Archive for August 20th, 2009

Levers’ case going to UK Privy Council

| 20/08/2009 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The tribunal convened to hear the allegations of misbehaviour against Grand Court Justice Priya Levers has recommended that her case be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Governor’s Office, which received the completed tribunal report on 17 August, said that because the case is ongoing it is not at liberty to release its contents. However, the referral suggests that the tribunal has made recommendations for some form of action against the judge, including her possible removal from the bench.

The tribunal, which was chaired by Sir Andrew Leggatt heard the case against Justice Levers in May of this year and its remit was to carry out a factual investigation and report to the governor whether the conduct of Madam Justice Levers, taken as a whole, had fallen below the standard reasonably to be expected of a holder of the office of Judge of the Grand Court so as to warrant proceedings for her removal.

The Governor’s Office said today that once the Privy Council has made its ruling a decision will be taken concerning the report’s release. The governor, acting on advice from the tribunal, will now refer the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council via a request to the Queen, which is expected to arrive in London in two weeks.

It was stated that the Privy Council will advise on the matter in due course and in the interim, Justice Levers remains on full salary, but she is suspended from duty for an indefinite time.

The advice to refer the matter to the Privy Council is contained in the tribunal’s report to the governor and the referral is in accordance with the governor’s authorities under the Cayman Islands Constitution.

The tribunal was appointed on 25 September 2008, but the intense hearing did not sit until May 2009 when Leggatt and his panel, consisting of Sir Philip Otton and Sir DavidSimmons, heard testimony from a considerable number of witnesses, both locally and overseas, as well as the Chief Justice himself, Anthony Smellie.

Justice Levers was represented by Stanley Brodie QC, and Timothy Otty QC represented the tribunal. During the hearing the most damning accusation was that Justice Levers had written letters to the newspaper under a pseudonym condemning the local judiciary. However, Brodie  managed to demonstrate that there was no evidence to support the accusation, which was accepted by Otty on behalf of the tribunal. With the most serious allegation set aside, Brodie had suggested there was no case for removal and that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to recommend any other action against his client.

Brodie argued that the Cayman Islands Constitution only provides for the tribunal to recommend removal and nothing else. Therefore there was no other lawful route open to them to reprimand or conclude that Levers had still misbehaved in a way that fell short of removal. In short, Brodie made the case that the tribunal had to either recommend removal or exoneration. 

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Work continues on broken water main in GT

| 20/08/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): (Updated 4pm) Motorists are being asked by the Water Authority to continue to avoid the area on South Church Street near Eden Rock, George Town, because although the water main has been repaired the clean up works are still on-going. The Authority said drivers should be cautious in the area and obey traffic signs. It offered its appreciation for the patience and understanding of the motoring public as well as its customers located on South Church St from Harbour Dr to the junction of Melmac Avenue who were effected by the broken pipe.

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Statistics confirm crime hike

| 20/08/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): During the first six months of this year police dealt with 129 more crimes than during the same period in 2008. Confirming what most people in Cayman suspected, the statistics have revealed that there was a significant increase in burglaries, in particular in the capital George Town. Burglary has risen by 54% and aggravated burglary (where the burglar goes equipped with a weapon) increased by 300%, a situation that police say was not unexpected given the economic downturn.

Between 1 January and 30 June a total of 1,315 offences were recorded by police, a rise from 1,186 in 2008. The increase included a jump in burglary offences from 194 in 2008 to 300 in 2009. Offences of theft have also shown an increase, with 188 offences reported in 2008 and 204 reported in 2009.

“Acquisitive crime, where people steal items to sell on, could be expected to rise during an economic downturn and we have been looking at measures to counteract this,” said Commissioner of Police, David Baines. “Officers have been conducting increased road checks to identify travelling burglars and patrols are being boosted in areas which have been identified as most at risk. Some success has been seen, with a number of people arrested for going equipped to steal and burglary and attempted burglary.”

Police noted that recent analysis of burglaries conducted by the Joint Intelligence Unit revealed that George Town is where most burglaries are happening and along the beach side of West Bay Road in particular. Walkers Road and Windsor Park areas are also vulnerable and the most likely time that a break-in will occur is on a weekday, during hours of darkness. The most common means of entry is through an insecure property or by prising a rear door.  

In other crime categories, there has been an increase in offences of possession of an unlicensed firearm, which has risen from 11 in ’08 to 16 in ’09, which the police said they were placing a priority on firearms offences and would continue to target those involved in their use and possession.

While there has been a fall in domestic violence assaults, from 83 in 2008 to 25 in 2009, as ever a decline in reporting does not mean that this type of crime is any less common.  “It is possible that people are not reporting offences that are occurring,” Baines said. “I would encourage anyone who is in an abusive relationship to come forward. There is help available.”

Although murder was down on the stats from the same period last year — to three compared to the five killings which occurred in the same period last year — there were in fact two further murders within a few weeks of the close of the reporting period. Although some violent crimes such as rape declined, assaults including GBH increased significantly.

Fatal road crashes and other accidents all dropped and there have been only 2 deaths on the roads in Cayman so far this year compared to 5 in 2007 and 6 in 2008 during the same period. All road accidents declined by 8% and all offences declined by 17%. Officers in the Traffic Management Unit said they would continue to monitor the roads for breaches in the law and would take action when offences are identified.

Those looking for crime reduction advice can log on to the website at . 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.

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Plans for Market’s growth

| 20/08/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Launched two years ago to provide an outlet for everything Caymanian, Market at The Grounds was celebrating its anniversary on 8 August and although only 15-20 core vendors are regularly selling at the market at the moment the minister responsible says there are big plans ahead., Juliana O’Connor-Connolly Minister of District Administration who is responsible for agriculture said the market was poised to expand links between tourism and agriculture.

Held each Saturday morning between 7:00 and 12:00 noon at The Grounds in Lower Valley the venue recently opened a Kid’s Zone on part of the plan to transform the grounds into a multi-purpose facility.

“The venue will offer the best that we produce, plus great family entertainment and education on our heritage and culture,” said Oconnor-Connolly adding that with the planned purpose-built market for vendors, the agro-processing facility, and an entertainment site, The Grounds would become the centrepiece of the effort to expand links between tourism and agriculture.

Department of Agriculture Acting Assistant Director Brian Crichlow said the market was fast becoming entrenched in the social fabric of the community.

 “It is now a regular part of Saturday morning shopping for many locals. And it doesn’t end there for we also get visitors from hotels and condos who come out to buy produce and craft items, as well as sample local foods,” Crichlow said.

He described the market has having served as a business incubator for new companies wanting to market-test new products.

“The ability to sustain trade over the past two years is a testament to the commitment of vendors, patrons, the market committee, and in fact all who have embraced this uniquely Caymanian experience,” he said. “There is a core group of 15 to 20 vendors who continue to demonstrate their loyalty simply by coming out with their goods week after week, even when business is not as brisk as it might be.”

Reminding shoppers that market items are available for a full five hours each week he dispelled the myth that there is nothing to buy after 9:00 a.m. “We have asked farmers to provide a steady supply of produce until midday and they have responded favourably,” he said. 

Annie Litchmore who sells locally-crafted kitchen and clothing accessories said that the market has been a great experience. “I not only sell my products, I also meet new people from all over the world,” she said  “I have seen the market get bigger and better, especially with the inclusion of special promotional activities tied to Easter and Christmas. Market at The Grounds remains the only place in Cayman that people can come and buy fresh fruits and vegetables, locally-processed foods such as jams and jellies, and local arts and crafts.

Andy Ebanks who sells handbags and other women’s accessories made from recycled material said the market offered an opportunity for creativity.  “We need to please the tourists and that means we have to make interesting local products from whatever we can find,” she noted.

Farmer and Hamlin Farms owner Hamlin Stephenson said he had seen tremendous improvement. “I am also hoping that the Kid’s Zone will bring out more parents with their children,” he added.



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Lions cook up a feast for kids eye testing

| 20/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Lions were on the prowl at 3:00 am in George Town recently and while most of the Island was asleep the service club volunteers were at the Champion House kitchen to cook up a true feast for their fundraising breakfast consisting of Ackee and Codfish, green bananas, scrambled eggs and bacon. Money raised from the event will go towards the primary school sight screening project.

Volunteers were also cooking up fried fish, fritters, fried onions, plantation and fried sweet potatoes, tea and coffee over in the kitchen of the Lions Centre as well where by 11:00am lots of members of the community had stopped by to support this popular regular. 

Since its inception the Club has proudly served the local and worldwide community with its many projects, thanks to the strong support of the local community which make fundraising events like the breakfast a success. The Club President, Lion Debbi Ebanks said “we give thanks to Champion House and all supporters and volunteers who make these events possible.”

General meetings of the Club are held at 7:30pm on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Lions Centre and guests are always welcome.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with nearly 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in 193 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit the Web site at



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UBS to reveal data to IRS on thousands of accounts

| 20/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): An agreement by UBS AG Switzerland’s largest bank, to reveal data on 4,450 accounts may lead to a larger crackdown on tax evasion by banks and lawyers, said U.S. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman said. UBS has agreed to hand over the information to settle a U.S. lawsuit seeking the names of Americans suspected of evading taxes through 52,000 Swiss accounts. The bank will give the material to the Swiss government, which would then determine how much will go to the IRS.  “We’re finding out about financial institutions that facilitated tax evasion and we’re going to pursue them,” Shulman added.

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Investors want safety of gold

| 20/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Independent): Demand for gold among investors is still running 46 per cent higher than last year, despite signs of recovery in economies across the world. But overall demand for the yellow metal dipped by 9 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2008, as the high price continued to squeeze jewellery purchasing, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). Gold markets rocketed last year as the global economic crisis tore a hole in most other commodity prices. Although both jewellery demand and industrial activity stalled, investors who were spooked by the teetering banking system flocked to gold as a safe haven.

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Afghans go to the polls

| 20/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC):Millions of Afghans have begun voting in the country’s second presidential election since the fall of the Taliban. Militants have threatened to disrupt the polls, in which President Hamid Karzai is running for a second term. Violence has escalated in recent days and there are fears some Afghans will be afraid to vote. Some 300,000 Afghan and international troops have been deployed to protect voters, but early on rocket attacks were reported in a number of cities. The rocket attacks happened in Helmand, Kandahar and Ghazni provinces, BBC reporters say, and a small blast occurred in Kabul. Polling stations opened at 0700 (0230 GMT) and will close at 1600.

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Barry White songs used to encourage shark to mate

| 20/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Telegraph): The deep seductive voice of Barry White has been called on at Sea Life London Aquarium to try and encourage Zorro, a six-year-old zebra shark, to mate. Hopes were high when the aquarium introduced Zorro to fellow zebra shark Mazawabee on Valentine’s Day this year. But despite being noted for his sexual advances to tank mates when he was at Sea Life in Belgium, he has not been doing as expected. Aquarium chiefs have turned to the late soul singer – sometimes referred to as "The Walrus of Love" – and are playing Baby We Better Try To Get It Together and My First, My Last, My Everything.

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Construction controversy at Clifton Hunter site

| 20/08/2009 | 1 Comment

(CITN): Tom Jones International, the contractor building the government schools, is facing further controversy after accusations of seeking cheaper labor from expats. According to news reports workers from the Clifton Hunter site say their contracts with sub-contractor, East End Labour were terminated because the company had allegedly not paid pensions and health insurance and the employees were asked to leave the site earlier this week. Following a meeting between the contractors at the offices of the DER the workers are expected to return to work on Thursday.

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CNS Public Forum: East End Constructiontion Workers need our Help/Protection

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