Archive for May 30th, 2013

Contractors could lose $$$ on metal theft

| 30/05/2013 | 16 Comments

MetalTheft2 (255x300)_0.jpg(CNS): With the value of copper having increased dramatically over the last few years, from $1.25 per pound in 2009 to around $3.33 per pound today, theft has become more prevalent in Cayman, as in many other places around the world. As a result, the Chamber of Commerce made it the subject of their latest 'Be Informed' session, when Dave Johnston from Corporate Electric outlined the problem of losses from contractors' premises as well as customers' installations. He told the Cayman Chamber audience that it was now the fastest growing crime in the UK, costing contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars, as he called for an awareness campaign in Cayman.

With the price of recycled as well as new metal holding, this is tempting thieves to take everything from manhole covers to telecommunications cables. He also pointed out the dangers caused by the theft when wires are exposed, and related a story where thieves in the UK had cut the neutral cable of an overhead power line, which caused the supply to six nearby terrace houses to become live. This caused a spark from an electric appliance that burnt through the gas pipe for the cooker, which in turn caused a leak, which then ignited. Luckily, no one was killed but six homes had to be demolished.

Johnston said that as well as raising the public profile of this crime, Cayman needed to enhance security measures. He also pointed to the possibility of regulating the scrap metal business by registering all scrap metal recyclers, to require a provenance check and identity records for all transactions. He pointed to action taken in other jurisdictions to ban cash transactions. Given the size of Cayman, he suggested that the country could have a single-source recycling or even an outright ban on the export of all non-ferrous recycled material.

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Cayman mourns loss of Edna

| 30/05/2013 | 27 Comments

Changinf of the guard (231x300).jpg(CNS): The country was in mourning Thursday at the loss of political stalwart and trailblazer Edna Moyle. The former legislator was laid in state at the country’s parliament building ahead of her funeral this Saturday with full honours. Moyle, a founding member of the PPM, the new ruling party, was a four term representative for North Side, where she made a lasting impact. She was also a minister and ultimately a Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Pointing to her many accomplishments, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson described her as an exemplary public servant “with a personality that was impossible to ignore”, as he paid tribute to her passing.

The mortal remains of Edna Moyle lay in state in a Cayman Islands flag-draped coffin in the Legislative Assembly Chambers throughout the day as a steady stream of guests paid their respects. It is the first time that the chambers have been opened up to the public for such a purpose.

In a mark of respect and remembrance for Moyle, all emergency and first responder services across the Cayman Islands observed a minute of full radio silence on the Cayman Islands Government radio network system, along with the lowering of a ceremonial flag.

“This is the first time in our country's history full radio silence was observed,” said Eric Bush, Chief Officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs. He explained that in many countries, radio silence is considered the utmost demonstration of respect and remembrance for a passing of a senior public officer.

Officials said that after the coffin was placed in the House this morning, members of the late speaker’s family led the viewing, followed by the new speaker, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, all of the members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) headed by Premier Alden McLaughlin. Manderson led civil servants past the coffin, guarded by a team from the uniformed services.

Speaking about Moyle’s career as a representative, Manderson said she helped to establish a library, health centre, civic centre, police station and community park in North Side.

“A tireless advocate for the elderly in the district, she also had a strong appreciation for young people,” he said. “Her work also led to positive changes for the wider Cayman Islands. A particular focus for her was on women’s issues. She was responsible for a government motion to make women’s affairs a Cabinet remit. This led eventually to the establishment of a Women's Resource Centre,” Manderson added.

“It is a source of pride to the civil service that a woman of Mrs Moyle’s achievements spent more than a decade as civil servant. During this time she worked as personal secretary to Administrator John A. Cumber, as well as deputy clerk of the LA before returning to the private sector,” the head of the civil service said. “Her consistent readiness to work for the good of others is a characteristic that should define all civil servants and indeed all public servants.

On Saturday, 1 June the official funeral starts with a procession from the Bodden Funeral Home at 11:00am. It will traverse through the central precincts of George Town, before moving to North Side district for funeral services at 3pm at the Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound. Interment follows in the late speaker’s family plot in North Side.

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CIMA to sign MOUs to market funds in EU

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

eu-flags-web2-370x229.jpg(CNS): In order to ensure that Cayman-based funds can continue to be marketed in the European Union, the country’s regulator has confirmed its intention to sign Memoranda of Understanding with member organisations of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). The MoUs relate to the Alternative Investment Funds Management Directive (AIFMD), which will require that certain conditions be met before non-EU countries can market alternative investment funds, such as hedge funds, in the EU. ESMA’s Board of Supervisors approved the signing of the MoUs with CIMA yesterday. The AIFMD is to be implemented across Europe from 22 July. Read more on CNS Business

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Wooden spoons bring in $6K

| 30/05/2013 | 31 Comments

6a0120a8cc9b27970b014e88d19cba970d-800wi_0.jpg(CNS): With some 52 candidates in the 2013 May election race and only 18 seats, 34 candidates were always going to be disappointed. Some candidates came very close and missed a seat by a just a few votes, while others were way off the mark. All candidates have to put up a deposit of $1,000 when they enter the political race in order to encourage only serious contenders because those who do not poll 10% of their vote lose that cash, which is retained by government. Matthew Leslie won the overall wooden spoon after polling the lowest number of votes as well as the lowest percentage of the vote, but another five candidates missed the mark. And with the Elections Office strapped for cash, the $6,000 will be very useful.

The office is facing a budget overrun for this year’s national poll and will be grateful for the money it collected from the six candidates who fell short. Winning the George Town and national wooden spoon, Leslie polled just 1.56% of the vote in the capital with just 91 people voting for the independent candidate, who used mostly social media to promote his campaign. 

Meanwhile, Dr Frank McField,who also ran in the capital, lost his deposit after polling just 3.6% or 211 votes, fulfilling his own prophecy that the parties and C4C candidates were financially crowding out underfunded independents. McField polled less in 2013, however, than he did in 2009, when he still lost his deposit but had 4.72% of the vote. Despite the increase of around 3,000 voters since then in the capital, the former minister’s votes fell by five.

In Bodden Town Vincent Frederick, Gregg Anderson and Arnold Berry, all of whom ran low profile campaigns, also lost their deposits. Frederick came in last in the race for the district, with just 3.79% of the vote and 136 votes. Although this was two votes more than at the last election in 2009, his percentage of the vote fell from over 4% because of the increase in the electorate. Anderson pulled in just 5.34%, while Arnold Berry polled just a few more votes toget 5.73%.

Andrea Christian was the only candidate in West Bay to lose her deposit but she polled the most out of the ‘wooden spooners’ as she got 262 votes or 7.82% of the vote. Another independent candidate in West Bay, Dwene Ebanks, saved his deposit with 370 votes and just over 11% of the poll.

In Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, despite polling a small amount of votes, Maxine Moore, who has lost her deposit several times before in her failed attempts for office, managed to hold on to her $1,000 this time when her 91 votes equated to 11.14% of the vote.

Despite polling just 139 votes in his head-to-head run against Ezzard Miller, Joey Ebanks not only retained his deposit but managed to get almost 30% of the vote because of the small number of candidates in the district. Not surprisingly, given the popularity of the incumbent member and the legal difficulties Ebanks currently faces, the result was not as good for him this time around compared to his attempt in 2009. Although scandal still dogged the candidate at the last election, when he ran on the PPM ticket, regarding an unexplained loan from the Turtle Farm, among others issues, he was still able to attract over 37% or 185 votes.  

All of the other candidates managed to stay well out of the danger zone but for some the disappointment was more about how close they got to the prize. In George Town, the UDP’s Mike Adam missed out on a seat by just 51 votes, a mere 0.8%. His party colleague Theresa Pitcairn also came very close in Bodden Town with 37.63% of the vote, just 41 votes behind PPM candidate Al Suckoo, who pipped her at the post with a lead of just 1.1% of the vote.

With the vote split every which way this year, the independent candidates had a hard time of it but Bo Miller put up a great fight in George Town and increased his share of the vote compared to his 2009 run. Miller got 1,590 or 27.28% of the vote, a significant improvement on the last national poll when he drew in just over 17% with just 808 votes, and turned out to be the best performing truly independent candidate in George Town and second in the entire race. 

Charles Clifford, who was fighting as an independent this time around to win back the Bodden Town seat he lost in 2009 as a PPM candidate, did the best of the independents. Clifford got 1,220 votes, which equalled almost 34% of the vote, compared to his first losing run in 2009 when he got a lot less votes with 932, which at the time equated to 33.11% of the voters.

The record breaker for this election, however, was Moses Kirkconnell, who drew in 75% of the vote in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, surpassing even McKeeva Bush’s 2009 result when he managed to get around 71.6% of the vote in West Bay. This time around Bush’s share of the vote plummeted to 47.27%. Although more than enough to return him as first elected member in the district of West Bay, he lost some  569 votes on his 2009 result.

Ezzard Miller increased his share of the North Side vote by around 20% when he got more than 70% of the vote in his constituency, while Arden McLean’s share of the vote in East End was cut by around 2%.

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Prison still working towards smoking ban

| 30/05/2013 | 11 Comments

smoking.jpg(CNS): With tobacco one of the many commodities that play a part in the underworld prison economy and smoking a common habit in the monotony of prison life the move by the local prison service to gradually ban smoking in the local prisons is more than just a move towards healthy prisoners. In a release from government marking World No Tobacco Day on Friday, officials were focusing on the health and safety aspects, however, of a tobacco ban at HMP Northward and said work has already begun on a phased basis to create a smoke free environment in the prison. As the local tobacco law bans smoking in all public places an implementation committee was establish last year to help the prison comply.

"The decision to make HM prisons smoke free was made for both health and safety reasons, as well as to be compliant with the Tobacco Law 2008 and Regulation 2010. Given the serious health consequences of smoking and second hand smoke, we considered it to be the right thing to do for our prisoners and staff,” said Aduke Natalie Caesar Josephs acting Deputy Director of prisons.

How the prison which struggles to prevent inamtes from smoking ganja as it is will enforce the ban remains to be seen, however but while there will still be designated smoking areas in the prison exempted from the non-smoking policy for the time being the goal is for the prisons to be totally smoke free by 2014. This includes a no smoking policy for staff. The prison system will provide counselling and therapeutic assistance to help people cope when the no tolerance policy comes fully into effect under the new prison director expected next month.

Meanwhile, government officials are organizing various events to mark the day and focusing on Article 13 of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which calls for a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.

Comprehensive advertising bans have been found to positively impact the numbers of people who decide to start or to quit smoking. Statistics have shown that banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce tobacco demand. For this reason such a step is considered to be a tobacco control “best buy”. The Cayman Islands is already a party to the FCTC and the Tobacco Law 2008, imposes a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship. 

Although one of the first countries in the Caribbean to enact anti-tobacco legislation to ensure a smoke-free environment for all residents and visitors according to a recent local health survey 15% of the population aged 25-64 still smokes tobacco. The Healthy Nation 2012 survey also found that men are twice as likely to smoke tobacco as women (20.7% and 9% respectively). Among those that smoke, the majority (67.1%) smoke daily. Among women 35-44 years of age, 79.35% of those surveyed said they smoke daily as compared to 52.4% of men in the same age group.

international statistics show that the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 die from breathing second-hand smoke.  Unless the world acts against tobacco, smoking will kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030.  Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally. It is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults world-wide.

“This is a global problem, but also something that can affect us all as individuals.   I encourage everyone to take a stance against smoking today, before it is too late,” urged the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar. 

Dr Kumar said the Healthy Nation Survey showed that 86.7% of both sexes report noticing health warnings on cigarette packages and 72% of them thought about quitting after reading the warning labels.

As a part of this year's World No Tobacco Day observance, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Public Health Department have launched a poster competition in the schools, whereby students are encouraged to create images that depict the harmful effects smoking has on the body. There will also be a series of presentations and other messages that focus on the negative effects of tobacco, shared with the public through media and schools.

For more information, contact Therese Prehay in the Public Health Department on 244-2632.

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The trouble with ‘Miller time’

| 30/05/2013 | 69 Comments

Ezzard Miller has done a few good things as an opposition member over the past few yeas, but his actions immediately after last week's general elections have resulted in an opposition which will likely fail to meet any expectations of effective checks and balance on the PPM government.

The day after the elections, even after the group of five comprising the three C4C candidates and the two wise men from the east agreed to essentially work together as a team, Miller made a 'suggestion' (his own words according to CNS) that an alternative government with his highness as premier could be put together, if only a certain PPM member and hopefully a few others would defect and cross over to this new group.

The plan not only backfired, as the PPM candidate shared Miller's email with various persons both within and external to the PPM, but it caused the C4C members to rightly question whether they could be a part of a successful opposition with a man who was trying to engineer his own government behind their backs. Furthermore, it is alleged that as Miller was telling others that he had five seats (being himself, Arden and the C4C members) it was interesting and ironic that Tara Rivers, who eventually ended up in the PPM's cabinet, was not one of the proposed cabinet members under Miller's 'Plan B'.

Miller managed to single handedly create a situation whereby five otherwise competent newly elected or re-elected members would become so fragmented in a swell of suspicion and mistrust that not only could they not see themselves working together but several of them "defected" to work with the government instead of forming an effective opposition.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the C4C members wanting to form a coalition government. In fact, the situation which resulted with Ms Rivers in Cabinet and Mr Connolly being offered an opportunity to work closely with her in a sort of councillor/jr minister position, similar to those introduced by McKeeva Bush, seems reasonable. And everyone should hope that it all works for the betterment of the country.

But we now have a scenario whereby even Roy Mctaggart, who seems qualified to play a strong opposition role, may also consider joining the government. Sounds nice if you are really into the coalition thing but does absolutely nothing to ensure there is a balance in the LA over the next four years. And that's not a good thing.

The C4C brand took a bit of a hit with their to and fro about whether they wanted to work with Alden McLaughlin, but the public is likely to forgive them if the coalition (we should use that word lightly) works.

'Miller time' is to blame for the weakness of the opposition because, while the North Side tough guy claims to be happy in his "southeast corner" (and to be honest even that phrase is becoming tiring), one could imagine how easy it may become for the government to forget that he is there.

That leaves us with a man that faces court in a few months to lead the opposition, one newly elected member in Bernie and a captain that is known for not doing too much in the LA in any event.

The only person left is one Arden McLean, who stuck closely by Miller's side for the past couple of years and must now be wondering how he ended up standing next to Miller for another four years and with no seemingly effective way to play a meaningful role as opposition in the LA leading up to 2017.

What a shambles, and all down to 'Miller time'. 

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TCI gets just $6M from recovery package of $19.5M

| 30/05/2013 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The Turks and Caicos Islands government has spent over $13 million dollars to recover around $6 million as part of the ongoing corruption investigation. According to local reports from the overseas territory, the Civil Recovery Unit recovered $19.5 million in cash for the TCI government, but $13 million of thatwas paid to UK law firm Edwards Wildman. Over the past three years that the firm has been working on behalf of the TCI government it has also recovered more than 2,500 acres of land. In an interview with the local media house, The Turks and Caicos Sun, Laurence Harris, the law firm's deputy managing partner, defended the fees

"We got back US$19.5 million and it cost US$13 million, so that is an investment rate of return of about 50 percent over three years, roughly speaking, which is about 17 percent annually,” he said, adding that the firm had also recovered land, which he described as the people's birthright and worth millions of dollars.

He said the $13 million in legal fees was down to the expense mechanism. “First, are the fees of my firm,” the lawyer told the local press. “Second are fees of barristers that we instruct, who present the cases in court … The third is fees from independent experts, who are often needed for these cases,” he added as he defended the fees charged by his company as standard market price.

Meanwhile, as TCI finds its feet again on the road back to democracy, its governor will soon be departing. A spokesperson for the governor’s office in TCI said that Peter Beckingham will replace Ric Todd in October 2013. Beckingham is currently Deputy High Commissioner in India, heading the Mumbai-Western Indian offices.

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Gun man caught holding weapon, court hears

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After a number of delays and false starts as a result of difficulties with legal representation, the crown’s case against Leighton 'Cookie' Rankine for attempted murder as well as possession and unlawful use of an unlicensed firearm, began Monday. Rankine is alleged to have shot a man in February of last year during an altercation near the Club 7 nightclub on the West Bay Road. 35 year old Rankine faces significant evidence against him in a case led by the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Ricahrds QC. In a judge alone trial, acting Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop heard that Rankine was holding the weapon when the police arrived on the scene.

During his evidence in chief, lead prosecution witness and authorized firearms officer, PC Derron Campbell, told the court that when he arrived on scene Rankine was pointing the gun towards his victim Mitchell Wright who was in turn holding Rankine in a head lock trying to avoid gunfire.

The police had responded to the scene after hearing a single gunshot fired in the area of the Club 7 parking lot. PC Campbell said when he arrived at the scene he instructed the men to stop fighting and show their hands but was unsuccessful.

The crown witness told the court that Wright was exclaiming that he'd been shot by the man whom he was fighting with. PC Campbell said he had assertively told Rankine to drop the gun and show his hands numerous times before the armed man eventually threw the gun into the bush hedge. At that point, the officer dragged Wright away from Rankine. 

As he did so however, an angry crowd had gathered around the scene and one person attacked Wright while he was being taken by the PC. The court heard that the situation got out of hand so the officer was forced to use pepper spray to calm the crowd down. Having hit Wright in the process Campbell flushed his eyes with a bottle of water during what had become a chaotic scene.

In addition, the police officer also stated that Wright had managed to kick Rankine in his face as he pulled them apart and as a result both men were escorted to the George Town Hospital to treat their injuries.

Rankine, who is defended by local attorney Clyde Allen led by Alastair Malcolm fom the UK, has denied the allegations and the trial continues this week in court 5.

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Rotary Central picks up service club gong

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

kapoor.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands Rotary Central picked up an award recently at the service club’s District Conference in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The club won the Platinum Governor’s Award, Champion’s Award (Best Club in the District), Platinum Award for Program participation Literacy Award and Zone 34 Public Image Citation. “We had ambitious plans for  what we wanted to accomplish this year and we are very pleased for being recognized for our efforts,” said President Ravi Kapoor (left). Many projects carried out by the club caught the attention of Rotarians at the District 7020 Conference.

“We have always been very active here,” said Kapoor. “However, this year we made a concentrated effort to document our efforts and we are very happy with the results.”

Competition was tough among the clubs in the district which is composed of 10 countries and 84 clubs. Rotary Central set the standards by taking the first Club-of-the Month Award in August 2012. The club achieved the highest points for September, October and November and an overall total of five First place finishes in the year, something no other club has ever done.

“Everyone was amazed by what we accomplished and were wondering what was happening in Cayman,” Kapoor added.

The Zone 34 Public Citation Award was awarded for the work done by the club in developing a public image plan and initiating public relations activates that enhanced the visibility of the club in the community. Zone 34 comprises of 14 Districts, 800 clubs and over 33,500 Rotarians. Rotary Central had a strong contingent with 10 members in attendance at the District Conference, the first ever to be held in the British Virgin Islands. Over 512 delegates were registered for this conference.

Next year’s conference will be held here in Grand Cayman.

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Cayman ready for Big Game 3

| 30/05/2013 | 0 Comments

cowdroy_0.jpg(CRFU): National Rugby Coaches Brad Cowdroy (left) and Tim Rossiter have announced their squad ahead of the Cayman vs. Bermuda 2013 NACRA Caribbean Championships fixture (dubbed BIG GAME 3) which is scheduled for 1 June 2013 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Grand Cayman. The Squad has been tweaked from that which narrowly lost out to USA Rugby South by 2 points in Atlanta, USA on 4 May with National XV’s captain Ben McDonald re-joining the squad as well as the introduction of Joel Clark, Michael Wilson and Saviri Tabuaniwere.

After Cayman’s away loss to USA Rugby South, the Americans travelled to Bermuda on 18 May and piled 24 points on the Bermudans in stark contrast to their encounter against Cayman where they could not find their way to the try line. The USA South’s saving grace against Cayman in the flood like conditions being the boot of penalty kicker Lucas Baistrocchi who scored all of the USA’s 9 points.

Cayman will be looking to overturn their last encounter againstBermuda where Cayman lost 7-3 in Hamilton and whilst there is no chance of progression in this year’s NACRA Championships with both Bermuda and Cayman having lost to USA Rugby South (who now await now await the winner of the Southern Caribbean zone, which could be either Guyana, Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago) both Cayman and Bermuda will be fighting against relegation in their clash.

Coach Cowdroy: “Even though USA South has won the Northern Caribbean region, Big Game 3 is by no means a dead rubber as the loser will be relegated to the lower tier for next year’s tournament and need to qualify back up to this top tier round robin, so both teams have everything to play for…Selecting the team to play Bermuda from the wider training squad has again proved to be a difficult task requiring many discussions and various team composition options being explored… As it is the last game of this year’s campaign, we have no doubt the players chosen will give it their all and not leave anything on the field by the time the final whistle is sounded.”

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