Archive for March 2nd, 2012

Cops appeal to missing witnesses in latest shooting

| 02/03/2012 | 3 Comments

crime-scene-tape.jpg(CNS): Detectives investigating the shooting incident outside Club 7 in the early hours of Ash Wednesday are making a further appeal for witnesses to come forward. Detective Sergeant Joseph Wright, the officer leading the investigation, said: “I believe that there were other people in the area when the shooting happened outside Club 7 just after 3am on Wednesday 22 February. These people have not come forward as yet. I would ask them to contact me at George Town police station on 949-4222 as they may have information which is relevant to the enquiry.”

According to police reports two men were injured outside the West Bay Road night spot before police arrested one man and recovered a fire arm.

Leighton Rankine Jr was charged with two counts of attempted murder unlawful use of a firearm and possession of an unlicensed firearm last Monday and is due to appear in Grand Court on 9 March
 

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No sign of Nathan on CCTV

| 02/03/2012 | 0 Comments

Nathan Clarke 24 Feb 2012.jpg(CNS): As police and volunteers continued their water search for Nathan Clarke on Friday, the RCIPS revealed that despite examining hours of CCTV footage from West Bay Road, there is still no sign of him on the tapes from Saturday 25 February leaving the beach area onto the roadway. Although there is still more CCTV, so far he appears not to have been caught on film collected from around the area. On day six of the search for the 3I-year-old British teaching assistant,18 police officers and 35 civilian volunteers continued with the water based search off Seven Mile Beach.

Divers and snorkelers are searching for any trace of Nathan or his property, and although his cell phone was recovered from the sea on Wednesday by a visiting cruise passenger, his black Fossil wallet has not yet been found.

Divers and snorkelers who wish to join the search on Saturday are being asked to attend at the police command vehicle at public beach car park by 8.30am. Police are stressing once again that searchers must report to police so that searches can continue to be professionally coordinated.

Nathan was last seen by his fiancée Lisa Beck on Saturday evening at around 8:30 close to the water’s edge outside Calico Jack’s beach bar. A few minutes later he disappeared from sight and has not been seen since.

When he was last seen he was wearing beige shorts and no shirt. The only trace so far has been of his mobile phone recovered from the ocean some fifty metres off shore from public beach.

Anyone who has information which could assist the enquiry is asked to contact West Bay police station on 949-3999.

Anyone who was within Calico Jack’s on Saturday evening is encouraged to send any photos or video taken within the beach bar to nathanclarkeinfo@yahoo.com

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Young movie-makers zoom in on advice

| 02/03/2012 | 0 Comments

article-page-main_ehow_images_a04_bm_h8_tips-tricks-making-movies-800x800.jpg(CNS): Forty one entries from local students were submitted to a local film competition’s first round Take 1. Now in its third year the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF)’s Young Image Makers’ contest in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Film Commission (CIFC) stimulated interest from young people who want to make movies. From those submissions a group of 18 were chosen to move on to the next round Take 2 which includes workshop instruction. The youngest image makers aged between 10 and 12 attended a one-day filmmaking workshop with documentary filmmaker Judy Singh of Apex Video Solutions, and Tony Mark of Cathy Church Photo Centre worked with promising filmmakers aged 14 -17.

With over 15 years’ experience working with dramatic and documentary-based theatrical, film and TV projects, Singh was thrilled to have been a part of the Young Image Makers Film Competition since it began in 2010.

“Discovering new ways of capturing and sharing the stories around us with young budding talent is something I truly enjoy,” said the filmmaker. 

An Emmy award-winning film editor, Tony Mark hails from California and has over 20 years experience working on feature films and in television.  He currently teaches the videography and editing classes at Cathy Church and found his first experience with YIM participants to be a rewarding one. 

“The day was a great success; not only [did] the young filmmakers learn about making movies, we all had a great time doing it.  It was a delight to meet everyone and work together on making their films better.  I think we have a few budding Spielbergs on Cayman." 

In each of the workshops, participants’ films were critiqued and suggestions made for improving entries for the final stage.  Young image makers were also able to see each others’ films and ask questions, and each participant was provided with a video basics manual toassist them with their projects. 

Three weeks after the workshops, participants will turn in their final films, which will be posted on www.youtube.com/caymanfilm.  The public has an opportunity to view and vote on the film submissions, beginning March 19 by visiting the site and then emailing cayfest@candw.ky with the name of their favourite film and director.

CNCF Programmes Manager Rita Estevanovich said she was grateful for the support YIM has received each year from the community. 

“We are thankful to have the Cayman Islands Film Commission as the major sponsor for this programme.  They've supported it since its inception, and so far, their financial support has enabled three children to attend New York Film Academy summer movie camps,” she said.

“We plan to send another two students this year, and we truly appreciate the CIFC’s commitment to providing our young artists with opportunities to expand their knowledge base and hone their skills.  We’re also grateful to Apex Video Solutions for volunteering their time and resources annually, and to Cathy Church Photo Center for coming on board so enthusiastically this year to work with our kids. 

“There are many other entities as well as parents and teachers who contribute to YIM’s success each year — thank you all.  Of course, we wouldn’t have a competition without our young image makers, so hats off to them, and we look forward to seeing their final works at the premiere.”

All films will be officially premiered at a red carpet event on April 29 beginning at 6PM at the Harquail Theatre.  The public is welcome to attend the event, which will culminate with the announcement of the winners for the 3rd annual Young Image Makers Short Film Competition.  Winners receive an all-expenses paid trip to the New York Film Academy this summer, courtesy the CIFC. 

The Young Image Makers Short Film Competition is one of the programmes included in Cayfest 2012 — the national festival of the arts.  For more information, visit www.artscayman.org and follow us on Facebook.com/caymanculture.
 

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MLAs of the future gear up for a political fight

| 02/03/2012 | 0 Comments

leg ass 2_0.jpg(CNS): Twenty-three possible politicans of the future are preparing to show off their political debating skills later this month when the potential MLAs of the future take over the country’s Legislative Assembly on 12 March for the day. The students from Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman will take part in the Youth Parliament 2012 to commemorate Commonwealth Day. Clerk of the LA,  Zena Merren-Chin, who is coaching and guiding the students said. The students have been attending the LA each Tuesday and Saturday to prepare for their roles, whether as officials or as MLAs. In the role of representatives, they havebeen formulating motions and preparing their debates, she said.

“Thus far, the students have chosen the roles they will play including Speaker, Clerk, Deputy Clerk, Governor, Serjeant-at-Arms and MLAs,” explained  Merren-Chin.

The students represent Layman Scott Sr (Cayman Brac High School) John Gray, Clifton Hunter, St. Ignatius and Cayman Prep, Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC), Grace Christian Academy, Wesleyan Christian Academy and University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI).

“This year’s Youth Parliament sponsors — Butterfield Bank, Cayman National Bank, Cayman Airways, Radio Cayman and Cayman 27 — have enabled some of our brightest young people to receive valuable experience in how our legislature works,” Merren-Chin added.

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Local researcher reveals need to educate divers

| 02/03/2012 | 0 Comments

dive-buddy_Scuba_thib-2-257x300 (236x275).jpg(CNS): Although the beauty and intrigue of underwater communities is diving’s major draw divers can harm the very environment they seek to experience through unintentional collisions or deliberate touches. Research has found that a little pre-dive education goes a long way to mitigating the impact on delicate underwater habitats. “It’s important to have some conservation education immediately before entering the water to really remind people,” said Emma Camp, a conservation biologist at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute in the Cayman Islands. Camp had suspected for years that divers might impact the corals, but that this behaviour could be changed.

Camp is now a resident scientist at the Little Cayman marine institute where she is currently working on her PHD. In an interview with Mission Blue she talks about the research she did before working at CCMI about educating divers about touching reefs while diving.
In her research she found that even the most experience divers can still have bad habits or might not be aware of how to avoid impacting live corals.

“It’s not a fair explanation that just because someone has been diving a long time, they’re a good diver and conservationally aware of their surroundings,” Camp said.

However, she found that briefing divers on responsible practices before they get in the water seems to work. Camp’s results, published in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management, revealed a significant difference between dive operations stressing conservation and those that don’t.

Go to article

 

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WB can’t justify 5 MLAs

| 02/03/2012 | 60 Comments

images_31.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has accused the premier of attempting to manipulate election results with his latest comments about allocating a fifth MLA to West Bay for the 2013 national vote. McKeeva Bush has said that instead of having six seats in George Town to accommodate the increase in political representatives, he may add an extra seat in West Bay. Alden McLaughlin said there is no possible legitimate justification for the fifth seat in West Bay as the numbers do not add up. Such a move, he said, was an attempt to incorrectly influence the outcome of the vote because of his perceived power in that district.

The Electoral Boundary Commission recommended two seats in George Town and one in Bodden Town based on the population of the capital, which now has more than 2,200 voters than West Bay, and the growing head count in Bodden Town, which now has an almost equal number to the premier’s district. By the time of the 2013 General Election that district is expected to have surpassed the number of voters in West Bay.

Reacting to comments made by Bush recently that West Bay had greater needs and was one of the two largest district so it should have more representation, the opposition leader said it was about trying to hold on to power.

“What this is about it is a blatant attempt at election manipulation,” said McLaughlin. “This is an effort to wrongly influence the outcome of the next general election as the premier appears to believe that, given his previous track record and not withstanding his poor performance, he will be able to command the electorate in West Bay. So the more seats there the better his chances of maintaining political power.”

McLaughlin pointed to the fact that nowhere in their report did the boundary commissioners recommend that another seat be added to West Bay for the obvious reason that the numbers do not justify such a move, which he said would be nothing short of gerrymandering.

According to the latest election registration figures, there are now 3,692 voters in West Bay 3,455 in Bodden Town and 5,918 in George Town.

Despite the obvious implications, the premier would not be breaking the law if he decided to ignore the boundary commission’s recommendations and add the new seats as he saw fit.  McLaughlin noted that the constitution mandates thatthe boundary commission do the work and make the recommendations in accordance with best practice, but because the constitution allows for government to make “modifications” to the electoral law, it comes down to good governance.

“If it could be described as a modification at all, it’s a significant one,” McLaughlin said but emphasised it was perfectly possible for government to go down this road.

The opposition leader warned that the premier would be within the law to bring the proposed changes to the election legislation. It would be debated and because the government is in the majority, it would pass. McLaughlin said the only person that could stop the gerrymandering would be the governor since he would have to ascent to the law.

“This is a good governance issue as it is an attempt to corrupt the electoral process by distorting the basis for the number of representatives in a district,” he said. “The premier is attempting to abandon the fair and equitable formula based on good election practice in an effort to manipulate the ballot.”

Government must increase the number of Members of the Legislative Assembly by three before the 2013 elections, as mandated in the constitution.

Although there has been some criticisms over the increase because of public cash issues, the opposition leader explained that it was the minimum number that the House could be increased by in order to accommodate two new ministers, including the finance minister’s post. McLaughlin said the UK mandates that the Cabinet must be balanced with enough MLAs that are not in the formal government body so that parliament can maintain a check on the Cabinet, which cannot me more than 2/5 the size of the Legislative Assembly.

This meant that in order to accommodate the new finance minister’s post and an extra Cabinet minister, the number of MLAs had to increase by three. The UK, McLaughlin said, had recommended the size of the parliament be increased to 21 but during the negotiations the British representatives had accepted the increase to 18.

In 2010 the boundary commission were then tasked with the job of finding where the new seats should go in order to maintain a fair and just voting system. In its report it says that the primary factors influencing delimitation of electoral boundaries are the population and or the size of the electorate in the country or other geographical unit.

“The issue of gerrymandering of electoral boundaries takes place when the factors impacting on the construction of electoral districts are applied in a manner which distorts the boundaries to benefita particular political party or candidate,” the commissioners wrote in the report.

“In order to avoid the delimitation of polling districts’ boundaries playing any part in unfair election preparation, good election practices are available to reduce the opportunity to construct partisan or unfair polling districts’ boundaries. The search for good practice must commence with an examination of the formula dealing with the delimitation of polling districts’ boundaries and the body that applies the formula.”

They used an accepted best practice to create the formula for Cayman in accordance with the existing natural boundaries. Given the current population of West Bay the commissioners did not recommend increasing the seats in that district.

See Boundary commission report in the CNS Library

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Cayman’s cat bonds hit $8.5 billion

| 02/03/2012 | 0 Comments

catastrophe-money (246x275).jpg(CNS Business): News this week that the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange had reached 100 catastrophe bond programme and series listings, with a total face value of approximately $8.5 billion, was greeted as a triumph for the jurisdiction by the industry locally, yet others warned that Cayman should not get complacent. The Bermudan press have been quick to highlight that jurisdiction’s growing success as a domicile for that particular field of investment vehicle as well. The CSX began listing cat bonds in 2007 and has been successful in attracting insurance-linked and other captive insurance business and has a total of 739 captives now collecting an all-time high of $11.76 billion in annual premiums with total assets growing to $68.5 billion.  Read more on CNSBusiness

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Mac denies EE funds offer

| 02/03/2012 | 82 Comments

mckeevagt (221x275).jpg(CNS): Following Tuesday night’s public meeting in East End when the premier stated that he would help John McLean Jr to fund community projects in the district from the Dart donation, McKeeva Bush denied the comments on Thursday. Bush said he intends to give money to projects brought to his attention by John McLean Jr, whom he had endorsed as a candidate that night, but he would not be giving the money to McLean. Bush accused “certain members of the media” and the opposition of misleading the public and trying to create the impression that he was “doing something wrong”, but he said there was nothing wrong in government funding community projects.

However, Bush had stated that he intended to fund the projects that would be managed by McLean Jr in the same speech in which he offered his political backing to the would-be independent candidate against the incumbent. Bush made it clear he supported the projects which McLean Jr had brought to his attention and that some of the Dart money would go to those projects, which he made clear would be managed by McLean.
Despite these comments, Bush claimed that the media and the opposition were accusing him of making statements which he did not make.

“Certain members of the media and the opposition are trying to create the impression that I am doing something wrong, when there is nothing wrong with allocating government money to community projects,” the premier said in an official statement from his office Thursday evening.

He said he had listened to the recording of his remarks at the meeting and confirmed that he said his government would allocate the money from Dart to community projects.

“What I said was that we were going to allocate $200,000 of this for projects in East End and although I did say some of those projects were brought to my attention by John McLean Jr at no time did I say thefunds would be given to John McLean Jr; and for absolute clarity the funds will not be given to John McLean Jr.”

He said that McLean Jr and other East Enders identified these projects and asked that government do something about them.

“He did not ask that we give him any funds,” Bush stated. “Government will fund the projects for the district as they have asked. The funds provided by the Dart Group under the National Roads Authority Agreement were made payable to the Cayman Islands Government and deposited with the Treasury of the Cayman Islands Government."

He added that any funding of community projects in East End or in any other district would be procured, dispersed and accounted for through the regular government processes.

“The elections are 14 months away, and I am not as concerned about votes as the opposition is, I am concerned with getting this country back on a sound financial footing and getting our people back to work,” Bush said in the statement. “This attempt to create the impression of political funding to John McLean Jr is preposterous and unfounded, and is just another tactic to delay getting the much needed investment in the communities they were designed to help.”

The premier added that for those who wish to hear for themselves what the he said, the public meeting would be broadcast on CITN on Friday, 2 March at 8pm.

In the wake of the comments made by the premier regarding giving the money to projects raised by and to be managed by McLean Jr after the premier had so emphatically endorsed him raised considerable concern in the community.

The leader of the opposition told CNS on Thursday afternoon that he was writing to the governor, the auditor general, the attorney general and the director of public prosecutions, as he said it was a shocking announcement.

McLaughlin said the premier could not justify taking $200,000 of public funds, which was obtained as part of his promise to sell of precious government assets and then to use that in what could be seen as buying votes.

“What he said about giving the money to John McLean Jr for district projects at the same time as pointing to him as the UDP’s man in next elections must amount to official corruption,” McLaughlin suggested.

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