Archive for February 24th, 2012

Mac aims to usurp petition

| 24/02/2012 | 78 Comments

mac 2 (237x300).jpg(CNS): In the face of mounting signatures on the petition for a people initiated referendum on one man, one vote, the premier announced Friday evening that government would hold the national ballot at the same time as the 2013 May General Election. Despite the petition organiser's goal to trigger a legally binding people's referendum by November so that the next general election would be based on single member constituencies, the premier has pointed to cost and the opposition leader’s alleged failure to support the idea of a referendum before the election as reasons to hold the ballot next year.

Bush said in a short statement released to the press that “the United Democratic Party government will hold a referendum on ‘one man, one vote’ at the May 2013 general election.”

He added that this was a previously stated position of the UDP and the benefits of holdingthe referendum as part of the general election next year would avoid duplicating “costs at a time when there is tremendous pressure on public finances.” The premier stated that if the one man, one vote passed at what would be a 2013 referendum, this allows for an orderly implementation of the system.

“Furthermore the call to have such a referendum this year obviously does not have the support of the leader of the opposition given his comments,” Bush stated as he referred to an article published in the Caymanian Compass earlier this month.

Despite Alden McLaughlin’s position that the only way to get one man, one vote was to vote in the PPM, his party colleague Arden McLean and fellow single member for North side, Ezzard Miller, have both taken the view that they can push for the 2013 election to be held under the principle of one man, one vote. They both say the extra seats added to existing constituencies, creating a six member constituency in George Town, is simply undemocratic and will undermine the legitimacy of the next election result.

See related article:

MLAs want November vote

Vote in the CNS poll:

If the petition for one man, one vote triggers a referendum, how soon should this take place?

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US prosecutors want 20+ years prison time for Coke

| 24/02/2012 | 16 Comments

dudus-coke-nyc.jpg(CNS): American prosecutors are seeking to lock 42-year-old Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke away for more than two decades. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have asked a judge to hand Coke, the Jamaican drug lord, the maximum sentence. Coke was arrested and sent to the US in 2010 after violent street battles, in which over 70 people were killed, raged for a month in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston. According to media reports from the US, he is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday based on his guilty plea last year to charges including racketeering and conspiracy to supply large quantities of ganja.

In a sentencing memorandum filed this week, US attorney Preet Bharara said the federal advisory sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of slightly less than 22 to 23 years in prison.

Bharara’s office wrote in its memorandum to Judge Robert P. Patterson Jr. that Coke was so powerful in Jamaica that he enjoyed “virtual immunity from the reach of law enforcement” there. The office said Coke led a drug trafficking ring from an armed stronghold called Tivoli Gardens in Kingston, moving guns and drugs between Jamaica and the United States, and ordering murders, shootings and beatings.

“Coke’s soldiers often began their service to him as teenagers, drawn from the community and trained by Coke and his lieutenants to guard the streets of Tivoli Gardens with guns, and to engage in acts of violence at Coke’s direction,” prosecutors wrote.

Last September Coke wrote a seven-page letter to Judge Patterson accepting responsibility for his actions and asking the judge to sentence him below the guideline.

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New UN chair calls for end to colonialism

| 24/02/2012 | 12 Comments

1633770_n_vir1_0.jpg(CNS): The newly elected chair of the Special Committee on Decolonization at the United Nations has called for new strategies to ensure the “final disappearance of the archaic concept of colonialism”. Speaking after his election at the committee’s first meeting for 2012 Diego Morejón Pazmino from Ecuador called for frank and sincere dialogue and a focus on economic and environmental considerations. The UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon spoke about “constructive involvement” between the committee, the administering powers and the non-self-governing territories.

The process of decolonization remains incomplete as there are still sixteen Non-Self-Governing Territories, ten of which are British, and 2 million people still colonised. Remaining on the list territories are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Montserrat, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos, United States Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, American Samoa, Guam, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Tokelau and Western Sahara.

“The Special Committee is in a position to develop innovative approaches and generate new dynamics,” said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on Ban’s behalf.  He added that the populations of the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories on the United Nations list has suffered and continues to suffer from the financial crisis and climate change.  

The Special Committee elected its officers for the year: Diego Morejón Pazmino ( Ecuador) Chair; Pedro Núñez Mosquera ( Cuba) and Shekou M. Touray ( Sierra Leone) Vice-Chairs; and Bashar Ja’afari ( Syria) Rapporteur.

 

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Cayman swimmers get over 100 personal bests

| 24/02/2012 | 1 Comment

P2190120 (300x275).jpg(Stingray Swim Club):Stingray Swim Club travelled to Jamaica last weekend to compete in the FINA sanctioned Walter Rodgers Age Group Swimming Championships. The team of 15 Stingray swimmers was joined by two members from Camana Bay Aquatic Club and along with Coach Paul Swaby-Ebanks, Team Manager Mr Derrick Westerborg and a number of parents the young swimmers represented Cayman Swimming admirably both on deck, in the pool and in the stands. With competition taking place form Thursday -Sunday Stingray swimmers swam a combined 111 personal best times, with each swimmer contributing a minimum of four to that total.

Individual and team accolades are many, with some of the highlights including:

-Four swimmers added their names to those under consideration for the 2012 Cayman Islands CARIFTA Team by attaining the relevant consideration times: Cole Morgan (100 Backstroke, 1:14.30 "A"), Alice Narborough (50 Free, 31.56 "A"), Jonathan Key (50 Free, 34.02 "BB") and Kyle Fraser (50 Free, 28.79 "A").
-Two Stingray records fell by the wayside, both to Corey Westerborg in the Boys U8 age group who broke his own 50 free record witha 39.30 and also broke the 200IM records set in 2003 by Alex McCallum, lowering it by an astounding 25-1/2 seconds to 3:52.96.
-Stefanie Boothe swam her first "A" time and Jayde Solomon compiled 5 "BB" time standards as well as a third place finish in the 200 back.
-Iain Macrae continued his steady climb to the top, dropping time in four of his events and posting four top 8 finishes and Ella Plunkett had an astounding 8 personal best times and led off the girls 11-12 bronze medal winning medley relay team with a solid backstroke leg.
-Andrew Smilley, the veteran of the team, added seven personal bests to the team total as well as seven top eight points scoring finishes.

There were also a number of swimmers who were swimming overseas and in a 50M pool for the first time: Wunyae Crawford, Liam Henry, Alex Dakers, Sarah Jackson and Lauren Williams all competed hard, took on new events, earned points for the team with top 8 finishes and achieved official BB times.

Camana Bay Aquatic Club also had two swimmers at the meet; swimming veteran Danielle Boothe and, on the other end of the spectrum, Rory Barrett, who competed in a 50M pool for the first time. Danielle set two meet records in 50M Breast and 400 IM and finished solidly in all her events. Rory achieved top 8 finishes in the 100M Breast, 50M Freestyle and 100M Freestyle events, and was only half a second away from achieving an “A” time in the 50M Freestyle. Rory also added his name to the list of CARIFTA hopefuls by reaching the necessary consideration times.

“The Camana Bay Aquatic Club is very proud of Danielle and Rory’s achievements in Jamaica,” said Camana Bay Aquatic Club President, Jeffrey Wight. “Danielle’s hard work this season has paid off with fantastic results at the meet and we wish her the very best as she represents Jamaica at the CARIFTA Games. Rory rose to the occasion and performed extremely well for his first time at a long course meet. Weare very grateful to the Stingray Swim Club for their support of our swimmers in Jamaica.”

With the 2012 CARIFTA Games taking place in the Bahamas from April 12-15th, Cayman’s younger swimmers are training hard, focusing on achieving FINA approved qualifying times at the Pete Ribbins Memorial Swim Meet which starts on February 29th – hosted at the Lions Aquatic Centre by Stingray Swim Club.

“We could not be prouder of all our swimmers,”said Stingray President Brenda McGrath who was at the airport to meet the returning team. “They swam hard, had fun and represented the very best of Cayman Swimming while they were in Jamaica. It was great to have swimmers from Camana Bay Aquatic Club there too and we are hopeful that as both clubs become more settled that there will be other opportunities for us to travel together, representing not just our clubs but most importantly the Cayman Islands in the international arena.”

For more information on Stingray Swim Club and on the upcoming swim meet visit www.caymanswimming.com .

About Stingray Swim Club: The Stingray Swim Club, a non profit club, run by an elected Board of Directors. Stingray Swim Club is a year round competitive swim team offering high quality professional coaching and technique instruction for all ages and abilities.

 

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Global coalition launched for marine protection

| 24/02/2012 | 1 Comment

fish.jpg(The Guardian): A new partnership to raise $1.5bn (£633m) for the world's oceans, double marine protected areas and rebuild fish stocks was launched on Friday by the World Bank. The Global Partnership for Oceans, a coalition of governments, NGOs, scientists and businesses, is a political boost for the world's overfished, heavily polluted and increasingly warming oceans. More controversially it proposes the expansion of aquaculture (farmed fish) to provide two-thirds of the world's fish, up from half today, to alleviate pressure on wild fish as a growing human population increasingly looks to the sea for protein.

Unveiling the plan, the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, warned that marine ecosystems, which cover more than 70% of the surface of the planet, have deteriorated to a perilous level.

"The world's oceans are in danger, and the enormity of the challenge is bigger than one country or organisation. We need co-ordinated global action to restore our oceans to health," he told the Economist's World Ocean Summit in Singapore.

The alliance brings together many nations and organisations that are already attempting to alleviate what is, after the climate, the ultimate "tragedy of the commons" – the running down of resources that are largely owned by no one, exploited by anyone and woefully unregulated.

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Brac farmers and crafters prepare to show their wares

| 24/02/2012 | 0 Comments

Margartio “Merch” Chantilope crops (238x300).jpg(CNS): Following the success of the Grand Cayman show on Wednesday, Brackers will be enjoying all the fun of the farm this Saturday with the Cayman Brac Agriculture Show at the Agriculture Grounds off Songbird Drive on the Bluff. The show starts with a traditional Caymanian breakfast at 8 am and the opening ceremony will be around 10am. As well as the livestock and crop displays, arts and crafts, there will be a host of musical talents, such as C Level Band, Layman Scott High School Steel Band, Barefoot Man, Andy Martin the Cayman Cowboy, Dexter Bodden, Tammy Banks-DaCosta and many others.

Organisers said that the entertainment runs continuously throughout the day, with dancing from the Koalition group. There will also be various demonstrations by HM Customs K-9 Unit, Fire Department, Health Services and the Police Department.

One of the stalwarts of the Cayman Brac Agriculture show is Coleen Gibson, whose craft ambitions keeps pulling in a crowd and titles each year. Gibson keeps a dying art and a part of the Caymanian heritage alive by producing works of art using thatch and Caymanite and passing on her skills to generations of her family.

At 64 she was the 2011 Top Exhibitor at both Agriculture Shows – Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.  “I enjoy the competition. I work hard on my stuff and I am proud to win. I am proud of my island, Cayman Brac, and I like being a part of the shows,” Gibson said.  

The 2011 Top Farmer for Cayman Brac, Margartio “Merch” Chantilope, will also be displaying his best crops. A second generation farmer, with nine fields under operation, Merch now supplies Foster’s Food Fair and Kirk Supermarket with yams and papayas.  In addition, he grows yams, cassava, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangoes and avocados and raises pigs. 

“I don’t use fertilizer – just rain water and I rotate my crops,” he said.  “Over the years I have found out that the best months to plant potatoes are August and September. You get a better yield of crops. You can plant in June, but you won’t get a high yield or quality crop,” he explained.  “I like the idea of shade-house farming. Not a lot of land is needed, but you can get a good crop and I support that kind of farming. Things are getting hard throughout the world and we in Cayman Islands need to do what we need to do.”

Admission to the Cayman Brac Agriculture show is $8 per person (ages 11 and up), and $4 for children (ages 4 – 10). Raffle tickets are $10 and includes admission – 1st prize is US$2,500. Gates open at 7:30am.

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Civil servants shouldn’t be silenced, says association

| 24/02/2012 | 14 Comments

james watler.jpg(CNS): In the wake of the publication of a new policy allowing public sector workers to sign petitions, the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association issued a statement on Thursday welcoming the clarity provided by the deputy governor. Most civil servants will now be able to sign most petitions and very senior or sensitive post holders can do so with clearance from their chief officers. The CICSA said government employees must have the ability to sign a petition as it was crucial in the overall democratic process and they should not be silenced. CICSA President James Watler urged the members to familiarize themselves with the new policy. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

“As responsible members of society we have valid opinions on issues faced by both individual and country and our voices should not be silenced,” he said “This new policy now assists us in defining and making clearer what is allowed or not allowed and by whom.”

Watler said that over the years the issue of the rights of government workers to sign had been of grave concern to all civil servants and the CICSA management council had assisted with the drafting and vetting of the petition policy in an effort to create a policy document that would officially clarify the signing of petitions. 

“Of course there are some areas that we need to monitor as we go forward but despite this we do have a much clearer understanding of where we stand in relation to this issue,” Watler said about the document released on Tuesday. 

“We are aware that we must have certain rights and responsibilities as we do in the electoral process and the ability to sign a petition is crucial in the overall democratic process of these islands,” he added.

Watler advised public sector employee to ensure they understand what is required of them and what their rights now are so that they could participate in any petition that is being circulated at any time.

The new policy comes at a crucial time as a petition is being circulated aimed at triggering a people initiated referendum, as set out in the constitution, requesting a national poll on one man, one vote before the 2013 election. The new policy should pave the way for all civil servants to be able to sign this petition if they so wish.

See related story here and new policy document on civil servants and petitions below.

Vote in the CNS poll: If the petition for one man, one vote triggers a referendum, how soon should this take place?

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Obama’s tax reform proposals target tax havens

| 24/02/2012 | 0 Comments

obama_0.jpg(CNS Business): The Obama administration has unveiled a set of proposals for reforming the US business tax system that wouldlower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent and eliminate many tax loopholes. It would also introduce a minimum tax on income earned by subsidiaries of US corporations operating abroad, which would “balance the need to stop rewarding tax havens and to prevent a race to the bottom.” The goal, according to the proposal document, would be to keep US companies “on a level playing field” with competitors when engaged in business overseas. The proposal would also strengthen international tax rules by taxing the excess profits associated with shifting intangible assets, such as intellectual property, to low tax jurisdictions. Read more on CNS Business

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Barber shop robbed in WB

| 24/02/2012 | 29 Comments

crime-scene-tape.jpg(CNS): Updated with descriptions — Police have confirmed that a West Bay barber shop was robbed on Thursday evening by two men. According to an RCIPS report, the men entered the shop on West Church Street at about 7:30pm and demanded cash from staff at the shop. The police said that one of the robbers was believed to be armed with a gun. After taking an undisclosed sum of cash, the two villains made their escape, presumably on foot. One of the robbers is described as being around 5’ 6” in height, medium brown complexion with a heavy / fat build. He was wearing a long sleeved dark top, dark jeans, gloves and had a black t-shirt wrapped over his face and head.

The second robber was around 5’10” – 6’, with braided hair and very slim build, wearing a long sleeved grey top, jeans, gloves and a grey/black t-shirt over his face and head.

He spoke with what has been described as a Caymanian-Jamaican accent.

No shots were fired and no one was injured during the hold-up. Investigations into the incident have commenced

This is the eleventh robbery of 2012 and comes just over one week after several men were robbed while playing dominoes outside a home in the Swamp in George Town.

Anyone with information on the latest heist is asked to call RCIPS Tip-Line on 949-7777. People wishing to provide information, but who would like to remain anonymous, are asked to use CRIME STOPPERS at 800-8477 (TIPS) or leave an online tip by going to the crimstoppers web site www.crimestoppers.ky

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Victim denies being drunk when attacked at Wet-Fete

| 24/02/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 21-year-old man from Bodden Town told the court he was not drunk when he was attacked last year by a man with a knife at the Wet-Fete event on West Bay Road. Giving evidence as the crown’s key witness and complainant in the case against Aaron Solomon on Tuesday, Akeem Dunbar, who was stabbed multiple times, including in the neck, said that the defendant was the man who tried to kill him. He told the court that he had left the party, where revellers were being sprayed with water and foam, to get cigarettes from his friend’s car. As he sat in the passenger seat with the door open, the accused came towards him and kicked him in the chest and began stabbing him.

Dunbar told the court that he attempted to defend himself during the attack, which lasted for around one minute. Dunbar said that he put his arms up to his face as Solomon stabbed him in the neck, the chest and his arms as he cried out for the attack to stop.

The young man said that his attacker ran away on foot and he then got up and went looking for his friends. But before he made it back to the party area, two girls came towards him and he said it was then that he lost consciousness. He said he came to in the ambulance on the way to hospital, having lost a considerable amount of blood.

Dunbar said he knew his attacker from spending time in East End and was not mistaken over who had stabbed him. He said they were not friends and did not speak but he told the court that the men had been involved in a non-violent argument around a week or so before the Wet-Fete stabbing at a bar in Bodden Town.

Solomon (25), who is charged with attempted murder for stabbing Dunbar, has denied being the attacker.

The trial continues.

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