Archive for October 14th, 2011

Man faces firearms charges over gun threat

| 14/10/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Police have charged 21-year-old Jovin Omar Fuentes with possession of an imitation firearm with intent, threatening violence and theft following an incident in Bodden Town at the weekend. Fuentes appeared in court Friday (14 October) and was remanded in custody until his next appearance in two weeks time. Police arrested Fuentes for threatening a 28 year old man with what appeared to be a gun during an altercation in the Woods Close area of the district. No shots were fired, no-one was injured and police said that Fuentes had been arrested a short time after the incident.

If anyone has any information which could assist the police in relation to any gun related matters in the Cayman Islands, they should call the confidential tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Early morning road check leads to drug arrest

| 14/10/2011 | 16 Comments

(CNS): A 30-year-old man who supplied a false name to police officers during an early morning road check in the Eastern Districts has been arrested and a quantity of ganja has been recovered, the RCIPS has reported. Shortly after 4.00am on Wednesday 12 October, officers on routine patrol in the Savannah area saw a white Honda Accord driving at high speed. The officers followed the vehicle and instructed the driver to stop. When the officers spoke to the driver he provided them with afalse name. A subsequent search of the car led to the discovery of over one pound of ganja in the trunk of the car. The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of ganja with intent to supply, consumption of ganja, and providing a false name to police officers.

Anyone who has any information about crime in the Eastern Districts, or who wishes to report any suspicious activity, should contact Bodden Town police station on 947-2220 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS). In an emergency always call 911.

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AML laws won’t protect Cayman from regional crime

| 14/10/2011 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Although the Cayman Islands may be the highest ranking Caribbean nation when it comes to meeting international anti-money laundering standards, the jurisdiction still needs to pay close attention to the activities of its neighbours within the region when it comes to money laundering activities, according to Karen O’Brien of Global Compliance Solutions. O’Brien said that Cayman should be aware that illegal activities taking place within the Caribbean tars all countries in the region with the same brush when it comes to money laundering-related activities.

Delegates at the Global Compliance Solutions seventh annual conference on the subject, held this week at the Marriott Beach Resort heard that the Cayman Islands features almost at the top of the list of countries most compliant with the Financial Action Task Force’s 40 + 9 anti-money laundering recommendations.  But although Cayman ranked fourth, with 38 points, it could still be impacted by illegal activities elsewhere in the region , O’Brien said, highlighting issues such as ‘economic citizenship’ where by countries would sell citizenship to their country and effectively aid criminals by giving them numerous nationalities under which they could hide.

The region’s unprotected borders, particularly in relation to its sea borders were a real risk in the fight against money laundering and organised crime, she added, citing limited resources for the patrolling of borders as a principle reason for difficulties in this area. “People can move freely around the region,” she said.

Transshipment routes in the region enabled the passage of drugs from the production countries of Latin America to the consumers in the “target market” of the United States via the Caribbean, she explained, stating that 40 per cent of the world’s drugs trafficking moved through the Caribbean region.

The products of the proceeds of these ill-gotten gains could be seen in the empty high rise skyscrapers of Panama, O’Brien told the audience, an important centre for Colombians in particular to launder their drug money and turn it into bricks and mortar which they can sell off at a later date. This activity was aided by the fact that Colombian citizens could enter Panama without a visa.

O’Brien went on to describe some of the ways criminals were moving drugs up into the States, including the development of semi-submersible vessels and parasitic devices attached to the hulks of ships. “How many times do the port authorities check the hulks of ships on a daily basis,” she wondered. “It’s a problem.”

Miami Dade Country had assigned a specific task force team of divers to check the hulks of ships coming into the port there, O’Brien revealed and went on to describe some of the recent cases of corruption scandals and money laundering cases in the region which had featured in the press, all of which were challenges to anti-money laundering regimes in the region, she said.

 

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US judge stops suit against Madoff liquidator

| 14/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): A lawsuit against the liquidator of Bernard Madoff’s firm in the Cayman Islands was stopped by a US. bankruptcy judge who said Maxam Absolute Return Fund Ltd.’s action was “a clear attack on this court’s exclusive jurisdiction and a blatant attempt to hijack the key issues to another court,” according to a court filing. Trustee Irving Picard sued Maxam for about $100 million of money taken out of the Ponzi scheme. Maxam Absolute Return Fund Ltd. was found in violation of the so-called automatic bankruptcy stay for commencing a lawsuit in the Cayman Islands to declare that the fund has no obligation to return $25 million to the trustee for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

The dispute traces its roots to December, when the Madoff trustee sued the Maxam fund as the subsequent recipient of $25 million taken out of the Madoff firm within 90 days of bankruptcy. In July, on almost the same day it answered the complaint in bankruptcy court, Maxam filed suit in the Cayman Islands seeking a declaration that there is no liability to return the $25 million, Lifland said in his opinion.

Lifland ruled that the suit in the Cayman Islands was “void ab initio,” meaning it was a nullity from the very beginning and nothing that happened in the case gave the Maxam fund any rights that could be enforced in the U.S. The bankruptcy judge directed Maxam to withdraw and dismiss the suit in the Cayman Islands by today.

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Hedging not the problem

| 14/10/2011 | 78 Comments

(CNS): Following comments made by the premier at a public meeting this week and those in the Legislative Assembly last month about high electricity bills, Grand Cayman’s power supplier has issued an extensive statement about how its clients' bills are calculated. In response to the premier’s question over whether the high fuel bills are down to duty increases or CUC having hedged and lost, the power firm made it clear that it was duty not hedging that was the problem. The cost of hedging was less than a half cent per kilowatt-hour while duty, which has increased 150% since September 2009, is 75 cents on every gallon used.

CUC said Thursday that government will collect CI$24 million on the fuel CUC uses to generate electricity and the hedging was done at the request of the body which regulates electricity generation.

In the face of a private member's motion asking government to reduce duty diesel because of the negative impact it has on the cost of living across the board, the premier has hit out at the sole power supplier on Grand Cayman, stating that he wanted to look at the licence agreement and audit the power company.

At a public meeting this week Bush said that when people had power bills more than their mortgage payments it could not be because of the 25 cent duty increase per gallon, and he accused CUC of losing money when it hedged.

In its statement CUC said that it was the Electricity Regulatory Authority, appointed by the government, that had requested CUC hedge on fuel prices. It proposed a hedge of 40% of its fuel volume consisting of call options, which in return for a fixed premium would cap the costs at a pre-determined level that was approved by the ERA in March 2011.

“CUC purchased call options to cap the cost of fuel purchased on the US Gulf Coast at US$3.55 per gallon. In September 2008 the price of diesel purchased in the US reached over US$3.79 per gallon before falling to under US$1.50 per gallon in late 2009. Since late 2010 the price has risen to a recent peak of approximately US$3.00 per gallon, which remains below the price cap,” the firm said in a statement. “The premium for this price cap is CI $1.7 million dollars per annum which currently represents CI 0.35 cents less than half a cent per kilowatt-hour for the total annual generation of electricity.”

In the face of the premier’s criticism and the increasingly ‘heated’ political debate about how much of an impact the fuel duty increase plus the removal of the rebate has had on bills, CUC said that before September 2009 the duty on fuel was 30 cents per gallon because of the duty rebate programme and is now more than double that.

“In September 2009, the present government abandoned the rebate programme which restored the rate of duty to 50 cents per IG. In June 2010 the rate of duty was further increased by another 25 cents for a total of 75 cents per gallon or an overall increase in the rate of duty of 150%” it said in a statement.

The increase is an additional CI$ 2.65 cents per kWh or CI$14.4 million dollars per year for government duty compared to the one time premium of CI$1.7 million for hedging, CUC pointed out.

The power supplier said that the present one-year hedge will expire in March next year and no further premium will be payable unless the ERA requests it to hedge again.

Acknowledging the high cost of power CUC said the rate it pays for diesel is very competitive amongst electric utilities in the region. But the duty rate of 75cents is by far the highest.

On a monthly basis CUC submits information regarding fuel costs and calculations to the ERA to be reviewed before it sends out the bills. “The fuel costs are recovered from electricity consumers two months in arrears in order to allow for a thorough review,” the firm said, adding that there have been no changes to the base rates in the past two years which is lower today than in 2002.

It said the cumulative impact of the rate freezes, rate reductions, and shrinking consumer demand due to the poor economy has translated to a fall in the firm’s return, which has fallen to less than 8% before expenses. But the company has invested US$64 million in electricity infrastructure, training and technology over the past two years to meet its obligations under the licences

“Without this investment the current levels of continuity of service that exceeds 99.9%, and is comparable to North American utilities, could not be maintained,” the company said.

Maintenance issues with a number of generators this year had resulted in a number of significant power outages and CUC said previously that it anticipated that the continuity of service would fall during 2011 but it has not revealed any figures relating to the blackouts in its latest statement, posted in full below.

Given the deal the firm has with government, the firm claimed it will not recover its investments for many years but invests with the expectation that government will honour its commitments under the licences.

“CUC has a fiduciary duty to its investors to ensure that its rights under the Licences are protected and upheld,” CUC stated. “Without the ongoing support of its shareholders and lenders, CUC would not be able to make the required investment in its infrastructure to maintain reliability of service.”

CUC pointed out that the high cost of fuel negatively impacts many small islands around the world that rely on diesel because they are not sufficient in size to install power plants that use cheaper fuel.

Pointing the finger squarely at the duty levels the firm stated: “Cayman is unique in the high level of import duties placed on diesel used for electricity and this exacerbates the issue,” the firm said, adding that it was making every effort to operate efficiently and find practical alternative energy sources.

CUC also gave advice on how consumers can reduce their own costs by maintaining and managing air-conditioning which accounts for up to 70% of bills.

A breakdown of the monthly residential electricity bills for August revealed that more than a third of residential customers had bills of under $200 and three quarters had bills of less than $500. CUC said that the ten percent of customers with bills over $700 if they are living in a home that is less than 3000sqft are missing opportunities to significantly reduce those bills and advised them to take advantage of the free audit.

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Search on for young Caymanian leaders

| 14/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Foundation for the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards is now accepting nominations for young Caymanians between the ages of 20 and 35 for the 2012 YCLA. Now in its 13th year, the awards ceremony recognises young local leaders. Nominees must demonstrate strong leadership qualities through their personal and professional accomplishments.  Determining factors include character, professional achievements, community involvement and commitment to helping others. Anyone may nominate a young Caymanian, including parents, siblings, co-workers, fellow church members, friends or spouses. (Left: 2011 YCLA winner Natalie Urquhart)

The deadline to submit is Monday 31 October. “We rely entirely on the community to nominate young Caymanians for the YCLA.  Everyone knows an outstanding leader that deserves recognition,” said Melissa Wolfe of the Leadership Foundation. “The onus is on each individual to ensure that special person is nominated and therefore eligible for the award. Well-rounded and dedicated leaders surround us everyday and they are effective role models for our younger generation.  The Foundation was created so that the public can identify and honour them with a nomination.”

Previous recipients include Olivaire Watler in 2000, Dax Foster in 2001, Sara Collins in 2002, Steve Blair in 2003, Cindy Scotland in 2004, Jonathan Tibbetts in 2006, Canover Watson in 2007, Stephen Ryan in 2008, Elroy Bryan in 2009, Collin Anglin in 2010 and Natalie Urquhart in 2011.

The YCLA is decided upon by an Honorary Board composed of 15 prominent Cayman leaders, who were selected for participation based on their established positions in the community as well as their ability and willingness to serve as role models for the younger generation.

The 2012 YCLA will be presented during the annual gala evening awards ceremony, which will be televised live on Cayman27 and is attended by hundreds of Cayman's top community and business leaders.

YCLA information packages have been forwarded to the human resource departments of major companies.  Nomination forms may also be obtained by calling Melissa Wolfe at 916-8335 or emailing ycla@candw.ky and for the first time nominations can now be submitted online at www.ycla.ky

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“Education, the road to wellness” for breast cancer

| 14/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens (LCTG) is half way through its 14th Breast Cancer Awareness and Education campaign, with the Breast Cancer Foundation Gala coming up this weekend on Saturday, 15 October, at the Ritz-Carlton. Friday 21 October is Dress Down/Dress Pink Day, and on Sunday 23 October, there will be a Cut-a-thon at Eclipze Beauty Salon. The month rounds out on Saturday, 29 October, with a Survivors Breakfast (by invitation only) and a Day of Beauty at Sameena's Beauty Salon on Sunday, 30 October. Anyone who has missed all the district awareness meetings can catch one at East End, North Side and George Town on 18, 20 and 27 October, all starting at 7:30pm.

There are also three more clinics left: Monday 17 October at the  West Bay Clinic, Thursday 20 October at the East End Clinic, and Monday 24 October at the George Town General Practice Clinic. For more details on events, visit the LCTG Breast Cancer Awareness Month website.

At the launch of the month's activities on 3 October, Lion President Belinda Blessitt Vincent stated that the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens continues to work passionately in getting the word out in the community about breast cancer prevention and early detection.  She said that the Club, through its educational programs, awareness meetings and clinics, stresses education as the road to wellness.  “Everyone has been touched in some way by breast cancer”, she states, “everyone deserves a lifetime and that is why we need to come together and make that difference”.

The breast cancer awareness campaign continues to have a positive impact on lives in the Cayman Islands. Over 52,000 persons have benefited from our educational programmes, over 7,500 mammogram vouchers, sponsored by our Club have enabled women to proactively assess their breast health and over 250 individuals have been assisted with health care and other related costs, both at home and overseas.

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Maples hang on at the top in Rugby 7’s

| 14/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): The CRFU 7’s series continued on Saturday 8 October and produced yet more exciting, fast paced Rugby action for all to enjoy. Albeit for some tired folks who were up all night watching the Rugby World Cup quarter finals the quality of rugby had vastly improved from week 1 of the tournament, not least of all in the women’s division. The ladies, coached byCaroline Deegan, produced two thrillers on the day as the Eaglerays scraped past the Sharks to make it two wins from two games. (Photos by Caroline Deegan)

Bernadette Beckles impressed as usual with her hard hitting tackles and turn of pace with the ball in hand. Elsewhere in the ladies division the return of Olive McDonough to the Islands rugby scene has brought immediate dividends with her ability to spearhead her team’s attack and control the defense when necessary.

Eagle Rays 12-10 Sharks
Eagle Rays 20-19 Sharks

Men’s Premier Division

The Men’s premier division looked like it was set to turn on its head as the Maples Academy looked to be upset not once but twice on the day.

The CML Ama Tsotsi stormed to a 21 point lead in the first half of their game against the National team but some strong words from National Coach Grizz Adams put the Academy on the right track as 26 unanswered points in the 2nd half gave the National team a nervy win that wasn’t secure until the last play of the game.

CML Ama Tsotsi 21-26 Maples Academy

3rd placed Ecay Pigs Trotters slumped to heavy losses to the National Academy and a slim loss to the Peter O’Neil Wolfhounds but their performance on the day will leave much to be desired having nearly beaten the National Side in week 1 of the tournament series.

Maples Academy 35-7 Ecay Pigs Trotters
Peter O’Neil Wolfhounds 21-19 Ecay Pigs Trotters

The Wolfhounds almost caused the biggest upset of the day as they, like the Ama Tsotsi took an early lead against the Maples Academy but steady heads prevailed as a 2nd half comeback broke the Wolfhounds lead. The performance for the Wolfhounds was a big turnaround from week one when they could barely muster a win and were now giving the national side a run for their money!

Men’s Social Division

The Men’s Social division ticks away as usual with the DART U19’s squad maintaining their stranglehold on the division. The youngsters put last week’s tight contest against Maples to bed as they hammered the Lawyers

DART U19 43-5 Maples

The Heineken Clydesdales results, like that of the Knackers disappeared and both teams still share the bottom of the social table.

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