Archive for February 19th, 2009

Hunt for Lionfish in Bermuda

| 19/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Royal Gazette): An army of 120-strong has lent its efforts to a campaign to rid Bermuda of an invading armada of predators. However experts say the number of volunteers needs to be greater if the Island is to stamp out the lionfish, now threatening the ecosystem of our reefs and fisheries. The invasive species has decimated fish populations in the Caribbean and will do the same here, unless kept at bay. Chris Flook launched the Lionfish Culling Programme last year to encourage divers and fishermen to hunt them down. Go to article

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Woman blinded by acid wants same fate for attacker

| 19/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNN): Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she’ll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won’t see her eyes, and she won’t see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor. If she gets her way, her attacker will suffer the same fate. The 31-year-old Iranian is demanding the ancient punishment of "an eye for an eye," and, in accordance with Islamic law, she wants to blind Majid Movahedi, the man who blinded her. "I don’t want to blind him for revenge," Bahrami said. "I’m doing this to prevent it from happening to someone else." Go to article

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Fund needs contractors and cash

| 19/02/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The National Recovery Fund has said it is working hard to process over 200 applications it has received from Cayman Brac residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma. Although construction has started on around thirty homes with nine of those completed, Dr. Mark Laskin, Director of the Fund says there is a desperate need for contractors to come forward.

“Whilst our work in Brac is progressing well, we are hampered in our efforts by a lack of available contractors and we urge any qualified contractors to get in contact with our office,” he said. Another obstacle facing the Fund is raising enough money to complete all the recovery work required, estimated at $4 million.

Dr. Laskin said however that he is very grateful for and encouraged by the donations received from the private sector. Most recently, Paul Harris, chairman of International Management Services Ltd. (IMS), donated US $10,000 the fund and said he was pleased to be given the opportunity to make a contribution to assist Brackers in getting their lives back together.



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Cruelty to animals must end

| 19/02/2009 | 34 Comments

Animal cruelty is a disgraceful occurrence that is widespread throughout Grand Cayman. It is a state of affairs that should not be tolerated by the public.

One of the many reasons that make this issue disturbing is that many times it is youths doing the damage or adults treating animals brutally in front of young children. What kind of morals are these children being taught? What kinds of adults will this produce for Cayman society? The way an animal is treated surely reflects the type of person one is, and if they will pick on a young, defenceless animal, what is to stop them from moving on to greater crimes, as what sort of conscience must they have to be able to do that?

I also do not think that most people on the island know that cruelty to animals is an offence under clause 70 of the Animals Law (Revised) liable on summary conviction to a fine of $4,000 and to imprisonment for one year. If you see animal abuse going on, don’t hesitate to call the police. Anyone can help save an animal from further torment with just one call. If you don’t want to call the police, call the Humane Society at 949-1461.

Most of these poor animals are being bred by irresponsible owners or, despite free spay and neuter, not being brought into the Humane Society for the procedure and have puppies which are then left to die chained up to a tree, get abused and become emaciated.

In the tropics many diseases are present, some which are zoonotic (transferable between animals and humans), and too many people are letting dogs become sick and not bringing them in for treatment and/or leaving them to die where parasites find the soil to thrive in and find new hosts. The Humane Society and others on the island are even willing to foster and take these animals under their care to give them a better chance in life.

We are obligated to do something as it is people that brought these animals to the island and made this a problem. We are the reason these animals suffer.

There are many issues in Grand Cayman, but this is also an important one as the reputation of theisland also depends on it. Mahatma Gandhi said, "A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable…The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."

I myself have lived in many places in the world and must say Cayman is on the top of the list for "in your face" cruelty to animals.

In such a small island where so many people can be reached thereis no excuse not to educate the public, to let them know that it is an offence to abuse and neglect animals, to let them know there are people who care enough to do something about it and help, and that it is unacceptable to witness and allow anyone to indulge in such morally repugnant behaviour.

To express the extent of the cruelty I feel it’s best to give some examples.

The first is Sarge (left), who was found flea infested, dying of dehydration, starvation (weighing 17lbs) and heartworm on the side of South Sound Road with his companion and puppies who had been thrown out by their owner, an elderly woman. He had been tied to a tree his entire life and cannot walk properly as a result. Someone kindly took him in, at which time he was only given a few weeks to live and it has now been over a year. (Below: Sarge now at 60lbs)

Another dog was tied to a tree so tightly that the rope cut into his flesh. When he was found his bone was exposed and so badly infected his leg had to be amputated.

An old, deaf and almost blind dame, Ruby, was found on the side of the road, thrown out for a younger dog. She had been hit by a car that left her to die, and despite love and care from a foster parent, eventually died from brain haemorrhaging, which was the result of a tumour that formed as a consequence from being hit by the car.

A dog had acid thrown in his face…for fun! Some kids thought it was amusing to see such suffering. By the time the dog got to the vets, the acid was turning his bones into mush and he had to be put down. I won’t post a picture of this as it is too graphic…but I am sure you can imagine the suffering and pain he felt.

A mother and her puppies were found after being thrown in gasoline and bleach as treatment for mange. The mother had scars all over her face from having stones thrown at her by children, who she has been terrified of since. This is one of the puppies before  treatment —

– and right after treatment.

 The most recent story is that of a 2.5 month old puppy, Lucky (pictured up top), that was being tormented and abused by a group of young children, someone rescued him and he will now be fostered by a volunteer and treated for an infection he had been suffering from whilst being abused by these kids. The kids managed to fracture his skull!

All these animals went on to foster homes and all of them, despite the pain and suffering people had put them through, still put their trust in other human beings and remained or remain loyal companions. That is more than we can say about most people.

Please help prevent animal cruelty, get your animals spayed and neutered and if you cannot commit to making an animal happy, then don’t get one. And if you do have one now and cannot take care of it, at least make the effort to find it another home that can, or drop it off to the Humane Society on 153 North Sound Road, George Town. You can also call them at 949-1461 and someone will pick it up. If you have lost a dog please check

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UBS set to open its secret files

| 19/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): In the hush-hush world of Swiss banking, the unthinkable is happening: secrets are spilling into the open. UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, agreed on Wednesday to divulge the names of well-heeled Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts at the bank to evade taxes. The bank admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities. It is unclear how many of its clients’ names UBS will divulge. Go to article

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Cops get full marine fleet

| 19/02/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The focus on border protection is now in full swing following the arrival of three new purpose-built vessels for the joint Customs, Police and Immigration Marine Unit. Two new 38-foot fast interceptors, Tornado and Niven D and the 65-foot patrol boat, Cayman Guardian, join the Cayman Defender, which arrived in September last year, to bring the fleet up to full strength.

Officers from the unit have completed familiarization training, and residents of all three islands can expect to see them on active patrol and duty.

“These are great assets for us,” said Superintendent Mike Needham, who has been overseeing the marine expansion project for the last two years.  “Each boat has its own special capabilities which will benefit the unit in different ways, but ultimately they all have the same goal: to protect our borders and prevent contraband and illegal immigrants from arriving on our shores, to assist with safety upon the water and to help safeguard the tourist industry by providing a professional and effective search and rescue service.”

Needham said that with drugs and guns arriving in Cayman via the sea, these boats are particularly important to the fight against crime and have already demonstrated their worth. “Just this weekend one of the new vessels was involved in an operation to intercept a vessel suspected to be carrying drugs into Cayman waters. This is just the start of things to come,” Needham said.

The vessels have a combined value of just over US$2.8 million and are part of a wider government investment package into border protection worth approximately $7.7 million. The package includes the four new vessels and a state-of-the-art marine base, which is currently being built at the end of Hirst Road in Newlands, to house customs, police and immigration officers.

Police said that the arrival of the boats is the culmination of almost two years hard workby the project team, which includes Head of the Marine Unit Inspector Brad Ebanks, Sergeant Shawn Bodden, Sergeant Clive Smith, Peter Multon of the Public Works Department and Reshma Sharma of the Legal Department. “We really are very proud of these vessels and anyone involved in the trafficking of drugs or guns should look at these boats and feel very concerned. We are better equipped than ever to find them and catch them,” added Needham.

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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Haines aims for top cop job

| 19/02/2009 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Former Detective Chief Superintendent Derek Haines is hoping to return to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) in the top job following the submission of his application for the post of Police Commissioner on Wednesday. Haines confirmed to CNS that he had applied for the senior position but declined to make any comment about his decision, saying he believed the selection process should take its course.

However, the former senior officer who was decorated with the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) in 2005 has considerable support in the local community. Former President of the Rotary Club and local lawyer Stuart Diamond told CNS that he and a more than twenty others had already written to Governor Stuart Jack in support of Haines’ application.

“I have signed a letter along with a group of other concerned citizens, which we have sent to the governor supporting Mr Haines,” he said. “We thoroughly endorse his candidacy as we believed he has demonstrated his ability and stepped up to the plate in the past when others were found wanting.” Diamond said that during the post Ivan period in particular Haines showed his talent for leadership and he was the perfect man for the job.

Since March 2008, the role of Police Commissioner has been filled by a succession of Acting Commissioners as a result of the Special Police Investigation Team, which saw Stuart Kernohan, the previous RCIPS Commissioner, suspended from duty and later sacked by the governor.

The current Acting Commissioner James Smith arrived on island following the departure of Acting Commissioner David George, who was placed in the job by the governor because of Operation Tempura, and then the departure of Cayman’s shortest ever serving Commissioner, Royce Hipgrave, who left the island some 48 hours after taking up the post.

Smith, who replaced Hipgrave, is a former colleague of Martin Bridger, the lead investigator of SPIT, and has been in office since early December. He has not yet formerly declared his application for the post but told a local meeting in West Bay on Tuesday evening that he had been working on an application. Smith did apply for the position in 2005 but was beaten out by Kernohan.

CNS has also learned that a number of other candidates have also applied from overseas, although we have been unable to confirm if any other local existing or former police officers besides Haines have yet made an application. With Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon facing misconduct charges, Chief Superintendent John Jones still suspended and Deputy Commissioner Ennis having declared that he had no intentions of seeking the position, this leaves the field wide open.

Haines, who has forty years of service as a police officer in UK Overseas Territories, served in the RCIPS for more than ten years. A prominent member of the community as president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and President of the Cayman Islands Rugby Club, Haines enjoys wide support and many say he was an exceptional officer. When he received his QPM award in November 2005, he was one of only three recipients from the field of the police service. Haines is currently Operations Manager at Dart Realty Camana Bay.

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US$185 million loan

| 19/02/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): The government is borrowing US$185 million on a long-term loan from Scotia Bank and Trust (Cayman) Ltd and JP Morgan following the awarding of the contract on 6 February by the Central Tenders Committee (CTC). The loan is for government’s approved 2008/09 fiscal year capital expenditure and will be used to fund a wide range of capital projects and investments across government. The tender was open to A rated (or equivalent) banks and financial institutions.

According to the CTC website, 6 February was also the deadline for tenders for a loan to the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) for US$14,500,000 over a minimum period of twenty years for the acquisition of land and the development of the properties for future affordable housing projects.

The CTC has also announced the awarding of three other contracts, worth over CI$1 million collectively.

On January 23, a contract was awarded to Scott’s Equipment Ltd in the sum of CI$134,477 for phase one of the National Housing Development Trust’s East End Earth Works project. Scott’s Equipment Ltd is expected to complete site preparation works in just four weeks. On the same date. a second contract was awarded to Millennium Construction Equipment LLC for the sum of US$523,450 for the provision of a new primary tire shredder for the Department of Environmental Health. This piece of equipment will assist with the George Town landfill operations.

On 6 February, DSS Contractors was awarded a contract in the sum of CI$413,031 for phase two of the Sister Islands Affordable Housing Project in Cayman Brac. The company is expected to construct two 3-bedroom houses and two 2-bedroom houses in Cayman Brac’s West End within forty weeks of commencement of works.

Awarded contracts can be viewed on the CTC’s website, For further information, contact the CTC Secretary, Daun Alleyne on 244-2102 or email

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Brown seeks allies in tax haven crackdown

| 19/02/2009 | 2 Comments

(The Guardian): A worldwide crackdown on tax havens, from Switzerland to the Cayman Islands, will be spearheaded by Gordon Brown as the world’s richest nations use the global economic downturn to close loopholes that are costing them hundreds of billions in lost revenues. As he embarks on a mini-tour of EU capitals in advance of the G20 summit in London in April, the prime minister announced yesterday that he was negotiating with fellow world leaders the terms of a tough regulatory system on tax and banking that will cover every country. Go to article

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Accused scammer missing

| 19/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(ABC News): Texas financier R. Allen Stanford is accused of cheating 50,000 customers out of $8 billion dollars but despite raids Tuesday of his financial empire in Houston, Memphis, and Tupelo, Miss., federal authorities say they do not know the current whereabouts of the CEO. The Securities Exchange Commission alleges Stanford ran a fraud promising investors impossible returns, much like Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion alleged Ponzi scheme. Investigators Tuesday shut down and froze the assets of three of the companies Stanford controls and they say the case could grow to be as big as the Madoff scandal. Go to article

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