Archive for May 1st, 2013

Cops can’t address bribery without evidence

| 01/05/2013 | 13 Comments

bribery.jpegCNS): Although the Election Office has received complaints alleging that some candidates are offering bribes for votes, officials say that the complainants are refusing to cooperate with the police, making it very difficult for either the office or the police to do anything it without evidence. The office has also raised concerns about the increasing vandalism of candidates’ posters and other signs and is warning anyone who gets caught that they will be prosecuted. Meanwhile, with just three weeks until the General Election, the office is about to begin mobile voting and urged residents in Little Cayman, in particular, to apply for the mobile vote as there will be no polling stations on that island on Election Day.

Election officials confirmed Wednesday that there have been complaints of some candidates providing house repairs and promises of future favours to electors in the districts in which they are running for office. However, they said the office could not act on complaints alone and unless the person complaining is willing to come forward and provide a written statement, without evidence of the complaint no action can be taken against the alleged perpetrators of the bribery.

“While the police are readyand willing to deal with such matters, it is a waste of their time and that of the Elections Office to have complaints being made and the persons complaining then refusing to co-operate,” the officials stated.

In the wake of several attacks on PPM posters and other candidates' signs, the office is also concerned about what it described as “irresponsible behaviour”, which they said “cannot be tolerated” in free and fair elections. The officials said that everyone in the community needed to participate in a positive way when it comes to the campaign but those who commit such “acts of vandalism should be ashamed of themselves”, and if they are caught they will be prosecuted.

As polling day approaches, the office will soon start its mobile voting exercise and it is urging all Little Cayman electors to apply to vote by mobile poll if they wish to vote in the upcoming General Elections.  Those who want to vote at the polls on Election Day will have to attend the polling stations situated at the West End Primary School on Cayman Brac as there will be no polling station on LC on 22 May.

The mobile polling station will be situated at the Public Works compound and will be open from 9:00am until 12:00 noon on Friday 10 May. Application forms (Form C) are available at the District Officer’s office in Blossom Village or can be downloaded from the website www.electionsoffice.ky

Once completed they can be delivered to the District Officer or forwarded directly to the Registering Officer on Cayman Brac, Ellen Lazzari, at least one day before the mobile poll takes place.

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Progressives to launch manifesto at national meeting

| 01/05/2013 | 45 Comments

manifesto launch.jpg(CNS): The largest political group in the race for the Legislative Assembly will be launching its manifesto Thursday, setting out the Progressives' policies for government if it wins a majority at the polls later this month. The PPM will be hosting the launch in George Town, where they will present their plans. Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, who is hoping to wake up on 23 May as premier, said that the past four years of the UDP administration has been a failure of “epic proportions" and a period like no other the Cayman Islands had ever seen. He said the Progressive party would be setting out what it would do once in office.

“The manifesto we will present tomorrow is a promise to the people of Cayman,” McLaughlin said. “We believe the Progressives offer the best hope for the kind of leadership that Cayman needs in these challenging times. “The first and foremost challenging task of a new administration is to restore trust and confidence in the government and the Cayman Islands as a whole.”

He said the Progressives manifesto was the pledge of the team to work together to bring back pride to Caymanians and residents who love this country. The goals detailed in the manifesto include a blueprint to restore confidence in the government, stamp out corruption, re-build the economy and reduce the cost of living and provide more opportunities.

The full team of candidates running in the Sister Islands, Bodden Town, West Bay and George Town will be there to talk about the PPM policies. The meeting starts at 7:30pm at the Kirk Home Centre.

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Ocean-cam installed on East End reef

| 01/05/2013 | 15 Comments

Webcam (253x300).jpg(CNS): Ocean Frontiers in Grand Cayman has unveiled an underwater webcam that is streaming live video from a shallow reef on the island’s remote East End to the rest of the world. The dive resort said that the ‘ocean-cam’ is part of a monitoring project that has just been launched in partnership with Teens4Oceans, a non-profit organisation that encourages young people to get involved in the stewardship of the ocean through research, technology and education. With this new equipment teenagers from across the world will be watching what is happening on Cayman’s reefs. The ocean-cam was installed by Steve Broadbelt, owner of Ocean Frontiers, with the help of 16-year-old Parker Lindsay.

Anchored in six feet of water about 1,000 yards from the Ocean Frontiers dock, the webcam is part of a system set up by the non-profit organization.

“The busiest time is dusk between 5:30 and 6:30pm,” said Broadbelt. “There is a lot of fish activity as they come across from point A to point B. And this is just by day; we don’t know what they are doing at night.” 

Lindsay, who is watching the same reef activity as Broadbelt, said he was picking up a pattern. “I tend to watch around 6am to 7am and 5pm to 6pm Mountain Time and during these times I have been noticing certain types of fish congregating on the coral head,” the high school junior said.

Executive Director of T4O, Trevor Mendelow, said the organisation operates six other ocean-monitoring sites in the Caribbean, Florida and California, but the Cayman site is by far the best and is generating the most excitement.

“Cayman has the best internet connection in the Caribbean so that webcam is providing three times the video quality of the other video locations. It is so phenomenal that we can stream out multiple cameras simultaneously,” he said.

Nate Newman, chair of his T4O high school chapter, explained why: “We use a top of the line self-cleaning camera and CleanSweep technology, manufactured by Wild Goose Imaging CleanSweep, which maintains the clarity of the gorgeous HD image.” 

Broadbelt revealed that the technology partner here was Digicel Cayman, which provided the direct Internet access for fast uplink speed that wasn't possible a few years ago. But it is not just the quality of the video that has quickly made Cayman a favorite T4O site.

“The relationship with Steve at Ocean Frontiers is just a match made in heaven because he helped make it happen,” Mendelow added.

Both teams collaborated in setting up the monitoring system, and Ocean Frontiers converted an old barge into the floating platform that now holds the solar panels and battery packs needed to power the camera 24 hours a day.

Streaming videois just one of an arsenal of tools used by T4O to engage tech-savvy teens into ocean science and inspire them to get involved in protecting our seas. The Cayman webcam turns 360° every 10 minutes to scan other areas of the reef, while probes record the water’s salinity, temperature and acidity. The information collected by Parker, Nate and the other T4O students will help establish critical baseline reef and fish data sets for Cayman, which can later be used for reference, archive video, still photos and other surveys.

Mendelow said there was real science in watching the fish. “This is a very unique opportunity because things are happening there with a wide diversity of fish species. We look at the behaviour of the fish, the composition of the environment and study the relationship to each other, and we ask ‘how do these things affect the fish life?’”

Mendelow said Cayman was an ideal place to foster a culture of caring, pointing out the assistance provided by the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment, the quality of Cayman’s Marine Parks and the protocols in place to protect them. The T4O team will visit Cayman two or three times a year to keep improving the site equipment and expanding the project.

Meanwhile, Broadbelt is planning to install lights soon for night-time viewing, when nocturnal critters emerge on the reef and other natural wonders take place, such as coral spawning.

“I’m excited about what we’re going to learn during the coral spawning in a few months,” he said. “We have a couple of coral heads that will spawn in September. We have monitored them for 10 years but we want to find out if they spawn at any other time of year."

The live Cayman video is available for viewing on the Ocean Frontiers website (Link has been corrected)

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Cops facing messy issues

| 01/05/2013 | 20 Comments

_DEW3239-web.jpg(CNS): Although Commissioner of Police David Baines has been given another four year contract to head up the local cops, the RCIPS is going through a difficult time at present when it comes to internal affairs and issues over complaints. Against the backdrop of two lawsuits that have been filed by serving and former officers and a third from a member of the public, the Police Complaints Unit is said to be looking into further complaints about bust-ups between senior officers and complaints of inappropriate behaviour by others. In addition, concerns have been raised in the community over the reinstatement of an inspector just a few months after he had been stripped back to PC after a complaint was upheld.

Although the police management is extremely tight lipped regarding internal investigations and about any complaints about the conduct of its officers, it is understood that there are a number of significant issues plaguing the RCIPS at present in relation to the behaviour of officers to each other as well as to the public. Reports of excessive bullying by officers, prejudices concerning the treatment of officers and even complaints about sexual abuse are understood to be keeping the PCU busy.

Pressure is mounting for a separate police complaints commission, as the public has little faith in the current system, where complaints both from inside and outside the police are investigated by the police themselves

Following a legal action filed by a serving police constable against the chief inspector of George Town police station for assault, the RCIPS has also confirmed that the PCU received a complaint in March of common assault from another police officer from George Town about another senior officer.

“We can confirm that one officer has lodged a complaint of common assault against another,” a police spokesperson said last month. “The incident, which involved the officer allegedly prodding another, occurred within police premises on 28 March, when both were on duty, and an investigation is underway. No one was injured and neither of the officers have been suspended."

The RCIPS has refused to comment on the two legal actions that have been filed against the commissioner, one as a result of the alleged assault by Chief Inspector Frank Owens and the second as a result of the reported dismissal of a long serving officer without explanation.

"As it appears that these matters are subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for the RCIPS to make any comment," the police said after the legal proceedings were filed.

Meanwhile, the RCIPS did confirm that a senior officer who had been stripped to PC has been reinstated to his previously held rank but made no comment about the matter. The police have remained tight lipped about this incident and CNS understands that the officer involved has also filed a complaint.

No updates have been offered to the public, which funds the RCIPS to the tune of more than $35 million per year, regarding a number of internal investigations into officers who crashed police vehicles, both on and off duty, or any other internal enquiries regarding questionable incidences or major mistakes, such as the disappearance of a police surveillance van, among others.

Another complaint has been filed regarding inappropriate sexual behaviour, which is also under investigation, the RCIPS has confirmed, but the officer in question, who is stationed on Cayman Brac, remains on duty. In another case where an officer on the Brac has been arrested for importing firearms accessories, he too remains at his post. However, an officer who is now going through the court system after pleading not guilty to corruption charges in relation to accusations of bribery has been suspended from duty.

Despite numerous complaints about the PCU, both inside and outside the service, the police management have stated that it is satisfied that the unit functions properly and is not biased.

"In 2008 the police complaints procedures and PSU underwent an external review resulting in, amongst other things, standardised operating procedures that mirror best practice and standards in advanced jurisdictions (UK) and, where appropriate, external legal advice will be sought from the DPP,” the police spokesperson stated. “As we have previously stated, we also welcome the appointment of a public independent complaints commission."

In addition to the messy internal affairs, the commissioner is also faced with a rise in violence against his officers as he begins his second contract. Nevertheless, the police management does not believe that the recent targeting of one officer, who was hit in the head outside an East End bar while monitoring a late night party crowd, and the alleged firing on officers by a group of people who fled on foot following a car chase, does not mean the community is turning on the service.

"These senseless acts have been committed by a few violent individuals who clearly have no regard for the law or for the Cayman Islands communities," an RCIPS spokesperson stated. “We are confident that the vast majority of law abiding and responsible citizens in these Islands fully support the RCIPS and would join with us in condemning these acts of violence against our officers."

The police went on to appeal for anyone with information that could assist with their enquiries into these incidents to contact their local police station, or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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IRS targets US taxpayers’ FCIB accounts

| 01/05/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Internal Revenue Service has obtained a federal court order that will allow them to access bank records of US taxpayers suspected of hiding accounts at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce's FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), a Barbados-based bank with branches in 18 Caribbean countries, including the Cayman Islands, but with none in the US. The court authorized the IRS to serve a John Doe summons on Wells Fargo Bank related to a US correspondent account maintained by FCIB, directing it to produce records of deposits and payments by check and wire that will allow the IRS to identify US taxpayers with accounts at FCIB and other banks that used FCIB’s Wells Fargo correspondent account. Read more and comment on CNS Business

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New Pigs on the Block

| 01/05/2013 | 0 Comments

bayStreet1 (242x300).jpg(CNS): The Cayman Rugby Football Union played host to the Bay Street Pigs RFC out of Toronto Canada on 27 April (not to be confused with Cayman’s very own Pigs Trotters RFC) and gave the visitors a hard time on the rugby pitch whilst the visitors enjoyed some good Caymanian hospitality off the Rugby Pitch. Bay Street Pigs RFC, 3 time Toronto RFU Champions, chose the Cayman Islands as their destination for spring training in what was their first ever club tour overseas in the knowledge that Cayman would provide the perfect backdrop for quality rugby and team building thanks to 3 former Cayman Rugby Football Union members who now call Toronto home.

David Burton (formerly of the Pigs Trotters RFC), Tom Kimball (formerly of the Iguanas RFC) and Scott Forrest (formerly of the Cayman Storm RFC) all made the trip to familiar surroundings with their new team mates and took on a Cayman National Side who are preparing for the 2013 NACRA Caribbean Rugby Championships.

Cayman were on the board first with an Iain Currie try from a chip and chase before Marco du Plessis extended the lead with a penalty before the Pigs responded with a try of their own to make the score 8-5.

BayStreet2 (300x205).jpgThe lone Pigs try would be all the Pigs would get for their efforts as Cayman continued to press the visitors on the pitch with hard tackles in defence and hard running in attack as the players looked to impress selectors ahead of Cayman’s first full international of 2013 against USA South on 4 May. Cayman notched up a further 25 points before the half time whistle followed by 12 points in the second half to make the final score 37-5.

The Bay Street Pigs proved to be formidable opponents even though they only managed 5 points on the day. Cayman’s points were scored out wide thanks to smart kicking and quick passing when the opportunity arose.

Follow Cayman Rugby on Facebook and Twitter @caymanrugby

Photos by Caroline Deegan

BayStreet1: Camilo Andres of Cayman hangs on for the tackle
BayStreet2: Tom Kimball of the Bay Street Pigs is wrapped up by the Cayman Defence

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Cayman squad selected for USA rugby tour

| 01/05/2013 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): The Cayman Islands international Rugby season kicks off on May 4 when the Cayman National Men’s team travels to Atlanta, Georgia USA to take on USA Rugby South in the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championships. USA Rugby South is the territorial union for teams playing in the Southern United States which represents the USA in the NACRA tournaments. It is one of seven unions that govern specific regions of USA Rugby and is comprised of the North Carolina Rugby Football Union, the Georgia Rugby Union, the Palmetto Rugby Union, the Deep South Rugby Football Union, the Florida Rugby Football Union and the MidSouth Rugby Football Union.

Cayman has had some success against their American counterparts in the past having beaten the USA South Men’s VII’s team in Barbados 19-14 on November 12, 2011 and again at under 21 men’s XV’s level on home turf 16-15 on January 2, 2012. But the task ahead will be one of the biggest that the Cayman Rugby Union has faced in recent times.

USA South are enjoying a rich vein of form having beaten Mexico 50-23, Jamaica 29-12 and most recently the Bahamas 42-15 and with home field advantage the Cayman Men’s team know they are looking down the barrel against the American’s but the Cayman team have had a successful warm up to the full international season with warm up games against Princeton University, the Griffins from Allen, Texas (Texas State Rugby Champions 2013) and most recently against the Bay Street Pigs from Toronto(Toronto Rugby Union Champions 2010, 2011 & 2012).

National Men’s XV’s Head Coach Brad Cowdroy, in announcing the squad which will travel to Atlanta for the May 4 clash added, “All (warm up games) have proved formidable opponents and excellent preparation for our upcoming games. Similar to last year, we are fortunate to have a larger squad than normal to select our travelling 22 players from. Training has been excellent and well attended and coupled with the efforts in each warm up game, has made selecting the travelling 22 very difficult. As such, our performance in our upcoming games will not just be a reflection of the match day 22 but of the training squad at large.

“The USA South game will undoubtedly be our toughest assignment so far but I know all the players will be up for the challenge and are really keen to get our 2013 campaign off to a successful and winning start.”

See squad list posted below

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Buccaneers take the double

| 01/05/2013 | 0 Comments

CRFU): The Advance Fire & Plumbing Buccaneers RFC won their 2nd trophy of the 2012/13 domestic Rugby season with a comfortable win over the John Doak Architecture Iguanas RFC on 14 April 35-12. Earlier in the day the 3rd place decider between the Century 21 Cayman Storm RFC and Queensgate Pigs Trotters RFC was forfeited to pave the way for the grand final for the DART Vase between the Islands top 2 rugby sides both looking for their 2nd piece of silverware for the season.

buccs  purple dragon buccs  cricket   13 apr 13 257 (500x281).jpgThe Buccaneers started brightly before the Iguanas started to react and the game was fairly even heading into the half time mark before the Buccaneers started to stretch their legs thanks in no small part to the accurate kicking of flyhalf Morgan Shelford and the strong running from Buccaneer standout Stefan Prior.

The Vase hoodoo continues to plague the Iguanas who are the only team in the Cayman Rugby to have never raised the trophy since its inception albeit for featuring in a five finals whereas the Buccaneers have now won the Vase for an unprecedented 3 straight seasons.

Whilst the Vase Final usually signals the end of the domestic rugby and a change of focus to International Rugby the Cayman Rugby Football Union has added a new competition to the schedule in the form of the Appleton Challenge Cup (“ACC”) which features those not eligible for nation rugby duty and gives many of the younger or less experienced rugby players more time on the pitch for the 2013 season.

In week 1 of the ACC the Queensgate Pigs Trotters demolished the Century 21 Cayman Storm 47-7 and an undermanned John Doak Iguanas put up a valiant effort against the Advance Fire and Plumbing Buccaneers to lose 28-8.

The ACC Action continues at the South Sound Rugby Pitch on 4 May.

Next games: May 4 @4pm Queensgate Pigs Trotters vs. Advance Fire & Plumbing Buccaneers, @530pm John Doak Architecture Iguanas vs. Century 21 Cayman Storm.

Follow Cayman Rugby on Facebook and Twitter @caymanrugby

Photo: Caroline Deegan

The Advance Fire and Plumbing Buccaneers:
Back Row (L-R): Casey Salgado, Morgan Shelford, Dan Bond, David Bakker, Shaun Gerrard, Mick Jehoe, Alex Pineau, Mike Smith, Stefan Prior, Mark Lea, Phil Fourie
Front Row (L-R): Dan Anderson, Addae Andrews, Saviriano Tabuaniwere, Jake Skinner, Danny McGrath, Josh Bain, Ron Arscott, Cameron Sibbald, Christian Victory

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Officials raise awareness of new law in child month

| 01/05/2013 | 0 Comments

CHILD MONTH LOGO.jpgCNS): The 17th annual observance of Child Month which begins today urges the local community to Care, Advocate, and Protect children. To raise public awareness the community affairs ministry the department of children and family services and the family resource centre (FRC), have planned a month of public information and education events. These range from readings, to swimming and board games, along with sessions on parenting, and the newly introduced Children’s Law, which seeks to protect children’s welfare and individual rights.

The law covers parental responsibility and gives guidelines for children’s and foster homes; the management of emergency protection for children from abuse; the provision of secure accommodation for children; guardian responsibility, and addressing complaints by, or on behalf of, a child.

Dwayne Seymour, the community affairs minister said the law ties in with this year’s Child Month theme making it a suitable subject for public education sessions.
“This legislation improves the level of protection for children, corrects unfair practices and closes loopholes. It also provides a structure that will help us as a government, as a society and as parents to ensure that everything that we do reflects the value of our children,” Seymour said.

The Child Month agenda also includes the observances of a day for Teen Pregnancy Prevention, as well as International Day for Stand Up to Bullying, on May 3 and May 25 respectively. During some of the activities, participants will also learn about the different services and resources available for the benefit of children.

“We owe it to ourselves to nurture and nourish our children. How we treat them is key to the future development of this country,” Seymour added.

The DCFS’s Child Month Coordinator, Cassandra Parchment said the annual event aims to provide relatives and other adults with the resources that they need to be good role models to children every day of every month – but especially during May.   A copy of the Children’s Law can be found online at www.dcfs.gov.ky. For a full list of Child Month events or for more information, contact DCFS at 946-0024, or email cassandra.parchment@gov.ky.

See minister’s message and calendar of events below
 

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Accidental disenfranchisement is one off, says office

| 01/05/2013 | 49 Comments

disenfranchise.jpg(CNS): The accidental removal of an elector from the register of voters was a one off, election officials have said. A West Bay voter found she had been removed from the list in error by the district’s registering officer, but not until after the cut-off point for the general election. However, she will not be able to vote because she had not checked the list. The Elections Office has admitted that this was a mistake on the part of its staff but said the list had been updated and circulated at least five times since the voter was left off and she had not checked it.

The office said there were no concerns of widespread disenfranchisement and the only people that have been removed were former voters who were deemed to no longer qualify under the law.

The deputy supervisor of elections said the reason why everyone is asked to check the register every time it is updated is to ensure that there are no omissions and errors. In this case, had the voter checked sooner her name could have been returned to the list in time for the election but there was no way for the office to realise the mistake unless alerted by the voter.

The law allows for errors and therefore places the burden on the elector to ensure their details, including any changes to their address, are correct as each quarterly register is closed.

In its letter to the voter, the office pointed out that her name disappeared from the role during the 21 July 2012 list and was left off ever since. However, the register had been updated and republished for voters to review five times before the voter checked to find she was not on the list when it was updated on 1 April.

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