Archive for October 1st, 2013

Beach erosion concerns at Dart hotel

| 01/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The problem of beach erosion, the challenge to turtle nests, run-off from the elevated site, as well as the proposed height have not stopped the Central Planning Authority (CPA) from granting the Dart-owned company, Blossom Estates Ltd, planning permission for a proposed hotel development on Seven Mile Beach. The Dart Group was given the go-ahead to begin constructing its 140-foot hotel, some 15 feet above the lawful height, on the eleven acres of land that now straddles the West Bay Road and the former Courtyard Marriott site, despite environmental concerns and an ongoing law suit challenging the legality of the road closure that created the beachfront site for the project.Read more on CNS Business

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UK OKs PPM’s full budget

| 01/10/2013 | 39 Comments
(CNS): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has approved the new government's first full budget, which will be presented to Legislative Assembly on Monday 7 October, with the debate on the budget starting on the following Thursday 10 October, the premier's office has confirmed. Officials said that London gave its approval to the full 2013/14 budget today, Tuesday 1 October, giving the new administration over four weeks to ensure its passage and scrutiny by Finance Committee before the current emergency approved spending expires at the end of this month. “We have put in many long hours, thought and debate in bringing this budget together," Premier Alden McLaughlin stated in a release following the UK's nod for his government's spending plan.

"Once again we have demonstrated what can be achieved when a logical, credible and consultative approach is taken toward fiscal planning,” added McLaughlin.
Economic Advisor Richard Holmwood was in the Cayman Islands last week to review the budget with government officials who worked on the budget including Marco Archer, the finance minister, the financial secretary, Ken Jefferson, the director of the budget and management in the treasury, Ronnie Dunn, as well as the deputy financial secretary and Sonia McLaughlin, Michael Nixon, the senior assistant financial secretary alongwith other members of the Finance Team.
Mark Simmonds, the overseas territories minister, has now sent a letter to the premier agreeing to the government's annual fiscal plan for the full financial year 2013/14.
“I am writing to convey my agreement to your Budget, in line with the procedure we have agreed in the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility and to welcome the continued constructive engagement between the UK and the Cayman Islands Government,” he wrote in Tuesday's correspondence, the premier's office said, but the letter has not yet been released into the public domain.
McLaughlin said that the UK was again able to approve the Budget on its first submission. He said this was a testament to the hard work that his government put into its development, as he took aim at the previous administration, pointing out that this had never happened during the UDP's time in office, when the budgets had to be changed before the government was able to get the OK from the FCO.
In August the UK approved the government’s four-year fiscal plan covering the years 2014/14 to 2016/17 on its first submission.
The Budget Address, Throne Speech and Government’s Policy Statement is now set to be delivered at the formal State Opening of the Legislative Assembly on Monday, 7 October, with the wider debate on the addresses beginning on Thursday, 10 October, when members will begin debating the spending plan.
As part of the Uk's approval of the budget the Progressives administration has agreed to various ongoing commitments, including the continuation of the Budget Delivery Committee, led by the deputygovernor, no supplementary expenditure appropriations at the year end, enhanced financial management framework, adherence to the agreed temporary overdraft limit for seasonal swings in cash flows and no new long-term borrowing.
The premier told an audience of Chamber of Commerce members last week that with the exception of the introduction of previously planned directors fees, there were no new revenue measures in the budget and government was balancing the books by shaving a further $12 million from operational costs.
The UK continues to keep a close eye on public spending in its overseas territories, as it seeks to protect its own strapped public purse from having to bail out any dependency. Simmonds reportedly told the PPM government in his letter that the FCO, in line with the White Paper of 2012, stands ready to provide the Caymanian government with any assistance needed to help uphold its commitments.
The premier's office also revealed that Simmonds will travel to the Cayman Islands for the first time in November to further discuss the Progressives government’s plans for economic growth and public sector reform.

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Cops seek new recruits

| 01/10/2013 | 24 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has begun a full scale search of the Cayman Islands for local men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 to join the police and boost the ranks of the almost 400 strong service. This recruitment drive is targeted at Caymanians and those who have permanent residency as the police look for up to 15 local people to join the existing number of Caymanian officers, which has fallen to 169. One of the few public sector agencies with a recruitment budget, the RCIPS said applications for the post of police constable can be made from today, Tuesday 1 October, up until Thursday 31 October, when the recruitment window closes.

All shortlisted candidates must pass each stage of the selection process and will be fully vetted before any offer of employment is made. The selection process encompasses an entrance examination, which comprises a written test in English and mathematics, a physical test, which is a multi-stage fitness test to a point of 5.4, as well as an interview and medical.
The new recruits will then undergo 16 weeks of initial training before hitting the streets under the direction of a tutor constable. All recruits must successfully complete a two-year probationary period.

Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton (45), a Caymanian who has risen through the ranks of the RCIPS, is keen to see as many local people as possible apply to join.
“It’s clear that the make-up of any law enforcement agency must reflect the diversity of the communities it polices," he said. "We currently have 396 police officers on staff; 169 of those are Caymanian. We, as a service, recognise that it’s vitally important to recruit, train, develop and retain local people. However, over the past few years the number of Caymanian officers has fallen below our preferred levels as a result of natural attrition. That’s why we have taken the decision to launch this drive specificallyto recruit local officers.”
With a long career in the RCIPS, Walton said it is a fantastic career choice and there is a myriad of opportunities available, "not only in front-line policing, but also in the many specialist departments such as Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Air Operations,Financial Crime and the Joint Marine Unit," he stated. “But it’s not at all like ‘CSI’ or ‘Law and Order’; our officers deal with real-life situations, where people are experiencing real-life, critical issues. It takes dedication, hard work and commitment to be a successful police officer; we want to attract recruits who will rise to those challenges and help us make a difference in our communities,” Walton explained.

Sergeant Leo Anglin, who was the first inductee into the RCIPS High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS), is also doing his part to encourage local people to join the RCIPS. The HPDS was introduced in June 2010 and it aims to develop young Caymanian officers who demonstrate the potential to rise through the ranks of the Service. To date, 26-year-old Sgt. Anglin, who coincidentally was born in the same year that Walton joined the RCIPS, is the only officer on the scheme, but he hopes that will all change as a result of this latest recruitment drive.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest in law enforcement to seriously consider joining us,” he said.” I cannot speak highly enough of the training and the mentoring that I have received since joining the RCIPS four years ago. I love the job, but it is not without its challenges. It is hard work, but it is rewarding work – and I would recommend it as a great career choice for any young Caymanian.”
Applicants for the posts must be physically fit, computer literate and have a sound educational background. They must have no criminal convictions – in any jurisdiction — and truthfully declare all information requested on the application form. It’s important that potential recruits have sound social awareness and an interest in criminal law.
Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30 on the date of appointment – which is anticipated to be 31 March 2013.
It is anticipated that the selection process (examination/ physical test/ interview and medical) will begin in January 2014.
Officers and Human Resources staff will take part in a number of visits to educational establishments and events during the month of October to raise awareness of the recruitment drive. Details of these events will be made available in due course.
An open day will be held at the RCIPS Training and Development Unit between 9:30am and 2pm on Saturday 5 October, 2013. Anyone who wants to find out more about becoming an officer, or the recruitment process, is encouraged to attend. Officers, Training and Development staff and Human Resources staff will be available to answer any questions. Details of an open day to be held in the Sister Islands in mid-October are currently being finalised.
Anyone who wants to find out more about the post should visit the RCIPS website or email

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Early morning heist at George Town restaurant

| 01/10/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): Two armed masked men robbed a local restaurant in George Town around 12.35 this morning (Tuesday). Police said that staff members at Meringue Town were securing the bar at the premises when they were approached by two men. Both suspects had their faces covered; one was in possession of what appeared to be a handgun, the other had a machete. After demanding money, they made off with a  sum of cash and were last seen running off to the rear of the building. No shots were fired and no-one was injured. One suspect is 5’10”, slim build, dark complexion dressed in black t-shirt and dark jean pants; a t-shirt was covering his face. The other is 5’6”, light brown skin,dressed in dark clothing with his face covered. Both spoke with Caymanian accents.

Anyone who was in the area at the time, or who saw the suspects either before or running off after the robbery, is asked to call the Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477(TIPS).

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Botched robbery at Savannah

| 01/10/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS) Updated with correction: A 17-year-old member of staff at the Video Centre in Hirst Road, Savannah (and not Countryside, as the RCIPS previously reported) was confronted by a masked man armed with what appeared to be a handgun late last night. In a report Tuesday morning, the police said that shortly after 10pm on Monday, 30 September, the teenager was locking up the store when the robber suddenly appeared. The suspect demanded cash and then grabbed a bag from the victim and ran off. The bag, which did not contain any cash, was recovered a short distance away. No shots were fired and no-one was injured in the incident. The suspect is approximately 5’8”, slim build and was wearing blue pants, a dark jacket and a dark mask.

It is believed that the suspect approached the store from the direction of Savannah Meadows. 

Anyone who was in the area at the time, or who saw the suspect either before or running off after the robbery, is asked to call thee Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477(TIPS).

CNS Note: The RCIPS initially reported that this incident took place at Countryside Shopping Village but have since corrected the address of the video store premises, which is Hirst Road, Savannah.

The store is adjacent to the Countryside but is not part of that development, the RCIPS noted.

The RCIPS apologised for any confusion this has caused.

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Warning issued for heavy rain and floods

| 01/10/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The local weather centre has issued a severe weather warning for today, Tuesday 1 October, as charts indicate that a very active surface trough is currently moving across the Cayman area. Weather forecasters said that satellite pictures show an extensive area of cloudiness extending east from the Cayman Islands with the heaviest showers southeast of the Cayman area. The Cayman Islands weather radar confirms the presence of scattered showers and thundershowers, some of which are very heavy southeast of the Cayman area and moving northwest and could bring floods.

The Cayman area can expect cloudy and showery conditions with periods of heavy thunderstorms and squally conditions. Weather models indicate that the Cayman area could receive 2-2.5 inches over the next 24 hrs leading to the flooding of low lying areas. Residents are urged to exercise caution and take all necessary precautions.
Additionally moderate to fresh southeast winds and rough seas are expected over the next 24 hours. Small craft should exercise caution over open waters.
The centre said the next bulletin will be issued at 4pm Tuesday but for more information visit:

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Rapist was one of inmates with access to Facebook

| 01/10/2013 | 21 Comments

(CNS): Following the lifting of the media gag order relating to convicted rapist Jeffery Barnes, the man sentenced to life in prison by a Grand Court judge last week, CNS can now reveal that he was one of several inmates at Northward Prison who was able to gain access to social media sites from his jail cell. With the use of a smuggled smart phone, Barnes was able to post profile pictures and other photos of him making gang signs, as well as messages on a Facebook page, despite already being convicted of a rape against a woman that he picked up from a bus stop and awaiting trial on a second rape offence when he broke into the woman’s home. Since the Facebook postings by inmates was brought to the public's attention, Barnes’ Facebook page has disappeared.

There are still concerns, however, that with smartphones finding their way into the prison manyinmates, both on remand or following conviction, have access to the internet. Such open access to the outside world gives serious cause for concern, as this means they can contact and harass witnesses and victims and may also be able to continue their criminal activity from inside the prison walls, as well as organising drugs and other contraband to be smuggled into the prison.

At the time officials described the posting of pictures by prisoners making gang signs, showing off gang insignia tattoos and smoking what appears to be spliffs in their cells as a “systemic failure of proper security measures but also a failure in adequate rehabilitation.”

Related articles on CNS:

Prisoners post on Facebook

Barnes gets life for 2nd rape

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Gold stolen in transit

| 01/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has charged a man with multiple counts of theft following a lengthy police investigation into the disappearance of gold from courier packets, but the victims of this alleged crime are also taking civil action against the suspect's employers to recover the value of the goods he allegedly stole from a local pawn shop. Island Elements, the owners of Cash Wiz, have filed suit against Federal Express, the employer of the courier that they believe stole some $66,000 of gold between November 2011 and April 2012. The pawn store claims that Evon Robinson, who was employed by the international courier company, was assigned to the gold shops business and during the time he was dealing with their shipments they allege that he was taking pieces for himself.

The 34-year-old man, who has been charged with nine counts of theft and six counts of realising criminal assets under the proceeds of crime, collected the gold jewellery and other items from the Cash Wiz stores. The gold items were weighed and then shipped to various metal refineries in the US, which purchased them by weight from the Cayman-based firm.

However, according to the consignment records, on at least 12 occasions items of gold disappeared from the packages, reducing the weight once they had arrived in the US and in turn reducing the money paid to the pawn shop over that five month period by CI$66,447.57

As the international courier firm was Robinson’s employer and as Cash Wiz entrusted Federal Express to carry the packets safely to their destination, thesuit holds the courier company liable for the missing gold and claims damages, compensation, interest and costs for the losses.

The suit was filed in the Grand Court last Monday following Robinson’s appearance in court on 3 September, when he was bailed to return at a future date.

See details of law suit below, courtesy of OffshoreAlert.

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