Archive for June 21st, 2010

People pay premier’s bills

| 21/06/2010 | 228 Comments

(CNS): The premier is not feeling the pain of rising utility bills since the people of the Cayman Islands are paying them, a freedom of information request to the Cabinet Office has revealed. The public also paid more than $5,000 for a Christmas lighting display in December at the Bush home as well as the light bill to run it. Over the six-month period December 2009 to end of May 2010, government funds paid bills for phone, fax, electricity and water for McKeeva Bush’s residence in West Bay amounting to $11,451, which included light bills totalling over $7,600. The people are also paying over $2,000 a month for a personal housekeeper/cook for the premier, while security at the Bush household cost  over $87,000.

This housekeeper/cook position is within a pay band that earns between $25,272 and $33,996 per year, following the 3.2% cutback that begins 1 July 2010 (currently between $26,088 and $35,088 per year or $2,174 and $2,924 per month). Therefore, Bush’s home utility and staffing bills are costing the country approximately $4,000 per month if the housekeeper is at the bottom of the pay scale band.

The bill for on-site security guard services for the same 6-month period came to $45,600 and electronic security cost the country $41,868.

CNS understands that government did not pay the utility bills for previous leaders of government business and ministers other than cell phone expenses. However, security protection has been provided for all ministers and the attorney general following an armed robbery on 15 September 2005 in Patrick’s Island, in which the robbers overpowered occupants of the house, tied them up and put pillowcases over their heads. It was suspected at the time that the intended victim was Attorney General Samuel Bulgin but the robbers went to the wrong house.

Decision regarding the FOI request

Outline of Expenses

Premier’s bills

Job Description of Housekeeper/Cook

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Trinidad & Tobago Carifta bill not paid

| 21/06/2010 | 0 Comments

( Organisers of the 2010 Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands are still awaiting outstanding payments from the National Association of Athletic Administration (NAAA) of Trinidad and Tobago. According to a member of the local organising committee, who requested not to be named, the TT Federation has not yet paid fees for accommodation and meals amounting to almost $US4,000 for some members of its delegation for the Games, which took place in Grand Cayman from April 3-5. The official said efforts made to contact NAAA Public Relations Officer Peter Samuel, who was responsible making the arrangements, proved unsuccessful.

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Bahamas First buys Cayman General for $11.3m

| 21/06/2010 | 6 Comments

(The Nassau Guardian): The $11.3 million purchase of a Cayman Islands general insurance company should start earning Bahamas First Holdings money from day one, it’s top man said on the first day of business. The Nassau Guardian reported on Friday how Bahamas First had successfully completed its purchase of Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s 75.24 percent interest in Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd – and the $50 million gross written premiums which go with it. Chairman Ian Fair, Group President and CEO Patrick Ward, and CFO Glen Ritchie traveled to the Cayman Islands for their first board meeting and a reception marking the successful completion of the deal.

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Teen prisoner lost & found

| 21/06/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Update 2:00 pm –  Police have said they are now investigating the circumstances surrounding the escape of a 16-year-old prisoner from West Bay police station at about 10:45 this morning (Monday 21 June). The juvenile reportedly made his bid for freedom down Reverend Blackman Road towards Birch Tree Hill Road. The young inmate was eventually rearrested after a full scale hunt in the area lasting around two hours. The young prisoner is currently on remand having recently been charged with robbery, possession of an unlicensed firearm and attempted murder.

The charges relate to an armed robbery at Mostyns Esso in Bodden Town on Friday 11 June. The teenager and three others who were suspected of committing the offense were chased by police as they made their escape from the gas station in a stolen vehicle.

During the chase when the offenders abandoned the getaway vehicle in the Lower Valley area shots were fired on police as they gave chase on foot before two of the suspects were arrested. Police then arrested two other men in the Prospect area a few days later. However, so far the teenager is the only suspect that has been charged in connection with the crime. 

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Tea and coffee ‘protect against heart disease’

| 21/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Drinking several cups of tea or coffee a day appears to protect against heart disease, a 13-year-long study from the Netherlands has found. It adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting health benefits from the most popular hot drinks. Those who drank more than six cups of tea a day cut their risk of heart disease by a third, the study of 40,000 people found. Consuming between two to four coffees a day was also linked to a reduced risk. While the protective effect ceased with more than four cups of coffee a day, even those who drank this much were no more likely to die of any cause, including stroke and cancer, than those who abstained.

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Premier Wines taste victory in karting league

| 21/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The first corporate league at Cayman Karting proved a huge success with its fair share of delight, despair, controversy, excellent driving, terrible driving, black flags as well as one race-stopping red flag. The results of 120 people racing in 20 teams over the past 8 weeks are posted below in the final AI Group Spring Corporate League Table. The final round of races in the league began with Premier Wines in the lead and six teams closely bunched in the chasing pack. (Photo by Andy Anderson – L-R: Carrie Stein, Chris Echenique, Daron Mclean and George Manderson)

 Ajoni Ambersley from Team Valvoline set the fastest time of the month (31.213s) in the process of picking up all the points in the first race, while Maples Road Haugs produced a solid performance to deliver a clear second place behind them. Matt Bodden also registered an impressive 31.941s fastest lap, but two black flags put paid to Eurocar Cayman 1’s race ambitions.

LRPF Walkers took a clean sweep of the points in the second race, although a strong drive from Fiona Brander and an extremely consistent performance across the team saw McAlpine Lightning follow them home. The results of those two races meant that LRPF Walkers and Team Walkers could not be separated on points at the top of the league table.

The penultimate race in the league saw a dramatic finish with plenty of action right at the end of the 50 lap race. Maples Stars in a Reasonably Priced Kart took a commanding race victory with Christie Walton, now the third fastest female on the track, proving her value, but behind them the three chasing teams were nose-to-tail for the final laps. Harneys clipped a barrier to send them down to fourth while a beautiful overtaking maneouvre on the hairpin saw Bobby Hulse edge Team Parker’s past the Butterfield A team with half a lap left to grab second place.

Everybody then waited to see whether title favourties Premier Wines would trip up in the final race of the league. The race was a suitable finale to a thrilling season featuring four of the fastest five karters on island: Daron Mclean and George Manderson in the Premier Wines team and Jordan Seales and Alexander Conolly in the Butterfield B Team. Premier Wines’ General Manger Carrie Stein also holds the fastest female lap time.

Premier Wines began knowing that second place was good enough to wrap up the league title and with a 100% record to date not many people expected an upset. The Butterfield team, however, stole the show qualifying in pole position, setting the fastest lap and taking the chequered flag. Whilst Butterfield gaining revenge for defeat by Premier Wines earlier in the season was not a total surprise the shock came when Track Stars out-qualified Premier Wines leaving them in third place on the grid and pushing them into a title losing position. After 5 laps George Manderson did manage to overtake the Track Stars kart only for that position to be lost again when Track Stars seized their opportunity in a hairpin pile-up mid-race. Premier Wines nevertheless kept cool heads and an effective pit stop strategy saw them emerge ahead of the Track Stars. Daron Mclean put his disappointment from engine failure in Jet Around Cayman the previous day behind him to guide Premier Wines home to the second place they needed.

Those 6 points were just enough to put Premier Wines one point ahead of the chasing pack and hand them the inaugural corporate karting league title. In a testament to just how tight the end of the season was three teams ended up just one point behind Premier Wines meaning second to fourth places were decided on a results countback. LRPF Walkers took second place, Team Valvoline third and the B Bandits B fourth. Congratulations to all four teams for some excellent racing over the past couple of months.

A new summer corporate league starts on 28 June with the registration deadline on 23 June. E-mail for more information.


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Swimmer dies following sea swim

| 21/06/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Update 1:20 pm Tuesday – Police have named the 50-year-old woman who died after taking part in the Flower’s Sea Swim at the weekend as Wendy Louise Buckner of Winnipeg, Canada. Following a post mortem examination police confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. Buckner, an experienced swimmer and a Canadian visitor to Grand Cayman, had taken unwell during the event on Saturday afternoon. She was helped to shore by event staff and was assisted at the first aid tent. She was subsequently conveyed by ambulance to the Cayman Islands Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

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Man told too fat to fly

| 21/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(News of the World): A 32-stone man was thrown off a transatlantic flight for being too fat – and robbed of the chance to say farewell to a dying aunt.  Hefty Sandy Russell burst into tears when a stewardess marched him off the Air Transat plane. He was then offered another flight – but only if he paid for TWO full-price tickets from Gatwick to Toronto. Disabled Sandy, 32, couldn’t afford the £928 charge and his Aunt Judy died of bowel cancer in Canada two days after he was due to see her.  Sandy was booted off the full plane lastSaturdaybecause his 52-inch girth was overflowing into the next seat. Although the passenger beside him didn’t complain, the armrest couldn’t be lowered for take-off, as demanded by the airline’s regulations.


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Portugal puts seven goals past North Korea

| 21/06/2010 | 0 Comments
(CNS): In what is turning out to be a very unpredictable World Cup tournament Portugal revived its campaign today with an emphatic 7-0 victory over North Korea in Group G eliminating the Asian team from the competition. Raul Meireles gave the European side the lead after 29 minutes then Simao Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida and Tiago all scored over an eight-minute span in the second half. Substitute Liedson added another in the 81st, Cristiano Ronaldo put in the sixth in the 87th and Tiago scored his second of the match in the 89th minute.

The win moves Portugal into second place in Group G with four points, two behind Brazil. The Ivory Coast has one point, and North Korea is out of the tournament after two straight losses.

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New board to examine government e-commerce

| 21/06/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The goal of allowing the public to do business with government electronically is to be examined by a newly created three-member board. The initiative aims to streamline government business with the use of information technology. Government officials said the move will help cut expenditure, boost efficiency, improve customer service and “foster interactions between government departments and members of the community” who do business with it.

Chaired by George Town MLA, Ellio Solomon  Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor; and Chief Officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Franz Manderson will also serve on the new “E-Government Board” which has been appointed by Cabinet.
The members are tasked with recommending and overseeing the application of technology to restructure and re-engineer business processes. The board will oversee a series of small review teams, including private-sector leaders and businessmen, who will help identify out-of-date official business processes and recommend to the board how best to develop a long-term e-government strategy.
The new board will beseeking the views of everyone involved and will allow the wider public the opportunity to provide feedback.
"The ‘E’ is no longer simply for ‘electronic’, but is equally about our pursuit for perfection, seeking to ‘evolve’ the way we do business," Solomon said. "I believe that the economic challenges that we now face as a country must be used to encourage a change in the way we do business and to take our position as leaders in the region."
E-commerce in general faces a number of hurdles in Cayman in the private sector as well as the public, not least because of the failure by most of the retail banks to offer on-line merchant accounts. With the exception of Butterfield, local banks are reluctant to offer the necessary facilities that would allow business to sell their goods on line.
Although the vast majority of Cayman Islands businesses have websites the lack of online payment systems is acting as a barrier to the development of local e-retail.
Before a business can accept money online it must set up an internet payment gateway and then have that gateway pass the money to their bank, but without a special online merchant account the business owner cannot receive the payments. Tower Market introduced a gateway to Cayman called C-pay some five years ago expecting it to facilitate the take off of online shopping, but because of the slow uptake by local banks to offer online merchant accounts, e-retail still only accounts for a tiny percentage of trade in Cayman.
Cayman’s broadband internet use has grown rapidly in the last few years, and according to the Economics and Statistics Office, more than 60% of households now have broadband internet access.

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