Archive for November 21st, 2008

Guns found in fridge

| 21/11/2008 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Customs officers have seized a number of firearms along with ammunition and clips which were concealed behind the front door panels of a refrigerator being imported into the Cayman Islands from the US. As a result one Caymanian man has been arrested and charged for the importation of five firearms and ammunition as the investigaiton continues.

The seizure and subsequent arrest of Caymanian Michael Ebanks came about after officers in the Customs Narcotic Enforcement Team (C/NET) became suspicious on Wednesday, 12 November, of the documentation relating to the importation of the refrigerator arriving by sea freight from Miami and selected it for inspection .

The following day an initial search of the refrigerator was conducted by a Customs K-9 at the Cargo Distribution Centre. The dog, trained to detect firearms, ammunition and controlled drugs, alerted its handler to the refrigerator doors. A thorough search, during which the front panels of the refrigerator doors were removed, led to the discovery of the firearms and ammunition.

Following the discovery, through a combined effort by the Royal Cayman Islands Police and the Customs Narcotic Enforcement Team (C/NET), Ebanks was arrested and charged for the importation of five firearms, a number of ammunition clips and a large quantity of ammunition.

Customs said that investigations into the matter are continuing. Assistant Collector of Customs Trevor Williams applauded the efforts of the officers involved, and recognized the continuing excellent working relationship between the Police and Customs.



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Road safety warning for drivers on Sister Islands

| 21/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is reminding motorists in the Sister Islands to take care whilst driving. “Road safety has been a concern for the police since Hurricane Paloma and some members of the public have expressed concern about the increased speeds at which cars and dump trucks are being driven,” said Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay who has had oversight of policing in the Sister Islands since the hurricane.

Heavy equipment and dump truck drivers are reminded to obey the speed limits and drive with caution when approaching Brac Power and Light vehicles repairing lines and other road side clean-up crews.

CI Kay said, “Due to the large and unusual sized loads being carried by dump trucks during the clean-up operation, many dump truck operators have removed the tail gate from their vehicles. It is essential that if this is done that the loads being carried are secure and do not cause any accidents or injuries to other road users because of debris falling from the truck.”

In light of the phased reopening of several schools, drivers are asked to take special note of these safety measures.

Licensing and inspection of vehicles: Drivers whose vehicle licenses have expired over the past two weeks have been granted a reprieve while the Government Administrative building in Cayman Brac was not able to receive payment. A deadline of Monday 1 December has been agreed to get all vehicles in order.

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Brac relief from Pirates’ Week

| 21/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman Brac Hurricane Relief received a significant donation from financial services company KPMG following an appeal from the visiting Seattle Seafair Pirates during Pirates Week 2008. Managing Partner for KPMG, Roy McTaggart, presented the $50,000 donation to Minister for Tourism, Charles Clifford, just prior to the Gala Fireworks Show downtown on Saturday 15 November.

Minister Clifford also accepted a cheque from the local Cayman Pirates who donated their prize money from the Float Parade competition in 2007 as a contribution to Cayman Brac Hurricane Relief, and he also accepted $1,050 raised by the Seattle Pirates in their appearances in Pirates Week this year.

Mark Jensen, Director of Public Relations for the Seattle group, sponsored by Island Companies, said: “We were honored to be a small part of the recovery effort for our friends in Cayman Brac and on behalf of all the Seafair Pirates we wish to thank the Pirates Week staff and Dave Martins for their unwavering support, and KPMG and their Managing Partner Roy McTaggart for embodying the spirit of the Seafair Pirates mission: ‘Individually we can make a difference; together we can make an impact.’ ”

McTaggart of KPMG said, "We were delighted to join up with the Seattle Seafair Pirates to assist in the recovery effort going on in the Sister Islands, and we wish them a speedy recovery."


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Back to school at CBHS

| 21/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The upper years of Cayman Brac High School returned to school Friday and plans are underway to get all students back as soon as possible. “Parents need to know there is a safe place for children so they can direct their attention to getting the community back on its feet. As soon as the electricity supply has been restored and the schools are dried in and safe, they’re ready to meet the needs of the children of Cayman Brac,” said Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler. (Left: WEPS)

According to Wahler, primary provision will begin sometime next week as previously announced, though this may be staggered by year groups. This primary service will initially operate out of West End Primary School. The Ministry has acceded to the request by the Public Works Department to provide the use of Creek Primary School for housing of essential workers as no other housing is available and these workers must be on island to complete urgently needed repairs throughout the island.

Commenting on the progress at the schools, the CEO made particular note of the tremendous leadership shown by Learning Community Leader Tammy DaCosta-Banks and the hard work of the education staff on Cayman Brac, who made it possible to reopen despite serious damage and loss. (Right: Deputy Principal Pedro Lazzari addresses Years 11 and 12 at CBHS)

“I’d also like to commend the education community from Grand Cayman who came to set up schools and for the wave of fundraising efforts. Both the private and the public sector are offering their help to support students and schools as they come back on line,” she said. “We’re so grateful for the first responders – the police, fire officers and medical staff. The second tier of responders includes teachers because without schools it’s hard for a community to return to normal.”

The most urgent need was for Years 11 and 12 to return, since they are preparing for exams and students were anxious to maintain the high standard set at CBHS. “They and their parents have been besieging me with requests to get the school open,” said Wahler. Work continues on all schools in Cayman Brac and the remaining high school students will be able to return to school as sufficient classrooms are approved for occupancy.

Teachers were back at school Wednesday, 19 November, and have been busy panning and preparing for the opening of schools. Noting the heavy emotional toll on staff and students, she said, "We have sought advise and begun panning for support for emotional as well as academic needs for both students and staff, and will be looking to put in place a range of support services over the coming weeks.”


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Obama to give up Blackberry

| 21/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(NYT): For years Barack Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to give it up. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful. Go to article.

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Cayman tops C&W league

| 21/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local staff at the new look Cable & Wireless now known as LIME were reportedly celebrating recently after beating out their Caribbean peers in the firms regional customer service awards. The Cayman Islands team won the ward for operational performance as the only Cable & Wireless company in the Caribbean boasting of consistently meeting its customer service targets.

The salute came at the Cable & Wireless International (CWI) 2008 Customer Excellence Awards in Jamaica where each of the thirty nine C&W businesses showcased success, best practices, individual excellence, service passion, pride and continuous improvement of customer service.

In the competition among Caribbean countries awards went to Anguilla, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis

LIME Montserrat copped the award as Customer Excellence Champion while Grenada was deemed tops in Customer Experience Performance.

A number of individuals were also singled out for awards and included the IT Team of Lawrence Davies, Rob Elsey and Richard Symmonds for making employees lives easier and the customer experience faster and cheaper.

Awards also went to Clyde Nisbett of St. Kitts and Nevis and Renaldo Missick of Turks and Caicos who won the WOW award for helping LIME customers in the wake of Hurricane Ike while the Passion for Change Award went to Eileen Wolfe of Jamaica for embracing what seemed like an impossible challenge in the Caribbean contact centres.

The Best Use of Technology Award went to Glendon Langaigne of Grenada who developed a web-based system to monitor all customer requests to ensure speedier delivery of service. This application is being adopted throughout C&W International.

Jamaican Howard Mollison received the Award for Field Management for dramatically reducing the time for installation of landlines.

The international awards coincide with the launch of LIME, Landline, Internet, Mobile, Entertainment, a fresh approach from Cable & Wireless as the company continues its transformation programme aimed at delivering the highest levels of customer service and satisfaction

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Rights Committee urges application of child law

| 21/11/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS) : Although written more than five years ago the Cayman Islands Government has failed so far to implement the Child Law 2003 which was drafted to comply with the Conventions of the Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC) an international treaty extended to Cayman in 1994. On the anniversary of the CRC, Cayman’s Human Rights Committee has urged the government to put the law in place to protect the rights of local children.

In the same week that fears were raised about a man charged with child rape being released on bail into the community, the HRC reminded everyone that the law written to protect our children well over five years ago has never been implemented.

The committee explained that under the treaty every child has the right to grow up in a healthy safe environment. This means the government is obligated to protect the country’s children from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Raising its concern that the Child Law has still not been brought into force the HRC urged the government to implement the law.   It said it was joining forces with Hedge Funds Care Cayman to begin an advocacy campaign to push for the law’s rapid implementation.

The committee drew attention to the recent words of Liz Gibbons the Associate Director of Gender Rights and Civic Engagement for UNICEF who said proper laws and policies are an essential foundation for protecting children from violence.



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Minister questions Governor’s judgment

| 21/11/2008 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Facing more questions from the press regarding the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), Minister Alden McLaughlin made it clear yesterday that he believed Governor Stuart Jack had made some poor decisions regarding Operation Tempura. The Minister called his judgment into questioned and said he did not see how it was possible for the Governor to  continue to support Bridger and his investigation given the things that had happened so far.

Speaking at the post Cabinet Media Briefing on Thursday morning (20 November) McLaughlin said that he thought the Governor had been ill-advised and had exercised poor judgment with regard to the investigation. He added that it was ironic that the Governor had always championed the issue of good governance but was also championing Martin Bridger the head of SPIT, who it was now clear could not hope to prevail in any kind of tribunal or legal hearing.

“Bridger must be disqualified from this situation for two good reasons,” McLaughlin said. “Not only did Justice Cresswell determine that he acted in bad faith but he has breached every rule of law. To add insult to injury he has said that the Chief Justice can’t be trusted.” The minister said that the Governor has been intent in his pursuit of good governance and therefore McLaughlin questioned how he could then allow Bridger to continue given he was now the one in breach of the rules.

“What tribunal is going to convict anyone based on evidence given by Bridger now?” asked McLaughlin. The minister based his arguments on the findings of Sir Peter Cresswell who presided over the Judicial Review which quashed, as unlawful, the search warrants obtained by Bridger and SPIT to search Justice Alex Henderson’s home and office. (See

McLaughlin illustrated again the problem with the current constitutional arrangement that allowed the Governor to make decisions in isolation and without consultation with the elected officials and that this was the best possible illustration of the need for more people to be involved in police matters so the risk of one person exercising poor judgment could be mitigated

The minister said the investigation, which was already running at over $4 million and would certainly be far more before it was over, was simply throwing good money after bad and while it was unfair it was the constitution that was allowing it to happen and in the end the elected officials could only hope the Governor would listen to their position. “Hopefully the Governor will hear our recommendations,” added McLaughlin, “We are not going to support Bridger.”

Even though the elected government has effectively been frozen out of the investigation regarding the senior officers within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and members of the judiciary, the people’s representatives have recently began to speak out vociferously against it, particularly in the wake of Cresswell’s ruling.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, commonly more reticent about revealing the divide between the elected officials and the Governor more often noted by his colleague McLaughlin, has said that he also hopes the Governor will start to take heed of what is clearly a significant disagreement on continuing the investigation and that the elected government would not vote for any more money to support it. “We hope that logic will prevail and the Governor will not use his reserve powers given the level of the divide between us now,” Tibbetts said.  

Although the elected ministers said they were not promoting the idea of stopping an investigation where it was required, they said that given the circumstances surrounding what the LoGB termed the Henderson fiasco Bridger had to be disassociated.

He also said that Henderson was back at work on the bench and that it was lucky that the Cresswell ruling had prevented that situation from going even further than it did, despite the fact that it was obvious the Henderson situation would cost the Cayman Island money to put right. He noted too that now Kernohan had been dismissed he hoped the rest of that matter could be quickly put to bed and he trusted that the Governor had made that decisions based on proper advise and that there would be no adverse consequences.

Tibbetts said he expected the Governor would make a statement shortly on the circumstances surrounding the investigation going forward but that all in all given Cresswell’s findings it simply was not in the best interest of Cayman for Bridger to remain here.

Although Bridger has refused to speak with the media, he said to be speaking regularly with Desmond Seales, editor of Cayman Net News, and he was reported in that publication saying that his investigation was not over.

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Aid for wildlife missing

| 21/11/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Food that was sent  by the National Trust to help the birds on the Brac left starving after Hurricane Paloma appears to be missing. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the bird food, feeders and water trays that recently arrived on the Brac to assist the wildlife, they are asked to please call Wildlife Rescue Project Manager Alison Corbett at 926-6474.

The Trust reports that denuded and destroyed trees and vegetation resulting from Hurricane Paloma could lead to the surviving native wildlife on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman facing starvation. Birds are especially vulnerable, including the endangered endemic Cayman Brac Parrot and Red-legged Thrush, the White-winged Dove, baldpates, warblers and more. 

Many have been sighted foraging and competing at ground level for what little food remains. However, using lessons learned from Grand Cayman’s Ivan experience, the National Trust’s Cayman Wildlife Rescue programme was activated, and a post-Paloma initiative to offer immediate relief to wildlife was kick-started by an anonymous $1,000 donation.

National Trust staff will be traveling to the Brac to assess the hurricane’s impact on local wildlife, both off and on their own properties. They will assess two historic sites (Eldemire House and the Brac Trust House), as well as the 17-acre “Splits” reserve (a freshwater split on the Bluff) and the 281-acre Brac Parrot Reserve. "Brac residents are very concerned and are indeed eager to help the situation,” said  “Many have expressed deep concern and have volunteered to help their wildlife."

Trust General Manager Frank Roulstone agreed. “We are encouraged that, even under very difficult conditions, people in the Brac are concerned for the well-being of these other residents who also have lost homes, food and water,” he said. “Feeding birds after Ivan undoubtedly had a positive impact, and the situation in the Sister Islands is no different. It may be months before plants recover sufficiently to once again provide them with enough food.”

With that in mind, Cayman Wildlife Rescue plans to continue supplying both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman wildlife with food for as long as necessary. "Donations of bruised or over-ripe food would be greatly appreciated,” Corbett said. “Food suppliers and distributors may contact the Trust to donate fruit they cannot sell.”

Residents can also help by putting out food and water in elevated places. They are asked to contact Cayman Wildlife Rescue to offer assistance and others interested in donating or volunteering should contact Corbett at 926-6474 or

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