Archive for September 16th, 2011

Police hunt multiple gunmen

| 16/09/2011 | 103 Comments

(CNS): Two masked gunmen targeted 24-year-old Andrew Baptist on Thursday night when he was shot dead in a yard in Sand Hole Road, West Bay, police said Friday at a press briefing in the wake of a second murder in the district in 24 hours. They also confirmed that there were at least two gunmen involved in Tuesday night's murder of 28-year-old Robert Bush. Chief Superintendent John Jones said the two killings were connected and gang related. The senior officer said that the “worst fears had been realised” as the feud between the Logswood and Birch Tree Hill gangs had resumed.

Jones said that despite appealing for calm in the wake of the fatal shooting of Bush, “the people we are appealing to seem beyond any appeal we can make. We have to wonder how many more families will be grief stricken before this stops,” he added.

Bush was the first victim in the regenerated feud, which police say appears to have been triggered by an incident in July outside Club Inferno. It is believed he was associated with the Logswood gang and was shot at several times, including in the head, by at least two gunmen while sitting in his car at the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Road and Birch Tree Hill on Tuesday.

Last night (Thursday 15 September) Baptist, who police say is associated with the Birch Tree Hill gang, was sitting in a yard with several friends at 22 Sand Hole Road when two masked gunmen emerged from behind the house and opened fire on Baptist. Police said  that while everyone scattered, the gunmen deliberately targeted  the victim with multiple gunshots before they fled the scene. When emergency services arrived only a few minutes after the shooting, the victim was dead.

Head of CID, Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden, confirmed that Baptist was a person whose name had come up in connection with the enquiry into the killing of Bush on Tuesday but he did not say if he was a witness or a suspect.

The senior officer implored people to come forward and assist the police in order to put a stop to the resumption of dangerous gun violence. He pointed out that had the police had intelligence regarding the history of the two dead men they might have saved their lives. He begged people to come to the police with their information and not try to resolve the issues on the street.

“We have repeatedly asked people for information but it takes someone's death for us to get crucial information about them, when it is too late,” he added. The two senior officers both appealed again to the entire community but in particular the mothers, grandmothers and girlfriends of the young men involved in the feud to come forward with information to prevent more killings. Aware that predictions were being made in the community about further violence this weekend, Bodden said that these predictions were based on some information and people needed to tell it to the police.

They stressed that the only way the RCIPS could stop the violence was to arrest those involved and to do that they needed evidence from eye witnesses, or witnesses that knew the details surrounding the shootings.

Jones said that during the last spate of excessive gang violence early in 2010 many people had bravely come forward and helped to get the suspects behind bars and they needed the community's help again.

Jones stated that evidence was the crucial factor as the police had to operate within the law and could not just simply pluck people up of the streets without evidence. “We can't manufacture evidence,” Jones stressed. He said he understood the frustrations that when it gets to court it may not reach the standards required for a conviction, but there was little they could do about the quality of the evidence that comes to them.

Angry and frustrated by the escalating violence, Bodden begged people to come forward so that the police could act.

The officers said that they suspected that the weapons used by the gunmen are being hidden in the bush in the wake of the crimes, making it very difficult for them to find physical evidence on suspects. “We are constrained by the ingenuity of the criminal," Jones added. Bodden explained that the gunmen already have an exit plan to avoid detection before they carry out the killing, as every criminal seeks out ways not to get caught. He sai thatd given those circumstance, the police depend heavily on what witnesses can tell them in order to make arrests.

Anyone with information about the victims, the gunmen or saw either of this week's fatal shootings is asked to call the police crime hotline as soon as possible on 949 7777.

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Cayman’s rollover suspension rattles Bermuda

| 16/09/2011 | 38 Comments

(CNS): The proposed suspension of the seven year rollover policy in the Cayman Islands is bad news for Bermuda, the country's former opposition party leader has said. The Royal Gazette reported Friday that Kim Swan of the United Bermuda Party has said that the newsthat Cayman has taken a step Bermuda should have considered “long ago” was not in the islands’ best interests. Premier Paula Cox has defended Bermuda's policy by saying it is more flexible than Cayman's and includes incentives for job makers, as she declared Bermuda open for business.

The announcement by the Cayman Islands premier on Wednesday evening came as a surprise, and although concerns have already been raised about how the immigration department will cope with the subsequent increase in PR applications, the fact that the rollover days are numbered was broadly welcomed by the business community.

Responding to Bush’s revelations about the two year suspension and planned comprehensive review, Richard Coles, the Cayman Finance chair, said that while there are firms in the financial services industry who believe that the policy has increased the cost of recruitment and training, among other issues, the idea of assessing the impact first is the right approach. 

“This will allow the government to objectively assess how the policy would be amended or whether it should indeed be removed,” he said as he welcomed the organisation’s invitation to take part in the review.

The exact details of how the suspension will work have yet to be revealed but it means that employers will be able to apply for work permit renewals for as many as 6,000 people who were facing being rolled over during the next year.

Bermuda currently has a six-year term limit policy, which has been as contentious as rollover has been here and has faced the same criticisms from business representatives.

Swan said people complain about the policy privately, “but not publicly as it would not have been politically correct for the principals of international business to openly challenge a government,” the Gazette reports.

“The PLP government was in denial of this issue and opted for policy that pandered to local politics and less to the industry that sustained the island economically. The end result has been theexodus of key employees and their families, a reality that has had a negative impact on the local economy,” Swan added.

Cox announced plans for work permit exemptions for some non-Bermudian key workers, earlier this year as well as making permanent residency available for them and their families after ten years.

“The benefit of the Bermuda immigration model is that it is dynamic and this highlights the flexibility of our policy,” she said. “It is not enshrined in statute and so more absolute. Our approach differs from Cayman as they embedded their rollover policy in legislation, so it lacks the nimbleness of the Bermuda model.” She said she did not think the move by Cayman would make Bermuda less competitive.

“The way they process work permits and the cost of work permits has always been a problem for them,” she said. Illustrating the significant difference inprice between permits on the two islands, Cox said the fee in Bermuda for a ten-year work permit at $20,000 is less than the fee is for an executive for one year in Cayman.

She also pointed out that the turnaround time here in the Cayman Islands for processing a permit is longer than in Bermuda. “They have only started addressing the fast-tracking of work permits,” Cox said of the local immigration department. “Their fee structure is quite complicated. Businesses also have to pay annual fees. Our plans to provide ten-year permits and incentives are way ahead of them. Even the client base is different, with more hotel workers.”

The current opposition Bermuda Alliance Deputy Leader Michael Dunkley said it would waive term limit requirements for occupations and positions that historically receive 90 percent approval.

Go to Gazette article

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Stormin’ wins by sharks and wolverines

| 16/09/2011 | 0 Comments

(GCFFA): Only one week remains in the regular season play for the Dart Women’s League within the Grand Cayman Flag Football Association, and the top two teams, Domino’s Pizza Wolverines and Hammerheads Lady Sharks will face each other in a ruthless match to see which team emerges in first place for playoffs. Wind, rain, and finally lightening played large roles in last Saturday’s games at the Camana Bay Field, which saw Hammerheads Lady Sharks and Domino’s Pizza Wolverine’s storm through the elements in victory. The Lady Sharks played a close game against Androgroup Killa-Panthers, with an 8-0 win. Top seeded team Wolverines easily defeated Pythons, 20-0, in a game that ended due to lightening, with minutes to spare in the second half.

The Lady Sharks were off to a sluggish start in the first half of the game, with offense making some catches, but for the majority of the time, they were stopped from making it down the field. Quarterback Bobeth O’Garro completed ten of 19 passes, with two interceptions thrown.

Scimone Campbell led the way on offense with three receptions, including catching a crucial pass from O’Garro late in the second half, and spinning her way past Killa-Panthers’ defense to run in a 35yard touchdown. Dionne Anglin caught her sole ball of the game, stretching out to bring in a two-point conversion for the Sharks.

Even with a slight lead, the Sharks proved their defensive ability with great interceptions, tackles and sacks. Lilia Conolly stopped some crucial long plays from Killa-Panthers with three interceptions and two tackles. Bobeth O’Garro showed her versatility, moving to rush the quarterback and coming up with two sacks, as well as two tackles. Serena Yates is a dominant line defender, added four tackles to her game, and stopped many running plays for Killa-Panthers, as did Hong Ngyuen, who also had two tackles. Scimone Campbell covered the backfield with determination, coming up with one interception.

The Androgroup Killa-Panthers are still trying to find their offensive groove; however, their defense keeps the team within points of their opponents. Quarterback Christina Pineda wasn’t able to find her receivers this week, with a season low of seven out of 28 passes completed, and three interceptions thrown.

Lisa Hill-Malice, usually a quarterback for Killa-Panthers, led the offense this week with three receptions. Pineda met Malice for some mid-field passes, which saw the Killa-Panthers move the ball a little down the field. Heather Roffey also had two receptions on offense, followed by Sophia Dilbert and Denise Delpesh each with one.

Roffey also kept her game up on defense with three tackles and two interceptions. Dilbert also had a solid game on defense with five tackles, followed by Natalee Dyke with three. However, despite a tightly played defense, the Killa-Panthers were unable to hold the Lady Sharks from scoring, and for the second week in a row, unable to score themselves.

By the time the day’s second game between Domino’s Pizza Wolverines and the Pythons began, the rain was at a steady downpour. Halfway into the game, despite glimmers of lightening, it wasn’t until a little through the middle of the second half that the stormy conditions and lightening would prevail, ending the game early.
Antoinette Lewis, quarterback for the Wolverines completed eight out of 19 passes, with one interception thrown. Despite the rough weather, her best passes were three long, risky balls thrown and caught near the end zone.

Benecia Thompson had another great game for Wolverines. The receiver had four catches, including three long passes, two caught in the end zone and one ball ran in from roughly 10yards away. Thompson scored all three of Wolverines’ touchdowns. Shamar Ennis also added to the score with her two-point conversion. Dionne Whittaker and Eleanor Berry each had two receptions on offense as well. The Wolverines’ ability to control the field and hang onto the ball despite battling the elements, was impressive.

Not much action on defense for theWolverines, with Whittaker and Ennis both having two tackles each, followed by Shinette Rhoden and Agueda Broderick with one tackle each. Thompson, forever utilizing her height, caught an interception to add to the team’s defense.

The Pythons nearly drowned in the rain, as their offense was next to non-existent with the weather foiling the team’s running plays.  Quarterback Carrie Barnett had a slippery time completing just one of nine passes, with one interception thrown.

Carla Martin had the sole reception for the Pythons on offense. The few running plays the Pythons attempted with Sheyla Torres were also stopped short by the Wolverines’ defense.

What they lacked in offense, the Pythons tried to make up for in defense. Torres led the way with four sacks to the Wolverines’ quarterback, and one tackle. Carla Martin also contributed with two sacks.  Violet Whittaker-Powell had four tackles and one interception and Barnett had two tackles. Barnett also came within inches of making two interceptions on Wolverines’ player Benecia Thompson, but her slight misjudgment allowed Thompson to make the key touchdown catches.

This coming Saturday, the final week of the regular season in the Dart Women’s League of the GCFFA, sees the Pythons versus Lone-Star Jager Monsters at 10am, followed by the top two teams, Hammerheads Lady Sharks versus Domino’s Pizza Wolverines at 11am. This game was post-poned from a few weeks ago, and speculation is at a high as to who will win and set a precedence going into the playoffs.

A few weeks ago both the Sharks and Wolverines had a bigger roster, but due to school commitments and player injuries, both teams are not at their full player strength. The winner of this Saturday’s game determines the rankings of the top four teams predicted to make the play-offs, which begin 24th September.
 

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Second West Bay murder

| 16/09/2011 | 201 Comments

(CNS): Less than 48 hours after Robert Bush was shot and killed in West Bay, another man has been gunned down in the district this evening (Thursday) a few minutes before 9pm. Police have confirmed that a shooting occurred in the Boatswain Road area of West Bay. Although emergency services rushed to the scene, the young man was found dead when paramedics arrived. Sources have reported to CNS that the teenager was shot multiple times outside a property on Sand Hole Road but police have not yet confirmed the circumstances of the second shooting of the year. Officers are now appealing for any informaiton as they launch a second murder enquiry in two days. (Photo Dennie Warren jr)

The identity of the victim can't yet be revealed but the killing appears to be gang related with possible connections to Wednesday night’s shooting. 

Police have not yet confirmed a motive, how many gunmen were involved, or what type of weapon was used to kill the latest victim.

Following a twelve month reprieve, the  RCIPS appears to be facing a resumption of the chilling tit-for tat killings which started in the summer of 2009 and saw some 12 young men shotand killed over an 18 month period.

Anyone who may have any informaiton about the crime is asked to call West Bay Police Station at 949-3999 or Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS (8477).

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Casings suggest two gunmen involved in killing

| 16/09/2011 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The police were continuing with their enquiries on Thursday into the first fatal shooting for 12 months after Robert Mackford Bush was shot in the head in his car in West Bay late Wednesday night. Although officer have not yet confirmed how many suspects they are looking for pictures taken just after the killing by local photographer Dennie Warren show where scenes of crime officers marked two different shell casings at the scene indicating at least two weapons were fired during the incident. The photo shows a shot gun casing and a casing from a hand gun suggesting that there were two gunmen on the night of the murder. (Photo by Dennie Warren JR- Right click to view larger image)

Although the police have not yet revealed any details of murder other than the fact that Bush was killed as a result of a gunshot wound to the head which he received while sitting in a blue Honda Civic at the junction of Capt Joe and Osbert Road and Birch TreeHill, it appears from the picture that a shotgun was fired as well as a small and gun.

Warren who is also a member of the Cayman Island gun club and a former competitive sports shooter said the casing from the hand gun appeared to be from a 40 calibre or a nine millimetre weapon.

Although the shooting has all the hall marks of a gang killing police havenot yet revealed what they believe the motive was for the shoot of 28 year old Bush. However, his family members have spoken to the local press and indicated they believe the shooting was gang related as Bush had been targeted before.

Speaking to Cayman27 Bush’s sister said that gunmen had previously shot at the house where Bush was living.
 

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Tourism school planned for local and foreign students

| 16/09/2011 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The country’s premier has announced his intention to establish a local hospitality and tourism school early next year that will encourage more Caymanians into the sector and eventually be open to international students. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday McKeeva Bush said the country needed to take a long-term view of tourism and train more local people for jobs in the industry at all levels. He said feedback suggests visitors are searching for authentic, local experiences for which they are willing to pay if Cayman can deliver.

“More Caymanians can and should partake of the benefits of tourism, as the sector grows,” he told his legislative colleagues as he announced the plan. “We must not sit back and fatalistically accept the outdated notion that Caymanians do not wish to participate in tourism. In fact, the level of participation and the enthusiasm we get from young people for the Ministry of Tourism’s Scholarship Programme and the Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme suggests otherwise.”

Bush said his tourism ministry would be joining forces with the University College of the Cayman Islands, (UCCI) to provide training at an international certification level for employees in the tourism sector and for persons interested in new careers in the industry.

The school, he added would provide a well trained local labour force, with an internationally recognized hospitality certification, offer a range of opportunities and careers for young Caymanians, enable local people to directly participate in the economic benefits from tourism, and enhance the distinctly local cultural flavor of the sector.

“The mission is to develop a hospitality institution to facilitate the certification, career guidance and employment opportunities for a world-class Caymanian workforce,” the premier stated, adding it would be a two-phased project. 

In the first phase the school will offer City and Guilds Certification and Associate degree programmes. “We intend to establish relationships with institutions such as Cornell University, Johnson and Wales, and affiliated universities,” Bush explained.  The core areas of study will be Food & Beverage; Food Preparation; Spa Services; Front Office Operations; Rooms (House-keeping) and Maintenance.

In the second phase further certification, and degree programmes will be established which will  include City and Guilds for Skills Certification; and the Bachelor’s degree programmes of institutions such as Cornell University, Johnson and Wales-affiliated universities, and the Culinary Institute of America. He said additional core areas of study in this phase will include Spa Director, House-keeping Supervisor, Rooms Division Manager and Watersports/Dive Instructor.

“In this second phase, we will also seek to develop the school to accept international students,” Bush added. “This is a bold and ambitious project and it requires input and support from several different quarters. We need the private sector on board as full partners and it is our intention that they will be involved from the outset in areas such as curriculum development and provision of work-study opportunities.”

He said that a number of stake holders already support the Tourism Apprenticeship Training programme and government would be counting on them for even greater involvement and support, including job placement and career paths for participants.

“We will ensure the highest standards of accreditation, including international recognition, so that our students not only receive the best training, but can compete at the highest levels with persons trained anywhere else in the world,” he promised employers.

UCCI will be the academic institution that the tourism and education ministries would be partnering with for the use of campus facilities and lecturers to get the school off the ground.He said government would also be partnering with hotels willing and able to offer appropriate learning environments.

An advisory council of 10-12 members drawn from relevant areas will be appointed to assist with strategic development and fulfillment of the mission of the school which he said would also require support from the immigration department.

“The School will work with the department to develop and offer incentives to private sector entities that become key partners in this programme, particularly with regard to a successful record of employment of High School graduates,” Bush stated. “We must ensure that graduates are provided with the employment opportunities befitting their training and certification, and the support of Immigration is essential in this regard. The TATP programme has demonstrated that this support is needed, as often apprentices face challenges finding work experience, and employment after graduation. We will be counting on Immigration to help address this issue.”

Bush said that such a school waslong overdue and had come to get it done so that young Caymanians will have further opportunities to become qualified professionals within the sector.

“In the long run, our tourism product will benefit as the School will ensure that more of our young people are deployed to become the faces and the local, culturally rooted voices that our visitors want. It will be in their hands to plan for provision of the “authentic” experience visitor’s desire,” the premier said, as he asked for the support of the parliament.

See the premier’s full statement below

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