Archive for December 13th, 2010

Force last resort at prison, says chief officer

| 13/12/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs has said that force will still be a last resort in the prison, despite the recent commission of non-lethal weapons for some officers working in the service. In response to enquiries about the decision to purchase a range of rifles and launchers that shoot rubber or wax bullets, designed to temporarily immobilize rather than seriously injure or kill victims, Franz Manderson said the prison had to prepare for emergencies. He said certain staff have already been trained to use the non-lethal weapons but any use of force would be authorised under the prison law.

“It is crucial that prisons are prepared with contingency plans for emergencies or natural disasters and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service continues to strive and has been proactive in having contingency plans that meets our situation,” he said. “It is must be stressed that the majority of prisoners are compliant and simply wish to do their time and make the best use of the available opportunities to better prepare them for a productive life after their release.”

With the increasing population and the increasing number of violent offenders now incarcerated at Northward, it was recently revealed by the manufacturer that the Cayman Islands Government had bought the weapons from the Ontario based Lamperd Less Lethal. The firm said its weaponry is designed to ensure the safety of military and civil defence personnel by disabling an opponent rather than killing. It is used by military and police forces around the world for crowd control and peacekeeping activities. It is particularly well suited for situations where there would be a likelihood of harm to bystanders if conventional weapons were employed, the firm states on its website.

Manderson confirmed that certain members of the service have been trained and certified in control and restraint and in the acquisition of less lethal tactics by the Canadian manufacturers.

“Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service is an unarmed service, which relies on the interpersonal skills and the training of the officer to de-escalate conflicts when they arise. Force is seldom used and only as a last resort. Any use of force must be authorised in keeping with the prisons law,” the portfolio boss stated.

There are currently just under 200 prisoners serving sentences in HMP Northward, with several more currently on remand for serious and violent offences. Despite the increasing numbers of violent offenders and with a few isolated exceptions, the prison does not have a problem of violent disruption within its walls.

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Cops record 50 accidents in 3rd week of clamp down

| 13/12/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): As the police continue the seasonal road traffic clamp down on bad driving, fifty accidents were reported during the course of the most recent week of Operation Rotate. Along with 38 speeding tickets, traffic cops issued 47 other tickets and arrested seven people on various offences, including drug possession and driving whilst disqualified and without insurance. Keeping up the pressure on people who drink and still get behind the wheel, 41 breath tests were conducted with 5 DUI arrests being made. Police set up 33 road blocks and undertook five stop and searches during another busy week.

The cops began Operation Rotate on 22 November to address both poor standards of driving and the danger of people drinking and driving. There have been more than 130 road accidents reported since the holiday crackdown started.

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Kids homes to be revamped as theraputic centres

| 13/12/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Faced with what the community affairs ministry has said is an urgent need to build local capacity to help youth in need of intervention, there is now both a short-term and long-term plan to adapt what is known as the Missouri Model of youth rehabilitation in the Cayman Islands. In the short-term, the Bonaventure Boys Home and the Frances Bodden Girls Home have been earmarked to accommodate this therapeutic community programme. The long-term plan is for a residential Youth Centre, also based on the Missouri principles, to be built in accordance with the government’s constitutional obligation to separate juvenile prisoners from adult prisoners by 6 November 2013.

“While the Ministry recognises that the Cayman Islands is experiencing the full impact of the global economic downturn, if we do not make a commitment to invest in our youth and build local capacity, the country will continue to see rising crime levels, higher levels of unemployment, the breaking down of families and communities and a greater strain being placed on the health care, the welfare and criminal justice systems,” said the minister with responsibility for community affairs, Mike Adam. “Our pillars of the economy, tourism and financial services will also be negatively impacted. We have the opportunity and not only the legal but also the moral duty to chart the way forward with empowering our children and youth, strengthening our community and securing the future of these Islands.”

The minister has revealed on several occasions his desire to use the Missouri Model here, which has revolutionized the issue of youth rehabilitation. The model addresses the needs of youth at risk in order to avert their negative behaviours, promote their strengths and empower them. A delegation from government travelled to Missouri to examine the programme in action.

Thirty years ago, Missouri closed its correctional juvenile facilities and began offering a more humane, constructive and positive approach. On their visit, the Cayman delegation toured a day treatment programme, Star Day Treatment, for low risk youth and two male secure facilities, Northwest Regional Youth Centre and Riverbend Treatment Centre, for youth who exhibited the most serious offending behaviour.

“The youth we met were confident, articulate, insightful, goal-orientated, eager to share their experiences and they were hopeful and excited about their futures. It was the realisation that staff genuinely cared for their well-being that was one of the major catalysts for change,” said Adam.

The Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS), the agency that oversees youth rehabilitation programmes says that three years after discharge 93% of DYS youth have avoided further incarceration, while over 86% are productively involved in their communities through school or work. Missouri’s recidivism rates are consistently lower than in other states, in which youth are twice as likely to be re-incarcerated.

Missouri’s recipe for success is a dedication to helping delinquent youth make deep and lasting changes to prevent future negativebehaviours. The agency has built a therapeutic treatment system based on the beliefs that all people have a desire to do well and succeed; all behaviour has a purpose and is often a symptom of unmet needs; and family engagement is vital in the treatment process.

The model is structured in such a way that youth are actively engaged in the process of change at all times, unlike correctional juvenile facilities where rigid rules, external controls andcoercive power attempt to force compliance.

The minister said the approach was not “a soft approach to delinquent behaviour”, but was a harder, more demanding approach in which the young people must deal with their most difficult and traumatic issues “and take responsibility for their actions and behaviour”.

The delegation included the minister of community affairs, ministry staff, a representative from Judicial Administration, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Public Works Department, the Department of Children and Family Services and the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment.

To learn more about the Missouri Model, read the independent review by the Annie E. Casey Foundation at www.aecf.org or visit the Missouri Division of Youth Services website at www.dss.mo.gov/dys/.

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Prisoners use time to improve education

| 13/12/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Some two dozen prisoners have improved their chances of staying on the outside of the prison once they are released by using their time on the inside to further their education. The prisoners join around 40 others who have already taken the external City and Guilds (C&G) vocational exams since the Cayman Islands Prison Service was approved as a City and Guilds Examination Centre. As the leading provider of vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom, City and Guilds serves a wide range of industries, from entry-level to the highest professional achievement. It is recognized by employers worldwide and has centres in over 100 countries. Prison Director Dwight Scott said the prisoners who sat exams in October did really well.

“The October exam results were especially encouraging. Seven prisoners gained First-Class passes in spreadsheet processing techniques, while eight were successful in the English for office skills examination – with two gaining First-Class passes,” he said.

Information technology-related areas such as spreadsheets are most popular, the prison director explained. “Having certificates from a recognised body should benefit these prisoners, especially in their quest for employment after release.”

The prison said that getting the local C&G accreditation followed a rigorous process, which included City & Guild officials examining the prison’s education programme and visiting to inspect the facilities. Since May 2009, some 60 prisoners have sat examinations in subjects such as numeracy, spreadsheet, word-processing, English for business communications, and English for office skills.

Franz Manderson, Chief Officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, said the portfolio and government were committed to reducing recidivism through robust rehabilitation programmes and congratulated the prisoners “for working hard towards becoming productive citizens upon their release from prison.”

Scott added that prisoners of both Northward and Fairbanks were able to take advantage of this new educational opportunity. “The prison service has long included education, especially improving basic literacy and numeracy skills, as part of our rehabilitation efforts. However, the new accreditation is a bonus to the programme,” he added.

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OECD calls for higher tax to prevent bubble

| 13/12/2010 | 1 Comment

(American Chronicle): A leading international body last week argued that higher property taxation could prevent a future housing bubble. In a report titled Choosing A Broad Base-Low Rate Approach To Taxation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development sets out the best areas for governments to raise taxes as part of their fiscal consolidation. It argues that property taxation is more efficient, more stable and harder to evade than other taxes and can be more progressive. Many OECD member countries use outdated valuation methods and a proper system is crucial to effective property taxation, the report reveals.

The report states: "Owner-occupied housing has a favourable tax treatment relative to other forms of investment in many OECD countries through reduced tax rates or exemption for imputed rental income, mortgage interest payment deductibility and exemptions from Capital Gains Tax."

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Rolaids Products recalled

| 13/12/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Several Rolaid antacid products have been recalled because metal and wood particles were suspected to be in the bottles, and local supermarket chain, Foster’s Food Fair IGA say they have proactively pulled all the affected products from their shelves and encourage all customers who have purchased this product to return the affected product to their Foster’s Food Fair IGA of purchase for a full refund. The affected products sold by Foster’s are: Rolaids Extra Strength plus Gas Softchews, Tropical Fruit 12 ct, Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, Cherry 18 ct, Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, Cherry 36 ct, and Rolaids Multi-Symptom plus Anti-Gas Softchews, Tropical Fruit 12 ct.

Johnson and Johnson, a unit of Mc Neil Consumer Healthcare, Inc. announced the voluntary recall in consultation with the US Food and Drug Administration. Although so far there have been no serious injuries or deaths as a result of the contaminated bottles, there have been numerous complaints of smaller side effects. Some of the injuries and side effects of taking the contaminated antacids have been tooth/gum injury, vomiting and abnormal taste.

The company also commented that the wood and metal particles probably made it into the packaging in the manufacturing process where the bottles are put together and filled.

Until Foster’s Food Fair IGA has a further correspondence from the manufacture on this affected product, moving forward, it will not be available.

For more information, visit www.mcneilproductrecall.com or www.rolaids.com

Consumers with questions can call Fosters’ Consumer Care Center at 1-888-222-6036 (available Monday-Friday from 8am – 8pm ET and Saturday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm Eastern Time).

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Local newspaper to boycott Legislative Assembly

| 13/12/2010 | 59 Comments

(CNS): Following the vote in the country’s parliament on Thursday to ask the attorney general to prosecute a local newspaper and its reporter, the paper’s boss has said it will boycott the proceedings. Brian Uzzell, the publisher of The Caymanian Compass, has said not only is he standing by his reporter, Brent Fuller, but none of the paper’s team of reporters will be attending the Legislative Assembly until the threat of prosecution is lifted. The vote to take legal action against the country’s oldest newspaper comes in the wake of objections by elected officials to an article and an editorial on an FOI review subcommittee meeting behind closed doors.

In an article published in today’s edition of the Compass (Monday 13 December), Uzzell stated: “It is a dark day for the Cayman Islands when legislators decide to prosecute responsible media because they disagree with their opinion. What transpired in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday should embarrass and frighten the people of this country.”

Following a ‘reprimand’ of the reporter and the paper by the speaker of the LA and the suspension of Fuller’s so-called “reporting privileges” for the rest of the week, Ezzard Miller tabled a motion to request the AG to prosecute under the Immunities, Powers and Privileges Law, which he believed the two pieces had breached.

During her address the speaker had said it was time for her to act “when the free press … begins whittling away at the root of democracy … defaming the integrity of the country’s Legislative Assembly”, a comment the Compass publisher found ironic. “I remember when Mrs Lawrence was involved in putting out a weekly newspaper that was harshly critical of the integrity of certain members of Legislative Assembly,” he said.

Lawrence had also indicated that reporting on the Legislative Assembly was a privilege that was awarded by her office and which could be revoked by her office, a point Uzzell opposed. “In a free society, to report on what happens in Parliament is a right of the people who elect the representatives and who pay their salaries,” he said. “We don’t see our role as one of privilege, but one of service to this community. We use considerable resources to provide this service, but I won’t have my staff ridiculed and threatened by politicians and a five-times frustrated politician just because they don’t like our opinion or a factual article we’ve written.”

The paper’s boss said it appeared Lawrence seemed intent on making the job of reporting on the Legislative Assembly more and more difficult. “First she cancelled all press passes of journalists and insisted they file annual register of interest forms, even though the requirement isn’t supported by Standing Orders,” he said. “Then she took away journalists’ right to use a Legislative Assembly parking spot next to the Library. Now this.”

The speaker has also revoked the permission given to reporters to use laptops, given by Linford Pierson during his time as speaker, and has banned reporters from having their mobile phones switched on while in the LA.

As a result of Thursday’s incident, Uzzell said he would no longer send reporters to attend the Legislative Assembly. “Not under the current circumstances and climate,” he added.
 

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Jamaica targets new markets for tourism business

| 13/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(Gleaner): With emerging markets expected to recover from the global economic crisis at a faster pace, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says greater emphasis is being placed on marketing Jamaica to prospective travellers in those regions. Addressing the Pacific Area Writers Association international seminar on ‘Travel and Tourism: Need for a Survival Plan in Turbulent Times’ at the World Travel Market in London on November 10, Minister Bartlett pointed to research which indicates that emerging economies, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China will ultimately surpass the growth rate of developed economies in the United States, Japan and Europe.

Emerging markets are forecast to grow in the region of nine per cent this year, compared with five per cent for developed economies.

Bartlett told the influential tourism writers’ group that consequently, "We are looking at these emerging markets as comprising over half the world’s population; hence the fast and furious pace at which they are expanding must also create a significant impact on global travel."
 

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Funds create 300,000 jobs

| 13/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The world’s hedge fund industry employs an estimated 300,000 people according to the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) the hedge fund industry’ global association. It’s the first time the number of jobs created by the sector globally has been assessed. AIMA produced the figures after surveying its members internationally. AIMA has more than 1200 corporate members in more than 40 countries. Its hedge fund manager members manage in excess of 75% of global hedge fund assets and 70% of global fund of hedge funds assets. The regional breakdown of the figure, AIMA said is 240,000 in North America, 50,000 in Europe and 10,000 in Asia-Pacific.

 The totals include both those employed directly within the hedge fund sector and those jobs generated by the industry among service providers like administrators, lawyers and accountants. The ratio of direct jobs to indirect jobs was found by AIMA to be generally 1:2, so the number of direct jobs within the industry globally is 100,000 with a further 200,000 indirect jobs generated by the industry.

AIMA CEO Andrew Baker said: “It is striking that hedge fund industry managers generate an additional two jobs among service providers for every job in the sector. That means that the industry is creating significant additional employment in the jurisdictions in which it operates, including in the EU, Switzerland, the United States and Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Australia.
“The estimated figure of 300,000 jobs generated globally is a significant one and it demonstrates the importance of the industry to the broader economy in the many jurisdictions in which the industry is based. It shows that the hedge fund industry provides value not only to its investors and to the markets in which it operates, but to the communities where its employees work.”

 

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Heavy cake to top the bill at culinary show

| 13/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The planners of the 23rd Annual Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival at Camana Bay are looking for Cayman’s best bakers to put on their aprons, grab their wooden spoons and whip up some heavy cake, as the local treat takes centre stage in the 2011 local culinary event. All entries will be judged by an independent panel on Saturday, 29 January where guests will be able to sample the cake and learn more about the tradition. The cultural cuisine sometimes called ‘Old Man on a Plate’, is a dense, often intensely sweet cake which requires great patience and hands on attention by the baker.

Heavy cake has been a truly unique Caymanian creation for the last 200 years or so. This dessert’s beginnings resulted from Caymanian cooks’ resourcefulness and creativity in using ingredients that were available on their tiny islands. Many items we associate with cake today (flour, sugar, eggs and the like) were expensive luxuries well into the 20th century, and thus unavailable to these early bakers. Instead, they transformed readily available—cassava, coconut milk, spices and cornstarch into a traditional treat that is still revered today.

Although traditionally made with grated cassava it can be made with another starchsuch as yams or sweet potatoes. Since there is more to making a heavy cake than simply following a recipe, this truly is an art form that is practiced in kitchens across the Cayman Islands. Taste of Cayman hopes to provide the anticipated 4000 festival goers with a small taste of Cayman’s traditional dessert.

In addition to bragging rights the lucky first prize winner of the competition will receive CI$300, second prize CI$150 and third place CI$50. So heavy cake bakers, get practicing that treasured recipe from Granny and register by calling the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) office at 345-949-8522 or register atour Taste of Cayman booth at the Parade of Lights on Saturday, 11 December 2010, at Camana Bay.

Tickets for the festival will also be available for purchase online www.tasteofcayman.org for more details and enter the discount code: cassava to save $5.00 off the published ticket price (discount valid until December 17th!).
 

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