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iNews briefs1Cayman Crimestoppers offers reward top-up thefts

Cayman Crime Stoppers has launched an official appeal for information concerning damage to and thefts from mobile phone top-up machines between 17-Jan-2014 and 19-Mar-2014 at 1203 North Side Road, Welly’s Cool Spot at 110 Sound Way, Pirates Cove Bar at 2460 Seaview Road, Reflections at 7 Sound Way, George Town Hospital at 95 Hospital Road, and Lorna’s Texaco at 140 Bodden Town Road. Anyone with information about any of these crimes is asked to come forward and call the Crime Stoppers tip line, 800-TIPS. Callers will not be asked to identify themselves – just provide information. Cayman Crime Stoppers is facilitating a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for these crimes.

Cayman Crime Stoppers Chairman, Malcolm Ellis, is appealing to members of the public to call the tip line now if they have any information regarding these crimes. Crime Stoppers is able to offer a reward for information which proves valuable in solving a crime, and callers are given a unique code which they can use to make a claim. They never have to disclose their identity. The Cayman Crime Stoppers tips line is 800-TIPS (that is, 800 8477) and is a free, local call. Tips may also be submitted anonymously through the Crime Stoppers website at

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

By David Mcfadden From Yahoo news

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

The invasive species with a flowing mane of venomous spines has no natural predators in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. Native sharks and groupers typically avoid healthy lionfish, a native to the Indian and Pacific oceans that was likely introduced through the pet trade. But when a University of Florida team tethered spry lionfish to lead weights on reefs off Little Cayman, underwater video cameras later showed nurse sharks and Nassau groupers gulping them down.

Thomas Frazer is one of the researchers and the director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. In a Thursday email, he said the study off Little Cayman suggests that sharks and groupers “have the capacity to learn to pursue, capture and consume” lionfish without human intervention.

“Findings from this study simply suggest that conditioning is likely to facilitate the learning process. On a local scale, predation on lionfish by sharks and groupers is likely to enhance culling efforts,” Frazer said.

Some researchers and lionfish wranglers who were not involved in the study expressed doubt about the findings, arguing that tethered fish do not behave naturally and likely trigger an unusual feeding response in predators.

“I am highly skeptical that a native predator eating a tethered lionfish means that those predators will eat untethered lionfish,” said Mark Hixon, a University of Hawaii professor of marine ecology and conservation biology who has studied the lionfish invasion.

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5.3 magnitude earthquake rattles Leeward Islands

From Caribbean360

THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Sunday April 20, 2014, CMC – An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 rocked the Leeward Islands on Saturday but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages

The Seismic Unit of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad said that the quake had a depth of 29 km and occurred around 3.31 pm local time.

The quake, which occurred east of Anguilla, was also felt in St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.

It was located at 16.13 North and 62.52 West. The epicenter of the tremor was located 23 miles east (37 km) of Saint-Barthélemy, and 49 (79km) NNE of Basseterre St. Kitts and Nevis.

The tremor comes two months after the last reported earthquake in the Caribbean when Barbados was rocked by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in February.

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Cayman court authorises claw-back lawsuits against investors in Weavering Fund

By David Marchant From OffshoreAlert

The liquidators of Weavering Macro Fixed Income Fund have received permission from the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands to bring claw-back actions against certain investors.

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Eight killed in plane crash in northern Mexico

(Reuters) – A Hawker 800 jet crashed in northern Mexico late on Saturday, killing all eight people on board, the government of the state of Coahuila said.

The plane came down in an industrial estate in the municipality of Ramos Arizpe, just north of state capital Saltillo, the Coahuila attorney general’s office said in a statement.

According to preliminary findings, the jet departed from the Mexican Caribbean island of Cozumel on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and was bound for Ramos Arizpe, the statement said. It was not clear what caused the crash.

Separately, authorities in Naucalpan on the northwestern fringe of Mexico City said late on Saturday that a three-way car collision there had killed at least eight people and injured 12 others, some of them seriously.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Tomas Sarmiento; editing by Jane Baird)

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Cayman Islands Marine Unit responses to another Cuban boat in distress

Last Friday (18) the Cayman Islands joint Marine Unit responded to another vessel in distress. At 4:03pm in the afternoon 911 received a call from a passing ship that they had come across a Cuban vessel with 6 men in distress approximately 30 miles east of Grand Cayman. The men requested assistance in getting to shore.

Patrol vessel Defender returned back to Grand Cayman with all 6 persons.

Publishers heading to court over Bob Marley catalogue

by Rhian Jones From Music Week

Cayman Music and Blue Mountain Music are heading to court over royalty disputes for songs from the catalogue of Bob Marley.

Blue Mountain Music is being sued by Cayman Music for alleged misattribution and diversion of income.

Cayman represented Marley’s catalogue from 1967 to 1976. Chris Blackwell’s Blue Mountain Music published various Bob Marley titles from the mid 1970s onwards. Both publishers retain some of the singer’s work to the present day.

The tracks in question include ‘70s hit No Woman No Cry and were written by Marley. Cayman says that the music publisher’s share was never credited to it, therefore being denied its contracted entitlement for over 40 years.

Additionally, the named writers (such as Vincent Ford) are said to have lost out on performance income. The trial will begin on May 12.

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Cayman’s Seven Fathoms Rum to be featured in US franchise

Cayman Islands’ Seven Fathoms Rum is now featured in the American Bahama Breeze chain of restaurants that specialises in Caribbean-inspired seafood, chicken, steaks, and tropical drinks.

A cocktail called Seven Fathoms Swanky is to be launched from the Cayman Islands and placed on their menu. This would be available across the USA as the signature drink of the Cayman Islands.

OECS works with entrepreneurs to improve trade with French Caribbean islands

From Caribbean360

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Thursday April 17, 2014, CMC – The OECS Export Development Unit (EDU) says it is working with regional entrepreneurs to further promote trade with the French Caribbean following a successful fact finding business mission to the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe .

A statement from the St. Lucia-based OECS Secretariat said that during the mission, representatives of firms from the sub-regional grouping attended seminars, and meetings on discussing trade relations, possible joint ventures as well as meeting with the important stakeholders in the two countries.

“The business mission served primarily as a means to bridging the gap between firms in the sub-region and Martinique and Guadeloupe in a number of key economic sectors,” said the head of the OECS EDU Vincent Philbert.

Citing the on global economic situation, Philbert said he welcomed the initiative as one intended to spur economic activity and employment in the region.

Philbert said the mission was a major first step in the efforts at building stronger trading links with the French islands as well as to expose the region’s firms to best practices in the areas of economic and trade facilitation in these two major markets.

“The OECS Export Development Unit sees such activities involving the French territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe as important pillars to bringing life to the business facilitation aspects of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as these relate to expansion of trade in goods and services.

“EDU is of the view that continuous interaction of OECS actors to their EU (European Union) counterparts, next door, is extremely important to efforts at expanding trade for the OECS private sector,” he added.

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Cayman’s Tourism Association announces new board

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) has announced its new board members for 2014/15 with the same board as last year.

Ken Hydes, President

Steven Hayes, Vice President,

Tim Adam, Secretary,

Nigel Mitten, Treasurer

Harry Lalli, Immediate Past President.

St Lucia non-performing bank loans a concern – Anthony

From Caribbean360

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Thursday April 17, 2014, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says he is concerned about EC$150 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) in non-performing bank loans, vowing that the problem has to be resolved.

“This is not an issue to be tackled by one country alone, but by all of us in the financial space that we occupy,” Anthony said as he addressed the 50th anniversary of Scotiabank operations in St. Lucia.

Anthon, who is also finance minister, said if this is going to be achieved then the gulf between the financial sector and the government that makes the decisions must be addressed.

“The time has really come for us to be one team, one partner, but protecting our respective interests, but at the same time addressing the common interest of the jurisdiction that we manage,” the Prime Minister said.

He praised the “sheer efficiency” of the Bank of Nova Scotia, adding that it belongs to a tradition of Canadian banking that has helped nurse Canada through “this extraordinary meltdown” with minimum damage.

Anthony said what is clear is that the Canadian banks have become models for the rest of the world.

“Were it not for the presence of the Canadian banks in our financial space the situation that we are now confronting would have been even more serious than it is,” Anthony told the ceremony, while also paying tribute to retiring general manger Chester Hinkson, who was leaving after 44 years.

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First Cayman Youth Cup attracts world-class clubs

From Jamaica Observer

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CMC) — Five regional and international clubs will compete in the first ever Cayman Airways Invitational Youth Cup next month.

Teams from Charlton Athletic (England), IMG Academy (United States), Real Club Deportivo España (Honduras), Harbour View FC (Jamaica) and St Clair’s Coaching School (Trinidad and Tobago) will travel to the Grand Cayman for the five-day tournament that includes the Cayman Islands national Under-14 squad.

The tournament is scheduled to kick off on May 6.

“Attracting high-level competition to Cayman is a pillar of the Football Association’s plan to build our next generation of national players,” said CONCACAF and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president Jeffrey Webb.

“Kudos to the organisers, West Bay Sports Foundation and Academy Sports Club along with the sponsors for their commitment to youth development. CIFA supports this and any initiative that will assist with the development of Cayman’s young players.”

Academy Sports Club, a regular competitor at overseas tournaments, worked with the West Bay Sports Foundation to produce the tournament.

“The line-up of teams is an impressive one and will pose a challenge for the national Under-14 youth team,” said director of the National Youth Programme Ardin Rivers

“With local support, I know our boys will give their best,” he added.

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LIAT senior director suspended

From The Gleaner

Antigua-based regional airline (LIAT) is maintaining its silence over reports that the cash-strapped company had suspended its Director of Flight Operations, Captain George Arthurton.

LIAT’s communications manager Desmond Brown told the Caribbean Media Corporation that the matter is an internal one and not up for public discussion.

Arthurton is reported to have gone on suspension yesterday, following an incident in November 2013, where one of the airline’s pilots, refused to operate an aircraft and was subsequently suspended.

Last month, the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association said it was awaiting the recommendations of an investigation into the breach of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation regulations last November by LIAT.

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Cayman Swordfish Challenge won by Volatility fishing team

The Volatility fishing team of captain Tony DiGiulian and anglers Bart Hedges, Brandon Cunningham, Andreas Marcher and Gene Paluzzi won the eighth annual Cayman Swordfish Challenge in the Cayman Islands that concluded Monday. They weighed a daytime-caught fish of 225.8 pounds. Captain Bouncer Smith guided researchers from Nova Southeastern University to deploy a pop-off satellite tag in a 75-pound sword in conjunction with the tournament.

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Portsmouth [Va] CG crew enables major Caribbean drug bust

By Chris Horne From

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth-based Coast Guard cutter played a key role in a major Caribbean drug bust this week.

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare offloaded more than $100 million worth of cocaine at Coast Guard Bse Miami Beach Tuesday. They intercepted the drugs in two separate busts: the first was in March, about 100 miles south of Jamaica, and the second was from a vessel travelling between Colombia and Honduras.


Authorities say more than three tons of cocaine were seized, with an estimated wholesale value of $110 million, and a street value of $350 million.

The seizures were part of of the Coast Guard’s Operation Martillo, an effort to curtail cocaine shipments heading to the U.S. through Miami.

The Coast Guard Cutter Legare is a 270-foot medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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An invisible economy in Latin America and the Caribbean?

By Maddie Grant From Social Fish

This is a guest post by Felipe Buitrago, consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank, related to his awesome new book about the Orange Economy. I plan to write more about this later, but take a look first.

The overnight expansion of Nigeria’s GDP by 89% on Sunday April 6th would be the most dramatic economic improvement in history by any measure, except that it was merely a statistic update of the base year from 1990 to 2010, as explained by The Economist. However, the nature of this statistical adjustment comes with a one-off opportunity to visualize the dramatic impact of new technologies and the direction they are taking the overall economy, in Nigeria, in Africa, and, indeed, the whole world.

What calls my attention is that two of the new big players in Nigeria’s economy are communications and films; both were practically non-existent 30 years ago. Combined they represent almost 11% of Nigeria’s GDP in 2013. Communications takes the lion’s share of this ‘new’ economic engine, but with 120 million mobile subscribers it could not be expected less. What is relevant, is that today most of this subscribers are using ‘dumb-phones’, but rapidly catching up with a growing market for ‘smart-phones.’ Combine it with the fact that Nollybood is nowadays the largest global producer of feature films in the world, and make the math for the potential of this combination in the next five or ten years.

But, what does this have to do with Latin America? Well, that marriage between the new technologies and creative contents for tablets, smart-phones and the oncoming “wearable gadgets” like Google’s Glass, hold one of the keys for the regions 10 million youth that join the labor force every year. And that is pretty much the argument of my previous post on the opportunity of the Orange Collar Workers.

Making visible the potential of this marriage should not depend only in the serendipitous chance of a faraway country realizing and very outdated statistical system. It should be the objective of a conscious effort to build a truly Orange Economy.

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Police in Trinidad walk against abuse

From Guardian Media:

A campaign was launched yesterday to raise public awareness of abuse and crimes committed against the disabled. It took the form of an awareness march through the streets of Port-of-Spain held jointly by the WASA Sports and Cultural Club and the Caribbean Utilities Employees Association.

The event featured representatives of the local and Caribbean law enforcement community, family members, representatives of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee (LETRC) who are joining forces to raise funds for the Special Olympics of T&T and are campaigning for the eradication of the word “retard.”

Speaking in support of the initiative yesterday, police public information officer Insp Wayne Mystar said:“The public must know that members of the differently-abled community are just like everyone else and they need the respect that is due them and raising this level of awareness is very important.”

He said yesterday’s event was also in keeping with one of the goals of the T&T Police Service for more interactions between law enforcement officers and the public. He said the special project was a classic example of how police officers can partner with members of the Defence Force, Civilian Conservation Corps, NGOs and volunteers for a worthy cause.

LETRC director Insp Richard Taylor expressed satisfaction at the large turnout of participants, including Caribbean law enforcement representatives. He said the march gave citizens an opportunity to see the men and women of the various protective services in a different light. Other Caribbean countries participating in the event were Anguilla, Antigua, Montserrat, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Measures by Wildlife Commission target invasive lionfish

By Sue Cocking From Miami Herald

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, meeting last week near Tallahassee, stepped up the battle against the spread of invasive lionfish. Commissioners gave preliminary approval to draft rules that would prohibit importation and development of aquaculture of lionfish; permit divers using rebreathers to harvest the venomous exotics; and expand opportunities for spearfishing tournaments to target lionfish.

The measures, which are expected to be adopted at the commission’s June meeting, mirror bills now before the Florida House and Senate.

In other action, commissioners approved a commercial daily trip and vessel limit of 200 sea cucumbers in both state and federal waters that will take effect June 1. Sea cucumbers are sedentary bottom-dwellers that are becoming a staple of Asian seafood markets, and commissioners said they wanted to be proactive in preventing overfishing.

The commission set a recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf state waters (less than nine miles from shore) to run from May 24 through July 14. The daily bag limit is two fish per person per day.

The panel moved forward with a proposal to create a Gulf Reef Fish Data Reporting System aimed at improving the collection of information about recreational reef fish catch and effort. If given the final nod in June, the measure would require anglers on private boats in Gulf state waters to submit their data in order to harvest or possess several species of snapper, grouper, amberjack and triggerfish. The measure would not apply to the Keys, nor to anglers fishing on charter or head boats.

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Jamaica reports drop in crime

From Caribbean Journal

Jamaica is seeing a “downward trend” in murders and other crimes, according to the country’s Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting.

The Minister, who was speaking at the Jamaica Police Academy last week, said murders were down by 12 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

All serious and violent crimes fell by 13 percent in the first quarter, while accusatory crimes dropped by 15 percent, he said.

“We are encouraged,” Bunting said. “We are making a little headway on the crime control side, in terms of police operations, and we are also emphasizing the engagement of the community.”

One reason for the drop in crime, he said, was increased engagement between communities and police to “prevent violence and expose criminals.”

“If we can see that become a national movement, and take root, I am confident that we are going to see the continued improvement in the crime statistics,” Bunting said

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Haiti Police, Protesters Clash as Frustration Builds in Caribbean Island Nation

By Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times

Haiti police and protesters clashed this week as frustration over the rising cost of living and the government buildings in the Caribbean island nation.

Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters on Wednesday in Haiit’s capital Port-au-Prince, video from the scene showed.

Local blog Haiti Libre reported that protesters left the ruins of Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bel Air and walked along several roads as the group swelled into the thousands under “heavy police surveillance.”

“Protesters hurled about hostile to the Head of State, whom they accused of all evils and allow to the Prime Minister which according to them is not credible. They demanded once more, the departure of the team in power and its replacement by a provisional government in charge of organizing general elections… A position that divides the apparent unity of the opposition… Signs in hand, chanting anti-government about, throwing everything they found in their path, some demonstrators shouting that the revolution had begun…”

Senator Moïse Jean-Charles said at the protest: ”We must not allow Martelly to end with the country. He must go and we are committed to this fight,” he said.

Rudy Heriveaux, the new minister of communications, was also the subject of angry protestors because his claim of fighting against misinformation is actually a ploy to take away freedom of the press, some protestors said.

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Woman undertakes world’s longest triathlon

By Joy Perrone, From The Celebrity Café

A Canadian woman is attempting the world’s longest triathlon, which will take her from Cancun, Mexico to Washington, DC.

Norma Bastidas may just set a world record. The 47-year-old athlete is currently running, biking, and swimming 3,762 miles from Mexico to the United States, reports CNN . She began by swimming 95 miles in the Caribbean ocean for the first leg of the triathlon. She then hit the bike, traveling 130 miles a day to cross the United States/Mexico border. Currently, Bastidas is running her way towards the nations capital, and hopes to reach it before the end of April. Her journey broken down is a 95 mile swim, a 2,932 mile bike ride, and a 735 mile run.

Why is she doing this? Bastidas covered all the major human trafficking routes during her journey, and says she hopes that it will bring new attention to the issue. She’s teamed up with advocacy group iEmpathize to film a documentary that will follow her progress. For Bastidas, the cause hits close to home. When she was just 17, Bastidas was kidnapped in Mexico City by men who were going to sell her into sex slavery, escaping only when the brother of one of her kidnappers felt bad for her and helped her get away. “You can’t meet someone who’s said, ‘I’ve been raped, too’ and go home and not care about it,” says Bastidas. “What I do is that just remind people it’s not just a cause. We’re your family, your sisters, your daughters, your mothers.”

Currently, the world record for longest triathlon is held by David Holleran, who earned the title in 1998. He swam 26 miles, biked 1,242 miles, and ran 310 miles. Bastidas will more than double his mile count.

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Man sold US knock-off batteries for carriers, subs

From Ventura County Star, Calif.

A former Simi Valley man has been convicted of defrauding the U.S. government by selling more than $2.6 million in knock-off batteries to the Department of Defense.

Didier De Nier, 63, was found guilty Wednesday of five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. De Nier lived in Simi Valley until he left the U.S. about two years ago to live aboard his yacht near the Caribbean island of St. Martin.

He is the former CEO of Powerline, which was based in Simi Valley and sold more than 80,000 batteries and battery assemblies to the Navy for emergency power on aircraft carriers, minesweepers and ballistic submarines. The company also did business as Birdman Distribution Corp.

De Nier and his employees attached counterfeit labels to the knock-off batteries, so they appeared to come from approved manufacturers, according to evidence presented at the trial. They also used chemicals to remove “Made in China” markings from the batteries.

De Nier is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 18. He faces a maximum sentence of 110 years in federal prison.

His former wife, Lisa De Nier, who served as the company’s vice president of sales, previously pleaded guilty in the case to conspiracy to defraud the government. She is expected to be sentenced later this year and faces up to 10 years in prison.

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