Archive for February 4th, 2010

Armed bank robbery

Armed bank robbery

| 04/02/2010 | 190 Comments

(CNS): Update: Thursday 5:55pm – The RCIPS has now released brief descriptions of the two men who robbed the Cayman National Bank, Countryside Shopping Centre in Savannah, this afternoon, Thursday 4 February, in broad daylight. Police say both the suspects are male, between 5’6” and 5’8” in height and dark complexion. One was wearing a red hooded top and the other was wearing a black hooded top. Both men were wearing masks. Shortly after 12:30 this afternoon, the two men stormed in to the bank. One of the robbers was armed with what appeared to be a handgun. The men threatened staff and one fired a shot into the air, police said. The men then ran off with a sum of cash.

Witnesses stated that the men lept over the counter and demanded cash and customers in the bank were forced to lie on the ground. The assailants were last seen running into the parking lot at the Countryside Shopping Village.

Police tracker dogs, Rescue One and armed response vehicles are on the scene. Cayman National President Stuart Dack confirmed to CNS that no hostages were taken, no staff were injured and staff members were in good spirits.

Anyone with any information regarding the robbery should contact Bodden Town CID on 947-2220 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

This is not the first time CNB has been robbed an armed robbery occured at the West Bay branch in 2005. This evening police from the Special response Unit were also stationed at this branch.

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Ezzard won’t roll on changes

Ezzard won’t roll on changes

| 04/02/2010 | 137 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news(CNS): With government expected to bring legislative changes to the rollover policy to the Legislative Assembly before the end of the month, MLA Ezzard Miller has confirmed he will not be supporting them. Calling the proposals a “concrete ceiling for Caymanians”, Miller says he is not swayed by the premier’s pleas for change and he won’t roll on what he sees is a need to protect Caymanians, both in the workforce and from massive increases in status. Miller said reducing the rollover break and exempting so many specific jobs would take the wind out of the sails of professional Caymanians working in finance.

A strong and persistent advocate for protecting jobs for Caymanians as well as limiting status awards, Miller, the independent MLA for North Side, said he did not believe that the country’s financial services sector is suffering as a result of the rollover policy.

“I am not convinced that the problem with the financial industry is based on immigration,” he told CNS. “The problems are global; they are related to the downturn. I would like to see statistics that show exactly how many firms have left or how many Caymanian jobs have been lost because of permit issues. It’s just an excuse. I am not aware of so many permits being turned down that firms have left and I would want to see the empirical evidence.”

Miller said rollover was about limiting the number of people each year that would have the right to residency and then of course status and voting rights. He said the discussions about reducing the gap on rollover have been going on since it was introduced, and he said it was made clear at the time that six months was not enough to justify a legal break in stay. “I believe in the rollover policy, not because it preserves jobs but because if we don’t have it we will lose political control of our country,” Miller warned.

What he sees as a threat to Caymanian advancement to senior posts is the mandating of key status for specific jobs. He said key status should be awarded on a case by case basis on merit, and to shift the burden of proof from the employer to the Work Permit Board will push Caymanians out of the door. Once non-Caymanians have all the top jobs, Miller believes, they will not train or promote Caymanians.

“People tend to promote their own, it’s just how it is,” he added, and noted the introduction of a list of exempted positions from rollover was "a concrete ceiling for Caymanians” and said it would "take the wind out of their sails".

Miller warned that employers need to be encouraged to train Caymanians as he did not believe that the Caymanians working in the profession couldn’t take these senior posts. The North Side representative also said he was not convinced by the drive to bring the fund managers and key players from the financial centres of London and New York and others would work.

“They’re not going to leave New York; that’s where they need to be to do the rounds of cocktail parties and make deals. They won’t come,” he predicted, adding that Cayman should concentrate on the areas of finance it already does well and do it more efficiently for less to attract business and compete.

While Miller acknowledged there would always be a need to bring some people from overseas for certain posts and that the country had benefitted from foreign talent, it should not be at the expense of the country’s own people and that employers should not always think about simply hiring a foreigner; they needed to think about training Caymanians into those vacant positions.

Miller said it was time the Cayman Government provided scholarships for young Caymanians to attend top universities such as Oxford and Harvard to get the right education. “We have to make sure our people get the support, but so long as there is someone from Timbuktu at the top making the decisions they will have no obligation to promote Caymanians and will protect their own."

Miller lamented what he saw as an historic trend to always amend the immigration laws in favour of ex-pats and never in favour of Caymanians as the foreign lobbyists always seem to dictate to government. He said people had to understand those coming from overseas were not here just to do Cayman a favour; they were coming for their own benefit. “Only a fool migrates from where he is better off to where he is worse,” Miller said.


CNS: The penultimate paragraph has been amended following a request from Mr Miller for a correction. Mr Miller says it is the government and not the private companies that should be financing Caymanian students to attend the top universities. CNS apologises to Mr Miller for the mistake.

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Dengue fever samples go to CDC for confirmation

Dengue fever samples go to CDC for confirmation

| 04/02/2010 | 6 Comments

(CNS): The three blood samples sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) from three Grand Cayman residents with suspected dengue fever have been forwarded to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) branch in Puerto Rico. Public Health officials said today (Wednesday, 3 February) that the samples did show signs of the mosquito borne disease and have therefore been sent for further testing.

“The initial test results indicated the possibility of dengue and as suggested by CAREC second samples were sent,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar explained. “CAREC staff decided to send them to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) branch in Puerto Rico as that lab has more technologically advanced testing equipment, and is a World Health Organisation reference lab.”

Dr Kumar said that the samples were initially sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) after the three patients were hospitalised with acute viral infections but had since been discharged after treatment and are no longer infectious. Currently there have been no further reports of similar cases,” he added.

Dengue fever is a disease transmitted to humans by the bites of infected aedes aegyptii mosquitoes. Symptoms are high fever, severe headache, backache, joint and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash. Most people recover, using pain relievers and bed rest, without any complications.

Meanwhile, the HS A also reminded residents that the H1N1 vaccine is currently being provided free of charge it will be available at the John Gray High School Health Centre on Wednesday and Friday during February from 3-6 p.m. (Parents must be present), onThursday, 4 February from 5-8 p.m. at Foster’s Strand and on Friday, 5 February from 5-8 pm at Foster’s Countryside and on Saturday, 6 February from noon-4 pm at Kirk’s Supermarket.

Next week it will be available on Thursday, 11 February from 5-8 pm at Kirk’s Supermarket, on Friday, 12 February from 5-8 p.m. at Foster’s Strand and on Saturday, 13 February from noon-4 p.m. at West Bay’s Republix Supermarket.  Health officials will also be issuing the vaccine on Wednesday, 17 February from 10 am-4 p.m. at the Agricultural Show.

The vaccine is also available every weekday between 10 am and 2 pm in the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Atrium. People can also be vaccinated at all district health centres, at Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman Clinic every weekday from 2-4 pm.


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DoE says discardedfishing lines threaten marine life

DoE says discardedfishing lines threaten marine life

| 04/02/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Following a recent rescue of a hawksbill turtle which became tangled in discarded fishing line at the Sundivers “Turtle Reef” dive site in West Bay, the Department of Environment (DoE) is asking those out on the water to take more care with their fishing lines and nets. Entangled turtles usually die from injuries caused by loops of line tightening around their flippers—or drown when they cannot break lines to reach the surface. Although in the most recent case DoE divers were able to save the turtle, the department says entanglement in lost fishing line is one of the leading causes of severe injury and death for turtles. (Picture Grahman Harris).

During the recent incident the line had tangled round the turtle’s flippers but divers found the turtle on the reef at a depth of 60 ft and were able to free it. But as a result of the numbers of incidents the DoE is partnering with Cayman Wildlife Rescue are partnering in an awareness campaign aimed at reducing this threat to this already endangered creatures.

If people see a tangled or hooked turtle they are being asked to call the DoE or Cayman Wildlife immediately. (See full contact details at the bottom of this article)

The DoE said people who are out fishing can help to prevent entanglement through responsible practices and asked them not to discard tangled fishing line into the sea or to leave lines unattended and to use non-stainless circle hooks. These degrade more quickly thanstainless steel and are less likely to gut hook an animal. The DoE also warned people no not rip out hooks or leave hooked animals in the wild but to call for assistance with any hook removal, rehabilitation, and release.

Divers and snorkelers can also help by collecting lost fishing lines and are asked to cut lines as pulling lines could damage tangled corals and sponges. The DoE is also asking divers and snorkelers to spread the word about the importance of collecting lost line and contact us for information on arranging a fishing line clean-up.

People walking on the beach can also help by picking up fishing line washed up on onshore and by report injured or dead wildlife.


DoE Grand Cayman: 949-8469 or 916-4271, Cayman Brac: 926-0136 or 926-2342, Little Cayman: 916-7021 or 926-2342 General: 949-8469 or

Cayman Wildlife Rescue Hotline: 917-BIRD(2473), Website:


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Murder trial proceedings remain under wraps

Murder trial proceedings remain under wraps

| 04/02/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The entire third day of the trial proceedings of Kirkland Henry and Larry Prinston Ricketts for the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts were held in camera on Wednesday as a result of the continuing voir dire requested by Ricketts’ defence attorney, Robert Fortune QC. A dispute over the admission of evidence has seen the lawyers question a number of key witnesses outside the parameters of the actual trial, testimony that cannot be reported on in the public domain.

Although the doors are not closed to the public sitting in, reporting and publication restrictions are imposed on the evidence before the special legal hearing and on the witnesses being called. This is to prevent undue influence before the judge makes a decision regarding the admissibility of the witness or evidence being questioned. Often referred to a trail within a trial, a voir dire is always held out of hearing of a jury in order not prejudice their deliberations.

In this case Ricketts and Henry opted for a judge alone trial so there is no jury to consider, however, the reporting restrictions remain to avoid misunderstanding in the community about what was valid evidence.  

Since the trial opened on Monday, the crown has called twenty of its prosecution witnesses, who have either testified in person before the court, which is presided over by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, or have had their statements read aloud to the court. Solicitor General Cheryll Richards QC has another forty witnesses yet to either call to the stand or read before she closes her case.

Following the presentation of the crown’s evidence, the two defence lawyers will then have the opportunity to call any witness to support their case. If not, the three attorneys will move to their closing statements before the judge retires to consider his ruling.

Henry has been charged with murder, rape, abduction and robbery and pled not guilty to murder, but guilty to the other three charges and has admitted being at the scene when Scott-Roberts was killed. Yesterday, testimony from DS Marlon Bodden revealed how Henry had confessed to being involved in the crime but blamed Ricketts for the murder and the disposal of the body by setting the car alight.   Ricketts, however, has been charged with murder, abduction and robbery and has pled not guilty to all three.

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Government says CUC has agreed to cut fees

Government says CUC has agreed to cut fees

| 04/02/2010 | 31 Comments

(CNS):  The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) Managing Director Philip Thomas has said that the board has managed to negotiate a reduction in the license fee charges that appear on Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) customer’s electricity bills. Thomas said the results of those negotiations would be apparent on February’s bills which would show a 25 percent reduction in licence fees.  He explained that the fees were set in 2008 when new licenses were issued to CUC at a rate of CI 0.0083 cents per kWh (with the first 1,000 kWhs of monthly residential kWhs being exempt).  From now on the charges will be lowered to CI 0.0062 cents.

He said the new rate would kick in after the first 1,000 of monthly residential kWhs as previously but it would result in a reduction for a residential monthly billing of 2,300 kWhs of $ 2.73, moving from $10.79 to $8.06

"The ERA Board is pleased to announce that we had discussions with CUC. And effective in this month’s billing, licence fees charged per kilowatt hour (kWh) appearing on customers’ accounts will be reduced by approximately 25 percent,” Thomas said on Wednesday.

After the end of the first quarter this year, the ERA will review the rate again; it is possible that there may be an additional reduction in the fee rate thereafter, he added.


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