Archive for July 1st, 2011

Cops cement gun amnesty

| 01/07/2011 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Representatives from the Royal Cayman Islands Police officially launched this year’s month long gun amnesty by breaking up and recyclinglast year’s haul on Friday morning. Cops gathered at the site of the new RCIPS Marine Unit base in Newlands with the broken pieces of firearms which will be set in concrete to create permanent sea moorings for the unit’s vessels. The amnesty was officially opened the day after Kemar Golding was senselessly shot in the face on Wednesday night by masked would-be robbers at a chicken stand in Red Bay. Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden said this latest gun crime made the amnesty even more important. (Photos Dennie WarrenJr)

“This is the reason why we have launched the amnesty,” he said. “No one in the community wants to see these kinds of crimes in Cayman. We are appealing for any unwanted, unlicensed and illegally held guns to be handed in so we can get the weapons off the street and prevent them from being used to kill and maim people.”

Golding, who is miraculously alive, was shot in the face just after 11:30 on Wednesday night as he assisted his friend to take out the garbage. Bodden explained that when the victim and his friend were heading toward the bins they were confronted by three masked robbers one of which was carrying a handgun. They had demanded cash and when Golding said he did not have money one of the suspects turned to the gun man and said “let him have one.”

The suspect fired immediately and shot Golding in the eye in a shocking senseless act of violence before he and his accomplices made their escape empty handed on foot.

“It is impossible to suppress the frustration and anger I feel over this,” said Bodden. “This is very, very disturbing when you think he was doing such a simple chore to help a friend. It was so un-threatening  — just think you are putting out garbageand you are not safe.”

He called on the community to help the police hunt down the gunmen but also called on people to help in the goal to reduce the number of guns in circulation by handing in weapons. The senior officer explained that the police were making in-roads into the supply chain for weapons on the island with a number of seizures over recent weeks but he said there were still weapons out there. “We still believe that the guns are being shared so we need to encourage the public to work with us to keep breaking up the supply of guns.”

Speaking at briefing on Thursday in the wake of the shooting Bodden explained that the police were not drawing any conclusions yet about the three men that they were hunting for but had not ruled out the probability that they are the same three that have been described in some of the more recent robberies where shots have been fired.

“We are keeping an open mind but three masked men is a common denominator in several of the recent gun crimes,” he added. The DS said that he believed that there had now been around 50 armed robberies on the islands so far this year. He said this was the fifth in which a gun was fired at the scene. Bodden confirmed that bullets have been recovered which have been sent overseas for ballistic testing to see if they can be linked

Once again he emphasised how crucial it was for the public to come to the police with information.   “We have said it many times but this is a partnership, the police have their role and the people theirs — and there are more of them than us so we need the public to help. We are really pleased that we are getting more and more assistance we have seen a definite improvement we just need more consistency,” he added. Bodden said he believed remaining silent has not helped to stop the violence so people are more willing to come forward and help the police.

The gun amnesty will allow people to bring any firearm to George Town, Bodden Town, West Bay or Cayman Brac police stations anonymously with no questions asked. All the public need do is drop the unwanted, unlicensed or illegal weapons and ammunition into the secure box located in the reception area of the stations.

 

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Premier says ’embrace democracy’ in holiday message

| 01/07/2011 | 37 Comments

(CNS): In his message marking Constitution Day on Monday the country’s premier urged the people to “continue to embrace the pillars of democracy as enshrined in our constitution,” the highest law of the land. McKeeva Bush said it enshrines the rights of the people and sets the parameters of government. Meanwhile the opposition leader who was awarded a royal gong for his work on the 2009 Constitution said no man or woman was above the constitution and everyone who exercises authority in Cayman did must do so in accordance with it.

The premier called on the people to consider the constitution during the holiday and to familiarize themselves with the document. He said all hands on deck were needed in order to keep pace with change that may affect the constitution in the future and promised the Caymanian people opportunities to provide input into the workings of the new constitution.

“This especially applies to the expanding opportunities for civic involvement in government, for instance, on the Constitutional Commissions, Ministerial Councils, and District Councils, all of which allow wide public participation in government,” Bush said. “As you enjoy the holiday, please take time today – and during this week – to refresh your understanding of our vitally important national document. Contact the Constitution Secretariat, visit the website, talk to a neighbour; whatever it takes, stay in touch with your governing document.”

McLaughlin noted that the introduction of a bill of rights would protect the people of the Cayman Islands against tyranny, corruption and arbitrary actions by the Government. 

“It enables the people of the Cayman Islands to take a stand in their community on the issues important to them, the ideals they believe in and the thingsthat make Cayman – Cayman.”

He said the Constitution had also introduced a number of institutions to support democracy.  “These commissions are designed to increase participation, transparency and accountability in government,” he said. “Our Constitution should be acknowledged and celebrated for the unique features that make it distinctly our own and for the certainty and security it provides our people,” McLaughlin said as he asked people to embrace and respect it for the assurance it provides us all of the supremacy of the rule of law and the protection of our individual human rights.

See full messages below

 

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California wine under threat from global warming

| 01/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(UPI): Global warming could significantly affect California and other premium wine-growing regions of the United States in the next 30 years, researchers say. Scientists at Stanford University said that by 2040, the amount of land suitable for cultivating premium wine grapes in high-value areas of northern California could shrink by 50 percent because of global warming. However, they said, some cooler parts of Oregon and Washington state could see an increase in premium grape-growing acreage due to that same warming, a Stanford release reported Thursday.

"Our new study looks at climate change during the next 30 years — a time frame over which people are actually considering the costs and benefits of making decisions on the ground," said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental science.

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WestStar makes room for new TV bulletin board

| 01/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s cable television provider WestStar says it is introducing a new local channel which starts today. My Cayman Life will move to channel 10 pushing network channel Spike, to number 49. The TV company said that the new channel is set to “to become the hub of community announcements and happenings” as it described it as a locally-owned community bulletin board highlighting non-profit events, special occasions, and personal achievements. The channel will be included in all the WestStar cable packages but is not available on the broadcast system.

“For a small fee anyone can post a message, whether it is wishing someone a Happy Birthday, or congratulating someone on a major milestone. The only requirement is that the message either be for a non-profit organization, or personal,” the station said in a release this week.

Eric Frick of My Cayman Life said it would be a fun, interactive and affordable way for regular people to get their message on television.

“My Cayman Life provides a place to share, learn and celebrate life in Cayman and we want to thank WestStar for the opportunity,” he added.

WestStar Director of Operations, Traci Bradley said the firm was “excited” to provide the platform. “WestStar welcomes and congratulates My Cayman Life on being the first to bring a product of local value such as this to our viewers,” she said.

To find out more about how to get your message on My Cayman Life, visit www.mycaymanlife.com.  For more on WestStar TV products and the channel line-ups log onto www.weststartv.com
 

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Purple Dragon students excel for professor

| 01/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(Purple Dragon): Almost 100 local Purple Dragon students were graded last week by renowned club soke/founder Professor Don Jacob at Camana Bay.  Professor Jacob is a Martial Arts Hall of Famer and martial arts world champion who introduced Don Jitsu Ryu in 1970, on which the Purple Dragon School of Martial Arts is based.  The Cayman Islands grading was part of an extensive grading tour also covering the United States and Canada.  Professor Jacob was accompanied on this trip by Shihan Thompson.

Grading is the process by which karate students of varying levels are tested by Professor Jacob before they can progress to the next level of their training, which is indicated by an exchange in their belt color.

An impressive total of 97 individuals successfully upgraded their belt with ages ranging from 6 to 51, including 3 white bar 2, 19 yellow, 23 orange, 10 green, 14 blue, 6 purple, 8 red, and 14 brown belts.

Cayman Islands Purple Dragon Martial Arts instructor, Sensei Floyd Baptiste, was very happy with how his students performed

Sensei Floyd says, “I am very proud of the performance of all our students – young and old. We look forward to seeing all of our students develop further within the Purple Dragon Family.  It is especially pleasing for us to see young students who started as small 4 and 5 year old’s obtain their brown belts and who will now be training hard for their black belt grading at Purple Dragon World Headquarters in Trinidad.  But perhaps more importantly we can see them developing into young leaders in this community and beyond.”

Sensei Floyd also wanted to give thanks to the other instructors that helped prepare the Cayman students for grading.  They are Sensei Geddes Hislop, Sensei Karen Baptiste, Sensei Cindy Moore, Sempai Pitta, Instructor Benjie and Instructor Leonard. Gratitude is extended to the management and staff at Caymana Bay for the use of the Heliconia Center in which the grading exercise was conducted.

Purple Dragon is the longest running Martial Arts school in the Caribbean, with forty five (45) schools in over eleven countries, and thousands of students worldwide. Purple Dragon is the only Martial Arts school in the Caribbean which hosts grand tournaments around the globe.

 

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Mac calls for financial year-end move

| 01/07/2011 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Opening the last full Finance Committee session on the 2011/12 budget by chastising MLAs for arriving late for the proceedings, the premier said government should consider moving the end of the financial year to 31 December.  McKeeva Bush pointed to conflicts that arise because both public and private graduation ceremonies bump right up against the deadline for approving the budget before the new financial year begins 1 July. Noting that Friday’s session,which convened at 11:30am, was supposed to start at 10am, Bush said Finance Committee "suffers” because members were caught up in the graduation process. “This work is most difficult with the schools and the financial year ending at the same time.”

With these conflicts, he said, “we have a difficult time forming quorums,” adding that he needed to get members to address that issue, especially due to the challenging economic climate. “In these times, budgeting is not easy,” he said.

While MLAs spoke to the importance of attending graduation, Bush emphasized that the work of the Finance Committee must take priority. “This is our main responsibility,” he said, adding, “I didn’t get to one of my graduations.”

The premier suggested that reducing the number of members needed for a quorum might mitigate the issue. Bush noted that in larger parliaments, not everyone was required to be a member of the finance committee. “I won’t say what the proper proportion should be, but we need to look at it,” he said, complaining that “a lot of time is spent waiting” on MLAs to appear.

“(MLAs) need to come on time. The LA should be their first charge” unless a family matter or sickness prevents them from attending. If there is an emergency, it will create a problem in reaching a quorum, he said, expounding on his call to consider reducing the required number of MLAs to be present.

“We need to recognize that (the LA) is our first charge,” Bush said, but to solve the timing issue, “it is sensible to look at changing the calendar year so the government’s financial year ends 31 December.”

Before 2005, elections took place in November, giving the newly elected Legislative Assembly ample time to look at the next year’s budget.

Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 forced elections to be postponed until May 2005, thus allowing fewer than two months for MLAs to finalise the budget before the start of the next financial year. The May 2009 elections again resulted in MLAs scrambling to approve the budget.

Since then, politicians on both sides of the House have been reluctant to move the election date back to November as it means either cutting short or extending a term of office for six months.

However, it was the premier who changed the Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL) law last year to remove the requirement of government to bring the budget before the end of April. The decision to allow the budget to come before the parliament anytime before the financial year end date of 30 June saw both the 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial plans being presented by the premier in his role as Finance Minister only days before that date.

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Robbers strike at well-known 7MB beach bar

| 01/07/2011 | 37 Comments

(CNS): Machete wielding robbers made off with cash from a popular Seven Mile Beach bar early this morning after assaulting the bar tender. Police said Friday that they are now investigating another armed robbery, this time at Royal Palms on West Bay Road, which occurred around 1:25am (1 July). The RCIPS received a report that a member of staff had been robbed of the night's takings at the bar. A 36-year-old male bar tender at the location was in the process of cashing up when he was jumped by two masked men. One of the suspects waved a machete at him, but did not strike him. The other suspect struck the bar tender on the back of the head with an unknown weapon.

Police said the suspects then made off with an undisclosed sum of cash. The suspects are described as being 5’ 10” and 5’ 5” respectively. They were both wearing white t -shirts and dark coloured short pants and had their faces covered.
 
Anyone with information should call George Town CID on 949-4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Building materials remain duty free till year-end

| 01/07/2011 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Government has announced that it will be continuing with the duty concessions on building materials it introduced last year. A release from the premier’s office said the concession would be extended for another six months until the year end 31 December in what it said was a an effort to “further stimulate economic activity.” McKeeva Bush urged developers to accelerate their projects to take advantage of the duty free period. “The extension of these concessions is consistent with the government’s ongoing efforts to stimulate growth in the economy, and I encourageall developers and other stakeholders to accelerate their construction activity during this further concessionary period,” he added.

Under the extended concessions imports of building materials to Grand Cayman will be charged a flat rate of 15% for the period 1 July to 31 December 2011. The normal rate of duty is 22%. Imports of building materials to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman will be on a 100% duty free basis for the period 1 July to 31 December 2011.

For the purpose of these concessions building materials have been defined as: “All physical components and substances, whether solid or liquid, used in the construction, renovation or restoration and forming a permanent part of any building or related structure,” the release stated.

Items such as furniture, accessories, electronics and appliances are specifically excluded.

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Firms urged to hire UK jobless not foreign workers

| 01/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(BBC): UK businesses should recruit more unemployed young Britons rather than relying on labour from abroad, the work and pensions secretary is to say. In a speech in Spain, Iain Duncan Smith will say that if government policy has prepared young people for work, "we need businesses to give them a chance". Otherwise, he will say, they will be lost to dependency and hopelessness. Official figures suggest almost 90% of the 400,000 jobs created in the UK in the past year went to foreign workers.In 2007, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to create "British jobs for British workers". But he was widely criticised when it emerged that about 80% of the jobs created in the UK under Labour went to foreign migrants.

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CIB offers reward for gunmen

| 01/07/2011 | 64 Comments

(CNS): Following the news that a member of the Cayman Islands Brewery (CIB) team was shot in the face last night in an attempted robbery in Red Bay, the brewery is offering a $5,000 reward for the three masked men who were responsible for the shooting. A spokesperson for CIB said this afternoon that the team was shocked that their Assistant Brewery, Kemar Golding (left) was shot in such a senseless act. Detective Superintendant Marlon Bodden said this morning that the police were now treating the shooting as an attempted murder as he urged the community to help find these dangerous men.

“Any individuals who were in the area at that time please help us,” Bodden said, adding that he did not expect anyone to put themselves in danger and to be sensible about communicating their information. “But people need to be more aware of the need to help us and hunt down these people who possess the firearms.”

CIB said Thursday afternoon that it had teamed up with Crime Stoppers to offer a $5,000 Reward for anyone to bring information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the people involved in the crime. Information can be sent confidentially to the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-TIPS (8477).  Crime Stoppers themselves are also offering an additional reward for this information.

Police have a confidential crime hotline 949 7777 or members of the public can talk to any individual officer.

“Our prayers are with Kemar and his family and we want to thank the many people who have called and emailed and visited to show their support. This has outraged the community, as obvious fromthe reaction seen on the blogs and commentaries,” said Matthew Leslie on behalf of the brewery.

CIB is asking anyone with information on the senseless shooting to come forward and share the information with the police to bring comfort to the family and friends of Kemar Golding.

“These criminals, if left uncaught, will commit this crime again and the victim may be you or someone close to you.  We cannot and will not stand for such acts of violence and as asmall community we know someone has the information out there that will lead to an arrest. We support the police in their efforts to solve this crime,” Leslie added.

On Thursday morning Bodden said that Golding was still in the George Town Hospital where he had undergone surgery. The young brewer has undergone extensive surgery to save his life as, Bodden explained, the bullet had entered through his eye and exited behind his ear and had miraculously survived.

Leslie revealed that doctors have said Golding has lost the eye and is expected to be airlifted from the Cayman Islands for further treatment over the next few days.

“He is very lucky to be alive and we thank God for this,” he said. “Kemar has a young daughter and loving family who has been left heartbroken by this.  Whoever you may be, please do the right thing and come forward.  These individuals are dangerous and must be caught.  Please help us. The Cayman Islands Brewery wishes Kemar and his family our prayers at this time,” he added.

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