Archive for June 18th, 2014

Tobacco smugglers charged

| 18/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two airline workers and one passenger have been charged with evading customs duty after their failed attempts to smuggle seven cartons of cigarettes into the Cayman Islands on their arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport last month. Two women, aged 21 and 35, and a 26-year-old man were all arrested in a targeted operation by officers from the customs department at the end of May over a three day period and the cigarettes seized. The three suspects in the alleged tobacco smuggling ring were all charged on Friday 13 June and they have been bailed to appear in Summary Court on Tuesday, 24 June. Deputy Collector of Customs Marlon Bodden said the case was of particular concern because of the smugglers' access to restricted areas.

“We sincerely hope that the message will soon reach the right ears, and those involved in this type of illegal activity clearly understand that HM Customs is serious about dismantling this type of organized activity,” the customs enforcement boss stated. “While we understand on the big scheme of things the quantity of smuggled items may be small, it’s the principle that matters. It is very concerning that trusted and authorized persons within restricted areas are engaging in such actions.”

Anyone with information relating to this type of crime is asked to contact H.M. Custom’s tip-line 1-800- 534-8477 or email: tell.us@customs.gov.ky.

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Government reveals details of new ICTA boss

| 18/06/2014 | 29 Comments

(CNS): Following revelations in Finance Committee last week that Alee Fa'amoe had been given the top job at the Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA), government officials released a statement Wednesday detailing the local telecom expert's appointment. He took the job following the removal of the former MD in the wake of a recruitment scandal concerning top posts at the authority. However, a renewed focus on customer service and efficiencies are the goals of the new MD, along with additional scrutiny of the quality of services offered and not just the traditional focus on prices and availability. He said this would go hand-in-hand with greater efficiencies.

After a decade of operations at the ICTA, Fa'amoe said there is now a need to facilitate healthy competition across all services in the sector, while ensuring that consumers reap the benefits. The new MD added that the ICTA would be measuring itself against key performance indicators, such as the time it takes to process requests, respond to complaints or to resolve industry disputes. He also hopes to enable automation of ICTA tasks, paperless processes and better information management.

“We have already begun to transition from obsolete, outdated systems towards modern, efficient cloud-based solutions. Additionally, I have determined that the authority will be 90% paperless by the end of this summer,” he said.

At the ICTA, Fa'amoe's duties include conducting research and developing new recommendations; dealing with legal proceedings, resolving complaints and disputes relating to ICT; regulation of certain aspects of e-business; and coordinating efforts with the relevant government. The MD said he is looking forward to seeing the field of telecommunications grow.

“While the ICTA should be an advocate, we cannot stand in the way of opportunity; but must instead facilitate the exploration of technologies and services which enhance the growth and success of ICTA. A vibrant ICT industry should provide job opportunities and contribute to the Islands’ GDP," he added.

Welcoming his appointment, which was effective on 28 May, and congratulating Fa'amoe, the minister with responsibility for the technology authority, Kurt Tibbetts, said, “We are delighted to recruit a Caymanian of his caliber, and we areconfident that the ICTA will be well-served by his talents, along with those of his staff.”

Fa'amoe brings more than two decades of leadership in the telecommunications and professional service industries to his new job, as well as a unique blend of management and technical acumen.

With wide expertise in the Cayman Islands and across the region, Fa'amoe will manage the daily operations of the ICTA and is charged with ensuring that technology service providers comply with the Information and Communications Technology Law. Fa'amoe’s role encompasses the regulation of all forms of telephone, television and radio broadcasting in the Cayman Islands. The work of his office ranges from managing the “dot-ky” national domain, and legislative issues, to licensing all radio operations, whether in air, on land or at sea.

A non-voting member of the ICTA Board, Fa'amoe has a sound background in technology, operations and management, developed in local and international corporate arenas.

Over the course of two decades in his previous role in the ICT industry, Fa'amoe rose to the position of Regional Vice President-Broadband at Cable and Wireless. In that time, he became recognised as an industry-expert in telephone numbering and network operations.He then spent several years as the Chief Operating Officer of Deloitte, Cayman. There, his responsibilities included human resources, marketing, information technology, operations, and finance. He also shared his knowledge of information communications technology (ICT) and operational matters with Deloitte branches in other Caribbean countries.

In 2010 Fa'amoe moved to Brac Informatics Centre, where he provided services relating to workflow-management systems, web- and cloud-storage; as well as custom-designing IT solutions, with supplemental expert project-management services. For most of the preceding year, he worked as an independent consultant, advising clients in areas such as system and workflow designs,and paperless processes.

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Brac airlift to double in August with new plane

| 18/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Cayman Airways’ new Saab 340 aircraft, which is expected to begin servicing the Cayman Brac route in August, will immediately double airlift capacity, according to Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell. In addition, the installation of the Hold Baggage Screening equipment will be completed at the Brac airport in August, which will allow direct flights from Cayman Brac into the US. Meanwhile, CAL, the only airline to service the Sister Islands, has confirmed that the closing of the Alexander Hotel this week will not affect the flight schedule to the islands in any way. Read more on CNS Business

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Minister plans to end liquor license embargo

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(CNS Business): The minster responsible for the liquor licensing regime says proposed changes in the way premises are licensed and the now very, likely permanent lifting of the moratorium would not only cut down on illegal booze sales but address the problem of licenses been sub-let at over inflated prices. With a limited number of booze licenses in existence, owners without bars often sell or lease their license to those with premises at much higher rates than the government fee. But Wayne Panton told finance committee, Friday, that the problem of allowing people without a related business to own a license then renting it to a bar or restaurant owner will disappear if the embargo is lifted. Read more on CNS Business

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‘No motive’ in Myles case

| 18/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The attorney representing a former director of the National Housing and Development Trust told a jury Tuesday that the case against his client was “fundamentally flawed”, as he said the crown had failed to present a motive for the allegations. Closing the trial of Edlin Myles, who is accused of conning at least five applicants of the housing trust into buying insurance policies that they did not need, Ben Tonner said the crown gave no explanation why Myles would throw away decades of an unblemished reputation in the local community selling insurance to make no more than a few hundred dollars. He said the prosecution had failed to give the jury a logical reason why Myles would risk everything.

Tonner followed the closing statement from Trevor Ward, QC, who was prosecuting the case on behalf of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in which he said Myles had tricked people who were least able to pay into buying policies they did not need. Ward accused Myles of doing so knowingly and of pressuring them to take out the policies with him by implying their applications for affordable homes were dependent on their buying insurance.

Ward said Myles’ claim that he offered the policies to the Trust clients but told them that they need not take them out there and then or could buy them from another agent was untrue. He pointed out that most of the people involved were on low incomes and could ill-afford the premiums, which was demonstrated by one applicant taking out a loan as he believed his application was dependent on him buying the policy as instructed by Myles. Ward said it was clear that had these people believed they had a choice to wait, they would never have bought the policies.

However, Tonner reminded the jury that his client, who had taken the stand in his own defence, had said he did not force the policies and had never directed that they or any other NHDT clients should buy them from him.

The attorney said that at 62 years of age, Myles, who is a family man with four children and eleven grandchildren, had enjoyed a long and successful, lucrative career in insurance in which reputation was everything. He said the allegations amounted to no more than $500 in commission had he falsely sold the policies and it was inconceivable that he would have risked everything he had when he did not need the money.

Tonner pointed to character witnesses, especially his employer Derek Bogle, and other insurance peers, as well as the provider of the policies in question, Sagicor, who had all spoken in glowing terms about his client during the trial. The defense attorney argued that if his employers, clients, business colleagues and partners had believed Myles was capable of dishonesty he would not have kept his job over the three years that these charges were hanging over him and the insurance firms would not have carried on doing business with him.

The lawyer said they were false allegations that were made by, what the jury may think, were unreliable witnesses whose evidence contained numerous inconsistencies.

Following the closure of the case against him and Myles’ response in defence, the presiding judge, Justice Alex Henderson, will sum up the case and direct the jury of six women and one man on Wednesday morning before they will begin their deliberations.

Related article on CNS:

Ex NHDT director on trial

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