Archive for June 4th, 2012

Millionaire peer raises Bush attack in UK Lords

| 04/06/2012 | 53 Comments

ashcroft.jpg(CNS): A Conservative member of the UK’s House of Lord was probing government peers last week over comments made by the Cayman Islands premier deriding the current governor. According to the House of Lords’ Hansard, Lord Ashcroft asked government representatives in the British upper House what their assessment was of the comments made by McKeeva Bush about the UK appointed governor, Duncan Taylor. The FCO representative in the House of Lords, Lord Howell, said he was aware what Bush had said but there was no truth in the allegations and the governor had the UK government’s full support.

The question posed by the millionaire peer, who is facing media accusations in the UK about his own business dealings and entanglement with issues in the Turks and Caicos Islands, queried what the FCO felt about the attack by Bush on the governor and his conspiracy theories.

Ashcroft pointed in particular to the comments Bush made in a statement released to the press at the beginning of last month after the governor revealed that the premier was the subject of more than one police investigation. Bush had accused Taylor of doing "nothing of substance" to help the country and said he had "stealthily and insidiously undermined" government efforts to "get our economy off the ground and get jobs for people.”

In a widely publicised statement he had also accused Taylor of having “done nothing for three years to help us but to throw cold water on whatever we were trying to do", accusations strenuously denied by Taylor, who has persistently pointed to his directions to the premier to follow good governance practices.

Following Ashcroft’s question, the FCO’s Cabinet member and Tory peer, Lord Howell, said the British government was aware of the comments made by the premier attacking the governor and suggesting that there is a conspiracy to undermine the Cayman Islands, and assured Ashcroft that there was “no truth whatsoever in those suggestions.”

Howell pointed to the governor’s own comments when he said the “UK government's vision for the Cayman Islands was set out clearly during the visit by the Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham,” which, he went on to say, was a “vision of a flourishing and vibrant economy, whose public finances are well managed and whose adherence to internationally recognised standards of governance enhances its reputation as a good place to live, work and do business."

Howell said Governor Taylor shared Bellingham’s vision and that he “has our full support”, referring to the UK government.

Ashcroft has been the subject of media attention in the UK recently as a result of his possible connections to various dealings in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The UK’s Sunday newspaper,The Observer, reported this weekend that it had seen documents linking the wealthy lord to Allan Forrest, chief executive of the firm Johnston International, which collapsed in 2010 taking the Cayman based firm Hadsphaltic with it.

Ashcroft, however, has denied any legal, economic or beneficial interest in Johnston since 1999.

The BBC flagship investigative show Panorama also reported earlier this year that Ashcroft had  misled the public and the stock exchange over his business interests in TCI.

The allegations also centred on Johnston which was believed to have funded a luxury mansion for Misick. In the programme Panorama alleged that Ashcroft had given the impression that he had no involvement in the firm when the mansion was being built but the evidence of 14 former employees and leaked company documents implied the peer controlled the firm at the time. The documents showed the peer issuing instructions, sometimes in his own handwriting, on how to run the company, the BBC said.

Ashcroft rejected the allegation he had deliberately misled the public and denied having any involvement in the day-to-day management of the construction firm for more than a decade.

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Teen remains silent as murder case closes

| 04/06/2012 | 0 Comments

Police-charge-teen.jpg(CNS): The teenager accused of killing Asher McGaw in East End last September will not be offering any evidence in his own defence following the presentation of the crown’s case against him. Since his arrest, Chakane Jameile Scott has remained silent in the face of the accusations which are based on evidence given by teen witness, Antascio Rankine, who says he was there when Scott shot McGaw. The three men, who, the court heard, were all friends since childhood, were, according to the crown, in the grounds of the East End Clinic letting off a flare gun when Scott turned a revolver on Rankine and shot his friend three times in the head and body.

The crown closed its case against the teenager Friday, and although heavily based on Rankine’s eyewitness statements, the crown said it was bolstered by the evidence of the pathologist. The expert’s report on McGaw’s wounds concurred with Rankine’s account that he had heard three shots and seen Scott stand over McGaw and shoot his friend at close range after he had fallen over.

Defence attorney Sasha Wass confirmed that her client would not be testifying and the court adjourned until Tuesday, when the two lawyers will offer their closing arguments to the judge before he retires to decide the verdict. Justice Alex Henderson is hearing the case alone without a jury.

McGaw’s body was found in the early hours of 22 September by local police officers on routine patrol in John McLean drive a few yards from the clinic car park.  McGaw had received multiple wounds to the head and body.

The police had first assumed the killing was a gang related shooting, coming during a period of frightening gang violence in which four young men had already been shot and killed and a fourth seriously injured in West Bay and George Town.

However, it was not until sometime later that Rankine told police what he had seen, indicating the murder was between friends and not gang rivals. The crown has offered no motive for the killing and no weapon has been recovered. Although other witnesses spotted the three boys together on the night of the killing, supporting Rankine’s account, there were no other witnesses or forensic evidence linking Scott to the shooting.

Although the teenager is one of the first people to be tried for murder following the change in the law regarding the caution given by police, he has opted to remain silent throughout. The court heard that the senior investigating officer had issued the new police caution to the teen on his arrest, which warns suspects that if they don’t say anything when interviewed by the police during the investigation but then come to court and present a defence, that could be harmful to their case and allow a judge or jury to draw an negative inference.

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Planning encourages robust roof construction

| 04/06/2012 | 0 Comments

paloma damage.jpg(CNS): The Department of Planning has partnered with the local building industry to present a new three part free lecture series focusing on bestpractices, particularly  roof trusses, framing and uplift connections installation. Officials from the planning department said the series presents an invaluable opportunity to construction firms to learn more about best practice for building high-wind resistant roofs. “One of the main duties of the Department of Planning, is ensuring the building of robust and more specifically high wind-resistant structures,” said Director of Planning, Haroon Pandohie.

“This process of course starts from the design stage and through this lecture series we hope to engage contractors, architects, engineers and self-builders so everyone can be in compliance with the building code through all phases of development,” explained the planning boss

The free lecture series consists of three events: The first, scheduled for 13 June will address some common industry misconceptions around trusses, roof framing, uplift values and hurricane anchors. This workshop will also highlight appropriate design and installation techniques for trusses and roof framing; cover the required uplift values and help with the selection and installation of appropriate hurricane anchors.

The second is planned for 27 June in partnership with USP and Cox Lumber. Entitled USP Wind Design and Connections Seminar this tutorial will cover a range of topics including how load values are achieved; high wind probability and design wind speeds and code requirements. Participants will also be presented with several case studies on past natural disasters.

The final lecture on 17 July will be facilitated by Simpson Strong Tie and AL Thompsons, it will focus on wind resistant design and construction. Other topics include design criteria updates, effects of wind and wind damage, roof fastening and anchorage as well as special and wind resistant connectors.

“This is an invaluable opportunity to get updates as well as learn more about industry best practices when it comes to building high-wind resistant roofs. I therefore encourage as many members of the construction industry to attend,” Pandohie added.

People can register for the lectures series or individual workshops by e-mailing  or calling 244-6574. Registration for the first workshop closes Friday, 8 June 2012.

Registration for the final workshop can be done online at; or by calling Lisa on 972 548-0924; or email Registration deadline for this event is 13 July 2012.

Dates and details for the lectures are as follows:

Trusses, Roof Framing & Uplift Connections Workshop
When: 13 June 2012, 1 – 4pm
Where: Conference room 1038, Government Administration Building
Facilitator: Michael Pratt, MCP, CBO, Assistant Building Control Officer, Department of Planning
Registration deadline: 8 June 2012.

USP Wind Design & Uplift Connections Seminar (Offering 2 IA/CES LU/HSW)
When: 27 June 2012, 1 – 4pm
Where: Conference room 1038, Government Administration Building
Speaker: Randy Holgate, USP Director, Structural Connectors
Registration deadline: 22 June 2012.

Wind Resistant Design & Construction Workshop (Offering 5 PDHs)
When: Tuesday, 17 July 2012, 9am – 3pm (breakfast and lunch provided)
Where: AL Thompsons Building, 139 North Sound Road

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Lions reap top award for hard work

| 04/06/2012 | 0 Comments

Lion B receiving president's award.jpg(CNS): A local service club has reaped on of the top honours at an international conference after being named Club of the Year a convention in Trinidad last month. The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens (LCTG) recognized for its contributions to the Cayman Islands community and its organizational skills, efficiency and quality of projects at the 32nd MD 60 Convention. Lion Lloyd Barker, MJF, District Governor of MD 60B told the Lions present at the convention that LCTG had accomplished all of his major goals for the lionistic year 2011-2012 and that the club had made him especially proud by sponsoring an Alpha Leo Club at the Clifton Hunter High school in Grand Cayman.

The club was also the recipient of several district and international awards.  President, Lion Belinda Blessitt Vincent received the President of the Zone, Zone 4B award, secretary, Lion Norma McField, PMJF, was also awarded the Secretary of the Zone, Zone 4B.

The club also received an award for its Health and Wellness projects. Lion Melrose Gooding, MJF Zone Chairperson 4B District 60B and past president of LCTG received the International President Certificate of Appreciation Award in recognition of distinguished achievements in fulfilling the mission of Lions Club International.

Lion Elva Smith (President elect) was also appointed as a District Officer and will be part of the part of the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) team for the lionistic year, 2012-2013.

The convention provided opportunities for Lions to develop personal skills and to share lionistic experiences and was attended by Lions across the Caribbean region, the club said.  

The Lions Clubs of Tropical Gardens in the Cayman Islands is a member of Multiple District 60 which includes the Lions Clubs in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and US Virgin Islands.

Lion President Belinda said the awards were a culmination to a year of hard work by her club and thanked members and friends of lions who helped to make the year a success and made “Passionate Members Working Together to Build a Better Community", the club theme a reality.

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Robberies stir up concerns

| 04/06/2012 | 17 Comments

WestStar TV robbery Suspects cropped.jpg(CNS): With four robberies in one week on Grand Cayman after what seemed to be a lull in one of the most problematic crimes for the local economy, the Chamber of Commerce has urged businesses to be extra vigilant. During a seven-day period four local businesses were robbed by masked armed men; three of the incidents happened in the middle of the day. Although police managed to apprehend one lone robber at a business in Bodden Town, the other perpetrators remain at large. The Chamber said it was concerned over the implications for the business community with the surge of robberies, which are not only bad for business but could have “dire consequences” for the entire community.

“The Chamber is concerned and deplores the recent upsurge of robberies within our community,” the business organisation said in a statement. “After a short period of reprieve local businesses are once again faced with the need to consider stricter security measures to protect their staff, property and assets. These types of crime not only have a direct effect on morale within the community, they also affect how we are viewed as a place to conduct business, invest and visit. We cannot tolerate this type of crime in the Cayman Islands without dire consequences.”

The Chamber encouraged all local businesses to work with the police but also to be extra vigilant throughout the working day and report any suspicious activity to the RCIPS or the Cayman Crime Stoppers 24 hour line on 800-TIPS.

The police are currently conducting an investigation into an armed robbery at the TV station’s WeststarTV customer service office, which occurred on the afternoon of 24 May when three masked men, two of whom were armed with what appeared to be guns, threatened staff and got away with several thousand dollars.  The men were caught on CCTV and the station has offered a $10,000 reward.

The RCIPS is also looking for a man armed with a knife, who was involved in one of two daylight robberies on Wednesday 30 May. The suspect was also caught on camera outside the convenience store in Walkers Road wearing a yellow cloth around his head.  Unarmed officers, however, bravely confronted and arrested an armed man as he attempted to flee an armed robbery at the Cashwiz pawn store in Bodden Town. On recovery the weapon was discovered to be an imitation gun and the man was arrested for robbery.

A third robber remains at large after a hold-up at the Texaco Gas station on Eastern Avenue at around 10pm on Thursday 31 May. So far police have failed to release descriptions or CCTV footage regarding the most recent heist.

In recent statistics released by the police the robberies reported for the first quarter of 2012 were down by 66% on those reported in 2011, an historically high year for robberies.

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Judge: DUI limit too high

| 04/06/2012 | 74 Comments

Drunk-Driving-12-7-11-3.jpg(CNS): A Grand Court judge has stated that he believes the legal driving limit on alcohol in the Cayman Islands is too high and needs to be reviewed. Cayman has one of the highest levels of tolerance for alcohol and driving in the world as drivers are permitted to have 100mg of alcohol in the blood before they are considered to be legally incapable of driving. In the UK, most of the United States and Canada the limit is 80mg but most of Europe is lower, at 50mg or even less. As a result of the high number of accidents in Cayman where alcohol is involved, Justice Richard Williams said the time may have come for Cayman to review the limit.

The local judge was passing sentence in a death by dangerous driving case before him Thursday in which alcohol was involved when he pointed to the fact that the driver was well over the local legal limit, which he noted was already considerably higher than most jurisdictions.

Justice Williams said that Patrick Brooks-Dixon had been unsure about how much he had drank but admitted to having about six bottles of beer before the crash in which Dr Richard Martin was killed last year near to Lakeside Condos on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. However, the judge pointed out that whatever the number of drinks, he was clearly over the limit with a blood-alcohol reading of 173mg.

“I note with interest that the legal limit in the Cayman Islands is significantly higher than in England and Wales where it is 80mg over 100 ml and considerably higher than the majority of European countries where it is only 50mg over 100ml,” he said in his ruling. The judge pointed out that he must sentence in accordance with the legal limit here in Cayman but he explained his concern about the high tolerance in the law.

“I mention the international levels due to the prevalence of accidents caused on the road in which a driver has been drinking. Iit may be that the time has come for consideration to be given to reviewing the levels having regard to the scientific evidence as to the effects of alcohol on a driver over 50mg,” Justice Williams said.

In recent months the RCIPS has turned its attention to drunk-drivers and has been clamping down on what senior officers have previously described as an endemic problem. CNS has submitted questions to RCIPS management about their position on the legal limit and is awaiting a response regarding support or otherwise for a change in the law.

Last month the education minister was charged with DUI after the car he was driving crashed into a ditch on the West Bay Road in the early hours of the morning. No one was injured in the accident and no other vehicle was involved in the smash. Rolston Anglin has refused to comment publicly on the matter as he says it is in the hands of the legal department and he does not wish to influence the outcome. He has, however, said he does not believe the charges will impact his position as education minister.

According to scientific research, a blood-alcohol level of only 40mg per 100ml of blood begins to impair concentration and increase the likelihood of a crash.

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Robbery trial postponed to next year for 2010 crime

| 04/06/2012 | 0 Comments

_DEW0497-web.jpg(CNS): Two men who were arrested in September 2010 and charged with robbery and possession of an imitation weapon will not go to trial until next year as a result of various postponements. Derek Simpson and Dan Kelly who pleaded not guilty to the crime in July last year have had their trial postponed twice because of  overloaded court schedules and are not set down for a judge alone trial until February. The men are accused of holding up the Caribbean Bakery, on Mount Pleasant Road in a day light robbery where they stole $400 but were arrested a short time after the crime. The two men who have been on bail since charges were brought were once again released in to the community, Friday, until their case can be heard.

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