Archive for January, 2009

Future technology lights up the past

| 30/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The pathways around the Mission House, the historic reconstruction of an 18th century Caymanian home in Bodden Town, have brought a touch of future technology as they are lit by solar powered security lights. Hoping to expand the solar project further in the future this small step towards a greener approach will also reduce the running costs for the National Turst.

The lights were switched on last week by the Governor Stuart ?jack at a small ceremony where Frank Roulstone the National Trust General Manager explained that the Governor had assisted in getting  funding for the project through the Overseas Territories Programme Fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The solar system was designed and installed by Electratech and Winston Ford built the associated infrastructure. The lamps chosen by Denise Bodden the historic programmes manager, although not necessarily a replica of those that might have been used during the period, are environmentally friendly and designed to offer very low light pollution.

Roulstone told the small audience gathered for the official ‘switching on that the solar system was expandable and as funds became available the trust would seek to install more panels and lessen the Mission House’s dependence on costly diesel generated electricity.

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Man charged in coldcase rape

| 30/01/2009 | 17 Comments

(CNS): A 33-year-old man has been charged with the rape of a female tourist to the Cayman Islands which took place in 2002. Christopher Omar Samuels appeared in court Thursday, 29 January, nearly seven years after the offence was committed. Acting Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden said this was an example of the RCIPS determination to solve crimes despite time lines and the presentaiton of new evidence.

“This was a horrible attack on the victim which has left her traumatized for many years. This charge demonstrates the RCIPS Criminal Investigation Department’s investigative commitment to investigating unsolved sexual offences,” Bodden added. “We will continue to work in partnership with other law enforcement agencies to bring to justice those responsible for such crimes." He said that in this case new solvability factors presented themselves and CID activated the investigation. "Hence the results,” he said.

Speaking on Rooster’s crosstalk this morning, Acting Commissioner James Smith said this demonstrated that the police were working hard to solve all outstanding cases. He said not only would they keep  all investigations open until every last possible avenue had been explored, they were periodically reviewing all cold cases as well. This rape, he said, was solved because of a DNA hit during a review.

Samuels will next appear in court on 3 February.

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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When you watch these ads, the ads check you out

| 30/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): Watch an advertisement on a video screen in a mall, health club or grocery store and there’s a slim — but growing — chance the ad is watching you too. Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer’s gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity — and can change the ads accordingly.  Go to article

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Global Worries Over US Stimulus Spending

| 30/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): Even as Congress looks for ways to expand President Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package, the rest of the world is wondering how Washington will pay for it all. Few people attending the World Economic Forum question the need to kick-start America’s economy, the world’s largest, with a package that could reach $1 trillion over two years. Go to article

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Deutsche Bank Cayman launches new service

| 30/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As wholesale money markets normalise, Cayman will be a vital jurisdiction from which to offer foreign exchange services as clients seek expertise to protect their positions or take advantage of exchange rate movements, Deutsche Bank says. Therefore, the bank has strengthened its ability to deliver Foreign Exchange services in Cayman with the appointment of Paul Tanguy (left), who will head up a new Cayman-based Foreign Exchange business.

In his new role, Tanguy will be responsible for developing a platform to deliver a world class service from Cayman. A release from the bank says he will also work closely with the Bank’s local team of Relationship Managers to support them with knowledge of the major money and foreign exchange markets. By developing the relationship with Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets team in New York, Tanguy will also ensure that clients booking foreign exchange business through Cayman have access to the Bank’s global money market and foreign exchange expertise.

Tanguy moves to Deutsche Bank in Cayman from Deutsche Bank’s Jersey office, where he worked for the Treasury team for five years. Prior to that, he held positions within the front and back offices of the Treasury departments at a number of asset management and banking organisations in Jersey. This included working with foreign exchange portfolios for corporate clients and high net worth individuals.

Andrew Falle, Director of Offshore Group Treasury, Deutsche Bank International Limited, said, "Paul’s knowledge and experience will be crucial in developing Deutsche Bank’s Foreign Exchange business in Cayman. His expertise in supporting the team of Relationship Managers will be particularly important given the current turbulence in global markets. It is anticipated that, as wholesale money markets normalise during the course of 2009, clients will seek expertise to protect their positions or take advantage of exchange rate movements. Cayman will be a vital jurisdiction from which to offer services in this respect."

Janet Hislop, Chief Country Officer for Deutsche Bank in the Cayman Islands, added, "Paul is a welcome addition to the team in Cayman. As a result of the jurisdiction’s geographical position, interacting with the major money centres and developing a full foreign exchange offering has been difficult in the past. By drawing on the latest technology and Deutsche Bank’s leading position in global foreign exchange services, however, Paul’s on-the-ground presence in Cayman enables us to develop a first rate foreign exchange service."

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CUC defends its CORE programme

| 30/01/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of considerable criticism of its Customer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme, local power firm CUC has denied that it aims to profit on the backs of customers. President and CEO Richard Hew has said that renewable energy is more expensive than conventional sources and that the CORE programme is not intended to provide a financial incentive but is for the environmental benefit only.

The Core programme was introduced earlier this month allowing customers with an interest in generation from renewable sources such as solar or wind to do so while remaining connected to CUC’s transmission and distribution grid. Hew stated that since then there have been various articles and letters in the press which have unfairly judged the intent of the programme.

“One of the assertions made is that CUC aims to profit on the backs of the CORE customers by buying their energy at a low cost and selling to other customers at a higher cost,” Hew stated. “The difference between the variable credit rate that CUC will give to the CORE customer and CUC’s selling rate is to cover the cost of CUC’s poles, wires and generators which have to remain in place to meet the electricity demand of all customers, including the CORE customer for the hours that he or she is not able to self generate.”

He said that with CUC compensating CORE customers for all of the savings generated, he failed to see how it can be interpreted that CUC is profiting from the CORE agreement, and to give CORE customers greater credit would shift an inequitable portion of fixed costs over to the non-generating customers whilethe CORE customers continue to enjoy the CUC system free. He said that renewable energy is presently significantly more expensive than conventional sources and requires a subsidy to be financially viable.

“This CORE programme is not intended to provide a financial incentive to those who choose to install and connect renewable generation sources; it is intended to introduce the ability for CORE customers to interconnect their renewable generators to CUC’s grid for a reliable energy source, on a cost and revenue neutral basis to CUC,” Hew added.

If the cost of renewable energy continues to decline and the cost of conventional sources such as diesel rises beyond the levels experienced last summer, Hew noted that renewable sources may then become viable without subsidy. “Until such time, if we are to adopt renewable sources for the environmental benefit only, customers would pay a premium. Such a decision to provide energy from more expensive energy sources cannot be taken by CUC on behalf of consumers; it must be directed by government policy, which CUC would implement subject to the approval of the ERA,” he stated.

Despite the criticisms, Hew said CUC was not discouraged and wanted to work with people interested in advancing the cause of utilizing renewable energy sources in Grand Cayman. “It was certainly not our intention for the CORE programme to evoke negative responses from some customers. We intended that the introduction of CORE would be a positive first small step to enable the adoption of renewable energy sources,” he said, but added that CUC could not lose focus on of the interests of the vast majority of our customers that do not own renewable energy generation.

He also addressed the question of net metering which he said was not necessarily fair to all, and in the US such systems are financed either through allocated tax dollars or by rate rebalancing, passing additional fixed costs to non-generating customers. “Net metering could therefore be considered unfair to those who do not generate electricity using renewable means if they are required to pay higher rates to subsidise renewable generators.”

Hew noted that valid questions have been raised on the size restriction and explained that the 10 kW was considered to be sufficiently large for residential application given that a home with a peak demand of 10 kW typically consumes approximately 4,500 kiloWatt-hours (kWh) per month, which is four times the average residential consumption level. “We are currently reviewing the size limit with the view of including only the restriction to the size of the residential customer’s peak load,” he added.

Related article: Tax break on green energy

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Cayman’s first numbers week

| 30/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Joining 99 countries in the promotion of the importance of numbers, the Cayman Islands will hold its first annual Statistics Week between 1 – 7 February. The purpose is to promote people’s awareness of statistics and their value, and to encourage them to support statistics and provide data; to promote the use of statistics; to bring together users and producers of statistics; and to improve relationships between statistical authorities and the media.

Run by the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) to meet objectives set in 1997 by the UN Statistical Commission, during the week there will be presentations to all grade 11 students, a programme for senior citizens at the Pines Retirement Home, training for government departments, radio interviews and a special GIS Spotlight production.

Jurisdictions around the globe, including most of the Caribbean Islands, will celebrate statistics days, weeks or months at various times throughout the year. Cayman will contribute to these international events next week, under the slogan "Statistics: Providing Information to Guide the Nation", which was selected following an internal competition in the Economic and Statistics Office.

“We have started  networking with the private sector during the past few years and now want to reach out to island youth, government employees and senior citizens, as reflected in our programs for the week,” said ESO Director Maria Zingapan.

“We hope todemonstrate the important role that statistics play in our lives, particularly the value they provide in planning for the future of our young people.”

The week will begin on Sunday with an 11:00am service at the Church of God on Walkers Road. School presentations, including one at UCCI, will take place on 2 and 3 February. On the following two days, government training for employees who use statistics will be held at the ESO’s Elizabethan Square offices.  A special community project for senior citizens is also slated for 4 February during the late afternoon at the Pines Retirement Home. The week will end with an ESO staff development workshop, and an employee appreciation and awards ceremony on 6 February.

The public will have a chance to listen to a number of topical discussions on Radio Cayman throughout the week, beginning on Monday with Morning Scoop at 7:20 am.   Programming focusing on Statistics Week will also be available at l pm, Tuesday and Thursday, on the Talk Today show.  

More information on Statistics Week, and links to information on other jurisdictions can be found on the ESO website at


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Tax break on green energy

| 30/01/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): An import duty waiver for renewable/alternative energy equipment has been approved reducing costs for residents wanting to invest in alternative energy sources, such as solar panels.  Brought to Cabinet by Minister of Communications, Works and Infrastructure Arden McLean, the waiver is part of efforts by his ministry and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to reduce the islands’ dependence on fossil fuels.

“There are many renewable energy sources that are economically viable for the Cayman Islands,” McLean explained, “The ministry would like to prevent any further delay caused by import duties in the adoption of renewable technologies.”

Effective since 1 December 2008, the waiver allows a full exemption from import duty on renewable energy equipment for residential homeowners. Waivers on similar equipment imported for commercial use will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the ERA.

To access the waiver on renewable energy equipment, buyers need to present a copy of the equipment invoice to the Customs Department and sign a declaration form which states the purpose of the equipment. Also, electrical contractors who import renewable energy equipment may seek refunds on duty after the equipment is sold and installed at residential applications.


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West Bay cops clamp down on traffic offenders

| 30/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Officers from West Bay Police station have made 92 prosecutions for various road traffic offences over a two-day period.  Between 27 and 28 January, 22 speeding tickets were issued; 44 traffic tickets for various violations such as failure to comply with stop sings and road markings; 24 people were prosecuted for not wearing seatbelts; and 2 traffic offence reports were issued.

“Road safety is paramount and drivers are encouraged to obey stop signs and road markings,” said Area Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell. “Failure to observe speed limits, obey stop signs or to wear a seatbelt may cause the death of the driver or another person. People must obey the law or face the consequences.”

Howell added that members of the public had raised concerns about reckless driving by taxi drivers who were reportedly overtaking in the centre lane, driving excessively and illegally on the hard shoulder and stopping to speak to other drivers whilst in traffic. “There are consequences and taxi drivers guilty of driving in this way are warned to discontinue these practices,” she said.

In a walk-about by neighbourhood police officers on 28 January, residents in the Jefferson Road area expressed satisfaction with the use of speed humps that had reduced speeding on that road.

Howell stressed that in order to maintain law and order the police will address all areas of concern within the district of West Bay. “We are not going to let up on our efforts to address all areas of concern. Anything that diminishes people’s quality of life must be dealt with.”

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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Bridger a liability says LoGB

| 30/01/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Following its refusal to grant any more funds for the Special Police Investigation Team, forcing the governorto use his reserve powers, the elected government has said that while Martin Bridger remains in charge of the investigation they cannot support its continuation. “For several months, using the best command of the Queen’s English, we have explained to the governor that the lead investigator will compromise the whole affair,” Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said.

Explaining that government was happy to sanction any necessary investigations into genuine wrongdoing within the police service or anywhere else, Minister Alden McLaughlin said the investigations had not revealed anything of substance, and in the most recent update to Legislative Assembly members, Acting Commissioner James Smith had nothing new to tell them.

“There was nothing, zero, nada, zilch!” he said, adding that Smith’s main purpose seemed to be to reassure the government that he was overseeing the investigations and that Bridger was an experienced and capable officer.

As the country waits on the update from the governor regarding the first part of the investigation which surrounded an alleged break into the Cayman Net News offices by two staff members, the government is concerned that whatever else SPIT may want to look at, if indeed there is anything, will be hampered by Bridger remaining at the helm.

“After the Henderson fiasco and Justice Cresswell’s ruling, we feel very strongly that the lead investigator, regardless of his commitments and experience, the net end result should he continue with these investigations as lead, he will compromise whole affair,” Tibbetts said, adding that there has been no indication from the governor or the acting commissioner that Bridger is leaving.

“We can’t agree to fund anything with that situation and we had to draw the line somewhere,” the LoGB explained. He said the situation where the investigators were not revealing what they are doing cannot go on indefinitely when so much money has been spent and there have been no results.

Again, ministers estimated that around $4 million dollars has been spent on the actual investigation, not including any of the damages that will be paid to Henderson.

“What has been produced thus far is nothing, and we are talking about millions of dollars and in these times that means more,” Tibbetts said.”Regardless of due process, judgements must be sound and people tasked to make decisions need to think those decisions through.”

McLaughlin said that it once again illustrated the critical need for changes in constitution that would prevent one person alone for making these kind of far reaching decisions.

Although SPIT was expected to have turned its attention to other issues within the RCIPS based on some alleged reports of wrongdoing, the ministers said that they were expecting to be told by 31 January whether there was anything that was of substance and that would be investigated, but there was no indication that the investigation would take on another life.

Speaking on Rooster’s Crosstalk radioshow this morning (Friday, 30 January), the acting commissioner said he would not have a report ready for the governor and Cabinet about what is happening with the investigaiton until the second week of February.

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