Archive for July 26th, 2013

Cayman lottery

Cayman lottery

| 26/07/2013 | 110 Comments

About 10 years ago the government set up a committee to look into the potential of a lottery in Cayman. I was asked to chair the committee. We found that around 15,000 persons were in the 'Numbers' database at the time and in an unofficial poll found that 70% of the public supported having a lottery in the Cayman Islands … about half that amount supported casinos.

Based on information gathered, we estimated that around $700,000 per week was put into the Numbers system in Cayman, with some $200,000 plus returned to players. We found that quite a bit was being spent weekly on the Florida lottery and also online lotteries from around the world. We were also made aware of card, domino, blackjack and such games being played regularly for money.

We estimated conservatively that a legal lottery would begin with around $50 million per year being placed into it and that number would double very shortly afterward, with international players (cruise ship passengers, etc) being added to the mix. Of that, the return directly to government would be $20-30 million per year shorlty after start.

We did receive some negativefeedback from the churches, who we also had discussions with; their biggest concerns seem to be the casinos. Given the size of the 'Numbers database', it is clear that churchgoers were also purchasing Numbers. Of course, a downside to gaming is that folks who can least afford to will spend on a lottery but they do now anyhow.

We looked at lottery systems around the world, from daily/weekly system to online lotteries to lotteries such as "El Gordo", the Spanish lottery which has 4 or so mega-draws each year. We communicated with Camelot, which runs the UK lottery. We proposed to government at the time, based on our research, that the lottery be set up here and run by an independent company licensed by government (similar to Camelot) and that a percentage fee for such a license be paid directly to government.

So … I say all that, to say that lotteries are welcomed (wanted) in the Cayman Islands and that the government can make money from allowing one to be created here. The Numbers game is live and active, so we thought the country should make money from the existing gambling. My gut reaction … it is time to legalise the lottery, folks.

Vote in the CNS Poll: Do you think there should be a legal Cayman lottery?

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Injured burglar still on run

Injured burglar still on run

| 26/07/2013 | 73 Comments

(CNS): Police are increasingly concerned about the suspect burglar who was chopped on the head with a machete yesterday by the householder of the property he was trying to rob. The man thought to be in his twenties, has not approached any medical facility for treatment but is understood to have received a serious head wound. He was one of three people involved in an attempted burglary at a house in Sandy Ground Road, Savannah, Thursday, none of whom have yet been picked up by police. An RCIPS spokesperson said that while investigators want to talk to them about the crime, the priority now is that the injured suspect receives the necessary, possibly urgent, medical treatment he needs.

A police spokesperson explained that enquiriesin the case so far suggest that when he fled the house on foot, he emerged from the Pedro Castle area onto Shamrock Road near to the Texaco gas station and Wendy’s at Countryside around lunchtime yesterday. He is described as dark skinned, in his 20’s and was wearing a dark coloured baseball cap, a purple shirt, and dark coloured 3/4 length pants.

“It is vital that this man is treated as soon as possible,” said Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks. “We believe that the head injury he received was serious. He has also lost a lot of blood. We understand that he may be concerned about coming forward, but we can assure him that at this stage his health is our major concern. It may be that he is lying low on his own – so we would ask people to check their gardens and any outhouses.

“He may be seriously ill and unable to call out for help. I would also appeal to anyone who is harbouring the man to contact us urgently so that we can get him the treatment he needs,” the senior officer added.

“The suspect was with two other men yesterday – if you are one of those men and you know where your friend is located, do the right thing and contact the police or the medical services now,” he said.

Anyone who saw the man in Shamrock Road yesterday between 11:30 am and 12:30pm  near to the Texaco gas station , Wendy’s or on Hirst Road near Countryside, should contact Bodden Town police station on 947-2220, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers on  800-8477 (TIPS).

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Panton calls for precise info

Panton calls for precise info

| 26/07/2013 | 131 Comments

(CNS): The need for accurate information on unemployment among Caymanians and their skill sets versus the jobs available will be fundamental to the new government’s goal of putting local workers first, Wayne Panton said Friday. The Cabinet minister said that, at present, the government system that is supposed to match local people out of work with vacancies is simply not working and part of the problem is the lack of accurate information recorded and held by the agency involved. Panton said that while government estimates that unemployment is somewhere between 1,900 to 2,000, it could me more or even less. But the precise information is not available and that needs to be addressed. (Photo by Mark Lewis)

Panton said government has to have accurate and credible information on not just how many people are out of work but what skill sets or experience those workers hold and exactly what jobs are available in order for it to adopt a better system that will match the two together.

Speaking on the Rooster’s morning radio show, Crosstalk, on Friday, Panton said that the government’s priority was to get unemployed Caymanians back at work, and given that the country has the unique situation where half the workforce are on permits, finding places for locals who need jobs should not be this difficult.

“Our Achilles heel is that we don’t have a system that works properly,” Panton said. “The workforce agency is designed to meet the essential needs of matching vacancies to the unemployed but it isn’t working. We need to understand who are the unemployed Caymanians and what jobs are available and then what the skill sets are of those that are out of work and what are the legitimate requirements of the employers.”

Panton said that while the majority of employers are law abiding and understand that when local people arefully employed the economy functions better, which is better for business, there are some that try and beat the system.

“We need them to know we are not going to sit idly by and accept that happening,” he added. “This government is very much interested in addressing this problem and to ensure that Caymanians are given priority for jobs, training and development as required by law.”

The minister, who has responsibility for financial services, one of the country’s two major industry employers, said the PPM government would not turn a blind eye to infringements regarding work permits and employment in exchange for political support.

“We want a fair system that benefits everyone and there is no reason why we can’t address this given that half the work force is on permits,” he said.

Echoing sentiments expressed by the former UDP labour minister, Rolston Anglin, in an interview with CNS recently about the government’s job agency not functioning properly, Panton said, “We need the best possible information to create the right policies. Without the precise information we can only guess where the problems are … It is essential for us to understand as the policies can only be informed by accurate statistics."

He continued, “Our commitment is to Caymanians, to the economy and to the country. We have a 'Caymanian first' policy and the decisions we make will be about achieving a balance between Caymanians and the needs of the economy and we are taking the necessary steps to implement policies before the end of year.” He added that he was confident the new government would achieve what it set out to do to address unemployment in the local workforce. 

Panton emphasised that this government would be enforcing not just the letter of the immigration laws but also the spirit of the law to ensure local people were participating fully in the economy.

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