Archive for January 12th, 2010

Tsunami threat called off

Tsunami threat called off

| 12/01/2010 | 32 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Earthquake in Haiti(CNS): Updated Tuesday 11:40pm. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of Haiti at around 5pm Tuesday evening is feared to have caused major loss of life in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince and has been described as "a catastrophe of major proportions", the BBC reports. However, the tsunami threat triggered by the earthquake was called off at 6:45pm. The watch was issued for Haiti, parts of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was centered about 10 miles off the coast and about 6 miles underground, according to the USGS.

A Reuters reporter in Port-au-Prince said he had seen "dozens of dead and injured people" in the rubble of fallen buildings. The Associated Press is reporting the collapse of a hospital and other reports say that tremors associated with that earthquake were felt in the Corporate Area of Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica.

According to the BBC the quake was quickly followed by two strong aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.5 magnitude. Henry Bahn, a visiting official from the US Department of Agriculture, told the BBC that he had seen houses which had tumbled into a ravine. "Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken," said Bahn.

While a tsunami watch was in place for parts of the Eastern Caribbean "a destructive widespread tsunami threat does not exist based on historical earthquake and tsunami data," said officials from the tsunami warning centre. However, the centre warned of the possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts located around a hundred kilometres from the earthquake epicentre.

See more pictures on the BBC

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Hopes fade for missing five

Hopes fade for missing five

| 12/01/2010 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Update Tuesday 3:45pm — The RCIPS has now named the five people missing at sea since Sunday. They are: Raynell Wood (36) of Prospect (the owner of the boat), his 13-year-old daughter Michelle Wood, Astor Range (36) of Spotts, Joshua Gilman (28) of North Sound, and Jeamie Avila (19) of Prospect. While the search for those missing resumed this morning, police say that with each day that passes the likelihood of finding them alive reduces.  Police have asked that anyone who wishes to assist in the search should contact the incident command centre on 814-7811.

None of the missing has yet been found but around 3.06pm yesterday afternoon the overturned canoe they were in was spotted about 200 yards outside the Rum Point channel by Rescue One, the search and rescue helicopter.

The land, air and sea searches resumed today, Tuesday 12 January, the Royal Cayman Island Police Service have reported. The people – who had gone on a fishing trip – left Newlands Dock around 7.00am on Sunday morning (10 January) in a 26-foot canoe. When they had failed to return home by 10.15pm, their families contacted the police. RCIPS Marine unit and Rescue One were immediately deployed.

Police were assisted by the cell phone provider Lime who were able to confirm to the rescue teams that phones owned by the occupants of the vessel stopped working about 9.40am on Sunday morning in the Rum Point area.

Extensive sea searches and air sweeps were undertaken by the Marine unit and Rescue One respectively. As is normal practice in these situations, Rescue One was manned by experienced police spotters. As part of the co-ordinated effort to use all available resources to trace the missing people, the RCIPS air support co-ordinator called upon the services of aircraft operators on the islands to assist. The MRCO aircraft joined the search, as well as a fixed wing plane from Ritz Carlton and a helicopter from the private super-yacht Octopus, which is currently berthed close to South Sound dock.

A number of private boat operators also joined the search and they undertook searches of
specific areas under the direction of the RCIPS. Throughout the day family liaison officers took care of the needs of the families and they continue to keep them updated with developments. Around 3.06pm yesterday afternoon the overturned canoe was spotted about 200 yards outside the Rum Point channel by Rescue One. The Marine unit recovered the vessel with the assistance of Harbour House Marine. The canoe is currently being examined by police.

Today air, sea and shore searches will continue to trace the missing boaters. Rescue One is once again in the air and police divers are searching the reef for any trace of the individuals or their property. Police officers, including dog handlers are searching the shoreline.

Chief Inspector Courtney Miles of the RCIPS Marine Unit said, “While we remain hopeful – we do have to be realistic. With each day that passes we have to accept that the likelihood of finding the five missing people alive reduces. We will continue with extensive searches today on land, air and sea in an effort to trace them or their property. We have already recovered a shoe and the tank of the boat. A number of local boat owners have once again joined the search today. While we are extremely grateful for their assistance we would ask that they liaise directly with us to ensure that we make best use of the resources available.”

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Ireland beats Cayman for XL

Ireland beats Cayman for XL

| 12/01/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Citing the need to reduce “certain risks” insurance and re-insurance firm XL Capital Ltd has announced its intention to change the parent holding company’s place of incorporation to Ireland from the Cayman Islands, with the parent holding company to be renamed "XL Group plc". XL’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael S. McGavick, said in a press release that the change was in the best interest of shareholders and that Ireland had strong international relations with OECD countries.

“Among other benefits, we believe the proposed move will reduce certain risks that may impact us and offer us the opportunity to reinforce our reputation, which is one of our key assets, and to better support our global business platforms. The new "XL Group" name is desirable to reflect our exclusive focus on providing property, casualty and specialty insurance and reinsurance products for our customers’ complex risks," he stated in a press release.

To effect the redomestication, a new Irish public limited company, XL Group plc, would replace XL Capital Ltd as the ultimate holding company of the XL group of companies, and the Company’s ordinary shareholders would receive one ordinary share of the new Irish company in lieu of each ordinary share of the Company held by them.

 XL expects to submit the proposal for redomestication, along with related proposals, to its shareholders in the next several months and complete the transaction on July 1, 2010. The proposed redomestication will be subject to approval by the Company’s ordinary shareholders and the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, as well as satisfaction of other conditions.

The firm stated that it has operated in Ireland for most of its corporate history and is very familiar with its regulatory and legal environment. It described Ireland as having strong international relationships as a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union, a long history of international investment, and long-established commercial relationships, trade agreements and tax treaties with the other European Union member states, the United States and other countries around the world.

“As a result, XL believes Ireland offers a stable long-term legal and regulatory environment with the financial sophistication to meet the needs of XL’s global business,” the release stated. “XL does not expect the redomestication will have any material impact on its financial results. XL will continue to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and be subject to SEC reporting requirements.”


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Pomp and ceremony to greet new governor

Pomp and ceremony to greet new governor

| 12/01/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Preparations are well underway for the arrival of the UK’s latest representative. Duncan Taylor, the Cayman Islands’ new governor is set to arrive at noon on Friday 15 January and will be sworn into office at the Legislative Assembly, George Town at 2:00pm. Taylor who will be the islands’ 11th governor will be greeted by the Acting Governor, Donovan Ebanks, Speaker Mary Lawrence and Police Commissioner David Baines and sworn in by the chief justice, Anthony Smellie. Although arriving at a time when relations between Cayman’s elected government and its UK masters is considerably strained, the senior British civil servant will still be received with the usual pomp and ceremony.

Following the various speeches, ceremonies and gun salutes surrounding the official swearing in the governor and his wife will be attending a public reception being held for him at Pedro St. James in Newlands. The reception, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. this Friday, 15 January, includes a receiving line, messages from government officials as well as live entertainment. According to government information services the dress code for the reception is smart casual.

Taylor, who is 52 years old, began his career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1982. In addition to home postings in London he has held the positions of Second Secretary in Havana, Head of Commercial Section in Budapest, Director of Latin American Affairs on secondment to Rolls Royce Plc.; Deputy Consul-General and Deputy Head of Post in New York. His last position, which he held from 2005, was as British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

In 2002 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his work in helping the families of British victims of the 9-11 attacks in New York.

Taylor is married to Marie-Beatrice and they have five children; three girls and two boys.

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Cops seeking locally based new recruits

Cops seeking locally based new recruits

| 12/01/2010 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Following the commissioner’s stated aims to swell the ranks of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service by as many as fifty, a new recruitmentdrive is underway. Last month 13 new recruits left the classroom for the beat and now the RCIPS is on the look out for more, bright, keen, community minded people to become part of the team it said. A number of events will be held over next week to provide information to potential recruits. Inspector Peter Mcloughlin, head of specialist training for RCIPS said management would be looking for the right people and if not Caymanian people with ties to the local community.

 “We want the right people for these jobs – people who will be completely committed to working with the community,” Mcloughlin said. Posts are open to people between 18 and 45 years of age who are physically fit, have no criminal convictions. If you are not Caymanian you must have lived on the islands for a minimum of four consecutive years or possess strong family ties to Cayman.

 He said adverts will also be appearing in local newspapers and there is information available about how to apply on the RCIPS website. The first open house event will be held at the RCIPS Training Centre, Governors Square, George Town, on Saturday 16 January 2010 from 10:00am – 3:00pm., where Preliminary Application forms will be available for interested persons. Representatives from many departments within the RCIPS will also be available to answer questions.

The following Monday (18 January) officers from the RCIPS training centre will be available between 10:00am and 3:00pm at the conference room at the Cayman Brac District Administration Building to provide an insight about life as a police officer to anyone on Cayman Brac who is interested in a career with the RCIPS.

These events will be a great opportunity to speak on a one-to-one basis with officers in various departments of the force. They will be able to tell you about the challenges you will face and the many opportunities available when you join RCIPS.

“We are keen for as many people to come along as possible. So, if you think you are the right person for the job, come along and talk to us – it might just be the best career move you’ll ever make.”

Further information about the open events can be obtained by calling the RCIPS training department on 946-2012, or visit us at


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Martin admits sex with Schirn

Martin admits sex with Schirn

| 12/01/2010 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, murder trial(CNS): The man on trial for the murder of Sabrina Schirn has admitted that he met and had sex with her on the day she was believed to have been killed. However, Randy Martin has denied murdering the 21-year-old and said when they parted she drove off in the white vehicle she came in. He said that he had lied to the police when he was first interviewed about knowing her and admitted they had met in 2008. Martin claimed that Schirn had visited him on several occasions at the prison farm to deliver cigarettes or drugs and that they had also had sex.

Martin revealed his connection with the victim when he was called to the stand on Monday morning (11 January) as the defence opened it case, following the closure of the prosecution’s case just before the seasonal court break.

Immediately as court resumed, David Evans QC, Martin’s counsel, wasted no time calling the defendant to the stand, where he began examining Martin’s long criminal record of some 29 offences. Evans made it clear to the court that the crimes were for burglary, robbery and drug related offences. Aside from one assault charge many years ago when he served six months,h there was no history of violence on his long wrap sheet. Evans also asked Martin about his left arm, which the defendant said had been injured in a motor cycle accident in 2001 and he could not use it or grip anything with it.

During an intense day of testimony Martin stood in the dock throughout, giving a detailed account of his movements on the day Schirn was killed, and denied murdering the girl. He said that, although he knew of Schirn before 2008, they did not meet face to face until she began bringing Martin’s former girlfriend to the prison farm in East End when she was also visiting her own boyfriend of the time, his nephew Lance Myles.

Martin told the court that he and Schirn first had sex soon after he met her in April 2008, even though she was meant to be visiting with Myles. He indicated to the court that a number of women were visiting the inmates and engaging in sexual activity at the farm with several men. He said his own former girlfriend had also had sex with at least four other prisoners, which is why, when she became pregnant, he broke up with her as he did not believe it was his baby.

He said that when he stopped seeing his girlfriend he did not see Schirn either for several months. After Lance Myles was released from the prison, however, Martin told the court that she began to meet with him again in January of 2009 at the farm to bring drugs and cigarettes and sometimes they would have sex.

Talking about the day that it is believed Schirn was murdered, he said they had made the arrangements to meet several days before. Martin said that soon after arriving on the farm he recovered his mobile phone from its hiding place and then called Schirn,, who confirmed she had the ganja and was on her way to the farm in a white vehicle. Working on the tomato patch that day, Martin said when he saw a white car drive by the farm he told the prison officer on duty, Officer Hunter, that he was going down to “take a dump”, an excuse he used whenever he was picking up drugs or meetingpeople who had come to see him at the farm.

Martin also told the court that he had informed fellow inmates that he was going to see someone to get weed and they should whistle if the guards came looking for him, as he knew he could not be away too long before they would notice.

When he arrived at the area near the bananas, where he said they had arranged to meet (a different location from where Schirn’s body was found), he said she had the ganja and cigarettes. He said it was exactly 10:38 when he looked at his watch as he greeted her. Martin then told the court that the couple kissed and caressed before engaging in a sexual act, but he claimed he stopped because she was menstruating.

He said that she began to use one of his gloves to clean herself but the glove was dirty so he gave her his prison rag to use instead which she took to a near by faucet and washed herself. Soon after that he heard one of the inmates whistle the warning signal so he quickly took the ganja and cigarettes from Schirn as he headed back to the farm and she got back in the car and drove away.

Martin than said that as he made his way back towards the farm, Schirn called him and warned him that the guard was at the gate and to say that she would meet him again the next Wednesday, which was 18 March.

Asked if he called her again after that day, he said he did not as they had made arrangements to meet, but he had called other people when he heard she was missing. Asked about his denial to the police, he said he was unsure of the situation and worried about having met her close to the time she was supposed to have disappeared, so he thought he would deny knowing her until he knew what was happening.

When asked about a lock of hair which had been removed from his cell, he said it was his hair which he kept when he had his dreadlocks cut when he came to prison. The paper that was wrapped around it with the name ‘Sabrina Schurn’ (misspelled) was prison office paper, he said, and it was not his handwriting. He told the court he had wrapped the lock in another piece of paper, which was still in the bag and had traces of the hair on it.

Martin told the court he did not kill Schirn, and when cross examined by Solicitor General Cheryl Richards, he said there was only love between him and Schirn. He deniedever assaulting Schirn, as claimed by his former girlfriend, who had refused to testify against him in the court but had submitted a statement to the police. He repeatedly stated that the assault she described to the police had never happened.

“Nothing like that had ever occurred, ma’am,” he told Richards several times. He said that his former girlfriend’s suggestion that he believed Sabrina was connected to his brother’s attempted murder was wrong and she had told lies about him. Martin insisted that he knew for certain who was involved with that shooting. He told the court it was another Sabrina that had made the call regarding the pizza along with another man. He said he knew Sheldon Brown, the man convicted of the crime, was not the man who had shot his brother, Fernando Martin.

Richards pressed Martin during cross examination to explain the exact details of where he and Schirn were having sex and in particular what had happened to the glove after they had engaged in the sex act, as well as time lines on where he was and when they spoke on the phone again and what he had done with the drugs when he left Schirn.

Richards will continue her cross examination of Martin’s evidence on Tuesday morning, and the trial is scheduled to continue in court one throughout the week. However, defence counsel have not yet stated how many more, if any, witnesses they will be calling to testify on Martin’s behalf.

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