Archive for November 14th, 2011

TCI’s Misick defends political payment by developer

| 14/11/2011 | 16 Comments

Former-premier-Michael-Misick (232x300).jpg(CNS): The former premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands has issued a statement hitting out against the British government accusing it of harassment of his former government members and supporters and stating that there was nothing wrong in payments made to the PNP by a developer who has been charged by the UK’s corruption investigation team. Michael Misick said the UK had sunk to a “new low” with the charges against Jak Civre, whom Misick said was a man of integrity. He said that all substantial investors give political contributions to both parties and politicians to further their political aims and there was nothing illegal about campaign contributions.

The developer of the Seven Stars hotel in Providenciales was charged last week by the special UK team, led by Helen Garlick, currently investigating allegations of corruption surrounding the previous government. Civre is accused of making a payment of $150,000 to one of the former PNP ministers, who has also been arrested.

In his statement, Misick said that, given the accusations, everyone who has ever given political contributions should now also be charged. “It is wrong for the British governor and his persecutors to hand pick developers to charge for giving political contributions when all have given political contributions,” he stated Friday. “Thiswhole process is an attempt to silence the voices of people that have made economic and political gains and to try and derail our movement towards independence by tarnishing the name of leading politicians and their supporters.”

The former premier called on the TCI pastors and wider population to speak out against what he said was an injustice, adding that while he expected to be politically persecuted, what the UK was doing to Jak Civre was wrong.

“No further investors will put another dime in the Turks and Caicos Islands and risk being politically persecuted because of their political contributions. The harassment, blackmailing and political persecution must stop.  We must take our country back before there is nothing left to take back,” Misick said as he called on the British to go home.

Go to full statement

See previous related story here

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Student essays wanted for conference competition

| 14/11/2011 | 0 Comments

cayman_history_104.jpg(CNS): College students and those in their last two years of school are being encouraged to submit entries for the UCCI’s essay competition, which forms part of the spring conference.  The Planning Committee of the 50-50 Caribbean Conference launched the competition last week as a way to actively involve the young people of Cayman in the annual academic conference. The theme for the competition, “50-50: Surveying the Past, Mapping the Future”, follows that of the conference being hosted by UCCI in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI).

There are two main categories for entrants: Secondary and Tertiary.  The secondary category is for fifth and sixth form students and the tertiary category is open for students in all tertiary institutions.

“The topics cover diverse areas that are linked to the conference theme: politics, colonialism, crime, governance to name a few,” said committee member Erica Gordon.  “The competition serves as a way to encourage the participation of students who may not be able to present papers at the conference.  This competition aims at raising awareness among our young people, gives them an opportunity to explore the theme and share their views on the issues.” 

Last year’s winner from the secondary category was the representative from Cayman Brac High, Jovonnie Anglin. UCCI’s Matthew Gayle topped the tertiary category.  Prizes were awarded by Kirk Office Equipment, Digicel, Cengage Publishing and UCCI’s President, Roy Bodden.  The prizes for this year’s competition will be of an equally high standard in order to make it attractive enough to encourage participation.

The topics for each category are listed on the website www.UCCIconference.ky and the deadline for submission of entries is Monday, February 27,2012.  The winners will be announced on March 23, during the closing ceremonies of the conference. Contact Dr Ginnie Gardiner at ggardiner@ucci.edu.ky or Erica Gordon at egordon@ucci.edu.ky for more information.

See posters below.

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Lord gets top UK Cayman job

| 14/11/2011 | 49 Comments

(CNS):  A British Conservative peer has been given the top job in the Cayman Islands London office, officials announced on Monday.  Lord Blencathra, formerly David MacLean before he was appointed to the UK’s House of Lords, has been appointed the director of the UK office. The former Conservative MP represented Penrith and The Border from 1983 until 2010 and was the party’s chief whip from 2001 to 2005. The premier made the announcement from the UK capital on Monday, having been called there by the OT minister.  “It is vitally important that Cayman has a strong voice in Westminster and Brussels,” Mckeeva Bush said about the appointment.

“I am delighted that a politician with David’s experience will ensure that our interests are protected at a time when tax neutral jurisdictions such as our own are the subject of such malicious and ill-informed attacks,” Bush added.

According to a release issued on behalf of the Cayman London office, the Tory peer’s immediate agenda will include developing a more comprehensive understanding with the FCO and other governmental organizations in the UK of the financial management of the Cayman Islands, its economy and its day to day operations.

IMG_5113 (233x300).jpgLord Blencathra said he was honoured to take up the appointment as he “passionately” believes” that both the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories are a force for good in the world.

“In a world of ever faster communications there is often slower understanding. A major part of my work will be to make people in the UK and Europe understand that allowing the Cayman Islands to maintain its leading position in world finance is also vital for the City of London and the whole of the UK economy,” Lord Blencathra stated.

 “As the world possibly enters even more difficult financial times then we should all build on our strengths and maintain our family ties with those countries that have always stood by us. On both those counts that means that I will be working for the closest possible relationship and understanding between our two countries," he added.

The new director will also have responsibility for promoting the Cayman Islands' interests in the UK and Europe by liaising with and making representations to UK Ministers, the FCO, the European Parliament, European Governments and the EU Commission, the Commonwealth Countries Association and the Overseas Territories Association, as well as the Mayor of the City of London and City of London institutions and businesses.

Officials added that he will be liaising with and promoting the interests of the Cayman Islands at the Overseas Territories Consultative Council, which is due to take place this month. In particular, the peer will be assisting the CIG in developing the new accord for the Overseas Territories with the UK government.

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Scotland urges people to exercise to beat diabetes

| 14/11/2011 | 0 Comments

exercise-diabetes.jpg(CNS): In his message to mark this year’s World Diabetes Day (14 November) the health minister has urged the community to get involved with the Public Health Department’s efforts to mitigate the impact of this and other chronic non-communicable diseases. Mark Scotland said the "Be Fit Cayman Campaign" seeks to raise awareness in the community of chronic disease prevention including diabetes and its management. Diabetes can have a devastating and costly impact on the community but Scotland said it was a disease that could be beaten. “The good news is, we can all act on diabetes and the time is now,” he said. “Start today and take small steps to a diabetes-free world. It is as simple as taking your family for a walk.”

See full message below.

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Woman injured in severe single vehicle smash

| 14/11/2011 | 6 Comments

carsmash.jpg(CNS): A woman was taken to hospital in the early hours of Monday morning after smashing her car into a wall along Walkers Road.  Just before 3amon 14 November police and emergency services were called to the scene of the car smash, where the female driver had collided with the wall close to Memorial Avenue.  The vehicle was very badly damaged in what appeared to be a single vehicle crash involving no other cars. Officials said the woman had suffered head injuries and was being treated at the George Town hospital. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

 

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Cayman office escapes HSBC global layoffs

| 14/11/2011 | 0 Comments

hsbc cayman.jpg(CNS Business): HSBC has begun laying hundreds of its staff in the UK in a bid to cut numbers worldwide by 30,000. A report in the UK's Daily Telegraph states that between 10 and 20 percent of investment bankers at HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland could lose their jobs as a major slowdown in business has forced managers to begin sacking hundreds of employees. Speaking to CNS Business, HSBC Cayman’s Chief Financial Officer confirms that there will be no redundancies at its offices in the Cayman Islands. Redundancies are taking place across the bank's global banking and markets business, which employs several thousand staff in London. Read more in CNS Business

 

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George Town port MOU with CHEC expires

| 14/11/2011 | 23 Comments

sol.jpg(CNS): The MOU which the premier signed with a Chinese firm to develop the cruise berthing facilities in George Town has now expired. McKeeva Bush entered into the agreement which called for exclusive talks between government and China Harbour Engineering Company on 13 June. The deal called for the firm to undertake a feasibility study by the end of July with a view to beginning the project this month but there has been no news on the progress of the talks or when a main agreement to build the facility will be signed. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, George Town MLA Elio Solomon was in Portland last week looking at the work CHEC has undertaken there. (Photo Jamaica Gleaner)

Solomon told the Jamaican newspaper that he found the work at the Rio Grande Bridge at St Margaret's Bay very impressive and said CHEC was obviously using proven and tested technology.  “We are visiting to see what China Harbour is doing in Jamaica, and there is some discussion and negotiations with China Harbour in terms of doing work in the Cayman Islands," the UDP backbencher stated.

He said that the ratio of Chinese workers to local workers was “commendable” and he said the local labour was dominating the workforce at least two to one. Solomon reportedly stated that CHEC might be contracted to construct the US$200 million pier and cruise facility.

The premier has stated on a number of occasions recently that he will get the cruise project done but has not made any comment regarding the status of talks with the Bejing based firm or when a heads of agreement may be signed.

At the time he signed the MOU the premier stated that the Chinese were looking for a 49 year lease for the development and that they would also undertake the redevelopment of the Spotts jetty, where ships can anchor in bad weather, as well as construct a pier in West Bay.

Since the agreement for exclusive talks was signed, however, there have been few updates from government about their progress. The plan to begin the Spotts project, which was due  to be started prior to the signing of a master deal, was abandoned during the summer when the premier stated that interference from the opposition and the audit office wanting to know things had led to the plans being shelved until after the negotiations were completed.

“I told the governor I was sick and tired of all this,” the premier told the Legislative Assembly in September. 

He explained that the plan was for CHEC to begin that project and spend up to $3 million on the build out at the same time as negotiations continued towards the substantive agreement for the main cruise berth project in George Town. Had government not been able to come to an agreement with the Chinese then it would have paid back the $3 million that CHEC would have spent on the Spotts facility but if a deal was reached it would have been part of that main agreement.

Bush claimed that because the opposition had complained about it, the auditor general started asking questions about where the $3 million was and where it was going and what account it was in, misunderstanding the goal.  Bush said that in his frustration he made the decision to defer the Spotts plans until the talks with the Chinese for all the elements of the deal were completed.

The premier said at that time that the MOU signed by the two parties was valid until November, when he hoped the main agreement would be signed.

See the Jamaica Gleaner story here

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Law enforcement trained to read body language

| 14/11/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A mixed group of law enforcement officials, including immigration,prison and police officers, have been undertaking specialist training to help them to detect the subtleties in the body language of travellers that may be involved in crime. According to a release from government, 24 officers took part in the ‘rover’ training, or Observational Techniques and Behaviour Analysis, the theme of the intense one-week course facilitated by a veteran police and USA customs officer, who said that these methods have both tactical and administrative applications and can help officials read the messages that people engaged in criminal activity may be subconsciously sending.

“Understanding non-verbal and body language studies is critical for officer safety, as well as law enforcement,” said Prospero Ellis, who is now the CEO of the Miami-based company Rovertech International, which hosted the training.

As he helped the officials hone their skills, he noted that officers often “see without observing” or “hear without listening”. Non-verbal behaviour will give people away 75 to 80 percent of the time,” he added.

The course was opened by Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith, who challenged the participants to make the most of the time and be prepared to use what knowledge they will gain.

Ellis, who has conducted similar courses in Cayman for two decades, was accompanied this time by co-presenter Omar Bolivar.

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2 killed in Brac plane crash

| 14/11/2011 | 49 Comments

(CNS): Updated 3pm – The two men killed in a light aircraft crash on Cayman Brac late Sunday night were from Mexico and Colombia, officials have confirmed. The private plane came down at around 11:30pm on  Booby Bird Road on the Bluff. The single engine Cessna 210 light aircraft was reported to be flying in from the west when it clipped a light pole and then crashed into the bush.  Police, Fire and Ambulance teams responded to the crash scene where the wreckage of a light aircraft was located.  Remains believed to be those of the pilot and passenger were located at or near the crash scene. The aircraft was extensively damaged, but did not ignite. Officials have not yet confirmed where the plane came from or where it was headed.

Representatives from the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) attended the scene supervising the investigation in close liaison with the RCIPS.  Members of the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) are due in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday to take over the investigation into the cause of the accident.

Jonathan Tibbetts, general manager of the local power firm Cayman Brac Power and Light, said the aircraft took some fifteen feet off the pole, which indicated it must have been very close to the ground and looking for somewhere to land at the time of the crash.

According to Tibbetts, the pole was not live as it was part of a new subdivision and as yet there are no houses in the area to connect to the power system. He said that this is not a normal flight path and there was still no indicaiton Monday morning why it would have been flying so low over the Bluff. However, Tibbettts said witnesses had reported hearing an engine that sounded as if it was in trouble shortly before the crash.

Tibbetts indicated that there is a paved area on the sub-division and the pilot may have been trying to put down there if the plane was in trouble.

The police have not yet commented on speculation that the plane’s cargo was illegal drugs but it is understood the plane may have been carrying extra fuel containers on board.

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Local footballers at home for last game of world cup

| 14/11/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): With Cayman at the bottom of its World Cup qualifying group, any dreams of making it to the international football tournament were long dashed, but the team has a final chance to regain some pride and at least score against the Dominican Republic when the teams meet again, this time on Cayman’s home turf this evening (Monday 14 November). The most recent game between the teams saw the Dominican Republic placed above Suriname at the top of Group A in the North, Central America and Caribbean Qualifying stage for the 2014 Cup with its 4-0 win. Cayman sits bottom of the group without a point, conceding 14 goals and scoring just one.

Cayman will play this final World Cup qualifying game against the Dominican Republic in the return leg at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex with kick-off at 7:30. Tickets for this game will be on sale on the day of the game from 2pm at the Field of Dreams priced at $15 for Adults and $5 for Children under 12.

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