Archive for April 3rd, 2012

Cubans arrested in North Sound, boat seized

| 03/04/2012 | 15 Comments

Sunset over North Sound (254x300).jpg(CNS): Four Cuban men were arrested by police at the weekend and their boat seized as officials believe it may have been stolen in the United States. Police said that on Sunday evening at around 8:00pm the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Marine Unit and Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force arrested the four men aged 35, 38, 39 and 40 in the North Sound area of Grand Cayman on suspicion of illegal entry into the Cayman Islands. At the time of the arrests a 36’ Yellow Fin boat with three 350 hp outboard engines was also seized as part of the operation. “It is suspected that this vessel was stolen from Florida, USA and transported illegally to the Cayman Islands,” a police spokesperson revealed.

Officials said that the Cayman Islands Immigration Department is currently assisting the police investigation into the identity and status of all four men, not only in the Cayman Islands but also in the US. They are currently in custody while the investigation continues, the police spokesperson confirmed.

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Cops arrest suspect dealer at beach music festival

| 03/04/2012 | 1 Comment

Crime Scene Cleanup_full.jpg(CNS): A 31 year old Caymanian male was arrested on Saturday evening in connection with a number of drug offences by officers from the RCIPS Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force. A police spokesperson said the arrest happened around 5:50pm when officers where conducting a police operation in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands Winter Music Festival, which was being held at Calico Jacks on Seven Mile Beach. Police arrested the suspected dealer for possession of Cocaine with intent to supply and a number of other drug offences. He was also arrested for numerous traffic related matters and police said Monday that he remains in police custody while investigations continue.

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US obesity rates underestimated say researchers

| 03/04/2012 | 0 Comments

2300-204_162-10008479-2 (260x300).jpg(CBS): America may have a worse weight problem than anyone thought. Current estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show roughly one-third of Americans are obese. But the authors behind a new study that questions the test commonly used to measure obesity think that rate might be underestimated. "Roughly 30 percent of Americans are obese," based on their body mass index (BMI), study author Dr. Eric Braverman, president of the nonprofit research group, the Path Foundation in New York City. "But when you use other methods, closer to 60 percent are obese. We call BMI the 'baloney mass index.'

Authors of the study say the BMI measurement leads to many false diagnoses. For their study, the researchers reviewed more than 9,000 charts of patients who visited a medical private practice in New York City. Patients were an average of 51 years old, and 63 percent were women. Researchers wanted to compare how BMI tests measured against a different test to measure obesity, called a duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The DXA is a machine that uses x-rays to measure muscle, bone mass and body fat.

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Uniform public workers commended for long service

| 03/04/2012 | 0 Comments

Toast (274x300).jpg(CNS): Some 45 medals were handed out to officers from the Cayman Islands uniformed services last week for distinguished service.  Employees of the Royal Cayman Islands Police, Special Constabulary, Fire, and Prison services were presented with Colonial Long Service Awards during a Government House ceremony on Thursday. Governor Duncan Taylor and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson presented the gongs to men and women who had served from nine to 30 years. Manderson said that the officers were being rewarded for ‘long service in their respective roles, for good character and for conduct considered to have been exemplary’.

The Colonial Fire Brigade Long Service Medal, the Colonial Police Long Service Medal, the Colonial Prison Long Service Medal and the Colonial Special Constabulary Medal were the awards which were given out at the ceremony.

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Ex-sex offender could be working at school

| 03/04/2012 | 21 Comments

(CNS): A local activist has started an online petition to prevent some ex-offenders from working on school premises after concerns were raised last week that a convicted serious sex offender was employed via a private company at the Clifton Hunter campus. Sandra Catron says that the ex-Northward inmate has been employed by a private maintenance and landscaping firm that works on government school sites and he was seen working there recently. Wishing to draw attention to what she says is a potentially very dangerous situation, she has started an online petition asking government to implement a zero tolerance policy for offenders working in any public school.

“I was appalled to discover that a convicted child molester would be able to work on any school campus, whether directly or indirectly, with the Cayman Islands Government," Catron told CNS Monday. “This demonstrates a clear lack of concern and awareness regarding the serious natures of these offenders. Of all criminals that exists, a child molester is more likely to re-offend than any other.”

Catron, who is a long-time advocate of creating a local open register of sex-offenders to ensure this type of thing cannot happen, said government had a responsibility to keep all children from harm’s way and in particular from offenders that the authorities know about.

“There are so many that have not been discovered or convicted but those that have must be monitored carefully," she said. “I have no issue with this person getting employment but not around our children.”

Still campaigning for the register, which she says would be the ultimate protection for children, Catron emphasized how easy it appears to be for people to slip through the cracks when the authorities protect the identity of these offenders in a vain attempt to assist their victims.

“I am still hopeful that one day we will see the sex offenders registry taken seriously as it directly addresses issues such as proximity to children being yet another offence and prohibited.”

In the online petition Catron requests that all government schools introduce a zero tolerance for employing any persons with criminal records and in particular those that have been convicted of any sexual act or offence.

She asks that if there are any persons currently employed with the government schools directly or indirectly that have a conviction for any sexual crime they are immediately removed from their school duties and not allowed to be on school premises.  The petition also asks that everyone employed in the Cayman Islands Government school system be subject to proper background checks and police clearance.

CNS contacted the education ministry early Monday morning about the petition and fears that a sex-offender could have been working on a school campus. A spokesperson acknowledged the enquiry but so far officials have not made any comment about the ex-offender or the petition.

See on-line petition here

CNS note: In 2010 the George Hicks High School was renamed the Clifton Hunter High. While the new campus at Frank Sound is under construction, students attend the Clifton Hunter school at the old GHHS facility.

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We’ll give up fees, says Mac

| 03/04/2012 | 67 Comments

port view.JPG(CNS): Although the government will not be borrowing money or guaranteeing any loans for the development of cruise berthing facilities in George Town, the premier has acknowledged that it will be giving up passenger fees in order to pay for it. Following the expiration this weekend of the extended MOU with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), McKeeva Bush said there were still things to consider about the deal before he signed the major definitive agreement with the Beijing-based firm. He also said that negotiations about the share of profits in time and the opportunity for investment in the upland element were still not finalised but the development could start in September.

“We want to make sure that we are doing the right thing before we sign this agreement,” he told Cayman27 news on Monday. “We believe that we have the best partner in China Harbour but we have to make certain."

Speaking to the local TV station via phone from Houston, Texas, where Bush is on his latest trip, reportedly meeting with representatives from a major oil company, he indicated that government still had to discuss some key elements of the proposed cruise port development, which could take a few months.

“While we are not required to sign a guarantee and while we are not borrowing, we still have to give up the passenger fees that we get to be able to pay for this new dock and various processes have to completed,” he said. The premier did not indicate exactly how much of the fees currently collected by the Treasury would now go to the developer or how much the fees would be increased.

Bush signed the first MOU with the Chinese firm some ten months ago after pulling out of talks with the then potential partner GLF construction in April last year.  Speculation that his decision had cost the public purse a significant sum was confirmed in Finance Committee recently when legislators appropriated over CI$2 milllion to settle the legal dispute with the firm outside of court.

Government then entered into new talks with CHEC and signed an MOU in June. When that expired it extended the negotiation period to the end of March. Since government entered into those talks with the Chinese, the project has grown significantly from the original two finger piers, one of which would accommodate the new mega ships with basic upland facilities, to a major upland retail development covering some 100,000sq ft. It includes two larger finger piers as well as a pier in West Bay at the Turtle Farm, the renovation of Spotts Jetty for poor weather and possible facilities on Cayman Brac.

Retailers in George Town, the Cayman Contractors Association, the political opposition, several of the sea captains and water sports operators, as well as numerous local environmental activists have all raised concerns about the growing size and cost of the project as well as the choice of partner. Despite widespread support for the need for cruise berthing facilities and what could have been government’s most supported proposal, the project is becoming increasingly controversial.

Listen to the premier’s call with Cayman 27 here.

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