Archive for June 25th, 2012

Ex bank employee jailed 2.5 years for $29k theft

| 25/06/2012 | 23 Comments

(CNS): A 28-year-old George Town man was jailed for two and half years Monday following his conviction for theft and fraud after he stole US$29,987 from a customer’s account at the Royal Bank of Canada, where he worked. Erick Adam was given an additional 12 months, to run concurrently, for false accounting after he forged the signature of the customer in order to clear out the account, and was ordered to pay a compensation order to the bank for the amount he stole. Adam was convicted after a jury trial in which he was accused of creating a fictitious couple, whom he attempted to blame for the crime.

The theft, which took place in September 2009, came to light when the  real account holders came to the bank and discovered their account had been emptied.

Justice Charles Quin, who presided over the case, said that there were more aggravating factors in the case than mitigating ones as Adam had been in a position of trust but had continued to deny responsibility for the crime even after his conviction. The account belonged to an elderly couple, and apart from the loss of the funds, the theft created extra expense for the bank dealing with the case and caused severe reputational damage.

The judge told Adam, who is the son of the Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam, that he had let his employers and work colleagues down, his family down and, above all, himself and his young family. He also pointed out that such crimes were particularly damaging in Cayman since the cornerstone of the country’s economy is its dependence on the banking industry.

However, the case also revealed that many of the procedures at the bank put in place to prevent this type of fraud were lax and were easily breached by Adam as he perpetrated the fraud on an account that had been inactive for many years.

The sentencing guidelines provided for a sentence of between 12 months to four years for a crime of this nature, and although Adam pleaded not guilty and therefore could expect no discount, it was his first dishonesty offence, and because he was relatively young when he committed the crime, the judge said he had revised his initial three year sentence down to 2.5 years.

He urged Adam to should put this dishonesty behind him when he is released and to focus on his young family.

See related story Former bank employee found guilty of 29k theft

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Sea grass may protect coral reefs

| 25/06/2012 | 1 Comment

_61086587_seagrass(coralresearch)meadows.jpg(BBC): Research headed by a Swansea University marine biologist has offered potential solution to endangered coral reefs around the world's oceans. Dr Richard Unsworth's team included scientists from Oxford University and James Cook University in Australia. They found varieties of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion. Corals are worm-like creatures of around a centimetre length which live in colonies numbering millions. Calcium carbonate released by the corals forms a protective reef around the entire group.

The survival of these corals has been threatened by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the last 40 years, as it has raised the acidity of the oceans, rotting the reefs in the same way as fruit and fizzy drinks can erode tooth enamel.

But now Dr Unsworth believes he has found varieties of seagrass which can photosynthesise carbon dioxide so quickly and efficiently that they actually turn the surrounding water more alkaline.

"Highly productive tropical seagrasses often live adjacent to or among coral reefs and photosynthesise at such rates you can see the oxygen they produce practically bubbling away," he said.

"We wanted to understand whether this could be a major local influence on seawater and the problems of ocean acidification."

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Cayman hopeful for regional junior games

| 25/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(CIAA): The Cayman Islands will be one of the 38 member countries, represented at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships (CAC Juniors) this weekend in El Salvador, as the CIAA will be sending a team of 6 athletes to compete in this Track & Field Championships. The three day competition will be held from June 29th to July 1st. The CAC Junior Championships comprises of elite athletes from member countries competing in two age group categories, i.e. Boys/Girls U-18 and U-20.

Alexander Pascal, the new national record holder in the Javelin will lead the charge for team Cayman and will compete in the Boys U-20 Javelin.  Other team members are high jump specialist Ashleigh Nalty (U-20 division), Tiffany Cole 1500m (U-18 division), Demetri Chambers 100m/200m (U-18 division) and from Cayman Brac, Amelia Gillispie Heptathlon (U-18 division) and Jonathan Frederick Discus/Javelin (U-18 division).

The Association said it was looking forward to creditable performances from the team. Team Coach is Tyrone Yen and Manager Elizabeth Ibeh and the team departs Grand Cayman on Wednesday June 27th at 12:35pm and returns on Monday July 2nd at 4:00pm.

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Crossing expected to make West Bay Road safer

| 25/06/2012 | 46 Comments

walk.JPG(CNS): A crosswalk to be established close to the Strand Shopping Centre on the West Bay Road is the first of several new crossing places along the key artery to make things safer for both pedestrians and drivers. Government officials said Monday that the National Roads Authority (NRA) will start work on the new crosswalk shortly, which was identified in a 2010 review on ways to improve pedestrian safety on West Bay Road. "West Bay Road carries a high volume of traffic and running through a largely a tourist area, there is unfortunately a high potential for traffic accidents,"said NRA Transportation Planner Marion Pandohie. (Photo courtesy of Cayman27)

"Creating the crosswalk is the first step in attempting to make this stretch of road safer for drivers and pedestrians alike," she added.

Once the Esterley Tibbetts Highway is completed the NRA will be installing several more crosswalks on the road which runs parallel to Seven Mile Beach. The NRA is also set to undertake intersection improvements at Lawrence Boulevard which will also improve the pedestrian landscape of the West Bay Road.

The crosswalk is one of several long- and short-term measures identified to improve road safety in the busy tourist area. Other proposals included reducing the speed limit from 40 to 30 mph; providing flashing yellow lights to be activated by pedestrians and enabling them to safely cross the road, and the improvement of overhead lighting for better pedestrian visibility.

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$10k on offer for home repairs

| 25/06/2012 | 106 Comments

GIVING MONEY AWAY.gifCNS): The Premier's Office is offering grants of as much as $10,000 to local home owners who need important structural or health and safety repairs to their house but who are not in a financial position to undertake the work. Although no formal policy has beenannounced by Premier McKeeva Bush, an advertisement in the local press on Monday indicated that the money to finance the home repair grants was coming from government's deal with the Dart Group. The notice indicates that a committee has been formed to oversee applications and the members will visit each location to assess the work needed.

The advertisement, which appears on page 3 of Monday's Caymanian Compass, (posted below) states that, using funds from the ForCayman Investment Alliance, the Premier's Office will make ordinary grants of up to $10,000 and possibly more at the discretion of the committee. The office says each application will be decided by the committee based on its own merits, although there is no indication how many grants will be given or how much of the Dart cash has been allocated to the programme.

The government has not revealed the members of the committee who will be making the decisions, and the criteria for application appears to be quite wide, However, the advertisement says that reputable contractors will be required to submit written quotes on the repair work required by applicants.

Members of the public applying for the grants must be 18 years and the property in need of repairs must be their sole residence and be at least five years old. The advertisement says that those already receiving mortgage relief will not be eligibly for this additional grant unless there are extenuating circumstances. It also indicates that priority will be given to health and safety repairs or homes where children are at risk.

The notice appears to be the first indication of the new government policy as there have been no policy statements made by McKeeva Bush regarding this particular programme, or debate in the Legislative Assembly about the initiative, which is not being handled via the planning department but directly by the premier's office.

The funding is coming from money given to government as part of the ForCayman Alliance with Dart, although Bush confirmed that the donation of $5 million made by the islands' largest developer last year as part of a sub-deal signed with the NRA, government and Dart was going into general revenue.

The Office of the Auditor General said Monday that it had become aware of the proposed programme as a result of the advertisement and it would be including the project in its review of government finances.

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Gang mediation team land in Bermuda

| 25/06/2012 | 0 Comments

Wayne Perinchief.jpg(Royal Gazette): A team from Boston has arrived in Bermuda to start a gang mediation programme. Minister of National Security Wayne Perinchief (left) today announced a team from StreetSafe Boston had arrived in Bermuda to facilitate the programme. The programme is being facilitated independent of the Bermuda Police Service so that mediators remain neutral when engaging those involved in gang activity. Perinchief said: “This weekend's tragic events speak to the clear need for this initiative. Solutions to these problems do not achieve results overnight and so we renew our efforts on all fronts; committed to reversing the destructive lifestyle that is the gang culture."

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Proctor leaps into Olympic team with record jump

| 25/06/2012 | 0 Comments

Proctor.jpg(The Daily Mail): The many athletes probably cursing the British weather for their inadequacies at the Aviva Olympic Trials should have thought like the long jumper from the Caribbean island hotspot of Anguilla. Shara Proctor looked out of her Birmingham hotel room on Sunday morning at grey skies and drizzle and "I said to myself, 'London might be like this so I have to be prepared and do my best no matter what’.” Which is precisely what she did, smashing Bev Kinch’s British record of 6.93metres that had survived a month short of 29 years with a jump of 6.95m. That lands her among the contenders for a medal in London next month. 

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UK wants high standards

| 25/06/2012 | 73 Comments

William-Hague_1957887c.jpg(CNS): The new white paper on the Overseas Territories published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office says that people living in the territories have a right “to expect the same high standards of governance as in the UK”, pointing to human rights, the rule of law and integrity in public life. The document also states that the British government expects high quality public financial management and financial services regulation to build resilient economies. “The UK is determined to tackle corruption in all its forms,” the new document warns as the Foreign Secretary makes a commitment to work closely with the territories with a long-term programme of support for the public services.

In the paper, which was based on a broad public consultation period with all the territories and stakeholders, the foreign secretary sets out what will likely be a more hands-on approach to the territories, where the UK will share expertise from across the entire government  and not just from the FCO in order to raise standards.

“The Government has responsibilities towards the people of the Territories and of the UK to ensure the good governance of the territories,” the report states. “The Government acknowledges the sensitivity of this area of work but believes that those living in the Territories have a right to expect the same high standards of governance as in the UK.”

In his introduction to the document, which will form the basis for Britain’s relationships with the territories from now on, William Hague says the White Paper is broad ranging, but does not "pretend to be comprehensive”.

Focusing on the economies and environments of its territories, the paper highlights the need for good governance.

The UK and the Territories will continue their partnership to meet the high standards set out in this White Paper,” the paper states. “The UK will provide support to the Territories, where necessary, to develop good governance, robust public financial management and sound economic planning. In particular we will support greater exchange of expertise between public servants in the Territories and the UK.”

As a result, public officials from the territories will train and work with colleagues in the UK, and UK experts will work in the territories.

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Seven charged with cheque fraud

| 25/06/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The dock struggled to contain the three men and four women charged with some fourteen offences relating to cheque fraud on Friday morning when they were arraigned in Grand Court. The seven defendants all pleaded not guilty to handling stolen goods and various counts of obtaining property by deception and attempting to obtain property by deception. They are accused of cashing the stolen cheques of a Butterfield Bank customer that amounted to more than $45,000. Four of the defendants are also accused of allattempting  to cash a further $4,000 cheque.

The crown claims the seven defendants all cashed several different cheques, which were stolen from one of the bank's customers in varying amounts of CI$5000, $4500 and $4000 during September and October of 2010.

The three men and four women, who deny the charges, will now stand trial in March 2013, which the court heard was the first available date. The trial is expected to last seven days and the defendants are represented by John Furniss and Prathna Bodden of Samson McGrath.

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Cultural programme a hit with Cayman kids

| 25/06/2012 | 18 Comments

309378_239251652782593_3765437_n.jpg(CNS): More than 300 Year 6 children in Cayman’s primary schools participated in a specially designed after school programme this year focused on local traditions and culture. “Bringing Heritage to Life” is a programme created and delivered by Chris Christian of Cayman Traditional Arts, which comprises three twelve week courses: Marine, Silver Thatch, Cuisine & Culinary Skills and Games & Entertainment. 97% of the students gave the initiative the thumbs up and want the programme to continue for the next school year and suggested including years 7 and 8. 100% of  teachers and principals gave an excellent rating for the classes.

Premier McKeeva Bush will be at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School Hall today Monday 25 June from 9:00 am to 10:00 am to award certificates to the  students who completed the course.

“We need to ensure that every Caymanian child knows who they are and where they come from; to have a deep understanding of heritage and culture, taught through history and art traditions of the Cayman Islands,” Bush said.

Maria Martin, Principal George Town Primary School, commended Christian and his team of teachers and said it had a “great impact in promoting Caymanian Culture”. Shesaid the students had thoroughly enjoyed the hands on sessions.

Gloria Bell, Principal Prospect Primary, said, “The programme has been a resounding success. It has allowed the students of year six to be able to have a greater appreciation for their Caymanian culture and heritage and life in the yesteryears. As the principal of the school, I want to recommend that this programme be continued in the next academic year.”

For further information, please call Chris Christian at 926-0119 or e-mail

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