Archive for June 19th, 2012

Bomb hoaxer mom placed on probation

Bomb hoaxer mom placed on probation

| 19/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 22-year-old woman who placed a hoax bomb threat call to First Caribbean Bank was given probation by a Grand Court judge Friday after the court heard she was suffering “a major episode of depression” at the time of the crime. Eliza Rivers, who is the mother of two small children, pleaded guilty to the offence over two years ago in March 2010, but as a result of difficulties with psychiatric reports, her sentencing was delayed on a number of occasions. After finally hearing the facts of the case Justice Alex Henderson handed down two years of probation and a home curfew for one year and warned that if she breached the conditions he would send her to jail.

Although considered a serious offence, the court heard that Rivers had made two suicide attempts days before the bomb hoax. Her defence counsel said that Rivers had placed the call to the bank where she kept her money in order to try and create a diversion at all of the First Caribbean branches to prevent her abusive boyfriend from getting her money.

John Furnis said that his client was under tremendous pressure from her partner to get money from the bank to give to him and was suffering from a severe depression as a result of that abusive relationship.

She made two calls to the bank, the first one telling them that there was a bomb in all of the First Caribbean branches on the island and giving them one hour to evacuate. Rivers than called back ten minutes later stating that the staff should take the threat seriously, this time giving them half an hour to leave.

The banks were evacuated and searches of all the branches were undertaken but nothing was discovered. Since Rivers had used her own phone to place the hoax call, the police had little problem tracking her down. When they arrive at her place of residence on the evening of the hoax they found that she was not home as she had been taken into hospital and was receiving mental health treatment once again for her suicidal tendencies and serious depression.

Despite her condition she was questioned by police and Rivers admitted making the calls because of the mental health issue, though she was not arrested until sometime later.

Since the incident, the court heard, Rivers had left her abusive boyfriend and was now in a new stable relationship. She had received treatment for her condition and was recovering well. She was in employment and had no previous criminal record of any kind the court heard, and was rated as having an extremely low level -risk of reoffending.

The judge noted the strong recommendations of the probation service for a non-custodial sentence and said “I am persuaded that this is the correct way to proceed,” as he ordered the two year probation with a 6pm until 6am curfew. He also said that she must not consume drugs or alcohol during her probation period and warned her not to break the conditions.

“I generally put people in jail when they breach a probation order,” Justice Henderson warned.

In arriving at his decision the judge explained that he believed Rivers had committed the offence during “a major episode of depression” when in her disturbed state of mind she felt the call would prevent her boyfriend from getting his hands on her money. He said it was clear that she was distraught at the time of the offence, not thinking clearly and the crime was not planned.

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Borrowing to be budget jam

Borrowing to be budget jam

| 19/06/2012 | 78 Comments

Debt_033012-572x368 (278x300).jpg(CNS): Although the UK has not yet refused the Cayman Islands budget proposal for the next financial year, which was submitted to the FCO last Thursday, the request for borrowing is likely to prove a stumbling block. Last year the premier insisted that his government would not add to the country’s borrowing levels and had acknowledged that the UK would not allow the CIG to get further into debt, but the UDP administration has included a borrowing requirement in this year’s financial spending plan. Although McKeeva Bush has not disclosed the level of borrowing, he has described it as a modest amount.

The new borrowing, the premier has claimed, is to begin a solar panel installation project to help those who struggle with CUC bills, as well as cash for the new juvenile detention centre and money to complete both the high and primary school projects. While the amount of borrowing has not been disclosed, it is believed to be over $25 million since the planned solar panel project alone is estimated to be around $15 million.

In December the government delivered a strategic policy statement (SPS) entitled 'Maintaining Fiscal Discipline’ relating to its spending plans for the forthcoming budget year of 2012/13 in which the premier had predicted a surplus by the 30 June in this financial year — a prediction that has reportedly not come to fruition and government is facing a deficit at the financial year end.

Although government says it has managed to balance the books with a smallsurplus, sources tell CNS that the documentation sent to London does not include capital expenditure in the operating expenses, which will push the budget into a significant deficit. With this, on top of a request for more borrowing, the UK may well ask the government to make deeper cuts. Currently the total for core government operating expense, excluding statutory authorities, is said to be over $498 million, as set out in December’s SPS, but no revenue predictions have yet been revealed.

Despite claims by Bush that his government has made great strides to improve the country’s finances, public spending is still set to increase over the next three years as the SPS made no cuts in public spending. Government is relying on projections of increased revenues to deliver surpluses but it is not clear where government hopes to increase revenue in the coming twelve months.

The UK is believed to have acknowledged receipt of the Cayman government’s budget documents, which the premier admitted were submitted late. The new Financial Framework Agreement signed between Bush and the OT minister Henry Bellingham last year requires that government send the budget to Britain three weeks ahead of when he plans to present the documents to the Legislative Assembly.

Although the premier has indicated that he hopes to arrange the Throne Speech, which is delivered by the governor, for this Friday, signalling the start of the presentation, sources tell CNS that the UK is unlikely to approve the budget without further changes, forcing the government to enact some form of emergency legislation to enable it to access the public purse past midnight on 30 June.

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Cops find ganja floating in ocean

Cops find ganja floating in ocean

| 19/06/2012 | 19 Comments

police boats.jpgCNS): Police have recovered several packages of drugs from the ocean in the district of Bodden Town. According to an RCIPS report issued on Tuesday, officers from the Marine Unit on offshore patrol in the Bodden Town district on Thursday last week (14 June) spotted a suspicious package floating in the water. The officers examined the package and found that it contained an undisclosed quantity of ganja. As a result of the drugs find the marine cops made a further search of the water and beach, which resulted in more discoveries of the drug. Police said that officers are now investigating the matter and are appealing for anyone with information relating to the drug discovery to contact the Serious Crime and Drugs Task Force.

Anyone who has any information about crime in the Eastern Districts or who wishes to report any suspicious activity should contact Bodden Town police station on 947-2220 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS). In an emergency always call 911.

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Jam official faces legal battle over CHEC projects

Jam official faces legal battle over CHEC projects

| 19/06/2012 | 11 Comments

Greg-Christie-2_w445.jpg(CNS): A Jamaican government committee has refused to give the country’s contractor general information he has requested over three major capital projects, two of which involve China Harbour Engineering Company. Greg Christie said Tuesday that he was disturbed by the government’s decision to challenge his right to ask for reports on the major developments in the courts. The contractor general said that his right to ask for the information was set out in law and was in line with the work of his office over the last 27 years. Christie also pointed out that the move to refuse to give him information comes in the wake of revelations about the World Bank’s ban on CHEC.

CHEC is also still in negotiations with the Cayman government to build the George Town cruise berthing facilities, and despite the revelations about the World Bank, both the Beijing-based firm and the Cayman premier have denied any wrongdoing on CHEC's part.

Last week McKeeva Bush said, “CIG does not see cause to believe that CHEC is legally or morally responsible for the actions which led to the original debarment of China Road and Bridge Corporation by the World Bank. There is therefore no indication that valid grounds exist for discontinuing our dealings with CHEC.”

In a release issued by his office Tuesday morning Christie said his request for the reports was made in an “effort to secure, among other things, transparency" of the Government Independent Oversight Panel (IOP) interventions and deliberations, “to provide the requisite statutory oversight, of the projects, for and on behalf of the taxpayers and people of Jamaica.”

The contractor general's office in Jamaica provides the same function as the Office of the Auditor General in Cayman, which is also now being asked by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to "assist" the premier with the local port project .The premier is being asked to work with both Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick and the chair of the Central Tenders Committee, Nick Freeland, to get the cruise facilities back in line with international best procurement practice.

Meanwhile, despite giving the panel two extensions in time for it to respond to his requests for information, Christie said Jamaica’s attorney general had written to the contractor's office to challenge the validity of the law under which the OCG has been discharging its statutory mandates for the past twenty-seven years.

Christie said that in his letter the AG had told the contractor general that members of the IOP did not share his opinion as to the propriety of the requisition, and in light of the divergence of views, the IOP was seeking judicial review of his request.

“The OCG regards the Administration’s latest move as not only an abuse of the judicial process and an obvious delay tactic, since the laws regarding the OCG’s actions are unequivocally clear and well settled in their import, meaning and judicial interpretation, but it also views the Government’s conduct as a vivid indication that, irrespective of what the law states, the current Administration appears not prepared to conduct the country’s public contracting affairs in accordance with international best practices in procurement, good governance, transparency and accountability,” Christie said in his media statement.

Maintaining he was well within the law, the contractor general pointed out that his office was obligated by parliament to monitor the award and the implementation of government contracts to ensure the contracts are awarded impartially and on merit and indicated that the move by the AG could amount to suggesting that 90% of the OCG’s daily work activities for the past twenty-seven years was illegal.

Describing the move as “highly suspicious and unprecedented”, heaccused government of seeking to place impediments in the path of his office’s work and mandate. He pointed to the commitment given by Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller last year that if the Peoples National Party formed the next government she would “strengthen the OCG”, as he pointed to the recent disclosures about CCCC and CHEC.

He said that CHEC was engaged in controversial sole-source and non-competitive tender based negotiations with government on two of the three investment projects that he was seeking information on.

Despite claims made by CHEC that the ban is not a reflection on the firm but the World Bank system, Christie pointed out that the ban could have been lifted and the primary issues which concern the World Bank are the presumed deficiencies in the Chinese firm’s parent company’s corporate governance policies and practices. 

Regardless of the move by the Jamaican government, Christie said he intended to continue the lawful discharge of his office’s mandate to “ensure probity, propriety, transparency, accountability and value for money” in Jamaica’s government contracting processes.

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Stormy weather for Cayman and storm #3 in Atlantic

Stormy weather for Cayman and storm #3 in Atlantic

| 19/06/2012 | 1 Comment

jsl-l_0.jpg(CNS): A large area of cloudiness, shower and thunderstorms over the northwestern Caribbean Sea is causing inclement weather that may give rise to localized flooding weather forecasters have warned. According to the national hurricane centre in Miami the upper-level conditions are not expected to be particularly conducive for development of this system into a storm but areas of heavy rainfall are expected during the next couple of days over the Cayman Islands and Cuba. The NHC states that the system currently only has a 10 percent of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours as it moves northwestward at between 5 to 10 mph. Meanwhile, the third storm of the season formed at around 4pm local time at high latitude in the Atlantic.

Although temperatures are expected to reach the low 80’s, the Cayman weather service said that there is a 60% chance of showers and thunder on Wednesday with heavy local showers leading to flooding of low lying areas. Winds are southeast at 10 to 15 knots with higher gusts. Seas will be moderate to rough with wave heights of 4 to 6 feet and small crafts should exercise caution over open waters, the service warned.

Similar conditions are expected tomorrow night with temperatures falling to the upper 70’s with gusty winds and rough seas are likely near showers. Thursday calls for similar conditions until the cloudiness begins to gradually decrease as the area of low pressure moves west of our area.

On Tuesday afternoon the NHC also reported the formaiton of tropical storm Chris
located near latitude 39.3 north, longitude 57.7 west. Chris is moving toward the east near 8 mph and poses no threat to land. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph ith higher
gusts and  little change in strength is expected during the next 48hours before Chris becomes a post-tropical cyclone on Wednesday night or Thursday.


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Bellingham sets out expectations for TCI governments

Bellingham sets out expectations for TCI governments

| 19/06/2012 | 8 Comments

bellingham595.jpg(CNS): The UK’s overseas territories minister has set out a list of 18 governance principles for the interim administration in the Turks and Caicos to work towards between now and the electionson 9 November. On his recent visit to the islands, which have been under direct British rule sine 2009, Henry Bellingham said the new TCI constitution calls for all future administrations to agree their own statement of governance principles with the local House of Assembly and the UK Foreign Secretary within 28 days of taking office. From safeguarding the rights of the TCI people to balancing the budget, the list places high expectations on the islands' leaders.

“Minister Bellingham thought it extremely important that the people of the TCI know that the interim administration is working to the highest standards of Corporate Governance,” said the TCI governor Ric Todd. “He felt that it would be useful to allow the people to see the sorts of behaviours and ways of doing business that they should expect of their future governments too.”

Bellingham’s list said that all government action shall be taken in a manner designed to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person in the Islands, as set out in the constitution, and that the government should involve the participation of the people.
All ordinances, regulations, policies and actions must be fair, proportionate, and capable of being implemented impartially and government must make sure decisions and acts of public officials are lawful, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair.

Bellingham also speaks about the need for government to protect the environment and long-term perspective on the sustainable development of the Islands, as well as encouraging lawful business activity.

In the wake of the fraud and corruption scandal that has emerged in TCI after the former premier Michael Misick was forced out of office and more recently into exile, Bellingham emphasised the rule of law.

“The Government shall ensure that the TCI Public Service implements policy in accordance with the rule of law and internationally accepted standards.  The Government shall respect the integrity and impartiality of the Public Service and the Public Service shall be protected from partisan interference," the principles state. “All public appointments shall be based on merit, and all public officials shall be treated fairly.  The Government shall ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct for Persons in Public Life.

“The government shall at all times respect the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the impartial administration of justice,” he said, adding that government must also administer crown land and public assets in a lawful, transparent and equitable manner.

He pointed to the need for government bodies to be accountable and transparent to the public and accessible to the media and that government processes, institutions and information shall also be accessible and transparent.

The government will be required to cooperate with constitutional institutions protecting good governance and other oversight, while respecting and preserving their independence. It is also required not to discriminate against people, irrespective of race, national or social origin, political or other opinion, colour, religion, language, creed, association with a national minority, property, sex, sexual orientation, birth or other status.

“Services shall be made available on an equal basis, free of preference based on family ties, political allegiance, friendship or personal gain," the minister’s principles state.

Calling on the current interim government and future governments to properly manage public finances, he said the administrations must mitigate fiscal risks, and ensure that liabilities, including debts, are sustainable and fully taken into account when setting and implementing budgets.

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CINICO looks for more input from clients

CINICO looks for more input from clients

| 19/06/2012 | 2 Comments

online-survey-thumb9001247.jpg(CNS): The government’s health insurance company is extending its online customer satisfaction survey to attract more people in order to help with future plans for the insurance company. CINICO said Tuesday that the survey window will now be open until Wednesday 27 June 27th.  The survey was launched on 22 May and is available to all civil servants, pensioners and statutory body CINICO members.  Those completing the survey will also have a chance to win an Ipad. “At Cinico we greatly value the opinions of our all our members, so we decided to extend the survey to the 27th to allow members a longer opportunity to complete it,” Lonny Tibbetts, CEO of CINICO, stated.

“This research project will provide valuable information to us, so every respondent counts,” he added.

The survey is completely confidential and results are collected off-island by a third party.  In order to access the survey, members must enter the first 9 digits of their 12 digit member ID number found on the front of their CINICO CarePay member card. The responses are not linked to the ID number in any way.

This type of market research is an effective way to collect the opinions and suggestions from CINICO members, so that CINICO can incorporate it into its new and existing plans the CINICO boss noted.

“We are looking forward to hearing the results, which will provide clear data from the members themselves”, Tibbetts added.

Those people requiring a paper copy of the survey are asked to call Tower Marketing at 623 6700. More information and the link to the survey can be accessed by visiting

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Cayman court awards $2.5 billion in Saudi legal battle

Cayman court awards $2.5 billion in Saudi legal battle

| 19/06/2012 | 0 Comments

Maan-Al-Sanea2.jpg(CNS Business): The Chief of Justice of the Cayman Islands ordered Saudi billionaire, Maan Al-Sanea, to pay the Algosaibi family $2.5 billion in a ruling handed down on 12 June. According to Mourant Ozannes, who were acting for the Algosaibis, this is the largest award of damages ever made by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. While the legal battle between Al-Sanea and his in-laws has been waged in across the globe since 2009, the Cayman Islands litigation is concerned with the claim that Al-Sanea misappropriated billions of dollars from the Algosaibi family whilst managing their financial services business and transferred the proceeds into various Cayman Islands companies – claims that Al-Sanea has always vigorously denied. Read more on CNS Business

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Electric car dealer says safety has been addressed

Electric car dealer says safety has been addressed

| 19/06/2012 | 7 Comments

DSC_7576.jpg(CNS): Cayman’s exclusive electric car dealer, who has been campaigning for almost a decade to get the eco-cars on to local roads legally, has written to the ministry about the delay in the traffic law. Despite passing a new traffic law in November, paving the way for the registration of electric cars, the legislation has not yet come into force because of a delay to the regulations, which the wroks ministry recently implied was mostly down to safety issues over the electric vehicles. However, John Felder has pointed out that not only did he offer a series of free training seminars, all of the cars he imports meet all the safety requirements of the US National Institute of Highway Safety.

Felder, who has never given up on his goal of selling electric cars here that can drive on all the roads, told the ministry he was grateful to all the officials that “have spent so many hours finalizing the New Traffic Law” and he was looking forward to its implementation.

Pointing out that government could have facilitated the use of electric cars on the highway under the old law, he said that nevertheless he respected government’s decision to overhaul the existing legislation. However, Felder said he regretted that the regulations regarding electric vehicle have slowed the process and they were not addressed ahead of the rest of the regulations. He dismissed the safety fears and pointed out that these vehicles are now in use across the world.

“We are extremely comfortable with all aspects of the safety of Highway Speed Electric Vehicles (HSEV) and are quite sure that the regulators here have satisfied themselves of the safety aspects by looking at other jurisdictions which have permitted electric vehicle licensing for public road use,” he said, adding that he had hosted a special meeting for emergency personnel.

“Regarding the 'First Responders' and issues relating to the safe handling of the Lithium Ion batteries, Cayman Automotive held a special meeting with all the First Responders and the Department of Licensing and Registration last year to address all concerns,” Felder said in his letter to the minister responsible, Juliana O’Connor Connolly.

“The safety of our customers will never be compromised and for this reason I have made a personal decision that only HSEV’s will be sold in Grand Cayman that meet all the safety requirements of the National Institute of Highway Safety in the United States,” he added.

Felder pointed out that all the cars sold by his dealership, Cayman Automotive, are equipped with impact sensors that disconnect all power from the Lithium battery pack in the event of an impact of 30g or greater or airbag deployment. He said this means emergency personnel at an accident scene can work on victims without worrying about the danger of shock to either the victims or themselves from the Lithium battery pack.

“My goal is to make the Cayman Island the model for the Caribbean by assisting in a cleaner environment, providing safe and more economic transportation and advancing all aspects of alternative energy," he said.

Felder has been importing cars for some time in anticipation of the new law and has invested more than $100,000 in green vehicles as well as developing plans for solar power charging stations across the islands.

In a release from the ministry last week O’Connor Connolly distanced herself and the ministry from any responsibility for Felder’s decision to import the cars when she said the ministry had communicated over the years to various car dealers in Cayman that a fully electric vehicle could not be registered and licensed due to the technical components of the vehicles.

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Widower sues hospital over wife’s death

Widower sues hospital over wife’s death

| 19/06/2012 | 0 Comments

hospital entrance.jpg(CNS): A 67-year-old man has filed a law suit against the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) after his wife died of cancer in 2009. Harold Paramlall claims that as a result of misdiagnosis by the hospital his 61-year-old wife died prematurely. Claiming negligence on the part of hospital staff, Paramlall is suing for medical expenses, loss of earnings and damages from the court. He claims that samples taken from his wife’s test that came back negative in 2004 were the same slides that showed up the cancer in 2006. In his statement of claim the plaintiff says the HSA failed to “provide suitably experienced staff” capable of diagnosing his wife’s cancer.

“The Defendant's staff were not suitably experienced in diagnostic techniques and should have referred the deceased overseas immediately carcinoma was discovered,” Paramlall states in his writ filed in the Grand Court earlier this month. He also claims the George Town hospital failed to provide adequate or proper post-operative treatment after his wife had a hysterectomy as it did not have “proper regard for the deceased's symptoms by taking note of the deceased complaints”.

Paramlall says that after her operation his wife complained of severe abdominal pains, which should have alerted the doctor in question to the probability that complications had developed.

The widower says because of the negligence he and his family have been occasioned pain and suffering. He also states that prior to her death his wife had been a strong hardworking woman engaged in community activities and looking forward to continuing to spend time with her husband, her children and grandchildren into her golden years.

The deceased was both a career person approaching retirement and an economical and efficient housewife, managing the home. As a result of the illness she was forced to give up the final 6 months of her working life resulting in a loss of salary of $113,033.44.

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