Archive for August 7th, 2012

Cops make murder arrest

| 07/08/2012 | 0 Comments

Robert Bush.png(CNS): The police have arrested a 27-year-old West Bay man on suspicion of murder. The arrest is in connection with the murder of Robert Mackford Bush (left) in West Bay almost one year ago. The arrest took place during a police operation in the district on Tuesday 7 August. The man is currently detained in police custody in connection with the killing which triggered a series of tit-for-tat gang-related murders last September in which five young men lost their lives and a sixth was severely injured. Bush was shot multiple times in the head and body as he was sitting in his car at the junction of Capt Joe and Osbert Road and Birch Tree Hill.

Police believed at least two gunmen were involved in the shooting of the 28-year-old man, who they said was a victim of the feud between the Logswood and Birch Tree Hill gangs in West Bay.

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UK rejects latest CI budget

| 07/08/2012 | 127 Comments

rejected (274x300).jpg(CNS): Following news that the premier is reconsidering the proposal to tax expat earnings, government sources tell CNS that the UK had already rejected the budget proposals that contained the new tax over concerns about the credibility of that and other revenue raising measures. It is understood that the FCO questioned the operating revenue predictions in the budget proposal, which was submitted to London on 31 July, and said the Cayman government needs to do more work on the budget before the minister could offer his approval on the spending plans for this financial year. Premier McKeeva Bush had previously stated that he wanted to present the budget on 9 August but that is now unlikely to be the case.

CNS asked the premier Tuesday, in light of the changes, when he expected to be able to deliver the budget but he was unable to confirm a date. “When the date is known the real press will be notified,” he told CNS by email, indicating that he did not consider Cayman News Service to be the “real press”.

Local opposition politicians have also confirmed that they have not been informed of the date when the premier plans to finally deliver the last budget of this administration.

The premier confirmed on Tuesday that the tax is off the table after the private sector had made a commitment to support other revenue raising measures, the details of which are expected to be revealed tomorrow at a public meeting in George Town.

The need to reassess the operating revenue will, however, lead to further delays in the presentation of the budget to the Legislative Assembly and may lead to yet another eleventh hour delivery. Government will need to re-submit any new revenue proposing measures, officials have said, because the UK will need to examine the new revenue proposals to ensure that the ideas are both credible and sustainable in order to deliver the expected cash.

This means Bush will need to redraw the budget based on the expected revenue projections of the alternatives to the tax proposal, resubmit the revised budget plan to London and wait on the FCO’s approval, present the approved document to the Legislative Assembly, debate the proposed bill, scrutinise the appropriations in Finance Committee and pass the budget into law — all before 31 August when the recent stop-gap budget runs out.

It is understood that a number of alternative proposals have been submitted to government and the premier has agreed to adopt some of the measures that have been suggested, which are believed to target the offshore sector and the high-end tourism condominium market. However, no details of any of the measures the premier has agreed to have yet been confirmed.

The budget submitted last week represented some $592 million, despite significant cuts to government spending. The budget had a surplus of $70 million, whichfell short of the targeted $76 million surplus that the UK had required so that the CIG would not need to borrow to fund capital expenditures during this financial year.

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Gang denies armed robberies

| 07/08/2012 | 0 Comments

CNB robbery_0.jpg(CNS): A gang of men accused of robbing both the Cayman National Bank in Buckingham Square and the customer service centre at WestStar have pleaded not guilty to the crimes. Andre Burton, David Tomasa and George Mignott were charged with robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearms following the two daylight heists in May and June, while Rennie Cole has been charged with the Cayman National robbery. Burton also faces charges for driving the getaway car in the bank heist. The men are accused of stealing over $502,000 in US and CI notes from the bank and threatening staff and taking some $8,000 from WestStar. 

On Friday morning after their arraignment the four defendants were remanded in custody to HMP Northward until March when the Cayman National robbery will be the first of the two separate trials to take place. The men will appear for trial in May for the WestStar heist.


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Caymanian wins U15 Caribbean squash title

| 07/08/2012 | 5 Comments

jervis (250x300).jpg(CNS): Julian Jervis has claimed the title of U-15 Caribbean Junior Squash Champion at the recent Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. Jervis was competing alongside a group of local squash players who their coaches say had a very successful tournament. Alongside Jervis’s trophy, i Daniel Murphy lost only one match, and earned a 5th place in the U-17 competition. Eilidh Bridgeman and Kristina Myren earned 3rd and 4th place respectively in the girls U-19 competition.

Head coach, Glenn Stark, and team manager, his wife Amanda Stark, said they were both extremely proud of the progress. “We are very happy with the results, as many members are well below the U-19 cut off point. It’s a great achievement to do so well with such a youthful group, and we believe that we will see much more from them in the future,” Stark said.

Overall the team finished 6th in the boys’ tournament and 7th in the girls’. 10 countries competed in total, with the OECS consisting of four individual countries represented as one.

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Ex housing board director denies insurance con

| 07/08/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The former deputy director of the National Housing Trust Board, Edlin Myles, pleaded not guilty to nine countsof fraud and deception on Friday in the Cayman Islands Grand Court. The insurance manager is accused of using his position on the government’s housing board last year to con people who had been allocated the low cost homes into buying insurance policies from him. The crown claims that Myles told the applicants for the homes in East End that they could not get an affordable home unless they bought the cover from him. He is accused of gaining less than $1,000 through the scam.

Myles was bailed by the judge to return to court for his trial, which is set for 22 April and is expected to last for two weeks.

The former board member was originally arrested last October under the anti-corruption law, when the alleged scam came to light after one of the tenants reported Myles to police. The Housing Trust was closed by police and computers seized as the investigation into accusations of corruption began.

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Mac fuels Bermuda spat

| 07/08/2012 | 59 Comments

bush gt (237x300).jpg(CNS): Cayman’s premier appears to have added further fuel to the fire in his recent spat with the leader of Bermuda. Speaking to a leading newspaper in the country yesterday, McKeeva Bush said that his open letter to Paula Cox was justified. He told reporters from The Royal Gazette that he was well within his rights to send an open letter to the islands’ premier through that newspaper, which he accused of carrying stories with attacks on him from “that woman”, referring to Cox. “You have carried stories about myself from the Premier of Bermuda about myself and not once have I replied,” he told the Gazette.

“In Cayman, people send an open letter to the Premier through the newspaper. Your newspaper carried several articles with Paula Cox and I have responded through your newspaper,” he added. When asked about the three criminal investigations that Bush is currently facing, the paper reports that he hung up.

The Gazette published the letter yesterday in which Bush accused Cox of “antagonistic” behaviour towards him recently, remarks that have raised concerns both here and in Bermuda. The two leaders have exchanged public digs in the past about their respective jurisdictions and on several occasions Bush has implied that Bermuda has implemented restrictive, racist and malicious policies. Cox has boasted of successes in her jurisdiction and beating Cayman in areas of the financial services sector. More recently she told reporters that Bush’s derogatory comments about Bermuda were a distraction from his own domestic problems.

In his letter to the paper Bush had ‘advised’ Cox to stop attacking him and concentrate on sorting out issues in Bermuda. According to the Gazette, the Bermudian leader has declined to comment on the letter

One Bermuda Alliance, the opposition party, issued a statement following the publication of the letter. “Citizens everywhere are looking to their leaders for answers. They have a right to expect them to attack the problems, not each other,” OBA stated. The party’s leader ,Craig Cannonier, said that Bermuda expected their premier to be treated with the respect. “The war of words between Bermuda and Cayman needs to end. Yes, Cayman and Bermuda are business competitors, but we don’t need to be antagonists,” he said.

Here in Cayman, the governor has made no comment about the diplomatic spat between the two British territory leaders. Given the less than cordial relations that currently exist between the governor and Bush, however, any comments from Duncan Taylor are likely to be of no consequence to the premier.

Despite the continued controversy being stirred up by Bush in almost every quarter, Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said yesterday that he was still “shocked and embarrassed” by the premier’s letter to The Royal Gazette and questioned exactly what it was the Cayman leader was trying to achieve.

See full report here.

Related story and letter:

Offshore premiers go to battle

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Officials discontinue severe weather warning

| 07/08/2012 | 0 Comments

stormy (228x300).jpg(CNS): Updated 10-30am —  The weather warning issued early Tuesday morning has now been discontinued. As Tropical Storm Ernesto passed just over 200 miles southwest of Grand Cayman officials had issued the warning as rain associated with the system was expected to impact Grand Cayman before moving away from the area tonight. Although the warning has been lifted Grand Cayman will still experience cloudy skies with occasional showers and thunder through early afternoon. An additional one to one and a quarter inches of rainfall is possible today in association with the outer bands of Ernesto. This may lead to flooding of low lying areas and all residents should continue to exercise caution, local forecasters stated.

South-easterly winds 15 to 20 knots with higher gusts are expected through tonight becoming moderate thereafter. Seas will continue to be rough with wave heights of 5 to 7 feet especially along the east and south coasts. All marine interests should remain in safe harbour until further notice. 

At 1oam Ernesto was heading toward the Yucatan peninsula travelling west-north west at 14 mph.  Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts and the NHC in Miami is predicting some strengthening and Ernesto is forecast to become a hurricane before it reaches the Yucatan peninsula. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles from the centre.

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The tax trick damage

| 07/08/2012 | 34 Comments

For almost two weeks after the political ploy of announcing the possibility of a payroll tax was initiated by the UDP, the community has regressed to being as divided as it ever was in its modern history. Thanks to Mr Bush's "strategy" to announce the payroll tax so that we could swallow a less bitter pill (soon to be announced), the international media has had a good laugh, the cayman vs expats sentiment grew to its worse, and local businesses faced uncertainty.

Some loss potential clients, and quite a few within the financial services industry have had to defend the country's tax neutral status.

But the worse part of this debacle is the very widely held and highly credible speculation that this was all intentional. That is, with no regard to the community division, or international reputational impact on the main sector driving the country's economy, the government went full speed ahead with its brand of local politics, with apparently the only remaining skill set that they possess to deal with a financial crisis.

And this nonsensical piece of politicking was as obvious as it was damaging: CIREBA alluded to it in their reported statement in local media, Wendy Ledger gave us the 'bait and switch' viewpoint, and there were dozens of bloggers on local websites saying this was the political play. So not only was it wrong for the country, it was also a political failure.

None of this will matter much to the UDP, because you see, the UDP is really only one man. And that one man operates with no rationale, little logic in what he does, says one thing on Saturday morning and contradicts it on Saturday afternoon. All on a whim, on the basis of the last person that spoke in his ear, on nothing more than raw and impulsive decision making from one man at any given moment.

Imagine for a second what it would be like if you were to use that same approach to decide which job offer to take or which school to choose for your child. Now consider what it means to operate like that when running an entire country.

And it is this modus operandi of the UDP that is the most worrying. Because regardless of the advice given by his political allies, local businesses and supporters, the leader of the UDP has shown time and time again that he and only he is King. And while no reasonable person would ever criticise a good leader for not having much of a formal education (because one does not need that to make good decisions if they surround themselves with the right expertise and actually use that support), everyone will want to see the back of a leader who shows no respect for others.

If there was ever an episode that gives the other elected UDP members a reason to take charge, it was this one especially because of its closeness to the upcoming election. But we should not hold our breath, because they are all quite happy it seems to stay on board while their captain speeds the ship aggressively towards the rocks.

Hopefully the people will remember the collateral damage of this incident on Wednesday May 22nd 2013.

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Forbes misses hurdle in London 2012 heats

| 07/08/2012 | 13 Comments

forbes 110m heats    7 aug 12 059.jpg(CNS): Cayman’s Ronald Forbes stumbled towards the end of his 110 metres hurdles heat this morning in London and failed to qualify for the semi-finals after finishing in eighth place. The 27-year-old athlete described it as a devastating mistake as he believed he could have made the semis as one of the fastest qualifiers had he not missed the hurdle. Speaking to the CIOC reporter, he said he came off the ninth hurdle and stumbled on the second step. Forebs said he could not push off going into the last hurdle. “I was just forced to push it down. It was a crucial and devastating mistake but I’m not injured, nothing’s wrong. I really tried my best but under the circumstances it was a crucial mistake,” the runner told Ron Shillingford.

Forbes’ disappointment comes in the wake of setbacks for Cayman’s other too track stars. Cydonie Mothersill, who was scheduled to run in the women’s 200m yesterday, elected not to start the race because of a tendon injury that had not healed.  Kemar Hyman, who had qualified for the men’s 100m semi-final, was also missing from the line up in that race on Sunday after he began feeling intense pain in his warm up ahead of the big race.

Hyman, who is only 22 and Cayman’s record holder for 100m, is one of the fastest men in the world after clocking a time recently of 9.95 and willbe looking ahead to future international games including the Brazil Olympics in 2016. However, at 34, this is likely to be Mothersill’s last Olympics. Mothersill is also one of the fastest women in the world and the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and was expected to qualify had she competed.

Forbes at 27 will continue to compete and has his eye on the Rio Games but was disappointed by his performance, which comes following a year plagued with injury.

“This year hasn’t been good for me. I was injured for most of the year. When those guys were out there running, meet after meet, after meet, I only ran three races for the whole year because of multiple injuries that kept coming along,” he said adding that he had tried his best.

“I don’t care if my leg is dropping off, I’m going out there to represent. I did not work this hard to see beside my name ‘did not start’.”

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