Archive for December 5th, 2008

Many children lack stability long after storm

| 05/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(New Yort Times): Last January, at the age of 15, Jermaine Howard stopped going to school. Attendance seemed pointless: Jermaine, living with his father and brother in the evacuee trailer park known as Renaissance Village since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, had not managed to earn a single credit in more than two years. Not that anyone took much notice. After Jermaine flunked out of seventh grade, the East Baton Rouge School District allowed him to skip eighth grade altogether and begin high school. Go to article

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Campaign to free dolphins

| 05/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(Times online): The row rumbles on over the 24 dolphins at Dubai’s Atlantis hotel. Environmentalists claim they were taken from the wild and flown in to entertain tourists, but the hotel has mounted an interesting defence: “They came from an existing facility called the Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre,” it says. Go to article.

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Liechtenstein sharing secrets

| 05/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(NYTimes): Under increasing scrutiny for its role as a leading offshore tax haven, Liechtenstein, has promised to partly lift the veil of secrecy shrouding billions of dollars held there by wealthy American clients and corporations. Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine country, will now in limited circumstances turn over to United States investigators the bank records of American clients suspected of tax evasion.  Go to article.

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Cayman Brac still in need

| 05/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  According to the latest government statement donations, support and assistant are still required on Cayman Brac and public donations of building supplies in particular can be made at A.L. Thompson’s Home Depot. Funds may be handed to any cashier, or to staff at the store’s enquiries counter. Donations will be used by Atlantic Star Company, in conjunction with the Recovery Command Centre on Cayman Brac, to purchase needed reconstruction items.

Donations of water and home furniture, especially beds and mattresses, are also being sought.  These items may be delivered to a container  being loaded between 9am and 5pm weekdays at the Family Life Centre, Church of God off Walkers Road.

The two Red Cross distribution centres on Cayman Brac will be open this Saturday, 6 December.  The locations are: across from the Aston Rutty Centre, and adjacent to Max’s Plaza in Spot Bay.  The opening hours are from 8am to 10am, and from 4pm to 6pm.

Cayman Brac residents who now have electricity restored to their premises should arrange to return borrowed generators to the Recovery Command Centre on Cayman Brac, located in the Bodden and Bodden offices. Generators will NOT be collected. Call 925-6262 for more information.

Meanwhile, although the Cayman National Choir’s Christmas Carol Concert on Cayman Brac has been postponed until further notice, the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will still take place at 6pm on Thursday, 11 December, on the District Administration lawn.

The Rotary Club of Cayman Brac will also host the Annual Senior Citizens’ Christmas Dinner.  The event takes place at 6pm on Saturday, 13 December, in the Cayman Brac High School’s new hall.


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Captive dolphins arrive

| 05/12/2008 | 32 Comments

(CNS): The first ever captive dolphins have now arrived in the Cayman Islands and have been taken to the facility, Dolphin Discovery at Boatswain Beach in West Bay. Six dolphins landed at Owen Roberts International on Thursday evening at around 7:30pm. The arrival was not made public. However, the press were alerted by various interested parties and three news houses —  CNS, CITN and Cayman Net News were at the scene to record their arrival.

Although no invitation had been extended to the press, Dale Creighton, the local investor for Dolphin Discovery, was happy to speak with the media. He addressed the controversy surrounding the introduction of such facilities in Cayman and invited the media to visit his facility to see for themselves the high standards that he said were in place. Creighton said that while he appreciated some people were against the facilities many were not and people were entitled to an opinion. He said the facility was of the highest standard and that all of his CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)documentation was in order and he hoped people would come and enjoy the attraction and witness howwell the dolphins were cared for.

“We have all the correct documentation and the CITES  management team has signed off with regard to the importation. Everything is legal and we have the best team of experts and vets in place to take care of them. We are doing this properly,” Creighton said.

He said the dolphins had flown in from Tortola where they had been for some time but he admitted that they were originally from Cuba. However, he said that he was satisfied that they had been acquired legally.

As the arrival of the dolphins was not publically announced, there were few people from the “Keep Dolphins Free Campaign” there to voice there disagreement. Billy Adam, who has long been an advocate against what he describes as the “dolphin abuse industry”, doubted the validity of the papers as he did not believe they had evidence of how the creatures were acquired in Cuba. He said the original paperwork had been sanitized. The documents and paperwork submitted by Dolphin Discovery for these animals was the same, he said, as that refused by Anguilla, Costa Rica and Dominica recently because it did not satisfy the standards regarding how they were caught — whether other dolphins were killed at the time, if they were taken from lactating females and other issues.

“It is not just Dolphin Discovery that is wrong here. The Cayman Islands Government is yet again ignoring the rule of law, this paperwork is not genuine and the Animal Welfare Committee has not met regularly as stated under the Animal Law to report or advise on the establishment of these facilities.”

Adam also noted that the facility does not have an operating licence. He said not only was this a cruel business it was also a corrupt one in which Kurt Tibbett, Charles Clifford and other government members were complicit.

Veterinary Officer Colin Wakelin from the Department of Agriculture was there when the dolphins arrived but he said his main role was to check that the dolphins were the actual animals noted on the documentation, which he said was in order, and the microchips on the dolphins matched. He admitted that he was not an expert in dolphins and cetaceans but he said their body temperature had been cooled to keep them inert and they were not dehydrated. They were not submerged in water but were in special travel slings for the five hour flight, and they were continually sprayed down with water for the duration of the journey, he explained. Wakelin said Dolphin Discovery’s vet was an expert in the field and a colleague whom he trusted to know how to maintain the welfare of the animals. Wakelin noted that Adam was correct and that the facility did not have an operating licence.

“No, this has not been issued as the regulations are not yet in place,” he said. Adam was outraged and said it was like building a plane while it was still in flight and that the law was being flouted for the sake of the almighty dollar.

Once the dolphins had arrived they were placed on Flowers Block flat bed trucks and, under police escort, were taken to West Bay facility. It is unclear how the facility will be regulated and how often the site willl be inspected though Wakelin said in the first instance the Departmen t of Agriculture will visit everyday TheDepartment of the Environment will have an interest in further controversies surrounding the discharge of dolphin waste into the surrounding marine environment. The discharge of dolphin waste will run counter to the very recent and impressive work at the Turtle Farm, where the facility is currenty addressing the damage caused to the reefs by waste emitted by the farm over the last four decades.  While the Water Authority has now issued the Farm a licence, it does not extend to the captive dolphinarium.

The arrival of these six is the first in what could be a significant  number of dolphins coming into Cayman. Creighton is expected to import more and Kent Eldemire is also close to completing his captive dolphinarium in Morgan’s Harbour. The fact that Cayman opted to allow two facilities has caused considerable controversy in the community because of what some see as the abusive nature of the industry and the very high risk of damage to Cayman’s marine environment. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association has been vociferous in its opposition and the Department of Environment has also raised concerns. A spokesperson for the DoE said they would offer comment later today.


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Jack admits SPIT mistakes

| 05/12/2008 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Although ratherambiguous, H.E the Governor Stuart Jack has issued his first significant statement regarding Operation Tempura since Sir Peter Cresswell made his ruling in October, which quashed the warrants issued to search Justice Alex Henderson’s home and office. The statement appears to suggest that the main investigation may be coming to an end and admits that mistakes had been made, but Jack said that Martin Bridger and the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) had still acted in good faith.

 “We have to acknowledge that mistakes were made in respect of the Hon Mr Justice Henderson and, as already announced, the police decided not to appeal the judgment in the Judicial Review.  However, l would like to remind everyone that Sir Peter Cresswell’s Judicial Review and subsequent ruling, setting aside search warrants, does not negate the fact that a considerable amount of exemplary investigative work has been carried over the past year by the Investigative Team,” Governor Jack said in a written statement released to the media at around 6pm on Thursday afternoon.

He did not, however, indicate what the results were of the SPIT team’s work, which has so far reportedly cost the Cayman Islands government more than CI$4 million.

Governor Jack did say he had been assured by Bridger that during the investigation he had always endeavoured to act in good faith. “I have always found him to have acted in a very professional manner. The actions that Mr Bridger took in regard to the Hon. Mr Justice Alexander Henderson were taken based partly on advice that he had received from independent legal counsel, which has now been questioned,” the Governor added.

The advice reportedly came from a number of places, but one significant legal adviser has been Martin Polaine, a British lawyer who has visited Cayman on numerous occasions and was in court advising the SPIT legal team during the Henderson ruling, although he has not been sworn in at the Cayman bar.

Governor Jack also said that on the advice of the Attorney General the first part of Operation Tempura cumulating in the alleged unlawful entry into the Offices of Cayman Net News on the 3 September 2007 and other related matters, including the prosecution of Lyndon Martin, “must be concluded properly and with dispatch.” No explanation was given for this comment and Jack did not explain what “properly and with dispatch” meant in terms of whether or not the prosecution against Martin would continue, whether former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan would be interviewed or not , or what the circumstances are now regarding the status of the currently suspended Chief Superintendent John Jones.

With the arrival of the new acting commissioner , James Smith, on Monday 1 December, the Governor said that Smith had been given a chance to consider the investigation and that he would now have oversight. “In his first few days in office he (Smith) has already focussed his attention on the investigations, but there are aspects which it will take a little longer to consider, notably in respect of the further unrelated allegations that have come to light.”

Although the Governor did not say what they were, it is likely he was referring to the charges against Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon which Bridger has maintained have always been separate and apart from the fundamental investigation surrounding Operation Tempura and the accusations that Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis and Desmond Seales, publisher of Cayman Net News, were in a corrupt relationship.

The governor also said that anumber of members of the community had come forward and spoken directly to Bridger and his team about other allegations of wrongdoing within the RCIPS, which would now be assessed. “Concerned with what I had heard, I commissioned an assessment to be undertaken of that information. That assessment will soon be completed and then decisions will be made as to how to move these matters forward,” Jack stated. “I am committed to taking action where there is alleged corruption in the RCIPS.  I wish to make it clear to those individuals who have demonstrated the courage in coming forward that the information they have provided will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.”

Jack ended his statement by saying that the new commissioner would be responsible for keeping the public up-to-date as developments take place. Smith, CNS has learned, has worked in the past with both Bridger and John Yates, the assistant commissioner from Scotland Yard who was supposed to have oversight of SPIT in the UK, and he also came to Cayman in 2005 to interview for the position of Police Commissioner, which was ultimately given to Stuart Kernohan.





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