Archive for July 10th, 2009

Man charged with attack on tourist

Man charged with attack on tourist

| 10/07/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Ronald Rodney Ebanks (40) appeared in court on Tuesday, 7 July charged with aggravated burglary following an incident which occurred at Lacovia Condos on West Bay Road in the early hours of 2 July. Investigations into a similar incident which occurred at an address on Boggy Sands Road, West Bay, on Tuesday, June 30 are continuing, and police say they have not ruled out the possibility that the two incidents are connected.

Ebanks is accused of entering the condo armed with a knife and threatening the female occupant who was in the room with her child. He has been remanded in custody until his next appearance which is expected to take place next Tuesday, 14 July.

Police were alerted to the incident at 3.50 am on the morning of 2 July. Officers were told a man had entered the condo, made threatening remarks to the female occupant and ran from the room when her child screamed out. Police carried out an area search which resulted in the arrest of Ebanks.

In the Boggy Sands incident which occurred during the early hours of Tuesday, 30 June, a 26-year-old woman was seriously shaken and left with minor injuries after she awoke at around 4:10am to find an unknown assailant in her home holding something in his hand that she thought could have been a gun. The woman managed to escape from the intruder, described as a dark, tall man of stout build who was wearing short pants.

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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Lawyers mentor students

Lawyers mentor students

| 10/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As part of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Mentoring Cayman’ programme, a group of attorneys at Walkers acted as mentors to a number of young people over the past year, devoting a considerable amount of their own time to the project. ‘Mentoring Cayman’ pairs up each mentor with a mentee from a local school, who through regular visits to the mentor’s place of work, gains experience and exposure to working life.

Through regular contact with their mentor, the students have someone to introduce them to potential career paths, receive the benefit of good advice and help them understand their own strengths and capabilities.

"Participating in the ‘Mentoring Cayman’ programme has been an extremely positive experience
for all of us," said David Collins, partner with Walkers. "The thought of embarking on a career can be quite daunting when you are still at school, and it has been particularly rewarding to see how ambitious some of these young people are."

Also taking part in the programme were Walkers’ associates: Alexandra Woodcock, Barnaby
Gowrie, Caroline Chaloner, Michael Makridakis, Philip McGhee, Rob Jackson and Thomas Williams.

The students from John Gray High School that paired up with Walkers mentors were: David Feare, Kerseanna Ewers, Tecashanell McIntosh, Tony James and Zachary Powery. From St. Ignatius, the students were: Anthony Hurlston, Michael Sun and Yannick Whorms. Among the criteria required
for students to take part in the programme is that they must be in Year 11 with an excellent
report, be recommended by their school and receive permission from their parents.

This year’s ‘Mentoring Cayman’ programme, which began in November last year, involved the students visiting their mentors at the Walkers office on a monthly basis. Ensuring that their time with their students was fully utilised, the Walkers attorneys challenged the mentees with some interesting assignments. Much of the focus of the office sessions was devoted to the personal development of the students. In addition to drawing up ‘life plans’ and future goals, time was spent researching university entrance requirements and procedures, as well as ongoing discussions regarding academic progress. Some of the students attended lunches with a number of prominent individuals from all sectors of the economy, including accountants, airline pilots and senior civil servants.

"Other activities included trips to the Courthouse to view Court sessions in action, a visit to the Cayman Islands Law School and research into various academic and training programmes which aligned with the mentees’ interests," Mr. Collins said.

Many of the students also met with their mentors socially throughout the course of the year, including boat trips to Rum Point and playing golf. In May the mentors and students all came together for a Catamaran Cruise which was a great social event for everyone involved and provided a good opportunity for the students to share their experiences.

The programme came to an end on Wednesday June 24 with a reception at Government House, during which all the students received a commemorative award and certificate of completion. The Governor thanked all of the mentors for their time and efforts, commenting that the experience gained by the mentees would go a long way towards helping them decide on a future career path.

Launched in 2002, ‘Mentoring Cayman’ is a youth development initiative jointly funded and supported by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture. Since inception, the programme has involved over 300 high achieving and motivated high school students, to help prepare them to become the next generation of leaders in the Cayman Islands.

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Caribbean struggles to recover from ’08 hurricanes

Caribbean struggles to recover from ’08 hurricanes

| 10/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(Miami Herald): The Caribbean is still struggling to recover from last year’s hurricanes, with crews scrambling to rebuild homes and replant crops as the region faces a new season of storms. Last year was one of the most active seasons in more than six decades, with 15 of 18 Caribbean nations reporting damages, according to the Caribbean Development Bank. At least six major storms caused an estimated $355 million in damages from the Bahamas to the Dominican Republic in 2008, Pamela Knights, of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, said Thursday.


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Crime hot spot assessed to improve safety

Crime hot spot assessed to improve safety

| 10/07/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Police are taking a closer look at the McField Lane area of George Town as it has become a notorious area for violent and other crimes. Installing closed circuit television (CCTV) and improving lighting were the two main subjects discussed as part of an assessment to see how crime can be ‘designed out’ of the area by police and government officials. Although police said this is now a hot spot area for them with regular patrols, more needs to be done to make the place safer.

“We want to make the area as safe as possible,” said Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis.  “The area is already on our hot spot list, which means patrolling officers pay particular attention to it, but there is more that can be done to improve safety. Unfortunately, we cannot have a police officer on every street corner and we need to look at additional crime prevention measures to supplement our strategy.”

It is hoped that by working in partnership with various agencies measures can be taken to help residents feel safer and deter and detect crime. “Crime prevention is a job not only for the police, but for our partner agencies and the community as a whole,” Ennis added. “We need to work together to do everything we can to ensure people feel safe in their neighbourhoods.”

Ennis along with Detective Sergeant Collins Oremule conducted a walk through of the area with Brian Tomlinson, Head of the National Roads Authority and Tristan Hydes, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary of District Admin and Gender Affairs.

Ennis explained that it was an exploratory meeting to make an assessment of the area and examine what might be possible and appropriate.

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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Two released after shooting

Two released after shooting

| 10/07/2009 | 34 Comments

(CNS): UPDATE Friday 3pm — Two men who had been detained shortly after the shooting in West Bay Wednesday night by officers responding to the scene have been released from custody. “We are now satisfied that the involvement of these men is not criminal and they were, in fact, themselves victims in this incident,” Superintendent Kurt Walton said. Two other men who were arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning in connection to the triple shooting, which left 20-year-old Marcus Ebanks (left) dead and two teenagers seriously injured, remain in police custody.

Ebanks died after being taken to hospital on Wednesday evening (July 8). A 14-year-old-boy who was seriously injured in the shooting has been flown off-island for treatment and the 18-year-old victim remains receiving medical attention. Family Liaison Officers continue to support relatives who are going through extreme pain and suffering and the RCIPS sends condolences to those who lost a loved one this week.

A team of detectives led by Superintendent Walton are operating from a Major Incident Room at West Bay police station. Speaking about the investigation so far, Walton confirmed that the victims had been outside a property on the junction of Turtle Lane and Bonaventure Road with four others when two masked men emerged from the bushes and opened fire. It is unclear at this point how the offenders made off from the scene.

Superintendent Walton expressed thanks for the assistance that has been provided by the public so far, but called for anyone who has information who has not yet passed it on, to do so. “What happened is tragic,” he said. “If you have information about what took place or the events that led to it – it is your duty to come forward. Speak to an officer you know and trust or call Crime Stoppers, but get your information to us somehow. Even if you think it is insignificant, it could be vital to us.”

Two dedicated hotlines which are manned 24-hours a day have been set up for residents to reach the investigation team directly. The hotline numbers are: 926-1773 and 926-3975
These numbers are manned 24 hours a day and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.

“We need to put an end to violence,” said Walton. “We need to take those responsible off the streets. If you can assist us to do this, please come forward.”

Speaking at a press breifing on Thursday afternoon Police Commissioner David Baines said the polcie were appealing to the public to come forward and explained how two masked gunman emerged from the busheson the junction of Turtle Road and Bonaventure Road and opened fire on some seven unarmed and innocent young men who were sitting on a wall in the area. He described a scene of panic and mayhem caused by the shooting and said that police had not yet established how the murderers had made their escape.

The new commissioner confirmed the identity of the murdered man as 20-year-old Marcus Ebanks and said his brother, 18-year-old Rod Ebanks, had also suffered serious injury but his life was not in danger. However, 14-year-old Adrian Powell is still fighting for his life and has been airlifted to the United States. Baines also said that the mother of the Ebanks brothers is a serving police officer with RCIPS.

Speaking about the four arrests, (two of whom have now been released), he noted that during the course of an investigation people are often arrested but it does not mean that there is any evidence to charge those people or that they were the gunmen and said that the RCIPS was still in need of the community’s assistance.

The commissioner said that the police needed to hear from anyone with any information no matter how insignificant it may seem. He explained that in both Wednesday evening’s shooting and that which took place on Sunday morning, where Omar Samuels lost his life following a shooting in McField Lane, people had been reluctant to assist the police.

“In both cases there are people who know and saw more than they are saying,” said Baines. “The police rely on the people to help. The community are the eyes and the evidence of the police.” He asked the community to search their consciences and come forward. He said that two people were dead and a boy was fighting for his life.

Baines said that there was no truth to any speculation that Samuels, who was shot and killed on Saturday night, was a police informant and he said that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that the young men who were shot at last night were involved in anything illegal or criminal or were engaged in using drugs or part of gangs.

Baines pleaded with the community to come forward with any information they had regarding people who they knew to have weapons. “Rarely do we get the chance to save a life but every weapon taken off our streets could do just that and anyone who can tell the police about a weapon could be saving the lives of their own loved ones.”

He said he was aware of the issues of mistrust between the community and the police but  that anyone with information on either shooting could talk to any police officer that they trusted or, if not, they could contact Crime Stoppers. He said that he would be doing what he could to protect the integrity of information given to the RCIPS and he intended to sack any police officer that would leak information given in the course of investigating a crime.

Anyone with information on this or an crime can also call their local police station of 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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Mac accused of ‘disrespect’

Mac accused of ‘disrespect’

| 10/07/2009 | 33 Comments

(CNS): The outgoing chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has hit out over his impending removal by the new government and described its failure to tell him he is going as “blatant disrespect”. He accused the administration of politicizing CIMA by undermining its expected independence from government. In a long statement Carlyle McLaughlin said he first heard of his removal from a reporter and has still not been told officially.

“I have still had no discussion or communication with anyone in an official capacity about my ‘removal’ as chairman of CIMA,” he stated. “I can only say that my disappointment with such blatant disrespect is appalling after the many years of service I have provided to my country. It should now be clear that the LOGB considers this position as a political appointment even though my fellow directors and I have been elected for 3 year terms, something that has been in place for several years now.”

McLaughlin stated that there could no longer be an expectation that CIMA should act as an independent body from central government and that its appointments should not be seen as political. “It has been shown from the last time the Financial Secretary held the Chairmanship of CIMA…. and especially after First Cayman Bank, that it was deemed more appropriate to avoid bringing into question the independence of CIMA by having a civil servant as Chairman,” he wrote, adding that since then Chairmen have been private individuals to avoid controversy by ensuring that CIMA would appear to act in an objective manner without undue political influence when regulating any of its licensees.

McLaughlin said he has tried to execute his appointments without political favour but his lack of self-promotion was probably the reason behind what he called his “failures”. Explaining his silence since becoming chair of CIMA, he said he did not think it appropriate that CIMA should be seen as pushing the issues but should instead follow its mandate under the law to be a liaison between government and the financial industry.

“This is the part the ‘Carlyle who?’ blogger and others could never understand why I did not make more public statements. I felt I couldn’t do that and still maintain the level of impartiality and objectivity which came with the Chairmanship of CIMA,” McLaughlin stated.

He said Tim Ridley, the former CIMA chair, and more recently Anthony Travers, the new chair of CIFSA, were doing that already. McLaughlin said that as chair he was focusing on the regulatory work that needed to be done and that CIMA was a different organisation since his appointment as director four years ago.

McLaughlin denied that his appointment as chair was political and said that at least Ridley had been told he was going at the end of his three year term. McLaughlin noted that he was less than a year into the three year service to which he had committed.

“I did not consider myself a political appointee because I felt I was nominated as Chairman because of the skill set I brought to the equation,” McLaughlin wrote, adding that he was not close to Alden McLaughlin.

He said he was sad that it was evident his service was no longer required by his country and that he would be retiring from any further positions nominated by government. “It is perceived that I have become a political follower of one party or the other and this is against the principles I have maintained of impartiality and fairness in my various appointments though the years,” he added.

McLaughlin listed some eight board and committee memberships he would be relinquishing including the Immigration Board, Chair of the Silver Thatch Pension Plan and the Turtle Farm.

He said he would now spend more time with his church and my family and recommence some of the things he hoped to accomplish when he retired from the auditing profession some 6 years ago. 

See full statement here.

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Pensions due despite BAICO problems

Pensions due despite BAICO problems

| 10/07/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Despite the fact that British American Insurance Company Limited (BAICO) is in financial trouble all employers are still being ordered to pay pension contributions for their employees. A release from the Ministry with responsibility for the National Pensions Office states that if employers are uncomfortable with that plan there are other options open to them. “Employees and employers are reminded that pension participation is a condition of employment in the Cayman Islands and neither the employer nor the employee has a choice on whether to participate in a pension plan or not,” the Ministry said.

In the wake of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority’s cease and desist order to BAICO on 29 June, the Pensions Office, the Board and the Ministry said that BAICO operates a registered multi-employer Pension Plan in the Cayman Islands, and while the firm is experiencing financial problems, there are five other multi-employer pension plans operating in the Islands, all registered with the office and they are accessible through the office’s web-site.

The office and the board have commenced gathering data to secure the pension assets of Cayman Islands plan members and BAICO has been requested to submit further detailed information.  However the initial 3 July deadline has not been met and the Board said it is now pursuing other options to ensure compliance.

“Under the present circumstances, it is possible that employers and employees may not feel comfortable in contributing additional funds into the BAICO pension plan until more is known about their situation," the ministry said. “If this is the case, there are options open to them.”

The ministry advised employers to visit under the Employers/Pension Plans button on the right hand side and said other useful information is included on the web-site including information on changing plans and pension providers. It said that business owners and employees should inquire about their responsibilities with respect to pension benefits by contacting the office on 945 8960.

“Once again contributing to a pension plan, on a regular basis, by both the employee and the employer in the Cayman Islands, is not optional.  Employers are reminded, that although they get to select the “t’ype’ of pension plan to be provided (defined benefit or defined contribution) employees must be consulted on the actual plan to be used, decided by a majority vote,” the ministry stated.

The investigation into BAICO pension matters is ongoing and the Office will provide further updates as and when they become available.

The Minister for Employment Rolston Anglin also noted that recent indications by government that it is contemplating a suspension of pension payments does not mean employers can stop making contributions. He said that it is important that employers, employees and the general public are aware that there is no pension contribution holiday presently in effect in the Cayman Islands.

“The implementation of any pension contribution holiday would require enabling legislation,” Anglin stated. “The proposed pension contribution holiday is not a general suspension of pension contributions but is a specific, targeted suspension due to the current economic climate. There are many details yet to be ironed out, such as the conditions and length of time it should be in effect.”

The National Pensions Office said that the pension’s law is currently in full operation and employers and employees are still required to make contributions on earnings on a regular basis.

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