Archive for July 12th, 2009

CUC closes 2nd notes deal

| 12/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local power provider, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) has announced the closing of the second tranche of a US$40 million private placement of 7.5% Senior Unsecured Notes due May 29, 2024. The first tranche, which closed May 29, 2009, was in the amount of US$30 million and the second which closed on 10 July, is in the amount of US$10 million. The debt offering was privately placed with institutional investors in the United States and proceeds will be used to finance ongoing additions to CUC’s generation capacity and transmission and distribution system.

The firm said the notes will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) as amended, nor will they be registered under any state securities laws. Unless so registered, the notes may not be offered or sold except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws.

The announcement comes in the wake of the publication of a report by the Auditor General’s office which was written in 2003 and raised concerns about the firm’s excessive over build and capital investment which the office described as ‘gold platting’.

CUC provides electricity to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, under an Electricity Generation Licence expiring in 2029 and an exclusive Electricity Transmission and Distribution Licence expiring in 2028. Further information is available at

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SPIT still a distraction

| 12/07/2009 | 5 Comments

The irony of the governor’s recent appearance on the press briefing platform to tell us all to come forward and report what we know to the police in the wake of the recent horrific violence could not have been lost on those who have followed the news closely over the last 16 months.

It cannot be forgotten so soon that it was indeed Stuart Jack who originally brought in the officers from Scotland Yard and not only stood by but encouraged Martin Bridger, the former lead investigator of the Special Police Investigation Team, who was fundamental in demoralising the RCIPS and fuelling further mistrust between the service and the people.

The impact of Operation Tempura and the lingering secrets of so-called Operation Cealt have left the people of Cayman questioning and wondering exactly what the situation really is with the RCIPS — which remains a serious distraction for the police as they attempt to tackle what appears to be a growing crime wave.

Long a whipping boy for all of society’s ills, the local police in Cayman have suffered further and possibly  irreparable damage from the last 16 months, even though not a shred of real evidence has been presented to the Cayman people about any of them being corrupt in anyway. In fact, given the ruling of Sir Peter Cresswell, the only police officer bending the law to suits his own ends seemed to be SIO Bridger.

It is time to bring this issue to a close, not just in order to save some cash for the Cayman purse but so the police can get on with their jobs untainted by secret and mysterious investigations.

Like any group of people anywhere in the world, there will be some who are less than honest, others who are incompetent and more who are lazy, but as the new Commissioner David Baines noted this week, anyone caught in corruption or leaking information to criminals should be sacked — simple. We don’t need undercover foreign cops lurking in the shadows, getting up to who knows what themselves. We need a commissioner who can take control and shine a light on incompetence and corruption if it’s there, not cover it up more as seems to have been the result of the SPIT’s work.

After several million dollars, numerous arrests and damages claims, the Cayman public is still utterly in the dark about the so-called police corruption that first Bridger and now Anne Lawrence has been overseeing, a distraction we can ill-afford. And worse, the governor has come to the public asking us to trust the police and tell what we know about dangerous gangsters, even though he himself, by his actions, appears to trust them even less than the wider public.

It was perhaps not the most prudent of moves for the governor, given what he has overseen, to add his voice to the campaign to get people to come forward. With five murders already on the booksthis year, three of which have been shootings, and following on from the toll of seven murders last year, the police need all the support they can get right now to get information on the recent gunmen, but more importantly to get to the bottom of the escalating violence.

There can be no doubt that the increase in violence and what appears to be the audacity of criminals will be at least influenced by the fact that they recognise the demoralisation in the RCIPS as a result of the arrival of SPIT and the mistrust of the service it has fuelled.

The new Commissioner David Baines seems to be under no illusions about the challenges he faces, but he needs to distance himself as much as possible from the impact Operations Tempura and Cealt have had. He would do well to be the top cop that is associated with bringing these clandestine investigations to a close and the removal of SPIT from the island in order to gain both the support of his officers and the community.

Sadly, Baines probably does not have that much choice about who he shares a public platform with, but as he gets his police boots further under the proverbial table and begins to assert his own authority a little more, he would do well to ask the governor to stay home next time so he can get on with building the confidence of the people in the RCIPS once again and get on with the job of getting these gangsters off our streets.

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Travers criticises industry for past PR failures

| 12/07/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Describing himself as not the sort of “chap that drives a Ferrari at 165 mph looking at the rear view mirror,” at a recent CIFSA diner, chair of the Association Anthony Travers took the financial sector to task for not investing in proper public relations initiatives in the past. He said that there was no doubt the private sector was at best extremely careless and possibly delinquent in the way it has handled the country ‘s and the industry’s international standing.

 Talking about the net revenues generated by the finance industry the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA) Chair said it was nothing but extremely careless, verging on delusional for people in the industry not to have spent just 1 or 2 percent of that income to ensure Cayman effectively positioned itself on the global stage through public affairs.

“If you leave a vacuum, as was left over the last three or four years, you can be assured that competitor jurisdictions, government’s short of revenue and politicians seeking to deflect blame from their own filed regulatory systems will fill that vacuum with negativity,” Travers said to a room full of people from the financial services business. “That is the situation that has arisen and so many of you have complained about.”

He said if you don’t aggressively assert your position through the media and through a concerted public affairs campaign you can be sure competitors will mischaracterise and misrepresent the Cayman Islands. He said although things were now improving, the jurisdiction was still more than 1460 days and about $10 million short of where we should have been.

He praised the new government for its enthusiasm for bi-lateral treaty negotiation and execution which he said had made a marked difference to Cayman’s standing in a very short period and noted that the government was in negotiations with eight other jurisdictions.

Lamenting the OECD ‘s approach—Travers said he was still confident that if Cayman has more treaties than any other offshore jurisdiction it should prevail before the September meeting. He also noted that  provided the Cayman Islands private sector continues to properly fund PR in the future things will continue to get better. He said he had been delighted with the access that Jack Quinn and Manuel Ortiz had given the Cayman Islands to Washington and the US media as he introduced the two men who were the guest speakers at the special C?IFSA diner held so that the PR gurus could update the sector on their work so far.

However, it was apparent from the presentation that their work on Capitol Hill remains in the early stages and that they had not yet been able to gain access to any more of the movers and shakers in Washington that previous delegations from Cayman had accessed. They did however point out that Travers had written an open letter to President Obama which gained media coverage along with a number of other letters, interviews and articles about Cayman and the financial industry across the international stage.

During his presentation Quinn made it clear to the audience that he understood the problem and that message that Cayman wanted to get out. Ortiz explained how they were going about getting that message out with media campaigns and lobbying of the movers and shakers. Ortiz also said they were keeping a keen eye on blogs and internet sites and were ready to respond. However, the Tax Justice website stated recently that it is still waiting for a response from Travers regarding an exchange on the site, (a well know blog that discusses all issues relating to global taxation), that centred around Cayman being a tax haven.

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Baines plans gun amnesty

| 12/07/2009 | 21 Comments

(CNS): The new police commissioner David Baines has indicated that he is considering a gun amnesty in the near future. Speaking to the press this week about the latest shootings in the Cayman Islands which have left two young men dead, one fighting for his life with critical injuries and another seriously wounded, he said that long term strategies needed to be considered to address the gun situation on the island. Baines stated that even one weapon in Cayman is too many. “We need to work together to reduce gun crime and acts of violence,” he said.


He said he was aware of the growing concern that there were far too many weapons here in Cayman and Baines said he was viewing the longer term objective of a gun amnesty to help address that.

The last gun amnesty on the island was held in November /December of 2006 and some twenty weapons were handed in. Police also received some 95 rounds of ammunition of various kinds.  In the past amnesties here have been sponsored by the Rotary club and held in partnership with the church as well as police.

An Amnesty generally offers residents the opportunity to turn in any illegal weapons or ammunition that they have in their possession or they know about to the designated people or place without fear of prosecution. A small reward is usually offered to those that bring the weapons to the designated site and traditionally Rotary Club has been the sponsor.

Although controversial statistics prove that amnesties have a positive impact on gun related crime as well as reducing the number of illegal arms in circulation but tend to work better when followed by immediately stiffer sentences for firearms possession and offences. If people know that there are tough punishments ahead, then they are more likely to want to turn their weapons in experts say.



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Guns and gang culture unacceptable says governor

| 12/07/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the fact that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has persistently avoided stating that Cayman is suffering from a gang problem speaking at a press conference last week Stuart Jack the governor said the “gun and gang culture among a small section of our community is totally unacceptable.” In the wake of two fatal shootings in a matter of days he called on the community to fight against it.


He said the government and the police were determined to do whatever they could do to, “fight this culture.” However, Jack said gun crime and violence could only be reduced with the help of the whole community. “Without information from the public the police are going to be less successful” he added. “The community’s role goes way beyond just providing information on specific crimes. As parents, as brothers and sisters, as neighbours, as employers and work colleagues, as teachers and fellow students at school, as leaders of churches and community groups everyone can help create an atmosphere that does not tolerate violence or the threat of violence.”

He said that the young men in Cayman’s community need to understand that guns are not cool and that they may end up killing the young men who use them or putting them away in prison for many years.

“As a country we must not only deal with the crimes and criminals wealready have, we must also do more to address the causes of crime and prevent more crimes and criminals in the future,” Jack stated.

He spoke about providing a constructive path for all our young people so that fewer of them are tempted to get into gangs and into crime. However he also said the community should not “over react to these recent terrible incidents.” As he said the Cayman Islands remain a low-crime, law-abiding country. “Compared to most other countries, certainly in this region, the chances of a resident or visitor falling victim to crime are relatively low,” he added but then immediately went on to say that there are still too many crimes and most certainly too many violent ones. “We cannot relax our efforts to reduce crime of whatever sort, not just the most serious offences such as we have seen in the last few days,” the governor said.

Flanking him at the same conference were three members of cabinet including Mark Scotland, Mike Adam and Rolston Anglin who also encouraged the public to cooperate in the police investigations.

“The people of this country, from government officials, to Caymanians, to non-Caymanians, must decide what kind of society they want to live in today, and what kind of society they want to pass to the next generation,” he said.

“If you have information regarding this tragedy, if you saw or heard anything, please call Crime Stoppers and share what you know.”

He said government was collaborating with the police to call on the community to help and whilst those efforts would not bring back those who had been killed he said they will help us to avoid similar tragedies in the future as he asked the community to reject violence. .

“Reject the gun culture and activities that support it. I am not asking you to place yourselves in harm’s way. What I am asking is that everyone remain vigilant; when you witness suspicious activities in your community, report it,” the Deputy Leader of Government Business said.

“I can assure you that government is doing everything in its power to support our police service and to provide the resources they need,” he added.

Anglin stated that one ounce of prevention was better than a pound of cure and the community needed to find a way to create opportunities for young people away from crime.

He told young people to watch the company they keep to pay attention to their surroundings and consider the consequences of their actions.

“Nurturing and providing opportunities for our youth and by extension, our community is a top priority – and crime, violence, and fear has no place in that.

So today, we are sending a united message to the criminals in our community. The call is out for the community to come together, to help stop the violence,” Anglin said.



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Police seek info on killers

| 12/07/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Another man who was detained in connection with Wednesday’s shooting in West Bay has now been released and police are appealing to the community for anyone who may have information on how the killers arrived and then left the scene. Police stated that one man remains in custody and detectives are carrying out a number of actions and various leads are being followed up. “Interviewing people, ascertaining information and eliminating people from the enquiry is all part of the investigation process,” said lead detective Superintendent Kurt Walton. 

Walton said that investigators are appealing for anyone who was in the area of Turtle Lane on the night of the shooting to get in touch as police seek information on how the killers arrived and left from the location.  

“Were you in the area on Wednesday evening?” asked Walton. “Did you see anyone arrive or leave? If you did, please let us know.”

Marcus Ebanks, 20, who was killed on the night, and six others were shot at shortly before 8pm on Wednesday, 8 July, as they sat outside a property on Turtle Lane. 14-year-old-Adrian Powell has been flown off-island for treatment as he fights for his life and 18-year-old Rod Ebanks is still receiving medical attention.

The RCIPS said it is making efforts to open as many lines of communication as possible for residents who may be able to help bring the killers to justice. In addition to current avenues, which include contacting a known and trusted police officer, calling the investigation team directly or any police station, and Crime Stoppers – which offers a cash reward for information and is answered overseas – officers have set up a voicemail facility so people can simply leave a message on an answer-phone.

“We want people to have as many options as possible,” said Walton. “This facility has no caller ID and will not be traced – people do not need to be scared about their identity being revealed. The caller doesn’t have to speak with anyone; they can just leave a message – it is completely anonymous. We hope that those with information will feel comfortable with one of the methods available to them.”

A Major Incident Room at West Bay police station remainsopen as detectives carry on with the investigations into Ebanks’ murder. Detectives said that one of the men who had been detained in the early hours of Thursday morning remains in custody  and the other has been released.

West Bay Area Commander, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell arranged a counselling session for residents in the Turtle Lane area, which took place on Saturday. A visible uniformed police presence has also been seen over the weekend.

Residents are urged to pass information to police using one of the following ways:

Speak to an officer you know and trust

Call the investigation team: 926-1773 and 926-3975

Leave a message: voicemail facility – 949-7777

Call Crime Stoppers – 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. Calls are answered overseas.

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Blacklisted again! New travel law for Jamaicans

| 12/07/2009 | 10 Comments

(Jamaica Gleaner): The luxury of spending 24 hours in a British airport en route to a third country visa free came to an abrupt end a few months ago, the British High Commission here has confirmed. Locals travelling through the United Kingdom (UK) to Germany, France or other European countries must now acquire an in-transit permit ahead of their trip. Having failed Britain’s new Visa Waiver Test earlier this year, Jamaicans are now the only people in the Caribbean who must obtain a direct airside transit visa (DATV) in order to connect to flights through the UK to onward destinations.

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ICO website hacked

| 12/07/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The website of the Cayman Islands Information Commissioner has been hacked into for the second weekend in a row. A CNS reader spotted the hacking of the website Saturday morning, and according to Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert, this happened last weekend as well.

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