Archive for November 14th, 2008

Police commended

Police commended

| 14/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Although recovery efforts remain underway in Cayman Brac, Acting Commissioner of Police, David George is commending all police officers and staff for their response to the passing of Hurricane Paloma and sending thanks to those who have assisted the service.  “The RCIPS has detailed plans in place for dealing with hurricane threats and these have no doubt boosted our ability to respond,” said Acting Commissioner George.

He said it would be remise of hime not to highlight the amount of effort put in during and following the storm. "Many officers and staff have showed immense dedication and commitment, going out of their way, working long and hard for the good of the service and the community at large. Everyone involved should be very proud of themselves,” he added.

In a release from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, (RCIPS) officers in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman were noted for their efforts following the devastating storm. Police also said that in Cayman Brac, a temporary police station is fully operational at the UCCI building in Stake Bay and regular officers are being supported by a team from Grand Cayman. In Little Cayman, the officers who have been working around the clock have been relieved so that they can get some rest. Officers from Grand Cayman have volunteered to assist their colleagues in the Sister Islands, allowing staff to work on a rotation system, ensuring that everyone is fully rested and able to perform their duties to the best of their ability.

Cayman Protector and Cayman Defender, the newest addition to the marine fleet, have been making trips to and from the Sister Islands, supporting operations and ensuring the welfare of officers is taken care of. Both vessels assisted with shipping relief supplies such as non-perishable items, uniforms and equipment as well as generators for the affected officers and some residents, which were mostly funded from the Police Welfare Fund to reduce the burden on the public funds.

The RCIPS also thanked everyone who has assisted the police in getting operations up and running as quickly as possible, including those who provided trucking and storage for supplies until operations were able to move to the UCCI building. Officers who were in shelters have stated that people were more than willing to offer support and assistance and although they have now been able to move out of the shelters and back into their accommodations which have been partially restored, they thank everyone who assisted them during their time in the shelter. Finally, the RCIPS would like to thank the generosity of the business community, including the Chamber of Commerce, which assisted the RCIPS immensely with the provision of some equipment.

Meanwhile, Brac officers said they were pleased with the response they have seen from the public, however, they have noticed drivers are taking risks on the roads.

“We understand that people have places to go and things they need to get done,” said Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay, who is currently assisting Area Commander Chief Inspector Adrian Barnett. “But, we have noticed an increase in speeding which is not only reckless and dangerous, but also against the law. Drivers need to be cautious on the roads and should be warned that if they are caught putting themselves and others at risk by speeding, they will be dealt with under the traffic law.”

In addition, firearm license holders in the Sister Islands are reminded to check on the safety and security of their firearms. If anyone identifies a security risk with the storage of their firearm, they should contact the police who can assist with safe storage. Officers will be carrying out inspections of over the next few days to ensure that all firearms are kept securely. Members of the pubic can call the following numbers for police:  Cayman Brac: 948-0331 or 926-0635 Little Cayman: 925-4428 or 925-4431.

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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National Recovery Fund open for claims

National Recovery Fund open for claims

| 14/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Updated Friday 4:30pm – The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund has announced that it is beginning to process the applications of those requiring assistance on the Sister Islands after Hurricane Paloma. The Project Manger, Finley Josephs and Site Inspector, Seymour Stewart will be on the Brac from Tuesday 18 November to receive applications for assistance, assess damage to the homes of applicants and meet with local contractors interested in working for the fund.

Residents can now begin applicaitons to the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund. Priority will be given to the elderly, the infirm, and those single family households with very young children the fund said and the same criteria used for Hurricane Ivan will be utilised to ascertain qualified applicants. The NRF explained that applications can be made for funding based on damage as a direct result of Hurricane Paloma, but not as a result of lack of maintenance or prior damage. The property must have been uninsured and applicants must be able to show that their total household income is such that they cannot be reasonably expected to obtain finance nor self fund the cost of the repairs from savings, loans or other means. Grant funds will not normally be made available to those who are in rented accommodation, nor for landlords, nor those in strata accommodation.

 The Fund does not make direct grants to householders, but rather directly funds qualified contractors based on estimates. Further information can be obtained from the Client Service representative at the National Recovery Fund’s office in George Town, Grand Cayman on 943 3863. Applications can be posted to P O Box 190, George Town, Grand Cayman KY1-1104 or sent by fax to 943 3864.

The Fund also said it needs monetary support and donation accounts have been set up at Bank of Butterfield and Cayman National Bank.  Any monetary donation would be greatly appreciated.   

 Coporate Donors may directly contact Mark Laskin or Huw Moses ( for further information. Application forms for support are available at various locations on the Brac including; the District Administrator’s office, Kirkconnell supermarket, L & M Superstore and with MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, MLA Moses Kirkconnell, church leaders and pastors along the Eastern end of the island.   Applications can also be downloaded from the following website: or contact Dr. Mark Laskin Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund +1 345 943 3863.



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Sir Vassel Johnson dies

Sir Vassel Johnson dies

| 14/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The man often credited as the pioneer of the Cayman Islands; successful financial services sector, Sir Vassel Johnson has died. Cayman’s first and only knight, Sir Vassal  passed away on Wednesday 12 November at the age of 86. Born in Jamaica he arrived in Cayman from Cuba in 1934 when he was only twelve years old with his family.

Sir Vassel joined the Cayman Islands Government as a clerical officer as a young man steadily moved through the ranks utilising his accountancy skills. He eventually became Financial Secretary and played a key role in helping Cayman to establish its offshore financial services.

HE the Governor, Stuart Jack paid tribute to Sir Vassal in a statement yesterday when he said it was a day of great mourning for a man who had served his adopted country well.

“A quiet, gentle family man and a church elder, Sir Vassel received many accolades, including the OBE and the CBE. His crowning moment was being knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in front of the Legislative Assembly on 26 February 1994,” said the Governor.

“As one of the architects of modern Cayman, especially its financial industry, Sir Vassel guided the steady growth of these Islands as the first Financial Secretary. His remarkable vision set the foundation for the prosperity and economic stability of these Islands. Without his input, Cayman might well have remained the islands that time forgot. Indeed, he helped place the Islands firmly on the world map.”

The Governor noted that today, what we take for granted may not have come to pass if this man of great integrity had not helped to establish the Cayman Islands as an offshore centre.

“Even more so, he helped Cayman maintain its edge as a financial centre at a time when many other jurisdictions were going the same route. It is no exaggeration to say every man, woman and child in Cayman owes him a debt of gratitude,” the Governor added.

Sir Vassel rose from humble beginnings to greatness that he himself never made much of. Following his knighthood, Sir Vassel was quoted as saying, “I was grateful because my adopted home has been good to me. At the same time, I trust that I have been good for it.”

The governor said that he and his wife Mariko join the people of the Cayman Islands in extending our deepest condolences to Sir Vassel’s widow, Lady Rita; and all his family. “We will always cherish his memory – for who he was as a man, and for what he did for the country,” the Governor said.


The Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA) also recognized the passing of Sir Vassel calling him one of the founding fathers of the financial services sector in the Cayman Islands. "In his role as the country’s first Financial Secretary Sir Vassel charted the course that led the Cayman Islands to establish itself as an important financial centre," said CIFSA. "His appreciation of Cayman as his adopted country motivated him to take up public service as a way to give back to it. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this important figure in Caymanian history.


The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority also expressed its sadness and explained that Sir Vassel was the Financial Secretary (originally designated as Treasurer) from 1965 to 1982 and was the first Chairman of the Cayman Islands Currency Board, one of CIMA’s predecessor organisations, from 1971 to1982. “In those capacities, he was primarily responsible for the introduction of legislation and policies that paved the way for the development
of the financial services sector, which CIMA now regulates, and he oversaw the introduction of the Cayman Islands currency, which CIMA now has responsibility for managing,” CIMA  said.
He made a direct contribution to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority during its formative years, serving as a director from CIMA’s inception in 1997, until 2000.

"Sir Vassel was honoured for his contribution by CIMA last year as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. The Authority’s Managing Director, Cindy Scotland, said, “Sir Vassel made a significant contribution to Cayman and specifically to CIMA. It was also wonderful for me personally to have had the opportunity to work, early in my career, with someone of his calibre.”


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Bulgin clears Henderson

Bulgin clears Henderson

| 14/11/2008 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Updated Friday 8:30pm — The Attorney General, Samuel Bulgin has written to Justice Alex Henderson’s legal representative, Shaun McCann Senior Partner, Campbells Attorneys telling him that the judge is no longer under investigation for misconduct in a public office and has expressed regret at the “inconvenience and discomfort” the “entire episode” has caused Justice Henderson. Late this afternoon however, a statement from the Acting Commissioner said the other element of the investigation continued.

Writing on behalf of the Acting Commissioner, the Attorney General, (AG) said that upon a comprehensive review the police investigation had been discontinued with immediate affect. Bulgin confirmed that the arrest, related bail conditions and other conditions had completely fallen away.

The letter was written in response to Campbells’ own correspondence requesting written confirmation that Henderson was no longer a target of SIO Martin Bridger’s Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT). McCann confirmed that although Henderson, who is now back at work on the bench, was very pleased to receive the letter he was still seeking a Judicial Review of the arrest as McCann stated that the arrest was still unlawful despite its removal.

Even though the arrest has been quashed the Judge, according to the details of the judicial review application, had still been wrongfully deprived of his liberty for two days and subjected to fingerprinting, having a DNA sample taken and his reputation brought into question. Having already been given leave for an enquiry into damages regarding the unlawful state of the search warrants signed by Justice of the Peace Carson Ebanks  which SPIT used to search the judge’s home, chamber and computers there is a strong chancethat judge could be looking at a substantial reward if this application is successful as well.

This afternoon the Acting Commissioner of police David George said that as a result of the Judicial Review action, presided over by Sir Peter Cresswell, that set the search warrants aside and after careful consideration it was decided not to appeal the said judgment.

George said the investigation into the allegation of misconduct in public office against Justice Henderson was immediately discontinued and that Henderson was no longer under arrest or investigation and has been released from his bail conditions.

However, George said the remainder of the investigation relative to the alleged entry into the Offices of Cayman Net News on the 3 September 2007 and other matters continues and a subsequent statement regarding other issues related to the investigation will soon be released.

The investigation has so far cost the Cayman Islands in excess of $4 million and the elected government has asked Bridger to wind up the investigation and leave the island. However, although not communicating with the media anymore, Bridger allegedly told Cayman Net News this week that his investigation was not over. Neither the Governor Stuart Jack nor MArtine Bridger were copied on the AG’s letter and CNS has also learned that Bridger was unaware of it until after the fact.




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Courtyard Marriott closed

Courtyard Marriott closed

| 14/11/2008 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Update 8pm Friday. According to a note on the door the Courtyard Marriott on Seven Mile Beach has been temporarily closed because of damage incurred during the passage of Hurricane Paloma. However, according to some staff members who have been told their employment has been terminated, it appears this could be more than a temporary closure for repairs.

CNS has attempted to contact Dan Waters, the Manager of the hotel but so far we have not been able to speak with him to find out the extent of the damage or to confirm opr deny the speculaiton  that there are other issues regarding the hotel’s sudden closure. However a staement was released on Friday afternoon (see below for detials.)

Yesterday, CNS spoke to some employees and learned that there was a small amount of flooding in both the restaurant dining area and the kitchen, but that the owner of the hotel was on island and they believed some people had lost their jobs.

The Gecko Beach Bar was still operational and some staff were working, albeit shorter hours they said, in that facility. However, some staff were reportedly let go earlier this week and speculation which has reached the Legge Report has suggested that the issue is more complex than flood water and may actually affect an existing plan to redevelop the entire hotel.

The Courtyard Marriott along with literally hundreds of acres in that area was purchased by Stan Thomas who had reportedly planed to redevelop a huge area of Seven Mile Beach on a similar scale to that of Dart at Camana Bay. However, owing to various issues concerning the movement of the road and other alleged difficulties there is some speculation that the Courtyard Marriott, at least, may no longer be part of the proposed future plans. Concerns are also being raised that given the situation with the former Hyatt which has remained derelict for four years since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the idea of a second hotel along the Seven Mile Beach area standing empty for any lengthy period could be potentially damaging to the overall tourist product.

There were guests in the hotel at the time of Paloma’s arrival who were, staff said, relocated to the Grand Cayman Marriott.

On Friday afternoon a joint release was issued from the Department of Tourism and the Courtyard Marriott which certainly gave the impression that while the closure was as aresult of Hurricane damage from Palom it seemed to be a long term closure.

What staff had described as a little water in the dinning area and kitchen was described in the release as, "extensive water damage to the interior of the hotel" and therefore the hotel would remain closed for an extended period.

The release stated that on Friday morning (November 14), the Minister of Tourism, Charles Clifford, representatives of the hotel’s owners and management, along with officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Department of Tourism and Department of Employment Relations met with staff to brief them and answer questions. 

"The staff meeting focused on staff welfare which is the top priority and the Department of Employment Relations and the Ministry of Tourism will be continuously monitoring the situation," it stated  adding hotel is also collaborating with other properties on the island to relocate employees and accommodate guests previously booked.

The statement went on to say that teams of construction experts and insurance adjusters are currently evaluating the extent of the damage. Once the assessment is completed, the hotel will finalize a timeline for recovery the hotel said . "While the closure is regrettable, we recognize that the refurbishment of this property brings with it a real opportunity for a new and more competitive tourism product that will benefit employees and the destination in the long term."

Speculaiton that the closured owed more to a longer term failure regarding agreement on the wider development than the inch or so flood water was not addressed in the release.


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