Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Teenager charged over school break-in

| 03/07/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS):  A sixteen year old boy has been charged with burglary by West Bay Detectives following an incident at Grace Christian Academy in April this year. The youngster appeared in court today, Friday, 3 July and has been remanded in custody until 17 July. Detective Sergeant Collins Oremule reminded the public that burglary is an opportunistic crime and urged members of the public to ensure that their homes and businesses are properly secured at all times.


“A burglar will select his target because it offers him the best opportunity to carry out his crime undetected, with the fewest number of obstacles in his way,” he said. “A building that presents itself as unoccupied and insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured.”

Sergeant Oremule also encouraged the community to work in partnership with the police to fight crime and to mark their property for identification purposes. “Reducing the risk and fear of crime is a task for the police and the community working together. To keep the Cayman Islands safe, we need residents and people who visit these islands to do their part in making life difficult for criminals.”

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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Rock thrower arrested

| 03/07/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Police said today that they have made an arrest in connection with reports of rock throwing at cars on the East-West Arterial road in Savannah and that the investigation is continuing. Although police have refused to give any details regarding the individual who was arrested on suspicion of missile throwing and criminal damage, CNS understands that the suspect is a juvenile. At least three vehicles have been damaged by rocks and the incident was brought to wider public attention this week by local activist Sandra Catron.

At least one of the incidents took place on 1 July, and according to Catron, when police were first told they seemed reluctant to investigate. “I was with one of the victims when they were waiting for the police to attend following their call but they did not seem to be taking the incident very seriously,” said Catron who had issued an email alert and contacted the local media as she was aware of at least three cars being hit and other people who had seen the rocks being thrown.

“This is an exceptionally dangerous thing to do and I was concerned that the police were not acting on this,” Catron added. “I think anyone who has seen this or has had their car damaged should contact the police with the details so that these youngsters, and one witness believed it was young people, can be held accountable and pay for the damage.”

Acting Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden today denied that the police had not taken the reports seriously: “We are taking these reports very seriously and will pursue all lines of enquiry until we have caught all those involved,” he added.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Sergeant Ian Lavine on 526 0661.

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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Government stonewalling

| 03/07/2009 | 9 Comments

It seems our government that has been making all the right moves lately has an Achilles’ heel: replying to e-mails! I have sent in about 4 e-mails in to government so far, only one was answered.

But even then, the reply I got was to contact another government official who in turn told me to send it to another person who, in fact, was the first person I sent it to. It’s not like I want to know the pass code to the governor’s gate, I just want to know what’s up with the police station here in the Brac.

I am 16 years old and am working for Cayman News Service for the Work Experience Program at CBHS. I am currently writing a story on how the RCIPS in Cayman Brac has to stay in the UCCI campus here due to the fact that station hasn’t been fixed yet. It received damage from Hurricane Paloma which was some 7 months ago. I sent an e-mail to a government official on the matter. Three days later I still haven’t received an answer to such a simple question.

In this democratic community that we live in, nothing should be withheld from the public. What befuddles me is that the government will gladly answer inquires about the budget and expenses, land development etc, but they can’t answer simple questions.

I understand that there may be some information which may be confidential, but other matters which involve the public need to be made known. If the citizens of the Cayman Islands cannot trust their leaders, then who can they trust? We are all on the same level here. We all want to do what’s best for our country. We all want to know what’s best for our country. We have a right to know everything happening in our country. It doesn’t make sense to hide anything.

We demand and deserve answers. Maybe it isn’t that you are hiding something. Maybe you are busy. I know typing a few sentences is a lot of laborious work, but a little bit of time that’s all we request. It is our obligation as people to know the truth about our country.

As a citizen of the Cayman Islands there are things I would like to know about my country. If I am to take pride in my country, then I must first know what it stands for. I have nothing against some secrecy. Important information in the wrong hands can be fatal for a country. So I am all for the guarding of important information, but in the end of it all if the government wants us to trust them, they must trust us.

The fact is the government won’t answer me, a 16 year old, on a simple question, but are more than happy to comment on the harder more complex issues. Now, I am not saying I haven’t received help. Ms Deborah Denis of the RCIPS is the only government contact that has helped me so far. Dr Mark Laskin of the NRF has also been a tremendous help to me. Ms. Lynn Smith-Moore of DART has also been a great help. But it’s sad that when I send something in to the government leaders my matter just gets brushed aside it seems. That, my friends, just doesn’t seem right.

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CIO moves on

| 03/07/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): At an informal reception at the Immigration Department celebrating the promotion ofoutgoing Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson, retiring Chief Secretary George McCarthy called him “the ultimate professional”, and he received accolades from a wide cross-section of civil service colleagues. Manderson took on his new role of Deputy Chief Secretary on Wednesday, 1 July, taking over from the new Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks, who has filled the seat just vacated by McCarthy.

Manderson’s farewell function, held Monday 29 June, concluded 27 years in uniform – from his beginnings as a work experience student, his subsequent progression through the ranks, and on through his years as chief. At the reception the new Chief Secretary said, “This is a happy and glorious experience. I look forward to you doing even greater things on the other side of the street.” Deputy CIO Kerry Nixon, JP, said, “This is another great milestone. Mr Manderson ‘s move will augur well for Immigration and for all the Cayman Islands, for he’ll now be able to direct policy.”

Examples of Manderson’s exemplary service were numerous, and events such as the Cuban refugee crisis, Hurricane Ivan, and the struggles to protect Cayman’s borders and combat illegal immigration practices were all cited. Other tributes noted his efforts to further his qualifications, and his involvement in changing immigration legislation.

Describing Manderson as an ideal role model for youth, Attorney General Sam Bulgin said “Franz is the essence of someone who is always striving. He brought a bright and refreshing approach to Immigration matters, and I’m sure he will bring the same passion, dedication and commitment to his new position.” Similar sentiments were voiced by others, including Cabinet Secretary and former Immigration Chief Orrett Connor, RCIPS Commissioner David Baines, Work Permit Board Chairman Sharon Roulstone, former Deputy CIO Dennis Brady, and Deputy CIO Bruce Smith.

Manderson thanked his colleagues and other government officials who had allowed him to take risks and make hard decisions. He especially expressed his gratitude to those closest to him – wife Nuvia, their children Alyssa and Franz Jr., mother Jenny Manderson and sister Paula Evans – for their unwavering support and encouragement.

Commending the many members of his extended Immigration family, he said, “I am leaving with a tremendous sense of achievement. I came to the Department with a vision which has been realized by your commitment and hard work.”

These top level civil service changes coincided with this week’s start of the new fiscal year for the Cayman Islands Government.


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Maples donates to Squash Association

| 03/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Twelve players will be representing the Cayman Islands this year at the Caribbean Junior Squash Championships, which takes place in Barbados from 9 through 20 July. According to a release from one of the sponsors, Maples and Caulder, the Cayman players include perhaps one of the best male teams in years. It is hoped they will win the boys’ team championship this year, while the girls look poised to strongly contend in the individual events. All players take part in their respective age groups from under 13s to under 19’s. Last year, Cayman placed 5th overall and are hoping to improve on this.

Photo: Paul Lumsden, a Partner of Maples and Calder, presents Cayman Islands junior squash player Courtney Staffordwith a donation to help her team participate in the championships.

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Free football summer camps

| 03/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) is holding a series of youth football camps over the summer, and thanks to corporate sponsors such as FirstCaribbean International Bank, the camps are completely free of charge. This year there will be four camps held across the Cayman Islands: one in George Town, one in North Sound, one in Cayman Brac, and one that is open todisabled children.

Kennedy Ebanks, accepting the donation on behalf of CIFA, explained in a release from the bank, “These annual football camps have been running since 1984. They are free for boys and girls between 6 and 16 years of age. The kids receive a free t-shirt, lunch each day and a souvenir ball at the end of the camp.”

Making the donation for FirstCaribbean was Patrick Cover, Corporate Relationship Manager. “These camps perform an important community service and FirstCaribbean International Bank is proud to join with the other sponsors to ensure they remain free of charge to Caymanian families,” he said, adding that as long time supporters of the Lighthouse School, FirstCaribbean knows how important it is to have one of these camps focused on the needs of disabled youth, who are too often overlooked.

For further information on dates and times for these football camps please contact the Cayman Islands Football Association.

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Brac Reef may be back by year end

| 03/07/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): No reopening date has been set for the Brac Reef Beach Resort on Cayman Brac, which was partially destroyed by Hurricane Paloma, November 2008. However, resort manager Trudy Viers says she expects construction and repairs to be completed by the end of the year. Because no finishing date has been set, no room bookings are being taken by Brac Reef at this time, she said. The lobby area, offices, boutique and work-out room, which were levelled are being rebuilt and will have the same architectural footprint as the ones before them.

Major damage was caused to the upper floor guest rooms, which are currently being repaired and upgraded. More balconies are being built for the guest rooms and all buildings are being reinforced against hurricanes, such as storm resistant windows and reinforced roof. The Brac Reef is even getting a new look, Viers said.

The main focus on construction is the main lobby and finishing the rooms, she said. Plans for the lobby have received approval so construction will begin shortly. The kitchen and spa of the Brac Reef are still functioning, though the kitchen hastemporarily moved into the conference room, and the catering service is operating off-property.

A lot of work has also been done on the beach and Viers said she is hoping to build back the dock soon, though this is not their primary focus.”It’s been a real challenge because 2008 was a record year, but I’m also excited about the improvement being made,” Viers said.

The Brac Reef dive shop, Reef Divers I, was also severely damaged. Dive Operations Supervisor Mick Maher said the shop reopened just last week, but it is not fully operational. Only 5 of a staff of 12 remain after Paloma. In spite of all this, the Dive Pirates, a non-profit organization which allows disabled people get training for diving certification, came for their 5th annual trip, from 20 to 27 June with 58 divers.

Reef Divers also works with the Cayman Brac High School with their Water Sports course. This was supposed to run in January but due to the damage caused by Paloma, it was impossible for Reef Divers to conduct lessons this past school year. Maher said, “We should be back to normal by next year, and we’d love to take a class.”

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NRF working hard in the Brac

| 03/07/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund (CINRF) has raised over CI$1 million specifically for the Brac towards the repairs of homes destroyed during Hurricane Paloma and is planning to raise more. They estimate the total costs to be around CI$2.5 million. So far, the CINRF has spent some CI$700,000 on 50 properties, which averages about CI$15,000 per property. Currently the CINRF has received 212 applications on Cayman Brac with about 140 of them being approved.

So far, they have completed 50 houses in 7 months. With 90 or so more houses to go, the NRF still has a while before they are completed. When asked about how much longer the repairs will take, Director of the National Recovery Fund, Dr Mark Laskin said, “We have no firm deadline, but it is expected that we shall finish our work in the Brac before Christmas at the current rate.”

The Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund was created to help repair the Islands after natural disasters. It was established back in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan and now is being put into use again in Cayman Brac. It receives its money through charity events and donations. In order to be eligible for coverage from the NRF; the house must have had significant Paloma-related damage, the owner/occupier was not insured and he/she did not have enough income to do the necessary repairs themselves.

Jewel Scott, who lives in The Rock and whose house was damaged during the storm, said, “My roof was gone and my front porch wasn’t there.” The house was initially built in 1960 with it being expanded in 1976, and it was the newer part of the house that was destroyed, she said. The repairs were initially started by the NRF, but were then transferred into the hands of the Paloma Recovery Committee. Atlantic Star is now constructing the building. She said repairs have come along quite well; the roof is on and the front porch is there again. She currently receives electricity from her son’s house via an extension cord, which supplies the fridge, the water pump and the washing machine. Repairs aren’t quite finished yet, but she still stays at the house during the day and sleeps at her daughter’s house during the night.

Robert Ebanks, a resident of West End whose house was damaged by the storm who is being assisted by the NRF said, “The repairs are really good. They really helped out.”

The CINRF receives help from many organizations, such as NCB Homes which donated a team of 9 workers to help the rebuilding effort in Cayman Brac. The men will be stationed in the Brac for 2 weeks, providing the Fund with invaluable skills and man hours to help re-house those who are eligible for coverage by the CINRF.




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Switzerland top tax haven

| 03/07/2009 | 0 Comments

( If you wanted to know where the super wealthy like to hide away from increasing taxes in countries like the UK, a new survey of the so called ‘mobile wealthy’ – i.e., those who can relocate overseas and not have their working lives affected by the move – prefer Switzerland above all other offshore tax havens. The survey, spoke to high net worth individuals and their advisers in 11 nations internationally to determine which country stands out as a top tax haven. While Switzerland topped the chart the UK and the Cayman Islands also scored highly.

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Mac announces board and key post changes

| 03/07/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): As the new United Democratic Party government settles into the business of running the country, McKeeva Bush announced today a number of changes and new appointments to boards and other key posts. He said that it was customary when a new government  took office that members of the various boards would resign and await for government to either accept or refuse those resignations. Speaking about the Cayman Airways Board, where there were a number of resignations in the last few months and weeks, he said that a new board had now been appointed under the chairmanship of Jude Scott.

He also confirmed that the questions over Olsen Anderson, who had been CEO designate, was a staff matter for the airline but as far as he understoodhe had not been confirmed in post by the Civil Aviation Authority. Bush said there was no automatic say so for anyone to be appointed CEO and it had to be confirmed by the CAA.

Bush told the media at the first press briefing for the new government that Ken Hydes, the former managing director, would be returning to the Turtle Farm but this time as chair of the board. At the Trade and Business Licensing Board the LoGB said Garth Arch had been appointed as chair. He also announced his intention of creating a port authority for Cayman Brac, which he said would be headed by Sammy Jackson.

Following his announcement in the Legislative Assembly that George McCarthy would be taking up the chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Bush also confirmed that McCarthy would be heading up the Financial Services negotiating team, which would be dealing with the necessary details relating to tax information exchange agreements. He said that he had established a new Financial Services Council, which would include McCarthy, along with Anthony Travers, Eduardo Silva, Nick Freeland, Charles Jennings, Sophia Dilbert and Paul Byles, who has also taken up the chair of the Cayman Islands Development Bank.

Turning to the UCCI, he said that he was in discussions with that board to recruit a permanent president and he was going to recommend that Roy Bodden should be given the post.

Bush also said that he was creating an entirely new committee as part of his goal to look at establishing a long term national development plan for the country. While Kenneth Ebanks, the former Director of Planning, along with Carson Ebanks, the chief officer from his own ministry, would be heading the initiative, he said the new committee would be chaired by Burns Connolly and further appointments to that committee would be confirmed soon.

Asked what was happening with Angela Martins, who was the Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education before being replaced last month by Mary Rodrigues, Bush said that was a matter for the chief secretary.

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