Archive for February 10th, 2010

Third man busted for West Bay burglaries

| 10/02/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Update Thursday 12:15pm –  Police have now arrested a third man in connection with a number of burglaries and attempted burglaries in the West Bay area Tuesday night. The 30-year-old was arrested in the West Bay area yesterday evening. Two men aged 32 and 35 years were also arrested yesterday and police say all three men remain in police custody pending further enquiries. Police say that between midnight Tuesday, 9 February, and 3.00am Wednesday, 10 February, six burglaries and two attempted burglaries occurred in the West Bay area. Homes in Watercourse Road, Hillandale Close, Windstart Drive, Cadbury Link and Alexandra Close were targeted. In most of the incidents small amounts of cash were stolen.

A 32-year-old man was arrested early Wednesday morning and a 35-year-old man was arrested around lunchtime Wednesday in relation to the incidents.

Detective Sergeant Collins Oremule of West Bay CID is appealing for anyone who may have been in the relevant areas between midnight last night and 3.00 a.m. this morning, or who has any information about the crimes, to contact him on 949-3999.

Chief Inspector Angelique Howell, Area Commander, West Bay said, “The enquiry team have been very diligent in arresting the two individuals we believe areresponsible for the string of burglaries last night. I’d like to reassure the communities of West Bay that this criminal behaviour will not be tolerated and that we are stepping up our patrols in the area particularly in the early hours of the morning when these types of crime occur.

“But can I once again remind people of the simple steps they can take to make their homes safer. In a few of last night’s incidents access was gained through insecure windows or doors, or windows and doors with ineffective locks. I would urge people to make sure that they secure their property and help us cut down the opportunities available to thieves on the island.”

Anyone with information regarding the incidents should contact West Bay CID on 949-3999 or call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Jamaican cultural icon dies

| 10/02/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Professor Rex Nettleford, a Rhodes Scholar, writer and dancer, co-founder and leader for 50 years of Jamaica’s National Dance Theatre Company, died 2 February 2010. The Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) has organised a programme scheduled for Thursday, 6:30pm, at the Harquail theatre, to celebrate the life of this “great Jamaican and cultural icon.” Professor Nettleford had been scheduled as the keynote speaker at the University College of the Cayman Islands’ 11-12 March Caribbean Conference on Literature, Identity and Culture.

“We were shocked and saddened to hear of Professor Nettleford’s passing, and join Jamaicans and others across the region and internationally in mourning the loss of this quintessential Caribbean man, social critic and cultural icon,” said UCCI’s President Roy Bodden.

He was vice chancellor emeritus of the University of the West Indies from 1997 to 2004and served as cultural adviser to three prime ministers, including Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
The college will shortly be announcing a new keynote speaker for its conference opening on 11 March at UCCI’s Sir Vassel Johnson Hall.

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Government gives World Cup qualifiers a hand

| 10/02/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The U17 Women’s National Football Team, which made history last December when they became Cayman’s first-ever national football team to make it to the second round of the World Cup qualifiers, has received a contribution from the Ministry of Sport to cover some training expenses. This sponsorship will help to fund team preparation, training camps, and practice matches as the team prepares for the U-17 World Cup Qualifiers. In group A, host country Costa Rica will play the Cayman Islands in a night game on the opening day (Wednesday, 10 March) of the tournament. Cayman will then play the United States on Friday, 12 March and Haiti on Sunday, 14 March in an afternoon match-up.

Group B consists of Canada, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama.

The top two teams will qualify, along with U17 Women’s World Cup host Trinidad & Tobago, for the world championship in September.

“Government is happy to sponsor these young footballers,” said Sports Minister Mark Scotland. “They are showing great potential and while they have enjoyed playing against the boys during local practice, it is also important to provide them with opportunities to travel further afield. This funding will allow them to compete more often on the international stage, and we look forward to see them achieve even greater success.”

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Shirtless armed robber flees empty handed

| 10/02/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Police are reporting an attempted robbery at Welly’s Cool Spot, Sound Way, George Town last night. At about 7:40pm a man, who had a shirt covering his face but was bare chested, entered the premises armed with what appeared to be a handgun. Police say he threatened staff and demanded cash, but no shots were fired and no-one was injured. However, the man ran off empty handed and was last seen running towards AL Thompson in Sound Way. The suspect is described as being male, dark complexion, tall and of slim build. Police say he was wearing pants.

Detective Constable Richard Scott is appealing for any witnesses to contact George Town CID on 949-4222.

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Ricketts and Henry linked through phone images

| 10/02/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A number of technical experts testifying during the murder trial of Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts have linked the two men’s own phones as well as to those stolen from Estella Scott-Roberts’ car on the night of the murder.  Various evidence before the court revealed that Ricketts had attached a pornographic video image to the telephone number he stored in his phone for Henry (left). A police expert also testified that there were images stored on one of the phones taken from the defendants by police that were time stamped on the night of the murder.

Although it was not made clear to the court by the prosecution what the images were or where they had been taken, the time stamp was said to be 00:43 on 11 October 2008. During cross examination of an officer from the Special Police Investigation Unit of the RCIPS, Henry’s defence attorney, Ian Bourne QC, was keen to try and establish if the officer believed one of the images showed the flame of a cigarette lighter in the corner. The officer who removed the photographs from the phone camera told the court he was unable to help as he had never been asked to enhance and examine the images before.

Following a site visit by the court to the scenes of the crime, including the car park at Deckers from where Scott-Roberts was abducted on 10 October 2008, as well as the beach area at Barkers where the rape took place and the dyke area near The Shores where her body was discovered in her own burnt out vehicle.

The rest of the day’s proceedings included witness testimony focusing on the two defendant’s communication by phone and evidence from police officers, including Senior Investigating Officer Peter Kennett.

Although there are still some technical issues that Ricketts defence attorney, Robert Fortune QC, wishes to address regarding phone record evidence, the crown is approaching the end of its case, and with agreement between the legal teams enabling a considerable number of witness statements to be taken as read, the defence teams could move to open their cases later today. 

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Investment Bureau becomes Department of Commerce

| 10/02/2010 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Investment Bureau has been renamed and transformed in to the Department of Commerce and Investment. With a wider remit beyond its original role of attracting inward investment to include developing business and trade opportunities, the premier has said the new agency is now tasked with adapting a more cohesive approach to local and foreign business. Consisting of the Investment Support Services Unit, the Cayman Islands Film Commission and the Small Business Development Unit, the new department will also be dealing with Trade and Business licences from next month.

Bush said that the new department would assume additional functions related to commerce and investment to support the economic development in the local business environment. The three arms of the department will be working towards the goal of boosting economic growth through local and foreign commerce and investment.

Bush said that from 1 March, the Trade and Business licensing will be removed from immigration and integrated into the new investment department as he said it was a common thread between foreign and locally owned business.

He said there would be no real cost increases associated with the name change, and where there was a need for additional people they would be found from other areas within the financial services ministry. As a result of the change and the increase in functions and responsibility Bush said a national investment council and committee had been established, with members from both the private and public sectors.

“The council will function as an advocate for an ‘approval in principle’ for any investment or development projects provided they are compliant with relevant Cayman Islands laws and regulations,” Bush explained. “It will also recommend reform of legislation, regulations and policies relating to trade and commerce and investment in order to improve our investment climate and reduce bureaucracy affecting businesses operating locally.”

The premier said the council would be supported by a committee, including government representatives and civil servants from a wide number of departments, that will provide technical input, determine criteria to assess projects, formulate policy guidelines and review applications, which will in turn report to a special cabinet committee chaired by the premier.

“As the global economic downturn continues to affect us, we recognise that fuelling economic development demands increased emphasis on inward investment coupled with greater support for the small business sector,” Bush added.

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Million dollar residency

| 10/02/2010 | 184 Comments

(CNS): Wealthy individuals who have a net worth over $10 million will be able to buy permanent residency for a fee of $1 million, the premier has said.  A new limited category of rich individuals will be granted residency and be expected to spend a certain amount of time in the Cayman Islands each year, McKeeva Bush told the media on Tuesday. He said this would create both a new revenue stream for government and inward investment in the islands. Bush added that he would be bringing the new legislative change along with a number of other immigration changes to the Legislative Assembly’s next sitting.

Not a new concept, Bush noted residency for the wealthy was available in other locations. “Research has shown that there are a number of high net worth individuals who would be interested in a similar residency category here,” the premier added.

Bush said that new financial services directives regarding other areas of immigration have now been gazetted and he anticipated that sector would begin to see the benefit of the changes as early as this week. He said there is now a special sub-committee of the business staffing plan board that will focus on financial services matters, and the board now has a list of critical positions within the financial services that will be designated ‘key’. Immigration officers are now directed to issue three-year permits to a number of professional categories and up to five for others.

Bush said he was doing all he could to keep encouraging inward investment and boost the financial services section and said he had received a confidential report on the various meetings held with his ministry and the industry.

“The report provides more substantial evidence regarding the issues faced by these firms and in particular in the area of immigration,” he added.

Although immigration is not the only challenge faced by these firms, he said it was a very important one that government had to address. Blaming the global economic downturn and ignoring the domestic problems in Cayman’s economy was no good and where the government had control it should act.

“We cannot change the global environment but we can certainly make changes in the areas where we do have influence,” the premier promised.

The report which highlighted the problems was being discussed by the immigration department and his ministry, and he said the industry would soon see an improved level of service within the immigration department.

He also stated that government would be working to keep up with the necessary changes in legislation that the sector needed in order to be competitive. Having created a new legislative committee, with Charles Jennings as chair, which will report to the ministry via the financial services council, this committee would help fast track appropriate proposals for new laws or amendments, the premier told the press.

“We must keep up with the necessary legislative changes,” Bush warned. “This is part of the reason we have been a successful jurisdiction. However, over the past years we seem to have lost our competitive edge in ensuring that we remain innovative and competitive in this area.”

Bush blamed the PPM for running off business from the island as a result of not meeting the needs of the financial sector or promoting the industry.      

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Mac vows to protect helpers

| 10/02/2010 | 58 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman Immigration Law(CNS): With immigration policy changes now in place to assist the financial services sector in the recruitment and retention of employees for that industry, the premier has also promised more changes in the Immigration Law which will protect those who support the wider community. McKeeva Bush saidthat the immigration review team will be looking at how they can save domestic workers from the rollover policy and help local families keep long standing carers whom they trust. The premier said his government proposed to help those who are here caring for Cayman’s children, its sick, elderly and handicapped.

“Myself and my colleagues are faced every day with the suffering of our own Caymanians who, due to the inflexibility of the current seven year rollover, are forced to make trusted helpers leave for a year after years of good service – often to the detriment of those they care for,” Bush said today (Tuesday 9 February) at the first post-Cabinet press briefing of the new year.

The rollover, he added, created a burden for local families and said that the review team would be finding a way to protect these caregivers and to put some flexibility in the law. He said carers should be allowed to stay beyond the seven-year limit, subject to a review of their circumstances each year in order to avoid abuse.

Bush added that this review of the way domestic helpers are considered in relation to the rollover policy would only apply to existing carers who have been caring for people for a number of years and are very much needed by their families.  Promising to bring legislation to the Legislative Assembly at the next sitting, which starts later this month, the premier said that the changes to the work permit categories he had introduced affected the needs of those at the top of the economy, but he wanted to also help those much needed domestics.

He said that together the two groups only represented less than 10 percent of the country’s work permit population.  With regards to the remaining 90% of permit holders, he said employers had to understand the law was clear and when there are jobs that unemployed Caymanians can do they must be given the opportunity to do them.

“That large category of skilled and semi-skilled workers must be closely scrutinized by our immigration boards and by our Labour Department to ensure that as soon as a Caymanian is available to do the job there are no further work permits issued to that person,” the premier stated.

He said that just because the system allowed for seven years did not mean that every permit holder was entitled to stay for that long, and permits should not be renewed when a Caymanian was available for the job.

Bush also asked employers not to lay off local workers as a result of the downturn in the economy and said they had to have a social conscience and consider the plight of Caymanians. Bush urged employers to implement shift changes or a reduction in hours rather than lay people off. He said that, given the current global economic climate and the need to address immigration issues to make Cayman more attractive and competitive, it was also important to make sure that employers understood the need to protect Caymanians in the workplace. Sending a message with what he said was the strongest possible meaning to employers from every sector, he said they could no longer continue to find excuses for not employing Caymanians.

Bush suggested that, as government had paved the way for the financial sector to gain better access to the high level talent it needed, government expected that in turn the industry and local employers in general would in turn pave the way to employ more Caymanians and improve access to training.

The premier also warned that employers taking on foreign workers and only paying them a few dollars per hour should not get past the Work Permit Board. He said no one should expect to work for $4 or $5 per hour and employers would no longer be allowed to get permits for staff where salaries were not enough to live on.

“We will be instructing our boards to be mindful of the fact that prior to issuing a work permit they must be convinced that the person can afford to support himself and any dependents whilst working here. If not, either the employer must pay more or the work permit must be refused,” Bush added.

He said that while the government was going to ensure the financial services had access to the talent it needed to compete effectively, the government would not on the one hand shore up financial services while neglecting the rest of the community. “Do not think for one minute that the government, by wishing to shore up the financial community or to help the Caymanian families, are being soft on immigration,” the premier said.  

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