Archive for November 25th, 2010

Teen arrested for bank heist

| 25/11/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): A 17-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with an armed robbery at the Compass Centre branch of the Butterfield Bank yesterday, when three masked men who held up staff and customers. The teen was arrested during a police operation in the West Bay area last night on suspicion of robbery, police said Thursday afternoon. George Town police officers are currently interviewing witnesses and reviewing the CCTV footage obtained from the bank in an effort to track down all three men responsible, the RCIPS revealed. Despite the quick arrest, Detective Sergeant Richard Scott (left) is stressing that the enquiry is still at a very early stage.(Photo courtesy of Cayman 27)

“The faces of the men involved in the robbery were hidden by the Halloween masks,” he said. “At the moment officersare re-interviewing witnesses and viewing the CCTV footage. We will, when it is appropriate in terms of the investigative lines of enquiry, release the footage to the media and the public. Today, I would like to ask anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident, who has not yet spoken to police to come forward. The bank sits on a busy junction – if you saw anyone running away or even a vehicle driving off at speed, please let us know. It has been extensively reported that one of the robbers was wearing an Obama mask. If you know of anyone who has one of these masks please get in contact with the enquiry team at George Town police station.”

Anyone with any information about this crime should call George Town police station on 949-
4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).
 

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Cops arrest 7 in 4 month drug bust investigation

| 25/11/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Following a four month long drug operation which police say is sill continuing seven people were arrested yesterday in the Seven Mile Beach and West Bay areas. Police say they have recovered a quantity of ganja and cocaine in the operation but have not disclosed the amount of drugs seized. A police spokesperson said that threewomen and four men are now in custody after raidson Wednesday 24 November. Although police have not divulged the locations of the arrest one is believed to have been at Treasure Island. Police did confirmed that officers from various departments of the RCIPS were involved in the operations along Seven Mile Beach and West Bay.

The seven people who currently in police custody are said to be aged between 22 and 49 years old but police have not revealed the details of the suspected of offences. “Enquiries are still actively ongoing and it would be inappropriate to divulge any further details of the operation at this time,” a police spokesperson stated.

Anyone who has any information which could assist the RCIPS in detecting and disrupting drug
activity within our communities is asked to contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on
800-8477 (TIPS).

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Madoff trustee goes after UBS

| 25/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The trustee on the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s investment firm is looking to recover some $2billion from UBS AG and related entities as a result of their participation in the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Irving H. Picard, the Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC announced yesterday that a complaint had been filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York alleging 23 counts of financial fraud and misconduct against UBS and others for their collaboration in the fraud. The Trustee seeks to recover the money to redistribute to BLMIS victims with valid claims, Picard said in a release.

“The recoveries sought include BLMIS related redemptions, UBS’s fees, as well as all damages, including but not limited to compensatory and punitive damages caused by the Defendants’ misconduct, and the disgorgement of all funds by which the Defendants were unjustly enriched at the expense of BLMIS’s customers,” Picard stated.

According to the complaint, UBS actively assisted the Madoff Ponzi scheme, by, among other things, serving as the sponsor, custodian and administrator of various affiliated international feeder funds, including Luxalpha SICAV and Groupement Financier Ltd. As purported sponsor of Luxalpha, UBS lent an aura of legitimacy to it, but at the same time, disavowed any liability through indemnity agreements that were not disclosed to the public.

Even though UBS’s due diligence revealed indicia of fraud, UBS made Madoff the sub custodian of the assets of Luxalpha and Groupement Financier, enabling Madoff to run an operation with no checks and balances. As administrator of these funds, UBS allowed Madoff to be the only source of information for valuing the funds.

The full complaint was filed with the Bankruptcy Court under seal and only a redacted version is currently available in the public domain.

“We have battled with UBS regarding disclosure of information about the bank’s knowledge of Madoff. Unfortunately, they are still trying to shield this information from the public by designating all of their information as confidential. We intend to move to have that designation removed and the complaint made public as soon as possible,” said Picard.

“As we allege in the complaint, Madoff’s scheme could not have been accomplished unless UBS had agreed not only to look the other way, but also to pretend that they were truly ensuring the existence of assets and trades when in fact they were not and never did,” said David J. Sheehan, counsel for the Trustee and a partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP, the appointed counsel for Picard.

As further alleged, UBS knowingly set up an operation that accommodated Madoff, even though UBS was well aware of indicia of fraud surrounding BLMIS. “Without UBS’s serving as promoter, custodian, manager and administrator for the Feeder Funds, BLMIS would have been deprived of more than a billion dollars in investments, and Madoff’s fraud would have been diminished in both scope and duration.”
 

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Rich Americans call on president to tax them

| 25/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(AFP): With the US Congress hurtling toward a deadline on expiring tax cuts, a growing number of wealthy people are calling for higher taxes on the rich to help restore America’s fiscal health. One effort gathered over 45 millionaires who signed an open petition calling for the end of the tax cuts adopted since 2001 on those with annual incomes exceeding one million dollars. Tax breaks for the wealthy should expire "for the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens," the letter said. It was signed by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream founder Ben Cohen, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt and others.

Guy Saperstein, a retired California trial lawyer who organized the effort, said he was "frustrated" that President Barack Obama appeared to be wavering on his pledge to end tax cuts for the wealthy. "I think the country’s in trouble," Saperstein told AFP. "In hard times, the top strata who have done fabulously well need to sacrifice a bit, and it’s not much of a sacrifice… We have among the lowest tax rates of any industrialized democracy."

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Volleyball action kicks off this weekend

| 25/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CIVF): Miss Cayman, Cristin Alexander, will be making an appearance as a Cayman Islands National team player in the Cayman Airways Spike Fest, a 3-day international (indoor) volleyball event, which kicks off at 5pm tomorrow evening at the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall, UCCI Gymnasium, beside the Truman Bodden Stadium. The Cayman Islands teams are scheduled to play at 7:00pm on the initial day of competition. This free-to–the-public event is organised and hosted by the Cayman Islands Volley Ball Federation (CIVF). The games will attract six male teams and four female teams from across the Caribbean, including Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, Jamaica, St Lucia and the United States.

The Cayman Islands will be active competitors while hosting Cayman Airways SpikeFest.

Two international volley ball specialists (pictured above), Barry Miller, Chairperson of the Manitoba Volley Ball Officials Association, and Azad Hosein of Volley Ball Canada, a certified FIVB (Federation International de Volley Ball) referee will be attending. Miller and Azad have conducted three clinics, where upwards of 20 individuals will have received primary certification as national referees and officials.

Spikefest, which is sanctioned by regional volley ball governing body,North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Federation (NORCECA), is a sprout off the success of International Beach Volley Ball Tournaments held here in March of this year and in 2009.

Games commence at 5:00pm this evening under the direction of CIVF International Games Director, Fareed Hosein, and an army of CIVF members and volunteers. LIME will be giving away six mobile phones during the three day event.

This is a free admission event sponsored by Gold sponsors Cayman Airways and The Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture, along with Cayman National, LIME, Calico Jack’s, Acqua Penna, Heineken, Coconut Car Rental, Vibe 98.9, Vison Marketing, Andy’s Car Rental and the Cayman Islands Red Cross, without whom this would not have been possible. For further information on the tournament, please contact CIVF Public Relations Director, Carl Brown at 916-2057.

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Thanksgiving dinner goes up 56 cents

| 25/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(American Farm Bureau): Menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased in price by about 1.3 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF’s 25th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $43.47, a 56-cent price increase from last year’s average of $42.91. This year’s meal is actually $1.14 cheaper than what shoppers paid two years ago, when the total was $44.61.

“While this year’s meal remains a bargain, at less than $4.35 per person, America’s farmers and ranchers are perhaps most proud of the quality and variety of the food they produce for America’s dinner table,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. “Our farm and ranch families are honored knowing that again this year Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with their families around the traditional feast. It is fitting that the food we produce from our land is a focal point of our nation’s thankful celebration of its collective bounty.”

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – was actually cheaper this year, at $17.66. That was roughly $1.10 per pound, actually a decrease of about 6 cents per pound, or a total of 99 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2009. While the whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, it was also the largest price decline compared to last year.

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Court of Appeal to make decision on killers Monday

| 25/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following over two days of arguments regarding the murder conviction of Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts the three appeal court judges will announced their decision on the safety of the convictions on Monday. The two men who were found guilty of the murder of Estella-Scott Roberts in February of this year by the Chief Justice following a judge alone trial. The two men between them brought nine grounds of appeal suggesting the country’s top judge had either misdirected himself in his written verdict or had erred in judgment. After the submissions from the convicted killer’s QC’s Cheryl Richard QC, the solicitor general defended the CJ’s ruling saying there was no miscarriage of justice. (Photos Dennie Warren Jr, left Henry – below Ricketts)

She told the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal that based on the strength of the evidence the trial judge had satisfied himself that the men were guilty and the convictions were safe. “The CJ carefully addressed his mind to the issues,” Richards said as she highlighted the judge’s deliberations.

One of the main issues argued by Henry’s defence counsel was that he had never been part of a joint enterprise to kill despite pleading guilty to abduction, rape and robbery. When the murder happened he withdrew from the crime and Scott-Roberts had died at the hand of Ricketts, he claimed.

However, Cheryl pointed out that even if the goal had never been to murder, Henry had shared the spoils of the crime by taking her phone, laptop and sharing the cash found in her bag and had done nothing more than claim to walk a little away from the scene of the murder. She said that Henry remained very much part of a continuing and evolving criminal enterprise which ended in the murder of Scott-Roberts.

She also argued that the confession given by Ricketts to the police could not have been concocted as the appellant claimed and pointed to the CJs deliberations on the issue. Richards explained that Ricketts had taken the stand meaning that it was not just the evidence from two police officers about the interview that the judge had considered but evidence and the behaviour of the defendant as well, when he drew the conclusion that the interview was genuine and Ricketts had “resolved to make a clean breast of it,” as the judge had revealed in his ruling. Richards said there was nothing to suggest that the judge’s findings were in any way unreasonable.

 

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No parliamentary questions ready admits premier

| 25/11/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Government’s failure to answer opposition and independent members’ questions was the first issued raised on what turned out to be a heated session of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday as it resumed its business. Alden McLaughlin asked why it was that there were no questions listed on the day’s order paper to be answered by the government. The George Town MLA pointed out that between them the members on the opposition benches had some 14 questions listed for the current sitting but government had only answered five of them. He reminded the House that it was through questions to government that the opposition primarily fulfilled its proper function.

The premier said that there were no questions listed because the answers were not ready and as the opposition member knew it took a lot of work and research to answer parliamentary questions and the civil servants were still doing that research.

The George Town MLA pointed out, however, that the questions had been submitted more than a month ago and he was concerned that again the questions would not be answered publicly on the floor of the Legislative Assembly within the current sitting. This, he said, would mean the ministers would be answering in writing after the House adjourned and not in the parliamentary forum as they should be.

When ministers fail to answer a member’s question publicly in the Legislative Assembly during a sitting, the Standing Orders require them to write to the minister with the answer. This means the questioner cannot ask supplementary questions and that the answers are not in the public domain unless they are released by either the minister or the poser of the question. Given the rules of parliament, the opposition is limited in how it can act as a check and balance on government and the questions are one method they can use to raise the concerns of their constituents.

McLaughlin pointed out that the vast majority of questions asked by the opposition in the last sitting were not answered on the floor of the Legislative Assembly and he was concerned the same thing would happen again.

“Only five of the fourteen questions have yet been answered … and it is likely a significant number of them will go unanswered yet again,” McLaughlin said, adding that there should be a sense of urgency in having questions answered. “The questions allow the opposition to function properly … otherwise the opposition and the country is at a disadvantage.”

The premier said that the questions had to be researched properly and that they would be answered. He denied that government was trying to avoid answering the questions but said the research had to be done. He said that if the questions were not answered the opposition could re-submit.

Arden McLean pointed out that he had attempted to do this with questions from the previous sitting but the Legislative Assembly staff had prevented him from doing so, saying he must wait three months before a question can be resubmitted.

“All I am trying to do is get answers from government but I haven’t got them yet,” the member for East End said.
 

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Police swarm Seven Mile Beach resort

| 25/11/2010 | 18 Comments

(CNS): A police operation that involved armed officers took place on Wednesday afternoon at one of Grand Cayman’s most popular tourist spots. Several members of different RCIPS units arrested at least two women at the Treasure Island resort on Seven Mile Beach. Police have not yet confirmed the details of this operation as it is but it is believed to be drug related. According to reports on Cayman 27, sources at the scene told the news crew it was a drug bust and that two men were also taken into custody by the RCIPS along with the women shown on film.

Go to Cayman27 video.
 

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Top government officials trapped in lift

| 25/11/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): The chief officer from the Portfolio of Internal Affairs and the chief immigration officer were both trapped in an elevator that malfunctioned on Wednesday evening after a visit to the Cayman Islands Law School. The Fire Service was called out to release Franz Manderson and Linda Evans and four others from the law school when the lift was trapped between two floors. Local activist, and more recently PPC student, Sandra Catron, said the two government officials had given a guest lecture at the law school on immigration law. Catron, along with Manderson and Evans, as well as three other students were stuck in the elevator for more then 40 minutes before officers were able to release them. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Catron pointed out that the emergency call button in the elevator went through to a service centre in the USA, where the operator was unable to help as she did not recognize the Cayman Islands location. Catron said she turned, to her Blackberry and was able to message several people and ask for assistance. Luckily, those people contacted the authorities, who were then able to send the emergency services to assist.

“I’m delighted that we were all able to get out safely,” Catron said. “Everyone remained calm and totally professional. In fact, at the time we made light of the situation as I updated my Facebook status.”

She added that the Fire Service was very professional. “I think at times like this you really appreciate that department; which often goes unseen and underappreciated. The one constructive comment I would make is that local elevators should have their calls routed to a local monitoring company and not overseas. This would allow for faster rescue efforts and a better understanding of where the personis located,” Catron told CNS.

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