Archive for June 27th, 2011

PPM invites all to join demo

| 27/06/2011 | 70 Comments

(CNS): PPM leader Alden McLaughlin is calling on the people to come out on Tuesday morning and show their concern about the way they are being governed as well as their opposition to developments such as the oil refinery and the East End Sea Port. The demonstration is being led by the opposition and the independent member and is supported by a number of other community activists, such as the Concerned Citizens Group and Save Cayman. The opposition has said the goal of the march is to show government that people are worried not just about the recent announcement of various inappropriate developments but the current standard of governance.

The leader of the opposition, who will be leading the march on parliament, said that after this weekend’s events the protest was even more significant.

“Given the recent revelations, there is even more need for the people to express how they feel about the kind of governance we have at present,” McLaughlin told CNS on the eve of the march, as he referred to the claims by him and the member for North Side that a current police investigation over financial irregularities concerns the country’s premier.

The demonstration will begin at the Cricket Pitch near Smith Road and the protestors are expected to begin marching at noon before arriving at the Legislative Assembly at 12:45pm, where members of the opposition and other groups will be voicing their concerns.

The demo comes on the heels of a separate peaceful pray and protest held in East End on Saturday, which was held to show the community’s opposition to the proposals by Joseph Imparato to develop a commercial port. This has been dubbed the ‘mega quarry’ as a result of the now widespread belief that its primary purpose is to remove millions of dollars worth of fill from the site at High Rock.

The demonstration is expected to attract a significant number of people but there will be many that may not attend as a result of their position as government employees or fear of ramifications. As a result, the Young Progressives have collected messages and comments from those who will not be able to publicly demonstrate. However, PPM members Aden McLean and McLaughlin as well as the North Side MLA Ezzard Miller have pledged to offer their support to anyone who faces recriminations as a result of their participation in the march.

Although they cannot offer any participant any guarantees in respect of their jobs or possible discrimination caused by taking part, they pledged to stand by victims of any retaliation. “The truth is that, unfortunately, there are limits to the protection which is provided by law to the citizens of this country who wish to exercise their democratic right to demonstrate,” McLean said.

Miller, who, along with East End PPM member Arden McLean, has been leading the charge against the proposed comercial port development said there were no guarantees or protection for those taking part in this protest and pledged his support to the people he described as pioneers. “That is what they are,” he said. “That is what it will take to move this country forward as a democracy.”

Following authorization for the demonstration from the RCIPS from 11:30am to 3pm, the south bound lanes of a number of roads will be closed to traffic. 

Smith Road, Hudlah Avenue the junction of Goring Avenue and Elgin Avenue, Shedden Road near Anderson Square, Cardinal Avenue and Edward Street, Fort Street by the Town Clock and Fort Street and North Church Street by the traffic lights will be closed and police are urging all road users to be vigilant during the march and take care while using the roadways.

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Cops ask whole community to hand in guns

| 27/06/2011 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A window of opportunity to hand in firearms to the police without fear of landing in jail has opened once again.  Starting on Friday 1 July until Sunday 31 July any unlicensed, unwanted and illegal guns or ammunition can be handed in at George Town, West Bay, Bodden Town and Cayman Brac police stations and those who take in the guns can do so anonymously where there will be no risk of prosecution for possession of the weapons or ammunition. Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden, head of the RCIPS Criminal Investigation Department, said that he hoped that this year’s amnesty which focuses on encouraging everyone to take responsibility for fighting crime would mirror the success of the 2010 campaign.

The campaign strap line ‘Our ten year plan’ refers to an island wide commitment to addressing gun crime which Bodden said he hoped would encourage everyone on the Islands to work together for a safer Cayman. Last year the cops asked people what their ten year plan was pointing to the ten year mandatory sentence for crimes which are gun related.

“Last year the crime landscape in the Cayman Islands was somewhat different,” Bodden said. “We launched the 2010 amnesty against a backdrop of gun killings and gang violence. This year we face the challenge of armed robberies where local businesses are being targeted for cash. While the reality is that overall crime is down – this spate of robberies continues to cause us concern. The good news is that over the past few weeks our proactive operations have led to the recovery of a number of loaded guns and some significant arrests – but we do accept that there is still much more work to be done.”

Bodden was speaking at the launch of the 2011 amnesty which he said was just one strand of the RCIPS’ overall strategy to reduce the availability of guns and ammunition on the streets. “It’s one more way to cut thenumber of guns and bullets available for criminal use. There is clear evidence to suggest that guns continue to be shared by criminals on the Islands. Just one gun being removed from that supply chain could prevent numerous robberies and could ultimately save lives.”

Officers from the RCIPS have two firm objectives for the amnesty. The first is to get guns and ammunition off the streets and the second is to start a constructive dialogue within the Cayman Islands about the need to take a collective proactive stand against gun crime.
“What will Cayman look like ten years from now if we don’t start working together to solve this problem? How safe will we feel; how will it impact on our tourism product?” he asked.

“Through this latest amnesty we want communities, government and businesses to work with us and develop Cayman’s ten year plan – our plan to keep these Islands safe and free of gun crime.”

Bodden also noted another significant difference with this year’s amnesty when he explained it will be coming directly to the community. “Through a series of district meetings we will show you how gun crime is impacting on your community and discuss what we can do, collectively, to stop gun crime in Cayman,” he said to the people of Cayman.

Anyone who has an interest in keeping Cayman safe is encouraged to come along and have their say at the meetings (see schedule below).

Anyone who wishes to take part in the amnesty should take their guns and ammunition along to George Town, West Bay, Bodden Town and Cayman Brac police stations. The guns and ammunition should be deposited in the secure lock boxes at the locations. There is no need to provide names or any other personal details to police. The amnesty will operate 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 pm.

If you have information about gun crime, or know of anyone who has an unlicensed or illegal weapon, please call your local police station, the RCIPS confidential tip line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

Public meeting schedule:

Tuesday         5 July 7:30-8:30pm George Town Mary Miller Memorial Hall
Wednesday   6 July 7:30-8:30pm West Bay Sir John A Cumber PS
Thursday        7 July 7:30-8:30pm Bodden Town  Bodden Town Primary School  

Monday         11 July  7:30-8:30pm  East End   Civic Centre.                                               Tuesday        12 July 7:30-8:30pm North Side  Cradock Ebanks Civic Centre
Wednesday  13 July  7:30-8:30pm  Cayman Brac   Layman Scott High School Hall
Thursday       14 July 7:30-8:30pm Little Cayman Hurricane Shelter

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Jamaica eyes finance as potential income stream

| 27/06/2011 | 1 Comment

(JIS): Jamaica has a good shot at success as an International Financial Centre (IFC), Chairman of the Jamaica International Financial Services Authority (JIFSA), Eric Crawford, told the Diaspora Convention in Ocho Rios, last month. “It’s a very high value added industry everywhere it exists. In fact, the wealthiest economies in the world are international financial centres, and Jamaica has a very good shot at making a success of an international financial centre,” he stated. He was speaking to membersof the Jamaican Diaspora at their fourth biennial convention at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, St. Ann.

The convention, which ends Friday June 17, is being held under the theme, ‘One Nation: Jamaica and its Diaspora in Partnership’.

“If we make it as successful, as we believe it can be, the implications for the economy will be far reaching and significant,” he explained.

He noted that annual registration fees to establish the companies and other entities are significant, and would mean additional taxes for the Government, as well as significant earnings for professionals in terms of audit, legal and other professional fees.

Crawford also noted that some of the world’s wealthiest countries boasted international financial centres of their own, including Bermuda, which has the highest per capita income of any country in the world.

See full article

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Cop’s dad died in boat rescue

| 27/06/2011 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Police have now confirmed that the man who was killed at the weekend after the boat he was in capsized in the South Sound was Oscar Shaw who was the father of a serving RCIPS officer. Shaw was aboard a vessel on Saturday afternoon which was spotted in difficulty by the police helicopter at around 3:53pm. The air support unit was flying over the South Sound area off Dart Park as a result of a another marine report involving a kite-surfer and marine officers were also nearby on land when the crew saw the 16ft boat some 600 metres off shore in heavy seas and taking on water. As the helicopter relayed information on the boat’s condition the crew saw the vessel capsized by a wave and all four of the people on the boat were thrown overboard. (Photo courtesy of Cayman27)

All of the boaters were then seen to be in difficulty and a Sunset Dive boat with three crew on board was in the water nearby and contacted to render immediate assistance, which they did.  In difficult sea conditions, the Sunset Divers boat crew threw out buoyancy vests and life rings to the boaters and commenced a rescue of all four who were drifting apart. 

The Sunset Divers crew entered the water on several occasions to assist two of the stricken boaters, and rendered initial first aid to the recovered victims.  This included continuous CPR, which continued until the boat docked at Sunset House to transfer to EMS personnel that had been requested on standby by the police helicopter who continued to co-ordinate further resources.

Marine Unit officers attended the location on jet skis to assist in a further search with the helicopter for a fifth person believed missing from the previous kite surfing incident, but this person was traced safe and well having swum safely shore.

The position of the capsized boat was marked and the boat was later recovered by a Port Authority vessel.

“The response and the efforts of the Sunset Divers staff, who were close to the scene, prevented this tragic accident being even worse, and indeed they should be commended for their continued efforts to give all four victims their best possible chance of survival,” said Chief Inspector Martin Bodden Jr.

The Commissioner and all staff wish to express their condolences on this tragic accident.

 

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PPM: Bush being investigated

| 27/06/2011 | 124 Comments

(CNS): A press statement from Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin claims that McKeeva Bush, the premier of the Cayman Islands, is the subject of a police investigation into allegations of official corruption for activities that took place during the previous UDP administration. He says that Governor Duncan Taylor has confirmed to both him and Independent MLA Ezzard Miller the existence of a police investigation but has not said who the subject of the investigation is. However, the premier stated when asked about the allegations, “I understand from the opposition that they have been at this over a year and it is quite obvious that they will stop at nothing to defame and slander me in the hope of being the Premier. Please understand, if anyone accuses me in any shape or form I'm going to sue them!”

“For some months now rumours have been circulating regarding a police investigation into allegations of official corruption by an elected member of the Government,” the release from McLaughlin said. “As the official Opposition in the Cayman Islands we were under a duty to make enquires. As a result of those enquires, on 10th June, 2011, I wrote to His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE setting out what the Opposition had learned.  I copied my letter to the Attorney-General, Mr. Samuel Bulgin, QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, MS. Cheryl Richards, QC and the Deputy Governor, Mr. Donovan Ebanks, MBE who was then Acting Governor.”

He says he was aware that on the same day but quite separately from their own enquiries, MLA Ezzard Miller wrote to Police Commissioner David Baines, who is also Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, asking for an investigation into the contents of a copy of a letter which had come into Miller’s possession and which appeared to bear the signature of W. McKeeva Bush.

“On Friday, 24th June, 2011 Mr. Miller and I met with His Excellency, the Governor to discuss this matter.  His Excellency confirmed the existence of the police investigation, that it was commenced more than a year ago and that it is ongoing, but declined to say who the subject of the investigation is,” the statement read. “However, we have confirmed from other sources that the subject of the police investigation is the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP and that the investigation relates to the period between 2001 and 2005 when Mr. Bush was Leader of Government Business and Minister of Tourism, Environment, Development and Commerce.”

McLaughlin concluded, “Given the gravity of the allegations and the acknowledgement by His Excellency of the existence of the year-long investigation, we believe that the country is owed an explanation by way of official statement.”

The office of the Police Commissioner, when asked about the alleged investigation, only confirmed that the RCIPS had received a complaint in connection with alleged financial irregularities. “We wish to advise that as our enquiries are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment about the specific allegations or identify any individual involved in that investigation,” the statement read.

When the premier was contacted by CNS, he said by email, “Alden is doing all this in the hopes of carrying me down, so he can be premier! He is even more incensed because we have asked for a commission of inquiry into how the contracts, procurements and funds were handled on the high school projects when he was the minister.” The premier also told CNS that “anyone suggesting me in the same breath as corruption they will be sued!"

In Finance Committee on Friday, Bush said he would be asking the governor to open a commission of enquiry to investigate the dispute between contractor Tom Jones International (TJI) and the previous government which led to construction of two high schools being halted in November 2009. (See Mac seeks enquiry of PPM)

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Gunshots damage George Town appartment building

| 27/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): An apartment in the Watlers Road area of George Town has been damaged by five bullets, and although police have not revealed any details about when the shots were fired, they have said that the apartment was unoccupied and no one was injured in the incident. According to the RCIPS, the damage, which was on the outside of the building, was discovered at 7:00 Sunday morning, 26 June, and reported several hours later at 9:45am. Police confirmed that the damage to the house had been caused by gunshots and enquiries in to the incident are ongoing.

The RCIPS is appealing for anyone who was in the area between 10:45pm Saturday night and 7:00am Sunday morning and may have witnessed the incident to contact George Town CID on 949-4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

 

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Teen in fatal motorcycle crash

| 27/06/2011 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Update Monday 12:45pm — The teenager who died from injuries received in a road crash this weekend has now been named as 18-year-old Brandon Powery (left) of West Bay. Police say that Powery, who was riding a motorcycle, had been overtaking a number of vehicles when he collided with an oncoming CRV on Sunday morning at the junction of Boltins Avenue and Town Hall Road, West Bay. Police say they received a report at 10:47am on Sunday, 26 June, of a collision involving a car and a motorcycle. The injured teenager was transported to George Town hospital by medics but at 4:38pm Sunday afternoon he was pronounced dead. No other persons were reported injured.

Powery is the fifth person to be killed on Cayman's roads this year.

Any witnesses to this collision should contact the investigating officer PC 347 Kenville Holder on 946-6254 or George Town police station on 949-4222.

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