Archive for October 5th, 2012

Family escapes house blaze

| 05/10/2012 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Police said Friday afternoon that three adults and two children managed to escape what appears to be a serious house fire in Savannah this afternoon. Enquiries are underway into how the structural blaze, which was reported to the emergency services at 2:53pm, started. The fire was at a home in Butterfly Circle off Hirst Road, in Savannah. The five occupants of the property, including the children, were all inside the house at the time but managed to get out unharmed. According to a police spokesperson, the entire house was engulfed in smoke and the full extent of the damage or cause of fire are not yet known.

Fire Units, including fire investigators,uniformed officers, medic units and CID personnel, are still at the scene, the RCIPS stated at around 4:30pm on Friday.
 

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CI hosts largest Filipino community in Caribbean

| 05/10/2012 | 37 Comments

filipinos (232x300).jpg(CNS): With more than 2677 work permit holders as well as a growing number of permanent residents and status holders, the Cayman Islands is home to the largest number of Filipinos in the Caribbean officials from the Washington-based Philippines Embassy revealed on their recent visit to the jurisdiction. Some 450 of Cayman’s Filipinos came out to meet First Secretary and Consul Arlene Tullid-Magno and Welfare Officer Saul De Vries when they were here last week on a trip facilitated by the deputy governor’s office. (Photo Lennon Christian)

It is estimated that around 8.5 million Filipinos live outside the Philippines across the world. In the United States there are about four million Filipino immigrants, making them the second-largest immigrant group in the United States after Mexican immigrants.

The Philippines is the fourth largest recipient of remittances in the world and the money sent back by Filipino overseas workers from around the globe now contributes well over US$20 billion annually to the local economy which has struggled to recover following the Marcos years.

It was during theinfamous Marcos reign that many Filipinos left their country for a better life as a result of the severe economic depression, lack of job opportunities and political oppression.

During their visit to the Cayman Islands, the delegation from Washington was accompanied by the local Philippines Honourary Consul Arturo Ursua. Although not formally appointed, he has been acting as a liaison officer for some time and was commended by Tullid-Magno “for doing a great job since 2008 – largely because of the Cayman government’s acceptance and support of his work.”

After making diplomatic calls on top government officials, the Filipino visitors conducted three days of meetings and official transactions with Filipino nationals, such as passport renewals, replacements and other services. Three other embassy staffers formed the delegation.

According to the latest immigration figures Filipinos are the second largest group of nationals on work permits in Cayman beaten only be Jamaicans with more than 8200 permits.

Tullid-Magno also spoke about the diplomatic problem which was settled earlier this year after a short deployment ban was imposed on Filipino workers for the Cayman Islands. The ban has been suspended, and the official said the action was initiated by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. 

“There was never an issue of the Cayman Islands not being in compliance,” the diplomat noted.

Meanwhile, although liaisons with Cayman fall under the auspices of the Philippines Embassy in London, issues in the Americas are usually managed by the Washington Embassy. With the closure of its Venezuela embassy in July and the Havana office later this month, the Philippines Embassy in Washington is taking on the role for the entire region.

The Philippine officials are working alongside the Cayman government to establish an officially sanctioned local presence. Once established in Cayman, an Honorary Consul would process applications for e-passports that are issued in Manila, serve as a civil registry of births, marriages and deaths, authenticate documents, and assist nationals who are ill or imprisoned.

Government officials said another reasonfor the visit from the embassy representative was to register Filipino nationals for next year’s general elections in the Philippines, in which they can participate via absentee ballots. The officials also administered oaths to those Filipinos here in Cayman that have acquired local status to recover their Filipino nationality as they are allowed under the country’s laws to hold dual citizenship.

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Two arrested for GT robbery

| 05/10/2012 | 1 Comment

police car2.jpg(CNS): Police have confirmed that two men have now been arrested and a firearm recovered in connection with the robbery of a courier outside an insurance firm in George Town on Thursday afternoon. The two suspects, aged 32 and 28, were picked up by cops in two separate operations following the daylight stick up yesterday afternoon. They were arrested on suspicion of robbery and remain in police custody while enquiries continue into the heist, which took place around 1:10pm in the car park at the offices of Britcay Insurance Company on Eastern Avenue.

Police said that a white Mitsubishi Galant bearing the licence plate 135064, believed to have been used during the offence, has also been recovered along with some of the property stolen from the victim.

“Officers continue to follow positive lines of enquiry and appeal for anyone who witnessed the robbery, saw the white Mitsubishi or any of its occupants either before or after the incident to come forward,” a police spokesperson stated.

The courier, from Sprint, was reportedly held up at gun point outside the insurance building by one man, who was seen fleeing the crime in the Mitsubushi after threatening the driver and stealing undisclosed property from him.

Information on this or any other crime can be passed to GeorgeTown police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477(TIPS).

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Kenyans win UK torture ruling

| 05/10/2012 | 0 Comments

images_38.jpg(BBC): Three Kenyans who were tortured by British colonial authorities can proceed with their legal claims against the UK government, a court has ruled. London's High Court ruled the case, relating to the 1950s Mau Mau uprising, could proceed despite the time elapsed. The ruling means the case will now go to a full trial. Lawyers for the three hailed it as a "historic" judgement. While the government accepts UK forces tortured detainees it denies liability and will appeal against the decision. Thousands of people were killed during the Mau Mau revolt against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s.

The government had initially argued that all liabilities for the torture by colonial authorities were transferred to the Kenyan Republic upon independence in 1963 and that it could not be held liable now.

But in 2011, the High Court ruled the claimants – Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambuga Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara – did have "arguable cases in law".

Their lawyers allege that Mr Nzili was castrated, Mr Nyingi was severely beaten and Mrs Mara was subjected to appalling sexual abuse in detention camps during the rebellion. A fourth claimant, Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua, died earlier this year.

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Nominations open for people’s gongs

| 05/10/2012 | 61 Comments

COMMANDER.jpg(CNS): The public is being invited to submit nominations or the 2013 Order of the Cayman Islands awards and honours, which will be presented on National Heroes Day in January. Names put forward for the awards, which were created by the premier, will be considered by the National Honours and Awards Committee and anyone can make a nomination for a resident of the Cayman Islands, alive or dead, for one of three sets of awards. McKeeva Bush stated that the awards are part of his  nation-building initiative and were about giving “credit where it is due for the contributions of our people.” He said that his office continues to promote such recognition.

“We have long maintained that the greatest asset in the Cayman Islands is our people,” said McKeeva Bush as he announced the nominations. “So what better way is there to celebrate our people than by honouring the most deserving in the community? 

“Living among us are everyday heroes who deserve recognition for their work and contributions to the development, success and general well-being of our people and ourIslands. Their selfless actions positively impact the lives of many others besides the immediate beneficiaries and such action is definitely worthy of emulation and appreciation,” he added.

Nominations close at 5pm on Wednesday, 31 October, and the committee secretary Patricia Ulett said nominations were being called for in the following medal categories:

  • The Medal of Honour, under three categories: Commander, Officer and Member;
  • The Medal of Merit, under two categories: Gold and Silver; and
  • The Long Service Award.

Criteria, nomination forms and guidelines will be available online for printing at uit.gov.ky/pls/portal/url/page/mtehome or as printed copies at the Government Administration Building main lobby and all district public libraries.

Completed forms should be submitted to Secretary, National Honours and Awards Committee, PO Box 106, Ministry of Finance, Tourism & Development, Grand Cayman KY1-9000. If selected, candidates will be sent a letter asking them whether they are willing to accept the honour, she added.

For further information, email Patricia.Ulett@gov.ky or call 244-2152/244-2453 or mail the Secretary at the above address.

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Mac plans clause in FFR law

| 05/10/2012 | 66 Comments

_DSC8098-web_0.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier has said that he intends to insert a clause in the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR) when it is passed into local law. Regardless of the position of the UK on the issue, McKeeva Bush says he wants the British government take responsibility for any financial loss or reputation suffered by the Cayman government as a result of FCO advice or instructions relating to the agreement. Admitting that he signed the FFR under duress in London last year, he said he told the FCO at the time that he wanted the clause inserted into the agreement but the UK categorically refused.

Appearing on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme on Thursday afternoon, ahead of his latest overseas trip, the premier spoke candidly about his reticence over the agreement, which he thinks is too onerous, costly and difficult for the Cayman Islands to implement.

Bush said that when he was essentially forced to sign the FFR in London last year in order to get support for the budget, he had raised his objections and insisted that, should the Cayman Islands lose money, miss important financial opportunities or suffer any reputational damage because of the rules the UK was laying down, the British government should foot the bill.

“They said, 'No, no, no; this is what you have to do',” Bush said on the government-owned radio station, adding that they refused to entertain the idea. “If this is a partnership, they must be responsible but they wouldn’t allow the clause. With all that the UK is demanding from us, where is their accountability?” he asked. “They are not infallible; they can make mistakes.”

During the signing in London, Bush explained, he had made his position very clear to Henry Bellingham, the then overseas territories minister, and the FCO technocrats. He also stated that he had asked for the ceremony to be videoed, including his comments about the need for the UK to be willing to pay if they got things wrong for Cayman, so he could show the public here. But he said that when he went to the FCO for the tapes, “they told me that it did not come out good. What a bunch of hogwash!” he stated as he accused the FCO of moving the goalposts to suit their benefit.

The premier said that when he brings the FFR to the Legislative Assembly to pass it into law, as required by the UK, which is expected to be sometime in November, he intends to insert the clause regarding the UK’s responsibilities for any loss or damage to Cayman that their advice, rules, or delaying causes, despite the fact that the governor must assent to the legislation.

“They must do what they must do,” the premier said, referring to the possibility that the governor will not sign the bill. “I am going to do what I think is right and what I have to do,” he added as he made it clear there was likely to be something of a diplomatic spat over the clause.

The premier stated that he believed the agreement was all about the UK wrestling back continuous control of the Cayman Islands budget well into the future. He said the FCO has now said the UK will continue to approve CIG’s budget even when the local government becomes compliant with the Public Management and Finance Law borrowing requirements.

Once again, the premier blamed the previous government, which left office three and a half years ago, as the source of the agreement being foisted on his government. He said it was not the deal with Dart or the China Harbour proposal for the port that was the problem but the projects undertaken by the PPM administration — the new government building and the schools — that had led to him having to sign the FFR.

Despite his concerns about the requirements of the FFR, Bush said that the objectives in it were laudable and he agreed with them, but it was the means by which they were to be achieved that he objected to.

He emphasised several times during the radio appearance, saying that he expected “they were listening”, that he supported and believed in the principles of the agreement but it was how the objectives were to be reached that was the problem. The administration of the FFR was going to be too difficult for Cayman, he warned, despite its commendable aims.

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Victim disturbs home intruder

| 05/10/2012 | 17 Comments

(CNS):  Police are currently on the hunt for a burglar who broke into a woman’s apartment in George Town in the early hours of Thursday morning (4 October). An RCIPS spokesperson stated that at about 3:40am a female occupant of an apartment at George Town Courts, off Eastern Avenue, reported that a man armed with a knife entered her apartment through her unlocked front door. Alerted by rumbling noises in her bedroom, where the burglar was searching through her drawers, she shouted at the intruder but at first he continued searching. However, after she shouted a second time the burglar fled the apartment on foot.

The suspect was short in height, having a light complexion and a bearded face. He was wearing a green t-shirt, yellow pants, and he had a white t-shirt on his head. The burglar stole two Jamaican passports, one gold chain and one bracelet. He did not threaten the victim; there was no physical contact between the burglar and the victim and there were no physical injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to call RCIPS CID at 949-4222, or Tip-Line on 949-7777, or to remain anonymous, are asked to use CRIME STOPPERS at 800-8477 (TIPS)

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