Archive for November 11th, 2011

Teen robber gets 16 years

| 11/11/2011 | 65 Comments

_DSC7637-web_0.jpg(CNS): A teenager who was only sixteen at the time of his crimewas handed a sixteen year prison sentence in the Grand Court Friday. Justice Smith sentenced Elmer Wright, who is now 18 years old, to serve twelve years for the robbery of a Bodden Town gas station last June plus a further four years to be served consecutively for the unlawful use of a shotgun. The judge also sentenced the teen to the minimum sentence of ten years for the possession of an unlicensed firearm and seven years for the possession of ammunition, all to run concurrently with the twelve year prison term for robbery. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

The judge found that, despite the defendant’s age, it was important for the court to send a clear message, otherwise public confidence in the justice system was at risk.

“The court must bear in mind the welfare of young offenders but when they deliberately commit serious offences, as the case now before the court, there is a legitimate public expectation that the defendant is severely punished,” he said. The judge added that the sentence had to also serve as a warning to other would-be offenders of the gravity of the offence and the risks associated with behaving in the same way.

The teen was convicted on Thursday of robbing Motsyns Esso in Bodden Town in June last year. Wright was also found guilty of the unlawful use of a firearm when he fired on a police patrol car as he attempted to escape after a high speed pursuit but was acquitted on the charge of attempted murder.

The judge found a number of aggravating features in the offence, including the fact that the robbery was committed with a number of other men, suggesting gang activity, that violence was used, as one of the customers in the gas station was butted by the robbers with a rifle as they fled, and that the crime took place at night.

He said that inadequate punishment does little to “heal the victims wounds” and would add insult to injury. Justice Smith said that without public confidence in the courts to hand down appropriate sentences there was the temptation and concern of driving the community to seek extra-judicial justice.

Explaining why he had ordered that the four year sentence for theuse of the firearm run concurrently, Justice Smith said the incident was a separate offence when he had fired at the unarmed police officers in the patrol car as he attempted to escape. The police, he said, were entitled to protection from the court.

Despite acknowledging the extremely difficult circumstances of Wright’s upbringing, the judge focused on the need to send the correct message, given the very serious nature of the offence.

But the judge noted that Wright’s early life was full of dysfunction and both of his parents were incapable of meeting his needs. Pointing to his unstable childhood, the judge noted that he had no contact with is mother since he was 12 and his father was incarcerated for significant periods of his teenage years. He also noted that the defendant had a learning disability which, despite being identified, had not been addressed.

Related article: Teen guilty of robbery

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Britain falls silent to remember war dead

| 11/11/2011 | 0 Comments

armistice.JPG(The Telegraph): The tribute started at 11am, the time the guns on the Western Front fell silent at the end of the First World War in 1918. Ceremonies nationwide commemorated fallen servicemen and women from both World Wars and later conflicts, including the 385 British personnel who have died since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001. The silence was particularly poignant for those at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, who are mourning the loss of the latest soldier to die on active service. Private Matthew Thornton, 28, from the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was killed by an IED while on patrol in Babaji on Wednesday. His family paid tribute to him last night as a "dedicated soldier" who "loved life".

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Role of fund directors to be debated at forum

| 11/11/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The controversial issue of how many directorships are reasonable for an independent director or how much time should be allocated to each fund and even the rate of fees they charge are some of the points to be discussed at next week’s Cayman Fund Focus, when Don Seymour of dms Management will go head to head with Jason D. Papastavrou, of private investment firm Aris Capital Management, LLC. The role of independent directors in fund structures and director standards have been pushed to the forefront after the Grand Cayman Grand Court judgment delivered in August of this year in the case of Weavering Macro Fixed Income Fund (In Liquidation) v Peterson and Ekstrom.

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Gripping volleyball action at this year’s Spikefest

| 11/11/2011 | 0 Comments

1 spikefest.JPG(CIVF): Moving through four other teams UWI Mona (women), led by Captain Renae Temple, spiked and six packed their way past a formidable Sunsets to take Sunday evening Gold in the 5th annual Cayman Airways Spike Fest. Caribbean All Stars (men), a multinational tour de force, survived the brilliant swipe and wipe, high velocity down spikes and paint brush game strategy of the Bahamas based Defenders to climb top of podium in the late finish game on Sunday. Five women teams UWI, Mosa, Venus (Jamaica) took on Cayman’s Upsetters, and Sunsets, soldiering through 26 games, over three days of riveting display of raw power, feline game craft and wicked come backs.

Clearing the battlefield of Mosa, Venus and Upsetters, Sunsets gave their all in final horizon glow, only to be overwhelmed by the punishment of Kamile Dwyer, Cheryl Daley and Cherie Thompson of UWI.

After 30 hours of hand to ball-over net ferocity are, Kamile Dwyer (UWI), Tshai Williams (Venus), Jessica Wolfenden (Sunsets), Tracey Ann Finley (Venus), Cheryl Daley (UWI), and Cherie Thompson (UWI), with Stefania Giandolfi-Libero (Sunsetts) are the All Star Women of the match.

In the Male Room … in spite of early loss to Cayman All Stars, a ruthless Caribbean All Stars pummeled a brilliant early riser, UWI, back to third place. Caribbean All Stars took on a power packed Defenders for the final end run. Administering spike and kill, stuff blocking, a bit of redwood defense Renaldo Knowles (Defenders ) and Dellon Brown (Caribbean All Stars) made grand show down the stuff caffeine alert, exciting final play. Caribbean All Stars Captain Dellon B led his team, unleashing Navy Seals, Saleem, Bonnor and the indefatigable Stiffla Campbell for the grand smack down for Gold.

When the dust cleared the All Star Men’s team are Donovon Richards (UWI), Delford Morgan (UWI) Dellan Brown (Caribbean All Stars), Saleem Ali (Caribbean All Stars) Troy Simon (Defenders) Olney Thompson (Cayman All Stars) with Jon Pendleberg –Libero (Defenders) bring up the rear.

Jessica Wolfenden (Sunsets) received the award of female Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Dellon Brown (Caribbean All Stars) is the male MVP. 

Awards were presented by Executive VP of Cayman Airways Paul Tibbetts and  Director of Sports Colin Anglin, with CIVF President Noel Williams, CIVF VP Kennedy McGowan, Fareed Hosein CIVF International Tournament Director, Keith Higgins CIVF Technical Director. Barry Miller and Azzad Hosein of FIVB Canada were Referee Directors.

Cayman Airways is the premier Gold sponsor of the annual SpikeFest.

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Millionaire developer arrested in corruption scandal

| 11/11/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The investigation team in Turks and Caicos has arrested and charged millionaire businessman and hotel developer Jak Civre, according to a report in the local press. The developer of the Seven Stars hotel and condominium project in Providenciales is the second person reportedly arrested in the corruption investigation led by Helen Garlick. Varet Jak Civre appeared at Providenciales Magistrates Court Thursday, the TCI Sun reported. A commission of inquiry in 2009 found that a payment by Civre to Floyd Hall of $150,000 in February 2007 on the eve of the election, said to be a campaign donation, was paid into the business account of his company, Paradigm, and was possibly a corrupt payment.

“He has been charged with bribery contrary to common law,” the investigation team said, adding that Civre has been released on conditional bail and will appear at the Supreme Court on 3 Feb next year. Civre, who was represented by Conrad Griffith QC, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joan Joyner and was granted $34 million bail and orderedto report to on a monthly basis. He was allowed to keep his travel documents.

According to local reports, Hall, a member of the previous Progressive National Party government, was arrested last week, the first former government official embroiled in the scandal that led to direct rule by the British. He has been charged with one count of corruption. The former premier, Michael Misick, has been accused of building a multimillion-dollar fortune financed from questionable dealings that gave property developers access to crown-owned land. So far, no charges have been brought against the PNP leader, who has persistently denied the allegations. Other local reports also suggest that the wife of a “prominent politician” has also been arrested on charges relating to bribery.

Civre, who is described as a 'Belonger' and long-time resident of TCI, is the President and CEO of Sodalco Development Company Ltd, which bought the 22-acre former Allegro Resort property and spearheaded the seven-storey Seven Stars development.

He has a long history of ventures throughout Europe and the United States. In 2002 the entire corporate conglomerate founded by Civre was sold to a private equity financial group when he turned his attention to his real estate holdings in TCI. The purchase of the Seven Stars site marked one of the largest single real estate acquisitions in the Islands. The property has since been sold.

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South Sound coast plans not supported by UDP

| 11/11/2011 | 39 Comments

(CNS): Plans to cut a canal through the South Sound road to link the in-land element of the Emerald Sound development to the ocean have reportedly failed to win the support of the government’s political supporters. Burns Conolly, the spokesperson for RC Estates Ltd, the Caymanian company behind the project, said Thursday that he understood government was not going to approve the coastal works licence application but that the developer had not yet received official confirmation that it would not be considered by Cabinet, as is the normal process for developments encroaching on the ocean.

Undeterred by the latest news regarding that element of the development, Conolly said the developer was still looking forward to breaking ground on the landside of the development in the near future.

The local architect said that RC Estates learned from a report in Thursday’s Caymanian Compass that the current government had made a decision not to complete the application process for the offshore excavation due to a decision by their political caucus.

“We appreciate the decision the lawmakers faced when coming to this conclusion and will wait for the official confirmation from them,” he stated. “It became increasingly difficult for the developer to counter the opposition to the project when the objectors continued down the route of misinformation. However, RC Estates remains excited about the potential this property holds and hope to break ground in the near future.”

The controversial development stirred up considerable opposition in the area over fears about the possible impact, during periods of bad weather, if a canal was cut from the Sound through to the inland element, as well as the environmental damage that would be caused. Objectors also stated that to allow such a development would cause a dangerous precedent and open the gate to the dredging of channels in other highly sensitive areas, such as the West Bay Road. The proposal to create inland canals, move the South Sound Road and create a bridge over the canal were all significant concerns to the objectors.

The campaign to fight the development fell at the planning hurdle when the inland project was given planning permission. However, the objectors had hoped to persuade government not to grant the coastal works license, a decision made by Cabinet, preventing the channel being cut through the road, which was the prime cause of the opposition. 

Speaking on behalf of the objectors, Katrina Jurn, one of the people who had spearheaded the campaign, stated that they were very pleased by the news that the coastal works license would not be approved and said common sense had prevailed in protecting this area of immense environmental and cultural significance.

“It is very encouraging that the UPD government has listened to the concerns of the thousands of Caymanians and residents who voiced their objection to the development,” she said.

The campaign had generated over 2,200 formal written objections to the development, which Jurn said made it one of, if not the most, formally objected to developments in the history of the Cayman Islands.

“Objectors' main concerns were the dredging of the Sound, cutting of canals, movement of South Sound Road and the building a bridge over the road which the development called for,” she explained. “We are confident that the petitioners will be overjoyed at this news.”

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Premier reports growth in stay-over tourism sector

| 11/11/2011 | 1 Comment

welcome to cayman_0.jpg(CNS Business): As well as being the country’s premier and finance minister, McKeeva Bush is also responsible for tourism. Wearing that hat on Thursday, he reported some improvements in the industry’s fortunes to stakeholders at a special lunch at the Marriott. Acknowledging the disturbing but expected decline in cruise tourism, Bush had better news for the industry when it came to stay-over figures. “Despite very challenging economic conditions that persist in the global economy, our tourism sector has been holding its own,’ he said. “I would venture to say that we are doing more than that – we are thriving at a time when things could have been otherwise.”

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MOUs fail to get results

| 11/11/2011 | 45 Comments

mac signs japan_1.jpg(CNS): Since coming to office the government has signed a number of MOUs with various private sector partners but so far none of the projects have yielded any concrete results. The government has put pen on a diverse range of possible public-private partnerships, from the cruise port to a health city, but so far none of the developments have started. This month the MOU the premier signed with China Harbour Engineering Company to develop the cruise port is due to expire, paving the way for what was expected to be a heads of agreement but so far there is no news on the status of the negotiations.

Government entered into a preliminary agreement with Dart, known as the ForCayamn Alliance, which was also expected to turn into a fully fledged deal this month but as yet nothing has been signed. The government also signed MOUs with Dr Devi Shetty for a health city, with Cayman Enterprise City to develop a technology zone and with Ventech Ltd and Navitas Ltd to develop an oil refinery.

Although there has been considerable opposition to some of the projects, such as the oil refinery, which the premier has blamed for the failure of these public-private partnerships to get off the ground, by and large there is considerable support for the development of the cruise port.

More recently a number of sea captains have proposed that the South Sound would provide a more suitable location than George Town but generally the development of cruise berthing facilities has wide support from the community and in particular the stakeholders in the tourism sector.

On Thursday at a special lunch hosted by the Department of  Tourism at the Marriott McKeeva Bush gave an update on the state of Cayman’s tourism industry and spoke only briefly about the port, giving no indication of the current status of talks with CHEC.

The premier acknowledged the continuing decline in cruise passenger arrivals over the last few months and described the figures as "disturbing if not surprising”. He said, “We knew prior to the beginning of this year that a decline in cruise passenger arrivals was on the cards. In fact, we knew this as far back as the end of my government’s last administration and even more so three to four years ago.”

Although he said the country had known for several years that if “we did not get our act together” and develop the infrastructure for the new class of cruise ships, cruise arrivals would suffer drastically, but he did not say when the berthing facilities were likely to start.

“We have tried to take steps to develop cruise berthing facilities and many of those were opposed. That is a well-known part of the history of our efforts for a new cruise terminal,” Bush told industry stakeholders. “In light of the further decline in arrivals projected for 2012, my government and I are fully cognizant of the need to develop cruise berthing facilities and we are working hard to secure the best deal possible for our islands. I have started the process and I can assure you that I will get it done,” he said, repeating comments made on a number of public occasions recently. 

With no news on the port, there has been little news recently on any of the other preliminary agreements or deals signed by government.

CNS understand that government is still continuing to negotiate with Dart on the various proposed projects under the ForCayman Alliance, which includes the relocation of the George Town dump as well as the Esterly Tibbetts road extension.

Several months ago the local partners involved in the development of Shetty’s health city announced that the project would be located at High Rock in East End on land owned by Joseph Imparato and previously proposed as the site of a commercial seaport. Since that announcement however, there has been no further news on the status of that land purchase.

Although the laws have now been passed regarding the special provisions for the Enterprise City, that MOU remains under wraps and the location of the technology zone has still not been revealed. CNS made an FOI request for a copy of the document but it was refused.

Since the premier signed what he described as a ministerial MOU with two companies regarding the possibility of developing a high tech specialist oil refinery in Cayman in June there have been no further comments from government on this issue. Last month representatives from the committee working on a national energy policy for the country revealed that they were not recommended that government go ahead with the idea of a local refinery.

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