Archive for October 8th, 2013

Budget details released

| 08/10/2013 | 44 Comments

(CNS): The documents that spell out where government expects to spend $518 million running public services this year and how it will collect $644 million from the tax payer to pay for it have been released. Following the budget presentation by Finance Minister Marco Archer, the PPM’s policy statement by the premier and the throne speech by the governor on Monday, legislators will begin debating the budget Thursday and will then sit down in Finance Committee to scrutinize the line items set out in the annual plan and estimates and other budget documents.

The detailed paperwork shows that one of the biggest pay-outs of the public purse is for the RCIPS, which has a budget of close to $32 million, just over a $1 million less than it received last year. Spending has, however, increased on related correctional and intervention services, such as electronic monitoring, CCTV and court interventions, by just over $1 million.

Government will also spend around $13 million on various scholarships, over $6 million on poor relief and another $6 million on veterans' benefits. The Turtle Farm will get more than $10.2 million of tax payer’s cash again as it continues to drain public coffers, while Cayman Airways will receive just over $5 million in addition to the $18 million government pays for specific air services.

$6.3 million will be spent on the regulation of the financial services sector this year and well over $18 million on health insurance for retired civil servants. Government will spend $14 million on tertiary care at various local and overseas institutions and a further $11.7 million on health care for indigents. Controlling mosquitoes will cost the public purse more than $5.7 million this year and government will spend over $52.5 million on teaching for primary, high school and special needs students.

Meanwhile, the education minister will be the most expensive member of Cabinet when it comes to ministry assistance with more than $4 million set aside for policy advice, governance and ministerial support services, which is double and in some case three times that of her colleagues.

With a major surplus predicted, government expects to earn more than $644 million this year and that will come from a variety of existing coercive revenue measures, such as $90 million from company fees, around $42 million from mutual fund administrators, and over $87 million in regular imports, while $17 million will come from the sale of booze.

The banks are expected to chip in double that at more than $34 million. But even outstripping the earnings for banks this year will be the duty government will get from fuel at almost $35.7 million. It will also receive well over $60 million from work permit related fees.

See the Annual Plan and Estimates below.

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Cops quiet on killing probes

| 08/10/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Despite handling two murder investigations that occurred within three weeks of each other, both of which appear to have direct connections to the spate of gang-related killings in Grand Cayman in 2011, the acting head of CID is saying very little about the enquiries. There have been no appeals to the public for assistance or descriptions of possible suspects released. Reluctant to say if the two murders are gang-related, DCI Malcolm Kay said that at present there was “nothing to suggest” that the murder of Earl Hart had anything to do with him being a witness in a murder trial last year, when CJ Scott was convicted of the killing of Asher McGraw in East End in September 2011.

Kay said that both of the murder enquiries were ongoing and there were no updates, following questions from the media about the state of the investigations. Kay has also denied any knowledge of Hart receiving threatening calls from inside the prison prior to the fatal shooting at his home last week.

The RCIPS appears to be reluctant to discuss the killings that have occurred during a spate of increased violent, gun-related crime that has stretched from North Side to West Bay. With public concern running high about the number of guns that may have made their way onto the island recently, the crime appears to be continuing, despite significant success in rounding up suspects. On Tuesday police confirmed than at least one shot was fired at a house in George Town sometime between Sunday night and early Monday afternoon.

With the police already stretched to their operational limits over the gun-related robberies and muggings, the murder enquiries have added significantly to that burden.

The first ofthe two killings this year was on Sunday 15 September in West Bay. Irvin Garlon Bush (52) was returning to his home in Daisy Lane at around 10pm Sunday night when he was shot dead by an unknown gunman or gunmen. Bush was the father of Robert Mackford Bush, who was the first of five victims of gang-related violence in a series of shootings in September 2011 from West Bay to East End.

Then, on Thursday 3 October 22-year-old Earl Hart was shot multiple times at his home in Marina Drive when he opened the door of his home to the gunmen. Aside from stating that they are looking for a dark brown motor car, believed to be a Honda Torneo, the police have said very little about the killing. Hart, who was pronounced dead at around 1:15 Friday morning at the George Town hospital, was a witness against Scott, who was convicted of killing McGraw, the fifth and last victim in the spate of violence that plagued Cayman two years ago.

In between the killing of Robert Mackford Bush and McGraw, Andrew Baptiste and Preston Rivers were also shot and killed in West Bay. Jason Christian was killed on Crewe Road and Keith Montague sustained multiple gunshot injuries but survived. Since then Brian Borden has been charged with Bush's murder and has been on remand at Northward since August last year.

Despite their general silence on the probe, police are asking anyone that may have information on either shooting or was in Daisy Lane or Marina Drive on the nights in question to call the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477(TIPS) or the dedicated murder line 925 7240.

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Veteran pilot is new CAACI flight operations manager

| 08/10/2013 | 20 Comments

(CNS): A former pilot for Cayman Airways, Captain Steve Scott, is the new manager of flight operations for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI). Scott has been employed with the CAACI for three years but has had an impressive career of over 30 years in the aviation industry, the authority noted in the announcement. As flight operations manager, he will be responsible for analyzing applications for aircraft to be entered in the Aircraft Registry, as well as processing applications for the issuance of an Air Operator’s Certificate and a number of other operational approvals for aircraft on the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry to ensure that aircraft operations are conducted safely and in accordance with the appropriate aviation regulations. 

He will also assist in regulating foreign carriers that operate into and out of the Cayman Islands, including general aviation aircraft operations, and will have oversight for licensing of flight crews and ground staff.

Scott is a former pilot and senior captain for Cayman Airways Ltd, later holding other senior positions with our national air carrier, including manager of flight training, chief pilot and manager flight operations. He continues to maintain proficiency as a captain on the B737. 

Prior to joining the CAACI in 2010, Scott was a contracted service provider to the CAACI from 2008 and also comes with the experience from having provided independent contract service in the area of flight crew training to other regional airlines.

A native Caymanian, Scott has three children and is married to Bernice Scott, who is Principal at Grace Christian Academy.

Deputy Director-General with responsibility for Administration, Nicoela McCoy, said, “The CAACI is pleased to appoint Captain Scott to this position. We are confident that his extensive experience in the industry and his passion for aviation will prove beneficial as he takes on his new role as a senior aviation regulator.”

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Week passes with no sign of missing wanted man

| 08/10/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Despite continuing their searches at sea and along the shoreline in West Bay in the area where Anthony Smith went missing last Tuesday evening, no additional evidence to his possible whereabouts has been revealed, police said this week. Although the RCIPS has not yet stated that they believe he has been lost at sea, no friends or family have reported hearing anything from the missing man since Tuesday, 1 October. Smith (33) dived into the ocean to evade police, who then lost sight of him, on the night of 1 October at around 9:50pm.

Because he is wanted as the subject of a Fail to Appear warrant in relation to multiple offences before the court as well as police drug related matters, officers had approached him as he sat in a stationary car close to Alfresco Restaurant.

They asked him to step out of the car but as he did so Smith ran from the officers and dived into the rough seas. The strong tide started pulling him towards the West Bay dock, so officers immediately called for assistance and the air operations unit was deployed.
A cell phone and shoes were recovered from the shoreline but the search was suspended due to the severe weather conditions. It was resumed around 7:30am Wednesday and has continued since but there is no sign of Smith.

It is still not clear if Smith managed to get out of the water and evade the officers and has chosen to remain in hiding to avoid detention or if the man has been lost at sea. Smith is described as 5ft. 10 inches, large built, light complexion, wavy hair, usually in plaits. If anyone has seen Smith since 9:50pm 1 October, they should contact their nearest police station. Alternatively people can call 526-0670 or 949-7777 or 800 TIPS in confidence if they know Smith is alive.

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CI fans see World Cup thanks to football boss

| 08/10/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): It was all thanks to home-grown international football boss, Jeffery Webb, that Cayman Islands fans were able to see the sport’s most iconic image in all its gold splendour this week when the World Cup trophy touched down in Cayman as part of the Coco-Cola world promotional tour. As noted by Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden, it was “a bit surreal” to have such a famous trophy on local soil as the chances of a nation as small as Cayman ever lifting it were almost impossible. But as part of the world of footballing nations, the cup is an inspiration for local players to dream big. It is also a dream for Webb, who is now the president of CONCACAF and VP of FIFA, and in a position of influence to ensure the cup stopped in Cayman.

Webb said it was great to welcome the World Cup Trophy to his home and, like all players and lovers of the game, he knew what it meant to so many people. Speaking at a special reception at the Island Air hanger, where the special tour plane waited at Owen Roberts international Airport, he said he fell in love with football at the age of nine as he played in the streets around the Walkers Road area, which, he said, was his field of dreams.

Wondering who could have imagined where the game would take him, Webb, who is now one of the most senior football officials on the world stage, made it clear he was delighted that the trophy had come to Cayman.

“We tried to get it to Cayman last time but it didn’t happen. This time the trophywasn’t going anywhere unless it came here,” he said, before taking the famous football icon to the Truman Bodden Stadium, where Cayman’s young players would get a glimpse of the cup that can only be held by winning players and the heads of state of those countries.

Despite a hanger full of football crazy men standing in awe of the trophy, it was the Cayman governor, Helen Kilpatrick, who unveiled football's most sacred symbol and who received a mini replica of the cup.

Although Cayman’s national team is unlikely to lift the trophy during the lifetime of anyone at the reception, the kids representing the next generation of national players can still dream. And although only a limited number of people were invited to the reception, the trip to Truman Bodden ensured that the dream can live on.

Minister Bodden spoke about the importance of football and sport in general. Following the success of the recent under 15 regional tournament in Cayman, he said football would play a key part in the country's hopes for sports tourism.

The trophy, which arrived in Cayman Monday lunchtime and departed in the evening for Bahamas, will cover some 92,000 miles on its 80 nation-tour ahead of the World Cup tournament in Brazil next year.

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George Towners invited to meet governor

| 08/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  As the new governor continues her tour getting to know the people and places of the Cayman Islands residents of the district of George Town will get a chance Wednesday to meet Helen Kilpatrick at a reception at George Town Hall. The reception – which will include history, culture and heritage – will follow an historic tour of George Town, which the premier is hosting, along with the other George Town MLAs Kurt Tibbetts, Marco Archer, Joey Hew, Winston Connolly and Roy McTaggart. The tour includes Central George Town, the Washington Boulevard area, Watler’s Road and Windsor Park.

While on the tour, Kilpatrick will learn about the rich history of Cayman’s Catboats when she and the entourage stop at the Cayman Catboat Club on the waterfront.

Fort George, or what remains of it, on the corner of Harbour Drive and Fort Street will also be included followed by Miss Lassie’s House on South Sound, where Kilpatrick will see the refurbished paintings of Gladwyn K “Lassie” Bush, who began painting at the age of 62 after what she described as a visionary experience.  She will end up at the Town Hall which is also steeped in culture and history where the reception will begin at 5-30pm.

Members of the public who are unable to attend the reception are also invited to meet the governor as she takes the tour, the schedule for which is as follows:
2pm – Depart Government Administration Building
2.07pm – Scranton/Central George Town
2.35pm – Washington Boulevard area
3pm – Watler’s Road area
3.08pm – Catboat Club
3.19pm – Fort George
3.31pm – Windsor Park area
4.03pm – Miss Lassie’s House, South Sound
4.35pm – PPM Headquarters, Crewe Road
5-6.30pm – Reception at the Town Hall

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UCCI attracts world names to conference

| 08/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Organisers of this year’s UCCI conference focusing on combatting corruption said that many people from around the globe have responded to the call to present papers examining corruption and initiatives to combat this scourge from both the academic and theoretical positions, as well as from the practical perspective of those waging brave battles in the field. In the college’s first 2014 conference newsletter the UCCI reveals the line-up of speakers including world leaders from Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, regional premiers and Rhodes Scholars to Cayman’s own auditor general, Alastair Swarbrick and local church leaders.

“We are awaiting confirmation from other such dedicated achievers in the fight to maintain ethics, values, trust and morality regionally and globally,” organisers stated. 

The 2014 conference will relate not only to the function of Caribbean governments and political parties, but also to the responsibilities of every institution – whether educational, religious, social or commercial. “We urge all interests to explore how they can become involved,” the UCCI said.

“The importance of this conference lies in the principle that values and ethical philosophies are intrinsic to every human activity.”
See a copy of the newsletter below

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Crown’s robbery witness struggles with evidence

| 08/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Marlon Dillon, a co-conspirator and key witness for the crown against the four men alleged to have robbed local cable company WestStar Ltd back in May 2012, took the stand in Grand Court Monday, as the trial of Andre Burton, David Tamassa, George Mignot and Ryan Edwards entered its second week. Visiting judge, Justice Alastair Malcolm, heard Dillon's claim that when he got to Tamassa's house in West Bay, he was confronted with the idea to rob the television company by the defendants. Dillon claimed his only involvement in the heist was transporting the men to and from Schoolhouse Road in George Town. Throughout the day's proceedings, Dillon's evidence became increasingly inconsistent.

The witness kept repeating statements incorrectly, as though he had forgotten which of the defendants had told him the details of the robbery.

The court heard Dillon say that when the accused approached him with the idea of the robbery, he told them he did not wish to have any involvement. Dillon claims that Tamassa had told him that a friend of his, named Jason, was working inside the company as a clerk and would open his till quickly before hiding and that the men should not leave any money in his cash drawer.

Dillon says that the men were advised to enter the building between 3 and 3:30pm, before the armoured truck arrived to collect the daily earnings.

The crown's witness said that he was told by the men that he was to remain in the parking lot on Schoolhouse Road for them to return in the getaway vehicle with Beau Clarke. He was also told that, should he fail to do so, he "knows the drill". Dillon said that he did not want to leave his friends stranded and had felt threatened by what was said to him, so he waited anxiously for their return.

During cross examination, Dillon revealed to the court that he and his wife had met with three police officers investigating the case who made promises relating to a shorter prison sentence and that he would be jailed in another jurisdiction. It became apparent to the defence team that no records that this meeting had ever taken place had been disclosed.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Trevor Ward, QC, indicated to the defence team that all documents and notes concerning the case had been given to them but he would seek to make additional inquiries.

David Tamassa, George Mignot and Andre Burton have all denied being the robbers and suggest that Dillon is deliberately lying and implicating them in the robbery. In an alleged confession to the police about his part in the hold-up, Ryan Edwards told the police the robbers were not his co-defendants.

As Dillon struggled with his evidence, the four accused men in the dock listened intently as the crown witness faltered under cross-examination.

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Cops investigate gunshot damage at GT apartment

| 08/10/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): George Town detectives have now confirmed that they are investigating damage caused to an apartment in George Town by a single gunshot fired in Whitman Seymour Road on Monday. The damage, to the door of the apartment, was reported to the police yesterday afternoon (7 October) but enquiries in the area reveal that sounds similar to a gunshot were heard around 10.00pm on Sunday night. There was no one inside the apartment when the damage was caused and no one was injured as a result of the incident. Police scenes of crime officers have recovered a bullet from the residence.

Anyone who was in the area between 9.30pm on Sunday and noon on Monday who  saw or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact George town police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip line on 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Good governance is wise spending, says governor

| 08/10/2013 | 5 Comments

(CNS): In her first throne speech the new governor told the Legislative Assembly that, to her, good governance involved careful and planned management of resources and spending wisely, as she commended the public service for reducing expenditure and moving towards more strategic ways of working. As Helen Kilpatrick delivered her presentation ahead of the budget address, she proposed funding intelligence-gathering, planning, consultation, standard-setting, international collaboration, monitoring and evaluation, as well as stricter enforcement. As she listed the various government initiatives, she said a recurring theme was the use of technology to achieve goals in a cost efficient way. 

As a public finance expert, Kilpatrick has been expected to focus on Cayman’s purse strings and she said it was "incumbent on this honourable House to ensure that the proposals submitted by government for the coming financial year offer the people of the Cayman Islands value for money,” noting that it was  a weighty task.

“The civil service is also to be commended for the reduction that it has achieved in personnel and operating costs.  Their savings to the country have come at a cost to many. However, ensuringthe sustainability of these Islands is a noble and worthy cause,” the governor said in her relatively short speech, giving a very brief overview of government’s plans, which were later expanded upon by the premier in his much longer address.

From the auditor general’s plans to enhance its independence by working towards a new law, to efforts by the judiciary to find a way to pay for a much needed new court house, the governor focused on the portfolios and independent arms of government. She revealed that the director of public prosecutions is working with the criminal justice department and law enforcement agencies to develop a formal witness protection programme and that the legal department was working on an anti-money laundering unit under the aegis of the Attorney General’s Chambers.

She spoke about the work of the deputy governor’s office to review public entities with the aim of rationalizing the various departments, assessing those that are obsolete, in need of transfer, or in need of separation or amalgamation.

“Consideration will also be given to opportunities for privatisation or outsourcing where this is feasible,” she said.

Noting changes to the police law to establish a commission to offer civilian oversight of the RCIPS, she said that in the coming year the police would continue to target serious crime through a variety of strategies, including a pro-active task force to patrol vulnerable locations. She said the Cayman Islands Prison Service would also be working to mitigate issues identified by the United Kingdom and local prison inspectors. 

“The prison will also address long-term estate needs while making emergency repairs on existing facilities,” she revealed. 

Giving a brief review of the work of the various ministries, Kilpatrick said the Customs Department will reform and modernize its compliance management, intelligence and risk management in order to enhance border security and revenue collection.

The governor also said that in response to the need for a further 36 megawatts of electricity on Grand Cayman, the Electricity Regulatory Authority would conduct another competitive solicitation for the development and operation of a new power generation plant. During the coming fiscal year the National Energy Policy Committee’s mission to establish a National Energy Policy would also receive support from government.

Kilparick revealed that the Mosquito Research and Control Unit will once again explore field trials for a proposed Oxitec project as a comprehensive and effective strategy for dengue fever prevention. The previous trials carried about by the UK-based research company raised considerable concern when the public discovered that the firm had released genetically modified male mosquitoes into the district of East End.

See full throne speech below.

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