Archive for May 25th, 2012

Police urged to attend association conference

Police urged to attend association conference

| 25/05/2012 | 6 Comments

police sign_0.jpg(CNS): The Police Association is urging all its members to attend a day-long conference and training seminar which will be held on Thursday the 31 May at the Reliable Industries Conference Centre from ten in the morning until five in the afternoon.  The event will cover a wide range of issues affecting serving police officers from human rights issues and balancing work and family life to managing personal finance and managing stress as well as learning more about what the Police Association can do for the welfare of its members.

For more information on the event contact Detective Sergeant Winsome Prendergast on 649-4222 ext 6411

See programme below

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Armed robbers on CCTV

Armed robbers on CCTV

| 25/05/2012 | 51 Comments

WestStar TV robbery Getaway vehicle crop.jpg(CNS): Three people arrested yesterday following an armed robbery at the WestStar TV have all since been eliminated from the enquiry. However, police have now released photographs of two of the suspects (see below). Shortly before 3pm on Thursday, 24 May, three masked men, two of whom were armed with what appeared to be firearms, entered the Television Centre offices in Eclipse Drive, George Town, police said. The men threatened staff and customers before making off with a sum of cash. No shots were fired during the robbery and no staff or customers were injured. The suspects then entered a getaway vehicle (shown left), which was parked outside the front door with a waiting driver.

They then drove off towards Eastern Avenue. A short time later police found an abandoned car in School Road and are confident this was the vehicle used in the robbery.

The car is a wine coloured Mitsubishi RVR and displayed the license plates 101878.

WestStar TV robbery Suspects cropped.jpgOne suspect was 5’8”, stocky build and of a light brown complexion, wearing a navy coloured baseball cap, a black or navy bandana covering his face, a black or navy long sleeved sweatshirt with a grey or white sweatshirt underneath.

The second armed robber was approximately 5’11’ wearing a camouflage baseball cap with a dark coloured patterned bandana covering his face, a camouflage jacket.

The third suspect was approximately 5’6” with a light brown complexion wearing a black jacket, a white baseball cap with a white cover over the top and black gloves.

The male getaway driver is described as large build, wearing a light coloured long sleeved shirt.
The police are appealing to anyone who may have been in the areas of Eclipse Drive, Eastern Avenue or School Road who may have seen the suspects or the getaway vehicle to make contact with them.

Furthermore anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the car prior to this incident taking place is encouraged to come forward.

Information can be passed to the Drugs and Serious Crimes Task Force on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477(TIPS).

Pictures in larger format attached below.

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NOAA confirms average hurricane season ahead

NOAA confirms average hurricane season ahead

| 25/05/2012 | 7 Comments

ivan1715zC-040910-1kg12.jpg(CNS): Just one week ahead of the official start of the hurricane season experts from the US are calling for nine to 15 tropical storms four to eight of which will become hurricanes in its 2012 long term Atlantic forecast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expecting what it described as a "near normal" season with one to three major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico officially runs from June 1 to November 30, but tropical Storm Alberto came well ahead of time and on Friday morning the NHC was giving a broad area of low pressure near the north-western Bahamas a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm this weekend.

Pre-season storms are not uncommon and experts say there is not necessarily a connection between an early start and a busy season. For the entire six-month season, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said there was a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms. Forecasters said that a near normal or average season brings 12 tropical storms with six hurricanes. Experts say the region is still in the midst of a multi-decade active period for hurricanes that began in 1995 but temperatures in the eastern Atlantic are cooler this year and the strong wind shear will combine to keep limit storm numbers. El Nino, which is warming the tropical Pacific could also "kill off" Atlantic hurricanes, forecasters said.

“NOAA’s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “But regardless of the outlook, it’s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared.”
Although Improvements in monitoring and predicting hurricanes have been remarkable over the last two decades Lubchenco said more work remains to be done to unlock the secrets of hurricanes, especially in the area of rapid intensification and weakening of storms.

“We're stepping up to meet this challenge through our Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, which has already demonstrated exciting early progress toward improving storm intensity forecasts," she said.

This season NOAA is introducing enhancements to two of the computer models available to hurricane forecasters – the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) models. The HWRF model has been upgraded with a higher resolution and improved atmospheric physics. This latest version has demonstrated a 20 to 25 percent improvement in track forecasts and a 15 percent improvement in intensity forecasts relative to the previous version while also showing improvement in the representation of storm structure and size. Improvements to the GFDL model for 2012 include physics upgrades that are expected to reduce or eliminate a high bias in the model's intensity forecasts.

The seasonal outlook does not predict how many storms will hit land. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts are provided by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, which continuously monitors the tropics for storm development and tracking throughout the season using an array of tools including satellites, advance computer modeling, hurricane hunter aircraft, and land- and ocean-based observations sources such as radars and buoys.

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Chinese not port problem

Chinese not port problem

| 25/05/2012 | 123 Comments

cruise ship at port.JPG(CNS): The nationality of the Beijing based developer that is currently in negotiations with the UDP government to develop the George Town cruise berthing facilities is not the problem, the Cayman Islands governor has said. Governor Duncan Taylor told CNS that the UK cannot offer its support to the project as it stands because of the failure of government to follow the correct process and establish a proper business plan with parameters for the development. The governor told CNS that the UK understands the need for cruise facilities and does not object to China Harbour Engineering Company itself but it will not sanction the project under the current circumstances.

Following up on comments made by the UK’s overseas territories minister, Henry Bellingham, during his recent visit to the Cayman Islands about the need for the project to follow international procurement practices, the governor said that the project could not be shaped, designed, financed and built by the developer without a proper tendering process. The Cayman government had to set out a clear case for what was needed and then find a developer to fulfil the government’s requirements.

The premier has repeatedly stated, however, that he wishes to go ahead with the CHEC proposal as he says the firm is offering the best deal Cayman could hope to get. The premier picked CHEC after the company allegedly approached the government, since the firm did not respond to the original expressions of interest assessed by the Port Authority in the early days of the UDP administration.

McKeeva Bush has favoured CHEC, he says, because the deal includes a pier for West Bay, an upgrade of the jetty at Spotts and possibly a pier in Cayman Brac, all of which will be financed by the Chinese firm.

However, the governor has pointed to the fact that the firm would be recouping its investment from port passenger tax, which is still public revenue. Taylor said that without a clear plan or justified business case for the cruise berthing project and allowing the developer to specify what it would do, costs were in danger of spiralling out of control.

In the face of comments made by the premier and others that it was the involvement of a Chinese company which was behind the UK’s objections to the George Town port project, the governor told CNS that this was simply not true.

“Neither the FCO nor I have said anything about dealing with the Chinese," he said. “It’s about process and procurement.”

The governor made it clear that the UK would not sanction the port project until a proper business case is put together that sets limits on the development and prevents add-ons, especially as public money is at stake. He said that if the project was tendered in accordance with international procurement procedures, it would be perfectly possible for the Chinese to win or even be defined as the preferred bidder but he pointed out that it must be government and not the developer that sets out the plan for the project. Taylor noted that already during the negotiating process the plans had changed and it was not usual for the supplier to decide what would be built.

“It has already escalated to a $300 million project from a starting point of around $175 million, which is what happens when there is no business plan in place,” he added.

The governor said that the UK minister has already set out what he means by international procurement standards to the premier and how to get the project back on track. Taylor added that there were still several hurdles to overcome before the project would get UK backing.

Despite the challenges he now faced with the deterioration in the relationship between the premier and himself, Taylor said that such tensions were not unusual between the office of the governor and the elected officials. The governor said that his focus over the next two years would be on improving the public sector and helping to develop a better civil service for the Cayman Islands and ensuring good governance.

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