Archive for December 19th, 2011

Cops seize assortment of illegal weapons in BT

| 19/12/2011 | 4 Comments

knuckle duster(1).JPG(CNS): Police uncovered an assortment of prohibited weapons on Friday including two unlicensed spear guns, a dagger, a flick knife, a baton and a knuckle duster. The illegal weapons cache was found during a search of a house in  Bodden Town on Friday evening. Officers carried out an operation at a house in the Northward Road area of the district seized the various weapons and arrested the householder on suspicion of possession of unlicensed spear guns and prohibited weapons. Chief inspector Robert Scotland warned criminals that local police would continue to seek out illegal weapons and remove them from the streets of the district.

“These types of operations will continue throughout the eastern districts in an effort to take illegal and unlicensed weapons off the streets. If anyone has information about the whereabouts of any illegal weapons they should contact the us at Bodden Town police station or on the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777.”

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Police arrest woman over domestic stabbing

| 19/12/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A man is currently in hospital being treated for non-life threatening stab wounds after an altercation with a woman who is currently in police custody. In the early hours of Sunday morning during what appears to be a serious domestic dispute between the couple, the twenty-year-old woman stabbed the man inside a home in West Bay, police said. In a separate incident a 20-year-old man has now been charged with stabbing a 36-year-old man at Club 7 on 10 December. The man is scheduled to appear in court today (Monday 19 December) to face charges of wounding with intent to cause GBH.

The man was arrested by police in West Bay two days after the victim turned up at the  hospital in George Town in the early hours of the morning suffering from a number of stab wounds to his torso.

Police said that the most recent stabbing victim, who remains at the Cayman Islands Hospital in a stable condition, was stabbed in the chest. Police received the report at about 12.25 am on Sunday, 18 December, and went to the scene at North West Point Road, where the woman was arrested on suspicion of Assault GBH and remains in custody while police enquiries continue.

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$20K for mortgage debt

| 19/12/2011 | 102 Comments

bank-foreclosed-homes-in-jamaica.jpg(CNS): Families who face losing their homes because of mortgage arrears will be selected by a new committee under the premier’s ministry to receive assistance from the cash donated by the Dart Group. Those who are selected will be able to claim a $10,000 initial allowance and then money for three more mortgage payments after that, with a maximum of $20,000 per applicant. The recipients will be given up to 50 years to pay back the money under this scheme, which forms part of the first phase of the government’s deal with Dart to swap crown land and trigger the development of its new hotel. At the signing of the road deal on Thursday the developer gave government $5 milllion from a promised $20.5 million for community projects.

This first $5 milllion, which the developer handed over to government last week when it signed the deal, will be split equally between education and helping families facing mortgage arrears and who are about to lose their homes.

According to a release from Dart’s public relations company, a committee will be established to oversee the Saving Homes, Residential Mortgage Arrears Programme which will be chaired by Sonia McLaughlin, Chief Officer with responsibility for Finance in the Ministry of Finance, Tourism & Development.

Although the criteria for making an application has not yet been revealed, according to the release, this committee will assess the needs of applicants and make a decision over who will receive the award and will not. Those who are successful will received a one-time $10K allowance to help with existing arrears and then the applicants could receive more cash for up to three mortgage payments, with the total sum not exceeding $20K. This means government will be able to assist around 150 people with the Dart cash.

The developer stated that because the purpose of this programme is to assist those who are facing the loss of their homes the goal is to give those successful applicants up to 50 years to repay the funds so the government loan does not add to existing burdens of meeting monthly payments.

As part of the ForCayman Investment Alliance, which will eventually include a number of different projects, government has signed the first element. This includes swapping a 2,300 ft stretch of the West Bay Road with Dart in exchange for the construction of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension into West Bay and a total of $20.5 million in cash.

This first phase of the investment alliance, being referred to as the ‘NRA agreement’ does not include the renovation of the public beach, the new public beach north of the planned resort, the land donation in West Bay for a school or in the Barker’s area for the planned national park. These elements have all been cited as forming part of the West Bay Road corridor projects of the ForCayman Investment Alliance main agreement, which has not yet been finalized.

This first part of the deal allows Dart to begin renovating the former Courtyard Marriott hotel and turn the site into a beach front resort.

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No research on landfill move

| 19/12/2011 | 41 Comments

GTLF 1(2)_2.jpg(CNS): In a preliminary response to a freedom of information request the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has revealed that no reports, studies or research has been carried out by the department relating to the relocation of the George Town landfill. Responding to a request made by the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free relating to proposals and reports about moving the dump, the department’s information manager explained that all of the work done by the DEH related to waste-management at the existing location. Since the group formed to oppose the moving of the landfill to Bodden Town, it has been searching for information to support the government’s decision.

Vincent Frederick, one of the leaders of the coalition, filed the open records request on 1 December asking for “any studies, reports, correspondence, emails, memorandums” relating to the “selection of a suitable alternative location for the George Town landfill”, the “selection of the proposed Bodden Town location for the new landfill” and “proposals for the Bodden Town landfill”. 

In her reply of 13 December the DEH information manager explained that the department did not have the records that Frederick was seeking.

“There has been no studies or reports conducted by DEH concerning an alternative site for the GT landfill. The majority of reports or studies conducted focused on better waste management practices at the GT landfill and future waste management options for the Cayman Islands,” the IM responded. “No request for proposals (RFP’s) have been advertised by DEH concerning locating an alternative site or using Bodden Town as an alternative landfill site.”

The manager told the applicants that she still needed to determine if there were other records at the ministry or if the records being requested could be held by the Office of the Premier, because moving the George Town landfill to Bodden Town was a decision made by the premier, but the DEH held no relevant records.

Frederick said this seemed to indicate that the decision to relocate the landfill so that Dart could develop a residential project adjacent to the dump was a personal decision by the country’s premier, McKeeva Bush, without any studies, reports, explanation, consultation with the population of Bodden Town, and without any request for proposals from anyone.

In the wake of the revelations by the DEH, Frederick asked if Dart was the only party consulted, with no consideration at all of the consequences for the people of the district — a question that has not yet been answered.  “This is incredible. This is a travesty of good governance, of environmental awareness, and representation of the people’s interests and safety,” he said.

Several other concerns have been raised by residents of Bodden Town but remain unanswered, and the coalition has filed further FOI requests in its search for answers to the questions as it waits on a promised meeting with the district's two government MLAs, Mark Scotland and DwayneSeymour.

Frederick said the residents of the district are questioning if an Environmental Impact Assessment ever been conducted for the site, if its vulnerability to hurricanes has been assessed, why government ditched its deal for a waste-to-energy facility at the George Town landfill, how the  Midland Acres site was selected and why government has adopted the Dart proposal to relocate the dump after the technical committee and subsequently the Central Tenders Committee rejected it because of “concerns about the potential environmental impact” of relocating the landfill in the central wetlands area.

The proposed relocation of the landfill is part of a deal government is currently renegotiating with the islands' biggest developer, the Dart Group. The developer has proposed swapping land it owns in the Midland Acres area for the existing GT landfill, which is crown land. Dart has said it will then cap and remediate the existing landfill and pay for the development of what it said will be a modern “eco-waste park” and covered landfill and recycling centre.

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National health insurance the “long-term plan”

| 19/12/2011 | 0 Comments

healthcarecartoon.jpg(CNS Business): While calling the implementation of a national health insurance scheme a “long-term plan,” Minister of Health Mark Scotland nevertheless has said Cayman first needed to get “healthy” to ensure the system would be financially viable. At the same time, though two former ministers of health lambasted the private insurance industry, they disagreed on the efficacy of a national plan. Scotland warned that even if a national insurance plan were implemented, this would not lead to instantaneous savings, saying that unless the nation became fitter, healthy people would end up paying for the unhealthy. Health ministry chief officer Jennifer Ahearn explained that with any universal health care access, the high utilization of insurance benefits drives up the costs. Read more on CNS Business

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Celine Dion to make first ever Caribbean appearance

| 19/12/2011 | 10 Comments

300.dion_.celine.lc_.081809.jpg(CNS): The promoter of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has book Celine Dion as the headline act for next month’s musical event.  Walter Elmore of Art of Music Productions (AMP) began the bid to attract the singing star some two years ago and described "jumping through hoops" when he signed the deal recently. This will be the Canadian’s first performance in the Caribbean and Elmore promised “an exceptional show" for festival goers. Dion, one of the best selling female recording artistes of all time, said she was excited about the opportunity to perform for her fans in the Caribbean.

"I am looking forward to doing my very first show in the Caribbean and this is an honor for me to perform at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. What a beautiful way to meet the people of Jamaica on this, my first trip to the island. I just can't wait," she told Elmore in an e-mail.

Scheduled to perform on the Friday night of the festival, which runs from January 26 to 28, 2012, Dion is expected to woo her fans with classics such as The Power Of Love, Because You Loved Me, All By Myself, I'm Your Angel, the Grammy and Academy Award-winning classic My Heart Will Go On, and her breakthrough chartbuster Where Does My Heart Beat Now.

Joining her at the festival will be Cee-Lo Green, Nicole Henry, Heads of State, Jully Black, Earl Klugh, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, Destra, Gentleman; and Jamaica's finest musical talent, including Shaggy, Richie Stephens, John Holt, Yellow Man, Half Pint, Tessanne Chin and Tami Chynn, Marcia Griffiths, Lloyd Parkes and We The People, George Nooks, Luciano, Mykal Rose, AJ Brown, Freddy McGregor, Pluto Shervington, Etana, Chris Martin, Marcia Barrett (Boney M) and Byron Lee's Dragonaires.

In honor of Jamaica's 50th Anniversary of Independence, the opening night of the festival is dedicated to the sounds that have shaped Jamaica's music over the past 50 years including ska, rocksteady, dancehall and reggae, the island nation's influential contributions to world music the promoters said in a release.
Started in 1996 by Air Jamaica, in association with the Jamaica Tourist Board and several other business entities, Walter Elmore took over the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in 2004. It has grown over the years and attracts more than 25,000 patrons annually.

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