Archive for June 6th, 2011

Royal makes new port offer

| 06/06/2011 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Royal Construction Ltd, the local partners of GLF Construction, has made a new offer to Cabinet and the Port Authority that includes a pier at Spotts and one at the Cayman Turtle Farm as well as the original cruise berth in George Town. The offer, which matches the alleged proposals made by a Chinese company, was made last week. However, a spokesperson for the firm told CNS that although Royal had presented its new proposals to all of the people in Cabinet and those connected to the project and was still in a position to get down to work as soon as possible on the cruise berthing facilities in George Town, the firm has not yet received any response from anyone in government.

“The GLF Construction Corporation has recently advised the government and the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands of its willingness to expand its proposal for the George Town Port to include the refurbishment of Spotts and the construction of a facility to support and complement the Turtle Farm in West Bay,” Howard Finlason said in an official statement.

He also pointed out that the upland development under the GLF proposals for the George Town Port would “leave the facility entirely under the control of the Port Authority to ensure it benefits the interests of the people of the Cayman Islands.”

Finlason added that Royal and its international partner, GLF, was ready, able and willing to proceed with these projects with the utmost urgency.

However, speaking on Radio Cayman news on Friday evening on his return from a meeting with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association in Miami, the premier reiterated his intention to work with the Chinese investors. He said that he intended to issue a statement regarding the new plans and potential new partnership on the projects before the end of this week.

GLF had been in exclusive negotiations with the Cayman Islands government and the Port Authority until April when the premier wrote to the firm’s CEO cancelling the talks on the last day of the initial four month contract. (See CNS story GLF port deal was 6 months).

Despite claims to the contrary from the local partner and GLF that it had the financing in place and was ready to mobilize in six weeks, the premier cancelled the deal as he said GLF had not proved that it had the financing in place to undertake the job.

Since the talks were derailed, the premier has not given a full statement on his revised plans but said that new investors had offered to include two other projects as well as the George Town Port. The new partner is believed to be China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, based in Beijing, but there has been no indication yet if the premier has already signed or intends to sign a framework agreement or MOU with the firm .

Meanwhile, local businesses dependant on cruise tourism are becoming increasingly concerned over the decline in business in George Town and the pressing need to move ahead as soon as possible with the project. Tourism representatives are becoming increasingly frustrated that despite protracted talks and government's assurance that it is committed to developing the facilities, talks have now collapsed with two sets of potential developers since the UDP took office in May 2009. The UDP also walked away from a possible partnership with Atlantic Star, with which talks had been started under the previous administration.

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Property con man charged in complex case

| 06/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 65-year-old man from Louisiana, USA, has been remanded in custody after his first court appearance following charges brought by the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit (FCU). At present Delbert Allem Hyland is charged with only one count of fraud – uttering a false document — which relates to his attempts to sell a condo on Seven Mile Beach that did not belong to him. The crown prosecutor told the court that money laundering charges may follow as he laid out the complex financial crime Hyland is accused of being involved in when he tried to sell the apartment at Poinsettia on the West Bay Road. The case is linked to a suicide in Colorado, a Thai based company owned by Nigerians and a charitable trust registered in Liechtenstein.

Hyland was arrested by officers from the FCU last week after an operation in which local officers had been anticipating his arrival. Police were first alerted to the crime when a local real estate agent called them to report her suspicions about Hyland’s attempts to act for Donald Cosby, who was the owner of the property.

The property had originally been placed for sale by Cosby via a recommendation from another real estate broker from the same firm in Florida at the end of last year. Theasking price had been US$425,000 but Hyland, who had been posing as Cosby’s administrative assistant, telephoned in March and asked for it to be reduced to $275,000, raising suspicions. He had also indicated that the proceeds from the sale should go to accounts held by his girlfriend and a company in Thailand whose directors were Nigerians.

However, it appears that theoriginal request by Cosby before his death had been for the money from the sale to be sent to a charitable trust in Liechtenstein.

When Hyland sent the realtor what turned out to be a forged power of attorney document in order to hurry along the sale, as he said his boss wanted to buy another property, it was apparent to the FCU that a serious crime was in the making, not least because Cosby had died in an apparent suicide in Colorado a month before the document was supposedly signed. The police mounted an operation in which Hyland was lured to the Cayman Islands with the possibility of a sale, where he was then arrested by local police.

Crown prosecutor John Masters said there was a complex web of intrigue which smacked of money laundering and enquiries into the case by the FCU were continuing. He also noted that while the sheriff’s department in Colorado had ruled Cosby’s death a suicide, it was suspicious that after his death Hyland appeared to have Cosby’s passport.

Masters asked that the accused man be remanded given the circumstances and called for a second hearing in two weeks time in order for defence counsel to review the case.

Hyland made no comment and was represented by Prathna Bodden of Samson McGrath, who said that her client was willing to surrender his passport and had funds that would enable him to stay on island on bail so that he would be able to make the necessary calls and gather information to quickly resolve the issue.

However, pointing out that over the years a considerable number of passports had been collected in the courts' vault along with a number of now unanswered warrants, Magistrate  Nova Hall said that seizing passport was no guarantee that a defendant would not attempt to leave. As a result of what she said was a considerable flight risk, the magistrate remanded the defendant to Northward prison until 21 June.

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Storm brewing over Cayman Islands says NHC

| 06/06/2011 | 11 Comments

(CNS): A large area of low pressure currently sitting about 90 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman is not only causing rainy, thundery weather at present but the system has also been given a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next few days  by the NHC. The Miami weather experts said the system which is moving slowly toward the northwest and is gradually becoming better organized. The NHC said thunderstorm activity has developed closer to the surface centre and a tropical depression could form later tonight or Tuesday before upper-level winds become unfavourable.

“There is a medium chance (50%) of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours,” the NHC stated. An air force reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system tomorrow afternoon, if necessary. Regardless of development the forecasters said heavy rains could cause flash floods and mud slides over portions of Haiti, Jamaica and eastern Cuba as the system moves slowly toward the northwest or north over the next couple of days.

Local weather forecasters are calling for variable cloudiness and possible isolated thundershowers over the Cayman area during the next 24 hours as weather, associated with this broad stationary low pressure system lingers over the Western Caribbean. Showers may be locally heavy at times and winds over open seas will be east to northeast 10 to 15 knots with.  Seas will be moderate with wave heights of 3 to 5 feet becoming rough in and around showers where small craft should exercise caution.

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Cops seize 2 guns at GT house

| 06/06/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): Police say they have taken two guns off the street following an operation at a George Town house this weekend. No details of where the property was located or what arrests have been made were offered but  police said enquiries were continuing and more information about the seizure of the firearms would be released soon. The operation, which involved officers from the CID, uniform and USG, took place at the undisclosed location on Saturday afternoon, 4 June. Detective Inspector Lauriston Burton said the seizure was connected with efforts to deal with the recent rise in robberies.

“The operation was mounted as part of overall strategy to tackle the rise in armed robberies and reduce the number of firearms available for use by the criminal element. The public and those who have these weapons can expect to see much more of this type of activity,” Burton said. “This should be seen as a clear warning to the criminals who use guns that we are going after them and, when we seize the guns they use or hide for others, that could lead to them being put behind bars for a minimum of ten long years," the officers added.

Anyone with information about gun crime in the Cayman Islands should call their local police station. Alternatively, call the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS) and your information may make you eligible for a cash reward.  In an emergency always call 911.

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World might have to suck greenhouse gases from air

| 06/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): The world may have to resort to technology that sucks greenhouse gases from the air to stave off the worst effects of global warming, the UN climate change chief has said before talks on the issue beginning on Monday. "We are putting ourselves in a scenario where we will have to develop more powerful technologies to capture emissions out of the atmosphere," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. "We are getting into very risky territory," she added, stressing that time was running out.The UN climate talks starting on Monday in Bonn, which run for the next two weeks, will try to revive the negotiations before the next climate conference, taking place in Durban, South Africa, in December.

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Cayman promotes air registry at Swiss exhibition

| 06/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands was in Geneva last month promoting the country’s aircraft registry. Director-General Richard Smith said the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition is an important occasion for the sector and gives the authority the chance to meet with the registry’s clients. This year, the show has ranked second-highest in attendance from both exhibitors and attendees which continues to be a reminder of the value the aviation industry has on global economies. The show attracted 12,751 attendees from 108 countries and 511 exhibiting companies. This also included 62 aircraft on the static display at the Geneva International Airport, officials said in a release.

“The business aviation industry is continuing to show signs of growth as this year’s EBACE tradeshow was one of the largest in attendance,” said Smith. “This particular show offers an invaluable opportunity for the CAACI and its business partners to interact with clients, potential clients, financiers, legal advisors and other regulatory authorities. The partnership of public and private sector organizations whose businesses are impacted by aircraft registration in this jurisdiction is extremely important to the continued growth of the CI Aircraft Registry.”

Joining the CAACI to represent the legal and financial community was Caroline McCann of local law firm Appleby Global; in addition Marcus Cumber of Island Air, local FBO operator and ground handler for the Cayman Islands attended this year for the first time.

There were also representation materials provided by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s UK/European office as well as the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry as there is much synergy with the target audience for owners of mega yachts and private and corporate aircraft.

Every year CAACI partners with the local business community to offer a prize package for a raffle at EBACE and would like to thank the sponsors: Cayman Airways, Tortuga Rum Company, Carib Sands Beach Resort in Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, The Reef Resort, Lacovia Condominium Resort, Cayman Kayaks, and Lobster Pot. One lucky aviation business associate was awarded a lovely holiday package.

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GLF port deal was 6 months

| 06/06/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): According to the deal between the Cayman government, the Port Authority and GLF Construction, the framework agreement for the cruise berthing facilities in George Town was for six months and not four unless the deal had fallen apart before those first four months were up. The premier did not write to the proposed port developers until 14 April, which was exactly four months to the date after the three parties had signed the exclusive deal on the preparation for the project. It also states that those involved in the deal should not talk to other parties about the project during the timeframe. In January at the CBO conference McKeeva Bush said Chinese investors had expressed interest in the project and were willing if GLF did not come through.

Released under a Freedom of Information request, page 7 of the document (attached below) reveals that the exclusive agreement with GLF, government and the port would be for four months from the effective date, which was 14 December, and would automatically be extended by a further two months unless the agreement had fallen apart before the end of those first four months of talks. It also states that any party would have to give ten days notice before pulling out if they believed one of the others had not filled their part of the deal.

Prior to the premier’s decision to terminate, GLF had already undertaken the simulation exercise for its plans in Miami, had secured financing with Citibank, secured a passenger guarantee from the cruise association and had entered into talks with the DoE about the environmental impact assessment (EIA). The CEO of GLF, Francesco Senis, wrote to Bush on 12 April stating the GLF was ready to move to a master agreement.

However, Bush wrote back on 14 April saying government and the Port Authority were ending the deal as the government did not believe the firm had the financing in place. He said government would be considering other options for the development of the cruise berthing facilities in George Town and there would no longer be an exclusive deal with GLF.

Bush had also made it clear in late January, during a major speech at the Cayman Business Outlook, just over a month after signing the deal, that there were other investors that had expressed an interest in the cruise berthing development.

Since the termination of the agreement, despite the premier’s letter, the local parties stated that they did have financing in place and had fulfilled all of the terms of the agreement, that they were ready to move to a heads of agreement and prepared to break ground within six weeks of that date, which would have been this month. The agreement also states that the cruise berthing was expected to be fully operational by the end of October next year. In the agreement all the parties also agreed that time was “of the essence” and the project was of national importance.

Bush sent his letter to Senis in April and released a short statement soon after to the public stating that the termination was in the “best interest of the country to ensure that this project moves ahead successfully in a much more timely manner”, but he has not yet revealed details of the new plans.

The premier has stated on a number of occasions that the new partners will be developing two other infrastructure projects as well as the cruise berthing facilities. These are believed to be the redevelopment of Owen Roberts International Airport and a pier at the Turtle Farm in West Bay.

The investors, who have already reportedly pressed the premier for an MOU, although it is understood no agreements have yet been signed, are China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, based in Beijing.

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Teen denies killing numbers man

| 06/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Taking the stand on Thursday and Friday last week, 18-year-old Jordan Manderson denied killing Marcus Duran in March last year and said he believed it was Damion Ming that probably shot him (Manderson) in the leg that night but he couldn’t say for sure. Describing how he had crouched down with his eyes closed on the stairway when Andy Barnes and Ming were running towards him with guns, Manderson said he was hit when the shooting started but he never actually saw which of the two men shot him or murdered the numbers man. The teen told the court that he had lied about being at the crime scene as he was on a police curfew and didn’t want to go back to jail or get involved because, he said, “nowadays informers get killed.”

Manderson told the court that Andy Barnes had threatened him on several occasions before the night of the killing, but that he was much more afraid of Damion Ming as he lived close by and was known as major drug dealer. The teen described the rivalry between his friends and Barnes and Ming and their friends.

He admitted lying to the police at first and explained that he told them that Barnes had shot him because of previous threats but he believed the real threat was from Ming. It wasn’t until Ming was killed in his yard some two weeks after the murder of Duran at Maliwinas Way that Manderson said he felt safe to call his name.

On the night of the shooting, Manderson said he had gone with a friend called George to buy weed (ganja) behind the apartment block where Duran was shot. The teen said he couldn’t find the man and had decided to give up and return to George’s car when he saw two men running towards him with guns. He said that as they came closer he recognized the two as Barnes and Ming. “I was scared … I thought they were going to shoot me,” he told the court.

He said that it was dark and he ran up a few of the stairs and crouched down but Ming ran past him, and then the shooting started and he “picked up a shot”. The teen said Ming came back down the stairs and was squeezing the trigger more as he could hear the clicking but the gun didn’t fire before he and Barnes got into a car and drove off.

Manderson said his leg was burning and he was in terrible pain and tried to stand up but fell to the floor, but he had not seen or heard who Barnes and Ming were shooting at. He said he was crying and screaming and couldn’t walk but had to hop to George’s car and told him he must take him home to his daddy’s house.

“I had a feeling I was dying,” he said. The teen said he used his t-shirt to try and stop the blood, which was everywhere. Manderson told the court that when they got to Barnett Close, which was still a ways from his home, George stopped the car and tried to push him out, despite the gunshot wound, because he said he did not want to get involved. The teen said he cried out and said, “No, no, you must take me to my daddy’s house,” but, he said, George cursed him and pushed the helpless teen out of his car before driving off.

At that point, a few seconds later, Chris Johnson drove by and picked Manderson up and took him to his father’s house, where he told his family Andy Barnes had shot him and then they took him to the hospital.

Manderson had been shot through the knee. He was in terrible pain and had been given medication, he said, and when the police came to talk to him he was afraid to tell the truth and “place himself on top of a crime scene” because he thought he would be blamed for the killing. “I thought I would be charged for murder and be whereabouts I am right now,” he said.

The teen explained he had been in custody since he was arrested in April 2010, and on a number of occasions he had to be taken from the prison to the hospital because of the condition of his leg and other associated health problems. He turned seventeen just after his arrest and claimed that during the time he was in custody in George Town police station he was threatened by the police that he must say he killed the numbers man and they told him he was going to jail for a long time.

During his police interviews his social worker, who was supposed to assist him, was “on top of her blackberry” throughout the interviews, the teen told the court. Once the police had found his blood at the crime scene, Manderson said, “it made no sense to lie anymore” and he explained that he wasn’t really sure whether it was Ming or Barnes who actually shot him but he suspected it was Ming. He told the court that he couldn’t say who shot the numbers man but it was Ming who had gone up the stairs to the apartment.

The trial continues Monday.

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Dart acclaims its safety record at Camana Bay

| 06/06/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS):Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd claimed a new safety milestone was reached at Camana Bay recently with 2.5 million safe man hours and no lost workdays in over 3 years. Justin Howe, Vice President Development for Dart Realty offered his congratulations to all the contractors involved in a release Friday. Partnering with local firms and supporting the Cayman economy safe work sites do not happen by accident, he said, but was the result of a collective effortby the development and construction team and contractors. Since Dart Realty broke ground on the Camana Bay Town Centre in May 2005, the company has contracted over 200 local companies and provided jobs for over 4000 construction workers, the firm stated.

“As a developer, Dart Realty takes safety very seriously and we place great importance on passing that message along to all of our construction partners. We have been fortunate to work with so many outstanding local companies on the design and construction of Camana Bay and it is through teamwork, individual awareness and a shared commitment to maintaining the highest safety standards that this milestone has been achieved,” he said.

In order to maintain safety Dart says that it requires everyone who works on its construction sites, including the staff of its contractors and subcontractors, to go through a comprehensive Safety Orientation programme. The induction includes training in areas such as Hazard Analysis, Incident and Hazard Reporting, Personal Protective Equipment, Fire Safety, Fitness for Work, Manual Handling, Ladders, Scaffolds, Excavations and Confined Space.

Dart Safety Manager Julius Jacky is pleased with the team’s latest achievement but that the safe man-hours clock could be reset at any moment.

“While we celebrate this long-term accomplishment, it is important to note that it only takes a second for an accident to happen. In addition to the continual development and implementation of our safety
training programme, we have daily safety meetings and conduct regular safety checks in order to ensure that every member of the Camana Bay construction team is fully aware of their responsibility towards eliminating health and safety hazards.”

According to an independent economic study completed by renowned international business
consultants Deloitte in late 2010, Dart said that on average the construction of Camana Bay has accounted for more than half of Grand Cayman’s construction activity during the period 2006-2009. The firm said that 2006, the year before the Town Centre opened, was the peak year, representing 72% of the island’s construction activity.

HR Manager Ray Hydes of Hydes & Sons one of the local contractors involved in the ongoing Town Centre project. Said the experience has been positive and highly beneficial to his company.

“We have a large number of staff on this project and they have all gone through Camana Bay’s safety orientation. In addition to imparting new skills, the programme has instilled an increased sense of responsibility for both personal and team safety that these workers will be able to apply to future jobs. We are pleased to have contributed to this achievement and look forward to a long relationship with Dart Realty as the Camana Bay community continues to grow,” Hydes stated.

Camana Bay is four years into its master development plan with construction now underway on the 68,000 square foot, 5-storey office building located on the northwest corner of the inner harbour.

Designed by Washington D.C.-based Torti Gallas and Partners, and supported by local architects, the Burns Conolly Group, the building is scheduled for completion by July 2012. It will house Class A office tenants including offshore law firm Mourant Ozannes and offer restaurant and retail on the ground floor.

In the next phase of development, a residential neighbourhood will be built along the south canal, connecting the Town Centre to the Cayman International School campus. Construction on a mixture
of single-family homes, town homes, courtyard homes and condominiums at price points to suit different income levels is scheduled to begin over the coming months.

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