Archive for January 27th, 2009

Driver serious following crash

| 27/01/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Yet again the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) have found themselves having to investigate a single vehicle car crash that has left the driver seriously injured after he lost control and drove into a wall. Police said the 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call at 2:00pm on Sunday, 25 January, reporting that a car had overturned on its side on Fairbanks Road in George Town, near Siesta Gardens.

Police and medics responded to the scene and found a man in a red Chevrolet Spark that had been travelling north along Fairbanks Road. Police were informed that whilst negotiating a left hand bend, the 37-year-old driver lost control of his car and collided with a guard wall. The man had to be removed from the vehicle by Fire and Rescue personnel along with the ambulance crew. The driver, who sustained injuries to the head, was taken to hospital and is reported to be in a stable but serious condition.

Scenes of Crime officers processed the scene and an accident reconstructionist is carrying out investigations. Anyone who witnessed the crash or believes they saw the vehicle prior to the crash is asked to contact Acting Chief Inspector Derrick Elliott on 925-2176.

In a another incident on Cayman’s roads at the weekend, a male cyclist received minor injuries after a collision with a car on West Bay Road in the vicinity of Queens Court.  On Friday, 23 January, an 18-year-old cyclist made a right turn into the path of White Toyota Mark II which was travelling towards George Town. The cyclist fell to the ground and received minor bruises to his body and palms. He was assisted by the 31-year-old man who was driving the car and was taken to George Town hospital for treatment and has since been released.

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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Cops find cocaine bonus in recent ganja haul

| 27/01/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS):  More than one and a half pounds of cocaine has been discovered among the 385lb haul of ganja seized earlier this month, police said today (27 January).  The drugs were found when a 38-foot canoe (left) equipped with two engines was seized by police in an operation on 3 January. The cocaine was found stuffed and hidden in some of the ganja parcels following a full examination by the forensics analyst.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) confirmed that 1.63 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of around US$75,000, was also recovered. The operation, which took place off the coast of Grand Cayman, involved officers from the Drugs Task Force, Marine Unit, Uniformed Support Group as well as Air Support through the use of the helicopter.  Four men on the boat were arrested and charged for importation and possession of ganja. In addition to the ganja charges, the four men will also be charged with importation and possession of cocaine.

“Proactive policing prevented these drugs from getting on to our streets and anyone involved in the importation of illegal goods should be warned that they will be prosecuted if caught,” said Superintendent Kurt Walton. “The recent addition of the two fast interceptor vessels along with a 65 foot patrol boat to our Marine fleet will only further enhance our ability to target those engaged in such activities. “

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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Tourism bodies support port

| 27/01/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Although it was expected that the Association for the Advancement of Cruise Tourism (ACT) would publicly support the proposed port project, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) has also announced that it is behind the development, even though a number of people dependent on stay-over tourism for their livelihood raised significant concerns about it in a public meeting recently.

Both CITA and ACT have said that, following their own meetings, they are now publicly supporting the overall concept of a berthing facility for George Town. CITA stated that members of both tourism bodies met on Monday night to discuss the current state of the cruise industry in Grand Cayman and reached an overwhelming consensus on three points.

Firstly, that Grand Cayman must have a berthing facility for cruise ships. Secondly, that the berthing facility must be in the George Town Harbour area. Thirdly, completing the current Environmental Impact Assessment must be a top priority for government and nothing must delay or derail the process.

"CITA recognises and supports the proposal that the best and only practical location for cruise berthing facilities are in the George Town Harbour area,” said CITA President Steve Broadbelt. “Our support is exclusively contingent on the outcome of the Environmental Impact Assessment. The EIA must be commenced without further delay in order to allow sufficient time for a comprehensive study. The completion of this study should not be delayed by the elections or by negotiations with any potential developers.”

While ACT support was expected, CITA also represents people and companies working in the stay-over tourism business. A number of people working with stay-over guests raised several concerns at the first public meeting about the terms of reference for the EIA that stay-over business would be negatively impacted by the port development.

ACT’s members have the most to gain from the project and its spokesperson, Emma Graham-Taylor, said that without question the local cruise industry faces serious challenges without berthing. “ACT fully supports cruise ship berthing, the location of George Town harbour for this berthing and the current Environmental Impact Assessment now taking place,” she added.

ACT members are said to be concerned about the continuing decrease in cruise ship arrivals and the severe impact it is having on their businesses. “Let’s get all the facts and then all decide,” said local businessman and ACT member Ronnie Anglin at Monday’s meeting.

“Fact one: We are currently discharging cargo and approximately 1.5 million cruise passengers from a port built for half our population and very little thought of cruise tourism. Fact two: Tourism is one of two pillars of our economy, and the cruise sector has been ignored for far too long. We are now playing catch-up with our competitors and we are way too far behind already. Fact three: We have been discussing this for eight years now. We cannot waste another day and still expect to retain our place as a preferred destination.”

CITA and ACT both said that they would be encouraging government to expeditiously finalise the necessary EIA and any further negotiations that must take place to bring the project to fruition.


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Top cop denies morale low

| 27/01/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Against a backdrop of complaints that morale is low and an unprecedented number of alleged resignations from the Royal Cayman Island Police Service, Acting Commissioner James Smith, the fifth man in the job since March, has denied that the service is suffering any more problems than the normal day to day pressures of policing. “People have told me morale is low,” he said. “But they are not demoralized, they are under pressure.”

He said he had been out on the streets and worked with the various units and the problems that existed were down to normal operational pressures of policing, and while there are always some people who are demoralized, the acting commissioner insisted it was no different from any other job. He said that the 6% cut in resources imposed on the public sector would further impact staffing levels which will add to the pressure. However, that pressure was part and parcel of the work encountered by the police as a matter of course, and with numbers down officers were bound to feel the stresses, he said.

Staffing levels at the department have reportedly fallen by around 25 uniformed officers since 2007 and there were no recruiting classes conducted during 2008. Smith said given the circumstances it was not possible to have officers in all the places he would want 24 hours a day but it was his job to manage the situation.

“My job is to be firmly in control, to give strong direction, to give clear leadership and get a grip on the issues that are causing concern,” he added. “We need to look at ways to manage officers properly and (ensure) they get properly rewarded, and we are in discussions to see how we can meet that challenge.

He said equipment and resources were important and that the development of the new marine unit, the arrival of the boats and the training unit would all helped to alleviate some pressures.

Despite being employed for a six month contract only, Smith spoke about his need to relate his long term vision of how he sees the service developing in the future. He said that was ongoing and he would be briefing officers in a full and formal manner about that shortly. However, on his arrival in December Smith said he would not be making any decisions about whether or not he would apply for the full time position of Police Commissioner and that the six months would give him a chance to get to know the service and the service to get to know him.

Smith has already applied and been turned down for the position in the past as he was one of the candidates beaten out by the former Commissioner of Police, Stuart Kernohan, who was sacked by the governor last year. Kernohan, Chief Superintendent Jones and Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon were suspended as a result of a Met investigation into accusations made against Deputy Commissioner Ennis and newspaper publisher Desmond Seales which began in September 2007. Since then, Smith is the fourth acting commissioner to step into the top cop’s role.

The investigation is estimated to have exceeded four million dollars and has moved from one conducted by Scotland Yard officers to retired police officers employed directly by Governor Stuart Jack. Meanwhile, morale within the RCIPS has said to be very low, with a number of senior and uniform officers quitting.

The Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT), led by SIO Martin Bridger, has recently turned its attention back to the RCIPS after an unsuccessful investigation into the local judiciary. The unlawful arrest of Justice Alex Henderson saw Bridger and his team face damning condemnation in the court for both the illegal arrest and search of the judge’s home and office

With the SPIT focusing on the RCIPS once again, so far the only officer charged is Dixon who is facing misconduct allegations relating to two independent decisions he made to release individuals arrested. According to SPIT, Chief Superintendent John Jones has been interviewed but charges have not been brought, nor has Jones returned to work and remains suspended on full pay. There has been no indication whether or not Kernohan has yet been interviewed and no charges have been brought against him.


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Paulson nets £100m from RBS slide

| 27/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Guardian): Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson has made a £100m profit by betting that the Royal Bank of Scotland’s share price would fall dramatically, according to calculations by the Guardian, adding fuel to the debate about the impact of short-selling on bank stocks. New York-based Paulson, who made more than $3bn by betting against the US housing market, now appears to be profiting from positions placed on the assumption that bank shares would tumble in the aftermath of the market chaos caused by the demise of the sub-prime mortgage industry. Go to article

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New Bahamas Reserve Protects Marine Life

| 27/01/2009 | 1 Comment

(Washington Post): The Bahamas government has created a marine reserve off the island of North Bimini, preserving critical mangrove habitat and a shark nursery that had come under threat from a resort there. The reserve, which will be protected from most fishing and other "extractive activities," is home to endangered species such as the Nassau grouper and the Bimini boa, as well as a vibrant nursery for lemon sharks. Go to article

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Creationist hate mail for not crediting God

| 27/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Guardian): Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week’s Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: "They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance." Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give "credit" to God, Attenborough added: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball." Go to article

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EU shifts on Guantanamo Detainees

| 27/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Washington Post): European diplomats said Monday that they are willing to help the Obama administration empty the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but stopped short of making specific promises to give inmates new homes in Europe. Foreign ministers from the 27 members of the European Union met in Brussels to discuss possible ways to resettle Guantanamo prisoners, following President Obama’s pledge last week to close the detention center within a year. Go to article


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Obama directs regulators to tighten auto rules

| 27/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): President Obama directed federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks. He also ordered the Transportation Department to begin drawing up rules imposing higher fuel-economy standards on cars and light trucks. The directives make good on an Obama campaign pledge and signal a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy. Moving quickly on tailpipe emissions and on mileage rules are emphatic actions Mr. Obama could take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy. Go to article

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Uganda crushes Cayman

| 27/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Daily Monitor): Uganda proved why they are one of the favourites to make it to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup qualifier with an authoritative 9-wicket win over Cayman Islands on Sunday night. Man-of-match Roger Mukasa Galiwango was the hero, smacking the Cayman Islands bowlers to all corners of the Hurlingham oval in Buenos Aires, Argentina in an entertaining knock of 81 runs that came off just 75 balls. The 19-year-old’s inning included 11 boundaries and two sixes. Go to article

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