Archive for October 23rd, 2014

Man admits careless driving in fatal smash

| 23/10/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): A Bodden Town man has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving after his younger brother Egbert Robinson (24) was killed in a car smash two years ago. Eduardo Robinson (27) admitted driving about 14 mph over the speed limit on a chip and spray road in Prospect on 29 October 2012. Robinson who, is hearing impaired, suffered serious injuries himself in the car smash after the Nissan Sunny he was driving hit a wall on Mangrove Avenue. His brother was pronounced dead at the hospital following the early morning single vehicle collision. The court accepted Robinson’s plea and set a sentencing hearing for January next year.

As Justice Charles Quin adjourned the hearing he noted that while the court hears many sad cases this was a particularly tragic case. The court heard how Robinson and his family had suffered significant genuine remorse as a resultof the crash in which he had killed his younger brother.

A social enquiry report was ordered in the case and Robinson was bailed to appear on 22 January 2015 for sentencing.

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Fisherman camp stirs up Marina Drive

| 23/10/2014 | 94 Comments

(CNS): A small private plot in a residential suburb of George Town appears to have become a home away from home for Honduran fisherman and an unofficial fish market, according to neighbours who have complained to officials at the Department of Environmental Health (DEH). A dock and empty plot on Marina Drive sandwiched between canal front condos and stand-alone family homes is being used by the men, who are docking several fishing boats there, selling their catch and using the location as a camp in between trips. But neighbours say fish is being processed on an industrial scale and the men are holding drunken sessions late into the night, as well as using the canal as a toilet.

A group of Marina Drive residents has written to Roydell Carter, the DEH director, complaining that the men using the unofficial camp are dumping fish guts and garbage and even defecating into the canal. They also complain of “other anti-social actions and behaviour” and say their rights as property owners are being disturbed by the increasingly unorthodox activity.

One of the fishermen spoke to CNS this week and said that although they do sell their catch when they come into port, there is no major processing at the site and the only things that go in the canal are the fish scales.

The man, who said his name was Anthony, said that the fishermen are mostly Honduran and all of them have visas. They spend much of their time at sea or back home and only use the dock on occasions but no one was living there, he said, adding that “about eight or more people came” from government agencies on Tuesday to look at the dock but he said they did not say much or do anything.

Carter confirmed that his department had received the complaint about the camp last Friday from some residents in the area concerning various activities taking place on the property.

"The matter is currently under investigation by DEH and several other agencies to determine any violations and the required remedial actions, as necessary,” he told CNS.

Residents, however, are hoping for some quick action as they say things have come to a head with the activities there and those adjacent to the plot are feeling the brunt of it.

Garbage is piling up around the lot, they said, and empty beer cans are being thrown into the canal, along with the processing of fish, which the residents say is increasingly smelly. The men are partying and drinking at the site with others who visit the location and sleep all around the property, with loud music being played day and night.

“The location was never designed for such an operation, as we see it, a commercial fish operation cannot exist alongside households comprising young kids and families,” the residents state in their letter of complaint. .

The dock was erected some five years ago by the owner of the land, and although residents were unhappy the situation was bearable. At first the fishing vessels were very transient, the residents state, and normally stopped in port to sell their catch and to re-supply their boats.

When CNS visited, around five boats were tied up and a handful of men were on the boats and the dock. Washing lines of clothes were hanging up and various bits of machinery were strung about, as well as chairs, benches, tables and tarpaulin that could have been used as shelter.

Residents say that not only are more men now spending much more time at the site, health issues have arisen because there are no permanent facilities for dealing with human waste, with the exception of two portable toilets, inadequate they say for the number of fishermen and the people that are visiting the site. And with no shower stalls, the men are also bathing outside, they said, as they urged the authorities to address the issue.

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Local weather still unsettled as TD9 fades away

| 23/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A tropical depression that was expected to strengthen into a tropical storm weakened Wednesday evening as it passed over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. But local weather remains inclement with heavy showers and cooler conditions expected around Cayman, as a result of another weather system in our area which will bring more unsettled conditions for the next few days. Local weather experts predict possible flooding in low lying areas at the weekend. Forecasters state that the remnants of TD9 may still become an organized tropical system again once it reaches the Caribbean Sea which could also impact Cayman.

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Cadets hold garage sale to boost dwindling funds

| 23/10/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Cadet Corps' new detachment Section 9, will be having a garage sale this Saturday, October 25th from 5am – 8am at the First Assembly Church (195 Old Crewe Rd.) The Section 9 was created to enhance the development of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps. It is designed to promote good citizenship, leadership, and spirit of service in young Caymanians by a regimen of high military principles, discipline, and standards. As a result of the funding budget cuts over the years, members of the section, said they feel that raising their own funds is the best way to enhance development and achieve the goal of getting much needed equipment.

This garage sale will be the first of many events planned by the section in the upcoming months.

“The Cayman Islands Cadet Corps is important to the island because it brings about discipline, ambition and ethics to Cayman's young people,” a spokesperson said.

Clothes (baby, young adult, adult etc.) Electronics, (Televisions and DVD players) footwear, games, and house supplies are a few of the items being sold.

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Port struggles with debt

| 23/10/2014 | 94 Comments

(CNS): Although the Port Authority, one of Cayman’s most important statutory authorities, has increased its revenue and cut expenses, it struggles with long term debt and funds for capital investment. Moving from a loss of $1.8 million in 2010, according to a report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), the authority cleared over half a million dollars at the end of the 2012 fiscal year but its debt liabilities and a need to replace and repair equipment is causing the port problems. The auditor also noted some concerns about the management at the port that is making matters worse, such as mounting legal fees to fight FOI requests at the direction of the board and the mismanagement of crane repairs.

The port is making annual debt payments of some $2 million and spent $1.2 million during 2012 as a result of poor project management and assessment of damaged equipment.

The OAG also reported that at the end of June 2012, the port’s liabilities exceeded its assets by more than $3.5 million. In light of this as well as debt payments, a reduced volume of business and limited room for fee increases, Alastair Swarbrick has raised concerns about the port being able to continue operating without financial support from government in the future. 

In addition to the port’s financial troubles, there were also a number of governance problems, and Swarbrick qualified his opinion on the port’s 2012 accounts. He said this was because of a number of problems over conflicts and related party transactions. Swarbrick’s team found that the authority did not have the systems and practices in place for senior management and board director to comply with good governance principles.

He raised a number of other concerns, including the port’s failure to comply with its own regulations because of a deal with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s regulations preventing fee increases.

The report pointed to failures in the project management of the refurbishment of cranes. A failure to properly analyze the situation relating to problems with two cranes led to costly mistakes. Another $500,000 spent on consultants relating to the port development, which the port had recorded as an asset, were reclassified as an expense, the auditor explained. The money was wasted after the government was forced by the UK to abandon previous attempts at finding a developer in less orthodox ways and follow the process set out in the law, and so could not be claimed by the port as an asset.

On top of the various other governance issues he noted, such as ineffective inventory management practices leading to risks of loss or fraud, a lack of sound monthly financial analysis, the writing off of some assets without board approval and a failure to monitor employee time, Swarbrick also highlighted the port’s bill for lawyers.

The authority spent over $100k in 2012 and was at the time planning to spend even more in the 2013 fiscal year on legal advice, compared to just $27,000 in 2011. The auditors found that with the exception of a claim for damages, the money was going on lawyers to stop documents being released under the freedom of information law at the direction of the port’s board. Swarbrick said he was taking a closer look at that during the auditing of the port’s accounts for 2013 because much of the issue would impact that year, but he warned that undertaking such action given the state of the port’s finance was a concern.

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