Archive for October 16th, 2011

Four car smash closed Linford Pierson Highway

| 16/10/2011 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Emergency services rushed to a four car pileup at the junction of Halifax Road which closed Linford Pierson Highway for several hours in the early hours of Sunday morning. The crash occurred a little after midnight and at least one woman was taken to hospital with injuries sustained in the multi-vehicle crash. Police have yet to confirm details of the incident or give an indication of how they believe the pile-up, which is currently under investigation, might have happenedWitnesses are asked to call George Town police station on 949 422. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)‚Äč

 

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Wildlife rescue faces closure as money runs out

| 16/10/2011 | 39 Comments

(CNS): The only programme in the Cayman Islands that rescues wildlife that has been injured, nursing them back to health and returning them to the wild, is in need of rescue itself in the face of imminent closure. After more than 10 years of service, Cayman Wildlife Rescue, which is a Cayman Islands National Trust programme, will be forced to stop accepting injured animals and birds by the end of this month unless a last minute benefactor can be found. Carla Reid, chair of the Trust said that because of funding cuts, the programme is too expensive for the local Trust to maintain alone. Although Reid has been working to find a resolution, no permanent funding has been found, leaving the future bleak for at risk wildlife.

Over the last year, more than 200 animals were rescued or treated by the CWR volunteers. Unlike pets who return home with their owners to recuperate, wildlife must receive long term care and conditioning before being released back in to the wild. The programme needs consistent and dependable funding to cover veterinary costs.

"The National Trust has limited funding and multiple responsibilities to historic and environmental conservation. Without contributions from either local businesses or government we cannot commit to fund the full cost of this program," Reid said.

Lois Blumenthal, who helped found the all-volunteer program ten years ago, said everyone involved was distraught about the future. “We know what it will mean in terms of animal suffering,” she said. “But the funding has run out for us, and sadly now, for injured wildlife. Our volunteers raise funds to cover some of the costs but the program must have permanent funding. Unless some partnerships are formed and sponsorship found to fund the work, we simply cannot continue."

She said that over the years volunteers involved had been amazing and there had been great community support in many areas, but in the end the lack of funds has been a major stumbling block with the ever-increasing case-load.

“This problem won't go away, because as more development takes place, wildlife comes into contact with vehicles, glass windows, electrical wires and land-clearing during nesting season — all human-caused injuries, which make up the majority of our cases," Blumenthal explained.

Alison Corbett, who has managed the program for the past four years as a volunteer, said that the programme had grown beyond what volunteers alone could accomplish. Over the last year more than 345 calls were made to the hotline, she said, and the majority of those cases needed immediate veterinary attention.

In November last year CWR partnered with St. Matthews Veterinary University (SMU) to create a wildlife internship program, where SMU provided the veterinary care and rehabilitation.

"With the internship we had access to two wildlife specialized vets, along with a team of student volunteers who handled the full-time critical care and rehabilitation,” Corbett said.  “It was under this expert care that we were able to receive more wildlife, handling more critical cases and also at the same time improve the release rate of animals back into the wild." 

Corbett revealed how the work had also improved the local knowledge about wildlife medicine and important data had been collected. “It's complex work and it's critical that it continues,” she said. “We have made excellent strides this past year, we had hopes to continue the internship program and grow CWR even further.”

For more information about helping the CWR continue its important work contact Carla Reid or Paul Watler at the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.

Or donate to Cayman Wildlife Rescue

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Frederick escapes sanction in FIFA probe

| 16/10/2011 | 16 Comments

(CNS): David Frederick’s decision to resign from official football duties has saved him from any potential fallout regarding the proceedings opened by FIFA’s ethics committee in August against several Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials. The sport’s world governing body announced the details of the investigations on Friday and stated that the cases involving David Frederick (Cayman Islands) and Joseph Delves (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) were closed since they are no longer football officials but should they return to football official positions, their cases would be examined again by the committee, FIFA said in a release. (Photo courtesy of Cayman27)

The proceedings had been opened in regard to apparent violations of the Code of Ethics related to the special meeting of the CFU held in Port of Spain Trinidad & Tobago on 10 and 11 May this year and a number of football officials from the region have been fined or banned. It was alleged that at the meetings FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam handed out bribes to Caribbean members of CONCACAF, the regional body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Several officials described receiving brown envelopes containing $40,000 in cash.

Former Asian soccer chief Bin Hammam has since been banned for life by FIFA but has protested his innocence, along with ex-CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago.

Following the investigations of regional officials, Horace Burrell of Jamaica, and the owner of the Captains Bakery, has been banned for a period of six months from taking part in any football-related activity but the committee decided to suspend three months of the ban, subject to a probationary period of two years. 

Meanwhile, Franka Pickering from the British Virgin Islands received the highest fine of CHF500 (US$560) and was banned for a period of 18 months from taking part in any football-related activity.

Several other regional officials were banned for varying periods and fined CHF300, some were reprimanded and fined and five officials received warnings.

Felix Ledesma form the Dominican Republic was the only official who was considered not to have committed any violation and the hearing of Noel Adonis from Guyana was postponed.

The officials also stated that more information was required in the case of Patrick Mathurin from St. Lucia and a decision was taken about him by the committee.

Last month, Colin Klass, president of the Guyana FA was given a 26-month ban for his involvementin the May meeting. These latest decisions came one week ahead of a FIFA executive committee meeting where Blatter is expected to give an update on the fight against corruption in Football’s governing body.

See FIFA  release

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Cayman Islands under 20 women off to winning start

| 16/10/2011 | 1 Comment

(CIFA): The Cayman Islands Under 20 National Program set off on the right foot as they prepare for two upcoming Under 20 World Cup Qualifiers that will take place in Suriname this coming week. The women’s team flew out to Miami, to prepare as they hosted an international friendly with the Bahamas National Team. Head Coach Eric Dobranski and Women’s Technical Director Thiago Cunha handed International debuts to seven young Caymanian women in this match. The list of debutants included Brittany Bodden, Giselle Johnson, Jessica Ebanks, Brittni Ebanks, Kimberly Rivers, Nessah Godet and Janel Ebanks. All of whom played an instrumental part in the win against the Bahamas.Final score:Cayman Islands 2 Bahamas 0 (Courtisha Ebanks – a safe pair of hands in goal for Cayman)

Women’s Techinical Director Thiago Cunha said “I am very proud to see these young Girls progress, all of them have been with me from the start and to see them make their full International Debut for the Cayman Islands is a special thing for me, they have grown as people and as football players and they deserve to be out there, Janel Ebanks is only 14 years old and was playing against bigger, stronger and more experienced girls but she held her own and battled well, it was great to see”.

Cayman started the game brightly and dominated possession during the first half creating a number of early chances, the Bahamas National Team defense held up until the 22nd minute when experienced midfielder Briana Hydes chipped through a perfectly weighted pass that cut the Bohemian defense in half and allowed Kimberly Rivers to net a goal on her Full International debut. Rivers didn’t break her stride as she broke through and finished first time in the bottom right hand corner giving the keeper no chance.

Cayman’s defense was the driving force throughout the game; Tacita Berry constantly broke down any attacks that looked likely toturn into any sort of opportunity for the Bahamas. Berry who is only 16 was making her 10th International Cap for her Country and looked solid; she played with poise and confidence throughout the entire 90 minutes. Jessica Ebanks also put up a great defensive display for Cayman, Ebanks distribution from the back and set up everything Cayman had to offer going forward, Ebanks linked well with Briana Hydes who was controlling the entire Midfield.

As the Second Half got under way the Cayman defense held strong as the Bahamas went forward in numbers to look for an equalizing goal, this left holes in the Bahamas defense and Briana Hydes was exploiting them, her ranger of passing was excellent as she created a number of chances going forward. On the 57th Minute Hydes got her second assist of the game as she turned out of trouble and made space for herself to deliver another perfectly weighted pass that once again split the defense of the Bahamas, this time Jetena Bodden broke through and slotted her first of the game and Cayman’s second. 

Cayman could have and should have won by more as they held a 17 to 6 shot advantage over the Bahamas. Shanelle Frederick was unlucky to get on the score sheet as she was a constant threat in attack.

The Cayman Islands Under 20 National Program continue their preparation in Miami, Florida as they face Coral Springs Sports Club in their final warm up game before they head to Suriname via Trinidad and Tobago for two World Cup Qualifier games. In Suriname they will face the hosts on Tuesday October 18, 2011 and Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday October 20, 2011.  

See game highlights on Youtube here
 

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Protection voted for guards

| 16/10/2011 | 25 Comments

(CNS): Legislators have now voted to allow security guards to have access to bullet proof vests, hand cuffs, batons and peppers spray as a means of protecting themselves in the face of rising crime and in particular the number of armed robberies. Although opposition members had also wanted some security guards to have access to firearms by licensing trained staff, the government disagreed with that position and amended the proposal from the former opposition leader to exclude lethal means of protection. The decision by the parliament to move towards amending the necessary laws came at the end of two days of debate on the need for more personal protection against criminals for the public at large as well as security staff. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

As he presented the third private members motion in a series filed by the opposition, the PPM member for George Town, Kurt Tibbetts, supported by his East End colleague Arden McLean, told his legislative colleagues that his main concern was about the safety of the public.

The law currently prohibits anyone other than a police officer from wearing a bullet proof vest or using handcuffs. Although security guards are employed to protect business premises and customers, the former leader of government business pointed out that it was close to impossible for them to do that without any means of defence.

He pointed to a recent robbery where the guard was seen on the security video fleeing for his life as armed robbers shot through a glass door at the Reflections store in George Town, which he said illustrated the point.

Tibbetts suggested that guards who had the necessary training and ability to be armed should be at least allowed to apply for a firearms license as he pointed out that the private securities law provides for licensed security staff to carry authorized weapons. Guards who are not to be armed should at least be protected with other equipment such as vests, batons and sprays and have the handcuffs to help tackle more petty incidents.

The government supported the spirit of the motion but was not prepared to accept the move to facilitate firearms licence. Captain Eugene Ebanks, the UDP back bencher for West Bay, moved the amendment to Tibbetts' motion, stating that government could not support it as it was not possible to know the backgrounds of all the security guards, and people “could fall through the cracks” of any efforts to prevent licences being given to people “we don’t know anything about,” he said.

Following the unanimous vote on the three opposition motions with some government amendments the next step will be for government officials to begin preparing the necessary amendments to the various laws that will pave the way for ordinary members of the public and security guards to carry pepper spray and take away the sole power of the police commissioner to decide who gets a firearm’s licence.

CNS has contacted the RCIPS several times requesting comment from the commissioner about the move by the country’s legislative body to agree to amend the laws to allow these changes to the firearms and other laws but we are still waiting on a response. In the past the commissioner has made it clear that he does not support the private ownership of guns for self defence, but he will now have to share the decision over who gets to own a weapon with the president of the gun club and three justices of the peace.

The move to allow ordinary members of the public to buy pepper spray may also raise concerns among law enforcement officials because because of the increase in access the lawful importation of the products will also give to criminals.

Last month the courts heard how one of the teenagers involved in the robbery at the Blackbeard’s liquor store in Grand Harbour was armed with pepper spray, which he used on one of the members of the public who had assisted in apprehending the young robbers.

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Expert reveals latest ways villains clean up dirty cash

| 16/10/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Financial services industry institutions need to look out for a slew of new methods criminals are using to exploit the system and launder money, turning the proceeds of crime into clean money, according to Antiguan anti-money laundering specialist Kem Warner, from KAW Management Services. Facebook, on-line gaming, phone cards, pre-paid bank cards, football clubs and insurance premiums are just some of the avenues criminals use to launder their dirty cash and keep one step ahead of regulators and the law enforcement officials who are often too far behind the latest methods to stop them, the expert revealed during a conference last week.

“Criminals use the virtual world of online gaming through social media such as Facebook to create different personas for themselves or use other individuals to front for them. They then buy credits or virtual money to play these games and then redeem their purchases on the secondary market,” Warner told CNS at the seventh annual Global Compliance Solutions conference, held this week at the Marriott Beach Resort, as he identified many web-based and technology-driven tricks used by criminals.  “They then receive a payment or draft in exchange for this redemption thereby legitimising the proceeds of criminal conduct.”

Mobile phone technology presents another area of activity for money launderers, Warner said, with criminals using phone cards to transfer payments often across country borders, with the excess cash on these cards being redeemed for clean payments or drafts.

“Criminals love this type of money laundering because the technology moves so quickly,” he stated. “At the same time the regulators are too slow to keep up with the criminal activity, only catching up when it is too late and the criminals have laundered their money and moved on.”

ATM and prepaid cards usually used to allow access for students and family members to accounts are also being exploited.  Criminals migrate to these types of systems,” Warner said. “They set up a network of individuals and there is no trace of the identity of the individual withdrawing the funds. This allows the flow of cash across borders without a paper trail.”

Human trafficking was another issue on the rise, with migrants being illegally moved out of West Africa and the proceeds being invested in legal businesses in a bid to “clean” the funds.

“Such individuals running these operations try to set up offshore arrangements and so offshore jurisdictions need to be aware of this activity.” Warner warned.  “They might be using legitimate people to front these businesses so it is essential to know who the final beneficial owner is behind accounts. It all comes down to monitoring systems for due diligence and risk management.”

Money laundering could even be found within the world of football, particularly with the ownership of clubs in Europe and the UK. “Football clubs are not bound by the same corporate governance structures and duty of care as other corporate structures,” Warner said. “Proper due diligence is not always carried out on clubs. So the criminals use their ill-gotten funds to purchase clubs. The clubs go on to purchase players and expand and then the criminals eventually sell the clubs at a premium.”

Warner also pointed to a particularly worrying trend in money laundering with the use of non-life insurance policies to wash funds through to legitimacy. He detailed how criminals would take out an insurance policy for a marine vessel, for example, and then make a claim against that policy each month.

“The claim would always be lower than the premium, so the insurance company would not see any red flags raised as they were still making a profit and the withdrawals would be too small to raiseconcern,” he explained.

Warner said that this sector of the financial service industry had not been so well regulated but in Antigua at least the law was catching up in this regard and insurance providers in Antigua were all required to take out a licence with the relevant authorities, which required them to carry out proper due diligence and Know-your- Customer processes.

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