Archive for December 22nd, 2011

Visitor dies swimming at Smith cove

| 22/12/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A man who was lost consciousness in the water this morning at Smith Cove in the South Sound area of Grand Cayman has died. Police said that the 62-year-old visitor from America was pronounced dead when he arrived at the Cayman Islands hospital shortly after he was rescued from the ocean. According to an RCIPS spokesperson the emergency services received a report that the man had appeared to get into some difficulty while swimming with his wife, around 50 yards from shore. His wife helped him back to shore but as he attempted to leave the water he apparently lost consciousness. 

A number of people who were visiting the Cove helped the woman to get her husband onto dry land where she administered CPR until the arrival of the emergency services.  The man was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital, but was found to be dead on arrival. Police said that their enquiries into the death are ongoing.

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Jewel thieves strike with axes

| 22/12/2011 | 82 Comments

mag jewellers.jpg(CNS): Police are currently investigating a smash and grab at a down town George Town jewellery store which took place Thursday morning. Three masked men wielding axes smashed up two display cases at the front of the Magnum Jewellers on Cardinal Avenue before making their escape in a stolen car later found burnt out. A spokesperson for the RCIPS said the police received a report of the raid at around   11:20am when the area was busy with Christmas shoppers from home and abroad. The robbers entered the open fronted store and smashed up the cases which contained the high end jewellery before grabbing the booty and making off in a stolen grey coloured Rav 4 registered number Q4689.

Police said that no one was hurt during the crime but it raise considerable curiosity as cruise ship visitors looked on.

The car was found later today reportedly stolen from Seaside Way, Bodden Town sometime between 9.00pm last night and 6.10am this morning. Police said the car was found burnt out in Wahoo Close, George Town.  The police have not yet given a description of the itemsof jewellery stolen or a value of the gems stolen.

Anyone who has any information regarding the robbery, or who saw the grey coloured Rav 4 last night or this morning, either before or after the robbery, is asked to contact George Town police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).

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CoP warns of cocaine threat

| 22/12/2011 | 34 Comments

_DEW9181_0.jpg(CNS): Cayman’s senior police officer says the country could see further increases in violence regardless of RCIPS efforts to contain the ongoing gang wars as a result of the move of the lucrative cocaine trade into the Caribbean region. Police Commissioner David Baines said his officers are already seeing evidence of increased shipments in size and quantity of the drug passing through the jurisdiction and as local gangs get involved in the extremely profitable industry there will be an increase in the violence that comes with the cocaine trade, he warned. The haemorrhaging of weapons into the region at present is directly related to the fact that trafficking is moving from Mexico to here, he said. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Baines told CNS this week that he had real concerns about a possible surge in violence and was fearful that the arrival of the cocaine business in the Caribbean would lead to the kind of indiscriminate violence seen in Mexico in the recent past, which was essentially down to turf wars over the sale and trafficking the drug. While previous gang violence in Cayman has had more to do with ‘respect issues’ or gang rivalry and disputes, the arrival of more cocaine in the region will herald in the cold calculating violence that goes with it.

He said the US attack on the war on drugs along its border with Mexico had diverted the trade to the Caribbean. “If you squeeze the drug balloon in one place it doesn’t go away it just pops up somewhere else,” Baines said.  “We are seeing an increase in cocaine smuggling and the region is seeing an escalation of violence as a result, which could get a lot worse.”

Baines reflected on the mass murders in Mexico and the retribution on entire neighbourhoods in order to ensure their silence and acquiescence in the trade. He said that this meant there was a much greater need for the Cayman Islands’ law enforcement officials, which includes the RCIPS and customs, to cooperate even more closely and exchange intelligence with the relevant agencies in the United States and others in the Caribbean in an effort to minimise the impact the trade of the drug in the region will have on Cayman.

The senior officer said he was concerned because Cayman was already suffering the same fate as other Caribbean nations with a surge in the levels of violence among young men who appear to place so little value on human life and who will be attracted to the lucrative, if violent, trade.

“Everyone in island communities in the Caribbean is seeking ways to do what they can to stop the drug and the guns that come with cocaine getting across their borders,” Baines said, noting that it was an ongoing and very difficult battle.

He said the air support unit was one of the main tools in the fight against the drug trafficking because it was able to cover such a large area and spot potential drug canoes. The cargo scanner, he said, would also help in the fight, especially intercepting the guns coming with the drug. Baines said the replacement of the RCIPS budget recently voted in the Legislative Assembly would be used to boost the task force that has its focus on drug and gun smuggling.

However, given the enormous profits that drug dealers stand to make on the cocaine when it reaches the streets of the US and Europe, the traffickers will not let up easily and as the drug moves into the region and into Cayman, local criminals will get more involved as a result of the cash on offer. This in turn would fuel existing local gang rivalries and the associated street violence.

He said the drug was already penetrating the Eastern Caribbean and the RCIPS was doing everything it could to try and minimise the impact here. “We must be aware of the wholesale violence that comes with the cocaine trade but the sheer numbers of smugglers is a real concern. We must do everything we can to stop Cayman becoming the next battle ground for control of the drug industry,” Baines added.

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CHEC hopeful of casino

| 22/12/2011 | 113 Comments

cruise plans_0.jpg(CNS): The developers currently in talks with CIG to build the George Town cruise berthing facilities appear hopeful that the Cayman Islands government will have changed its position on gambling by the time the project is finished as the plans call for a hoteland casino on the upland development. Although the proposed plans have not been made public here in Cayman, pictures taken by the Chamber of Commerce during its fact finding mission about CHEC in Jamaica last month reveal that China Harbour Engineering Company has factored a casino into the upland design. The chamber delegation was given a presentation by the firm's representatives there when some of the drawings for the project were revealed.

Despite the ongoing controversy over the decision of the premier to partner with the Beijing based firm, the ministerial MOU, which expired at the end of November, was extended recently until March and now includes the Port Authority Board.  Speaking about the development in the Legislative Assembly recently, McKeeva Bush said many unpleasant things and lies had been told about the firm but he believed government had found a good partner in CHEC, one that it could work with and move forward with what he said was the much needed facility.

The premier has said very little about the details of CHEC’s plans but it is understood from the MOU and comments made in the public domain from officials and CHEC representatives in Jamaica that the firm will be recouping its significant investment in the project, estimated at more than$200 million,  through the collection of cruise line fees and from a retail development on the upland area of the new cruise port.

cruise plans.jpgThe hotel and casino, according to the plans (shown right and on page 22 of the Chamber report), is centred between the two piers and is part of an extensive upland area which includes restaurants, a dive shop, a covered two storey shopping area where passengers will pass through before alighting in George Town, and a marina.

CHEC is not the first developer that would like to see gaming introduced and the debate about whether Cayman will succumb to the lucrative lure of casinos has been running for some time. It rose to prominence in 2009 and 2010 when gaming was posed as a possible solution to the government’s financial difficulties.Former cabinet minister Gilbert McLean also began collecting signatures from registered voters in order to attempt to trigger the islands’ first people initiated referendum with the question of a national lottery.

At that time the premier had committed to holding a referendum on the issue in order to put the subject to rest once and for all. However, after dealing with the public finances through raising fees and duties instead, the idea of a referendum was shelved.

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