Archive for January, 2011

Premier thanks Cayman

| 31/01/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of the tragic death of his 30-year-old daughter, Tonya Yvonne Anglin, the country’s premier made a public broadcast to the nation on Monday evening offering his appreciation to the people for their show of support. McKeeva Bush spoke of the immense grief and heartache of losing a child but said throughout it all he and his family were comforted by an outpouring of love, concern and care by thousands of people from across the three Cayman Islands, from the Caribbean and the rest of the world. “This past week has seen the best of our nation’s love and character, where we put aside all differences and came together to support one another. This love and support has sustained my family and me this past week,” he said.

The full statement of appreciation from the premier:

It is with a heavy and burdened heart that I come to you today, not only as your Premier, but also as a grieving father.

As most of you will know, exactly one week ago, my dear daughter Tonya passed away. Within one hour of arriving at the hospital, my wife and I were surrounded by concerned family members, friends, colleagues and Members of the Legislative Assembly, staff and so many others of you, my fellow countrymen.

The immense grief and heartache of losing a child cannot be put into words. The shock of it all was almost more than we could bear. My wife Kerry and I, our granddaughter Zariah, our son Barry and our son-in-law Chet, and our entire family, have been left trying to cope with this.
Throughout it all, we were comforted by an outpouring of love, concern and care by thousands of people from across the three Cayman Islands, from the Caribbean and indeed from the rest of the world. During this time, I was reminded of something I’d once read:

God’s love in action is the answer to every problem. Love in action is the answer to every problem in our lives and in this world. Love in action is the force that helps us make it to today, and it’s the love that will set us free. This past week has seen the best of our nation’s love and character, where we put aside all differences and came together to support one another. This love and support has sustained my family and me this past week.

We are believers in the Bible as the holy word of God and it tells us that He is our refuge and strength, and that we should at all times lean on Him and not on our own understanding. We (Kerry and I) always thought that she was ours to keep forever. But allow me to share with you a poem which was sent to usduring this past week by two friends. This poem has provided me with another perspective.

The Child

“I’ll lend you for a little time
A child of mine,” He said,
“For you to love the while she lives
And mourn for when she’s dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two and three,
But will you, till I call her back,
Take care of her for Me?
She’ll bring her charms to gladden you
And shall her stay be brief,
You’ll have her lovely memories
As solaces for your grief.”

“I cannot promise she will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn
I’ve looked the wide world over
In my search for teachers true
And from the throngs that
Crowd life’s lanes
I selected you

Now will you give her all your love
Nor think the labour in vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
And take her back again?
I fancied that I heard them say:
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done!”
For all the joy thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
And love her while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known
Forever grateful stay:
But shall the angels call for her
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand

I thought this was such an appropriate reminder that when God speaks, His will must be done. I believe that all of us as parents want the best for our children. My advice to all parents is that we have to believe and honour God first, and then carry out our responsibility to be good parents, even when unpopular with our children.

As a young child, I heard a scripture from my aunt, a great Christian lady, who was leading a prayer meeting – this scripture left an indelible impression on my life. It became our family scripture and guided me as a parent and in our grief, I commend it to you. It is Deuteronomy 1-10; I will read to you verses 6 through 9:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sitttest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

To all of you, both here and overseas, all who reached out to us with your thoughts and prayers, those who sent messages of courage, faith, hope and encouragement, to those who sent food, sent flowers, and those who visited us to give us the comfort that only good friends can give – my family and I sincerely thank you for your genuine support during our time of grief. We ask that you continue to lift us up in your prayers. We also ask that you remember all others who are mourning the loss of loved ones, continue to pray for them, as we will be doing the same.

Thank you, thank you all and may God bless you and your families. Good evening. 

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Police make arrest in wake of George Town stabbing

| 31/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has confirmed that officers are currently investigating a stabbing which took place in George Town on Sunday night. A spokesperson said police were called to a disturbance at the Dolphin Centre on Eastern Avenue at around 8.50pm on 30 January. When officers arrived at the scene, they found that a male had sustained a stab wound to his abdomen. Police said the man was taken to the Cayman Islands hospital and was released following treatment. A male, whose age the police did not reveal, was arrested at the location in connection with the incident.

Police enquiries are ongoing.
 

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New powers to tackle gang culture in UK

| 31/01/2011 | 5 Comments

(The Guardian): Gang members could be banned from wearing distinctive colours or entering rival territory under new powers coming into force today. Gang injunctions will aim to break down gang culture and also give civil courts the power to ban people from going out in public with dogs that have been used as weapons, James Brokenshire, the crime prevention minister, said. The powers will tackle a "higher level of criminality" than antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos), but will not lead to a criminal record if breached. Announcing the new measures last month, Brokenshire said: "Gangs cause significant and lasting harm to our communities through fuelling violence, creating an atmosphere of fear and drawing young people into criminality."

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PI removal questioned by lawyer

| 31/01/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Recent changes to the Criminal Procedure Code will, among a number of things, remove the right of people accused of serious crimes to seek a preliminary inquiry (PI) before their case is committed to the Grand Court. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly earlier this month, Attorney General Sam Bulgin said the move would speed up the course of justice and that it had support from the profession. However, one local attorney thinks differently and has noted that the decision has been made without a proper survey of how many cases are thrown out after a PI. Peter Polack has written to the governor pointing out that over a five year period some 15 cases of gun related crimes never made the grand court as a PI revealed that there was not enough evidence against the accused.

Polack is particularly concerned as a recent FOI request he made to the Legal Department requesting details of preliminary inquiries over a three year period was refused on the grounds that it would constitute “an unreasonable diversion of resources” because the officer would have to search manually for the information.

It is apparent, therefore, Polack told CNS, that the department has never completed a proper review of the outcome of preliminary enquiries relating to category A offences to ascertain whether their removal would be a good of bad thing.

Long form and short form PIs were carried out in the Summary Court and would see the prosecution place its evidence before the magistrate by calling witnesses to the court. The idea was that the magistrate would then make a decision to commit the case to Grand Court or to throw the case out. Polack says he is concerned now that more innocent people may be forced to face long and difficult trials.

Polack added that, in his own experience, here in Cayman there are very few long form preliminary inquiries, which tend to clog the system, and most take a short form, so, he said, their removal will do little to speed up the administration of justice.

The new amendment to the criminal procedure code will replace the PI with a ‘sufficiency trial’ in the Grand Court, where the evidence will be submitted in written form. Speaking in the LA earlier this month, the AG said that innocent people would still have a chance to be heard, but Pollack argues that there are real concerns about the preliminary inquiry’s removal.

“The inherent danger is that anyone charged with this type of offence (Category A) has no remedy where there is no cogent or slim evidence and are forced into long and damaging trials,” Pollack said.

Polack also noted that the rejection of fifteen firearms cases alone should be enough to sound the warning that removing the PI could see people committed to Grand Court trial on little evidence. The attorney points out that with the implementation of modern human rights provisions for the Cayman Islands next year, this amendment goes against the spirit and direction of those rights.

“As the chief justice recently stated, legislative reform cannot be the only response to crime and that a raft of legislative reforms was being used to respond to the crime crisis,” Polack said in a letter to the governor, as he urged the UK government to consider the importance of the preservation of the preliminary inquiry for the local justice system.

The amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code will see a number of other changes, including the downgrading of some offences from Category B to C, allows the crown to join summary offences with grand court offences and abolishes the rule prohibiting murder to be charged with any other indictment.

See Criminal Procedure Code Amendment 2010

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Innovation in Cayman

| 30/01/2011 | 14 Comments

I applaud Premier Bush’s announcement of a centre to promote innovation in science and technology. It is a necessary component of the diversification of the Cayman economy. However, much more needs to be done. Centres like the one announced by the premier require complementary supports, that is, they need creative, innovative, accomplished people associated with them.

Innovation does not just happen within the four walls of such a centre; it requires a community of creative people of all kinds. Many similar centers for innovation have been created in other countries. Those that are most successful in terms of progressive economic growth are only one part of the economic puzzle. Innovation is not just about scientists, engineers, and technically trained people.

Obviously, the leaders of innovation require a great deal of support. It is quite apparent that they require expertise in finance, accounting, logistics, human resource management, and administration.

However, the nature of the people and expertise that inspires innovation is less apparent. As the research by Richard Florida has clearly shown, economically successful communities have identifiable strengthens in technology, talent, and tolerance. Richard Florida has recently become an advisor on economic growth to Britain’s new prime minister, David Cameron. Currently leading the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, Florida has investigated cities and regions – mostly in the US and Canada – to determine the role of the key characteristics of technology, talent, and tolerance found in those that are the most successful.

Premier Bush’s innovation centre addresses the issue of technology. However, this can only have a positive impact if it is combined with the development of the other key ingredients – talent and tolerance.

Talent in Cayman requires a broad social acceptance for the significance of college and university education for Caymanians, and the necessary role that experienced expatriates must play. And this is not just in technologies; it is in all fields that make up a creative community.

Tolerance, or the acceptance of all those who promote and contribute to a creative community, is just as important as technology and talent are.

Building a creative country requires new sectors to be supported and developed. Cayman’s innovation centre is an important first step. Ideally it will lead to the development of new sectors that are resilient to global economic trends. In my view, the service sectors of health and college and university education are the best sectors for Cayman to pursue. These sectors, in many different ways, can lead the way in innovation.

There is another aspect of innovation that cannot be overlooked and in which Cayman is well positioned. New technologies only live up to their potential when new
organizational methods and business practices are developed to complement their advances. All too often we fail to create innovative organizations.

Cayman has a history of successful innovation in the field of international finance. Perhaps Cayman can take this expertise into other sectors and become a leader in this important and necessary field – for Cayman and the rest of the world.

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Cayman rises to the top of diver ratings

| 30/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands has come top of the polls with readers in an important dive magazine this month further boosting the destination’s tourism hopes for 2011. The islands have been awarded first place for ‘Overall Rating of the Destination’ and ‘Wall Diving’ in the 2011 Readers Choice Awards for Scuba Diving magazine. The impressive quality and diversity of dive sites, coupled with the thriving marine ecosystem, impressed divers enough to rate the destination as the favoured choice for 2011. The news comes in the wake of the international coverage generated for Cayman following the scuttling of the USS Kittiwake. (Photo Lawson Wood)

Officials from the department of tourism said this latest accolade along with the successful sinking of the Kittiwake, against the backdrop of many previous awards shows the Cayman dive product is not only world-class but that it is growing exponentially.

“It is an honour for our destination to have been selected once again for awards which reflect all the hard work of the individuals and organisations both private and government, responsible for making the dive experience here in Cayman what it has become today,” said Acting Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott.

“The dive sector remains committed to enhancing its product and the recent sinking of the Kittiwake is one example of how joint efforts between the government and private sector can work to the benefit of our country. We already have indications that divers arethrilled that the Cayman Islands can offer an even more enhanced dive experience with the Kittiwake, which we expect will be also be highly rated by all who dive this wreck,” he added.

The Cayman Islands has also won awards in various other segments of the annually announced best-of-the-best. The islands placed second in the categories of ‘Overall Rating of the Diving’ and ‘Shore Diving’ and were awarded third spot in the categories of ‘Health of Marine Environment’, ‘Visibility’, ‘Underwater Photography’, ‘Diving for Advanced’ and ‘Macro Life.’

Scuba Diving is a widely read print and online magazine within the dive community. Its readers are supplied with underwater photographs, reviews on dive equipment, safety & training advice, environmental issues and highlights of the best dive destinations around the world. The large online following also participate in discussion forums and other interactive media.

For more information about the Scuba Diving magazine award, visit www.scubadiving.com

 

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Big four in firing line over offshore offices

| 30/01/2011 | 0 Comments

(Daily Mail): The Big Four accountancy firms have come under attack for maintaining on average more than 20 offices each in offshore tax havens despite countries working together to crack down on tax avoidance. The four firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young – have 81 offices in offshore tax havens, according to new research by Financial Mail. MP Chuka Ummuna, who earlier this month confronted Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond over the banks’ 300 offshore subsidiaries, said: “There’s a whole industry out there dedicated to helping people avoid tax that will increasingly come under the microscope.

"The more people find out about large companies and rich individuals failing to meet their obligation to society in these austere times the more they will demand action.”

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, said: “The Big Four are deeply embedded in the tax haven world. They’re major players in shaping the laws and regulations of these places and encouraging clients – high net worth individuals and corporate clients – to maximise their tax avoidance through such places."

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Couple found safe after woman falls overboard

| 30/01/2011 | 35 Comments

(CNS): A man and woman who went missing off a pleasure boat earlier this evening have turned up safe and well in Snug Harbour and the search and rescue operation launched to look for them has been called off. The vessel had been travelling from Kaibo to Safe Haven but along the way it was discovered that the two people were missing. The police were called about 7:55pm tonight and the RCIPS Air Operations Unit and Joint Marine Unit vessel Typhoon (left) were immediately deployed to commence a search of the North Sound. Around 9.50 pm tonight police received a report that a man and a woman had called at a residence in the Snug Harbour area asking for assistance.

Tired and wet, they said that the woman had fallen overboard from the boat and her husband had jumped into the water to help her. When they realised that the boat was not turning around they both swam to shore.

Police and ambulance attended the location and confirmed that the couple were safe and well. They did not require any medical attention. The boat, and the remaining passengers, are on their way back to Safe Haven.

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Still no trace of Anna

| 29/01/2011 | 48 Comments

(CNS): Update Saturday 5:30pm – The RCIPS said that police officers and volunteers continued a search of the landfill site today (Saturday 29 January) for Anna Evans, who has been missing for two days. Periphery areas such as dyke roads to the rear of the landfill (bordering Camana Bay) and towards Industrial Park were also covered, police said. Her home address and the area surrounding her home were also searched as part of the ongoing enquiry, but as yet no trace of Anna has been found. The enquiry into her disappearance is continuing. Anyone with information which could assist in tracing Anna is asked to call the dedicated telephone number 526 0911.

On Friday police said that BBM messages circulating round the islands suggesting that the body of Anna Evans, who has been missing since mid-day yesterday, has been found are false. "These insensitive and inaccurate messages have resulted in numerous calls to Anna’s family from people asking for confirmation. The calls are obviously causing the family members some distress," a police spokesperson said.

She said the search for Anna is ongoing and that she has not been found. If there are any significant developments to report the information will be relayed through the normal channels to the media and public.

Friday evening police said that the search for at the landfill site was being scaled down and that police and volunteers would leave the site around 6:00pm that night.

Thirty-seven-year-old Anna Evans was last seen by her cousin at the George Town landfill, where they both work, sometime between 11.45am and 12 noon Thursday, 27 January,) and has not been seen since. When Anna, a director of wagons at the landfill site, did not meet up with her work colleagues at the end of her shift yesterday (around 4:30pm) they became concerned for her safety and well-being. Friends and family members conducted some local enquiries, but when it became apparent to them that no one knew where Anna was, they contacted the police at around 6:10pm last night.

At a media briefing Friday morning at the RCIPS Command Unit, which is currently located at the landfill site, Acting Superintendent Richard Barrow said that shortly after the police received the missing person report they also received a report of an ongoing disturbance at the home of the missing person in July Street. Police attended and found that her husband had been assaulted by a group of about ten people. He was taken to hospital, where he is currently detained with facial injuries. His condition is stable but Barrow stressed that, contrary to media reports, Anna’s husband has not been arrested by police.

Police have conducted various enquiries in an attempt to trace Anna, Barrow said. They are interviewing family members and friends to try and ascertain her movements over the past few days and they are working closely with staff at the landfill site to search the area where she was last seen. (Right: police officers at Anna Evans’ home in July Street Thursday night – photo by Dennie Warren Jr))

Police arrived at the site around 10:00pm Thursday night and overnight worked alongside Anna’s family, friends and around 200 volunteers to search the landfill site. Superintendent Barrow thanked those volunteerswho came out last night and said their assistance in covering a vast area of the site was invaluable.

He said the RCIPS also deployed the police helicopter to search the area, using heat seeking equipment. The search was called off around 4:00am and early Friday morning the helicopter undertook a sweep of the area.

Police were working with volunteers – Red Cross, cadets, members of the community, and many of our special constables – in a continuation of the search, and the Marine Unit would also be searching the shore areaat the rear of the landfill site, Barrow said.

So far no further sightings of Anna have been reported. She is described as 5’7 " in height, dark complexion, slim build.

When she arrived for work Thursday she was wearing blue denim jeans and a dark jacket. She was carrying a black and white handbag. On arrival at work she changed into her uniform – grey pants and a grey and orange shirt.

The RCIPS has set up a dedicated telephone number for any information regarding Anna’s disappearance. That number is 526 0911.

Updates will be provided as and when available. (Below: the scene at the dump Thursday night – photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

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CUC blast victim flown to Miami

| 29/01/2011 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Update Saturday 3:00pm — One of the two men injured in Friday afternoon’s explosion at CUC on Sparky Drive, George Town, 26-year-old Kurt Scott, was airlifted to Miami early Saturday morning for medical treatment. A CUC spokesperson said he remains in critical but stable condition. A CUC representative is accompanying him and his family members will be joining him later today (Saturday 29 January). A second CUC employee injured in the blast, 53-year-old Arney Ebanks, continues to be treated at the George Town hospital, where he is listed in stable condition. Both men suffered burn injuries following the explosion at around 12:30pm Friday in one of the 9 MW Diesel Generators at the North Sound plant, which damaged one engine. 

However, Grand Cayman’s power company maintains this has not affected its ability to meet customer demand.

President and CEO Richard Hew said, “The CUC family wishes both of our colleagues the very best as they recover from this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. I would like to thank the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Emergency Services, the staff at George Town Hospital and indeed the CUC employees and other members of the public who assisted during the emergency and who continue to provide well wishes and support to the injured and their families.”

CUC will continue to regularly monitor the condition of both employees and will provide updates as appropriate.

Investigations into the cause of the accident are ongoing. (Photo below by Dennie Warren Jr)

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