Archive for September 28th, 2008

Marine cops get new boat

Marine cops get new boat

| 28/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the recent debacle surrounding the police helicopter, border patrol received a welcome boost last week with the official launch of the first of a number of new law enforcement vessels.  Officially christened ‘Cayman Defender’, the 38-foot Dauntless Ram is one of four vessels to be assigned to the joint Customs, Police, and for the first time, Immigration Marine Unit.

Acting Commissioner of Police David George said the investment into border protection is extremely welcome and will go a long way in helping to prevent drugs and guns arriving in the Cayman Islands. “We know that illegal substances and firearms arrive here via the sea,” he said. “The better equipped we are to protect the borders, the better equipped we are to ensure the safety and security of these Islands.”

On Friday, 26 September, the boat was christened and launched into the water at a ceremony attended by around some 50 dignitaries, law enforcement officials and other invited guests, marking the start of a new era for border protection in the Cayman Islands.

Following speeches by H.E the Governor, Kearney Gomez, Permanent Secretary on behalf of Leader of Government Business, Kurt Tibbetts and the Acting Commissioner of Police, David George, Mrs Tibbetts, officially christened ‘Cayman Defender’ a fast patrol boat part of a wider government investment package into border protection worth approximately CI$7.7 million.

The package includes four new vessels and a state of the art marine base currently being built at the end of Hirst Road in Newlands to house customs, police and immigration officers.

Manufactured by family owned Sea Ark in the United States, the boat is the product of 18-months hard work by the project team which includes Head of the Marine Unit, Inspector Brad Ebanks, Sergeant Shawn Bodden, Sergeant Clive Smith, Mr Peter Multon of the Public Works Department and Ms Reshma Sharma of the Legal Department.

“The team has worked extremely hard over the last year and a half to ensure that this project becomes a reality and the launch of “Defender’ is the start of things to come,” said project leader, Superintendent Mike Needham. “I thank the team for the extended hours of work and travel they have completed to ensure the arrival of this vessel.”

SeaArk, which also built Cayman Protector in back in 1994 and spent seven months on Cayman Defender, is also tasked with building the 65ft patrol boat, due for delivery in December. The final two 38-foot interceptors are due in January 2009 and are being built by Safe Boats International in the US.

The Marine Unit has been growing in strength and effectiveness over the last two years. Throughout 2007, efforts focused on equipping staff with the necessary skills and abilities to carry out their role effectively and officers completed a range specialist training in the area of border and maritime policing, notably with the British Navy.

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, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.



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Destabalising Cayman

Destabalising Cayman

| 28/09/2008 | 3 Comments

Not a proponent of conspiracy theory myself (and we were all entertained by Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts in Conspiracy Theory) but if I did not know better I could be led to believe, based on the recent distasteful sequence of events, that there is a deliberate attempt by someone to destabilize our country.

When in the history of crabs have we ever witnessed the shambles in which our law and order has found itself? Look at the way in which this whole fiasco is being mismanaged.

Right now nearly half of our judiciary is under investigation (and we are told for different reasons). We have a Commissioner of Police that, although not arrested or questioned (and was allowed to return to the United Kingdom for family reasons when his chances for return are minimal to none), is subject to questioning for 1) criminal investigation into the alleged misconduct of a public office; 2) disciplinary proceedings for failing to return to the island after being asked three times by the Governor; and 3) the dratted helicopter acquisition.

HE the Governor concedes that this is "an unprecedented investigation involving senior members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service…and the arrest…of Justice Alexander (Ace) Henderson". HE the Governor in the same breath continues that he wants “to assure the financial community and our international stakeholders that the Cayman Islands remain a stable jurisdiction with a sound judicial system. I reiterate that none of these actions have any reference to our financial industry and are not related to any judgments delivered by Justice Henderson. It is about maintaining the reputation and integrity of the Cayman Islands; and to ensure the highest level of ethical behaviour for those holding public office."

But in bringing the law and order of the Cayman Islands literally to its knees, what does HE the Governor mean when he said that this process is to "maintain the reputation and integrity" of these islands. Whose reputation? The reputation of these islands or his?

And I ask the question because there is a certain irony; these areas of responsibility under our constitution are not the responsibility of our elected leaders but that of the Governor and by extension the United Kingdom. These are also areas under which there is literally no transparency and effective accountability and we the people of the Cayman Islands are asked to blindingly rely on the discretion and good will of the office of the Governor. And perceive what has transpired as a mere aberration and not deliberate but to maintain the reputation and integrity of these islands.

Say what you may about the PPM and its questionable administrative performance over the past few years but this is one matter that they are not responsible for under our constitution. So I ask, what is the message that is being communicated to the Caymanian people? And based on the facts to date who has our best interest at heart? And we have to ask this question in the context of our stooged experience with Messrs Ballantyne and Gibbs regarding the EuroBank case.

Unfortunately the mired situation in which the PPM administration has found itself does not bode well for these islands either. Caymanians do not know what headlines they will awake to in the mornings in light of the relentless negative headlines which consistently question the ability and integrity of our leadership. This is no joking matter because the same way that we read them each morning, so does the international community that we compete with and those who are our clients. The only loser in this equation is this community.

Finally, I would ask our community to consider the above in the context of the current constitutional debates. They are timely and very important. They are about the type of governance that we want for ourselves and our children. They will ensure that no one can ‘dodge responsibility’ and bring about true transparency, responsibility and accountability.

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Preservation architect comes back to museum

Preservation architect comes back to museum

| 28/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With the return of Historic Preservation Architect Patricia Green (left) more work was underway at the Cayman Islands National Museum last week. Green was first invited to Cayman in the months following Hurricane Ivan to assess the Museum building and make recommendations and since then she has been a frequent visitor the islands and a crucial part in the museum restoration project.


Part of Green’s work has included preparing “as-built” drawings of the completed building; recommending the “look and feel” of exterior refurbishing of the Museum cafe; and assessing the importance to the Museum of the ongoing “Old Gaol” research and architectural preservation projects.

During her most recent visit Green paid close attention to the wattle and daub conservation work that has been undertaken by the museum team and she described the work of the craftsmen as evidence of the uniquely Caymanian vernacular architecture. “While we have these traditions throughout the Caribbean, when I work in a new place I consult with the local crafts people to ensure that we get the indigenous traditional nuances right,” she said.

While visiting this time she also explained the reason behind some of the changes on the project. Green said that unforeseen changes are inevitably made during refurbishing of any historic building. The Museum Gift Shop had originally been situated in the Old Gaol, but with the discovery of historic graffiti on the walls, the site is now being preserved as one of the Islands’ premiere archeological sites.  Consequently, the Gift Shop has had to be relocated.  Configuration of rooms has also changed, and in some cases decisions were taken to add features, such as the addition of a viewing panel to display the underground cistern located below the audio-visual room.

The museum will enjoy a soft opening in November but will formally open, with all exhibits in place, in January 2009.

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