Archive for January 5th, 2009

Police seek witnesses to murder of teenager

| 05/01/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said on Monday that the 17-year-old man killed on Saturday was Jerome Christopher Alexander Russell of George Town. The teenager was shot dead outside Shir Reynolds Nightclub and police are appealing to the public for any information.  “We need to hear from anyone who has information which could help this investigation. Even if your information seems trivial, it could be the piece of the puzzle that we are looking for,” said Detective Inspector Kim Evans, who is leading the investigation.

“This is a tragic incident which has resulted in the loss of a very young life, and society has begun to feel the effects of this heinous crime,” Evans added.

Shortly after 10:00 pm, the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a report of gunshots in the vicinity of the Shir Reynolds Nightclub in Shedden Road, George Town. Police and medical personnel attended the location and found Russell had been fatally shot near the exit to the car park of the club. A second 22-year-old victim subsequently attended the Cayman Islands Hospital with a gunshot wound, who remains under medical supervision, police said.

An exclusion zone has been established around the crime scene and a wider area which may hold important evidence. This area remains restricted to pedestrians and vehicles at this time. The RCIPS apologises for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks everyone for their cooperation and patience.

A family liaison officer has been appointed and the RCIPS said that it sends condolences to the victim’s family and friends. Anyone who can help with the investigation is asked to contact detectives on 949-4222 or a number of dedicated cell phones; 926-1773, 925-7240, 926-3975 or 925-6761. People can also call 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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Drug force nets major haul

| 05/01/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Police have intercepted a 38-foot, two-engine canoe carrying 385 pounds of ganja and arrested five men following a drug importation interception operation by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Drugs Task Force. The operation took place on Saturday evening, 3 January, off the coast of Grand Cayman and involved helicopter Air Support, the Marine Unit, Uniformed Support Group,as well as the DTF.

During the coordinated operation, police, customs and immigration officers aboard Cayman Defender, the newest addition to the Marine Unit fleet, intercepted the canoe on the water. The vessel was carrying four men, aged 19, 19, 50 and 56, along with 385 pounds of ganja. The four men were arrested on suspicion of importation of ganja, and both the drugs and the boat were seized. Following further investigations, police said that a fifth man, aged 24, was then arrested on land on suspicion of conspiracy to import ganja.

“This is a great way for the Drugs Task Force and the Maine Unit to start 2009 and should act as a warning to others who are involved in the importation of illegal goods,” said Superintendent Kurt Walton. “Our ability to detect and intercept the movement of prohibited items has been greatly boosted by the addition of Defender to the Marine fleet which is set to be boosted still by two more fast interceptor vessels in the very near future. We are more equipped than ever to tackle drug and gun crime and everyone involved in these trades should be concerned.”

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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Letter to Gordon Barlow

| 05/01/2009 | 9 Comments

I have read your columns and letters over the years. Some I find truly irreverent, distasteful and downright offensive and others, thought provoking and even amusing. But I admire your candour.

Fortunately for you Caymanians are accommodating, tolerant, patient and generous in spirit.

As you said in your most recent column entitled ‘Cayman at the Crossroads’, there is little point in “shilly shallying around" the issues.

The Cayman Islands are a comparatively young community with its own set of problems, but trying nonetheless to build a nation. There will be bumps along the way. We also live in tough times with tough issues. But moving beyond the Caymanian vs non-Caymanian and the Caymanian vs Status/Paper Caymanians divide will not be resolved by pejorative language and expressions designed to embarrass and or antagonize Caymanians; this rhetoric will only serve to further polarize the community and breed more cynicism and resentment.

Barrack Obama is clearly not Jesus Christ and we should temper our expectations from him. But he was initially an unlikely candidate, with a certain ‘audacity’, to rise to the highest office in the United States. But by exercising a certain sensitivity to issues that affect all people he managed to inspire the American people into believing in themselves, embracing their democracy, in the interest of moving beyond the political divide and the past into a future with possibilities. We in Cayman can learn a lot from his message of hope and in knowing that we don’t have to be trapped by the past.

So I invite you, Mr Barlow, in this New Year, to embrace the challenge posed by Barrack in suggesting that change is possible if we want it “Yes we can!”. Instead of stubbornly hammering Caymanians about our perceived deficiencies, let us discuss issues in a way that invites us all to make contributions that lift these islands up, that assists all of us in undoing past mistakes.

I am not suggesting that it will be easy. 2009 barely began when we discovered that a 17 year old male was shot to death and a 22 year old male was shot and hospitalised. I hear expressions of concerns from people about not having proper pensions, affordable medical care and unemployment, in particular the unemployment of our unskilled youth. Parents continue to be concerned about the delivery of quality education in our schools and the future of their children. People are concerned about the country’s freeze on employment in the public sector and the severity of the global meltdown and its impact on our economy. Many are of us are worried about Cayman’s fiscal and debt performance and its ramifications for our children. Employers are concerned about human resource development and management. We struggle to find ways to stimulate local investment. Environmental issues abound. As I said before, tough times and tough issues and solving our problems will involve a mix of new ideas, fresh responsible approaches and community solidarity.

Constitutional modernization discussions are vital; we need look no further than the challenges posed by, and residual consequences of, Operation Tempura. But equally important are the day to day issues that impact our lives, building a certain consensus to deal with these problems and finding solutions as the way forward, together. To quote Professor Rex Nettleford, “we can hang together or be hung separately”.

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New requirements for travellers to US

| 05/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In one week’s time the United States will start using a new border control system to screen short-term foreign travellers. From 12 January all nationals and citizens from Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) countries, including Caymanians using British passports, will have to get prior electronic travel authorisation when travelling to US under the VWP.

This new electronic authorisation, the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), requires travellers from Visa Waiver Countries who wish to stay in the US for 90 days or less to use the Internet to apply for permission to enter the country three days before departure. Authorisation will be valid for two years or until the applicant’s passport expires. Applications must be submitted no later than 72 hours prior to departure, and those who come to the airport without ESTA authorisation are likely to be forced to reschedule their flights or cancel.

ESTA applies only to people using the VWP. It does not apply to the local Cayman-US visa-waiver, administered by the Cayman Islands Passport and Corporate Services Office. The VWP, by contrast, falls under the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

According to the DHS, ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travelling to the United States under the VWP, and in most cases there will be an almost immediate determination of eligibility for travel under the VWP. However, DHS recommends that applications be submitted as soon as a VWP traveller begins to plan a trip to the United States. VWP travellers are not required to have specific plans to travel to the United States before they apply for an ESTA. The traveler must provide biographical data including name, birth date, and passport information and answer VWP eligibility questions regarding communicable diseases, arrests, and convictions for certain crimes, and past history of visa revocation or deportation, among others.

An approved ESTA is not a visa. It does not meet legal or regulatory requirements to serve in lieu of a visa, when a visa is required under US law. The visa process generally requires an appointment, a personal appearance at a US Embassy/Consulate, and an interview with a consular officer. Visas are issued by the US Department of State, whereas ESTA authorisation is issued by the US Department of Homeland Security.

If an application is denied, it will prohibit the passenger from travelling under the VWP but will not affect visa eligibility.

Gail Duquesnay of Adventure Travel and the former consular agent for the US in the Cayman Islands told CNS that travellers need to remember that the information they put on-line needs to match the green form they fill in on entry and that the on-line details will need to be edited each time people travel if they are going to a different destination.

“The registration is valid for two years but while your personal information is not necessarily going to change in that period, unless you are taking identical trips every time you go to the US you will need to go on-line and edit the details about where you are staying,” she said, adding that any changes in passport details will also have to be recorded. She also said that most local agents will help people do the registration if they don’t have access to the Internet but that the website was free and there was no need to go to other websites and pay for assistance.

Caymanians travelling from the Cayman Islands directly to the US and back, with a Cayman Islands passport and a valid local visa-waiver (issued by the Cayman Islands Passport and Corporate Services Office) do not have to apply for electronic travel authorisation, nor do those travelling on a Cayman Islands or other passport, with a valid US visa issued by the US Embassy in Kingston, or any other US Embassy.

This authorisation may be obtained online for free, through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. It is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through a US government website.

VWP travellers should be aware of unauthorised third-party websites that charge for information about ESTA, and for submitting ESTA applications to DHS on behalf of the traveller. Thesebusinesses and websites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the US Government. Using one of these, or any other, private service to apply for travel authorisation via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval.

For more information visit the US DHS website

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Bush slams PPM over debt

| 05/01/2009 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The Leader of the Opposition has hit out at the government for shouldering the Caymanian people with debt and described the PPM administration as a “runaway train". In his New Year speech and a clear start to the election campaign, McKeeva Bush criticized government on numerous issues, from the CUC deal to signing Cayman up to the European Convention on Human Rights. Describing 2008 as a challenging year he said, “Unfortunately with the PPM at the helm 2009 holds no better promise.”

In a speech damning the current administration the Leader of the United Democratic Party said the government had little or no regard for the lives of the Caymanian people.

“They have become blinded by political expediency, as the country smothers under the debt of their arrogance,” he said. “The PPM with their runaway capital projects has placed this country in almost $1 billion of debt.”

Bush said that the opposition had been responsible despite the reckless behavior of the government, whom he accused of poor leadership and economic management. He took aim at the government’s deal with CUC, which he said had seen Minister Arden McLean place an additional burden of $13 million on the country. He accused Education Minister Alden McLaughlin of breaching the trust of the people when he signed Cayman up on a permanent basis to what he described as a constitutionally changing agreement in secret with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Bush was also critical of the process of constitutional reform, as well as the proposals offered by the PPM, and defended his decision to leak the draft constitutional document to the people after the government had agreed with the UK negotiating team to keep the proceedings behind closed doors.

“As Leader of the People’s Opposition, I echoed your call for those meetings to be held publicly, in a strong and decisive manner, and even when the government failed to follow my cry continued,” he said. “Out of my responsibility to the people of these islands I broke protocol and made the draft Constitution available to the people despite the criticisms of the PPM for doing so.”

He also described the government as embarrassing in its inability to lead and criticized the Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts for numerous failures.

“They have squandered and have permitted the squandering of the people’s money, and shamelessly cry in too many instances that they were misled,” Bush added. He cited the issue of Hassen Syed who has been accused of embezzling several hundred thousand dollars from the University College of the Cayman Islands, as well as the fiasco over attempts to purchase a police helicopter that hasseen some $3 million spent on a machine not fit for purpose, and the regional insurance policy which has failed to pay up in the wake of Hurricane Paloma.

“The Government’s cries of being misled are just completely unacceptable.  It’s just pure terrible leadership!” Bush exclaimed.

Bush also criticized the government’s failure to see the economic crisis coming and their subsequent reaction.

“They have attempted to create a committee 18 months later, after the horse is out of the gate and this phantom committee that to date the public has not even heard of, the committee members have offered no solutions that the public is yet aware of,” he said.

Calling on the people to turn to the UDP at the next election, he said the PPM’s previous slander campaign aimed at him had proved false. “Time, and the Commission of Enquiry has proven them to be liars, and their management has exposed them to the world,” he added.

“We are in a defining moment in our history.  Our country is at serious risk.  But we offer change from the failures of the past and present – we offer strong leadership and hope.”

He said the people were seeking strong leadership and not monuments that the country cannot afford.  In a clear pitch for votes he asked the people of Cayman to stand with the UDP.







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Cayman Islands driver causes road death in US

| 05/01/2009 | 12 Comments

(CNS): A man from the Cayman Islands has been charged with reckless driving in New York state after causing a two-car wreck on Saturday 4 January on the Northway that claimed the life of a Clinton County woman. According to reports Paul J. Mosticchio, 45, was traveling south in the left lane near Exit 19 of Interstate 87 about 12:20 p.m. on Saturday when his 2009 Chevrolet swerved into the center lane, striking a 2008 Chevrolet operated by Ronald L. Martineau, 49, of Peru in Clinton County.


Mosticchio veered back to the left and his car came to rest in the median. Martineau’s vehicle went off the right shoulder of the road and overturned, Port said. Several injuries were reported in both vehicles. Inez Pelkey, 81, of Cadyville, a passenger in the Martineau car, later died at Glens Falls Hospital, the lieutenant said.

Mosticchio was issued tickets for reckless driving, moving from a lane in an unsafe manner and unlicensed operation. He is to appear in Queensbury Town Court on a later date.

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Forest holds unknown species

| 05/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): Seventeen previously unknown species of reptiles and amphibians have been found in the threatened rainforests of eastern Tanzania, Italian and Tanzanian scientists have reported. The haul of new species, which include chameleons, tree frogs and snakes, highlights the rich biodiversity of the East African country’s South Nguru Mountains region but the ecosystem is under threat from fire, logging and land clearance. Go to article

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