Archive for October 15th, 2010

Connery summoned to court in Operation Goldfinger

| 15/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(Guardian): Sir Sean Connery and his wife, Micheline, have been summoned to appear in court in Marbella on the Costa del Sol in a corruption case. The summons are the result of an investigation that the authorities dubbed Operation Goldfinger and centre around the 1998 sale of Malibu, the house that Connery and his wife owned for several decades. The house was sold for €6.4m. The summons relates to €2.7m the local authority claims and disputes over planning permission. 25 others have been caught up in Operation Goldfinger, among them Julián Muñoz, the former mayor of Marbella, singer Isabel Pantoja and several lawyers associated with the defendants. The Connery case has attracted additional attention because of the intervention by the British ambassador to Spain Giles Paxman, brother of the BBC journalist Jeremy.

 
Connery wrote to the ambassador saying that as far as he was concerned Goldfinger was the name of a film in which he starred and, in the words of a letter the ambassador sent to the presiding judge Ricardo Puyol on 20 September, everything published or broadcast in Spain "suggesting that criminal proceedings had been initiated against him and his wife" was news to him.
 
 

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Police to review procedures in wake of missed bullet

| 15/10/2010 | 28 Comments

(CNS): Following the revelation yesterday that one of the bullets fired by burglars as they shot their way into a local store had been left behind by scenes of crime officers, the police said a “review of the circumstances” was underway. A bullet which was discovered by the store owner on the shelf among the produce after the SoC officers had left was captured (left) by local photographer Dennie Warren Jr. Chief Superintendent John Jones said procedures would be addressed where needed but the primary focus was on catching the offenders. The owner of the Reflections store which was targeted by the four masked gunmen on Thursday morning says he is offering a $5000 reward for the apprehension.

The aggravated burglary occurred at around 1:30am at the Reflections Food for Less store on Godfrey Nixon Way, Georgetown on 14 October. Four masked men, at least two of whom had guns, shot out the glass door and burst into the shop where they stole cigarettes and the cash register. The crime was caught on CCTV showing several shots being fired through the door which landed in the store one of which was overlooked by the SoC officer.
 
“A thorough review of the circumstances is being undertaken to establish the cause of this lapse and where lessons need to be learned, or procedures need to be changed, we will ensure that is done. That said, our primary focus is on locating and arresting these offenders,” CS Jones stated, reinforcing the appeal for anyone with any information about this offence to contact George Town CID on 949‐4222 or crime stoppers on 800‐8477 at the earliest opportunity.
 
Prentice Panton the owner of the store who is no stranger to being the victim of robberies and burglaries said he was putting up a $5000 reward as he said it was deeply troubling and unacceptable for these crimes to keep happening. “The public need to step up and report these people when they know who they are,” he said. (Photos by Dennie Warren Jr)               

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Judge gentle on teen robbers

| 15/10/2010 | 54 Comments

(CNS): Full story — Three teenage girls who, armed with machetes, robbed a pizza restaurant, have been given a partially suspended two-year sentence, of which the judge says they must serve six months in jail. A teenage boy, who is under 18 and drove the car in the same robbery, has been given a two-year probation order and released from custody. The sentences were handed down this morning by Justice Smith, who noted that justice “not tempered with mercy would be draconian.” He indicated that the four teenagers presented a low risk of re-offending and that they had all shown remorse and contrition for their crime. The crown, however, made it clear it would appeal all the sentences.

The judge handed down his sentences following guilty pleas from all four teenagers, who were all seventeen at the time of the crime, which took place at Domino’s Pizza in Savannah in June of this year. The teens, Addie Haylock, Julissa Avila, Anastasia Watson and Ariel McLaughlin, admitted to planning and executing the robbery together and stealing $366 and two litre bottlesof soda. The three girls admitted they used machetes and that they frightened the staff during the incident.
 
In his sentencing, the judge noted that their guilty pleas and their cooperation with the police had to be viewed favourably. He said that as a general policy guilty pleas should be encouraged as they had several benefits to the community, including saving time and money for the court but also sparing witnesses from having to give evidence.
 
While he noted the prevalence of robberies on the island and the aggravating factors of this crime (the use of machetes and threatening words), Justice Smith noted that, besides from admitting their guilt at an early opportunity, none of them had previous convictions, no one was hurt in the incident and the teens had all apologised and demonstrated real remorse.
 
“It would seem that the risk of them re-offending is very, very, low,” the judge said. “The sentence must be one that will serve to engender respect for law and order, promote a peaceful and safe society and assist in rehabilitating the offenders.”
 
He said that he felt a partially suspended custodial sentence for the three girls was fair and had considered two years and suspending half of the sentence, but the judge said he was “persuaded by the letters to moderate the sentences as an act of mercy,” and therefore directed that they would serve only six months of the two year sentence with the rest being held in suspension. He explained that, once released, if they were to offend again during the eighteen month period they would be sent to jail. He also ordered that each of the defendants pay $90 in compensation.
 
The three young women will now serve a further six months from the day of sentencing (Friday 15 October) of their two year sentences as the judge chose not to include the time served in his sentence. Haylock, Avila, and Watson have been incarcerated at Fairbanks women’s prison since their arrest at the end of June andthey will now remain there until next April, when they will be released.
 
Justice Smith went on to say that he was unable to offer a partially suspended sentence to McLaughlin as he is still under 18 and therefore the judge issued a two year probation order. He placed a number of restrictions on the young teen’s movements as well as various conditions and supervisions. Justice Smith then pointed out that should the teen re-offend during the period of suspension or break any of the order he would be sent to jail. He was also ordered to pay $90 compensation.
 
Following the sentencing, Elizabeth Lees, the prosecuting counsel who had asked for a minimum of two years in custody for the young offenders at the sentence hearing earlier this month, rose to give warning that the crown would be immediately appealing the sentence.

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Would Jesus be “other” in the Cayman census?  

| 15/10/2010 | 61 Comments

If Jesus, the Jewish man, were living in the Cayman Islands today, do you think he would have a problem being subjected to the “Other” category of religion on the Cayman Islands Census form? When the census taker came to our home last night, we found it most surprising that Judaism was not listed among the 14 entries of religions in the Cayman Islands.

It is embarrassing and shameful for educated Caymanians to note that a religion that has been around for 5771 years – long before most of the fourteen religions that are noted on the census form – was omitted, especially since several of those religions are newcomers to the Cayman Islands.

It is awkward and strange that a country that purports to be educated and a part of the modern world would omit a significant portion of its own population that has contributed greatly to these islands’ historic culture, development and sustenance from the earliest of times. Not only are Jews a vital presence in these islands today, but many Caymanians can find their Jewish ancestral roots deeply buried in the soil of the Cayman Islands. From its inception to this present day, Jews have contributed, and continue to contribute, significantly to the social, cultural, economic and religious fabric of these islands and have earned a place to be respectfully recognized on our census form.

We do not pretend to speak for the total Diaspora of practicing Jews in the Cayman Islands community, but we, as individuals, are extremely disappointed with the way the Cayman Islands census was developed and released to the public for response, especially after the lengthy travail the Cayman Islands recently experienced in writing our current Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

While we have the highest regards for Christianity and all peoples, regardless of their religions, Judaism did not come from Christianity, but Christianity had and has its roots in Judaism and the Old Testament. To be subjected to the “Other” category in the census questioning of religion is distasteful, considering that this census asks such personal and vital questions about financial status, ethnicity, education, family structure, possessions, etc. As members of the Cayman Islands Jewish community, we found having to respond as “Other” to the Cayman Islands Census not only perplexing and shocking, but disappointing and shameful.

Here on Cayman Brac, Temple Beth Shalom stands out as a beacon of light and humanity that Judaism has been, is, and will be an integral part of the Cayman Islands that honors God and proclaims justice for all of God’s people.

Anonymity and omission can be an awful way of discounting and ignoring. Was this an innocent act of omission, or ignorance on the part of the census questionnaire writers, or a blatant act of ommission, that the Jewish community of the Cayman Islands is relegated to the “Other” category on this vital census document? We are hopeful that it is the first and not the last and hope to see an amended census questionnaire provided by the Cayman Islands Government.

 

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New doctor boosts numbers at pediatric practice

| 15/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Dr. Christine Chen has recently joined Dr. Gordon Smith’s medical practice on Smith Road, George Town which focuses on Neonatology/Pediatrics. Dr Chen who is from Jamaica undertook her medical training at The University Hospital of The West Indies in Jamaica, where she obtained her M.B.B.S. (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery); following this she then worked at Bustamante Hospital for Children, Jamaica for three years. She then completed her residency in Pediatrics at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.  

 
 “In the couple of months that I have been on island, I have enjoyed getting to know my patients and their families. I am looking forward to spending more time with them, getting to know my community, so I may serve them even better. I am also looking forward to finding opportunities to practice preventative medicine and wellness amongst school age children and in the community at large,” Dr. Chen said.
 
Dr. Smith said he was delighted to welcome a doctor of Dr. Chen’s calibre to his practice.
 
“Dr. Chen has a strong and varied background in pediatrics and she is already a tremendous asset to our growing practice,” he said. “Having worked in Jamaica at a number of different practices in Kingston and Portmore, she has gained a wealth of experience working within communities with very diverse cultural and social backgrounds. She is also a diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and we welcome her on board at our Smith Road practice.”
 
Dr. Chen added that she sees great opportunities working at the Smith Road practice, working alongside Dr. Smith and Dr. Newton, to expand and therefore create more opportunities to serve the children of the Cayman Islands even better in the years to come.
 
 
 

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Jamiaca to undertake Dudus enquiry

| 15/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(Jamaica Gleaner): Government has yielded to calls for a commission of enquiry into the handling of the extradition request for ousted Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. Prime Minister Bruce Golding, in a statement to Parliament yesterday, said "the composition of the commission and the more precise terms of reference will be announced shortly". Golding said the commissioners, who are to be chosen, would be asked to "enquire into the issues relating to the request by the United States (US) government for the extradition of Mr Christopher Coke, the manner in which the request was dealt with and the engagement by Harold Brady & Company, of the US firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips".

 
The Government’s decision to hold a commission of enquiry comes months after East Central St Andrew Member of Parliament Dr Peter Phillips revealed the engagement of the law firm to lobby the US Government on the Coke matter, apparently on behalf of the Jamaican Government.
 

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NDC urges local employers to develop drug policies

| 15/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With the start of annual Drug-free Work Week on Monday the National Drug Council is encouraging companies in the Cayman Islands to create drug free work environments and to introduce official policies. The purpose of the awareness week is to highlight the benefits of drug-free workplaces and what resources are available to help people suffering from substance abuse. NDC Executive Director Joan West-Dacres said that both alcohol and drug abuse are detrimental to productivity and not just private matters.

 
The public awareness campaign, which runs from 18-24 October, also aims to educate employers, employees and the general public on how to achieve safe, healthy and drug-free work environments.
 
“People might view their addictions as private matters but the fact is, substance abuse can weigh on fellow workers or even worse, place them at risk,” West-Dacres said. “As part of our National Anti-drug Strategy, we have identified the vital importance of encouraging companies to develop drug policies that outline treatment options and supporting staff on their road to recovery.”
 
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about participating in Drug-free Work Week by contacting the NDC. West-Dacres invited everyone to take part in this year’s awareness activities:
 
“We encourage employees and employers to contact us if should they need assistance with developing a company drug policy. We also have other Drug-free Work Week resources available,” she added.
Employers should include their employees in drafting drug policies through an open forum or by privately asking opinions, West-Dacres recommended and said that the payroll was the perfect place to distribute information about drug misuse and the available support agencies.
 
“Pay-checks are one thing that every employee gives attention,” she said. “For Drug-free Work Week, raise awareness by including a leaflet or message listing sources of help for those with substance abuse problems.”
 
The director noted that it presented a perfect opportunity to remind staff about the availability of free confidential support programmes and counselling services, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the Employee Assistance Programme and the Department of Counselling Services.
 
Health Minister Mark Scotland said a drug-free workplace benefits everyone. “However, as with most societal challenges, ensuring safe, supportive and drug-free work environments takes a collaborative effort. “I therefore urge all sectors of society – workers, managers, employers, friends and families – to commit to this ideal,” he added.
 
For more information contact the NDC at 949-9000, e-mail them at info@ndc.ky or visit www.ndc.ky
 

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Premier to be early tenant in new GOAP building

| 15/10/2010 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Despite criticisms of the previous administration over the expenditure on the new government office accommodation project, current government officials were lauding the project this week as it was confirmed the building will be ready to welcome the premier, one its first public sector tenants, in January. Although it has cost around $85 million to build, the GOAP is expected to save government more than $10m per annum in rent and more in utility savings due to its “green” credentials. Works Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said she was pleased with the progress of the building and applauded the project management team, contractor and ministry staff, who, she said, had dedicated considerable time overseeing the project to ensure efficiency.

“Everything’s on time and will be completed inside the contract price of CI$85,530,000.00,” said Chief Project Manager Jim Scott, adding that this would be a turn key delivery. Contractor McAlpine Ltd is supplying a facility fully-fitted with furniture and equipment, while government is providing telecommunications and photocopiers. Delivery of furniture and equipment is already advanced and landscaping is also now underway. Local flora is being incorporated into the design, particularly species which are drought and salt resistant.
 
Scott said that the building’s initial occupants will include various ministry staff, the governor’s office and the office of the premier.
 
“The facility should accommodate a full complement of 1026 staff by the year 2013,” Scott added, noting that every effort is being made to ensure that the relocation process will be conducted as efficiently as possible. “Relocation management exercises have started and arrangements are being made for moves to take place in early 2011. While some agencies may experience down time during relocation, we are doing all possible to minimize this so that the public will not be severely affected.”
 
The facility has a total area of some 240,000 sq ft located on five floors and with a parking garage beneath. “Each floor area is 35,000 sq ft – equivalent to the entire Glasshouse,” Scott explained.
 
In addition to office accommodation, the facility will house the main government data centre, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority’s currency operations, a suite of meeting and training rooms, a large conference room, a staff cafeteria and a large lobby for interfacing with the public.  A small post office facility will be located on the ground floor, primarily to handle government mail.
 
The building is also a model in energy-efficiency, environmental-friendliness and functionality. “It is high performance all the way, with enhanced hurricane and earthquake resistance, upgraded security against theft and intrusion and superior energy efficiency and resource conservation. The design builder was tasked to pay particular attention to energy aspects, including the use of geothermal water to drive air-conditioning chillers, under-floor air supply, heat recovery from exhaust systems and efficient electrical systems that maximize the use of LED technology,” Scott revealed.
 
He added that the air-conditioning systems and finishing and furniture system specs will ensure that they enhance indoor air quality – regarded as essential for healthy staff. Rain water harvesting and condensate water catchment have also been utilized to capture the run-off from roofs and re-utilize it for flushing toilets. 
 
The project is registered with the US Green Building Council for a “LEED certified” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award and if successful, this will be the first LEED award in the Caribbean.

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Local fund registration up five percent

| 15/10/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is bucking global trends the chair of Cayman Finance said Wednesday, in the wake of news from the country’s regulator that fund formations have increased some 5 percent in the most recent quarter of 2010. CIMA statistics have also revealed that terminations have gone down by more then 40 percent. Total regulated funds in the Cayman Islands are now at 9,623. Chairman, Anthony Travers predicted that trading talent will continue to migrate out of the EU as more restrictive remuneration provisions come into effect. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) reports that as at 7 October 2010 the yearly month on month average for new registrations increased to 105 per month a 5 % increase over 2009 figures.

Fund terminations for the same period decreased by 40% over the comparative 2009 figures to an average of 45 per month.

 
The increase to 9,623 is getting close the sector’s all time high of 10200funds in 2008, Travers noted.
 
 “These numbers continue to show the attraction of a transparent jurisdiction which is free of intrusive regulation with respect to investment strategy,” he said. “These statistics are in line with our earlier predictions and I would anticipate terminations will decline further as smaller funds wind down and fund managers make decisions about the high water mark.”
 
Pointing to the issue currently going on in Europe regarding the debate over fund regulation Travers said, “No doubt Eurocentric managers feel obliged now to form UCITS products but as we see from the recent comments of Peter de Proft, the Director General of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), the regulatory position in Europe is increasingly troubled particularly with respect to custodian liability.”
 
He said the UCITS product is quite different and unlikely to compete with the returns of the hedge fund proper.
 
“One material reason is that we predict that trading talent will continue to migrate out of the EU and the institutional investor which Cayman serves is well aware of that trend. Interestingly on the subject of migration, and  given all the commentary from experts  about redomiciliation, according to CIMA figures  there have been only four – two to Malta, two to Luxembourg and none to Dublin.   We remain assured that on the global stage Cayman’s attraction continues to improve,” the Cayman Finance chair added.   
 
 

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MLA puzzled by charges

| 15/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Government backbencher Dwayne Seymour has said that he is both innocent of, and surprised by, the charges brought against him by police on Wednesday. The Bodden Town UDP legislative representative revealed that he did not understand how what he called "baseless charges" of attempting to obstruct, prevent, pervert or defeat the course of justice relating to an incident at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites have now been laid against him more than five months later. He also denies knowing the people involved in the charges and has said he looks forward to clearing his name in court. Seymour was arrested in the wake of an alleged assault which took place at the Seven Mile Beach Resort in May of this year. 

“I have no earthly idea where and how they (the charges) could have arisen over the last five and a half months. It seems that everyone knew I was being charged with some offence before I did,” he said in a prepared statement which he read on Cayman 27 on Thursday evening. “All I can say at this point is that I do not know the persons involved and the charges made. I am also completely unaware of the circumstances being described in the charges.”
 
Seymour said he looked forward to going to court and bringing the matterto a close. The Bodden Town MLA stated that he was not going to speculate on why this was happening or the possible motives or factors behind it. He asked for the understanding of the community and said he regretted that the incident was being brought to the public attention again, especially at a time when people were facing tough economic times and violent crime.
 
He added that he was still looking forward to serving the people of Bodden Town, “who elected me for the hope I bring to them,” Seymour stated.
 
The charges against Seymour relate to an incident in which Florida based personal trainer Garrone Yap claimed he was assaulted by the MLA and one of his friends outside the hotel. Yap told Cayman 27 shortly after the incident that Yap, Seymour and another man were all arrested. However, Yap said he was the only one released without charge and had received various injuries during the incident. At the time Yap said he was not going to press charges but accused Seymour of using his position as a politician to have him arrested.
 
Speaking on behalf of the UDP at the time when Seymour was in police custody following the arrest, fellow backbencher Ellio Solomon said that his colleague had found himself “in a provoked situation” but it was a “very serious” family matter.
 
Seymour is expected to make his first Summary Court appearance in connection with the charges on 9 November.

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