Archive for September 10th, 2008

Top Cop denies he is AWOL

| 10/09/2008 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Suspended Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan has called Governor Suart Jack "factually incorrect" after he claimed that Kernohan had ignored three requests to return to the Cayman Islands in regard to the ongoing independent investigation into allegations of police corruption. There also seems to be some uncertainty as to where Kernohan actually is. The Governor said that, as a result of the Commissioner’s continued absense, he was beginning disciplinary proceedings.

Governor Jack said that after granting Kernohan compassionate leave for a considerable period during his father’s illness and subsequent death, he had since formally requested Kernohan’s return.

“Throughout July and August I asked him, through his attorney, to come back on three separate occasions,” said the Governor. “To date the Commissioner has not complied with any of my instructions, and with all three deadlines for his return now expired, he would currently appear to be in violation of the terms of his employment, according to which he can only be absent with my agreement.”

Moreover, there seems to be some uncertainty as to whether the Governor’s office or the investigating team know Kernohan’s whereabouts. CNS asked if they knew exactly where he was at present and the office stated: "The Governor is in contact with Mr Kernohan through his solicitors, and as stated, Mr Bridger will interview him either here (if he returns) or in the UK."

Speaking from an unspecified location through his local liaison, publisher and  journalist David Legge, Kernohan denied that he was violating anything. "The Governor is factually incorrect as to the basis of my ongoing leave,” he said in a statement. “I am on leave as required by the Public Service Management Law. In fact, the Governor of the Cayman Islands has no power in law to direct or control where I reside during the course of my period of required leave.”

Kernohan continued, “It is disappointing that the Governor should seek to air matters regarding the terms of my employment in a public forum such as the mass media, including the threat of disciplinary proceedings.”

In a public statement made on Wednesday evening (10 September) the Governor said that Kernohan’s failure to return was a great disappointment as he thought Kernohan would honour his undertaking to return following the death of his father.

“In light of this and after careful consideration of all the circumstances, I have decided today to initiate disciplinary action against Mr Kernohan, and will be taking further legal advice regarding his contractual obligations. My decision allowing Mr Kernohan to be with his father was a reasonable one, made in good faith and based on strong compassionate grounds.  I take full responsibility for that decision,” the Governor added.

Jack went on to say that he had discussed Kernohan’s failure to return with the investigation team headed up by the Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger. He was assured that the investigation into the allegations of misconduct in a public office against the suspended police commissioner would continue and Kernohan’s absence did not undermine the investigation.

“Mr Bridger also confirms that his team will make every effort to interview the Commissioner regardless of his location,” said the Governor. “I therefore reiterate that regardless of where Mr Kernohan is, the investigation of his alleged misconduct in a public office will continue. I believe it is important to pursue this specific investigation to its full conclusion. In fairness to Mr Kernohan and the community, it is necessary to legitimately prove or disprove any allegations against anyone involved before putting the issue to rest.  We must continue to assume innocence until proven guilty.”

Kernohan insisted that he had always made himself available. "I have taken the initiative on several occasions to assure Mr Bridger that I would welcome an interview with him at the earliest convenience," added Kernohan."However last month, Mr. Bridger did notify me that my presence was not required at this stage as part of any ongoing investigation." Kernohan added that the Governor had admitted as much in his statement.

"I can assure the people of the Cayman Islands that I would welcome an outside independent inquiry into all of these matters and those involved, including the Governor, the Chief Secretary, the Attorney General, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr Bridger and his investigating team," Kernohan said.

In his statement yesterday the Governor also raised the issue of the police helicopter acquisition, saying that its purchase would not form part of Bridger’s investigation but would be dealt with through normal government channels, and a review was under way. “I will be asking the Auditor General to conduct a special investigation into the acquisition of the helicopter.  It is in the interest of good governance that we review our processes to establish if indeed adequate checks and balances were in place in this instance,” Jack said. In response, Kernohan said he would shortly be issuing another statement regarding that issue.

The Governor stressed yesterday that there were now three separate issues pertaining to Kernohan, which included the criminal investigationinto alleged misconduct in a public office, the disciplinary process regarding his non-return to the island, and the issue of the acquisition of the helicopter. “All three issues will be dealt with fairly and objectively and I will continue to keep the public informed,” he said.  

Kernohan is currently receiving full salary, as are Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon and Chief Superintendent John Jones, who are also suspended from duty, and in Dixon’s case facing charges. “This issue is unprecedented in the senior ranks of the RCIP and I am currently taking advice on this matter as to whether this arrangement will continue or will be subject to change as the investigation proceeds,” Gov Jack added.

He described the whole investigation as unprecedented with many difficult, multi-faceted issues, which he said prevented him from sharing all of the information with the community as the process moves forward without prejudging certain outcomes or jeopardizing aspects of the investigation. He said he received frequent updates from Bridger and had full confidence in his team.  

“Although not always flattering, I do fully understand the passionate expressions of interest from the community in these matters. However, I ask everyone to be responsible in their discussions by focusing on the facts rather than rumour and innuendo. In the end we all have the same goal – to ensure sound and accountable government in the interests of the people of the Cayman Islands,” the Governor said.

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Man robbed at knifepoint

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police are investigating another violent robbery after a man was robbed at knife point in George Town on Tuesday night. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said that this incident occurred outside the victim’s home. This is the fifth armed robbery reported to police in less than six weeks but Police Comissioner David George said recently he did not think the crimes were linked.

In the latest robbery the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at around 11:40pm on 9 September from a member of the public reporting that he had been robbed by a man carrying a knife. Police officers responded to the location in Bodden Road and were told that the victim had been sitting outside his home when the offender approached him, threatened him and demanded he hand over his mobile phone. The offender then went into the house and stole another mobile phone and wallet from a second man’s bedroom. The man in this room was in bed at the time and was told to stay lying down. Neither victim was injured in the incident.

The offender is described as around 5ft 9ins tall, brown skinned with a moustache and was wearing a white baseball cap, with a white short sleeved polo shirt and long blue jeans pants. An area search was carried out but the offender was not located. However the RCIPS said today, (Wednesday ) that a number of leads  are currently being followed up by detectives from the George Town Criminal Investigation Department.

There are currently a number of unsolved armed robberies which the police continue to investigate all of which police have said appear unrelated. At a recent Police press briefing the Police Commissioner David George said  there were no clear links between the crimes.

On 31 July a man sitting in his car was robbed by a man carrying a handgun. On 1 August two men entered Pet Pro’s, Crewe Road, armed with handguns and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. On 8 August McRuss Grocery Store, Party Lane, was robbed by a man armed with a machete and on 11 August a security guard was robbed by two men, one of which was armed with a handgun.

 The Commissioner explained said that it would be unusual for a perpetrator to use a firearm in one incident and then in a short period of time commit another offence using a machete. “We are not closing our eyes to any possibilities but there doesn’t seem to be a thread with regards these crimes,” George added. “We are also still looking for witnesses and there are a couple of people who the perpetrators assisted in one of the crimes that haven’t come forward yet that could help the investigation.”

Anyone who recognises the description of the offender or has any information about the incident is asked to contact George Town CID on 949-4222 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477. All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Walkers encourages lawyers of the future

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With a summer intern programme, sponsorship of further education for administrative staff and a legal secretary training programme, as well as the recruitment of promising students to train as attorneys, local legal firm Walkers says it’s doing its part to create Cayman’s lawyers of tomorrow. Overall Walkers has spent over US$1.9 million on scholarships over the past three years.

Fifteen students worked at Walkers under this year’s ‘Summer Intern Programme’ where the youngsters spent an intense two months in various firm’s departments throughout the firm.  Walker’s also currently has ten sponsored law students some of whom also spent the past summer working with Walkers. Among these participants is Ridhima Kapoor who said that 
working as a student at Walkers has been beneficial.

"It has been most helpful because I have a more defined view of the work that lawyers do from day-to-day. I have been able to attain some work experience in different areas of law during the summer and this has given me assistance with deciding where my future career should be within the industry," she said.

Her colleague Chantelle Day agreed. "Working at Walkers this summer, as well as in the past, has been beneficial to my professional development as it allows me to work in an environment where I can learn the ins and outs of the career path I am on, both through observation and hands on experience," she added.

Once the college based law study is over, the next step on the road to ‘attorneydom’ is a position as an Articled Clerk. Walkers’ Articles Programme is an 18-month practical training period, rotating through all of the firm’s practice areas. The clerks receive a combination of formal legal training and hands-on experience, giving them the chance to choose their specialisation. This September, Walkers took on four new Articled Clerks at the Cayman office.

“We encourage active participation and contribution, enabling our Articled Clerks to be rewarded with excellent training opportunities, tangible professional development and a real sense of accomplishment," said Richard Addlestone, partner with Walkers and chairman of the Training Committee, which is comprised of partners, senior attorneys and former scholarship recipients. "Walkers has been training Caymanians in the legal profession for 25 years now and we were the first firm in the country to establish a comprehensive structured training programme. All the members of the Training Committee are completely dedicated to the professional development and success of our Articled Clerks and sponsored students.”

Administrative staff at Walkers also benefit from educational sponsorship, with routine investment in the non-legal studies of employees from the IT, Marketing, HR and Accounts departments. Walkers’ legal secretary training programme has enabled many employees to gain important qualifications and make progress within the firm, while Walkers Trust Group, meanwhile, recently partnered with the ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators),to provide the opportunity for its staff to study locally and gain a globally recognised offshore administration qualification.

“Walkers’ summer intern and attorney training programmes have been developed from our commitment towards being a responsible employer and corporate citizen," added Grant Stein, Global Managing Partner of Walkers. "I am immensely pleased with the success rate of the students and would like to congratulate them on their achievements. Over 80% of Walkers’ management staff are Caymanian and we are always on the look out for promising young scholars.”





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Reinsurers seek sidecars to ride out next big one

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(Reuters):  As Hurricane Ike takes aim at the Gulf of Mexico, triggering memories of 2005’s devastating storms, reinsurers see temporary underwriting vehicles as the solution to their capital needs in the event of "the Big One" — a disaster costing them tens of billions of dollars. These temporary vehicles, known as sidecars, are set up by a reinsurance company using funds from outside investors, who agree to tie up their funds for a period of two or three years. Go to article

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Ike wrecks cruise business

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(MH): Hurricane Ike is stirring up the cruise industry as ship operators scramble to revise itineraries to steer clear of the massive storm. Tourist facilities in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, were badly damaged by the storm, and Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines said its cruise facility in Grand Turk will be closed indefinitely.  Go to article.

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Proton smasher a hit

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(AP): The world’s largest particle collider passed its first major test by firing a beam of protons around a 17-mile (27-kilometer) underground ring Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe. After a series of trial runs, two white dots flashed on a computer screen at 10:26 a.m. (0826 GMT) indicating that the protons had traveled the full length of the 4 billion Swiss franc (US$3.8 billion) Large Hadron Collider — described as the biggest physics experiment in history. Go to article

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Schools go batty over guide

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

Every teacher in the Cayman Islands will soon be imparting their newly acquired knowledge to their students about local bats thanks to the National Trust. With financial assistance from Truly Nolen, Ambassadors of the Environment and Bat Conservation International, The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has been able to reprint one of its popular study guides, Bats of the Cayman Islands.

“Five hundred guides have been printed and distributed to every teacher in the Cayman Islands and copies will also be given to all public libraries,” said Marnie Laing, Education Programmes Manager of the National Trust.  “On behalf of the National Trust and the Cayman Islands Department of Education, we are extremely grateful for the support of our sponsors. “

Bats of the Cayman Islands is an educator’s guide to the native bats found in the Cayman Islands and forms part of the National Trust’s and the Department of Education’s study guide series. Cayman is home to nine species of native and rare bats whose habitats are fast disappearing. Each one however specializes in different food and each has a unique role to play in our eco-system.

The White Shouldered bat is critically endangered in Cayman and was believed to be extinct until it was spotted in the Lower Valley area. The Buffy Flower Bat lives only in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. It has a long nose and a long sticky tongue like a hummingbird. This amazing little bat pollinates night-blooming jasmine and all the beautiful column cactus and agaves plants that grow on the Bluff on Cayman Brac. These bats are known to be highly intolerant of human disturbance and are very rare. Learning about how these incredible creatures live, can help in conservation efforts.   

To learn more about the education guides produced by the National Trust of the Cayman Islands including Marvelous Mangroves and Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas contact the Trust on 949-0121 or

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Mac makes case for Cubans

| 10/09/2008 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The serious immigration problems of a number of Cayman-Cubans were brought to the attention of the Legislative Assembly (LA) this week when Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush posed a Private Member’s Motion to regularise their status, as he said many of them were now being denied permanent residency because of the new law.

The UDP leader said on Monday 8 September in the LA that he had received representation from a number of legally resident Cubans who arrived in the 1990s when Cubans with local connections were allowed to migrate to Cayman.

Bush noted that there has been a connection between the countries for years and Caymanians still have families there. He explained that many of the Cubans who came were direct and immediate descendents of Caymanians who had migrated to Cuba when Cayman’s economic fortunes were not so great.  As times changed, however, andwith the mounting economic problems in Cuba these descendents of Cayman migrants had sought to return to their ancestral home and were invited to do so by the Cayman government.

He said more than 200 people had come to Cayman as a result of the invitation, and while the majority of them had sought permanent residency several years ago, some did not and many have continued living in Cayman without their legal position being regularised.

“They built homes, they purchased land, some of them have children, they have lived here among us believing themselves to be here legally and believing this to be their home,” added Bush. “Meanwhile the law has changed.” He said that many were now being denied by the Permanent Residency Board. “I can see no reason why they are being denied permanent residency and told they need to get work permits,” Bush noted. “I believe the government can find a way to remedy this situation.”

Government said it would accept the motion and Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson would be asked to examine the situation with a view to resolving it in their favour through an amendment to the Immigration Law or through directives. Tibbetts said that Manderson was aware of the acute situation these people were in and he felt the government could usher in something similar to an amnesty period for affected Cuban residents to settle their immigration status.

Tibbetts said he too had received representation from Cubans who complained that their invitation to Cayman was no longer valid because it was based on the previous Immigration Law, and under the current law they were being told that they do not meet the criteria for permanent residency. This has resulted in their being unable to travel, he said, since they can no longer use their Cuban passports and they have not been given Caymanian status.

“Whatever the resolution, we need to act,” added Tibbetts, saying the situation could not remain as it was. “These people face definite difficulties because of the way the immigration law now works and there are no special exemptions for them.”

Bush also asked that the facility be extended to Nicaraguans with Caymanian connections and US-born children of Caymanians. Bodden Town MLA Osbourne Bodden also raised the issue of other nationals with Cayman connections and said he believed that the motion should extend to Hondurans.

“We have other nationalities that are having difficulties with the law as it stands. These are people who have very close ties with Cayman,” he said. "In particular, with people from the Bay Islands in Honduras, these are our people. They even talk like us. They are talented and hard-working people,” said Bodden.

He went on to explain that in the past many Caymanians had migrated and that there tended to be a pattern, with the people from the West Bay area going to Cuba while East Enders migrated to Honduras and the Bay Islands, where, he said, there was a clear bond between the islands and the people. At the end of the short debate the motion was passed.

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CAL names new bosses

| 10/09/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The new top spot at Cayman Airways will be filled temporarily by an overseas airline expert who will transition one of the national flag carrier’s long-serving employees into the role of CEO. CAL announced yesterday that it was appointing Gilles Filiatreault as its Acting Chief Executive Officer and Captain Olson Anderson (left) as the CEO Designate.

Filiatreault (left) comes with over 40 years’ international airline experience, with a significant portion of that in CEO positions and in advisory roles. A Canadian national, he has worked with Air Canada and also has experience in the Caribbean region, having held senior positions in Caribbean airlines. He joins Cayman Airways from his most recent post as CEO of TACV in the Cape Verde Islands. Anderson, who is currently serving as Vice President Flight Operations at Cayman Airways, will understudy Filiatreault to better prepare him to takeon the airline’s top job.

Filiatreault and Anderson will take up this dual role on 22 September with the departure of CAL’s present CEO, Patrick Strasburger, who tendered his resignation in July for what have been described as personal reasons. The Chairman of Cayman Airways’ Board of Directors, Angelyn Hernandez, said the two men would be up to the job.

“Olson brings to CAL over 20 years of international experience in the airline industry and knowledge of local and international regulatory matters,” she said. “Mr Filiatreault has a wealth of experience and brings depth to the brilliant team of professionals we have on the Executive team. We have every confidence that this team will successfully face the challenges and responsibilities of leading Cayman Airways.”

Meanwhile, in other airline-related news, Cayman Airways reported that one of its aircraft had been detained by the authorities in La Cieba yesterday afternoon. An Atlantic Airlines charter flight to Honduras by Cayman Airways (KX8030 and 8031) was, the airline said, “briefly detained” because of documentation.

CAL said that according to information received by the flight crew, led by Captain Perry Panton, the issue concerned improperly filed paperwork by Atlantic Airlines with the Honduran Civil Aviation Authorities.

“The matter was resolved within 4 hours and the charter flight departed at approximately 4:00 pm,” the airline stated.




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Police in man-overboard rescue

| 10/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Customs and Police Marine Unit hauled a man out of the sea after he fell overboard in the main channel on Monday. Although not seriously hurt, the 19-year-old man was treated for shock, and another man was arrestedyesterday in connection with the incident. Meanwhile, police in West Bay arrested three men for drug-related offences, and one woman was arrested in George Town for gambling.

Police said that in the man-overboard incident, the Port Authority had received a call at around 10:00 am on 8 September from a staff member aboard Don Foster’s dive boat Cayman Sky, who was reporting that a 19-year-old man had fallen overboard. The crew member who had fallen into the sea had no flotation with him in the water. The boat was carrying 7 customers and 5 crew members and was heading through the main channel to complete an open-water dive when the crew member fell overboard. Police added that it was thought he fell due to rough sea conditions.

Cayman Protector and the helicopter were deployed to carry out a search for the man immediately and a coordinated effort to locate him commenced. It was thought he would be drifting in the North Sound, so with Cayman Protector on the water and the air support crew in the air, the search began.

At around 10:25 am the man was spotted 200 meters directly north of the main channel in open water. He was brought aboard Protector and taken to shore for assessment by medics. The man was not seriously injured in the incident but he was found to be in a distressed swimmer’s condition and suffering from shock. Following the incident, an investigation commenced by the Marine Unit, which resulted in the arrest of a 26-year-old man on suspicion of carrying out a reckless and negligent act and other related Port Authority offences. The man has been released on police bail pending further  investigations.

In other police news, officers from West Bay Police Station Uniform Support Group (USG) and the K9 department carried out two drug operations on Sunday, which resulted in three arrests for possession of ganja and consumption of a controlled drug. Two men, aged 28 and 44, were arrested at an address in Caribbean Lane, and in the second operation a 29-year-old man was arrested at an address in Duxies Lane. All three men have been released on police bail pending further investigations. A quantity of ganja was also seized at each location.

On Saturday a 32-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of illegal gambling in George Town and has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, shouldtheir information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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