Archive for August 8th, 2012

Stepping stones shine on super Saturday

| 08/08/2012 | 1 Comment

supers1 (300x224).jpg(CRFU): The summer sun scorched Super Saturday as touch teams showed up and sweated for the first all-dayer of the season. Twenty-four teams, twenty-six games, 175 tries, 573bottles of water and 3,744 touches* all featured in Rounds 5 and 6 of the Cayman Summer Touch Rugby at the South Sound Rugby Ground. What happened on the day? Here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth**:  The spoils of Division 1 went to Stepping Stones who rose to the top of the table with two great wins.

Division One:Their first match, a top of the table clash with reigning champions Maples1, saw them unseat the three times titleholders 4-2. Scott McCarty, Riley Mullen, Dougie Anderson, and Vangie Raftopolous converted the chances for Stepping Stones with Adam Huckle and Jo Ziegler replying for Maples1. Ziegler, who is having a fine season with four tries in five games, did more than most to drag Maples1 back into the game, but this was not going to be her day.  This is their first loss of the season but Stepping Stones have not lost a match since their inception. Is it a case of “The King is Dead, Long Live the King”? It is too early to tell as we approach the mid-point of the season but the Stones’ play with a great fluidity that is hard to repel. One thing is for sure, Maples1 won’t go down without a fight.

Stepping Stones easily beat Ogier in their second match 10-1 to consolidate their position at the top of the table, Lisa Bird putting in an MVP performance with two tries. Maples1, playing with the fury of a lover scorned, took DART apart also registering a 10-1 scoreline.

supers2 (300x197).jpgTrident Titans continued their sporadic season with a win (3-2 against DART) and a loss (0-1 Maples2). Against DART the tries came from Brad Stephenson, resplendent in Chernobyl-esque glowing orange boots, and the dashing Riley Mullen, the man who puts the whizz in “Gee Whizz, that guy is fast!” The try of the game came from DART’s big hitter Mat Bishop. Mat usually likes to position himself right of centre for the most part but uncharacteristically found himself on the left wing. Majorly uncomfortable in this ultra-neo-leftist role he took the ball and made a strong diagonal run across the pitch to his more familiar far-right position. Chased all the way by the Titans defence he dived full length registering on impact a whopping 6.9 on the Richter scale, and a 1.0 on the scoresheet. 

Maples2 pushed themselves into third with a 2-2 draw against KPMG1 and a hard fought 1-0 win over Trident Titans. KPMG1 bossed the early exchanges and scored two first half tries much to the chagrin of the Maples2 players. Nothing galvanizes a team more than a sense of (rightly or wrongly) perceived injustice and they came out in the second half and took control of the game. Upping the tempo they replied with tries from Marc Randall and Justin Colgan. In the end they had the majority of possession but could not converttheir chances. Against Trident Titans it was Andrew Dean who profited from an excellent break from Marc Randall at dummy half to score the only try of the game. It may have been low scoring but the quality was high and the intensity extreme. The Titans could not break through often only a fingertip touch away from a vital score.

Ogier maintained their 100% record of the season but unfortunately all the entries are in the “L” column. Losses to Genesis Five Nations (2-5) and Stepping Stones (1-10) hide the fact that Ogier have a great team spirit and work very hard during the game but they struggle to score and with only 12 tries all season the need for some game breakers is evident.

Genesis Five Nations had a mixed bag of results with a win over Ogier (5-2) and a defeat to KPMG1 (4-5).  Their day reflected their season so far but the spirit in the camp stays strong as they look toward players returning so they can make a push for the play-offs.

After three defeats at the start of the season KPMG1 are now undefeated in three and are showing real signs of promise and progress. In their second game against Genesis Five Nations, Michael Sumares again showed why he was missed in the early part of the season by scoring another hat-trick. His shuffling side-step caught the Five Nations defence flat-footed. Dan Andersen, captain of Genesis Five Nations, weighed in with two tries and an MVP performance but further KMPG1 tries for Ryan Eisenhammer and Grant Cellier sealed a valuable win 5-4.

Division two:

Division 2 saw its own top of the table clash between Harmonic and the Heineken Light Maidens. With both teams undefeated this season everyone was expecting fireworks but sadly it was not to be as Harmonic suffered from a much depleted squad and had to start the match with only four players instead of the pre-requisite six.  The Heineken Light Maidens, hell-bent on usurping them from the table top, were stunned when Rob Aspinall crossed for the opening try. Resplendent in fingerless gloves and aviator shades and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Ponch from CHiPs, Aspinall scored after a superb offload from Scott McCarty. The Maidens win-at-all-costs mentality soon had them back on the front foot and three first half tries were a decisive blow. By the time the rest of the Harmonic squad eventually turned up the writing was already on the wall and it said “Heineken Light Maidens 6 Harmonic 1”.

Broadhurst finally got their first win of the season with a 4-1 win against Rawlinson & Hunter. Under the baking midday sun Broadhurst stuck with their sartorial policy of “80’s aerobics purple chic”. These athletes in amethyst may have been sweating more than Rush Limbaugh at a Barack Obama Look-a-Like contest but one could now see the benefit of wearing their puce-coloured bandeaux.  With eyes free from stinging perspiration Broadhurst ran in four tries with Scott Murray (2), Tess O’Connor and team captain Kate McClymont providing the inspiration for victory.  Defeat for Rawlinson & Hunter saw them hit the bottom of the table and with a further defeat from Harmonic in Round 6 they demonstrated all the bounce-back-ability of a cow-pat hitting the sidewalk from 12 stories – these are tough times for the Hunters’ whose season is going down faster than Monica Lewinsky on a bobsleigh.

Walkers Blue Iguanas had a splendid time with two victories. Walkers’ James Melen had an awesome day at the office with 3 tries against DMS and another in their 5-2 win over Campbells. Legal eagle Mr. Melen won’t be billing out his time on the pitch however, I’m not sure the Blue Iguanas could afford him on this form. Their fabulous five-piece band of boys – Rolf Lindsey, James Melen, Paul Smith, Martin Davies, and David Byrne may not be as good-looking, talented or rich as the Backstreet Boys, but they certainly displayed the co-ordinated footwork and harmonious interplay that would make Nick, Howie, A.J. and the others who no-one can remember proud.  When asked if he was happy with Walkers’ season thus far Melen replied, “We need to Quit Playing Games because I Want (to play) It That Way in every game!” Just as he finished the rest of the guys joined him in close-harmony singing and laid down some cheesy 90’s dance moves. Curious.

After a slow start to the season Deloitte are starting to realise some of the potential they showed on Seeding Day.  Two wins over DMS (7-2) and Island Heritage (7-1) moved them into second spot. Recently shorn Alastair Lum contributed two tries per game, but it has been the addition of Robbie Cribb which has taken this team to the next level. Four tries against DMS and another against Island Heritagemade him joint highest scorer on the day. They will need to spread the tries out though if they are going to challenge the Heineken Light Maidens for the title as any key injuries or absences later in the season could de-rail their campaign.

UBS and DMS suffered double defeats.  UBS seem to have found themselves a little firecracker of a player in Agueda Broderick who outsprinted Campbells’ nippy Dicky Thomas for her inaugural try in touch rugby. In the match itself though, Campbells proved too strong as their experience players started to become increasingly influential. Tries for Wiki Hitchman (2), and the venerable old guard of Peter de Vere (2), Marcus Cumber and Johnny Doak secured all three points. DMS lost to Walkers’ (2-7) and Heineken Light Maidens (1-8) in a day they might rather forget.

Island Heritage’s unbeaten record came to an end with two crushing 7-1 defeats to Deloitte and Broadhurst. The wheels seem to have come off their wagon for the moment and they need to recapture their early season form if they are going to get in the play-off places.

Division Three

The top two in Division 3, Zolfo Cooper and Delta Force, both recorded valuable wins.  Zolfo Cooper beat Ernst & Young (5-1) and Credit Suisse (3-0). Katherine Maw was a stand-out player for Zolfo Cooper although this team share out the tries nicely which goes some part in explaining why they top the table.

Delta Force, with captain Jyoti Choi as their guru and inspiration, notched up close wins against KPMG2 (5-3) and LIME (5-4). It was nail biting stuff for the onlookers but there is always the sense that Jyoti can always pull something special out of the bag. As he ran in his third try against KPMG2 a cheeky re-working of the Beethoven symphonic classic “Ode to Choi” could be heard coming from the crowd. In their second game against LIME it was Rupert “the” Bell whose adventures on the pitch gained him two tries and an MVP award. They’ll be singing in the streets of Nutwood tonight.

Credit Suisse, GCM, LIME and KPMG2 came away from the day with one win and one defeat each. Whether the glass is half full or half empty for these guys will depend on how they perceive their performance in the games. Special mention must go to Natalie Larkman (KPMG2), Niall O’Sullivan (GCM), and Johann Prinsloo (Credit Suisse) who although ending up on the losing team all won the Player of the Match award. Great work folks!

Ernst & Young and Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas are locked in battle in the basement of Division 3. The Old Fellas haven’t won a game and Ernst & Young’s only win was against the Old Fellas. It doesn’t really matter though, this Division is meant to be the “friendly” league and these two teams typify that ethos. Points are few and far between and they may have to wait until they meet again in Round 10 before they get the chance for anymore. Mind you, nothing surprises me in touch rugby, other than a Queensgate Grizz’s Old Fellas victory that is.

*more or less

**allegedly

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Leaders and speakers now forever ‘honourable’

| 08/08/2012 | 118 Comments

_DEW2501_0_0.jpg(CNS): As the budget crisis in Cayman raged on, the premier and a number of other local dignitaries secured their honorary status in perpetuity. Following last month's announcement that former speakers and leaders of the country will hold their "Honourable" moniker forever, which received considerable derision from the wider community, the premier hosted an official ceremony recently where past and present political leaders and speakers of the Legislative Assembly were presented with their certificates affirming their honorific title for life and beyond the grave.

Premier McKeeva Bush handed over the documents proclaiming the endless honour to former Speaker and National Hero Sybil McLaughlin, former Speakers Edna Moyle and Linford Pierson, as well as the present Speaker Mary Lawrence, and former Leader of Government Business Truman Bodden.

Meanwhile, the premier received his eternal award from Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the occasion.

Although Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, a former speaker of the House, and former leader of government business Kurt Tibbetts are also entitled to the perpetual distinction, they were unable to attend. The late Captain Mabry Kirkconnell, a former speaker, and Thomas Jefferson, a former LOGB, also received their posthumous honour, which was marked by a moment of silence

Connor said the eternal honour is one of a number of initiatives introduced by McKeeva Bush to recognise those who have given notable service. Others include the new local gongs, the Order of the Cayman Islands awards that are given out during the National Heroes Day, which were described as “significant steps in the Premier’s nation-building efforts.”

Connor also praised the premier for expanding government’s summer internship programme, which enables young Caymanians to gain work experience and learn about how government functions.

Expressing his appreciation for the dedication to country shown by the recipients of his new lifetime and beyond honour, Bush said it was an acknowledgment of hard work and diligent attention to the onerous tasks of high office.

“I am elated that today we are continuing on this path of bolstering our collective self-worth,” he said, adding that he hoped that various strategies of nation building would impact the younger generations positively, inspiring them to emulate the honourees’ achievements.

He said the nation building initiative, which has run into a considerable degree of controversy because of the money given away under the scheme without proper scrutiny, was about identifying national symbols and recognising outstanding people as national heroes.
He also pointed to the re-naming national institutions after stalwart Caymanians who have contributed to the country’s success.

Despite the premier’s claims there were more than 140 comments made by CNS bloggers last month when the announcement was mostly deriding the decision.

Related story and comments:

Politicians decide to make top titles eternal

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Inmate’s jail time slashed by nine years on appeal

| 08/08/2012 | 15 Comments

Prison gate (232x300)_0.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has overturned a conviction for attempted murder and replaced it with the offence of wounding with intent in connection with a case that the police believed was an attempted ‘hit’ gone wrong.  Carlney Campbell was 18 when he was convicted of trying to kill José Morales in an elevator at the Treasure Island Resort on West Bay Road disguised as a police officer. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail last October but that prison term was significantly reduced on Friday to only six years, in line with the revised conviction, cutting nine years from the original sentence. The panel of senior judges found that there was no evidence of intent to kill and the judge should not have directed the jury accordingly.

However, during the appeal hearing the panel found that the jury had been properly directed in connection with the identity of the perpetrator and that they had sufficient evidence on which to arrive at the conclusion that Campbell, who is now 20 years old, was the attacker, even though they altered the offence.

The dispute over the intent to kill boiled down to one comment the victim claimed the man who stabbed him had said. When giving his evidence, Morales said that when he struggled with his attacker and for a moment gained the upper hand, has assailant had said, “I’m sorry, man. They paid me to do it,” and it was on this basis that the attempted murder charge was made.

The judges stated, however, that there was no evidence to explain what "it" was and the court had been wrong to assume it was murder. As a result, the judges overturned Campbell’s attempted murder conviction and substituted it with the lesser offence of wounding with intent, which was an alternative count that had been placed before the jury.

At the time of the trial last year it was revealed that the teenager had succeeded in stabbing Morales in the head. The prosecution believed Morales was the wrong man in a paid assassination attempt that had failed. Morales was trained in martial arts and he survived to tell the tale of how Campbell had tried to trick him by dressing up in blue police overalls.

Campbell had protested his innocence all along, stating that it was a case of mistaken identity, but the crown had claimed the real mistake in identity was that of the victim, since Morales swore under oath that he had no idea why he was attacked and had heard the comments from his assailant that he had been paid to commit the attack.  However, the police were unable to ascertain who the real intended victim had been and there was no other evidence that Campbell was attempting to execute a hit.

The crime took place in an elevator at Treasure Island Resort, where Morales lived. What he believed was a police officer in blue overalls walked past him as the elevator arrived, and Morales got in the lift. After the door closed it re-opened and the 'police officer', who turned out to be Campbell, walked in. Morales tried to walk out but Campbell told him that he should get back in and, thinking he was a real police officer, the victim asked if there was a problem.

Campbell forced Morales to turn around and face the wall as the elevator door closed. Campbell tried to tie Morales' hands behind his back with plastic string and produced a knife which he put in to his back.

As Morales was young, physically fit and trained in martial arts, he was able to turn suddenly and grab the knife by the blade, hit Campbell with his right elbow and knock him off balance. As they struggled, Morales overpowered Campbell and held the knife to his throat, which is when Campbell told him he had been paid to "do it".

Morales asked who paid him but got no answer and instead Campbell bit him on the arm forcing himto release his grip on the knife, at which point Campbell stabbed Morales in the head. Morales threw some punches but sustained a further stab wound near his ear. Eventually, Campbell dropped the knife and fled before Morales called 911 for help.

The Court of Appeal said the wounds sustained by Morales, despite being to the head and neck, were part of an unexpected and undirected struggle between the two men and were not evidence of an intention to kill but that Campbell stabbed in the easiest direction to get away from his victim, who was fighting back.

See related story: 15 years jail for AEC alumnus

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Generation Now takes on budget crisis

| 08/08/2012 | 14 Comments

9721975-large.jpg(CNS):  Local think tank Generation Now, which is developing a reputation for providing a credible forum for interesting debate on some of Cayman’s most contentious issues, will be tackling the budgetary crisis on Thursday. The group has pulled together a diverse panel to discuss what has become that latest problem on the government’s agenda. Cayman Finance chair Richard Coles, former deputy governor Donovan Ebanks, Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, Independent MLA Ezzard Miller, and Chair & Professor of Business Studies at UCCI Dr Robert Weishan will be tackling the thorny issue of public finances. However, ironically, because of the crisis the UDP government said it could not participate.

The event will be held at the Harquail Theatre at 7pm Thursday, but in an effort to encourage a bigger live audience it will not be aired on radio. Austin Harris will be moderating the debate and organisers are asking those coming to the event to contribute $10 on entrance to defray the expenses incurred in hosting the forum.

See flyer below.

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Gambling returns to table

| 08/08/2012 | 176 Comments

lottey-balls-490w.jpg(CNS): Although it has not yet been confirmed, the issue of legalised gambling, including the introduction of casinos, was under discussion during the recent meeting with the premier and leading members of the business community in the search for alternatives to direct taxation. It is understood that casinos and other forms of gambling do not yet have the support of the wider community but the proposal is still on the table. The issue is one that the opposition says needs to go to a referendum, while Ezzaard Miller says legalising the existing numbers game immediately could generate several million dollars for this budget.

Miller said he believes Cayman has to consider introducing casinos but in the first instance, he said, it would be easier and simpler to legalise the numbers game and charge a 25% fee on the lottery sellers.

“The business is estimated to be worth around $1 million per week, even though it is illegal,” Miller told CNS, adding that once it was legalised it would probably attract even more players and would be relatively easy to collect.

Although the police were unable to give an estimate of the number of players and sellers involved in the illegal lottery, a spokesperson confirmed that the figure of $1 million being spent on the numbers in Cayman was a reasonable estimate.

The debate about gambling in all forms, from a national legal lottery to full scale gaming and casinos, has been raging in Cayman for many years. A number of developers and those in the tourism market are in support of casinos, even if they were for the exclusive use of visitors and out of bounds for locals. A number of private sector bodies, such as CITA, some members of the Chamber of Commerce, CIREBA and Cayman Finance, as well as a various private sector individuals have supported past proposals to overturn the gambling laws and introduce a national lottery or limited gaming licences as a way of addressing government’s budget difficulties.

Premier McKeeva Bush indicated that he was willing to hold a referendum on the subject when he first took office and faced his first budget crisis but shelved the idea in favour of increasing fees to help balance the public books. A petition was started by radio host and former Cabinet minister, Gilbert McLean, in an effort to trigger a people-initiated referendum in 2010 but he was only able to gather around 500 signatures in support. Meanwhile, a petition against gambling started by the Cayman Ministers Association was able to attract over 1,200 signatures in a matter of days.

The subject continues to divide the community, with those who say it is an easy way of raising revenue for government pointing to the access people already have to the illegal local lottery and on-line gambling, which makes a mockery of the prohibition, versus those who are concerned about lotteries being a tax on the poor and the vice and crime that is associated with gaming and casinos.

With the churches opposed to gambling, successive governments had been hesitant to push ahead with legalising it but each and every time government faces a revenue problem the subject returns to the table.

The opposition leader said that while the PPM is against the legalisation of gambling, he would support a referendum on the subject. “We have always taken a position against legalised gambling and there has been no reason presented to change that but we do support a referendum,” he said. “Following a referendum, despite the party’s position, whatever the outcome we would be duty bound by that democratic decision.”

Although the premier has never come out and publicly supported the concept of a legalised lottery or casinos, sources close to him say that he is in favour. But given that may of his own supporters are against the idea, he would be unlikely to declare his hand.

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Immigration policies support an increasing unemployment rate

| 08/08/2012 | 37 Comments

“I am pleased that the labour market has improved last year, and I expect it to further make progress this year,” Premier McKeeva Bush said recently. After reading the recently released Labour Force Survey Report (Fall 2011) I do not share the premier’s optimistic outlook for the local economy.

In fact, I am increasingly concerned that the  actions taken by the government and the lack of any real visible economic recovery policies and plans has resulted in a bleak outlook for these islands and has created a situation which becomes increasingly difficult to remedy if the current approach to managing the economy is not addressed immediately.

Simply put, a high level of unemployment signals that the economy is operating beneath the production possibilities curve and the economy is not performing at full capacity. This is significant, as suggested by Okuns law, because for every 1% increase in unemployment, real GDP decreases by 2%.

Cayman’s unemployment is largely structural in nature and some local employers are not able to source specific skillsets, training and experience from within the local unemployed labour pool, leaving them with no alternative but to turn to foreign labour in order to meet the demand for labour generated by their individual businesses. In addition to the almost 10% overall unemployment rate, perhaps the most startling statistic revealed in the report is the fact that the unemployment rate for individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 is currently around 20%.

This is alarming, to say the least, because individuals from this group represent high school and university graduates who are the future of these islands and the statistics indicate that for whatever reasons these young people are facing increasing obstacles finding employment. It is also concerning that a significant number of these individuals are ending up in the court system. Twenty years ago high school graduates in Cayman were faced with a multitude of employment and/or educational opportunities to choose from, but the situation today is dramatically different and it is obvious from the survey results that many are graduating with no opportunities ahead of them.

There are also much wider concerns that cannot be ignored. Cayman is in the rather unique position of being able to import labour from outside the country with little difficulty, mainly because work permit fees are a major contributor to government revenues. This imported labour serves to effectively replace, and causes employers to ignore, the local unemployed labour pool, i.e. the approximately 10% overall unemployed Caymanians, allowing the economy to continue to operate boosted by the external labour supply. The 10% unemployed Caymanians then become a cost to the country as they have to rely on government funded social programs to survive and as the importation of labour continues to proceed unchecked, the unemployment rate can only continue to increase.

The irony in this situation is that as government revenues increase from work permit fees, the increased demands on social welfare caused by unemployment will drive up costs faced by the government. The net effect may well be that government revenues are not being effectively channeled into the most appropriate and constructive initiatives. This creates a vicious cycle which becomes increasingly difficult to reverse. Recent examples of where government has spent public funds assisting the unemployed are numerous but unfortunately become increasingly necessary as more Caymanians encounter difficulty obtaining employment.

Ideally government should direct its economic policies towards keeping unemployment amongst Caymanians around 3% or less, and because we are in the unique situation where the majority of our employment force is non-Caymanian, immigration policies play an important role in controlling the rate of unemployment. The ideal strategy therefore would be to tie our immigration policies to our economic policies in order to effectively regulate the supply of non-Caymanian labour. By doing this we will be effectively controlling the level of unemployment. Left unchecked, our rather generous work permit policies will continue to cause an upsurge in local unemployment as the labour force survey has confirmed is the case today.

It is critical that our education efforts and focus for both local and overseas students be crafted to ensure that these missing skills are being addressed via formal education programs and initiatives. It should also be a clear policy that when these skills are available via the local labour supply, priority will be given to sourcing employment for these individuals, and government must be willing to halt or slow the grant of work permits within these specific areas until the local labour pool has been exhausted or the 3% or less limit has been achieved.

The University College must continue to adopt the highest possible standards and begin to offer a diverse curriculum which is crafted based on the needs highlighted by the local labour market and this can be easily achieved by adopting a consultative and cooperative approach with the private sector. It is therefore more effective to offer educational opportunities to prepare students for careers that are in highest demand. For example if the top 5 careers within the private sector are lawyers, accountants, technology engineers, corporate administrators and fund administrators, these need to become the top 5 educational opportunities available to our students. By taking this approach we align the local labour supply with the local demand for labour.

There is some degree of cyclical unemployment, or not enough jobs to go around, which is partly due to the current recessionary conditions, and in many instances a high level of skill and or training is not required for these positions. Government reaction to this must be to seek to reduce the number of work permits within the relevant areas, allowing the local unemployed labour force to become employed and productive. Cyclical unemployment is perhaps the easiest to address, and least costly, and only requires a clear policy and direction when it comes to the granting of work permits in areas where there are qualified but unemployed Caymanians.

Looking forward, Caymanians must accept that for the foreseeable future there will always be a need to hire foreign labour and that we cannot expect to find sufficient Caymanian labour to operate the economy at full capacity given our indigent population level. It is also clear, however, that there is a direct relationship between the level of unemployment and the subsequent negative effect on government costs and the negative impact on the local economy this creates.

Carefully balanced economic and immigration policies can be utilized to achieve the perfect balance between foreign labour and Caymanian labour.  What is required, however, is sensible and responsible management, clear tertiary educational objectives,  less pandering to one group of individuals over the other and adopting a more scientific and analytical approach to managing the economy.

The end result will be a reduced local unemployment rate, higher education and training standards among Caymanians, a stable and united workforce and a much stronger economy and government.

This is not a quick fix approach and the benefits will only become evident in a few years, but it is clear that taking proactive steps now will prevent further increases in unemployment, reduce the burden on government to “look after” unemployed Caymanians, reduce the divide between expats and Caymanians, both socially and economically, and stimulate the local economy by putting disposable income into the hands ofCaymanians without taking it from the government coffers. 

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Young cops complete assignments

| 08/08/2012 | 0 Comments

(RCIPS): Thirteen young Caymanians completed their summer internships with the RCIPS last Friday. During the four-week programme the students worked in a variety of departments including Financial Crime, Process, Scenes of Crime, Fleet Management and the Joint Marine Unit. In all cases they were matched with departments and roles which complemented their chosen areas of study and their future career aspirations. All of the students had an opportunity to visit an array of departments within the Service to allow them to gain a better understanding of the wide-ranging roles carried out by officers and police staff.

Deion Williams, who worked with the Financial Crime Unit ,said: “I learned that the FCU deal with any type of crime that involved money and will investigate forensics to find evidence. My experience was great and I had a lot of fun learning something new every day.  If I have the chance I would love to go back one day.”

“This experience has been educating and challenging,” said Tevin Vernon of his time with the Security and Firearms Licensing Dept. “I learned the importance of filing and processing documents.  I was able to rotate to a few different sections and saw a lot about RCIPS operations that I was not aware of. I believe that I am now more comfortable in dealing with people and better able to keep a positive mind.”

Reymon Rodriquez found his attachment to Fleet Management extremely rewarding. “Working in fleet allowed me the opportunity to learn a lot about cars and the various parts,” he said. “I was able to help check when the cars were due for service based on mileage and I learned how to use some of the special tools and equipment.”

Deandra Ebanks hopes to pursue a career in Psychology. She feels that her attachment to the Family Support Unit, where officers work with people who are dealing with sensitive family issues, has helped her more clearly define her career path.

Commissioner David Baines was delighted with the commitment and work ethic demonstrated by the interns throughout their time with the Service. “Every one of the students threw themselves into their respective roles,” he said. “It was important for us to use the opportunity to showcase what we do and what we can offer the future Caymanian workforce. But we also wanted to ensure that the students enjoyed their attachments while gaining valuable work-based experience. I hope that they found the experience as rewarding as we did and that they may consider becoming permanent members of the RCIPS in the years to come.”

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Climate change real says leading scientist

| 08/08/2012 | 0 Comments

getty_rf_photo_of_desert_heat (284x300).jpg(Washington Post): The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can’tbe anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist. The research by a man often called the “godfather of global warming” says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by NASA scientist James Hansen. He says that statistically what’s happening is not random or normal, but pure and simple climate change.

“This is not some scientific theory. We are now experiencing scientific fact,” Hansen told The Associated Press in an interview.

Hansen is a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and a professor at Columbia University. But he is also a strident activist who has called for government action to curb greenhouse gases for years. While his study was published online Saturday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, it is unlikely to sway opinion among the remaining climate change skeptics.

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Cayman tops offshore mergers & acquisitions

| 08/08/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands took the top spot in the second quarter 2012 as the most popular destination for investors doing deals involving offshore targets, completing 104 deals worth a combined value of US$19bn, according to Appleby’s latest edition of Offshore-i. The second edition of the firm’s quarterly report, which provides data and insight on merger and acquisition activity in major offshore financial centres, found that the offshore M&A market increased in value at twice the worldwide average last quarter, compared to the previous quarter. The Cayman Islands experienced significant growth in the second quarter with deal value and volume up 323% and 17% respectively from the first quarter. Read More on CNS Business

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Murderer won’t face second trial

| 08/08/2012 | 20 Comments

_DEW1743-250w.jpg(CNS): One of the men convicted of the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts will not face a second trial for the robbery and abduction of the Cable and Wireless executive, the courts have confirmed. Scott-Roberts was found dead in her burnt out car in a remote spot in Barkers in October 2008. Larry Ricketts and Kirkland Henry, both Jamaican nationals, were convicted of her murder after a trial in February 2010, but the crown has stated that it will no longer pursue further charges against Ricketts after his appeal to the Privy Council for his murder conviction was denied. He will serve the rest of his life in jail and public prosecutors have said there is nothing to be gained by putting the family through another trial. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Both the convicted men had faced further charges relating to the crime but these could not be tried alongside the murder as legislation at the time required cases of murder to be tried separately from any other offence.

Although Henry pleaded guilty to rape, robbery and abduction, Ricketts, his co-conspirator in the murder, denied all charges against him and had pursued an appeal against his conviction to the UK’s high court. The recent refusal by the Privy Council to hear the appeal and the upholding of the conviction allowed the public prosecutor to decide the way forward with the outstanding charges.

Speaking on behalf of the DPP’s office on Friday, crown counsel Elizabeth Lees confirmed that a number of issues had been taken into account, not least the potential trauma for the family to sit through another painful trial, and there was no public interest in trying Ricketts, who was given a life sentence. She said that this complied with the wishes of the victim’s family that were seeking closure and there would be no practical gain for justice for Ricketts to be tried and if found guilty given sentences that could only be served concurrently.

As a result, Justice Williams advised that the family should be formerly notified of the decision as he dismissed the outstanding indictment.

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