Archive for September 2nd, 2014

Social issues impacting cops

| 02/09/2014 | 130 Comments

(CNS): Local police are finding themselves increasingly confronted with serious social depravation and mental health problems when they are called out to deal with reports. Officers from the West Bay police station have seen a noticeable increase in the number of people who are in real mental distress and many others who are dealing with unprecedented levels of social deprivation. Police say that the numbers of people living without electricity and water is not just prevalent in West Bay but across the island and serious social problems, from the break-down of the family to high unemployment among young men, is fuelling crime.

The police say that when they are called out to domestic incidents or other reports they increasingly find that the victims and perpetrators who they are dealing with are in dire circumstances. Genuine mental health issues are dominating the reasons for call outs and officers say they are seeing more and more people living without utilities and other basic needs.

During a public meeting last week in West Bay senior police officers recounted some of their experiences and lamented the real issues of family breakdown, babies born in families with no father figures or male role models, people living without power and water and in genuine distress.

Chief Inspector Harlan Powery noted that his officers were dealing more and more with social issues rather than crime, especially mental health, and said he was concerned about the circumstances people from the community were finding themselves in. The West Bay station boss said people he never expected to see this happening to were finding themselves either in dire financial circumstances or suffering from mental illness, and the police were struggling to deal with the myriad social problems.

“We are going to have to deal with this as these are our people,” he told a small gathering of members of the community at a public meeting, who were also expressing their concerns about the breakdown in their district.

The increasing numbers of illegitimate babies, completely absent fathers taking no responsibility, unemployment, a breakdown of the family and a wider community disconnect were all cited as some of the reasons that crime was rising while quality of life in the district was falling. Powery lamented the fact that his officers were arresting younger and younger people for serious crimes, as he pointed to the recent arrest in the district of an 11 year old for burglary.

Concerned that kids are growing up in West Bay and other districts without any moral guidance, Powery pointed out that once the police were dealing with these children it was often too late to turn things around. He said the wider community needed to act earlier and to live up to its Christian values by extended a helping hand to families who needed support and to intervene earlier to prevent kids spiralling into a criminal lifestyle, as he said the state cannot bring up every child.

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Nominations open for annual local heroes

| 02/09/2014 | 26 Comments

(CNS): The public is being invited to submit nominations for the 2015 National Heroes Day Awards which will focus on health care professionals, this year. People can now put forward the names of those who have contributed to the development of health services in the Cayman Islands ranging from the early pioneers in the sector to those who have given long service.  The culture ministry has formed the 2015 committee, to review nominations and identify the heroes who will be honoured next January. Osbourne Bodden, the minister responsible for culture and health said the committee would ensure a fair and successful nomination process.

Residents are asked to put names forward and nominate those individuals who helped in the development and growth of health services in the Cayman Islands. The deadline for submission is 30 September.

“Health Services are essential in any society – and many persons within the field have left a strong positive mark on the history of our community,” he said, Monday, at a press briefing to launch the nomination process.  “The nomination process allows you to be part of this national celebration and it also marks the evolution of health services in our country over the years.” Urging people to take part the minister added, “Don’t assume that just because the person you have in mind is well known that someone else will nominate them – take the time to nominate those people that you believe are deserving of this recognition.”

Health Services includes all services dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases or the promotion, maintenance and restoration of human health. This includes mental, dental, public and environmental health.

Honourees in the Early Pioneer and Pioneer categories will be awarded a unique pin specifically designed for the award ceremony in order to honour their contributions to health and wellness in the Cayman Islands.

National Heroes Day will be held on Monday, 26 January 2015. Copies of the nomination form are available online at www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky and www.gov.ky For more information, or to submit your nominations, contact the NHD Committee at email nhd@gov.ky

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Inmate denies jail house assault of serial rapist

| 02/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A West Bay man currently incarcerated at HMP Northward has denied attacking a fellow inmate who is serving a life sentence for rape. Ryan Ebanks (35) pleaded not guilty via video link from the prison on Friday morning to GBH with intent. The prisoner denied assaulting Jeffery Barnes (33) at the country’s jail in July last year. No details of the alleged attack were revealed but Ebanks will now stand trial next February. His alleged victim was sentenced to life in prison following two separate rape convictions last year. Barnes was found guilty of raping one woman at knife point in her bed and another in the back of his car after abducting her from a bus stop.

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Cayman has one of highest life expectancies in world

| 02/09/2014 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Despite what may appear to be a declining quality of life for manypeople in Cayman over the last few years, figures released by the Economics and Statistics Offices revealed that Caymanians are one of the longest lived groups of people in the world. With an average life expectancy of 82.3 years for both sexes, baby boys born today can expect to live to almost 80 years old while girls almost 85 years old. The longevity of the population is down to a number of factors, including quality health care but also a high standard of living. However, given the well documented problems facing Cayman’s private sector as well as public sector pensions, long post retirement life may present a significant problem for future governments.

The 2013 Compendium of Statistics released by the Economics and Statistics Office shows last month shows that men in Cayman are now are expected to live 79.8 years and females 84.7 years.

“Figures on life expectancy are required data for pension and insurance purposes, particularly in calculating expected retirement benefits,” said Marco Archer, the minister for Finance and Economic Development. “Life expectancy is also generally used as a 'quality of life' indicator – this is expected to be higher the more developed a country is.”

According to a World Health Organization, the highest life expectancy for a country as of 2013 was Monaco, where people on average can expect to live until they are 87.2 years – women there can expect to live to 89 years old and men more than 85. Using the WHO figures, Cayman is ranked 14th on a par with France from the 222 nations ranked.

Cayman outstrips all its Caribbean neighbours as well as the USA, which is ranked 34th with an average expectation of 79.8 years, as well as the United Kingdom, which is down in 28th place with an expected life span of 79.5 for men and 82.5 for women.

However, while Caymanians may have a long life to look forward to, the quality of that life will be in question for those that don’t have adequate pension provision. Given the continued concern about the failure of employers to comply with the pension laws, the government’s own mounting pension liability for civil servants and no legislation in sight to address the shortcomings in the local pension regime, a lengthy old age, while still preferable to the alternative, may be far from fun.

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Number of Caymanians grows

| 02/09/2014 | 62 Comments

(CNS): Although the population in Cayman fell slightly at the end of 2013 to 55,691 compared to 56,732 in 2012 the percentage of Caymanians in the population increased by 2% from 56.8% to 58.8%. According to the latest Compendium of Statistics recording the facts and figures for Cayman in 2013 the birth rate continues to fall. With 697 babies born in 2013 the rate fell to 12.5% the lowest since records began. Against concerns about the breakdown of the traditional family unit the compendium also revealed that only 62% of those babies were born to married mothers. This latest data from the ESO gives a statistical snap shot of life in Cayman from students on scholarships to the latest head count of goats.

The annual assessment of Cayman by numbers which is compiled by the Economics and Statistics Office shows that women still outweigh men in Cayman at 51.3% of the population and many more women are studying on overseas scholarships than men. Of the 427 government scholars studying overseas 256 are women. However the higher ratio of women to men in college is not helping women break the glass ceiling. The data shows that even though the number of workers in senior management positions grew in 2013 to 3,541 compared to 3,398 the number of females in those posts fell from 1,441 women in 2012 to just 1,380 last year.

The compendium also reveals that some CI$774.5million worth of goods were imported into Cayman last year the highest value of imports since 2008 and that 92.3% of those goods still come from the United States.

The statistics show that 3580 crimes were reported to the RCIPS in 2013 with the police recording a 53% clearance rate. However the average daily prison population remained static in 2013 at 185 the same as in 2012 which had fallen from a high of 215 recorded in 2011. With 184 inmates in the jails at the end of 2013 only 34 were women and the average age of prisoners also remain relatively static at 35 years old. The prison population was predominantly local with just 42 foreign nationals from the 184 prisoners.

Despite a slight fall in some figures Cayman still remains well connected when it comes to technology as 98.8 percent of households have a mobile phone and almost 64% have access to the internet. 

See the compendium attached below or visit the ESO website for more on Cayman by numbers

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JetBlue makes emergency stop in Bermuda

| 02/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A JetBlue aircraft flying from New York’s JFK airport and St Maarten was diverted to Bermuda yesterday after reports of smoke and fumes inside the aircraft’s cockpit. The Jet Blue Airbus A320-200 had 139 people on board and five hours of fuel, according to media reports in Bermuda. With ten vehicles and 16 staff members of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) standing by, the flight landed safely in Bermuda at 12.07pm. The BFRS Emergency Medical Technicians carried out a search of the aircraft and assessed passengers and crew, but determined that no medical assistance was required. An investigation into the cause of the issue will be carried out, officials said.

Flight B6-787 from New York JFK to St Maarten was en route at FL330 about 230nm northwest of Bermuda when the crew declared emergency, reporting smoke in the cockpit and decided to divert to Bermuda. Enroute to Bermuda the crew reported they had the smoke pretty much under control but the fumes persisted, according to The Aviation Herald. The aircraft landed safely about 40 minutes later.

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Men found with cash on Brac released without charge

| 02/09/2014 | 23 Comments

(CNS): Three men, thought to be Jamaican nationals, who were arrested on Cayman Brac yesterday, having been found with a substantial amount of cash, have apparently been released without being charged with any crime. While there has been no report from the RCIPS, unofficial sources said they claimed to have come from Cuba and had sold fish and their equipment. CNS understands that the men had approximately US $10,000 in their possession when they were detained Monday. CNS has asked the police for clarification about the incident and is awating a response.

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Medal winner carries CI flag to close YOG

| 02/09/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following the announcement of her unexpected bronze medal win after her sterling effort in the team round of the equestrian events at the Youth Olympic Games in China, Polly Serpell carried the flag for Cayman at the closing ceremony. Serpell was the youngest competitor and riding a borrowed horse she was instrumental in getting the North American team a medal. Despite her 4 faults in Round 1, with zero faults in the second round she was the only North American Team rider who had their scores for both rounds count. As the first Caymanian to win a medal at YOG, she was invited to carry the Cayman flag at the Closing Ceremony. Sharon Hinds, President of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF), described the medal win as unbelievable. (Photo FEI/Richard Juilliart)

“I told Polly to enjoy the experience and have fun and make new lifetime friends,” she said. “Her coming home with a medal is the icing on the cake. It has made all her hard work, effort and family sacrifice worth it. This is an outstanding achievement, which could not have been possible without the assistance of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, the Cayman Islands Government, FEI Solidarity, her parents, her coaches and Giorgio Zan.”

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Jewel robber escapes gun charge in NYD heist

| 02/09/2014 | 5 Comments

(CNS): A man accused of being the getaway driver in the now infamous New Year’s Days jewel heist at Diamonds International in George Town will not face firearms charges, despite being part of a joint enterprise in which the store was held up at gunpoint and the robbers made off with around three quarters of a million dollars worth of jewels. Christopher Myles has pleaded guilty to being part of the robbery as the driver but denies any knowledge of a gun being involved in the hold-up and pleaded not guilty to the charge. As a result the crown has accepted his limited plea and will no longer pursue the weapons allegation.

Myles, from George Town, will be now sentenced for his part in the robbery next month alongside his accomplices Jonathan Ramoon and James McLean, who both pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm earlier this year.

Police recovered the weapon after the police commissioner foiled the robbers escape in an incredible coincidence. David Baines was in the area of the daylight jewel robbery at exactly the right time, off-duty, and reportedly waiting to meet a friend from a cruise ship. Spotting the armed masked men as they made their escape from the jewellery store in down town, the top cop chased after the getaway car and rammed into the vehicle. When the three men fled on foot from the car, the commissioner continued his pursuit in his vehicle.

During that chase Baines struck one of the robbers and ran over him, causing extensive injuries to Jonathan Ramoon, who was in a wheel chair for more than six months. Since then the commissioner was exonerated of using excessive force following an internal investigation conducted by a so far unidentified officer from the RCIPS.

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Outage planned as CUC replaces downtown lines

| 02/09/2014 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Commercial customers in North Church Street and Harbour Drive in downtown George Town from Rackam’s Waterfront Bar to the Pirates Week Office on Shedden Road will be without power for unspecified periods on Sunday as CUC will be replacing lines in the area. Officials from the power company said that between 7am and 4pm there will be interruptions to the electrical service in that area on 7 September. Motorists are also asked to drive with caution when using North Church Street and Harbour Drive as CUC will have a number of vehicles and staff in the vicinity. Apologising for the planned power supply cuts, CUC said it was necessary to facilitate the upgrading of lines.

Those affected include Rackam’s Waterfront Bar and Restaurant, Strathvale House, Coe Centre, Diver’s Down, Casanova’s, Cabana Club, Harbour Centre, Waterfront Centre, Beach Bum Watersports, The Shops at Royal Watler, AALL Building, Dittman Building, Jack and Jill Building, The Legislative Assembly, Fort Street Market, Old Huntlaw Building, Westwind Building, Flagship Building, Elmslie Memorial United Church, North Terminal, Port Authority, Harbour Drive Jewellers and the Pirates Week Office on Shedden Road.

 

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