Archive for February 8th, 2011

Public asked to join search

| 08/02/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Officers involved in the search for Anna Evans are asking the wider public to search their own land and outbuildings for the missing landfilll worker. It has now been 12 days since the last confirmed sighting of Anna Evans and despite extensive searches with the assistance of specialist canine units and dog handles there is still no sign of the 37 year old mother. For several days police officers and volunteers have searched the site and surrounding areas but with no sightings the search there is now completed and the specialist team has returned to the US. Police are now in the process of searching outlying areas of the Island for any clues that might help them find Anna who was last seen around noon on Thursday 27 January.

Officers also said that Anna’s cell phone, believed to be a black Nokia 1660, is also still missing.

With the search now opening up across the island police hope that property owners may be able to help the RCIPS.

“There is a huge amount of land to cover,” said Acting Superintendent Richard Barrow. ”That’s why we are asking communities throughout Grand Cayman to join together today and join us in the search for Anna. We want everyone to spend some time searching their outbuildings and their land for any sign of her. If, during the search, you notice anything unusual or suspicious please let us know.”

Anyone with information that might assist the enquiry team is asked to call the dedicated hotline 526-0911.

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Tourists mugged at beach

| 08/02/2011 | 147 Comments

(CNS): Following revelations on a tourist blog site, the RCIPS has confirmed that a couple visiting the Cayman Islands from the United States was robbed in broad daylight on Barefoot Beach in East End on Monday lunchtime. Police said that Bodden Town detectives have launched an enquiry in the wake of the crime, which occurred around noon. The man and woman parked their hire car in a pathway off the Queens Highway next to Barefoot Beach and a short time later they were threatened by three robbers while sitting on the beach.

Police said the couple was suddenly confronted by three men who all had their faces covered by t-shirts, two of which were armed with a baseball bat and a knuckleduster. One of the men grabbed the male tourist, placed him in a headlock and demanded cash and the victims handed over a wallet containinga small amount of money.

As the suspects were making off from the scene they smashed the window of the couple’s hire car with the baseball bat and stole a camera.

Police said the couple were not injured in the incident but have been left shaken by the ordeal.

The suspects are described as follows; One was approximately 17 years old, 5 feet 7 inches in height, dark complexion. He was wearing a knuckleduster and a dark blue NBA jersey. The second was about 5 feet 10 inches in height and approximately 165 pounds wearing short pants and carried the baseball bat. The third was said to be about 6 feet in height, approximately 165 pounds and wearing a white shirt and short pants.

Detective Sergeant Dwayne Jones, of Bodden Town CID, said, “This is a very remote location and it’s extremely unusual for an incident like this to take place in the area. Although the location is out of the way it is entirely possible that someone travelling on Queens Highway saw the suspects either before or after the incident. If anyone has information that could assist the enquiry they should call Bodden Town CID on 947-2220 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).”

The Commander of the Eastern Districts, Chief Inspector Martin Bodden Jr., has confirmed that there will be increased police patrols in the area.

The couple, who went to the Reef Resort in East End, wrote about the incident on a tourist web-site yesterday where they thanked the staff there who helped them contact the police.They said the RCIPS had responded promptly and acted in a most professional manner.

“ I felt like we were in an episode of CSI with all the fingerprinting and DNA swabbing that was done,’ the visitors revealed, adding that everyone was “appalled and shocked” that this could happen in East End. “A sad sign of the times on Grand Cayman," the couple added.

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Man charged over gun after Caribbean Club arrest

| 08/02/2011 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A 25-year-old man has been charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and aggravated trespass following arrests made by the police last week at a luxury condo resort on Seven Mile Beach. A second man, aged 24, has been charged with criminal trespass in connection with the same incident. About 10.50 a.m. on Tuesday, 1 February police responded to a report of a disturbance at the Caribbean Club, West Bay Road. Two men were arrested at the time and a firearm was recovered at the location. Police have still not revealed the details of the “disturbance" in question.

Police said that the two men were expected appear in court today, Tuesday 8 February to face respective charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and aggravated trespass.
 

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Church gives blessing to iPhone confessions

| 08/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(BBC): The Catholic Church has approved an iPhone app that helps guide worshippers through confession. The program – called Confession – went on sale last week through iTunes for $1.99. Described as "the perfect aid for every penitent", it offers users tips and guidelines to help them with the sacrament. Now senior church officials in America have given it their seal of approval, in what is thought to be a first. The app takes users through the sacrament – in which Catholics admit their wrongdoings – and allows them to keep track of their sins. It also allows them to examine their conscience based on personalised factors such as age, sex and marital status – but it is not intended to replace traditional confession entirely.


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Local centenarian receives UCCI honour

| 08/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Caymanian cultural icon, Aunt Julia who is 102 years-old has been made an honorary student of the UCCI. Sharing her memories recently, Aunt Julia was the guest of performing arts students who will be showcasing some of her songs in their upcoming Spring Concert and at the university’s International Conference in mid-March. Describing the days of old she revealed how Caymanians would dance the polka and the jig as “the young gals would twirl their frock tails” as the men accompanied them on the violin and other instruments. Aunt Julia herself would sing and “make Roman numerals” on her drum – for money.

“As cultural and social historian, Aunt Julia reeled off, from a reliable and still cogent memory, tale after tale of life in Cayman and the circumstances that gave rise to the songs she crafted to document cultural and social events,” a spokesperson for the UCCI stated.

To mark the event and honour her for her valuable contribution to Caymanian life, UCCI President, Roy Bodden awarded Aunt Julia the status of honorary student of UCCI.

“I consider it a privilege to have someone of Aunt Julia’s generation visit the campus and share knowledge with the students. Those present came away enriched and with a deeper sense of appreciation for Caymanian musical tradition. There was something in it also for Aunt Julia since she was declared an ‘Honorary UCCI Student,” he added.
 

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LIME rolls out new ‘app’ for Caribbean diaspora

| 08/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Regional telecommunications company LIME has unveiled a new free, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) application that allows iphone, ipod Touch and ipad users overseas to call the Caribbean for as little as 16 cents (US) per minute. LIME said it has partnered with Telecom New Zealand USA (TNZ), to make “LIME Talk” what it described as a leading edge solution available to the Caribbean Diaspora. “LIME Talk” can be used on several Apple smartphones including the best selling iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4G handsets. Through the Apple Apps Store and itunes, “LIME Talk” will be available for free download to over 100 million consumers across the USA, Canada and Europe.

The firm said it was also compatible with several other Apple communication devices including the iPod Touch — 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation — and the revolutionary tablet, the iPad. Customers can use the application on any of these devices to make phone calls using a Wi-Fi or 3G internet connection.

Thes prepaid service gives customers 120 minutes of talk time for calls to LIME fixed lines and mobiles phone across the Caribbean for US $19.95, the firm stated. The plan covers calls to any LIME fixed or mobile customer in Antigua, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos.
In addition, customers also have the option of making out of plan calls to any other destination across the world at affordable rates by adding additional credit to their accounts via credit card or debit card.

LIME’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Dehring said: “LIME Talk offers some of the lowest, most affordable rates currently available for calling the Caribbean from the US and the fact that it’s a prepaid service means that customers can have better control over their spend.
 

“LIME Talk is easy to use and very convenient because once users download the application and subscribe to the service they can always access it from their device and there’s no need to constantly buy phone cards or input lots of numbers and codes to make a call,” he added.
Dehring stated that the firm was anticipating that “LIME Talk” is going to be extremely popular not only in the Caribbean community but for customers across the USA who call the Caribbean often for business or personal reasons.
 

“When it comes to affordability and convenience “LIME Talk” is going to be hard to beat,” he said.

“LIME Talk” can be downloaded, free of charge, from itunes at

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lime-talk/id405177474?mt=8 or

from LIME at www.time4lime.com/diaspora

 

 

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Cruise port scales down

| 08/02/2011 | 29 Comments

(CNS): As plans for the development of the George Town cruise berthing facilities move ahead with a new partner, the chair of the Port Authority has said that it now has a very different scope from that proposed by Dart. Local contractor Royal Construction with its partner, marine contractors GLF, is planning a scaled down proposal that will be financed on cruise fees rather than through an expansive upland element. DECCO, Dart’s contractor, pulled out of project at the end of last year after the developer was unable to reach an agreement with government over the terms of the lease, on which it was intending an extensive upland development that would finance the whole project.

As the Royal/GLF proposal is considerable less complex or ambitious, focused on the two cruise piers – four berthing docks — and an upland terminal, costs are expected to be considerably less than $150 million. This means the contractors will in turn have a considerably smaller shortfall to make up between the cost of the project and the cruise lines guaranteed passenger fees. Although it is not yet certain how the contractor will make up the shortfall, passenger arrivals are likely to far exceed the figures which the cruise lines would be able to guarantee as a result of the increase in cruise passengers generated by the development.

Chair Stefan Baraud told CNS that negotiations with the cruise lines were now going well as they are all very keen for the Cayman Island to take on this project and develop the facilities. With substantially different plans, the contractors will also be looking at the design and construction methods for cost savings on the original estimates in order to get the basic berthing facilities and terminal completed in the first instance.

“Significant progress has been made and the contractor is moving at a pace that makes me confident that the project will be underway this year,” Baraud added. He said the next major milestone was on 17 February when the new plans for the berthing docks will be tested at the Star Centre in Fort Lauderdale on the simulation, mock-up in various weather conditions and circumstances.

The other major issue is the Environmental Impact Assessment. The chair said that Royal/GLF are already talking to the Department of Environment and the next stage will be to see if the work done by Dart is relevant and sufficient for this particular development. Baraud said that as yet the EIA which was undertaken by Dart has not been handed over as there are still commercial issues relating to that.

Without the deep pockets of Dart, the Royal/GLF partnership will be securing outside financing in order to begin the project, which the chair said should be in place before the end of next month and if all goes well with the simulation exercise and the EIA, the change in developer does not mean a dramatic change in time line and Baraud said he is still anticipating that the project will break ground this summer.

Getting the construction underway would be a significant boost, not just for the local tourism industry but the construction sector as well, as the developer estimates there could be as many as 200 jobs going for local people. 

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Cameras were working when Anna disappeared

| 08/02/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has admitted that three cameras were not working at the George Town dump on the day that landfill worker Anna Evans disappeared but another six were operational. The department director said the footage from those six cameras had been handed over to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) as part of the DoEH’s efforts to do what it can to support the search. “We have reviewed the relevant footage with the police to see if there were clues regarding what happened to Anna,” said Roydell Carter, the department’sdirector, who added that staff were offering all the information they could to help the police. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

He said that when the 37-year-old mother of five disappeared on Thursday, 30 January, three of the cameras were out of action at the time as the department was waiting for parts to arrive but all of them had now been repaired. Carter said the DEH installed the surveillance equipment around the landfill in July 2010 to assist with management and security issues.

Carter also joined with the police in calling for those who were circulating malicious and false rumours via mobile phones to stop. He also asked people to refrain from pointing fingers of accusation at Anna’s colleagues at the landfill.

“These rumours are causing deep distress among the staff; all of Anna’s colleagues are heartbroken over her disappearance,” he added. “We all continue to pray for her return and we will not relent in our effort to provide support for her grieving family and help with this search.”

The police continued their search ten days after Anna disappeared and despite overseas re-enforcements and specialist canine assistance, the RCIPS said there was still no sign of the missing woman.

Anyone with information that could assist the search is urged to call the hotline 526-0911. 

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Report blames tax havens for illegal global trade

| 08/02/2011 | 5 Comments

(CNS): A new report published Tuesday by Global Financial Integrity points the finger at what it describes as the global shadow financial system comprising tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions for facilitating the illicit trade in “goods, guns, people, and natural resources.” The $650 billion trade most negatively impacts the developing world, “Transnational Crime in the Developing World" finds. Anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations and disguised corporations sustain the illegal trade in drugs, humans, wildlife, counterfeit goods and currencies, human organs, small arms, diamonds and other gems, oil, timber, fish, art and cultural property, and gold the report says.

“While this report includes a monetary measure of the cost of these illicit activities, it also stresses that the activities associated with these illicit markets—human rights abuses, corruption, murder— extract a significant toll on the lives of people in these developing countries and undermines economic growth and good governance efforts,” said report author Jeremy Haken.

Of the 12 illicit activities studied, trade in drugs ($320 billion per year) and counterfeiting ($250 billion per year) were ranked first and second in terms of illicit funds generated. Another key finding of the report was that profits from illicit markets are making their way to transnational crime syndicates through vast international trade networks. The report also emphasizes a link between transnational crime and economic “underdevelopment”.

Raymond Baker writes in the report’s introduction that the cross-border passage of criminal money is facilitated by the “global shadow financial system comprising tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mispricing, and money laundering techniques.

“This is precisely the same structure that enables the movement of the other two components of illicit proceeds—the corrupt and commercially tax evading money. We cannot succeed in curtailing part of these flows while at the same time facilitating other parts of these flows,” he writes. “The developing countries bear most of the burden of this facilitating global structure, producing impoverishment, violence, and shortened lives for millions of people across the world.

See full report

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UK – CI relations improving

| 08/02/2011 | 12 Comments

(CNS): As the country’s premier meets with the UK overseas territories’ minister today in London to discuss Cayman’s public finances he does so against a backdrop of much improved relations between the two countries. The governor, Duncan Taylor, described the situation between the UK and CI as a very “tetchy relationship” when he arrived in January 2010 but said last week that the current relationship is now a very cordial one. The governor said it had been one of his priorities on arrival to improve the communication between his office and the locally elected members of government when he took up his post and was now pleased with the working relationship he enjoyed with his Cabinet colleagues.

“I am very happy with the relationship I have here at the moment with the local government,” Taylor revealed at a recent press briefing. “We have a good working atmosphere within Cabinet. We don’t always agree on everything – as that would be impossible – but we are quite good at discussing differences and how we can approach things and I am very happy with that part of my job.”

He acknowledged that while governors in other overseas territories were still having problems with their working relations, things had improved all round in Cayman when it came to the communication between here and London.

When he first came, he said, the rhetoric regarding relations was “very tetchy” but now things were in a very positive place and the British government was working well with the Cayman Islands. Taylor said he believed the new minister, Henry Bellingham, had brought a very positive note into the relationship and that previous meetings between McKeeva Bush and the FCO minister had gone very well.

Bush is due to meet with Bellingham again today at the FCO, where he will be discussing the three year plan, which was submitted to the UK in order to gain approval from the British government to push the country’s borrowing beyond the limits of Cayman’s own financial management laws.

The UK approved some CI$155 million in further borrowing but recent revelations by the premier that the country may be facing a surplus this year instead of an anticipated deficit means government may no longer need to extend its debt — a message likely to further sweeten the relationship between the two countries.

In a statement to the nation last week, Bush said that unaudited figures suggest at the fiscal year half way mark that government may achieve a surplus of $17m instead of an expected $14m deficit by the end of the 2010/11 budget year. He said the turnaround in public finances was no accident but was a “direct result of a conscious effort” across government and the wider public sector to restrain expenditures.

The continued reduction in government spending is bound to win approval fromthe UK Conservative government, which is currently making unprecedented cuts its own public sector.

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