Archive for March 16th, 2011

Immigration puts block on illegal paving business

| 16/03/2011 | 17 Comments

(CNS): The enforcement arm of the immigration department recently put a stop to a paving business that was run by an American national who was employing three people but had no permits for himself or his employees. The man was fined $20,900 after he pleaded guilty to several offences and opted to have his case dealt with administratively, paying the large fine rather than face court proceedings. Explaining the details of the case, immigration officials said they had received a tip that the man was completing commercial paving contracts for local businesses, and after launching an investigation, the offender was apprehended while attempting to leave the Owen Roberts International Airport.

“This case was unusual because of the scope of his operation,” Deputy Chief Immigration Officer for Enforcement, Gary Wong, said in a release. “He rented heavy equipment and services from local companies and actively solicited business.”

This is not the only case where immigration enforcement has achieved success. Officers have collected some $136,000 in administrative fines since last July, with officers continuing to target offenders at all levels. In addition, 18 people are currently facing court charges for overstaying and having falsified documents, while 14 others – including some local employers – are on bail pending results of ongoing investigations.

Wong said that the most common offences that officials see are overstaying, working outside the terms of work permits (working in occupations or for employers not named on a work permit), employing persons without a work permit and making false representations.

Reminding employers and workers alike that many offences are preventable, Wong said if employers submit renewal applications before current work permits expire, they can avoid possible charges of employing persons without a work permit. Also, there is provision for workers to apply for amendments allowing them to work for additional employers and in new occupations.

Under the administrative fine provision, a fine can be double or triple the normal cost of an annual work permit. Furthermore, when persons are fined and leave Cayman, special permission must be granted before they can re-enter the country.

However Wong said that certain offences, such as human smuggling and illegal landing, will not be dealt with administratively and will be referred to the courts.

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans applauded the diligence of her officers, especially those inthe Enforcement Section. She also thanked the public for supplying information which has led to arrests.

“These offences will not be tolerated,” she said. “After undertaking several accommodating initiatives over the past year, including an immigration amnesty and a series of educational district meetings, my staff is now conscientiously enforcing the laws and regulations.”

She added that at the current rate, total fines will soon surpass those imposed during the past fiscal year. Between July 2009 and June 2010, administrative fines amounting to $181,000 were collected.

Those who are overstaying or committing other immigration offences should voluntarily contact Immigration Enforcement. Failure to do so will result in their arrest when attempting to depart.
The penalty for overstaying is a fine of up to $20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. Penalties for work permit offences range from CI$5,000 to $15,000 and imprisonment of up to one year. Fines can be significantly higher when dealt with administratively.

To contact the Immigration Department call 949-8344, or the toll-free Enforcement Hotline: 91-800 534 2546. Alternatively, email the Enforcement Section at legalim@gov.ky.

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Spoof tweets rile Mac

| 16/03/2011 | 70 Comments

(CNS): The obvious spoof Twitter account of ‘Mckeeva Bush345’, which has been making numerous local followers chortle with its comedy tweets recently, has not found favour with the premier, who has failed to see the funny side. A joke tweeter who has been posing as the Cayman Islands’ premier used an official picture of Bush but was posting tweets that were quite clearly not made by the country’s leader. The tweets appear to have riled Bush, however, as his office has filed a complaint with the social networking site. His press office issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon threatening legal action against people using the internet to defame. The statement also revealed that Bush does not have a Twitter account.

“An account on the social network Twitter that claims to be the account of Premier McKeeva Bush is an impersonation which is against Twitter’s rules,” press secretary Charles Glidden stated. “An impersonation complaint was filed today with Twitter which acknowledged the complaint and an investigation is underway.”

The statement went onto reveal that the “government intends to look at the possibility of putting legislation in place that addresses the misuse of the internet to the detriment and defamation of
others. Such legislation would not obstruct internet connection in the Cayman Islands,” the press secretary added.

According to the Twitter site it is against the rules to impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others.

With the explosion of the internet and social networking sites, some US states have introduced legislation to deal with online impersonation. The state of California’s law – SB 1411 – went into effect on 1 January this year making malicious digital impersonation a misdemeanor that comes with fines up to $1000 and/or up to a year in jail. Senate Bill 1411 made it unlawful to knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another person through or on an internet website or by other electronic means with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person. 

However, Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) who created the bill claims that his law protects the free speech rights of those who impersonate for parody, satire and political speech.

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Red Cross opens local avenue for donations to Japan

| 16/03/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Red Cross has taken the unusual step of opening an appeal for the Japanese relief effort despite not having received a direct request from the Japanese branch of the charity. As a result of the local response to the unmitigated disaster there and the outpouring of support that the residents of the Cayman Islands have shown to the victims, the CIRC is launching a soft appeal. Those who would like to help by making a financial contribution to the disaster response effort can now do so locally via a recognised international charity. The people of Japan are not only struggling to cope in the wake of one of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in history also face the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.

The latest figures provided by the Japanese Red Cross state that the number of confirmed dead is currently at 2,722. Meanwhile 3,742 persons remain missing, 1,892 are injured, and 439,337 persons have been evacuated. Figures are expected to rise, and the death toll in Miyagi Prefecture alone is expected to exceed over 10,000 persons according to local authorities.

“Within the Red Cross system, a National Society or Branch (like the CIRC) will not normally launch an appeal for another nation without first receiving a request from the Red Cross in that country,” said disaster manager, Hemant Balgobin.

The reason for this, he explained, is so that the Red Cross in the affected nation can do a proper assessment of the damage and needs but to ensure it can efficiently use the support which is offered.

“Thus far the Japanese Red Crosshas not officially sent out that request. However, in light of the inquiries we have received, the magnitude of the disaster and the threat for an additional nuclear component to an already dire situation, we have opened designated bank accounts for this disaster so that persons wishing to contribute to the response and recovery efforts may do so ASAP.”

Until the charity receives the official word from the Japanese Red Cross it will not be able to actively fundraise for the appeal but it said it will keep our residents updated as things progress in order to offer the most effective assistance to the most vulnerable. In the event that the CIRC receives more donations to the Japan Tsunami Appeal than the Japanese Red Cross and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement can reasonably and efficiently spend, any surplus funds will be used to help the local branch prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters both here in the Cayman Islands and overseas.

Two accounts have been opened at Butterfield Bank that are currently accepting donations. These accounts are: Japan Tsunami Appeal: CI Dollars- 02-201-035054/06 and US Dollars- 01-201-035054/03. The appeal will be open until 13 May 2011.

The CIRC said it cannot accept any items such as clothing, shoes, water to send to Japan. For more information, contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross at 949-6785 ext 22, 26, or 27 or log on to www.redcross.org.ky.

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Path cleared for K9 unit to import specialist breed

| 16/03/2011 | 35 Comments

(CNS): The governor will be amending the Animal (Prohibited Dogs) Regulations (2004 Revision) to allow for the importation of Belgian Malinois dogs for law enforcement purposes. According to government officials, Cabinet considered a request from the deputy governoron behalf of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting to allow the local police to import this specialist breed, sometimes referred to as Belgium Shepherd dogs. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service wishes to acquire the dogs as part of an exercise to replace their existing stock of German Shepherd canines who have reached the end of their law enforcement ‘careers’ and need to be retired.

Officials said the selection of the Belgian Malinois was the result of extensive research, which led to that dog being identified as the best for law enforcement purposes. Belgian Malinois are used by police forces around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries. The United States Secret Service and as well as the Royal Australian Air Force use the Malinois breed exclusively.

The newly acquired dogs will be a welcome addition to the RCIPS and will enhance the police crime fighting and public safety operations, an official spokesperson said in a release. They will be capable of explosive and firearm detection, narcotic detection, as well as tracking and locating persons.

The dogs are said to be less prone to heatstroke than German shepherds, have less health problems and are known for being easy to obedience train due to their high drive for rewards. The American Kennel Club says that while the Belgian Malinois is sometimes mistaken for the German Shepherd Dog, the Malinois is more elegant in build and lighter-boned, but does not lack for strength, agility or herding ability.

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Curacao refinery becoming unwelcome guest

| 16/03/2011 | 1 Comment

(Reuters): Lighting up the night sky with flames from its chimneys, Curacao’s giant Isla refinery is at the center of an increasingly acrimonious dispute over the island’s economic and environmental future. Run by neighbouring Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, the smoky, 335,000-barrels-per-day facility is the second-biggest in the Caribbean but has long been plagued by technical problems. Now some residents say PDVSA should give up the refinery when its contract expires in 2019 — freeing upland in the heart of the capital Willemstad, removing the distinctive smell of sulphur emissions and an eyesore that puts off tourists.

"The refinery has already had its day," said Edgar Leito, who worked at Isla for 39 years, including as its health, safety and environment manager. He recently formed a political group that is lobbying to have the aging refinery dismantled.

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US sends drones to track Mexican drug traffickers

| 16/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(NYT): Stepping up its involvement in Mexico’s drug war the Obama administration has begun sending drones deep into Mexican territory to gather intelligence that helps locate major traffickers and follow their networks, according to American and Mexican officials. The Pentagon began flying high-altitude, unarmed drones over Mexican skies last month, American military officials said, in hopes of collecting information to turn over to Mexican law enforcement agencies. Other administration officials said a Homeland Security drone helped Mexican authorities find several suspects linked to the Feb. 15 killing of Jaime Zapata, a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Immigration agent.

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Forged cash still circulating as CIMA plans new issue

| 16/03/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority is warning that counterfeit Cayman cash is still circulating on the islands and asks people to remain vigilant as it says it cannot compensate people who come in possession of forged notes. Circulation of forged notes is still the concern of the Financial Crime Unit (FCU) and CIMA says it is mainly CI$50, CI$25 and CI$10 notes that officers say are being used. Both CIMA and the RCIPS urge residents and business owners to follow the proper procedures to report suspicious notes. The warning comes on the eve of the introduction by CIMA of a newly redesigned family of local banknotes that are expected to be in circulation during the first week of April.

In the meantime, the FCU is urging business owners not to rely on counterfeit detection pens for spotting forged Cayman Islands banknotes – new or old. One quick and discreet way to check if a note is genuine is to keep a wet sponge handy and discreetly rub your wet fingers on the note. If the ink smudges then the note is forged, the FCU stated.

“People should look at the notes more critically and be aware of other security features, including the turtle and letters ‘CIMA’ which appear as watermarks,” said Detective Sgt. Michael Montaque. "The current forged notes in circulation do have the metallic strip which makes the notes appear genuine, further reinforcing a thorough review of suspicious notes.”

With the new notes about to come into circulation CIMA and the Chamber of Commerce have partnered to provide free information sessions and training for retailers on the island on Monday, 28 March, and Wednesday, 30 March. Entitled "Know Your Money", each session is two and a half hours and will be offered twice daily – a morning session will run from 9:30 am – 12:00 noon, and afternoon session from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm. All sessions will take place at the Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Centre, Governors Square.

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Cop pursuit ends in crash

| 16/03/2011 | 79 Comments

(CNS): A fifteen year old boy who was involved in a serious motor cycle collision in the early hours of Wednesday morning has sustained serious head injuries. The teenager, who was riding pillion behind a sixteen year old driver when the motorbike crashed into the rear of another vehicle while being pursued by a police car, is currently waiting to be airlifted to the US for treatment. The teenage driver sustained injuries to his arms and legs and is being treated at the Cayman Islands hospital, along with the pregnant, female driver of the car who was admitted with neck injuries. An RCIPS spokesperson said that the officer involved in the pursuit has been suspended from driving duties while the investigation is underway.(PhotoDennie WarrenJr)

Police say that the teens were spotted by a patrol car at around 3am this morning riding along the West Bay Road with no lights. The marked police vehicle was heading north in West Bay Road, close to Pizza Hut when the officer reportedly saw the motorcycle with two people on board, driving south towards George Town with no lights on.

“The officer immediately turned his vehicle around, switched on his blue lights and sirens, and signalled the motorcycle to stop. A short time later, as the motorcycle approached the vicinity of the St Matthews University residencies, it collided with the rear of a car which was also travelling south,” a police spokesperson stated.

The 34-year-old female driver of the car, who is several months pregnant and her three passengers were all taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital suffering from head and neck pain. The passengers have since been treated and discharged but the driver remains in the hospital, police said at lunchtime.

The West Bay Road was closed for several hours following the collision to allow the scene to be processed causing problems for early morning commuter traffic. Superintendent Adrian Seales is overseeing the investigation and police said that in accordance with standard practice the driver of the police vehicle has been suspended from driving duties until all of the circumstances surrounding the collision are investigated.
 

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Curacao to create data and technology park

| 16/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman is not the only Caribbean country looking to technology as a possible direction for diversifying its economy. Plans are now reportedly in place to build the largest datacenter and technology park in the region in Curacao. According to a release from the Dutch territory’s government following a year’s detailed research by government and its partners in the venture CTEX the technology park will offer businesses and governments in the region ‘bunker-type’ facilities from which they can operate their organizations either as a secondary or backup or primary facility. Geographically outside the Caribbean’s main hurricane belt, the island hopes to benefit from the position to attract business to the park.

“We are excited about the project and believe that the economic impact to Curacao will ultimately drive the creation of a new economic sector resulting in more jobs and revenues for the island. In many ways, the project repositions Curacao as a new business center in the same manner as the offshore sector did decades ago,” said Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte. “More importantly the technology park as a whole will drive up our education levels and result in downstream growth in other industries such as Financial Services, Real-estate, Hospitality and Telecommunications. If we are to become a player in today’s world that is primarily driven by Technology, then Curacao must seek its leadership role in the region.”

The park will consist of four independent pods or buildings over approximately 12.000 m2 where
CTEX will offer businesses and governments a unique blend of services which include the digitalization and storage of information sensitive paper documents in a climate controlled environment, an expansive datacenter housing the latest ‘cloud’ computing infrastructure that customers can lease as well as full emergency recovery facilities with standby offices with international telecommunications access.

“Because of the geographic positioning of Curacao which is located relatively outside the traditional hurricane belt in a politically stable jurisdiction, having a center on the island that can provide backup for critical business transactions and data, makes all the sense and places our island in a unique and enviable position in the region,” said Anthony DeLima CTEX’s CEO. “CTEX’s facilities will provide companies with investments in neighboring countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Surinam and Panama with an alternative operating facility.”

CTEX’s facilities will be built based on the international LEED certified standards for energy efficiency and will be the only facility in its class in the region. They facilities are designed to withstand hurricane force winds and operate independently for 15 business days based on self-sustained power generation, accommodation and provisioning for emergency staff located in the facility.
 

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White House to push privacy bill

| 16/03/2011 | 0 Comments

(Wall Street Journal): The Obama administration plans to ask Congress Wednesday to pass a "privacy bill of rights" to protect Americans from intrusive data gathering, amid growing concern about the tracking and targeting of Internet users. Lawrence E. Strickling, an assistant secretary of commerce, is expected to call for the legislation at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee, said a person familiar with the matter. This person said the administration will back a law that follows the outlines of a report issued by the Commerce Department in December. The administration wants any new rules to be enforceable and will look to expand the Federal Trade Commission’s authority, this person said.

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