Archive for August 6th, 2011

Ex-cop arrested & released

| 06/08/2011 | 29 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS have confirmed that a former police officer was arrested on suspicion of criminal offences on Friday, 5 August but have not named the man or specified the reasons for the arrest. A police spokesperson said the the ex-officer was interviewed and later released on police bail. CNS understands that the arrest was made in relation to complaints from a female resident on Grand Cayman over allegations of stalking and harassment. According to sources, similar allegations have been made in the past about the 47-year-old man, who formerly held the rank of inspector within the RCIPS, but he has never been charged with any offences and it is believed this is the first time he has been arrested.

The officer is understood to have left the RCIPS last year and now works as as a security consultant among other things. He was released on bail a few hours after the arrest and no charges have been filed, but officials said the investigation is ongoing.

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MLA says Cayman Brac economy not sustainable

| 06/08/2011 | 66 Comments

(CNS): Sister Islands PPM representative Moses Kirkconnell has said that Cayman Brac’s economy is not growing in a sustainable way and programmes must be implemented to assist in making the island's economy more sustainable. The First Elected Member for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman noted that while Cayman Brac has all the tools it needs to become sustainable, it cannot be so at the moment. He also noted serious issues affecting the island, such as unemployment and the hurt that Hurricane Paloma caused to the island’s tourism product.

Comparing the two Sister Islands, Kirkconnell noted that Little Cayman is doing very well, with some employment being created there due to various construction projects, their hotels being at high occupancy and the fact that the island’s tourism product has grown because it did not suffer as badly in Hurricane Paloma as Cayman Brac. He also noted that employment on Little Cayman is “as good or better” than it was in 2010.

However, the MLA noted that Cayman Brac’s economy is down and that that, in theory, all the tourist properties on the island were “completely wiped out” after Hurricane Paloma in November 2008. As a result, he said, the tourism properties had to reintroduce themselves, and while they have done consistently better from shortly after Paloma to today, they still “have a ways to go”. He noted that the island’s tourist properties have a lot of inventory available and that they were discounting prices to attract guests.

“I feel that the tourist aspect [of Cayman Brac] after Paloma has stabilised and has done as much as it can do, but there are no new properties coming online so there is going to be very little new job creation from our tourism properties,” said Kirkconnell. “There is plenty of inventory from the tourism properties to sell and we need to continue to work on this. Hopefully, we can do this with more help from the Department of Tourism and a bigger budget from them.”

Speaking about the Cayman Airways direct flight to Cayman Brac from Miami, he said it is deemed an important part of Cayman Brac’s tourism product and that it gives the island a competitive advantage in tourism. He noted that people want to travel directly to their destination and if that was not possible, they would want their destination to be as accessible as possible. Furthermore, he said that Cayman Airways has been asked to look into providing another direct flight to Cayman Brac, perhaps from Tampa.

Kirkconnell said there is a lot of unemployment in Cayman Brac and that there are few employment options on the island, particularly for returning college graduates and high school leavers. While government’s 2011-2012 budget was strong and would continue to fund services on the island, it could not grow new jobs. With this a reality, he hoped that the private sector could step up to the plate and provide jobs and that government could relocate some of their mid-range jobs to the island.

“We have all the things that are needed for a good quality life on Cayman Brac,” said Kirkconnell, noting the good infrastructure on the island. “But what he don’t have on island are jobs and with government now moving into their new accommodation building [on Grand Cayman], they could look at bringing jobs in the Economic Statistics Office or back office accounting work that does not have to necessarily be done in Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac.”

Kirkconnell indicated that he agreed with a cruise ship port being built on the island. However, he said that the island would work best with small cruise ships coming in with 400 or less people on board that would like to visit “remote and unique” islands such as Cayman Brac. In regards to cruise ships coming to Little Cayman, he said that Little Cayman’s population has indicated that they do not want or need cruise ships. However, he noted that the development of a cruise ship port on Cayman Brac would take up to a minimum of 5-6 years.

“Cruise ships are not going to go away, said Kirkconnell. “We are in the route that they take in the Western Caribbean so we should definitely look at it. However, it is something that is not going to be a short-term stimulus for Cayman Brac.”

In regards to his time in office from 2009, he said “I’ve worked hard. I’m satisfied with the effort and my thoughts are always with Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. I try to use all the tools I have at my disposal and I believe that I have done a good job.”

16-year-old Joshua Dilbert isa CNS summer intern.

Related article: Cayman Brac economy, a viewpoint by Linton Tibbetts.

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Cayman Brac economy

| 06/08/2011 | 61 Comments

Upon seeing for myself the current economic distress in Cayman Brac, I feel compelled to call on the government to begin immediately a program of sustainable economic development in Cayman Brac. At this time there are few private sector jobs for our young people after completing high school or tertiary education. They are forced to relocate to Grand Cayman in search of employment.

Because of this, Cayman Brac has an aging and shrinking population with few encouraging prospects.

I have continued to help Cayman Brac throughout my life. I have tried to provide everything, from airline service to the construction and operating of two hotels. At this time I am more concerned for the future of Cayman Brac than I have been at any time in my life. Failure to act quickly will result in Cayman Brac getting to the point at which it will no longer have a viable population. I am hereby suggesting the following in an effort to change the current situation:

Reduction of planning fees, especially those fees pertaining to clearing of beach property.

A complete review of the planning laws with a view to simplification, reducing restrictions, reducing fees and being made more builder friendly.

The total reinstatement of the duty concession that was in place for Cayman Brac from the mid 1990s until it was allowed to partially expire on 30 June, 2011.

Upgrading of the airport to accommodate international departures.

After airport improvements, provide concessions to any airline providing service to Cayman Brac from non CAL destinations.

Enhancement of the Cayman Brac tourism product, with a greater part of DoT’s budget earmarked to promote the Brac.

Low license fee and exemption of work permit fee for the first 2 years for any business that relocates to Cayman Brac, with a total of 15 or more employees.

Change the purpose of the new hurricane shelter to that of a facility which can provide back-office support to various government departments in Grand Cayman. It could still
function as an emergency shelter when needed.

Provide fee incentives to any financial service business, that is willing to be located in Cayman Brac.

Enhance the high school and UCCI facilities in Cayman Brac to better prepare our young people.

Encourage the building of a marina, and reduce duty for boats and yachts that are imported into, and home ported in Cayman Brac.

Offer special concessions for high-tech firms to locate in Cayman Brac.

Identify, preserve and enhance Cayman Brac’s natural features (i.e. caves, splits, ponds, etc.), while also ensuring access and information to residents and tourists.

Review the feasibility of allowing water sports inside of the reef of the south west coast of Cayman Brac.

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Cops catch thief after giving chase

| 06/08/2011 | 15 Comments

(CNS): A twenty-three-year-old George Town man is currently in police custody after an early morning chase. At about 12:20am on Saturday, 6 August, on duty police officers were carrying out routine mobile patrols along Eastern Avenue when they spotted a man in the parking lot of Green Thumb Nursery wearing a dark coloured hoodie who appeared to be checking parked vehicles. As the officers approached the suspect he ran off and police gave chase on foot. The man was then apprehended by the officers in the BritCay parking lot.

The officers conducted a search of the surrounding area and found a black fabric face mask and a BlackBerry phone in the hedges that the suspected thief had jumped through. Continuing their search the officers also recovered a black and white ladies leather handbag. The man was arrested for theft, criminal trespass and going equipped to steal. He is currently in police custody as investigations continue a police spokesperson said.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to contact any of the police stations or 800TIPS (8477).
 

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Small George Town house goes up in flames

| 06/08/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Emergency services were out battling a blaze in the early hours of this morning when a small house off Shedden Road and Sound Way junction, behind Liquor for Less in George Town caught fire. The small partly wooden structure went up in flames at around 1:30am Saturday 6 August. When the police and fire service arrived at the scene the building was engulfed in fire but officers from the Cayman Islands Fire Service were quickly able to douse the flames. Although the house was completely damaged no one was inside and no one was hurt as a result of the blaze, officials said Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy Cayman27)

A police spokesperson stated that the cause of the fire is now under investigation and anyone who may have information on this incident or any crime within the Cayman Islands is asked to call any police station or 800TIPS (8477)

 

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Campaigners to meet Saturday over Emerald Sound

| 06/08/2011 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Following the approval by the Central Planning Authority of the controversial South Sound development – Emerald Sound campaigners will be meeting on Saturday (this evening 6 August) to discuss the next step in their efforts to stop the project from going ahead. Katrina Jurn who is one of the individuals spearheading the opposition to the precedent setting development is asking people to meet at 5pm at South Sound community centre. Although the campaigners were disappointed by the CPA’s decision Wednesday she said they are not giving up. 

Not entirely surprised the CPA approved the application as a result of the narrow criteria used to deicide planning applications Jurn says that the consideration regarding the coastal works license will have to cover the bigger picture and the marine issues which is where the greatest concern about the development lies.
Also Jurn said the campaigners into to appeal the decision to CPA a process which again will consider the application in a wider context.

The approval however, has brought into focus the extremely limited power that residents have in a neighbourhood to prevent planning applications. Jurn says that perhaps only one resident among the 500 home owners canvassed in the 1500ft zone was indifferent to the project. Despite this along with a petition of more than 1100 signatures of others worried about the far reaching environmental implications and risks planning did not consider the position of residents.

“We were hoping that the CPA would make the right decision and this would not be such a long process but we must now turn our attention to the appeal and stopping the coastal works approval,” Jurn stated this week.

She said the battle would continue and the people involved in the campaign to stop Emerald Sound would be meeting at 5pm on Saturday at the South Sound Community Centre to discuss the appeal against the CPA’s decision and how best to impress upon government their objections regarding the coastal works stage of the application.

 

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