaded handgun from the exterior of the premises.

The man is currently detained on suspicion of various driving and firearms offences.

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Amazon Kindle e-book downloads outsell paperbacks

| 28/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Amazon has announced that in the US it sold more e-books for its Kindle device than it sold paperback books in the last three months of 2010. But its profit margins were down as it spent money on discounting, acquisitions and building new depots. Amazon shares fell 9% in after-hours trading as its sales were not as good as had been expected. Three month net sales passed $10bn for the first time, up 36% to $12.95bn, but analysts had predicted a higher figure. Three month net income came in at $416m (£262m), which was up 8% from the same period last year. The world’s biggest online retailer’s operating margin declined to 3.7% from 5% at the end of 2009 and the company warned that it would be between 2.8% and 3.8% in the first three months of 2011.

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Cruise ship dock for Brac

| 28/01/2011 | 52 Comments

(CNS): Plans have been submitted for phase one of a marina and cruise ship dock on the northwest of Cayman Brac. If passed by the Development Control Board, phase one will involve the excavation of 258,000 cubic yards of fill to make a 25 foot deep trench, which is intended at a later stage to be a marina for small boats. Future phases of the plans, submitted by Scotts Development, include a hotel, condominiums, a gas station, commercial stalls and restaurants, as well as a 940-foot extension to the existing jetty to accommodate cruise ships. (Left: the existing jetty, known as Scotts Dock)

The future marina would not be open to the sea in this initial stage of the development. The fill extracted to make it would be used for later phases and not moved elsewhere, according to the plans, which call for the development  of the area around Cemetery Pier, also known as Scotts Dock.

While Dervyn Scott of Scott Development said he was reluctant to talk to the media until the plans were passed, he has said that he had been talking to developersabout building a seven-storey hotel at this location.

At the Cayman Business Outlook conference at the Ritz-Carlton last week, Premier McKeeva Bush said that the same group of Chinese developers interested in developing a channel in the North Sound to facilitate mega yachts had also discussed other projects, including development of a cruise pier and related facilities in Cayman Brac, the development of a pier and related facilities near to the Cayman Turtle Farm in West Bay, major road works in the eastern districts of Grand Cayman, and enhancements to the airports both in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

However, the previous tourism minister, Charles Clifford, told CNS last year after Bush had pronounced his support for the idea of a cruise dock for the Brac at the 2010 CBO, that during their administration the PPM had looked at all angles of the cruise ship business for the Brac and concluded that the cost of building berthing facilities, which would run to about $100 million, was not viable.

Clifford said that the PPM had many discussions with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), but the feedback was that therewere serious issues with bringing cruise tourism to Cayman Brac. Because of the narrow shape of the island and the way the island lies, at a north-northeast south-southwest angle, and with the winds predominantly from the north east, the weather conditions on both the north and the south sides were challenging more often than not. Because of the weather conditions, it would have to be a substantial investment and they estimated the cost involved to be in the region of $100 million, which the cruise lines were not prepared to invest.

In addition, when they considered the size of the population, which is about 1,800, against the average size of the cruise ships, this would not work. “Most cruise ships have 2,000 plus passengers. This would be like 80,000 passengers arriving on Grand Cayman. The population could not cope,” Clifford said at the time.

The previous administration had also considered the smaller cruise ships with 250 to 350 passengers. “There are not a lot operating and typically they have two to three week trips,” he said. The PPM looked at whether berthing facilities for the smaller cruise ships could work. However, because of the infrequency of the visits, they also ruled this out.

“We also considered how beneficial it was to Cayman Brac and how many business people would invest in an occasional visit with only a couple of hundred passengers passing through a month,” he said. “The whole issue required considerable thought,” Clifford noted, and said their conclusions were that having cruise ships stop at Cayman Brac was not feasible.

However, the former tourism minister said they did look at day trips to the Brac, in which passengers docking at Grand Cayman would be sold deluxe day-trip packages, which would include flight on the Cayman Express. The Cayman Airways Twin Otters have the capacity to fly more frequently – which might mean hiring more crew – and the planes could bring as many as 40 passengers in a day, Clifford said, adding that the PPM believed that this idea (which was originally proposed by the previous UDP government) offered the best opportunities for Cayman Brac businesses.

“Up to the time we left office, we were looking at how to make that work and that was the direction we were heading,” he said, saying that was the way the PPM believed that the Brac people would benefit the most from cruise tourism, and the FCCA had like the idea.

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Insomnia damages relationships, according to study

| 28/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Lack of sleep needs to be treated as a major health issue, according to a report published by the Mental Health Foundation. The report, Sleep Matters, suggests a link between insomnia and poor relationships, low energy levels and an inability to concentrate. Poor sleep has already been linked to depression, immune deficiency and heart disease. The report calls for GPs to have more training to recognise the symptoms.

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Status of police officers under PSML unclear

| 28/01/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Police officers are not considered to be civil servants under the Public Service Management Law but the law continues to be cited and used when addressing issues such as salary and other HR Matters, the Cayman Islands Police Association noted in a release following its Annual General Meeting in December. The Association said it also finds it “puzzling” that, although police officers are considered civil servants in some instances, they are not afforded the same or similar privileges as their colleagues in the wider civil service as provided under this law. Chairman Rudolph Gordon said the membership feels disenfranchised as “civil servants” and many of the labour issues facing his membership go unresolved.

This is due in part to the absence of legislation to deal with other human resources issues other than discipline offences mentioned in the Police Law. However, the release said, it has been the chairman’s understanding from the Civil Service Portfolio responsible for the police that similar rights will be forthcoming in the new Police Regulation. The association said he was pleased the relevant changes would be accommodated in the new Police Regulation and welcomed the provisions when implemented.

Due to the confusion surrounding the PSML, the association has mandated to properly represent its membership, and as such the Joint Branch Board has supported an independent review of the Public Service Management Law (2010) to address the rights and privileges of police officers within the Cayman Islands.

At the AGM, held on Wednesday 15 December 2010 in George Town, the committee members were re-elected with one position changing hands. The new committee was duly formed on the 6 January and the representatives are as follows: Rudolph Gordon – Chairman, Winsome Prendergast – Chairman Legal Affairs & Branch Board A, Betty Ann Ebanks – Secretary, Joint Branch Board, Damion Thomas – Treasurer, Malcolm Kay – Chairman Branch Board B, Richard Scott – Committee Representative, Mark Green – Committee Representative

In early 2010 the Police Association brought a range of issues affecting officers to the commissioner and three have been addressed: the amendment to the demarcation of salary points for sergeants; local officers returning to the service receiving two-year contract creating a level playing field in this area; the association is represented at the RCIPS Strategic Management and Resource meeting chaired by the commissioner or his designate.

The association said it was delighted that the continuing dialogue with the commissioner had resulted in some very positive results for officers in the RCIPS. The chairman, Inspector Rudolph Gordon, stated that he looked forward to working with David Baines and his senior management team in the coming months in relation to other issues, such as training and development, succession planning and promotion board/exams policy.

The association said it was aware that some of the concerns raised by its members in 2010 do not fall directly under the remit of the commissioner of police. These concerns include issues such as compensation for higher education and pensions.

The newly elected committee iscommitted to working with the commissioner and the government in finding solutions to the many complex issues facing police officers and the RCIPS as a whole, the release stated.

At the AGM, Sergeant Wendy Parchment, Constable Christopher Samuels, Cyril Gordon and Daniel Cowan were all presented with gifts as recognition for their dedication and commitment to duty. DC Richard Clarke was also recognized at a separate function for his contribution to the Police Association as a past representative.

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Calling all Caymanians who’d like tea with the queen

| 28/01/2011 | 68 Comments

(CNS): Citizens or nationals of the Cayman Islands who are planning to be in the United Kingdom Wednesday 29 June, Tuesday 12 July or Tuesday 19 July and would like to include one of Queen Elizabeth’s royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace on their schedule are invited to submit applications to attend. British citizens living outside the UK are also eligible, according to a release from GIS. Applications should be addressed to the Deputy Governor’s Office, at the Government Administration Building. The deadline for submission is Thursday, 17 February. Invitations are not extended to diplomatic service staff on leave or to anyone who has previously attended one of Her Majesty’s garden parties.

It should also be noted that applying will not automatically result in an invitation. Successful applicants may be accompanied by a spouse and up to two unmarried children between the ages of 18 and 25. Single guests may take a companion who must be at least 18 years old.

To apply, the following information must be submitted in writing: the applicant’s full name, title and decorations, occupation, marital status, name of accompanying spouse or companion, names and ages of accompanying children, a reliable UK contact address (not a bank or hotel) and a preferred attendance date, as well as any date which will not be acceptable.

Completed applications may be hand delivered, emailed or faxed to Tristaca Ebanks in the Deputy Governor’s Office, no later than Thursday, 17 February. Her email, phone and fax contacts are, 244-2286 or 244-2432, and 949-0877. Successful candidates who are compelled to change travel plans, or are unable to accept an invitation, must immediately inform the Deputy Governor’s Office.


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Pink Ladies give to schools

| 28/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following a successful Annual Christmas Tea and Bazaar in November last year, the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps have been able to donate funds back to the Community. In addition to supporting the Pines Retirement Home new building fund and the NCVO Telethon, Pink Ladies are supporting local schools in a number ofways. Pink Ladies have been active supporters of the Lighthouse School for many years. School Principal Carla MacVicar recently received a cheque for CI$5000 from Pink Lady Kathleen Murphy on behalf of the organisation.

Murphy has been volunteering at the school for more than 20 years and presented the donation, which will fund Creative Arts Projects at the School, accompanied by Pink Ladies Director Nancy Whitefield.The school is continuing to work on developing arts in the curriculum and plan to offer all primary students motivating and exciting activities in the areas of arts and craft, drama and dance in addition to the popular Arts Fridays events for all students.

Part of the donation will go towards the school’s emergency fund for uniforms and meals. As Mrs McVicar noted more parents are requesting lunch and uniform assistance for their child as they are finding it hard to find the finances in these economic times.

More children will enjoy a daily healthy and delicious school lunch this academic year thanks to a donation and collaboration between Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps and Mise en Place School Catering Service.

Nancy Whitefield, Pink Ladies Director, recently presented a cheque for CI$1,000 to Sean Collins of Mise en Place, accompanied by a group of children from Red Bay Primary School. Pink Ladies representatives were able to see at first hand the meals catered by Mise en Place at a number of local schools where the food provided, including fruits and vegetables and less processed and unhealthy eating options lives up to their motto of “fuelling young minds”.

According to Claire Collins of Mise en Place, there is an increase in the number of students who are unable to pay for school lunch and this makes the donation to the programme even more vital as it helps to provide what could well be the only balanced meal some students receive on a daily basis

One of the main fundraising activities of Pink Ladies is the operation of the Pink Hibiscus Coffee Shop at George Town Hospital which offers hot breakfasts and lunches, a variety of salads and sandwiches, snacks and drinks from 7am – 5pm daily.

Anyone interested in assisting the Pink Ladies should contact Jane Moon by email or 916 150.

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