Archive for April 22nd, 2014

Haines reaches 3rd way mark with 2/3 cash to go

| 22/04/2014 | 7 Comments

(CNS): With two of the six marathons already under his trainers and one third of the year down, Derek Haines has bagged over $350,000 in donations leaving two-thirds of his total goal of the$1million needed to build in patient facilities at the local hospice still to go. The veteran distance runner has set himself an incredible challenge this year in the hope of raising the much needed cash for Cayman HospiceCare. Sixty-five year old Haines is planning to run six marathons around the world before the year is out and is still looking for generous sponsors to make it worth his while.

The next race is in Pamplona, Spain, on 28 June which will be close to the half way mark and as he lines up with his daughter to take on the third 26 mile plus stretch Haines will be hoping to have a half million dollars pledged to stay on track. So far he has been in fine form and completed the Paris marathon in 4 hours and 3 and the London in an even speedier 3 hours. 57 minutes.

At a recent Rotary Club lunch Peter Kandiah the former managing partner of Campbells and his wife Julia donated CI$100,000 to the project giving the fundraising a welcome boost.
“I have taken a great interest in supporting hospice over the past several years and am more than happy to support this very worthwhile project. The Cayman Islands has been very good to us in the 40 years that Julia and I have been here and it is our way of putting something back,” said Kandiah.

Haines added, “This is an extremely generous donation by Peter and Julia and brings up the total pledged or donated, thus far to $350K. I am hoping that others follow this fine example."

For more details on the six marathon challenge or how to donate visit six4hospice.com or contact Derek Haines  Derek.Haines@dartcayman.com

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Charity helps charity to help women in need

| 22/04/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS):The NCVO extended a helping hand to the Crisis Centre recently when it donated women’s business attire to the local shelter that helps women and families escaping domestic violence. Given that women often escape violent homes with just the clothes on their backs finding new clothes so they can go to work isn’t always easy. As a charitable organisation the NCVO recognised the need to help with clothing for residents from its “New to You” Bargain Shop which is also dependent on donations, Alto Bodden Solomon, the NCVO Coordinator said.

“With the help of our community, donations received through the NCVO’s are not only sold at low rates but donated to those in need,” she added.

For more than 35 years the NVCO has been assisting those in need and the charity is dedicated to the care, education and well –being of children and families throughout the Cayman Islands.
For more information on donating please contact the NCVO at 949-2124 or ncvocoordinator@candwky or visit the website www.ncvo.org.ky

 

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Officials send 32 Cuban migrants back home

| 22/04/2014 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Loocal officials repatriated 32 Cubans this month. Following a surge of migrants forced to land here recently as a result of boat problems, the repatriation centre was crowded with people from the neighbouring island. On 9 April immigration authorities returned nine Cubans who landed here on 11 March and a group of 23 that landed on 5 March were returned Tuesday 22 April, it was confirmed. Despite the latest deportation 30 migrants remain at the Immigration Detention Centre awaiting the outcome of their processing by immigration but three escapees are understood to still be on the run.

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7MB street robber arrested

| 22/04/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): A suspected mugger is currently in police custody thanks to the actions of an off-duty customs officer and another man. Police say that a 23-year-old woman was walking near Royal Palms along the West Bay Road in the heart of the Seven Mile Beach tourist area about 10:45 pm on Easter Monday night when she was mugged by man armed with what appeared to be a knife. The victim reported that she was on her way home from work at a business on West Bay Road when the robber struck, stealing her bag and injuring her hand in the struggle before he ran towards the beach area.

Shortly after the incident, an off duty customs officer and his friend who were driving on West Bay Road noticed the woman in distress. They stopped and spoke to her about what happened, then the two men went to Royal Palms and spoke to people in the area where the suspect was believed to have run to. They got back into their car and drove along West Bay Road searching for the suspect, whom they spotted on Helen Drive and apprehended him. 

The man was later handed over to the police and was arrested on suspicion of robbery. He remains in police custody while the investigation continues, an RCIPS spokesperson confirmed.

The police said that during the incident the victim’s hand bag was stolen and she received minor injuries to her hand, which was swollen as a result of her struggle with the suspect.  Her handbag contained credit cards, a CI driver’s license, insurance cards, just over US$250 and CI$100 cash, a Blackberry charger and a small flash light. The Blackberry charger and the flash light were recovered on Helen Drive by the police.

The RCIPS also extended their thanks to the customs officer and his friend "for their tenacity and bravery in assisting them in successfully apprehending the suspect without any injuries to themselves or to the suspect.'"

George Town CID is appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact DC Laura Ryding at 949-4222, or to remain anonymous, are asked to use CRIME STOPPERS at 800-8477

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Woman in court for burglary

| 22/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police who have charged a 26-year-old woman with several George Town burglaries are appealing to members of the public who may also have been victims of the female burglar to come forward. The woman was due in court Tuesday to face charges of aggravated burglary, two counts of burglary, disorderly conduct and threats to kill a police officer after she was apprehended on Friday night. The arrest is in connection to an incident where a female burglar was reportedly disturbed at an address in Greenwood Drive by the male resident, who came home at around 10pm and found the intruder. The woman allegedly threatened the man with a knife before making her escape on foot.

An RCIPS spokesperson said that the burglaries the suspect is charged with all occurred in the past two weeks in the Greenwood Drive and School House Road areas of George Town.

Police officers arrested the woman in that area following the report from the man who had been threatened and further enquiries connected the suspect to the other break-ins. During the investigation a knife and a number of stolen articles were recovered.

Detective Sergeant Sean Bryan of the Burglary Team is asking any other victims whose premises may have been burgled in the area who have not reported the matters to the Police to contact him at the George Town Police Station at 949-4222. DS Bryan warned residents that the burglary offenses involved premises left unsecured and which were specifically targeted for this reason, whether occupants are home or not

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$5K for return of Anti-Christ

| 22/04/2014 | 63 Comments

(CNS): The sculpture on Cayman Brac that some residents have described as devil worship is, in fact, the artist’s concept of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelations, which he intends to burn down to the ground, symbolising the fires of Armageddon … as soon as his Anti-Christ is returned and he received the required permission. Foots is offering a CI$5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief who stole the top of his sculpture – a goat’s head on a cross – which he needs to complete the final stage of this artwork, a video of the fire, which will be used to raise funds for the Humane Society. Foots said that he is a Roman Catholic and has created many religious works of art, some of which have been exhibited at the Brac's Heritage House.

Although he has explained the concept of this controversial piece of art with many people on the island, the 60-year-old artist said that no one who took part in the demonstration last week had talked to him about it or his faith and he said they were protesting simply because they did not understand it.

“This particular sculpture was designed to make a video,” he said, “and it’s ready to be burned down. I’ve put everything in writing to the police and to various government departments, I’ve spelled out everything upfront, I’ve explained to various people on the street, and what’s going on, I don’t understand.”

The sculpture, located on the south side of the island, is a 6-foot mound created using old used pallets and scrap lumber covered with metal lathe, and then rock and cement as the final layer. The dried bones seen in the mound are from a dead cow that Foots found on the Bluff, which were thoroughly dried and he insisted there is nothing about the work that is a health hazard. The bones and the faces in the mound depict the lost souls in Revelations, he said.

The whole structure was washed in a solution of rust to give it the dramatic red colour. The goat’s head he used to depict the Anti-Christ on the cross with the ‘666’, which was also dried, was given to him by a friend who butchered the animal last Christmas.

Foots said that this and the cross it was nailed to, which have been missing since 16 April, are critical to the overall concept and if he doesn’t get them back he will have to reproduce this part of the work for his video, “Stand By Me”, which will be produced by a production company in Virginia and for which he composing an original soundtrack.

He said the mound, the gravestone next to it and the cross have all been vandalised four times now, which he has reported to the police. The vandalism and the theft, he said, are the real crimes and not his work, which is not breaking any laws, despite the claims of the protesters and questioning by the police.

The planning department has been contacted regarding the sculpture and the artist has been advised that the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Development Control Board, which is the planning authority for the Sister Islands, has decided that it does not constitute development and therefore does not require DCB approval.

Foots said he has been trying to get permission from the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) to burn down his sculpture, which he calls “Apocalypse Now”, for over a month. Ironically, if he had been able to complete the project, the people protesting his artwork and demanding its removal would have nothing to protest, he noted. In the past when he burned something on that piece of property, he just got verbal permission from the local DEH officer, Thomas Augustine, he told CNS. However, this time he was referred to the director, Roydell Carter, whom he emailed on 7 April but has received no response.

The artist who created the multi-piece underwater sculpture and tourist attraction The Lost City of Atlantis, which lies off the north coast of Cayman Brac, is experienced building large pieces of art and is also a local contractor. He said the fire, which will only be lit when the weather conditions are right, will be contained inside the mound, which is designed to collapse into a heap of rubble as it burns. As an added precaution, he said, the Fire Service has agreed to have a truck at the location on the day of the fire and to douse the embers to make sure it is completely out.

The next day all that remains will be removed by Scott Development. The artist said he has assured the DEH director that it will be a very safe, well-monitored burn that will cause absolutely no harm to the surrounding environment and he is hoping to get permission from Carter soon.

Foots, who is a committed Christian and an animal lover, said “Apocalypse Now” depicts the Battle of the Ages, and he connects this with the Human Society because for him the people who rescue abused and neglected animals represent the triumph of good over evil. This gives rise to the theme and title of the video, “Stand By Me”, dedicated to those who stand by God and stand by the innocent and vulnerable.

The burning of “Apocalypse Now”, is the first part of a trilogy, Foots said, and after it is burned he has two more works to create, though he said that these will not be controversial. He also wants to make the parcel of land, which is 32 feet wide stretching to the Bluff and is designated Land for Public Purpose, into an open air art gallery, called "Dreamland", for everyone to enjoy.

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School trip costs out of reach

| 22/04/2014 | 59 Comments

(CNS): A trip to Washington DC by Sir John A Cumber Primary School which is out of reach for most parents has stirred up local concerns as only 17 kids from a potential 90 students have been able to find the cash. The summer trip, which started with a price tag of more than $2,700 per child, was reduced to around $2,300, parents tell CNS, only after it was cut from seven days to five and when teachers agreed to pay the costs out of their own pockets. Officials from the education department have defended the costly educational excursion, stating that it will expose students to “first hand learning opportunities” in the “political capital of the Western Hemisphere".

However, the annual school trip for Year 6 students is a costly affair for what is now just a five day outing, including travel days. Parents contacted CNS stating that they believed the school was not being realistic and to come up with an excursion so far out of reach for most families was unfair and unreasonable. The education ministry has defended the plans and stated that fundraising efforts were on-going to help subsidise families that wanted their children to go but did not have the means.

“The parents were invited to a meeting to discuss their concerns,” Shirley Wahler, the chief education officer, told CNS. “The requirements of the Excursion Policy were discussed, thereby explaining the reasons why the flexibility that some parents requested with respect to flight and hotel arrangements as well as participation on tours, etc, could not be accommodated.”

She said the length of the trip was reduced from seven to five days in an attempt to reduce the costand the PTA Executive agreed to refund the deposits of anyone who made a deposit then determined that they could not participate. The tour leaders also agreed to donate the 100% discount they would have received for their tickets to the overall cost of the trip, thereby reducing the total cost by approximately US$6,000.

“There has never been a trip planned for this school in which 100% of the students are able to attend,” Wahler added. “The reasons for this vary but, where the reason is financial, the PTA has committed itself to assist any parent to meet the cost of the trip who wishes his or her child to participate. Additionally, they have embarked on fund raising activities and have asked the parents for support through the sale of raffle tickets, assistance with fund raising projects and the circulation of sponsor sheets to further reduce the cost to all involved.”

Nevertheless, 90 students in Year 6 were all invited to participate. While some 51 families expressed an interest, only 18 families paid a deposit but one of these later withdrew as they were unable to find the balance.

Parents told CNS that they believed the decision was not well thought out and the numbers show that what should be an annual trip for all the students to enjoy together has resulted in an excursion for a limited and privileged few.

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Premier touts for business in New York

| 22/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands premier turned salesman last week as he touted for insurance business at the NASDAQ trading floor when he joined the team from OxbridgeRe to ring the bell. Reinsurance has been identified as a key industry that the Cayman Islands wants to grow and while Alden McLaughlin was there to support the latest Cayman-domiciled firm to go public, he took the opportunity to invite other reinsurance companies to relocate here.  With recent changes to the insurance law, Cayman is expected to be a more attractive domicile for reinsurance companies. “This is another excellent opportunity for the Cayman Islands to tell its positive story of providing sound financial services based on modern laws and regulations in a politically stable and business friendly environment,” he said during his appearance on the podium Tuesday. Read more on CNS Business

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Old bosses remain on new residency board

| 22/04/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Waide DaCosta, the chairman appointed by the previous UDP administration, and the deputy chair, Adrien Briggs, are staying at the helm of the new Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, offering some continuity as the members tackle new rules. Almost a year after coming into office the PPM administration has finally appointed a new set of people to serve on one the most important immigration boards, which is understood to be a lot less busy than in the past. With the backlog of applications prior to the change in the law now settled, the board has not yet begun dealing with the limited numbers of new applications as it awaits clarification on the new point system.

Although appointments to the boards are generally regarded as very political, the current administration has broken with tradition and retained the old guard at the helm of the board, offering continuity. Nor was the appointment of new members simply an effort to replace the old with the new as more than half of the previous UDP board had already left for a catalogue of reasons, from criminal charges to illness.

The new list of board members was published in Extraordinary Gazette No.26/2014 on Wednesday 16 April and posted on the government website and attached below this article.

As anticipated by government, the change in the law has seen a decline in applications since October. In the last quarter of 2013 the PR board processed 433 applications, compared to 679 in the final quarter of 2012 and the lowest number compared to every other quarter through 2013. The figures for the first quarter of 2014 when they are published are expected to be even lower.

All overseas workers are now able to stay for more than eight years and make an application for PR. The amendments to the law, which came into effect in October, eliminated the earlier seven year term limit and key employee hurdle, which prevented access to the PR application for workers who did not break the rollover barrier. Now all work permit holders can stay long enough to make a PR application but that application process has beenmade tougher and more costly.

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Cops asked to tackle increase instreet begging

| 22/04/2014 | 77 Comments

(CNS): A local activist is calling on the RCIPS to tackle the growing problem of beggars and loiterers outside some supermarkets, gas stations, fast food joints, bars and liquor stores in the capital as she says that not only do they undermine the tourism product but they are becoming intimidating for the public at large. Sandra Catron said she is sympathetic to the individuals involved, as many may genuinely be in need of food and have mental health or addiction problems but she said there are services available and the police need to help get them off the streets before the issue gets out of control. She also pointed to the large numbers of unsupervised teens on weekend nights hanging around Camana Bay.

“If we do not address this issue it will become uncontrollable,” Catron told CNS after she said she had been approached for the umpteenth time recently outside a local supermarket by a person begging her for money.

Describing it as an endemic problem, she said the authorities had to now take this seriously and the police had to enforce the laws. “Like most social issues it starts with a few persons and can quickly escalate into one of major concern. I would suggest that the police enforce the loitering laws and these persons receive assistance in finding employment or mental health assistance,” she added.

With some of the beggars looking for an easy dollar to contribute to a drug habit and some buying or hanging around where numbers are sold, Catron said the police need to pay closer attention because not all the crowds of loiterers and beggars are the innocent victims of social ills who mean no harm.

“Whilst I’m often sympathetic towards the plight of persons who are in need, especially of basics like food, I also believe we should not encourage begging in public places like grocery stores and restaurants,” she said.

“One of the many things visitors have often enjoyed about Cayman is that they are not 'haggled' by others on the street,” Catron noted. “When I go to the grocery store now, probably 75% of the time there is someone there expecting a handout. It certainly speaks volumes to the current economic situation but also other social issues, such as mental health and crime, are interrelated.”

With food banks, social services and other organizations that can help those truly in need, Catron said the police and other local authorities could direct them to those resources and deter them from hassling members of the public as it can be quite intimidating. 

“If we have a homeless population that is beginning to emerge in the Cayman Islands, we should quickly address that,” she said.

However, Caron also noted that some of the loitering is far from innocent and directly related to illegal numbers and drug dealing and the police need to enforce the loitering laws after dark so that they can also root out the criminal element.

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