Archive for June 11th, 2010

Bag snatcher strikes in GT

| 11/06/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Police have confirmed that a woman was mugged in down town George Town today (Friday 11 June) in broad daylight at around 1:30pm. CID are currently investigating the incident which is said to have taken place in North Sound Road/ Godfrey Nixon way but police cannot confirm if the perpetrator was armed with a gun or another weapon. The victim whose bag was reported to contain around $10,000 is said to be unharmed. The police helicopter was sighted hovering in the area of the incident at the time of the assault but police have been unable to confirm if it was looking for the suspect who is said to have escaped on a bicycle.The bag snatched contained takings from a local business police said. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

No arrest have been made in connection with the crime.

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Immigration says come clean

| 11/06/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): People who are currently in the Cayman Islands illegally or employers who are holding work permits for people who are no longer properly employed are being offered a window of opportunity to come clean without fear of prosecution. Throughout the whole of next month the Immigration Department will be holding an amnesty for employers in regard to certain offences and for individual illegal aliens who no longer have the right to be here. The department said it estimated that there are some 250 over-stayers currently on island. The amnesty which starts on 1 July and lasts until 31 July comes ahead of a planned clamp down on immigration offences.

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said this opportunity gives employers the chance to regularise their affairs with staff and those who are here illegally time to depart without fear of prosecution before a beefed up enforcement operation begins in August .
“Persons who are caught then will face being prosecuted or being administratively fined,” she explained . “In either case it would hamper their ability to obtain further work permits from the boards. For the more serious offences, prosecution will be sought and possibly deportation.” 
The maximum penalty for overstaying is a fine of CI$20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, and the penalties for work permit offences range from fines between CI$5,000 and CI$15,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
The department has had amnesties in the past but it is almost six years since the last one. It was decided that now would be an appropriate time to offer an amnesty before a planned joint operation with other law enforcement agencies starts in August with the goalof clamping down on immigration offences.
“We want to give persons and companies the opportunity to regularise their situation without the fear of being prosecuted,” Evans added. “Those who take advantage of the amnesty and come in to cancel work permits for those individuals they have no or insufficient work for will not be prosecuted and those individuals affected will be given time during the amnesty period to get themselves sorted out to depart.”
Over-stayers who turn up at either the immigration headquarters or the ports and inform the officers that they are taking advantage of this will be allowed to depart without fear of prosecution. The amnesty applies to work permits of convenience, persons holding valid work permits but not sufficient work, and illegal landing aliens. When employers cancel work permits for employees that they do not have work for, the employee in question will then be expected to leave the territory before the expiry of the amnesty.
The Immigration Department is asking people who are not sure of their Immigration status to go to its Enforcement Section, where checks will be carried out to determine their legality.
Foreign nationals who are here illegally and who want to take advantage of the amnesty can make an airline reservation and leave during the period without fear of apprehension at the airport. Employers who wish to cancel work permits can submit a letter to the Department of Immigration marked “Amnesty”, informing the CIO of the details of the permits they want to cancel.
Employees whose work permits have been cancelled either by employers or by themselves should report to the Immigration Headquarters with confirmed reservations for their departure during the amnesty period. The employee’s passport would then be endorsed for a specific time to facilitate departure from the Islands during the amnesty period.
“I urge those who are in a position to take advantage of this amnesty to do so. Those who forego this opportunity will be making a serious error of judgement and can expect to face serious consequences,” Evans said. “Every day we hear countless complaints about immigration offences being committed and the effect that this has on our territory. This is a golden opportunity for Caymanian employers to play a part in reducing immigration crime in their country and I expect that they will act responsibly and turn in work permits for employees that they no longer can provide work for.”
She urged everyone who is here illegally to leave, safe in the knowledge that they will not be prosecuted. But she said people offering illegal aliens jobs and housing after the amnesty will face the consequences when they are caught.

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Thugs try to put chef in trunk

| 11/06/2010 | 34 Comments

(CNS): Two armed men attacked an employee of the Grand Old House Restaurant last night and tried to put him in the trunk of his own car. Police say one of the men was armed with a shotgun and the other with a handgun; their faces were covered and they were wearing gloves. During the incident, which occurred around 10:00pm outside the restaurant on South Sound Road, the 31-year-old victim was struck twice around the face with a firearm and was taken to the George Town Hospital where he is being treated for head injuries. The two robbers stole the victim’s car and, according to sources, his wallet as well.

Police say the victim is in serious condition and cannot give a full report of what happened. Therefore, details of the incident are sketchy at this time.

The attack was the seventh violent crime in as many days and came hours after the RCIPS month long amnesty on firearms ended.

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High meat diet ‘linked to early periods’

| 11/06/2010 | 1 Comment

(BBC): Girls who eat a lot of meat during childhood tend to start their periods earlier than others, a study suggests. UK researchers compared the diets of more than 3,000 12-year-old girls. They found high meat consumption at age three (over eight portions a week) and age seven (12 portions) was strongly linked with early periods. Writing in Public Health Nutrition, the researchers said a meat-rich diet might prepare the body for pregnancy, triggering an earlier puberty. During the 20th Century, the average age at which girls started their periods fell fairly dramatically, although it now seems to be levelling off.

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UK MPS to face trial over expenses

| 11/06/2010 | 1 Comment

(Timesonline): Four UK politicians face a criminal trial fro theft after a judge rejected their claim to be immune from prosecution under Parliamentary privilege in connection with the scandal over MP’s expenses. Justice Saunders said he could see “no logical, practical or moral justification for a claim for expenses being covered by privilege”, adding: “And I can see no legal justification for it either.” Three ex-Labour MPs – David Chaytor, Elliot Morley, and Jim Devine – and the Tory peer Lord Hanningfield (left)  also known as Paul White, have been charged with offences of false accounting.

He concluded: “In my judgment, the conduct alleged against these defendants is not covered by Parliamentary privilege and is triable in the crown court. Unless this decision is reversed on appeal, it clears the way for what most people accused of criminal behaviour would wish for, a fair trial before an impartial jury.”
The article also reveals that reporting restrictions over the case were lifted by the judge.

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Lawyers discuss issue of protecting wealth

| 11/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A local law firm was showcasing its new Trust & Private Client practices in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islandsin London recently when Conyers Dill & Pearman hosted its 2nd annual Trusts & Trust Litigation Forum. Topics ranged from the effects the current political situation in both the UK and EU could have on offshore jurisdictions, the impact of the many Tax Information Exchange Agreements signed by the offshore jurisdictions on offshore wealth management, a review of VISTA trusts and how these have been used in practice, and the recent abolition in Bermuda of the rule against perpetuities.

Alec Anderson, Global Head of Trust & Private Client explained the concerns of the industry and the point of the forum.
“Increasingly, leaders in the private client planning sphere are concerned about options for wealth protection and this event provides a forum where issues arising in the major jurisdictions can be examined. We are happy to provide an interactive forum to exchange ideas and discuss practical issues arising in the international trust and private client practice,” he said.
Launched in April 2010, Conyers’ Trust & Private Client practice in BVI is headed by Raymond Davern, who has more than 10 years’ experience of Chancery litigation and advisory work and another 10 as Lecturer in Law at King’s College in London. Conyers’ Trust & Private Client practice in Cayman launched in September 2009 and is headed by Sara Collins, previously Managing Partner of Maitland Cayman office and Head of Walkers’ Trusts Disputes Group.
Chaired by Edward Stone, London Head of Trust & Private Client, the forum featured David Pytches, representing the Cayman Islands, and Raymond Davern, head of the practice in the BVI. The panel addressed a large audience drawnfrom London’s private wealth industry including contentious and non-contentious lawyers, bankers and other financial advisers, accountants, family office advisers and professional and institutional trustees.
The panel examined current issues trustees face in each of these jurisdictions as well in Bermuda, where Conyers has long had a market-leading Trust & Private Client practice. It also looked at substantial trust litigation over the past year where Conyers has been involved either in acting for trustees, protectors and beneficiaries.
Conyers has grown its Trust & Private Client group 40% over the last year and now has dedicated teams across three jurisdictions. With one of the largest and most experienced offshore trust & private client practices worldwide, Conyers specialises in both contentious and non-contentious work across the jurisdictions of Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands.

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Dolphinairiums admit to not seeing standards

| 11/06/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): How the two captive dolphin facilities are managing their animals is still unclear as both had admitted they have not seen the controversial guidelines from the “Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquarium Standards and Guidelines”. The document has become the subject of an FOI request which is now going to the courts for judicial review as the department of agriculture seeks to keep the guidelines secret. However, the document is supposed to be informing public policy over how the dolphins in Cayman are to be managed which still remains in question as the facilities do not appear to be following any local official standards.

The issue of licenses for the both the facilities by the DoA under the animals law also remains in question as the manager at Dolphin Discovery told CNS he believed he had an operator’s license, as he had a considerable amount of documentation from the department of agriculture, while the manager of Dolphin Cove confirmed that the department had not yet come up with the official parameters for the licensing of the facilities.
CNS has repeatedly contacted both the Department of Agriculture and the ministry and has had no response to enquiries about the reason for keeping the AMMPA guidelines secret or how the facilities are currently being monitored and licensed.
Following the continued controversy over the facilities compounded recently by the death of the a baby Dolphin born in captivity at Dolphin Discovery, the question of how these marine mammals are being managed has raised further concerns among local anti-captive dolphin activists.
When CNS spoke with Neil Burrowes from Dolphin Cove he said he had not seen the AMMPA standards but most of his staff had worked at facilities in the past that were members of the alliance and followed the standards hence they were well aware of the guidelines.
More importantly he said his people were experienced, professionals who knew how to care for, manage and protect the dolphins with which they had close and special bonds. Burrowes said that Dolphin Cove was working closely with the DoA and complying with all of their requests but he admitted that the operator’s licenses had not been issued as the local standards had not been published.
He said the controversial issue over the FOI request could be easily resolved if the department set up its standards based on the AMMPA guidelines with a few minor changes, it could then be released. Burrowes said he was happy to comply with whatever requirements officials requested and had never stepped over the restrictions placed on his facility.
Although he was keen to introduce open water experiences with divers and snorkelers out in the ocean with the dolphins he had been refused permission by the Department of Environment on every occasion he had asked and he was complying with those refusals.
Despite what he said were the controversies and the misunderstandings regarding the facilities, his dolphins were happy and content, and kept to the best standards as a result the experiences people had interacting with them were incredible.
Carlos Mareno the manager at Dolphin Discovery who admitted while he personally had not seen the document as the alliance liked to keep in confidential, he said that facility employed experienced staff from the corporate offices of Dolphin Discovery who were familiar with the guidelines as the Mexico facility is a member of the alliance. He added that Dolphin Discovery had made an application to join the alliance and was currently going through the paperwork.
He said Dolphin Discovery was operating to the highest possible standards and he believed he had all of the local licenses and permits as required under the law. He said he was not exactly sure about the operator’s license but he said he had numerous documents from the Department of Agriculture who checked and monitored both the facilities and the dolphins on a regular basis and he believed that facility had that license as well.

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No pattern to armed heists

| 11/06/2010 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Senior police officers say that there is no obvious trend or pattern in the recent spate of armed robberies that have taken place at gas stations, fast food restaurants and liquor stores. Police Commissioner, David Baines said in some of the robberies the criminals were desperate and stupid while others were committed by people who seemed calm and blaze’. He said he did not believe they were about gang initiation but some had the hallmarks of drug related crime. During a press briefing to reveal the country’s current crime statistics Baines and Chief Superintendent John Jones said they were increasing both overt and covert patrols to tackle the robbers.

Jones also confirmed arrests had been made in connection with one of the gas station hold-ups and a liquor store robbery. The senior officer said two male suspects had been arrested on suspicion of the Red Bay ESSO robbery on Thursday 2 June as well as the two who were arrested in connection with the robbery in Passadora Place when the Tortuga liquor store was robbed by two men with machetes on 4 June.
The officers noted that the RCIPS was increasing patrols and using whatever means possible to clam down on this latest trend in crime. Baines said the release of the CCTV footage to the public before it had been enhanced in order to try and trigger some recognition had paid off. He said it had resulted in a limited but positive response from the community and the policy to release tape would continue in cases where there were not already lines of enquiry or evidence against suspects.
Video footage also served to illustrate how unlikely it was that the incidents were related and the very different style of the recent robberies. Although Jones said the police were not ruling out all connections as sometimes there could be some form of relationship that was not obvious, but all of the most recent incidents the descriptions of the offenders were very different, the weapons used as well as ties and places.
Baines noted that the robbery at Burger King by three teenage boys had all the hallmarks of an indiscriminate, desperate and stupid crime which was properly drug related, while on the other hand the robbery at the Seven Mile Beach ESSO gas station was committed by two individuals who seemed calm and blaze in their approach. “They looked very smartly dressed as though they had just been on a pleasant evening out,” Baines added.
He also noted the strange crime at Dominos Pizza where three teenage girls had stolen a small amount of cash and “two bottles of pop” he said adding that it was hardly organised crime but stupid opportunism.  
Baines said that the robbers were taking enormous risks just for small amounts of cash as armed robbery carried a heavy sentence for those who were caught or those involved in the crimes could be hurt if they are confronted with either an individual defending themselves or uniform support group officer as he said his men would take what ever measures were necessary to protect lives from the armed gunmen.
Baines also offered his thanks to Crimestoppers for putting up a $10,000 reward for anyone who could assist in bringing the armed robbers to justice.

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Crime increase official

| 11/06/2010 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The increase in criminality of all kinds has been confirmed by the release of the RCIPS crime statistics on Thursday. The figures for 2009 show an increase in nearly all categories of crime over the 2008 figures, and then the first quarter of 2010 shows a further increase of 10% in crime statistics compared with 2009. Of most concern, the police management said on announcing the figures, was the increase in the most serious and violent crimes. With five murders in the first quarter of 2010 the homicide rate was up by more than 66 percent and attempted murder was up by 150 percent. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Firearms offences and robberies have also increased during the first quarter as well as assaults. In the first quarter of 2009 police recorded 123 cases of theft, in 2010 there have already been well over 200.
Comparing 2008 with 2009 is not an exact science as the police have changed the way crime statistics are calculated however there was an overall increase in all crime of over 11% . The 2009 figure also show a significant increase in the cases of domestic violence from 141 in 08 to 229 in 09 but this could show a trend of improved reporting of such incidents rather than an increases in assaults.
Commissioner David Baines said the increase in crime was disappointing and he was particularly concerned that the trend in the increase in violent and gun related crime, illustrated by the five murders in the first quarter of 2010 which were all cases of shootings.  Baines noted that while this was a common theme across the region the RCIPS did not take comfort from that fact.
Although the RCIPS has brought charges in four out of the five shootings in 2010, charges have only been brought in two of the shootings from 2009 and many shootings from 2008 and beyond remain unsolved.
Baines stated that detectives were constantly revisiting the murders and looking for new evidence or lines of enquiry and were committed to taking these serious offenders off the streets.
When it came to the increases in thefts and break-ins, the commissioner said that he often heard people lamenting the past when crime was almost unheard of but he said he remembers his own father saying the same thing about the UK and the days of leaving one’s doors open were over everywhere.  “I’m sorry to say, those days are gone,” he observed. “This is a more complex world where the haves and the have nots are vastly different.”
He added that the RCIPS was working hard to tackle crime but he asked the community to take more care and be more aware of how easy it is for criminals commit crime.
He listed what he said were proactive measures being taken by the service including high profile policing, targeting the signals of organized crime such as car window tints, the use of electronic tagging, raising public awareness and an intense focus on known offenders.
The commissioner saidhe believed that there was a disproportionately small number of individuals responsible for a very large percentage of the crime and the police were faced with the constant challenges of repeat offenders who sometimes literally within hours of being released from Northward would be straight back to their criminal habits.

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