Archive for November 18th, 2013

CIG encourages finance sector to speak with one voice

| 18/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Financial Services minister is seeking to formalize the relationship government has with the offshore financial services sector and to consolidate the communication with government and the promotion of the industry and jurisdiction into one voice. Wayne Panton said Monday that he wanted to strengthen the partnership government has with the financial services sector through the industry association Cayman Finance. While government will still welcome broad input and points of view the minister is seeking a way to focus the position so that everyone involved in the sector is singing from the same song sheet at the same time. Read more on CNS Business

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Speed limits to be cut

| 18/11/2013 | 77 Comments

(CNS):The public is being asked for their input on the National Roads Authority's review of the speed limits on Grand Cayman. Officials from the NRA and the Traffic Management Panel (TMP) want to reduce the speed limit on West Bay Road from 40mph to 30mph, to reduce the 50mph limit on Frank Sound Road near the school and parts of the Queens Highway around the Reef Resort and Morritts time shares to 30mph, and to increase the speed limit on North Sound Road from 25 to 35mph. Under the latest traffic act passed by the UDP administration in 2011 changes to speed limits on the islands' major roads no longer require an amendment to the law but can be dealt with via the regulations with the approval of Cabinet.

The NRA has posted an interactive map on its website with a list of the roads where changes are proposed and is asking form comments on each of the potential alterations to the speed limits. The public consultation period will be open until 6 December, and depending on the results and support, the NRA will either prepare its recommendations for the minister with responsibility for roads, Kurt Tibbetts, or launch a more extensive public consultation period by going out to the public directly if they feel more input is required.

The map is also available for review at the NRA offices at the PWD Building on 370 North Sound Road, George Town, and staff there will be happy to talk to the public about the review.

Launching the call for people to contribute their opinion regarding the proposed speed limit changes at a press briefing Monday, the NRA’s transportation planner, Marion Pandohie, said that the NRA would be taking the map and proposals to the UCCI this week and this Sunday to the special drive being organised by the RCIPS, the NGO Streetskill and Cayman Islands Motorsports Association.

She explained that the changes to the speed limit reflected changes in the development in certain areas of Grand Cayman. Pandohie said the completion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to West Bay allowed the limit on the West Bay Road to be reduced, especially given the development and tourism numbers in that area. The transport expert also noted that the emergence of a major tourist area on the Queens Highway in East End also called for a reduction on the 50mph limit there to 30, as did the Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound, where a 15mph school zone was imposed and therefore that had to be a buffer between that and the 50mph speed limit on the rest of the road going towards North Side.

For more information and to submit input visit email or contact Marion Pandohie at 946-7780.

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Teenager stabbed in the back during fight

| 18/11/2013 | 15 Comments

(CNS) Updated: The police have now confirmed that the woman who was taken to the George Town Hospital early Sunday morning with an injury to her back after she was involved in a fight with another woman was only fifteen years old. An RCIPS spokesperson said at the weekend that the police received a report at 1:39am on 17 November that a woman had sustained a back injury. She was then  taken to hospital in a private car and treated for a non-life threatening wound. Police responded to the report and said the matter is under investigation but no arrests have been made. In the initial report the police did not state the age of the victim. The spokesperson stated that officers had not established what type of weapon had caused the victim's injury.

Anyone with information about this or any other crime is asked to contact the police at 949-7777 or Crimestoppers 800-TIPS.

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Prison not tackling phones

| 18/11/2013 | 21 Comments

(CNS): Two years ago the complaints commissioner made recommendations that cell phone jamming equipment should be installed on the premises of HMP Northward to stop inmates communicating via internet and phone with the outside world and prevent the need for inappropriate strip searches. However, in her most recent report Nicola Williams says that nothing has happened towards this end. Following an investigation into a complaint made to her office about inappropriate strip searches on female inmates at Fairbanks, the commissioner made three major recommendations to the prison and the Portfolio of Internal Affairs. Although two were followed, the third, which concerned the phone jamming, has not been addressed 19 months after the deadline for compliance.

As a result and in accordance with the law, the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC) conducted a special report into the circumstances surrounding the issue and why the prison and relevant authorities had not taken the necessary action as ordered by the office. 
Williams had recommended that the prison service install phone jamming equipment at both Northward and Fairbanks Prison as an effective way of addressing the problem of what appears to be prolific phone use in Cayman's jails.
"Since realistically it is virtually impossible to stop cell-phone and BlackBerry use in prisons, this is a sensible, viable and, in the long-term, cheaper alternative which would avoid regular and repeated use of strip-searching as a means of retrieval," she said, warning that such searches could not only put the prison and government in violation of Human Rights but leave them open to potential lawsuits.
The commissioner said the minor inconvenience to staff wanting to use cell-phones and BlackBerrys for personal use would be outweighed by the benefits such equipment could bring.  
Phone jamming is used widely around the world in prisons and is currently under consideration for use in the UK in all its prisons, as the issue of smuggling smart phones and SIM cards is very hard to stop. 
As reported on CNS on several occasions over the last year, many prison inmates have been using smartphones to post pictures from their Northward cells on Facebook, including a convicted rapist. Some were pictured smoking ganja in their cells as well as throwing gang signs and making comments on the social media site. It has even been suggested that gangland hits have been ordered from inside the walls of Northward via cell phone. 
Although the commissioner said she was aware of the financial constraints on the prisons and the portfolio and some attempts towards compliance had been made with regard to the outstanding recommendation, those efforts fell far short of substantial compliance. Pointing to the reports of cell phone use in jail, she said the failure of the authorities to address this issue was compounded as the deputy governor had told her office that some form of jamming was in use, but this appeared to be confined to the high security unit. Reports of the inmates using phones with apparent impunity told a different story about the jamming equipment said to have been in use, as at least one inmate posting on Facebook was in the high security unit. 
The commissioner noted that the Body Orifice Security Scanner [BOSS] Chair was notproperly calibrated and has not been used as it was meant to be. As a result, handsets and SIM cards were being smuggled into Northward by visitors.
The OCC was not alone in its concerns as the UK's Inspector of Prisons report published last year also raised the issue of cell phone use inside the jails.
Williams writes in the special report that, given the extensive correspondence between the OCC and the chief officer of the portfolio concerned and since it is some 19 months since the deadline for compliance expired, she urged the authorities to deal with the matter.  The report outlines the reluctance of the public authority to comply and the constant delays in their response to the commissioner and the special report.
The original complaint filed with the OCC related to a strip search conducted on female prisoners at Fairbanks. One of the prisoners believed that this was a direct retaliation relating to a complaint that she had made the day before about an inappropriate comment made during a previous search by a prison officer.
Several witnesses reported that one of the officers had stated: "That’s what you get for writing letters about officers.” The search was said to be unnecessary as the phone the officers were looking for was in plain sight, allegedly on the prisoner's bed. 
At the time of the search two of the teenagers involved were on remand and the third was serving a sentence for causing death by dangerous driving. None of them had been in prison before.

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Local Red Cross makes Philippines appeal

| 18/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The Cayman Islands Red Cross is appealing for funds to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province in the Philippines, Friday, 8 November, causing a level of devastation reminiscent of the worst disasters seen this century in the form of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the Haiti earthquake of 2010. Typhoon Haiyan, said to be the strongest recorded typhoon to ever make landfall, has affected 9.8million people in nine regions across the Philippines, displacing nearly 660,000.The death toll now stands at 3,631.

The Red Cross Movement, along its main global partners including the United Nations and OXFAM, have been working diligently with local authorities and the local Philippines Red Cross to assess the situation, identify the most pressing needs of the affected population, and mobilise resources needed to assist.

Donations can be made to the Red Cross’ Typhoon Haiyan account at Butterfield Bank:
KYD Account 1360350540027 or USD Account 840350540039.

“We would like to thank the public, who as always have been coming forward to find ways that they can help the victims of this horrific disaster,” stated Jondo Obi, Branch Director. “We would also like to remind the public that we will not be collectingany items to send to the Philippines, but will be concentrating our efforts on raising funds as this will allow those on the ground to be able to respond more effectively and efficiently to the changing needs of the affected population.”

“It is important to understand the reasons why we don’t do a collection drive for supplies,” Deputy Director Carolina Ferreira explained. Firstly, there are the costs associated with such a drive. Even if the container and the items inside of it are donated, there are costs associated with transportation, arrival, and clearance of the container by the receiving organisation. Secondly there is a question of capacity by the receiving organisation to retrieve, transport and store the items shipped. Lastly, there is the question of helping to rebuild the damaged economy by ‘buying locally’ where possible.

“As a starting point we need to consider if the ports are even open. From there, we need to
find out if the receiving organisation is even in a position where they can claim the shipment. They may not have the adequate transport or even the money to do so if government fees are involved. Then there’s a question of capacity: even if they can retrieve the items and transport it out of there, can they store it adequately? Is it the best use of their resources to have their volunteers spend hours and hours on end trying to clear a shipment that may or not adequately address the needs of their population?”
Ferreira added.

“People’s hearts are in the right place, but if we look back at our experience following Hurricane Ivan we received a lot of donations that were unsuitable for our population and the time that was spent claiming, transporting, sorting and essentially tossing unsuitable donations would have been better spent else assisting the most vulnerable. We’ve been through it. We know what it’s like, so it’s important for to us to do our part and not cause any unnecessary stress for those who are burdened by this catastrophe,” she recalled.

Along with the appeal, the Cayman Islands Red Cross is also reminding the public of it’s ability to assist families seeking news from or about their loved one.

“The CIRC is able to send messages from family members in the Cayman Islands who are looking for their loved ones in the Philippines to our partner Red Cross organisations working in the disaster areas to restore family links” explains Disaster Manager, Danielle Coleman. “We urge anyone who has not been able to locate or get any news on someone who may have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan to get in touch with our office.”

For more information on how to donate or get involved, contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross on 949-6785 or For tracing and messaging request of persons possibly affected by Typhoon Haiyan contact

See also The Philippines Red Cross.

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Truth for Youth hold Savannah Primary to draw

| 18/11/2013 | 1 Comment

(CUC-PFL): Coach Irvin Palacio and his Under 11 troops from Truth For Youth left the Annex Field this past Saturday to the sounds of rapturous applause from parents and spectators alike as his youngsters secured a well-deserved draw with Savannah Primary. This past Saturday’s games marked the fifth round of league play in the 2013/2014 CUC Primary Football League (PFL). In what turned out to be the ‘Game of the Day’ in Group A between the Under 11s from Truth For Youth and Savannah Primary, Savannah Primary poured forward from the opening whistle and were rewarded in the third minute when Jawan Wray blasted his team in front.

Zachary Linwood added a second in the 28th minute to put Savannah firmly in control just before the half time break. Savannah’s Akiel Bodden scored in the 33rd minute to make it 3-0 but Truth For Youth struck back a minute later when sweeper Gabby Fisher latched on to a loose ball in the box to cut the deficit to two.

In the 48th minute, Savannah’s goalkeeper Justin Miller mistimed his challenge on Oscar Hernandez in the penalty area giving the referee no alternative but to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped Gabby Fisher to take the spot kick and he made no mistake giving the goalkeeper no chance as he powered his effort just inside the left post.

With the score now at 3-2, Savannah Primary were under intense pressure and didn’t help matters as they continued to give up possession in their own half. Truth For Youth’s Oscar Hernanadez took advantage of some sloppy play from Savannah’s defenders and levelled the score at 3-3 in the 47th minute.

With 12 minutes to go, both teams pushed forward in search of the winner only to find goalkeepers Satiah Miller for Truth for Youth and Justin Miller from Savannah Primary unbeatable between the posts.

In the earlier Under 9 game in Group A, it was Savannah Primary 6 vs Truth for Youth 0. In Group B South Sound Schools continued their unbeaten run as the Under 9 team defeated Red Bay Primary 2-0 thanks to goals from Reese Cooper in the 24th minute and Jake Powers in the 48th minute. In the Under 11 match-up, South Sound completed the double over Red Bay Primary 3-1 with two goals from Aiden Cassidy and single strike from Aiden Hew. Noel Squire replied for Red Bay Primary.

In other games played in Group B, it was Bodden Town Primary 2 vs  NorthEast Schools 2 (Under 9), Bodden Town Primary 1 vs NorthEast Schools 0 (Under 11), Prospect Primary 3 vs Triple C 0 (Under 9) and Prospect Primary 7 vs Triple C 1 (Under 11).

The 2013/2014 CUC PFL regular season concludes this weekend with Sir John A. Cumber Primary vs Cayman International School (West Bay Town Hall Field) and St. Ignatius Prep vs. Savannah Primary (St. Ignatius) in Group A. In Group B, it’s NorthEast Schools vs Red Bay Primary (Donovan Rankine Field in East End); Cayman Prep vs South Sound Schools (Cayman Prep) and Bodden Town Primary vs Prospect Primary (Bodden Town).

The 2013/2014 CUC PFL Playoffs are scheduled to begin on Saturday, November 30 at the Annex Field.

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Tempura boss banned from using secret records

| 18/11/2013 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The London police officer in charge of the ill-fated internal police probe into potential corruption in the RCIPS between 2007 and 2009 has been told by a Grand Court judge that he should not have secret documents in his possession and that he cannot use them in his defence of a law suit by a former commissioner of police. Martin Bridger, the senior investigating officer of the controversial and costly Operation Tempura, has hundreds of records relating to the probe, which, among many other issues, resulted in the sacking of Stuart Kernohan, the RCIPS CoP at the time. Bridger is facing a law suit filed by Kernohan, who says he was unlawfully dismissed, and the Tempura SIO was hoping to use the documents to show he was not culpable.

However, in the latest instalment in the ongoing saga relating to the bungled investigation, which has plagued the RCIPS, other local authorities, as well as Scotland Yard and the FCO for the last six years, Justice Richard Williams has ruled that Bridger cannot use any of the material he has because it is not his to use. The judge also questioned whether he should even have the documents in his possession, although some were released to him by the Attorney General’s Chambers in order to help with his defence against Kernohan.

The ruling, which has been partially redacted (but posted below), follows an injunction sought by Attorney General Samuel Bulgin to keep more elements of the story from public view. The AG claims that all of the documents in question are protected by legal privilege, which is held by his chambers and not Bridger. Therefore, that privilege was not Bridger’s to waive.

Bridger’s lawyer had argued that the government should not be allowed to hide behind the potential embarrassment authorities would suffer by the exposure of the documents. This, he argued, would stifle Bridger’s ability to properly and fairly defend himself against the claims of misfeasance brought by Kernohan. He also argued that there is a wider public interest and these documents should no longer be cloaked in secrecy.

Bridger has already indicated that some of these documents demonstrate that both the Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, former governor Stuart Jack and the overseas territory security advisor, Larry Covington, were all aware that Kernohan, as the head of the local police service, was planning a covert entry into the offices of a local newspaper, using the services of two of the reporters who worked there to look for evidence of corruption.

Bridger claims that this alleged unlawful entry was the basis on which the discredited Operation Tempura emerged after he had quickly discovered that allegations that Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis was disclosing police secrets to the late Desmond Seales, the proprietor of Cayman Net News, were unfounded.

Bridger maintians that if he had known that Kernohan’s plan to use the reporters to snoop around Seales' office had been approved by his superiors, the operation, which has cost more than $10 million, would never have happened.

However, the judge ruled that all of the documents that Bridger wants to use, which had been the subject of the injunction, cannot be disclosed, agreeing with the AG that the privilege to disclose the documents was not Bridger’s to waive.

Questions were also raised in the judgment about why Bridger had taken documents with him when he left the post as head of the investigation and that documents given to him by the AG’s chambers to help him in the Kernohan defence could not be shown to Kernohan or his lawyers.

The ruling will prevent Bridger from legally exposing the evidence that he maintains shows he conducted himself properly throughout the enquiry.

The people of Cayman, who paid for the investigation, will also still be kept in the dark about what appears to be a catalogue of bungles by everyone involved in the Tempura fiasco.

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South Sound damage revealed

| 18/11/2013 | 87 Comments

(CNS): Two aerial photographs have revealed the extent to which a developer has reclaimed land for a residential development on the waterfront in South Sound, despite concerns that planning permission was given in error. Landowner Rene Hislop under RC Holdings was granted permission to move an approved seawall 50 feet south, re-claiming around 2,000 additional feet from the ocean, which the former chief surveyor, Alister Ayres, says was down to an incorrect interpretation of the land survey regulations presented to the CPA when the developer made his application. The director of the Department of Environment (DoE) has also noted that sea boundaries cannot be fixed.

Meanwhile, campaigners from the group Protect South Sound (PSS), who are still waiting on an appeal to be heard, are concerned about the precedent that this has set, threatening the entire country’s coastline. The land reclamation began last year, despite the appeal and the concerns that the CPA has misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted the law.
Ayres explained that the land survey regulations state clearly where an individual is legally allowed to develop their land

“Section 28 of the regulations state that where a parcel of land is bound by the sea, its seaward boundary shall be the high water mark, being the line of median high tide between ordinary spring and neap tides which is subject to constant change,” the expert said. But campaigners say that because the developer was wrongly granted permission in an area which was also part of a DoE project, funded by the UK to replace mangrove lost in Hurricane Ivan, the pristine marine environment is now under concrete and fill, as demonstrated in the pictures.

Despite multiple concerns being raised, not just by the residents but the DoE and other experts, coastal areas such Seven Mile Beach or Rum Point could be under threat where many developers would like to reclaim more ocean front land. The PSS group said this has set “a frightening precedent that may allow land owners along Cayman’s entire coastline to build out to sea far further than the law actually permits”. 

“The Central Planning Authority’s decision to give RC Holdings approval violated numerous aspects of the development & Planning Law and Regulations and the Land Surveyors Law,” campaigners said. Even though the Protect South Sound group managed to obtained an injunction to stop the developer from carrying out his plans, the appeal has been a long time in the waiting and the injunction has been lifted. As a result, while the campaigners wait and wait for the appeal tribunal to be convened, work has been steadily taking place to fill the area of land in readiness to build properties all along his South Sound land. 

As well as the concerns raised by Ayres, the Department of Environment is also extremely concerned thatthe CPA allowed this reclamation based on a misunderstanding of what is in the law. In part (3) of section 28 it states: “If, at the time asurvey is carried out, any part of the shoreline of a parcel is comprised of mangrove trees standing in the water or at the water’s edge, the high water mark shall be the edge of the mangrove vegetation.”

In Hislop’s application to develop his South Sound property, it was argued that his development could take place up to the boundary of his property as defined in a 1999 survey, which had at the time included the mangrove buffer. Since the mangrove buffer is no longer part of the property, critics of the ruling argued that the developer had no right to continue to develop to the boundary that no longer exists.

Lawyers for the developer successfully argued that the developer could go beyond that mark because of a 1999 survey, which was a ‘fixed boundary survey’.
The director of the DoE explained, however, that the word "fixed" in such a survey refers to the sophisticated equipment to measure the precise boundaries of the land surveyed in relation to other boundaries, not that the coastal boundary was or ever could be "fixed".

“The survey plans in question even shows quite clearly the seaward boundaries delineated in blue and that such boundaries were adopted from a General Boundary Survey that shows clearly the seaward boundary is anything but ‘fixed’,” DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said. “It has always been a generally accepted principle that coastal boundaries cannot be fixed.”

Despite submitting their concerns at the time, as has been customary when it comes to submissions from the DoE, the CPA simply ignored them.

Protect South Sound immediately filed an appeal against what they believe is an erroneous decision to have the case against the development heard, but the Tribunal has not convened under the new government. Campaigners say that while their appeal lies on a desk somewhere, part of South Sound continues to be “filled, apparently against the law, continuing to negatively impact the marine environment with every layer of fill that is dumped into the ocean.” They also point to the possible surge of developers that could use this ruling to reclaim coastal land for development anywhere on island, seriously threatening the already fragile marine environment.      

Although the National Conservation Law has now been published ahead of its planned debate in the Legislative Assembly next month, the legislation that will force the CPA to consider environmental issues with equal weight as currently given to economic and social issues, the law comes too late to prevent the damage to the marine environment in South Sound.

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More Cuban migrants seek shelter on Cayman Brac

| 18/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Another group of Cuban migrants was spotted by the authorities in Cayman Brac waters on Sunday afternoon, officials said. An RCIPS spokesperson said that at about 6pm yesterday (17 November) the vessel carrying 26 Cubans arrived at the KIDCO dock on the south side of the island and the group appeared in good health. They reportedly did not request assistance but police and immigration officials went to the location, where the migrants said that they were seeking shelter from poor weather but they planned to continue their journey to Honduras. This is the third vessel to arrive on the Brac so far this month.

Last Monday evening a migrant was air lifted to George Town for medical assistance after he arrived on a boat carrying 28 people and on 2 November several migrants were treated for seasickness after their boat carrying 32 people pulled into Brac waters. On the same day a fourth vessel was also spotted off the coast of Grand Cayman with 15 people aboard but they did not seek assistance.

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