Archive for December 1st, 2008

Crash victim named

| 01/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Police said this afternoon that the one vehicle crash on Bodden Town Road on Sunday morning 30 November claimed the life of 28-year-old Cameleta Pancheta Ayres, a Jamaican national and the tenth person to be killed on Cayman’s roads this year. Ayres was killed when the car she was driving crashed in to a CUC light pole in the Breakers area.


The male passenger who was travelling with Ayres sustained serious but not life threatening injuries was treated and discharged from George Town Hospital yesterday.  The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has offered its condolences to the family and friends of Ms Ayres who died around 8:00am on Sunday.

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation by the Traffic Management Unit and officers are asking for anyone who witnessed the accident or believes they saw the vehicle prior to the crash to contact Police Constable Kenville Holder on 926 1671.

Yet again Cayman comes towards the end of the year with another high death toll on its roads. Ten people have been killed in various road crashes and incidents this year alone. Another significant number of people have also been severely injured in road accidents. On Monday 24 November 2 men in their twenties were airlifted for treatment in hospital in Jamaica after they were critically injured when the grey Honda Civic in which they were travelling crashed on Eastern Avenue at around 1:50am o 22 November, near Uncle Bills. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt and police said the car was believed to be speeding before the crash occurred.

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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Lions campaign against junk food

| 01/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The food group pyramid and other technologies were introduced to middle school students at George Hicks last month as part of the Lions Club of Tropical Garden’s campaign to prevent type 2 diabetes in kids. All over the world November is marked as Diabetes Awareness month and the Lions Sight First and Diabetes Committee sponsored a ‘Nutrition Awareness Campaign among  year eight students.

The campaign ran from 11-14 November and students were given seven 50-minute interactive sessions with Nutritionists Bethany Smith, Regina O’Connor, Brandi Popas, Chad Collins and Dr Robinson over the four days.

Life Skills Coordinator at George Hicks Campus Marie Pride welcomed Lion Nereen Thomas and the Committee into the life skills classes to promote the campaign across the four schools on the middle school campus.

Lions said that the students were very responsive and attentive as the presenters used a range of technology as well as models to encourage participation in the sessions. Most of the students had previous knowledge of the food groups and the nutrients.

They were very enthusiastic about the models of food on the food group pyramid creating a healthy array of foods to promote a healthier lifestyle. The presenters reminded the students that Diabetes as well as other lifestyle diseases can be prevented if they aim to choose the healthier choices of food that is available to them.

Students also learned that even though they might not be showing signs of obesity, prolonged eating of food high in fat and calories is still harmful .Lions said the club intends to continue this awareness campaign throughout the school year to include years seven and nine.

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Shariah banks key to future?

| 01/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(Ameinfo): With the search underway for a new monetary system for the post-financial crisis era, Islamic banking could gain ground with its reputation for stability. Islamic banking has according to experts grown at an annual rate of 15% and reached a volume of $1 trillion, five times higher than in 2003. With the financial crisis reaching its peak, more and more politicians and economists agree that yesterday’s financial world and tomorrow’s financial world will not have much in common. Go to article

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Cayman questions review

| 01/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Ministers from the Cayman Islands Government have already spoken with the UK Financial Services Secretary, Paul Myners over the proposed review of overseas territories announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in his pre-budget speech. Minister Alden McLaughlin has said that government has tried to find out exactly what the objectives are outside of the stated terms of reference but he said they learned very little.

 McLaughlin said that he and other government ministers had held a conference call with Myners last Thursday morning (where they asked him why the UK needed to ’review’ the Cayman Islands given the country’s high ratings with numerous recent international independent reviews by the International Monetary Fund,  the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)and others.

“Our conversation with Myners was not exactly revealing,” McLaughlin, who has responsibility for the financial services sector said. “We asked a number of questions in order to try and learn the real objective of this particular review but we did not learn anything new outside the already stated terms of reference.”

The Minister said he suspected that the Crown Dependencies, in particular the Isle of Man are the Chancellor’s primary target and this is obviously a review related to tax sharing information rather than anti-money laundering or ant-terrorist financing issues. He said that the announcement came on the heels of the G20 meeting and that the UK was under a lot of pressure to come up with answers given the fall out from the Icelandic banks and the general global economic crisis.

What Minister McLaughlin did say the government had learned for sure however, was that a “reviewer of international repute” would be appointed and would be visiting the Cayman Islands sometime in the New Year. McLaughlin said that in the meantime Myners had agreed to meet him when he is in the UK in January and he said he hoped to learn more about how the review would be conducted.

“I think this is going to be something of a rushed exercise as it seems the UK Chancellor wants the review completed before he delivers the UK 2009 budget in March. Whatever the real reason, given the global economic crisis, it is to be expected,” McLaughlin added.” “This is not driven by local circumstances but we have no difficulty with it and we expect as ever that the Cayman Islands will score highly.”

He said that the situation with the review which is clearly tax driven should not make us rush to sign more tax co-operation treaties before the CI government had ensured the agreements were fair to this country as well as to those wanting to sign the information exchanges. “We have had several rounds of talks with the UK about tax agreements but they have not yielded fruit because the UK has changed its position. WE have rescheduled more discussions for early next year and we hope we will get there but we must not sign just for the sake of it we must make sure that the deal is fair.”

Darling said the review was because overseas territories and crown dependencies attracted banking customers with lower tax rates without contributing to the UK Exchequer.  “Many crown dependencies and overseas territories are significant financial centres in their own right and the financial sector plays a vital role in their economies. The Government recognizes the progress made by most offshore financial centres to improve financial regulation and transparency, and tackle financial crime,” he said in the pre budget report. “However, crown dependencies and overseas territories, like all offshore financial centres, face challenges and opportunities as the world is changing. In particular, severe financial turbulence has raised questions for all jurisdictions, while there is growing international pressure to line up standards of financial regulation and meet international norms with regards to taxation.”

The terms of reference of the review will include an assessment of financial supervision and transparency; fiscal arrangements; financial crisis management and resolution arrangements; and international cooperation.



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Immigration staff to begin processing permits

| 01/12/2008 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The amendments to the Immigration Law passed in the Legislative Assembly last month have now come into effect and the Immigration Department will soon be administering some of the more regular work permit applications, leaving the Work Permit and Business Staffing Plan Boards free to deal with more complex and controversial applications as well as the allocation of key employee status.


The Leader of Government Business, Kurt Tibbetts said last week that changes to the Immigration Regulations (2007 Revision) took effect on Tuesday 25 November and under the new system straightforward categories of work permit applications will soon begin to be processed directly by Immigration personnel against what he described as a carefully chosen checklist of criteria rather than by a Board.

This system will significantly reduce the number of work permit applications going before the Work Permit Board and Business Staffing Plan Board. As a result, backlogs on applications for annual work permits will not arise and the turnaround time on these applications will be greatly improved – a consequence that will no doubt be well-received by the business community. This will mean that the Boards will now be able to focus closely on difficult or sensitive applications and the critical issue of Key Employee designation,” Tibbetts said.

There are currently 26,121 work permits issued to some one hundred different nationals. The largest percentage remains Jamaican holders at more than 10,000, the next largest is workers from the Phillipines numbering around 3000 with Canadians now holding less than 2000 permits.

Tibbetts said that despite handing the decision making process in some areas to immigration staff the Boards will retain decision making control of all applications where a Caymanian applied for the position; or where there is a signed complaint against a prospective employee on file; or where the Department of Employment Relations identifies that there is a Caymanian who is capable and available for the position.

The Boards will also retain responsibility for determining applications involving the promotion and re-designation of an employee; the revocation of work permits; applications for the grant, renewal or amendment of a Business Staffing Plan, and requests for the waiver of the requirement to advertise a position.  Tibbetts said the new system however, should make Cayman more competitive.

It is clear that we in the Cayman Islands will feel the painful effects of recession along with the rest of the world. It is therefore critical that the two industries that form the backbone of our economy – tourism and financial services – are able to recruit and retain the brightest and best personnel that they need to enable them to compete effectively in the difficult times ahead.

He said the private sector needed work permits granted quickly and without unnecessary interference. One of the most frequent complaints that I hear is not the actual decision of a work permit application, but the length of time that it has taken for the decision to be taken,” Tibbetts added. He also said that government had waived the moratorium on recruitment for the Department of Immigration so it can meet the staffing needs for the new system.

Keep checking CNS this week for the details of the changes to the immirgaiton system from finger printing to new work permit fees.

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Rights committee says talks delay regrettable

| 01/12/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of the government’s announcement last Thursday that the constitutional talks with the UK had been postponed, the Human Rights Committee has said it is concerned that the change may jeopardize the timetable for reform. The talks have been postponed owing to a concern by government that the opposition may not have shown up because a key member of the team is still dealing with post hurricane recovery on Cayman Brac.

The HRC released a statement on Friday 28 November the day after the Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts had said he had called Sir Ian Hendry the Leader of the UK negotiating team to ask for a new date for the talks following public comments made by Rolstin Anglin and Juliana O’Connor-Connolly of the opposition United Democratic Party indicating that the talks should be postponed because of the situation on the Sister Islands in the wake of Hurricane Paloma.  

The committee said while it wished the Sister Islands a speedy recovery it wanted to see he talks rescheduled as soon as possible. Tibbetts said on Thursday at the post cabinet televised press briefing that he felt the talks had to be postponed as all parties needed to be involved but that the delay was problematic.  “Government is gravely concerned that this postponement has implications for our ability to complete the process on time, given the reality that the Legislative Assembly will be dissolved in March of next year,” Tibbetts had stated.

The HRC said it agreed and hoped that talks will be back on track as soon as possible long before the dissolution of the LA. “The HRC shares the concern that this postponement may jeopardize the timetable for significant progress for constitutional reform,” the committee said in its statement. “As the organisation vested with the promotion and protection of human rights in the Cayman Islands, the HRC remains on hand and committed to participate in the process of constitutional reform. The HRC trusts that as soon as scheduling permits the talks will be rescheduled — hopefully early in the New Year.”

Anglin denied that the UDP had threatened or suggested they would not turn up for talks but said given the circumstances in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman the opposition felt that government should have already decided to postpone talks.

The government has persistently accused the UDP of using delaying tactics throughout the constitutional reform process and the UDP seemed to gain ground when July referendum on the government’s constitutional proposals was cancelled. Government said in the end it would hold the referendum at the same of General Election in May based on the proposals coming out of the negotiations rather than going in. The government has insisted however, that it will complete negotiations before the election.

“The importance of a new, relevant constitution can not be overstated, particularly given recent events involving the Judiciary and the Police and we believe this process must be pressed ahead to a satisfactory conclusion.  The country deserves no less.  Unfortunately, the situation now is that we are really running against the clock,” Tibbetts said.

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Cayman history captured on film

| 01/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The trial of Long Celia, a turtling dispute between local fishermen and the Nicaraguan Government and the court marshal of Captain John Lawford over the Wreck of the Ten Sail key events in local legal history are to be documented on film as part of an exhibit at the National Museum which will open this January.


Museum Education Officer Nasaria Chollette who wrote the scripts retelling the stories is directing the recreation and filming of the events which visitors will be able to watch at the museum in the exhibit on the Judicial History of the Cayman Islands. The current production surrounds the court marshal of Captain John Lawford, responsible for the convoy of ships, now famously know as the “Wreck of the Ten Sail”,  that ran aground off East End.  Another video production recently completed was the trial of Long Celia, an African slave who was found guilty back in 1820 of inciting rebellion and the third, to be filmed shortly, involves a turtling dispute between local fishermen and the Nicaraguan Government that culminated in Court action in Nicaragua.

In the Wreck of the Ten Sail production the story of the convoy of vessels captained by John Lawford which ran aground in the early hours of 8 February 1794, off Gun Bluff, East End is told.  Captain Lawford’s trial to determine his culpability was held on 1 April 1794 on board the HMS Success, anchored off Port Royal, Jamaica.  Captain Lawford was acquitted at the end of the trial.

The story of the African slave Long Celia is set in times of unrest, Britain having outlawed the slave trade in 1807 in the UK – but not in the colonies; in the Cayman Islands slavery was not abolished until 1835.   Understandably, rumours of freedom began to reach the ears of enslaved Africans, and slave owners in turn sought to maintain their domination. Even though it was dangerous to speak about this premature news, hope silently grew and voices were raised, leading to the 1820 trial of Long Celia, who was found guilty of sedition and stirring up rebellion.

Playing Long Celia is Shanek Connolly, a John Gray High School student taught by Chollette prior to her joining the Museum last month.  Shanek’s involvement in the shoot is part of new drama teacher Charlene Jarrett’s arts internship programme. 

Cynthia Arie Hew played the character, Sarah, who brought the charges against Long Celia.  Also featured in this piece are John Gray High School’s Tim Parker and Brynmor Martin.

In the Wreck of the Ten Sail production the role of captain is played by Bill Milligan, with Edward Todd, Brynmor Martin, and Tim Parker, playing the crew.

Apex Video Solutions is filming the productions, which will be edited by overseas museum production specialists Wilderness Graphics. Chollette wrote the scripts and is directing all video productions.


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Everyone counts in 2010

| 01/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The next Cayman Islands Population and Housing Census will take place in October 2010, under the direction of the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO). Population censuses have been conducted in Cayman since 1802 and the last occurring in October 1999. The office has now unveiled the logo which will be used to help publicise the count.


Members of the Advisory Committee gathered last week to get the first look of the census logo, inspired by the work of renowned Caymanian artist, “Miss Lassie” (Gladwyn K. Bush). According to a government release the logo was created by the Government Information Services’ graphics team and it depicts gender, race, and nationally non-specific stylised figures housed in a colourful island-style home accompanied by the slogan, ’2010 Everyone Counts!’               

The release stated that the logo’s colours of green, red, blue and yellow came from swatches selected from one of Miss Lassie’s most famous paintings, The World Praying for Peace. Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) Director Maria Zingapan advised committee members that several logo concepts were screened by staff members who also made the final selection. “We particularly liked the fact that the chosen design was ageless and could be adapted in future just by changing the date,” she said.

Committee Chair and ESO Chief Statistician Ronnie Andersson said that he too was delighted with the design which he felt would be “easily recognized internationally for its distinctiveness and cultural sensitivity.”

Publicity regarding the coming census will focus on three key messages: the census is coming – make sure you are counted; the census is important and provides useful, necessary, information; and the census is safe – your confidentiality will be ensured.

The new logo and the importance of census information will be featured on GIS Spotlight on 8 December. Information on the 2010 and past censuses, and links to information on other jurisdictions can be found on the ESO website at Campaign updates will be uploaded periodically.


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Traffic a key concern for eastern districts

| 01/12/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A series of community meetings Bodden Town, East End and North Side as part of efforts by the RCIPS to engage with the community it serves, keep residents updated on policing matters and hear what issues are affecting the community,  were dominated by traffic issues despite a number violent incidents this year in those districts.


Area Commander Chief Inspector Richard Barrow said although some of the meetings were very well attended it would be welcoming to see more people come on out. “What was very welcoming during this round was the participation of other agencies such as the Youth Services Unit. We are very grateful for their support and our thanks are sent to them,” he added.

In Bodden Town, police said in a release that residents raised the recruitment of local officers and Barrow said that there are many Caymanian officers in senior positions within the RCIPS and that efforts to attract local applicants continue. One resident called for more interaction between officers and residents and highlighted the good example set by some current staff. Bodden Town MLA, Osbourne Bodden was in attendance and offered his support for the community meeting process which allows residents to voice their concerns. He also stated that he had personally seen an improvement in policing but continues to have concerns about the school zone speed limits being violated. He called for more focus on traffic issues and pledged his support to the police. A presentation was given by Lisa Charlton of the Youth Services Unit which outlined services available in the district and programmes that are on offer.

In East End, where only six members of the community attended, updates from police included the high level of traffic offences detected recently and the additional assets in the Marine Unitwhich will no doubt assist with tackling the arrival of drugs on our shores. Minister for Communication, Works and Infrastructure Arden McLean was in attendance and applauded the efforts of Neighbourhood Officer Treva McIntosh which, he said, is a testament to community involvement and a key component in the success of policing in East End. Residents asked for an increased police presence. Despite a number of violent incidents in the district this year, the residents did not ask about that situation or any details on the most recent stabbing which occurred following the district’s heritage day during Pirates Week.

In North Side a spate of recent break-ins at vacant homes in the district. Burglary prevention packs were handed out and crime prevention tips were given. The Neighbourhood Policing activity update included a poster and essay competition on road safety and drug awareness which was carried out at North Side Primary School. A presentation was also made by the Youth Services Unit which police said was very well received with a number of people offering to volunteer their time to assist with the development of young people in the district. Areas of concern included the use of Jet Ski’s close to the shoreline and residents called for more interaction with officers working in the district.

“Overall, we are very pleased with how the meetings went,” Barrow noted. “We can only know what the community are thinking if we get out and ask them, and if they come forward to tell us,” he said pledging that comments and concerns raised will be taken on board when looking at priorities for policing the Eastern Districts.

The next round of community meetings will be the Island-wide Commissioners meetings which are scheduled to take place in January, 2009. 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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