Archive for June 28th, 2010

New Jersey visitor dies after swim

| 28/06/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 66-year-old man from New Jersey in the United States died Friday. Police say that about 2.00 pm on 25 June, he lost consciousness while swimming near to the Paradise Bar and Grill, North Church Street, George Town. The man was helped to shore and was given CPR by paramedics. He was subsequently conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Police enquiries are ongoing.

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Alex likely to become first Atlantic 2010 hurricane

| 28/06/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Forecasters are predicting that Alex will become the first hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season. After losing strength as it hit land Alex reorganised and gained strength this morning as it headed into the warm Gulf of Mexico waters. It is still unclear where Alex will make landfall but forecasters do not believe it will affect the oil spill clean-up. The most likely location for landfall is predicted to be along the northern Mexico or South Texas coast on Thursday, but some uncertainty still exists, in terms of intensity as where it will land.

The National Hurricane Centre has warned that there is a divergence among computer models about Alex’s  track and while the are fairly sure the major effects of the storm will be away from the part of the gulf affected by the spill it could cause higher waves and swell in the oil spill area. This could interfere with some containment devices, such as booms, but not completely shut down containment operations.

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Miller warns of inflation

| 28/06/2010 | 46 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Headline News(CNS): With the Cayman Islands economy likely to remain in recession this year, the representative for North Side told the Legislative Assembly on Friday that the government’s proposed duty increase would cause inflation as the price of everything would go up. During the debate on the law to increase gas and diesel by 25 cents a gallon Ezzard Miller said the reason why government was not taking on board his idea of increasing vehicle licence fees instead was because it already had plans to increase those fees under another new law in September. He also pointed out that, despite claims to the contrary, government had not cut its overall expenditure for 2011.

Miller said that while many government department appropriations had been cut by comparison to last year, because government was increasing spending in other areas, “like protocol”, its total expenditure had not been reduced. Government was relying on an increase in revenue of $20 million to keep the deficit down to $32 million. The North Side independent representative said the fuel increase represented half of that new revenue.
“It is going to be inflationary and affect the cost of everything and a tax that will affect everyone on a daily basis,” he said. Claims by the premier of it equating to only a 5% increase on fuel bills were incorrect, Miller said, and would likely impact CUC bills by as much as 9% but it would also lead to the increase in prices of everything at a time when civil servants and others were facing salary cuts. Given the fact that there was less money to spend, this would lead to a further contraction of the local economy.
“This tax is going to be very hard on the people of this country,” Miller warned, adding that all businesses say that the next highest cost after personnel is electricity. “No one can convince me that this will be absorbed.”
He said the CUC bills for a supermarket could increase by more than $5,000 a month and he did not think they had the profit margins to absorb all of that and it would be unreasonable to think they could.
Denying the implications made by the premier in his presentation that the opposition benches may have favoured income or property tax, Miller pointed out he never had, and never would, support direct taxation and believed in consumption tax, but not this one because of its broad inflationary effect.
He said his suggestion of increases to drivers and vehicle licence fees were one off payments that everyone would make, even if they only drive on the road for one week a year, giving government the certainty of collection. The danger for government’s budget with this increase was that it was not certain. It could see people cut back quite significantly, meaning government could not be sure of the revenue it would generate.
However, Miller noted that he had learned government had plans to increase licence fees and fines under a new traffic law that would be coming before the Legislative Assembly in September, which could explain why it was reluctant to consider Miller’s proposal.
He said at a recent public meeting with his constituents they had indicated their preference to pay the one off license fee hike than pay every time they go to the supermarket, the pumps or any store.. “I am no economist, this is just North Side common sense,” the independent member said. “The government is doing the wrong thing at the wrong time for the wrong reason.”
Miller told the members of the House that the people of North Side were not getting very much from the budget and the good people of Cayman Brac were exempt from the fuel tax and getting quite a lot from it. He said there was no reduction in government’s overall expenditure and his constituents, who lived the furthest from George Town, were being punished and he refused to support the increase.

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