Archive for February 25th, 2011

Delivery man abducted

| 25/02/2011 | 58 Comments

(CNS): Updated with descriptions –Police have now released descriptions of the three men who abducted a cigarette delivery driver on Friday in West Bay. They are also asking the public and business owners to be on the lookout for the cigarettes that they believed will be sold unofficially and to contact West Baydetectives if they have any information. The three men who abducted and robbed the 42-year-old driver and his van from outside Joe & Ima’s Way Side Store in Boatswain Bay at gun point at around 11am are described as about 5’8" in height, medium build, brown complexion, about 5’7" in height, slim build, dark complexion and about 5’1" in height, slim build, dark complexion and described as having ‘red’ eyes.(Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The cigarettes stolen in the robbery were Vogue, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges, Craven A, Newport, Dunhill and Kool. A quantity of Skoal and Copenhagen chewing tobacco was also taken. Detective Sergeant Dave Morrison is appealing for anyone who has information about cigarettes being sold unofficially, or who has been offered cigarettes for sale, to contact the police immediately.
"If you have any information about cigarettes or tobacco being sold unofficially we want to hear from you," he said adding that anyone who bought stolen property was committing a criminal offence.

The abduction and robbery took place on Friday 25 February when the delivery man was abducted at gunpoint. The suspects came from behind the store, threatened him and forced their way into his van. They drove him to the Salt Creek dykes area where they transferred a quantity of cigarettes and cash from his van into a white Ford E350 or E250 boxed shaped vehicle. The suspects then drove off, leaving the victim and his van in Salt Creek where he was found by police officers a short time later.

Anyone with information about the cigarettes or the incident should contact West Bay CID on 949-3999 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).

 

Continue Reading

Arrests for tourist mugging

| 25/02/2011 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Three men have been arrested in connection with the Bare Foot Beach robbery, in which a couple visiting the Cayman Islands from the United States was robbed in broad daylight on the beach in East End on Monday, 7 February, around noon. Police said the men aged 20, 21 and 30, were arrested this morning on suspicion of robbery followingan early morning operation in the East End of Grand Cayman and remain in police custody while enquiries continue. As part of the same operation another man was arrested. He is in custody on suspicion of possession of drugs. The drug concerned is a small quantity of, what is believed to be, crack cocaine.

During the incident the man and woman, who had parked their hire car in a pathway off the Queens Highway next to Barefoot Beach, 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 containing a 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.

While details of the incident were not immediately released by the RCIPS, the couple described their experience on a tourist blog site, and after enquiries by the local media, the RCIPS confirmed that the robbery had taken place the next day.

Detectives in Bodden Town are once again appealing for anyone who has any information which could assist the investigation into the Bare Foot Beach robbery to call 947-2220 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

Continue Reading

Officials want public comment on marriage & divorce

| 25/02/2011 | 72 Comments

(CNS): As part of government’s reform of family law, the Law Reform Commission is circulating a consultation and discussion paper identifying issues to be considered in the proposed reform of the Matrimonial Causes Law. Officials said the paper sets out questions for consideration by the public but the commission has made no final recommendations on any matter. It is currently inviting the public to comment and make suggestions regarding matrimonial issues, including those relating to damages for adultery; compulsory mediation or counselling in divorce proceedings and whether the law should be reformed to provide for irretrievable breakdown to be the single lawful reason for divorce.

One of the main differences between Cayman’s marital law and other jurisdictions is that people must still prove a fault based reason for divorce, such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion. They must also wait two years, even when a marriage has clearly broken down, contrasting with other jurisdictions where couples are granted divorces after twelve months apart and no faults necessarily being cited.

Lengthy time separations are believed by experts to merely prolong divorce rather than prevent it and having a no fault single reason for divorce may prevent acrimony.

Cayman has a very high divorce rate, according to the commission, and there is a strong belief in the community that where marriages have not irretrievably broken down there should be more access to mediation, especially in times of temporary difficulties. The discussion paper reveals that mediation before the lawyers are involved is common in the region and has proved successful. The commission asks if the country’s high divorce rate could be cut if couples were offered the opportunity of counselling.

The commission also raises the question of whether Cayman should retain the section of the law that provides third parties in cases of adultery to pay damages, as such a provision has been considered anachronistic in some jurisdictions and abolished. It is argued that it promotes bitterness in the termination of marriages.

The discussion paper can be accessed here. 

Comments should be submitted in writing by 31st March, 2011 to the Director of the Law Reform Commission, 3rd Floor Anderson Square c/o Government Administration Building or sent by e-mail to Cheryl.Neblett@gov.ky.

Continue Reading

Health ministry makes it to information superhighway

| 25/02/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of recent criticisms by the information commissioner that many government departments and public authorities are not using websites to spread information to the public, the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture has finally launched an online presence. Ministry officials stated that www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky will allow the ministry to spread the word about its plans and projects and encourage residents to connect with ministry activities. Visitors to the site will learn more about the ministry’s responsibilities and will be updated on important developments such as new legislation and current government programmes.

There is also a news section to bring people the latest reports from the ministry and its departments, a release from the government information services stated. “We are glad to present this online window on the ministry. It is important that people know what is happening so they can be part of the process. By putting as much information online as possible, we hope that this website will stimulate feedback,” Mark Scotland the health minister said as he invited people to be part of the process by submitting comments and information requests. “Our website is not meant to remain static; it is a work in progress. So if you find yourself looking for relevant information and are unable to find it, contact us through the website.”

Complying with Freedom of Information legislation, some two years late, the website is intended to serve as the ministry’s e-publication tool, offering users access to laws, regulations, budget information and more.

The information commissioner recently observed that many public bodies were under utilising their websites and not fully complying with their obligations.

“Many PAs are insufficiently making use of the opportunities offered by the web to publicize FOI and increase its efficiency,” Jennifer Dilbert said in a report published earlier this month as only a few were making full use of the internet to inform the public about the rules of FOI, applicants’ rights under the Law, the types of information proactively available, and previous requests and their outcomes. “In particular, publication schemes and disclosure logs remain underused tools on PA websites,” she said.

“PAs should recognize the importance of the internet and embrace the available technology to empower the user and increase the efficiency of their services, including FOI, by raising awareness and making tools such as the publication scheme and the disclosure log easily and widely available,” Dilbert added.

In 2008, Computer Services Department set up web pages for all government departments that did not already have an online presence but many of them have made no attempt to update them since. Dilbert said the sites were “essentially pointless” as the information posted in 2008 was no longer relevant.
“Inaccurate information can in fact be harmful, since it makes FOI seem less relevant and serves only to frustrate the public who is seeking information,” the commissioner warned as she added that all public authorities need to review and update their online information.

 

Continue Reading

UN boss urges decolonization of all territories

| 25/02/2011 | 38 Comments

(CNS): The secretary general of the United Nations urged greater cooperation between the United Nations body dealing with decolonization, the administering countries and the remaining non self governing territories so that the people of these territories can exercise their right to self-determination. The completion of the process of decolonization will require the concerted efforts of all concerned,” Ban Ki-moon said Thursday at the opening of the 2011 session of the special committee on decolonization, adding that colonial situations were outdated. The Cayman Islands is one of only 16 territories left in the world.

At the time of the UN’s establishment in 1945, 750 million people – almost one-third of the global population – lived in non-self-governing territories, compared to fewer than 2 million at present. “Today, 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remain on the list, awaiting constructive, results-oriented initiatives,” Ban stated. “On a case-by-case basis, those Territories have to be given the opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination in order to take the interests of their peoples fully into account. Colonial situations are completely outdated and must be addressed with renewed vigour and creativity.”

He said that dialogue aimed at improving cooperation between the committee and the administering powers continues to be of utmost importance the secretary general told the body.
In 1960 the UN General Assembly adopted a declaration affirming the right of all people to self-determination and proclaimed that colonialism should be brought to a speedy and unconditional end.
 

It states that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, contravenes the UN Charter and impedes the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

Ban noted that the special committee, which was set up two years after the adoption of the Declaration, has a crucial role to play as the intergovernmental body exclusively devoted to advancing the UN decolonization agenda. It could assess its past work and achievements to chart a way forward, together with the administering powers, for the ultimate benefit of the peoples of the territories, he added.
 

Continue Reading

Suggestions for the enhancement of tourism

| 25/02/2011 | 33 Comments

We can share a common ground in that the financial and tourism sectors of our economy are absolutely crucial in the continuity of our island nation. There is no question of whether these two sectors of our economy still remain the primary revenue-generating sources of our seriously troubled economy and somewhat uncertain future of our people.

I write with respect to tourism, what many would consider not only an ailing one but one that is seemingly under threat by the inevitable opening of Cuba’s tourism (if I am correct). With some constructive criticism, I dare to say it is of my opinion that our successive governments may not have made every effort in the enhancement of our now mostly monotonous tourism product. It would seem that we are continuing a trend of being dependant on the existing elements of our very basic tourism product and that maybe there is not enough real thinking ‘outside the box’.

If one has to sit and truly consider what the Cayman Islands has to offer to our valuable tourist visitors compared to other tourist destinations, we could not come up with much more than the essentially boring beaches, Stingray City, Turtle Farm, swim with the dolphins, a not so ‘historic-looking’ Pedro St. James, diving/water sports, night life (not so great), Botanic Gardens/Mastic Trail and a list of other basic ‘Things to Do Cayman’. Oh and let’s not forget, a dwindling ‘Safety Factor and Perception’ considered by any potential tourist as well as our already minimal number of return visitors. In my opinion, our successive governments have seemingly not committed to creating a truly ‘touristy’ visual appearance of our islands and have certainly not paid attention to keeping a tourist-conscious and tourist-friendly hospitality. Conclusively, it is somewhat apparent that our successive governments have not been taking very seriously, our overall tourism product, its apparent failing and consequent threat to the economic future of our country.

In light of this tragedy in the making, I would like to offer a few suggestions of concepts which, in my opinion, could be feasible to implement and if done successfully, would no doubt be positive enhancements and great revenue generators. These suggestions are intended to add elements to our tourism sector/product to lend a hand in putting the Cayman Islands back a little higher on the list of choices of tourist destinations and with more popular type attractions. These suggestions are as follows.

Annual Music Festival: I have considered that the concept of an annual music festival such as Jamaica’s Reggae Sun Splash might be useful in attracting larger amounts of tourist who also have outdoor music festivals as their interest. The proposed music festival is intended to offer multi-genres of music by both live bands and DJs from a mix of both local and foreign artists. This annual music festival could be held during the summer months (the low season for tourism) and could be facilitated for a period as long as 8 weeks in giving a broader period of time for tourist to be able to schedule their vacations or trips and have the privilege of enjoying some of this event. This concept of an 8-week period would allow for a greater period of time for our tourism industry to take advantage of the revenues of stay-over tourism during the ‘low’ season potentially generated from this. Perhaps other existing business sectors that could participate in this type of tourism could also take advantage in the benefits. I also believe that new types of business as relates to the music industry or off-shoots of this industry could be introduced and they too could benefit from this potential extension of our tourism.

I do believe that thisidea/concept, if received and implemented, could produce a significant chunk of revenue for our country. Take for example Ibiza (Ebeza), Spain. Ibiza is an Island off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea with its tourism now largely based on the music industry and popular for its night clubs playing various genres of music, primarily the electronic dance, ambient and chillout genres of music, of which the latter two are very relaxing genres that are well suited for an island setting such as ours, without a doubt. In my opinion, it would be a wasted opportunity not to research this as a prospective tourist attraction and extension of our tourism.

Water Theme Park: As we should all know, many other countries have theme parks of some or many kinds and there are a very large number of theme park enthusiasts from around the world who would make the Cayman Islands a choice of destination for that attraction alone if we had one. With theme parks no doubt being a good source of thrills and amusement – hence the large numbers of visitors they attract – I believe that the addition of a water-based theme park would be a great tourist attraction for Cayman and one that could be operated year-round. My idea would be a theme park similar to that of the Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas or others for that matter. Ours could be one with a very exotic theme, boasting a few totally unique features and rides to set us apart from the rest and intended to make ours a ‘must visit’.

This, in my firmest opinion, would be one more attraction that could be added to draw visitors to the Cayman Islands, hence more tourism revenue and tourist satisfaction. I am all too sure that many local residents would love a theme park to enjoy as well. This theme park could be developed by perhaps a consortium of local business investors and/or foreign investors and could be a ‘win-win’ story for Cayman’s tourism, our tourists and the investors alike. Why not have a look at the feasibilities and make this a reality?

A Pier and Boardwalk (with small shops, restaurants and bars): Primarily with their tourism in mind, there are many countries with seaside tourist destinations which have invested in piers and boardwalks with small shops, restaurants, etc., to complete touristy settings – resulting in continued healthy revenues almost year-round. If this is the case for many of those destinations, then why not Cayman?

The scene and setting of a pier somewhere in an appropriate area on Grand Cayman is yet another great element in the list of hopeful tourist attractions to come. A fairly long cement-based pier with a shaded area at theend as well as another along the pier, complete with guard railings and safety personnel. Needless to say, this could be one more attraction that would aid in the lure and attractiveness of the Cayman Islands as a destination of choice not only for the romantics at heart, but for many others alike. I am all too sure that many local residents would also like to have such a place to enjoy as well. Again, a consortium of local and/or foreign investors could take the prize and pride in developing such.

Nature Parks and More Outdoor Activities: Again, as there are millions of people/potential tourists and residents alike who have outdoor activities dear to heart, it is without a doubt that the development of more outdoor related attractions, such as nature trails for hiking, off-road biking and camping tours, perhaps even a nature park incorporating multiple activities and adventure such as a man-made lake offering various water activities such as kayaking, paddle boats. Perhaps bungee jumping and cable rides through wooded areas could be added. The park could include a section for full camping trips facilitating restrooms, water, electricity, barbeque pits, portable air conditioners for rental and overhead reservoir gravity-assisted showers for a more natural effect and much more. A section set on the outskirts for 4×4 ATV off-roading could also be added for those enthusiasts. Bird-watching tours could also be an additional option, and the list goes on. As a suggestion, this nature park could be adjoined to the existing Mastic Trail or Botanic Gardens or alternatively located in the East End interior lands.

Imagine … all these things could be enjoyed by thousands if not millions annually. We could make this happen if we really cared and tried!

Tourist Appreciation Months – Give something back! Last, but not overlooked is what I consider would be an absolutely unique and one-of-a-kind aspect of real hospitality – the development of a program whereby as the Cayman Islands collectively, for 2 or 3 months of the year, we could show our genuine appreciation to our valuable visitors by means of monthly periods of significantly discounted prices on products and services. Freebies could be offered up by our tourism related businesses and any others for that matter.

As a primary part of this program, perhaps the government and/or a number of tourism industry businesses alike could come together and finance/present one or more events annually for our tourists to enjoy free of charge – perhaps these events could be music concerts by local and other popular Caribbean and international artist. In putting on these events, perhaps this could also serve to invite more of our valued visitors, hence yet more revenue could be gained even at discounted rates/prices during any of these appreciation months. All this combined would portray a unique humbleness and genuine appreciation for our valued visitors who are the source of much of the bread we enjoy. Why not give back just a little?

Can anyone disagree that there are millions of people/tourist around the world (our past and potential visitors) who, when shown to them our appreciation, will only respond by returning and paying even more patronage to a rarely found humble nation who can openly and genuinely show their appreciation for their business? For me this would be highly noble of us.

All these things to ponder and work to make happen – as opportunities and time are two elements that can be unforgiving unless we take advantage and do what we must in continuing to forge and secure our future as a nation!

With all said above, I plead for those who can take these ideas and any others to make all effort to pave a brighter and perhaps more secure future for our forsaken Isles Cayman.

Continue Reading

Early campaign worries Bush

| 25/02/2011 | 65 Comments

(CNS): The country’s premier has criticised the new leader of the opposition for starting an election campaign more than two years away from polling day. In an address broadcast to the nation on Thursday evening, McKeeva Bush said he was compelled to speak up after what he said was a declaration by the PPM that he would be embarking on a political campaign for the next election. The premier said it would be a disruptive distraction at a time when the country should be pulling together. He said the primary allegiance of every individual should be to the country and not to any political party and asked everyone to reject the politics of division.

“At this delicate juncture in our history and development we must take the high road of national unity, reconciliation, economic reconstruction, social renewal and international respect that is the platform and emerging legacy of the UDP Administration that I have the honour to lead at this time,” the premiersaid, as he criticised the new opposition leader and PPM chief, Alden McLaughlin, for campaigning when the ballot wouldn’t take place until 2013.

However, McLaughlin said he was not sure what the panic of the premier was about and said he had no intentions of running a 27 month campaign.

“The opposition will do its job properly. That is our responsibility and we will discharge it. I have been in politics long enough to understand that a 27 month campaign, even if we had the inclination and resources to do so, is unsustainable,” McLaughlin said in the wake of the premier’s speech.

“The premier should get on with the job he and his government were elected to do. There is much to be done. The economy is still in shambles, unemployment is at a record high, people are losing their homes and businesses crime is out of control. The premier has promised much. But after almost two years in office it is time he starts delivering more than just another speech.”

Bush said that McLaughlin’s campaigning would have “grave implications” for the stability of the economy of the Cayman Islands, which was still engulfed in the throes of the worst recession the world has witnessed in some 80 years.

“The pronouncement that the PPM will be immediately embarking on a political campaign to regain power 27 months before an election is due, and a mere 21 months after Caymanians exercised their democratic right and selected the government of their choice is unfortunate,” he added.

He suggested that no one wanted to be plunged into a protracted period of electioneering and all its “negative and disruptive manifestations” at a time when there were intractable threats to the people’s standard of living, and personal safety and security.

“Faced with these challenges, people all over the world are rejecting political expediency and empty promises for mature governance that is accountable, participatory and which delivers practical economic and social gains,” the premier stated in his address. “People are tired of the kind of politics that concerns itself first and foremost with the fortunes of one political group and not with the interest of all the people they seek to represent. Political and electoral apathy is growing here in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere in the Caribbean and the world because of politicians who continue to parade their selfish egos ahead of the real problems of their country.”

He said Cayman couldn’t afford to feed the growing disenchantment by succumbing to the politics of partisan selfishness at the expense of national solidarity and unity of purpose. He said no other countries with elections due in 2013 had opposition parties launching campaigns. After less than two years of the UDP government talking office, Bush stated that the country was moving in the right direction.

“We realize that people are still hurting – unacceptable levels of unemployment still exists, and now is no time for the government to be distracted from continuing to turn the country around by an election campaign by the opposition,” he told the country in his speech.

However, McLaughlin reassured the country that the PPM was not campaigning and that if the premier’s government was performing as well as he claimed he should not be “so easily rattled” regarding what he had said when he took up the leadership post.

“The only place I mentioned preparing for the 2013 campaign is in the last paragraph of my speech at the PPM Extraordinary Conference. I’d spent the previous 40 minutes speaking to members of the PPM about the things we must do to put our house in order. That’s what I meant and mean about starting the preparations for the 2013 campaign,” the opposition leader said. “Structural changes, leadership changes, perception changes, new potential candidates; we have lot’s to do.And while the party will be working hard at these issues in the coming weeks and months, I have no intention of getting on the soapbox and campaigning against the government at this point.”

Closing his speech, Bush stated that the nation should be the central principle of political organisation and that was certainly the central principle of the UDP.

Read the premier’s full address

Continue Reading

Store pulls rice crackers over hidden ingredients

| 25/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS):Following the voluntary recall by the US manufacturers Foster’s Food Fair has also removed all the Asian Gourmet Cheese Rice Crackers Products from its supermarket shelves. The rice crackers are produce by Haddon House of Medford, New Jersey and have been recalled in consultation with the US Food and Drug Administration because it may contain undeclared milk and food colouring additives used to create the cheese powder listed on the label. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products, the manufactures have stated.

So far no illnesses have been reported and the recall was initiated when the producers discovered that cheese powder (Cheese Solids, Milk Solids, Salt, Disodium Phosphate, Calcium Chloride, FD & C Yellow 5, FD & C Yellow 6, Silicon Dioxide) had not been included on the products’ ingredient statement and the packaging does not declare the milk allergen.

“Until Foster’s Food Fair IGA has a further correspondence from the manufacture on this affected product, moving forward, it will not be available,” Fosters stated as it announced the product withdrawl on Thursday evening. “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, however the safety of our customers is our top priority. We 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.

For further information regarding this recall please address any questions or concerns you have pertaining to the recall of Asian Gourmet Cheese Rice Crackers to Steve Spatzier, Haddon House Food Products, Inc., telephone 1-800-257-6174 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday eastern standard time.

 

Continue Reading