Archive for February 1st, 2012

Regional post service bosses discuss challenges

| 01/02/2012 | 0 Comments

r614816_4116172.jpg(CNS): The rarely recognized challenges faced by the region’s postal services were the topic of discussion in Cayman recently when the local postal service hosted a workshop for senior staff in the Caribbean Postal Union. The aim was to raise awareness among postal authorities about the challenges confronting the Caribbean postal sector and for them to develop an action plan. The forum also focused on quality of service, market knowledge and customer needs; postal reform and sustainable development, cooperation and interaction with industry stakeholders, local officials said.

The Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) Caribbean expert Gerard Power said he was gratified to see the high degree of interest made by countries in the region to the issues including the examination of the regional logistics network and establishing a working group to identify and address barriers to the exchange of electronic money orders and postal remittances.

“The frank and courteous debates enabled the participants to both gain a better understanding of the common challenges and some the solutions that have worked for others,” said Power. “The meetings were successful in raising awareness among postal authorities, including permanent secretaries, of the challenges and opportunities facing the postal sector in the Caribbean region. Particular attention was paid to the role of the postal sector in providing micro, small and medium sized enterprises with access to markets as the engine of economic growth, financial inclusion and access to electronic services. Defining, costing and financing of the universal service obligation were also discussed.”

Kearney Gomez, the chief officer in the ministry with responsibility for post welcomed the initiative to bring the Caribbean up to speed on the challenges experienced by all postal administrations. “More innovation is required; meeting our customers’ needs is the top priority,” Gomez stated.

Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow said one of the key challenges facing all regional postal services is the ability to provide customers with quality services when the post has traditionally significantly struggled to attract and recruit skilled employees.  “Despite this, regional posts’ future survival will be dependent on our ability to remain relevant to our customers – there are no easy solutions to this particular challenge,” she added.

Delegates from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and British Virgin Islands attended the conference.

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Gas station robber gets 12 yrs

| 01/02/2012 | 51 Comments

P1010065 (252x300).jpg(CNS): An illegal immigrant from Jamaica has been sentenced to twelve years at HMP Northward for a late night gas station robbery that took place in George Town in 2010. Norval Barrett was found guilty of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm by a jury last year after he stole $454 during a stick-up at the Shedden Road Esso which occurred around 10:30 at night. The judge described the crime as a serious offence and said he could find few mitigating factors. Barrett had planned the robbery, shown no remorse, threated to kill staff and undertaken his crime at night, putting staff at the gas station in extreme fear.

Justice Charles Quin also said in his sentencing ruling that in addition to Barrett’s failure to cooperate or to show remorse, neither the imitation weapon used in the commission of the crime nor the cash that was stolen have ever been recovered.

Wearing a dark cap and glasses to disguise his appearance when he held up the staff at the gas station, Barrett was, however, caught on CCTV. By sheer coincidence a police officer who had reviewed that tape and who was visiting the George Town hospital on an unrelated matter a few days later spotted and recognised Barrett and arrested him.

The judge commended the officer and said that were it not for the alertness of DC Ronald Francis and prompt action the defendant may never have been brought to justice.

As he handed down the twelve year sentence for the robbery along with a further six years for the possession of an imitation weapon to run concurrently, the judge said that people contemplating committing such crimes must understand that if they are apprehended and convicted they will receive lengthy terms of imprisonment.

“Employees working in small businesses and petrol stations are extremely vulnerable,” Justice Quin said. “The court recognises that there has been a marked increase in violent robberies over the past two years. Employees and the general public must be protected from violent robberies.”

He said the gunman had threatened to shoot the cashier, who could not have known whether the weapon was real or not. He said the “fear and the terror caused by the production of such a weapon” would have been the same to the cashier whom he threatened to kill. He said the use of the replica gun had been a further aggravating factor in the offence.

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Cops charge suspect gunman in Savannah shooting

| 01/02/2012 | 0 Comments

good tape_2.jpg(CNS): The 22-year-old man who was arrested last week in connection with a shooting in Hirst Road, Savannah, has now been charged, police said Wednesday morning. Kurt Carter appeared in summary court facing three charges including possession of an unlicensed firearm, threats to kill, and resisting arrest. He is expected to return to the courts tomorrow to face further charges in connection with the shooting itself and the injuries sustained by the victim. According to a police report regarding the incident at the time the victim was shot in the area of Countryside Shopping Village on Thursday 19 January.

After being shot he apparently hitched a lift to the George Town hospital where he was treated for what were described as superficial injuries to his back.

Carter was then arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a police operation in George Town on 27 January following a police pursuit in which the patrol vehicle was damaged in the Crewe Road area.

Police confirmed that investigations into the incidents are continuing.
 

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UK Liberal Party donor arrested in Caribbean

| 01/02/2012 | 0 Comments

Michael-Brown-liberal-dem-007.jpg(The Guardian): The Liberal Democrats' biggest donor, who has been on the run for three years after being convicted of a multimillion pound theft, has been arrested by police in the Dominican Republic, the Guardian can disclose. Michael Brown, who bankrolled the party with £2.4m of stolen money, was detained near the resort of Punta Cana on the easternmost tip of the Caribbean island this week. Interpol has been informed. Named by City of London police as one of Britain's most wanted fraudsters, Brown, 45, disappeared while on bail for a £40m fraud and was sentenced in his absence to seven years in prison.

His arrest signals the end to an international hunt that has involved five law enforcement agencies across three continents, and could lead to his return toBritain to serve his sentence.

It will mean further embarrassment for Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister. The Lib Dems have refused to compensate Brown's victims, whose money went into the party's coffers to finance the 2005 election campaign.

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Do you owe Uncle Sam? Find a good tax attorney

| 01/02/2012 | 0 Comments

uncle_sam_taxes.jpg(CNS Business): People who live in the Cayman Islands who are US citizens, green card holders or even just have spent more than 183 days in any calendar year in the United States, are all required to file tax returns in the US, as they may be liable to pay tax there. According to US tax expert Shawn P Wolf, filing tax returns did not automatically make the individual liable to actually pay tax as certain exemptions or exclusions applied, particularly for those people who truly lived and worked outside the US. However, speaking at a seminar aimed at helping such individuals get started with filing their US tax returns, he warned that the only way to apply for such exemption was to file a return in the first place. Read more on CNS Business

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No more excuses on immigration paperwork

| 01/02/2012 | 21 Comments

Immigration Q-matic machine(2).jpg(CNS): In just one month’s time Cayman’s busiest government department will be clamping down on paperwork infringements. After 1 March officials at the Immigration office will no longer accept incomplete applications. This applies to applications in all three islands and for all kinds of permits and immigration issues from permanent residency to a temporary permit. The Department is urging the public to ensure all applications are properly completed. Officials said the move will mean better business practice because incomplete applications slow down the processing time for all applications.

“The entire objective is to ensure we reduce the number of review times, thereby resulting in a quicker turn-around time for all of our customers,” said Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Samantha Bennett.

The public is also urged to submit their applications as early as possible. “Submitting an application at the last hour before the permit expires can have detrimental consequences for the applicant if the Department has to reject an application for incompleteness,” the department stated in an official release.

If employers submit the complete application after the work permit has expired employees will have no authority under the Law to continue working.  The worker will then have to be regularised as a visitor, the department warned. When employers allow their permits to expire according to the Law there is nothing actually in place to renew. This may result in the employer being asked to submit a full grant application, which can have further financial implications.

“When we process application we need to ensure that our efforts are focussed on customers providing the required documentation needed to make a proper decision,” Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans explained. “It will no longer be acceptable for our limited staff to use their time to follow up with employers to submit missing documentation.  This valuable time will now be utilised to turn completed applications around faster.” 

The department also said there are new requirements for people applying for a dependent spouse or child over 18 years. Applicants will now need a full medical for both a spouse and child over 18 years if they wish for them to be included on their work permit grant, work permit renewal or temporary work permit as their dependent.
In addition, if an individual is applying for a work permit renewal, work permit grant or temporary work permit they are required to get a police clearance certificate and where an employer’s Trade & Business Licence has expired, a copy of the receipt of payment for its renewal is required.

Work permits in certain categories of profession also have specific requirements. Nurses and health practitioners, those working in the electrical, diving, plumbing, security officers and financial services sectors all need to ensure they meet the requirements such as CIMA approval letter for managerial positions

A complete list of all the minimum requirements to make an application are listed on a checklist at the back of all application forms but the boards reserve the right when deliberating to request additional documentation they feel may assist them in making a decision, the department warned.

Immigration officials said it was the intention to indicate to the customer the reasons why their applications are not accepted, should the Department find that applications are incomplete but after the 1 march cut-off date the applications will not be receipted and will not enter the system for processing.

For more information visit www.immigration.gov.ky for more information, where new checklists and a complete list of forms can be found.

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Former bank boss stripped of knighthood

| 01/02/2012 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin has had his knighthood removed. Goodwin, who was heavily criticised over his role in the bank's near-collapse in 2008, was given the honour by the Labour government in 2004. The Queen cancelled and annulled the title following Whitehall advice. Party leaders, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, welcomed the decision. In the past, only convicted criminals or people struck off professional bodies have had knighthoods taken away. Goodwin oversaw the multi-billion-pound deal to buy Dutch rival ABN Amro at the height of the financial crisis in 2007, which led to RBS having to be bailed out to the tune of £45bn by taxpayers.

There had been a growing clamour for Goodwin to be stripped of his honour following thousands of job losses at RBS and in the banking industry since then, and the impact on the wider economy.

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Coach speaks for Jeffers

| 01/02/2012 | 0 Comments

Andy-Myles-Coach (244x300).jpg(CNS): Andy Myles, Cayman’s well known cricket coach, told the court Tuesday that the Raziel Jeffers he knew was a “quiet and humble” young man who had played football and cricket and had never shown any signs of violence. Called by the defence as a witness in the murder case against the 28-year-old West Bay man, Myles, who works in the sports ministry, said he had known Jeffers since he was a small child and had coached him in football and cricket. He told the court that Jeffers had played on the national cricket team and toured in Jamaica, and had even cried when the Cayman team lost.

Myles spoke of how Jeffers had worked hard as a caddy at a hotel among other jobs and how he would never have expected Jeffers to be in the position he was, facing a murder charge. “He never showed any signs of violence or anger. He was always humble and quiet,” the coach said as he took the witness stand. He added, however, that he had not spoken to Jeffers since around 2005.

The coach was one of four witnesses called by Jeffers, who at the close of the crown’s case against him for the killing of Marcus Ebanks and attempted murder of four others, elected not to take the stand to answer the charges in connection with the shooting at Bonaventure Lane in 2009.

His leading counsel, Peter Champagnie, called three other witnesses, including a nurse from the trauma unit who had taken care of gunshot victim Adryan Powell, who spoke about his condition, and the paramedic who had attended to the teenage boy in the ambulance. The medic told the court he had asked Adryan, who was awake and alert on the journey to the George Town hospital, what had happened and who shot him but the boy had said he didn’t know.

The defence also called the wife of one of Jeffers' close friends to the stand, who had reportedly been present when, according to one of the crown’s witnesses, the defendant had been armed with a gun.

Chantelle Forbes Borden denied ever seeing a weapon on Jeffers when she went to braid his hair. She said she had been persuaded by Megan Martinez, who was at the time Jeffers' girlfriend, to go to his mother’s home in West Bay to do his hair and she had not seen any guns when she was there. This was in contrast to evidence given by the crown’s witness, Martinez, who had told the court that on that occasion Jeffers was carrying a hand gun and had shown it to the girls.

Under cross examination the young witness admitted that her husband, Clebe Borden, was a close friend of Jeffers but she said she could not speak for him when she was asked if he would want to do everything he could to help his friend.

Naming various members of what the prosecution claimed was the Birch Tree Hill gang and close associates of Jeffers among the friends of the couple, the crown counsel’s QC, Andrew Radcliffe, suggested that she had been told to come to court and tell a lie about not seeing the gun. However, she denied the accusation and stated she was there because she had decided to come.

“I am not lying. I did not see him with any gun,” she stated emphatically to the court.
With the last of the defence witnesses, the trial is expected to be completed Wednesday after the two lawyers have presented their closing arguments to Justice Charles Quin, who is presiding over the case alone. 

Jeffers faces six counts on the indictment, including the murder of 20-year-old Marcus Ebanks; the attempted murder of Adryan Powell, who survived the shooting but is now confined to a wheelchair after one of the multiple bullets he received severed his spinal column; Rod Evans, who eventually recovered from some four gunshot wounds; and Joe Bush and Jose Sanchez, who both escaped unscathed when the two masked gunmen opened fire. Jeffers also faces one count of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

He has denied the charges against him and says he was not one of the gunmen and was not at the scene of the crime on 8 July 2009 at around 7:45 when the gunmen opened fire on the young men sitting in the West Bay yard.

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MLA taking message to UK

| 01/02/2012 | 136 Comments

Ezz5.jpg(CNS):  At least two members of the Legislative Assembly and a leading member of the Concerned Citizens Group will be heading to the UK shortly to deliver the ‘other side of the story’ regarding the various projects that the government plans to sign up for and the issues surrounding proper process and the premier. Ezzard Miller says that Arden McLean and AliceMae Coe have already agreed to join his delegation to London, where he plans to meet with various FCO representatives, foreign affairs committee members, MPs from the Labour Party and the British press in order to raise the various concerns of those opposed to what government is doing.

Miller told CNS that he has also extended an invitation to others, including the opposition leader, and depending on the dates for the trip, which he says cannot be fixed because of the premier’s failure to set the dates for the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly, he hopes to take two other delegates with him.

The independent member said it was important that the UK was aware that not everyone in Cayman supported the moves government is making in connection with the major projects, such as the cruise port development and the ForCayman Alliance.

The size of these projects combined with the auditor general’s reports regarding procurement and the premier’s failure to follow process on so many occasions gives serious cause for concern, the North Side member maintained. He said it wasimportant to ensure that the UK government and possible future British governments understood what was happening.

Although Miller said that he, opposition members and other local activists have had discussions with the governor about good governance, process and the police investigation surrounding the premier and had taken some comfort from what he had said, given his position, the governor could not express the concerns to London.

“I and others have spoken with the governor about these concerns and although I’m not dissatisfied with what he has said, I don’t think he is in a position to present the other side openly. We want to expand on the concerns we’ve expressed about the total disregard for process and discuss the restoration of good governance, particularly where these major projects are concerned,” Miller said.  “We want to ensure that our message is delivered and our concerns are expressed properly.”

He explained that the delegation would want to meet with Colin Roberts, a key official in the FCO regarding Overseas Territories, as well as the minister, Henry Bellingham.

“We want to look at the legality of some of the things the premier is planning regarding the ForCayman Alliance with Dart as well as the negotiations with the Chinese regarding the port, especially given the kind of money involved,” he added. Miller stated that how the premier’s plans fit with the Framework for Financial Responsibility that he has signed were also on the agenda.

Aside from meeting with the FCO, Miller said it was important that he and his fellow Cayman delegates met with the Friends of Cayman parliamentary committee, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Labour Party members, who also “need to know what is really going on down here,” he noted.

Miller said he hoped to meet with the press as well because it was important the message was out in the open that what the government was doing was not supported by everyone.

He said many people in Cayman were extremely concerned about a number of issues regarding the current administration, from the existing police probe to the future risks presented by government proposals and he intended to ensure that message was delivered to the UK.

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$25K offered for conviction in police house shooting

| 01/02/2012 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The local branch of Crime Stoppers is utilizing a reward fund back by government to offer a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the shooters who fired at a police officer’s home in West Bay last month. The house in Velma Banks Drive was shot up in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 22 January.  No one was hurt in the incident and police stated in the wake of the gunfire that security precautions had been put in place to protect the officer and his family. The RCIPs have not stated which department he was working in or if he was involved in any of the recent gang related trials.

Although there appears to be little evidence that rewards have assisted in any of the gun crimes which the police are investigating crimestoppers is utilising  the funds that were put forward by government and earmarked as a reward for a conviction in any gun-related crime to post a reward in this case.

There are a number of rewards still posted for a range of crimes from armed bank robbery to the inexplicably shooting of local brewery in his face during a failed heist at a food stop none of which appear to have assisted police in solving the cases.
In this instance emphasising the protection offered to the identity of witnesses using the phone line Cayman Crime Stoppers Chairman, Malcolm Ellis, appealed to members of the public to call with any information regarding the shooting of the officer’s home which happened around 4:30am.

“The Cayman Crime Stoppers tips-line guarantees callers’ absolute anonymity,” Ellis said.  “Calls are answered by our call-centre in Miami and callers are never asked to disclose their details, so there is no way they can be traced or identified by name.”

Cayman Crime Stoppers is able to offer a reward for informationwhich proves valuable in solving a crime, and callers are given a unique code which they can use to make a claim. They never have to disclose their identity.  The Cayman Crime Stoppers tips line is 800-TIPS (that is, 800 8477).  Tips may also be submitted via the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimestoppers.ky

 

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