Archive for December 3rd, 2008

USB enquiry widens to HSBC

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(IHT): The U.S. Justice Department has expanded its criminal investigation into foreign banks that sell offshore private banking services to include Credit Suisse and HSBC, according to people briefed on the matter.The widening of the investigation is an outgrowth of an inquiry by U.S. prosecutors and regulators of UBS, the Swiss banking giant, and its sales of offshore banking services to wealthy Americans. Go to article

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Battle rages on climate

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(AP) — Environmentalists criticized the United States and other rich countries Tuesday for failing so far to make meaningful commitments at a U.N. conference on climate change. Some 190 countries are meeting in Poznan, Poland, for talks that are part of the attempt to reach a new climate-change treaty in the Danish capital of Copenhagen next year. Activists said industrialized countries are resisting setting long-term targets for cutting the emission of greenhouse gases unless developing countries make a similar sacrifice. Go to article

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US-Liechtenstein tax deal

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): The United States and Liechtenstein plan to sign an agreement to share information on banking clients that will erode the principality’s allure to rich Americans trying to hide assets behind impenetrable bank-secrecy laws. The accord culminates two years of negotiations, and follows a U.S. Senate committee probe this year of tax avoidance by clients of Swiss and Liechtenstein banks, including LGT Group, which is controlled by the principality’s ruling family.  Go to article.

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Atheist sign joins nativity

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(Settle PI): An atheist group has unveiled an anti-religion placard in the Washington state Capitol, joining a Christian Nativity scene and "holiday tree" on display during December. The atheists’ sign was installed Monday by Washington members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national group based in Madison, Wis. The placard reads, in part, "There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." Go to article

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Rastafarian can sue over workplace grooming policy

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(AP): A Rastafarian man who refused to shave off his beard or cut his hair to comply with a Jiffy Lube employee grooming policy can take his religious discrimination case to trial, Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Tuesday. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed a decision by a Superior Court judge who had dismissed Bobby T. Brown’s lawsuit against a Jiffy Lube franchisee before a trial.Go to Article

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Free flu shots for all

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS) Flu shots for all age groups are now available and according to Director of Primary Health Care Services at the Health Services Authority, Dr. Kiran Kumar this is the best bet for avoiding influenza. However, with a limited supplies of the free vaccines people should make arrangements as soon as possible.

Dr Kumar recommends that personsbe vaccinated before the peak of the flu season which ranges between December and January.  Getting a flu shot often protects you from coming down with the flu. While the flu shot doesn’t always provide total protection, it’s still worth getting because it reduces the symptoms of the flu.

 The shots are available at the General Practice Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and all District Health Centres, from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Residents of Little Cayman should contact the clinic to make arrangements. The Flu vaccine for both adults and children is being offered FREE to all residents.

No appointments are necessary, however Dr. Kumar advises that to avoid delays in the clinics persons should indicate to the registration officer at the clinic that they need to have the flu shot. 

For more information please contact: Public Health Clinic at 244-2648; The General Practice Unit at  244-2800; Faith Hospital at 948-2243; Little Cayman Clinic  at 948-0114; The District Health Centres; East End 947-7440; North Side 947-9525; West Bay 949-3439; Bodden Town 947-2299

 Dr. Kiran Kumar recommends that persons be vaccinated before the peak of the flu season which ranges between December and January.  

Getting a flu shot often protects you from coming down with the flu. While the flu shot doesn’t always provide total protection, it’s still worth getting because it reduces the symptoms of the flu.


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Residents learn how to fight crime

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two recent crime awareness seminars hosted by the RCIPS and UCCI went down well police said. Inspector Anthony White, of the RCIPS’ Training Department said he was pleased with the response. “Everyone should be informed on how to maximize their quality of life by simply understanding what they can personally do to reduce their levels of fear," White added.

 White, who holds a PhD in Criminal Justice, developed the sessions which were held at the University College of the Cayman Islands and highlighted crime prevention measures that businesses and homeowners can take in securing and protecting their properties. "Attendees at the seminar represented a cross-section of the community. This was important because the seminar contained information that was beneficial to all,” he said.  “We were pleased with the response and have received very position feedback on the sessions.”

Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Businesses and organisations interested in having the presentation delivered to staff or members should contact the Police Training Department 946-2012 or Leigh Smellie at the University College of the Cayman Islands on 526 5045.

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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Local Women recognized as heroes

| 03/12/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Described as dedication and selfless, Chamayrane Williams and Sharon Lamb-Titcombe have been recognized as Cayman’s Unsung Heroes in the First Caribbean Bank’s regional initiative. Each local hero will receive a donation of US$6,000, which will go towards their cause and the two women will also be put forward into the regional contest. The bank said that true heroes are those who give of themselves willingly without the promise of any reward or recognition.

On Tuesday 25 November, it recognised Williams and Lamb-Titcombe as two individuals who have impacted the community with their dedication and selfless acts of generosity. 

The bank said that since 1986 Williams (right) has made a significant impact in the community, bringing together people of all ages, giving underprivileged youth the prospect of a brighter future through good education and instilling strong Christian values. Currently working as a teacher’s assistant with a local school, Williams dedicates much of her spare time to projects that benefit her community. These include the “adopt a grandparent” programme which helps young people connect with older persons in the community, an adult reading programme and the Pathfinders Club, a religious organization that stresses Christian values, self development and community values to the youth.

In addition, on a regular basis Williams can be seen taking a group of children to her home after school to assist them with their homework or to allow them access to her computer to complete various school projects.

Lamb-Titcombe (left) is married with three children and has a challenging career as a banker.  With all these responsibilities she still finds time to work as a volunteer at Northward Prison, where she teaches inmates to prepare them for release back into the general community. Her classes include topics such as Reading, Social Studies, Geography, History and Card Design. She is also a co-founder of the “Save our Youth Foundation” programme whose primary goals are to transform the lives of young people through educational and spiritual development.

By providing these individuals with a better education and social skills, she not only increases their self-confidence but also increases their chances of obtaining a job on their release, allowing them to fully integrate and make positive contributions within their respective communities.

The card making classes allows these individuals to explore their creativity while staying connected with friends and family, forming an important support system after they are released. She has also taken a special interest in the Prison Football team “Transformers”, which she currently manages. She initially used her personal funds to ensure that the team was registered to play in a local tournament, and was subsequently able to secure sponsorship which allows the team to participate on an ongoing basis.


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Tourism sector hands out industry gongs

| 03/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After a lifetime’s contribution to the local tourism industry Rodney McDowall the creator of Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) received the top Stingray Award of Life Time Achievement and Chris Jackson received the Tourism Excellence Award for outstanding customer service at the 5th annual Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards recently.

These awards were presented alongside 10 others for the different sectors of the tourism industry at a celebratory dinner and ceremony followed by dancing at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman on Saturday 29 November. The event was organized by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Training, Education and Scholarship Committee.

The judging panel consisting of members of the CITA Board of Directors and the CITA’s Education and Training Committee selected the following people as winners from the more than 40 nominations. Karie Bergstrom said the event recognized many outstanding people who have contributed to the tourism industry. “Although the individuals who did receive awards were very deserving the selection process had been a very difficult one as the calibre of nominees was so high,” she said. “We would encourage those who nominated someone this year to do so again next year so that they may again be considered for recognition of their contributions. We are very proud that we have such wonderful and professional individuals working in the tourism industry on these Islands and congratulate them on their achievements!” 

Recipients were:

Accommodation Employee of the Year –Charmain Maxwell;

Accommodation Manger of the Year – Brendan O’Connor; Ritz – Carlton Grand Cayman

Allied Employee of the Year – Belinda Blessitt- Vincent; UCCI

Watersports Employee of the Year – Mr. James Dudley; Red Sails Sports

Watersports Manager of the Year – Mr. Chris Jackson; Atlantis

Restaurant Employee of the Year – Mr. Leofred Stull; Breezes by the Bay

Restaurant Manager of the Year – Ms. Joann Calma; Breezes by the Bay

Rising Star of Tourism Award – Shalico Jesse Christian; Ritz – Carlton Grand Cayman

Long Service Award – Mr. Nayon Anglin of Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. Mr. Nayon who is 78 years old has been dedicated to the Cayman Islands tourism Industry for the past 40 years.

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Bridger breaks pledge to talk

| 03/12/2008 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Since stating on 9 October that he intended to keep the community informed through public meetings, and fortnightly statements to the media, Martin Bridger the Senior Investigating Officer, of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) has attended only one public meeting and submitted only a four line statement to the press.  Despite enormous criticism of his investigation from elected officials and Sir Peter Cresswell, Bridger has remained silent.


Having announced his decision to change the way he communicated with the Cayman public he nevertheless said he would keep the community informed as much as possible but in fact he has made no public comments for several weeks and failed to offer any details of his investigation.

On 9 October he issued an official statement saying he would no longer communicate openly with the media following the release into the public domain of Anthony Smellie, the Chief Justice’s 54 page ruling. The legal document concerned Bridger’s application for search warrants for the homes of the senior police management team which were turned down as Smellie said there was no evidence of a crime. Bridger’s reaction to the publication in the local media of this ruling was to close down the open channels of communication with the press saying instead he would answer written questions and would issue a statement every two weeks.

 “Beginning today, (9 October) unless events require a more immediate report, a media update will be issued every two weeks.  Media questions presented in writing will be answered as fully as I can.”

Despite that pledge so far Bridger has offered only “no comment” to some thirty questions submitted over the last eight weeks by CNS.  His promise to meet directly with the people of Cayman has also been unfulfilled. Having said he would meet with them directly in various public forums it appears that he has only attended one crime prevention meeting held in West Bay in the wake of Estella Scott-Robert’s murder.

CNS requested details of any meetings that may have occurred with himself or any member of SPIT with local community groups or associations or any future planned meetings however, the answer from Bridger’s representative was, “no comment.”

Bridger said on 9 October that it was his experience in dealing with sensitive issues of this nature that the more informed the community, the better.  “To date, to a large extent, the community has heard from me only through the media.  As a consequence, the community’s views have, to a large extent, been informed by how the media has interpreted and reported my words.  That is no longer acceptable,” he had said “I recognize that within the community there are key stakeholder groups and individual stakeholders who, I, believe, should hear directly from me.  It is now my intention to put in place additional public communications to keep the community informed on these important issues.”

However, it appears that this has simply not been the case and Bridger has not spoken publically about his investigation since this statement with the exception of four lines delivered to the media in the wake of Sir Peter Cresswell’s ruling on Justice Alex Henderson’s judicial review.

On 24 October Bridger simply said in response to the UK judge’s damning 124 page ruling that he did not consider it prudent to comment but following careful analysis of the judgement with the legal team andother people affected by that judgement he would respond when he was able to do so.

Since that time Bridger has not responded to any questions or enquiries submitted by any media house regarding Cresswell’s ruling or any other aspect of the investigation dubbed Operation Tempura. Despite the fact that Henderson has been unequivocally cleared by the former Acting Commissioner David George of the investigation, that Stuart Kernohan the former Commissioner has been sacked and the elected Government has asked Bridger to leave, the former Scotland Yard internal affairs officer has made no official comments.

So far Bridger has spent at least CI$4 million of public money which some legal experts say may very well double once the claims for damages and costs are made by Henderson, Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones who still remains suspended on full pay and has still not been interviewed.

Bridger has been conducting his investigating firstly undercover since September 2007, and overtly since March of this year and as yet the only charges brought have been against Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon for releasing two men who had been arrested for gambling (during a time when there was an unofficial moratorium on gambling arrests) and one drunk driving offender on Cayman Brac who was reportedly arrested by an off duty officer rendering the arrest invalid.

As outrage grows in the United Kingdom over the arrest of Damian Green a Conservative MP who has been accused of leaking Home Office documents, the heavy handed approach of the Metropolitan Police in that case, especially the search of his office and community in the sanctity of the Houses of Parliament has seen people in the Cayman community drawing parallels with Bridger’s investigation. SPIT searched Justice Henderson’s home, computers, and offices in the court building on warrants signed by Justice of the Peace, Chief Officer in the Public Works Department, Carson Ebanks which were summarily dismissed by Cresswell in the recent Judicial Review.


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