Archive for June 3rd, 2010

Turtle Farm claims renewed hope with visitor increase

Turtle Farm claims renewed hope with visitor increase

| 03/06/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The home of the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm, Boatswain’s Beach, is claiming that its latest statistics show that both visitors and revenue have improved from the previous year, offering some encouragement about the viability of the controversial attraction. The farm said that when it compared the results from June 2008–April 2009 to the period of June 2009-April 2010, tours had increased at Boatswain’s Beach by some 2% and revenue from the tours was up almost $250,000 or 9%. Combined with the recent cost cutting measures introduced at the facility, the management and Board of Directors said this gives renewed hope about the long-term future of the attraction.

Chief of Sales Raymond Hydes, said the results were encouraging. “We are particularly pleased with the increasing success of our on-line ticket sales through the website, which went from under 500 bookings to almost 3,000 bookings,” he added. 
Managing Director Tim Adam, who has faced some difficult decisions recently, from increasing the price of turtle meat to cutting over twenty jobs, said the farm was focusing its efforts on optimizing tours and revenue per visitor. 
“We are evaluating all aspects of our operations for ways that we can improve the visitor experience, encourage higher levels of traffic through the facilities, and control our costs so that improvement in attendance contributes to sustainability of the attraction,” he said.
Last year the farm received around $10 million in subsidies from the public purse. With the anticipated budget cuts in the 2010/11 budget, which will be presented to the Legislative Assembly on 15 June, Boatswain Beach will be one of a number of statutory authorities which is expected to be facing significant subsidy reductions.

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Rescuers return barn owl to the wild

Rescuers return barn owl to the wild

| 03/06/2010 | 3 Comments

Cayman IslandsNews, Grand Cayman science news(CNS): Volunteers from Cayman Wildlife Rescue recently released a barn owl which they had been nursing back to health since he was found in a dumpster suffering from what appeared to be spinal injuries. “Barney”, who was found and taken to Cayman Animal Hospital by a caring member of the public, had probably been hit by a car or had flown into a building window. Under the care of Dr. Lisa Hunter and the staff at the animal hospital, Barney built back his strength and regained his mobility before Cayman Wildlife took Barney and began his flight training and helped him on his long road to eventual release. (Photo by John Ferguson)

Speaking about his arrival at the hospital after he was discovered in the dumpster, Dr. Hunter said Barney was in a bad way. “He had little mobility in his lower limbs, which suggested a spinal injury.”
With staff volunteering their time and facilities for the preliminary care of the owl, he spent over two months at the hospital, where the vets monitored his weight, general health and also conducted physical therapy to build back his strength in his legs and feet.
Cayman Wildlife Rescue resumed care of the owl in March, and by May Barney was ready to begin his flight training to prepare him for release back into the wild. Under the guidance of Avian Specialist, Dr. Heather Barron of St. Matthews Veterinary University, the wildlife rescue team began to creance fly the owl. Barney was secured to a long line and flown at intervals, gradually increasing the frequency and length of training to every day.
CWR volunteers Mikaella Lacerda and Rogerio Pitta conducted the majority of the owl’s flight training, feeding and weight checks. Alison Corbett, CWR Program Manager, thanked all the volunteers for their help in what was a long road for Barney.
“It was a long path to recovery for this owl, but thanks to the hard work of many dedicated volunteers and with support of local vets we had great success.” 
While the vets didn’t charge for their work or resources, frozen mice needed to be shippedin via air cargo to feed Barney’s growing appetite. CWR estimates that the cost of rehabilitating the owl was close to $500. If members of the public would like to contribute to the program, donations can be made to Cayman Wildlife Rescue and mailed to PO Box 31116 KY1-1205 or dropped of at the National Trust.
Symbolic wildlife adoption kits are also available at the National Trust for $30, including an adoption certificate, information on the animal, backpack and choice of a plush parrot or bat toy, all proceeds benefit the program.
Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a program of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands tasked with the rescue of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife for release back into the wild. It is financed by donations from the public and staffed entirely by volunteers.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Alison Corbett at For more information you can also visit
What to do if you find injured wildlife – Call the LIME Sponsored Wildlife Emergency Hotline at 917-BIRD(2473). Cayman Wildlife Rescue has a team of experienced and trained volunteers ready to assist in wildlife emergencies. The public are reminded to NEVER attempt to care for a wildlife animal themselves as they required special diets and veterinary care.

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Volunteers wanted for weekend tree plant project

Volunteers wanted for weekend tree plant project

| 03/06/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): With so many of Cayman’s endemic and native plants under threat the Department of Environment (DOE) is marking this year’s World Environment Day (Saturday, 5 June) with a tree planting project. Volunteers are wanted to help plant 64 native trees around Grand Cayman to boost the island’s embattled native flora. World Environment Day is one of the biggest, most widely celebrated global days for positive environmental action. As a result the DOE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said it was an appropriate day to do something positive as well as draw attention to the treat which the islands’ natural environment faces.

“As unfortunate as it is, our local plant species have no legal protection and are increasingly under pressure from development and invasive exotic species. As a result, many of our endemic and native plants and trees are either threatened or endangered. We hope that this native tree planting project will raise awareness of the need to protect our native flora and help to enhance the Islands’ biodiversity,” said DOE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, as she asked local volunteers to come out and be part of the global Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign.
Saturday’s tree planting will start at 8 a.m. at the following locations: The Al Al Park in West Bay, Success Circle Park off Crewe Road on Palm Dale Dr., Washington Blvd (Swamp) Park in George Town, Harry McCoy Park in Bodden Town, Cumber Park in Bodden Town, and the Rugby-Football Club in South Sound.
The department needs volunteers to help and said they should bring sun block, hats, gloves and shovels if they can.
On behalf of her department Ebanks-Petrie thanked project partners – Recreation Parks & Cemeteries Unit, The National Trust and Rotary Sunrise – as well as sponsors – the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park, East End Gardens & Gifts, Car City, Maples and Calder, Fosters Food Fair IGA and Hurley’s Supermarket.
On Cayman Brac, the Ecotourism Unit will lead a beautification project for Salt Water Pond Trail. Volunteers are needed to help clear the trail and should bring machetes, sun block, hats, water and bug repellent and wear long pants.
Contact Chevala Burke at (345) 244-4420 or  for more details.
World environment day is marked to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and to encourage political attention and local action by giving a human face to environment issues. The ultimate aim is to enable people to realize not only their responsibility but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development. As 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, this year’s World Environment Day’s focuses on preserving global biodiversity reflected by the theme Many Species, One Planet, One Future.

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Teen girls rob pizza shop

Teen girls rob pizza shop

| 03/06/2010 | 78 Comments

(CNS): Update 5pm –  Police are currently investigating reports of a robbery which occurred at around 1.45pm this afternoon (Thursday 3 June) at the Dominos Pizza shop in Savannah, Bodden Town. Officers said that three teenage girls entered the pizza restaurant carrying machettes.They threatened staff before making off with an undisclosed sum of cash and some bottles of soda. No one was injured in the incident.The girls reportedly ran off into Pedro Castle Road where they entered a white Rav 4 vehicle and drove off. The suspects are described as aged between 13 and 19 years, all wearing dark clothing, baseball caps and dark sunglasses.

Police confirmed no arrests have yet been made and anyone with information, or who saw the vehicle drive off, is asked to contact Bodden Town CID on 947-2220.

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Air Jamaica returns to Cayman Islands

Air Jamaica returns to Cayman Islands

| 03/06/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Bruce Nobles, Air Jamaica’s President and CEO, has announced that the airline will be resuming its daily service between Kingston and Grand Cayman next month. The airline is also resuming its summer service from New York (JFK) to Barbados and Grenada. “We are excited about the return to these Caribbean markets. Jamaica and Grand Cayman have shared strong ties for many years, and our service to Barbados and Grenada gives the Diaspora the most convenient way to go home for festivals, fun and family,” said Bruce Nobles, Air Jamaica’s President and CEO.

From 1 July Flight JM069 will depart Kingston at 10:35am every day and arrive in Grand Cayman at 11:30am. Flight JM068 will leave Grand Cayman at 12:30pm each day and land in Kingston at 1:25pm.

The airline is also tempting passengers back with a number of offers, including two bags free in Lovebird Economy class, double rewards miles for 7th Heaven Rewards members who book Lovebird Executive Class, 10% discount for accompanied children and senior citizens, student waivers for date changes and 15% discount on personal cargo shipments for ticketed passengers.

Air Jamaica has recently announced an increase in flights to New York and Toronto from Jamaica, as well as its return to Nassau. With the inauguration of service to Grand Cayman, Barbados and Grenada, Air Jamaica says its summer schedule will have more than 182 weekly flights to eight destinations.

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MLAs threaten voters’ ruin

MLAs threaten voters’ ruin

| 03/06/2010 | 132 Comments

(CNS):  Updated 3.45 pm Lawyers representing the two Bodden Town MLAs who were challenged by six voters in their constituency have served those constituents with bankruptcy threats. Mark Scotland, who is now Minister of Health, and Dwayne Seymour, a back bench MLA, failed to comply with Section 19 (1) g of the Cayman Islands Constitution regarding their business interests during the election campaign. Following the UDP MLAs’ election to office, six Bodden Town voters, including an independent candidate, challenged the result. However, as they chose to mount the challenge via a Grand Court Summons instead of an election petition the case was thrown out. Scotland and Seymour have claimed over $70,000 in costs from the challengers.

The Bodden Town challengers were served this week with a bankruptcy notice, which was filed in the courts last month asking the voters for US$70,041.76 to be paid in seven days of the notice being served. The notice warned that if the challengers did not pay up, Scotland and Seymour, members of the current United Democratic Party government, would be taking bankruptcy proceedings against their six constituents, threatening them with financial ruin.

CNS understands, however, that negotiations have taken place between the parties involved and the costs matter has been settled via other undisclosed means. In an official statement the challengers said they were astonished to receive the bankruptcy notices

"It seems that because we sought to uphold the constitution, our two Bodden Town representatives have sought to have us declared bankrupt if we do not immediately pay their costs which were awarded in March of this year.

"We were advised by senior counsel that it was possible to seek to have the constitution upheld by way of an Originating Summons and that it was also possible to do so by way of an election petition under the Elections Law. We chose the former approach because it was less of a partisan approach to the issue. The majority of us have no party affiliation whatsoever."

The Challenges noted the irony that things would have been different if they had taken a partisan approach and proceeded by way of an election petition the circumstances of their BT representatives would likely be very different.

"We respect the view of the court and the rule of law so their costs will be paid. There was no need to take a heavy handed approach of threatening your own constituents with personal bankruptcy but we have come to expect no more," the challengers said.

Sandra Catron, one of the six challengers, who alsostood as an independent candidate in the district, said the bankruptcy notice was extremely unnerving.

“I have been led to understand that this was a very draconian and heavy handed method of trying to recover costs and believe it speaks volumes about the people involved,” said Catron.

”Despite what has been said in the past about this challenge, this was never a personal issue, or even a UDP issue, but it was a matter of principle and we believed that we were doing the right thing. To be threatened with bankruptcy as a result of trying to stand up for democracy sends the wrong message about the system. The message here is that if you do stand up you do so risking everything. This illustrates that we are not an open and free society at all.”

Catron said  lessons had been learned for the whole community about any future queries concerning elections. But she added that it was unfortunate that they had been castigated for trying to do what was right.

The controversial challenge was mounted as a result of both Scotland and Seymour missing the deadline to declare and gazette their business interests and contracts with the Cayman Islands government one month before Election Day, as required under the Constitution.

The two MLAs both insisted that this was an oversight and once it was brought to their attention they had filed the details of their respective contracts and, they said, were no longer in breach of the law. Scotland, whose firm ARCP had a number of contracts with government, said at the time that there was no intent to hide anything as all of the businesses he owned were in the Legislative Assembly’s register of interests and the contracts his business had with government were in the public domain.

Seymour said his security firm’s contract with Cayman Airways was also widely known and he did not realise that he also needed to gazette them. He also questioned whether his contract with CAL was a government contract, despite the fact that government is the only shareholder in the national flag carrier.

Following revelations that the candidates had not gazetted their interests as they were required to do, questions were immediately raised by the opposition, other candidates and voters as to whether the two men were disqualified from the election. However, as they had already been nominated under the Election Law neither the Election Office nor the Governor’s Office challenged the candidates’ right to stand and they continued with their campaigns. Calls came from all corners of the community that the attorney general or the governor should disqualify the candidates, but both Samuel Bulgin and Stuart Jack said it was a political matter and they would not get involved.

Following the election, although the AG was one of those named in the Constitution as having the right to mount a challenge over qualification of the two candidates to take up office, he said he would not do so.

In the end the challenge was mounted by lawyers Samson and McGrath on behalf of Gordon Solomon, Sandra Catron (an independent candidate in the election in Bodden Town), Ronald Ebanks, Jean Ebanks, Roxanne Basham-Ebanks and Michael McLaughlin in June last year. The summons asks the court to determine if the two defendants were disqualified, by virtue of section 19 g of the Constitution, from being elected and if their subsequent election was valid or not.

Despite the breach of the Constitution, in the face of the challenge the two candidates insisted it was a "minor technical thing" and they were never disqualified. However, although they had described it as a minor issue the candidates engaged the services of Lord Pannick QC, one of the UK’s leading constitutional lawyers, to defend the challenge, which the MLAs claimed, ironically, had been filed too late and via the Grand Court as an originating summons instead of an election petition, which should have been brought within 21days.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie found in favour of the MLAs and struck out the challenge, which left the six Bodden Town voters with the legal tab, not just for their own costs but those of Seymour and Scotland.

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Bush courts Chinese cash via state run firm

Bush courts Chinese cash via state run firm

| 03/06/2010 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier has said he is interested in doing business with China following a visit by a delegation of businessmen from one of the country’s largest state-owned financial and industrial conglomerates. McKeeva Bush met with the Chinese delegation last week and told them he wanted to strengthen existing relationships with their country as he saw China as a valuable business partner for Cayman and would welcome the opportunity to build on that relationship. Bush said Chinese companies represented the future and possible inward investment. (Photo Shuangning Tang with McKeeva Bush)

According to a release from the premier’s press secretary, the team from China’s Everbright Group came to explore that possibility. The delegates came to look at the role Cayman plays in international financial markets and to look at appropriate ways for Chinese financial institutions to develop international business through the Cayman Islands. As well as Bush, the delegates also met senior representatives of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, who briefed the Chinese team on the regulatory landscape for the financial industry as a whole and the sectors that CIMA regulates.
“The China Everbright Group’s interest in doing business in the Cayman Islands is very encouraging,” the premier said. “This is the kind of company that we want to invest in the Cayman Islands. Chinese companies represent the future and it is inward invest by companies such as this that will help turn our economy around. We look forward to the many possibilities that China’s strong economy can bring to the Cayman Islands through our partnership.”
The China Everbright Group began in 1983 as a trading business and has since diversified to include banking, securities, insurance, and investment management. Other businesses include hotel and property, tourism and environmental protection. Its subsidiaries are operational in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
The group’s four-man delegation was led by the Chairman of the China Everbright (Group) Co. Ltd Shuangning Tang. “The Group, as with many Chinese financial institutions, is considering expanding overseas and we hope to explore business opportunities through the Cayman Islands in the future,” he said.

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Constitution talks go public

Constitution talks go public

| 03/06/2010 | 17 Comments

(CNS): Following the ruling by the information commissioner the Cabinet Office has now finally agreed to release the transcripts from the three rounds of constitutional negotiations between the Cayman Islands and UK Governments. Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor said that even though the UK agreed to the public release of the transcripts last November his office had to consider the individuals who had taken part believing them to be confidential. However, Connor said now that the documents were in the public domain he encouraged people to read them and see how government had conducted the negotiations on the country’s behalf.

The original Freedom of Information request was made by the Human Rights Committee but the request was denied. The HRC asked for an internal review which still resulted in a denial. However, following a lengthy review by the information commissioner due to various delays, Jennifer Dilbert gave her ruling last month stating the release of the transcripts was in the public interest. The documents were not released immediately despite a CNS report making it clear none of the parties involved objected to the release.
Commenting on the eventual release of the transcripts, on Thursday 3 June Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor admitted that the UK reversed its original decision concerning the confidentiality of the talks more than seven months ago in November of last year.
“This required the Cabinet Office to carefully consider any obligation it might hold to individuals who had taken part in negotiations with the understanding that the proceedings would be private. There was additional concern that local and overseas parties to future negotiations might be inhibited by the precedent of discussions designated as private, becoming public after the fact,” he said.
Connor added however, that the Information Commissioner’s finding that the public interest outweighed any such concerns demonstrates the integrity of the system of checks and balances built into the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law by the Cabinet Office.
He urged everyone with Internet access to take advantage of the historic opportunity to learn how the Government conducts negotiations on their behalf. The Cabinet Office confirmed that it had already distributed copies to the applicant and sent copies to all other participants in the negotiations.
The transcripts cover three lots of meetings which took place in 2008 and 2009 and are available online from the Freedom of Information (FOI) document library of the Cabinet Office website They are also in the resources section of the 2009 Constitution website A link to the transcripts is also featured on the homepage of the Government portal,
It is also possible to listen to audio of the proceedings. The Cabinet Office is currently considering how it can make these recordings availableelectronically and will update the public as soon as a decision is reached.
To arrange to view the printed transcripts, interested persons should contact Information Manager Kim Bullings at 244-2209.
Check back to CNS next week for articles based on selected highlights of the talks.

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The Machinations of Robb’n in the Hood

The Machinations of Robb’n in the Hood

| 03/06/2010 | 20 Comments

Gather round and let me tell you a story of Robb’n in the Hood. I know that many of you will be familiar with the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, but that is a very different story. The main character in our story is Robb’n of Ya, and the most important thing to know about Robb’n is that Robb’n liked money, and everything that money can buy.

Robb’n was particularly fond of spending other people’s money. But what made him happiest of all was spending other people’s money on first class travel to places far from Ya, the land of his birth.

He did not forget the country of Ya even with all of his travelling and spending, and his spending and travelling. Whenever he stopped in Ya to refill his pockets with other people’s money, he would remind the poor people paying his bills, “I man born Ya” so that they would feel better about handing over all the money they worked so hard for. Robb’n never sent the poor people post cards from the places he spent their money, but every four years he gave just enough of them refrigerators.

The most important thing to remember about Ya, apart from the poor people whose money Robb’n spent, is that it is not at all like the home of Robin Hood. There is no Sherwood Forest in Ya. There used to be a Mahogany Forest, and an Ironwood Forest, and even a Mangrove Forest when Robb’n was a lad. Robb’n had no use for these and at every opportunity Robb’n sold concessionsto allow developers to bulldoze the forest and to put up parking lots and concrete boxes. You see Robb’n had no respect for the forest or the creatures that lived in it. Those creatures just would not ‘pay up’ the way developers would. Some of the little people of Ya wanted to have a Conservation Law, but the developers looked around and saw a few leaves on trees and they told Robb’nthat the Conservation Law would be bad for the wallets of Robb’n and his henchmen so Robb’n sent the Conservation Law to Never-Never-Land.

Robb’n’s principal henchmen (and what self-respecting despot does not have henchmen) were known through-out the land as The Sullen Men. Some say that The Sullen Men got their collective name from the facial expressions displayed whenever factual comments about their silly behaviour appeared in the media – which was often. Others say that their demeanours were due to infantile colic which they never grew out of (which might also explain the occasionally rages, the throwing of rattles out of prams, the bursting into broadcast operations, as well as any attacks on tourists). There were a number of notable characters among The Sullen Men including:

Rolly the Numerate – Robb’n’s faithful Man-in-Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

The Lady Footwasher – a fierce Crusader who changed her whole life around in order to enjoy the little soap bars found in a hotel.

Sir N. Klyne’d Todowhatheistold – a sometime student of politrix and whatever it is that they teach above the bank in that building on Edward Street.

Frier Dwayne – named for his decades long passion for eating fried foods while carefully studying the subtleties of Ya’s election laws and Constitution

The Marquis of Roundabouts – the master of tourist confusion systems

U. Jean the Neverheardfrom – so quiet that no one knows if he speaks any language at all

E. Lee. O’youdidnotsaythataboutsomerelativeofmine – aka Mini-Robb’n, and

Mikey the Bearded – Mikey got lost on a journey to do good deeds and sadly fell in with the wrong crowd

Now the High Sherriff of Ya is another character, but not quite one of the Sullen Men. The High Sheriff, you see, was appointed by the Queen of Angle-Land to keep an eye on old Robb’n’s careless spending of the poor people’s money (and other threats to law and order). However, the High Sheriff rarely intervened because Robb’n’s lack of understanding of almost everything, as well as his passion for demonstrating this lack to the world at large, tended to send lots of jobs back to Angle-Land and elsewhere.

There are other characters as well, but I have probably spent too much time telling you about the minor characters, particularly given that the only opinion that mattered to Robb’n, was Robb’n’s. You see, The Sullen Men would not question anything Robb’n said or did, and Robb’n let it be known that he would invent a special tax applicable to anyone who questioned him. As a result most people kept quiet, even when Robb’n went on the most outrageous rants, or could not keep straight what he had said a few minutes before and therefore contradicted himself – which was often.

Robb’n and all his friends lived very well on the money that they were taking from the poor people of Ya. Robb’n even hired assorted servants and built a huge new wall for his castle using money from the poor people. Now the poor people were hurting and hungry and rumblings were coming from more than their stomachs. To shut them up Robb’n devised a plan to make a nice speech at the official meeting place, telling the poor people that he would take 30% less of the poor people’s money for himself, and that The Sullen Men would take 20% less of the poor people’s money.

Robb’n’s deception was veryclever. Robb’n and The Sullen Men had no intention of actually taking less of the poor people’s money. Nevertheless, many of the poor people who heard Robb’n’s speech believed him and started saying what a nice man Robb’n was and how he understood their plight. You might be thinking to yourselves that surely the people would come to see Robb’n’s deception, but Robb’n was not worried.

Robb’n assumed that the memory loss which so frequently affected the poor people would work its magic, and that the poor people would soon forget Robb’n’s promise to take less of their money for himself and his henchmen. What Robb’n did not know was that some of the poor people had come under the influence of folks that Robb’n feared more than Freedom of Information, and even more than economy travel itself, the dreaded “bloggers”. You see, “bloggers” helped the people see and understand the tawdry behaviour of Robb’n and his henchmen. As the poor people returned to their senses under the influence of the “bloggers”, they became angry with Robb’n because they realized that Robb’n had spent all of their money on himself and other foolish things.

Then Robb’n schemed, “If I tell people that I saw Mr. R. Denn of the Eastern Area make a funny face, they will no longer blame me.” But Mr. R. Denn said that Robb’n was talking nonsense and that made Robb’n very angry. Then Robb’n schemed, “If I tell people that ‘the people’ want me to keep all their money then the people will think it is true.” But the people didn’t. So Robb’n schemed again and decided to take some friends on a nice vacation in Bermuda and England and all over Europe for a while so that the story of his behaviour would fall off the front page of CNS and the poor people would surely forget.

Well my fellow poor people, have you forgotten yet? If you haven’t you can be sure that Robb’n, The Sullen Men, and all of Robb’n’s highly paid hangers-on are counting their – I mean OUR – money, and they are also counting on all of us having very short memories. After all, the new summer travel season starts immediately after Robb’n and The Sullen Men pass a new make-believe budget showing that, by borrowing even more money that the poor people don’t have, Robb’n and his friends will be able to continue to live well. Undoubtedly Robb’n and many, many of Robb’n’s friends are also hoping to spend huge amounts of the poor people’s money on other trips to Europe and the World Cup in South Africa, and oh so many other places.

Will the poor people allow this to continue? We shall have to wait and see, and seeing is the key – you see. Monsters who hide under beds and despots who waste the people’s money don’t like the lights being on. If those who care shine bright lights in their hiding places, then the monsters and despots fade away. So, even though we can hardly afford to have any lights on at all these days, we should make sure that we keep shining the brightest lights we have on despots and other monsters until all the waste and greed disappear, and the poor people are all able to live in reasonable happiness ever after.

The end.

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Seventh-day church accepts guns for amnesty

Seventh-day church accepts guns for amnesty

| 03/06/2010 | 13 Comments

(CNS): With only one week to go until the RCIPS gun amnesty ends, Pastors from the local mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church have joined forces with the service for the final push and said they are willing to accept illegal weapons from people afraid to go to the police. The Pastors will then in turn hand the weapons over to the RCIPS as part of the ‘no questions asked’ amnesty. Hoping to encourage those who are still reluctant, for whatever reason, to hand over illegal, unlicensed or unwanted, guns and ammunition at a police station, the pastors have said people can come to the church instead.

Pastors have also volunteered to work with RCIPS Area Commanders throughout the Cayman Islands to tell their congregations and communities how they can help cut gun crime in Cayman by taking part in the last few days of the amnesty.
“We are delighted to welcome the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a key partner in the gun amnesty,” said Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden. “While we have always made it clear that the main drop off locations for surrendering guns and ammunition are the four main police stations on the islands, we want people to feel that they have choices. We have urged them to contact teachers, pastors, doctors, in fact anyone they trust to ask their help in surrendering the guns.”
The senior cop said the poice wanted to use every means possible to get guns off the streets and cut gun crime in the Cayman Islands. “That’s why we are grateful to the church for this very public display of support,” DS Bodden added.
Police officers have been working with the Pastors to ensure that the health and safety issues associated with handling firearms have been addressed.
“Of course it’s important to us that the Pastors feel comfortable accepting the guns – that’s why officers from our Uniform Support Group have provided advice about the safe handling of weapons,” DS Bodden explained. “The Pastors will merely take possession of the guns and immediately contact the police. Our officers will then make the guns safe before transporting them back to the station as part of the amnesty.”
Pastor Al Powell, of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, said the clergy’s goal was to help in the fight against crime. “All of our Pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church have discussed and agreed to help with this vital and important task – helping our community to be a safer place. Our overall objective is to assist in any way we can to reduce and fight crime – keeping our island as safe as possible,” he said.
“While we recognize the awesome responsibility, we will in no way act, or be police; we are simply facilitators in this process and are available to help those within the community that know or have developed trust in our ministers. Ingrained in our teaching is to be good law abiding citizens.”
The pastor said the church would be praying that the effort will be successful.
“We have at least onechurch/office in every district so please use the telephone directory to contact us. Anyone requiring additional information should call the central office at 9492647 or 9498167 and ask to speak with a Pastor. We are committed that anyone who chooses to use this option will remain anonymous. We congratulate the Police Commissioner, Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden and their team for this noble endeavour,” Pastor Powell added.
The month long gun amnesty began on 10 May and will conclude on 10 June 2010. The amnesty operates 7 days a week from 7.00 a.m. until 7.00 p.m. Anyone with information about gun crime should contact their local police station, call the RCIPS confidential tip-line 949-7777, or call Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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