Archive for October 9th, 2014

Officials to hold public meeting on Ebola

| 09/10/2014 | 23 Comments

(CNS): As concerns mount around the world over the growing threat that Ebola could now spread in Europe and the United States, Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar will be hosting a general awareness and travel advisory public meeting Monday evening at the George Town Hospital. All are invited but residents from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, the countries directly impacted by the potent virus, are asked to attend along with other interested members of the public. The health minister told CNS this week that the stakeholder committee continues to meet and action plans have been developed to deal with anyone who arrives in Cayman who could be infected.

The meeting will be held at the Hibiscus Conference room (next to the Pink Ladies Cafeteria) on Monday, 13 October at 5:30 pm at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town. For further information call the Public Health Department on 244-2621.

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Woman arrested over ganja bound for Brac

| 09/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Customs officials have revealed that officers at Owen Roberts International Airport arrested a female passenger on Sunday who was destined for Cayman Brac on suspicion of possession of ganja with intent to supply. At around 5pm the airport security services reported to customs that a woman had packages concealed on her person. Customs investigated and recovered the packages which the officials said contained a vegetable matter resembling ganja, wrapped in grey duct tape.

The packages were seized and the woman was arrested, interviewed and released on bail as the investigation continues.

“This is yet another example of the growing strength of partnerships between HM Customs and ORIA Security personnel,” said the collector of customs Samantha Bennett.

“We remain resolved to ensuring, as far as possible, that the travelling public remains safe and to our zero tolerance approach to such criminal conduct and activity. We are serious about protecting our Borders and ask that anyone with Information relating to these types of crimes contact HM Customs."

The confidential tipline is 1-800- 534-8477 or anyone with information can also email the department's officers directly – Tell.us@customs.gov.ky

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Bush calls for enquiry

| 09/10/2014 | 180 Comments

(CNS): Following a not guilty verdict after a four week trial into allegations of abuse of his government credit card, the former premier has called for a public enquiry into the circumstances of his case. McKeeva Bush, now the opposition leader, had claimed he was the subject of a political witch hunt, and despite revelations during the trial that he had used his CIG card to withdraw cash to gamble in casinos, it also became apparent from a series of emails that the former governor, Duncan Taylor, had gone further than would be expected to see Bush charged. Bush told CNS after his acquittal that he wanted a public enquiry and Premier Alden McLaughlin has lent his support to that call from Bush.

Outside the courthouse, which was crowded with friends and family, the opposition leader was clearly relieved and emotional about the verdict. He said that he would be taking advice from his attorneys about what happened next, but given all of the circumstances, he said there had to be an enquiry.

"Obviously, I will be guided by my attorneys but they will hear him in Westminster; it cannot stop here," he said, referring to Geoffrey Cox QC who is a  government back-bencher in the UK parliament.  

In a short statement he pointed to what had been described as a witch hunt during the trial.

“The events which have occurred evidenced abuses of power by UK appointed officials, which unfortunately continue to reoccur in our Islands; and hopefully in the near future the necessary checks and balances will be restored,” he said. “We need to re-establish the partnership between the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom, which existed on the basis of mutual trust, cooperation, clarity of purpose, and I stand ready and willing to participate in that process.”

Bush described the situation in Cayman as “a police state” as he spoke of concerns over how the investigations of him over the last three years were conducted.

The opposition leader said he planned to spend time with his family over the next few days but would be embarking on a series of public meetings over the next week around the islands and was planning on making a statement to the country on television Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, following his State of the Nation address at the Chamber of Commerce lunch, Premier Alden McLaughlin said he had every confidence in the local justice system and the jury had delivered their verdict, which should be respected. However, McLaughlin told CNS that he fully supported the opposition leader’s call for a full public enquiry into the circumstances of the case and how the investigation was conducted.

The current governor, Helen Kilpatrick, declined to comment and the office said in an email response to CNS’ enquiry: “The Governor’s Office will not be commenting on the verdict of the former Premier’s trial.  The verdict is a matter for the courts of the Cayman Islands.”

CNS has also contacted the FCO and the former governor for comment but has not received any responses to the enquiries.

In the prepared statement that Bush gave to the press in the wake of the verdict, he said once again that he had done nothing wrong. He said that he had been the “most investigated person in the Western Hemisphere” because over the last three years the authorities had probed every aspect of his life since he was a teenager.

“They took my bank accounts, my business documents, my travel records, my credit cards, taped my phones, monitored my communications … and they have been unable to find anything that I have done which is unlawful.”

He added that his opponents “who participated in the conspiracy and encouraged it for the purposes of removing me from my democratically elected position as Premier have used all their conspiratorial ammunition.”

Bush made no comment about the use of his government credit card or about the public revelations regarding the extent of his gambling and the amount of money the evidence showed he had lost in slot machines over the 45 days that were the focus of the crown’s case against him.

See Bush's prepared statement below.

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Armed robbers mug man for ‘numbers’ money

| 09/10/2014 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The police have said that an armed street robbery on Wednesday evening in George Town may have been a targeted attack on a man suspected of having cash from the proceeds of gambling. The RCIPS said that the violent robbery took place at around 6:30pm (8 October) in the parkinglot of the Globe Bar on Martin Drive, off Shedden Road in George Town. The victim was reportedly robbed by two masked men both armed with hand guns. The man said he was struck by one of the mask men on the forehead with the butt of a gun during the mugging. The men stole an undisclosed sum of cash from the man before making their escape through a bushy area nearby.

A police spokesperson said the incident appeared to be a targeted attack from gambling and the matter is being investigated by detectives from the George Town Criminal Investigation Department.

Police did not state if they believed the victim was engaged in running illegal numbers and targeted for the takings or whether the man had played the local illegal lottery and won and was robbed of his winnings.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call George Town Police Station on 949 4222 or crime stoppers on 1 800 TIPS.

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Mac wins verdict jackpot

| 09/10/2014 | 446 Comments

(CNS): After another two hours of deliberation on Thursday morning the jury eventually reached the much anticipated not guilty verdict on all 11 counts against the former premier on the misuse of his government credit card and the cash advances he took to play slot machines in casinos. The verdict was delivered to a packed courtroom full of McKeeva Bush’s supporters. But following warnings from the judge the public gallery remained subdued as the forewoman finally delivered the news. Following a four week trial where the case against Bush hung on a very narrow point, the four men and three women took almost a day to find that, despite using the card to take cash for gambling, Bush had not abused the public trust or committed a crime.

Once the judge left the courtroom, the public gallery erupted into euphoria and cheers as Bush raised his arm in victory.

Check back to CNS for more and Bush’s reaction.

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PwC Junior Circuit returns after summer break

| 09/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CITC): The Cayman Islands Tennis Club hosted the fourth PwC Junior Circuit Tournament ofthe year this past weekend. This was the first PwC Junior Circuit tournament since the summer break and it was fantastic to see all the juniors back into action over the long hot summer. The tournament had 24 of Cayman’s top juniors participating in the competition but saw a lot of first time winners. The final PwC Junior Circuit Tournament will be held at the Ritz at the end of November. In the 10 and under division, the winner, Jake Serpell, defeated the number 2 ranked player, Caden Stradling in a very tough final match, winning his first ever PwC junior Title. (Left: Jake Lomax)

The 10 and under division was the biggest division of the tournament with 10 participants and it was also nice seeing some first timers come into the tournament and doing well  with Jakub Neveril winning the Consolation round. 

In the 12 and under division, we also witnessed the number two ranked player Lauren Fullerton accomplish a great win in the finals against Neildeep Ghosh to claim her first title.  At the moment, Lauren has carried forward what she did in Jamaica this summer capturing the title at this tournament as well as in Jamaica over the summer.

In the 14 and under division, the top ranked player in the 12 and under division, Jack Lomax, played up an age group and played against a familiar foe in Harrison Clough.  The match was tight and at the end Harrison Clough won in a tough third-set tie-breaker to win his first 14 and under PwC Title.  Although Harrison was the favorite to win the division, it was a long-fought match between two competitive players.

In the 18 and under division, we also witnessed a strong newcomer to Cayman who will make the division a bit more competitive.  Brad Johnston, who recently moved here from Great Britain, defeated Jade for the third place finish in the 18’s, while, the top player, Daniel Reid, defeated Callum Theaker in a very tight and long two-set match for the PwC title.

The Cayman Islands Tennis Club is very proud to host these events for the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands and we would like to offer a special thanks to PwC for their continued support in growing tennis in the Cayman Islands. These tournaments are a great gateway to get juniors excited about sport and how they carry themselves further in the world that awaits them. 

Thank you to the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands for their support. And a special thanks to the pros at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club for hosting another popular event.

Results:

Under 10’s:
Consolation Final – Jakub Neveril Defeated Willow Wilkinson 6-1, 6-1
For 3rd Place- Todd Purton Defeated Ben Stainrod 4-6, 7-5, 10-1
Final- Jake Serpell defeated Caden Stradling 6-4, 7-5

Under 12’s:
For 3rd Place- Alex Claybourn defeated Jenny Purton 6-0, 6-0
Final – Lauren Fullerton defeated Neildeep Ghosh 7-5, 6-3

Under 14’s:
For 3rd Place- Matthew Barnett defeated Calum Lindsay 5-7, 6-4, 11-9
Final – Harrison Clough defeated Jack Lomax 6-2, 4-6, 10-7

Under 18’s:
Consolation Final- Nicholas Leonard defeated Graeme Hill
For 3rd Place- Brad Johnston defeated Jade Wilkinson 6-1, 6-2
Final- Daniel Reid defeated Callum Theaker 7-6, 6-4

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Fun event for young tennis players

| 09/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(TFCI): The second Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands 8 & Under Fun Event was held at the Paul Howard Community Courts in West Bay recently. Nine children attended the event sponsored by PwC, with parents watching the games, which were played on the four mini-tennis courts. Coach Alexander Frazer of the Cayman Islands Tennis Academy officiated the matches and the kids thoroughly enjoyed the event. The next 10 & Under event will be held on Saturday 27 November at the Camana Bay tennis courts. Anyone wishing to join the fun should contact the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands at admin@tfci.ky to be added to their newsletter. 

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Department of Labour & Pensions fills empty posts

| 09/10/2014 | 0 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS Business): A number of senior positions at the Department of Labour & Pensions left vacant for some months have recently been filled “through succession planning, reassignment of staff, and appointment of new personnel in an effort to improve service delivery to meet client needs”, the department says, although there is no word yet regarding the post on Cayman Brac, where the officer has been on required leave with pay now for more than six months. The new appointments include J. Loval Linwood as deputy director (labour), Leticia Goring as senior pensions officer, Dwayne Forde as senior labour officer, Angela Madourie as labour & pensions inspector, and Gene Hydes as acting head of inspections. Read more and comment on CNS Business

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Constitution clean-up due

| 09/10/2014 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The fifth anniversary of the implementation of the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009 is next month, and the premier has revealed that at least 40 changes have been identified by the constitutional commission that need to be made. However, Alden McLaughlin said most of them are minor and unsubstantial, dealing with matters of clarity. They could, he added, all be made with the agreement of the opposition leader and the members of the parliament without the need for a national vote. The country’s leader said that his administration would not be entertaining a referendum on any substantial constitutional changes as he did not want the distraction of a potential polarized debate.

In the Legislative Assembly last month, McLaughlin said he was waiting on a report from the commission, as he responded to a private members motion brought by the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, proposing a select committee review of the constitution followed by a government referendum on any identified changes. 

McLaughlin said the commission, which is now chaired by David Ritch, had been reviewing the constitution and so he did not think it was the right time for a review by the LA. The premier said the report would be widely circulated and he hoped the politicians could all agree on the potential changes recommended by the commission as well as any more non-substantial changes members felt were necessary that would not impact the balance of power between the Cayman Government and the UK or the construct of constitution.

The premier asked Miller to wait on the report and see if all the members could agree on a laundry list. He said government would not initiate a referendum on constitutional change during this term, as he described a national poll as a “huge distraction” that he was “not prepared to entertain”.

Miller agreed to withdraw his motion but noted that if there were recommendations coming from the commission that would improve good governance, the government should not dodge a potential referendum because it was inconvenient or difficult.

The North Side member had listed a number of changes he believed needed to be addressed, including formalizing the position of councellors, removing the post of financial secretary, limiting all constitutional positions to five years and removing 'for life' appointments, as well as clarifying the qualifications for potential MLAs.

He said there needed to be some way of preventing the governor from appointing the premier or opposition leader if they are under investigation for a crime as well as a recall clause for members not serving their constituents.

Miller also said that a review by the LA would, “if nothing else”, make the members “familiar with it after going through it clause by clause.”

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Numbers of Chikungunya cases growing

| 09/10/2014 | 19 Comments

(CNS): As concerns grow around the world about the possible spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Cayman is struggling to keep a lid on the chikungunya virus, as the total number of confirmed cases reached 20 this week. Although no new local transmissions were confirmed in the latest results, there was a surge in suspected cases at the hospital, which is now awaiting 28 results. Most of the people who have contracted the virus have done so in in the neighbouring island of Jamaica, where the illness is now endemic. As a result, Dr Kiran Kumar, the Medical Officer of Health, is pleading with the public to practice protective measures against mosquito bites.

These include using mosquito repellent with DEET on the skin, and wearing long sleeve pants and shirts when outside during times that mosquitoes bite, whether in the Cayman Islands or on travels.

In the latest update fromthe public health department, officials confirmed that the number of locally transmitted cases remains at four with the other 16 confirmed cases all contracted overseas, including ten in Jamaica, three in Guyana, two in the Dominican Republic and one patient picked up the virus in St Lucia.

The patients are residents of four different districts: three in Cayamn Brac, five in West Bay and Bodden Town; seven people living in George Town have also contracted the illness.

28 results are still outstanding from Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which is where the HSA is sending blood samples from patients who are suspected to have picked up the virus.

The chikungunya virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes biting infected persons during the first week of illness. It causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Officials urge anyone who may be experiencing these symptoms to immediately see a healthcare provider.

As at 6 October over 13, 000 cases have been reported from 33 regional countries.

Further information can be obtained through www.hsa.ky. Regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website onhttp://carpha.org/What-We-Do/Public-Health-Activities/Chikungunya. In addition United States updates are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/geo/united-states.html.

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