Archive for August 27th, 2008

Mac plans to sue Tibbetts

| 27/08/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of the announcement that the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) had found no evidence of a crime regarding the financing arrangements over the redevelopment of the Turtle Farm, McKeeva Bush, Leader of the Opposition, said he considered the whole thing nothing but political victimisation and he would have his day in court regarding the defamatory statements made by Kurt Tibbetts, the Leader of Government Business.

“I will be filing a suit against Kurt Tibbetts and the PPM regarding the things he inferred against myself and the Turtle Farm Board,” said the Leader of the United Democratic Party, referring to remarks made by the People’s Progressive Movement Leader at a press conference in July 2007. “This whole episode has been a malicious attempt to erode my political standing. This type of politics should not be allowed and their attempts to defame me have had a severe impact on my family.”

Bush accused the government of engaging in divisive politics, which they were pursuing in order to stay in power by smearing his character, and said that their actions were being influenced by outside political advisors who, he said, came from the Eastern Caribbean where malicious politics were common. He said that he and the management of the Turtle Farm had worked hard to rebuild the facility after Hurricane Michelle in 2001, and that the stakeholders in the tourism sector had supported their efforts.

“Things at the Turtle Farm would have been far better today were it not for their political games,” added Bush. “At the time I acted on good faith on the advice of Carlyle McLaughlin, who was a trusted member of the board. It would be amusing if it were not so serious that the current government trusted his judgement enough to place him in charge of the most important financial institution in the country.”

Bush explained that the now CIMA chair played an important role in assisting him and the board over the best ways to finance the project and that he received good advice. He added that any local businesses involved were included because as a politician he felt it important to help Caymanians where possible.

“I believe as a politician I am here to help people regardless of who they are and not to help myself. People must understand because I help someone it doesn’t mean I get something out of it,” he said. Explaining the role of GC Venture, who were paid around $600,000 for advisory services and introductions regarding potential financing partners, he said that they had been under contract and had to be paid.

Bush said that during the FCU investigation he was not concerned as he knew he had done nothing wrong, but his family had been hurt by the whole situation. “If you have a pure heart and clean hands you have nothing to fear and I didn’t lose sleep over anything, but it bothered me that they hurt my family and tried to turn people against me,” he added. “If the government had the people’s interests at heart we would not have had to go through all this, but I will have my day in court.”

Looking at the impact on the forthcoming election campaign he said that the people of Cayman were not going to suffer the antics of the PPM anymore. “I am not worried about the campaign, the people are going to boot them out of office for mismanagement, maladministration and no leadership,” he said.

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The shame of the vocal minority

| 27/08/2008 | 13 Comments

The recent gibes and complaints about the native origins of the newly crowned Miss Cayman would be almost funny if the reaction was not such a horrible example of the worst kind of nationalistic, xenophobic jingoism I have witnessed in a civilised country since the British National Front raised its disgustingly nasty head in the 1970s.

It was the same kind of message from those people back then – go home, foreigners, we don’t want you, you’re stealing our jobs, marrying our women (taking our beauty crowns), and undermining our culture. It was horrible, and it is disturbing to see a small, shameful group of people whipping up a similar kind of nationalistic sentiment in 21st-century Cayman.

There is a vocal and persistent minority in the Cayman Islands that is trying to make a political point out of ethnicity. Their goal, one can only assume, is to make Cayman purely indigenously Caymanian. How this will be achieved is utterly beyond me, as I am not sure what really defines an ethnic Caymanian. Is it merely to be born here? If that is the case, then many children who are born here now are not allowed to be Caymanian by law because their parents are not necessarily Caymanian.

So perhaps this vocal minority would want to ensure that the parents are Caymanian. But does that mean that both parents must themselves be born Caymanians, or do “paper Caymanians” count too? How far back must we go with this — do grandparents and great-grandparents all have to have been born here? And is there a difference between where they came from – are people who can trace their family back to Cornwall more Caymanian then people who trace their ancestry back to Kingston?

The problem with ethnicity or nativism is that it is hard to define. Moreover it leaves a rather nasty taste in the mouth. The world’s leading economies have long accepted that multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic communities are part and parcel of modern development, and the concept of nationality is becoming increasingly less important as nation states literally crumble in the face of globalisation.

As this writer has noted on numerous occasions, nationality is merely an accident — it is something imposed on us all. Some of us have come up trumps in the nationality stakes by winning British, US or Canadian passports. Merely by the fact that I was born in a working-class community in 1960s Britain (albeit far from affluent), I have had a privileged and incredible life. My mother received free health care when I was born; I received free education; there were lots of social safety nets along the way (we even used to get free glasses); and I was fortunate enough to seize the numerous opportunities that came my way all because of where and when I was born and the passport I won, which enables me to travel the world and to choose the Cayman Islands to be my home.

Birth is as arbitrary a thing as winning a lottery, and the world is beginning to realise that it is increasingly less meaningful. Rather like adopting children, those of us who adopt a country choose it, we seek it out, we make every effort to love it and often love it more than those who arbitrarily found themselves there by birth.

This unpleasant behaviour of some towards the young Miss Cayman is unforgivable. What exactly did this girl do to have people boo from the audience? If those protestations had been against the principle of beauty pageants, which objectify women and make young girls believe that they must be appealing to look at, then perhaps they were making a valid point. But we all know that the reaction to Nicosia Lawson was because she was born elsewhere and is, according to this vocal minority, not a “real Caymanian”.

Aside from the fact that this is a detestable position to take, why are these people so bothered? Its a beauty contest, it’s not about world peace. Across the globe babies starve, women are raped on a daily basis by the Janjaweed in Sudan, two-thirds of the world’s population has to survive on less than a dollar a day, Afghan families live in fear of the resurgence of the Taliban or the opium warlords, Haitians bounce from one natural or political disaster to another, the Congolese face pestilence and war at every turn, and these people are worked up because their latest beauty queen came from St. Lucia.

Oh dear.

The saving grace in all this is that most Caymanians, indigenous or paper, are not xenophobic fascists and they do care about world peace and poverty. They also recognise the magnitude of the contribution made by people who have come to these islands from elsewhere and loved them as much if not more than the places where their mothers gave birth to them.

Sadly, the few who despise all that is different from them — degrading and humiliating Filipinos for eating different food, berating Jamaicans for being too loud or accusing Indians of being the wrong religion — are making the most noise. But I am convinced that these people are only a small number, and it is time for the real open-hearted warm Caymanians who are willing to embrace all that is good about a multiethnic community to raise their voices, for the song will be louder and far more beautiful than the dirge chanted by the xenophobes who will never be satisfied until they are sitting here alone.

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Cayman in Carifesta X

| 27/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNCF): Carifesta X delegates are enjoying the experience of sharing their culture with others from around the Caribbean and beyond. The diversity of host country Guyana is another aspect of this experience that many are enjoying for the first time. The Cayman delegation is no exception having presented their contributions to the arts festival in the capital Georgetown and travelled to the town of New Amsterdam for a theatre performance.

Cayman is leaving its mark on Carifesta X in theatre, visual arts, and symposia and at the Grand Market and Trade Fair. The festival has not been without its share of problems especially with organizing the multitude of events and delegations. Caribbean leaders came under fire at one symposium from respected and outspoken writer Dereck Walcott regarding support of artists after Carifesta.

The Cayman group was among the smaller delegations attending the opening ceremonies at the 16,000 seat National Stadium; nevertheless with the Cayman flag flying high the group still drew a fair amount of attention from those attending the ceremony. This was especially true as Cayman representatives enthusiastically took part in spontaneous jump up sessions with drummers from Barbados and Suriname. Cayman’s contingent was lead by CNCF Artistic Director Henry Muttoo and CNCF Chairman Martyn Bould.

This is a homecoming for Carifesta as the first Carifesta was hosted by Guyana 36 years ago. A number of Caribbean leaders were in attendance at the opening ceremonies. After a show depicting the multicultural heritage of Guyana the opening ceremonies climaxed with fireworks and all participants jumping up carnival style on the field of the stadium.

Some members of Cayman’s contingent had the opportunity to see parts of Guyana outside of Georgetown. Delegates travelled to the town of New Amsterdam for the performance of “One White One Black”. Most had the first time experience of driving a vehicle on to a ferry in order to cross the Berbice River. In New Amsterdam Fritz McPherson and Quincy Brown performed in the town hall to a small but very appreciative audience. The Frank McField play ran a further two nights at the Theatre Guild in Georgetown. The organizational problems of Carifesta X affected the schedule of the play. “One White One Black” was scheduled at the Theatre Guild for August 25 and 26. However, on August 25 it was discovered that the Theatre Guild had been double booked. The result was that “One White One Black” was rescheduled for August 26 and 27. Henry Muttoo said he was happy to be able to be able to bring a Caymanian play to Carifesta. He said he was proud to showcase the writing and acting talent that Cayman has to offer.

Cayman received excellent press in the Stabroek News newspaper when it was among the few booths that were ready for the opening of the Grand Market and Trade Fair at the Sophia Exhibition Centre. Virginia Foster received a positive review for her telling of Anancy Stories at the Cayman booth. The booth display consists of photos that depict Cayman, such as a traditional home, a Caymanian sailing vessel the Kirk B, the National Bird, Pirates Week and an aerial view of down town George Town. A large backdrop of Seven-Mile Beach was used by many to take photographs. Literary work representative of Cayman is also on display. Paula Scott and Stan Ebanks of Swanky provided percussion entertainment at the booth.

Visitors to Cayman’s booth were often curious about Cayman. Some didn’t know Cayman’s location and many inquired about visiting Cayman. One very import visitor to the Cayman both was the President of Guyana. President Bharrat Jagdeo visited the Grand Market on Monday and stopped by Cayman’s booth. He chatted briefly with Charles Glidden, Virginia Foster and Stan Ebanks. The President said he hoped to visit Cayman in the near future.

Cayman’s visual arts community is well represented at Carifesta X. Natalie Coleman, Deputy Director of the Cayman Islands National Museum, said that the Carifesta X Visual Arts Exhibition has shown that Cayman’s artists can hold their own with artists from around the region as their work is on par with other Caribbean artists. Coleman said there has been a lot of interest in Cayman’s exhibit from artists and curators. She said the Carifesta Exhibition has provided “an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues from around the region with the hope of facilitating future exhibitions and collaboration.”

Henry Muttoo and Natalie Coleman also represented Cayman on two symposia. Muttoo gave a presentation in the symposium “Walk With Me, Talk With Me: Journeys of the Caribbean Imagination”. Dave Martins also participated in that discussion. Colman participated in a symposium titled “Mekkin Change: Art & Artists in the Caribbean”. The Grand Opening Symposium received a lot of media attention due to comments from Nobel Prize Laureate Dereck Walcott.

Walcott blamed regional leaders for the slow pace of cultural and artistic development in the Caribbean. He said that while the Caribbean was celebrating its arts at Carifesta, Caribbean artists were deprived of the means of developing their art. He asked what happens to the artists after Carifesta? The esteemed writer called for more scholarships for the arts.

Carifesta X closes on August 31 and the Cayman contingent returns home that afternoon.

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40 years of in-flight service

| 27/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The first annual Cayman Airways Flight Crew Reunion is planned for 11 November for all CAL flight crew, past and present, and the Reunion Committee is keen to hear from anyone who has worked as a pilot or flight attendant for the National Airline over its 40-year history. If you worked as flight crew or you know someone who did, please contact Chelsea Rivers at to be added to the invitation list or visit

The committee is keen to get the word out to past employees who now live overseas, and are appealing for help to get the word out to them.

“After many years of talking about it, Committee Co-Chairwoman, Rose Gadsby, finally took control and rounded up a group of current and ex-flight crew members to start the ball rolling. The result is a dynamic eclectic unit capable of bringing it all together for one memorable night of reminiscing and entertainment,” the committee said in a release.

Tickets are being sold to finance the event and are available from any of the committee members or can be purchased online at

The committee is also looking for old photos of flight crew (pilots and/or flight attendants), on and off the planes, and if you can help with this, please contact Betty Ann Scott at to arrange collection. All photos will be returned to each rightful owner.












 CAL Flight Crew Alumni Reunion Committee Members
Back row from left: Judy Ann Ebanks, Ellen Peguero, Rose Gadsby, Marva Reid, Wilmer Stroble-Hydes & Debora Powery. Front row from left: Chelsea Rivers, Paula Jackson, Shelly Miller & Debra Broderick.
Missing from photo: Betty Ann Scott & Karie Bergstrom



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Cayman Prepares for Gustav

| 27/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands remain under a Hurricane Watch as Tropical Storm Gustav continues moving away from Haiti. Gustav is expected to slowly regain hurricane strength tomorrow evening as it passes north of Jamaica, and tropical storm force winds are likely to start affecting the Sister Islands from around 11:00 pm Thursday, 28 August 28. The timing of local activities such as airport closures will be announced to residents.

According to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, at 1:00 pm local time, the centre of Tropical Storm Gustav was located near 18.8 N 74.4 W, or 358 miles east-southeast of Cayman Brac. Gustav is moving west near 5mph, with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph. A west to west-northwest track is forecast during the next day or two, with a gradual increase in forward speed.

The Hazard Management Cayman Islands’ Joint Communications Service (JCS) reports that the Sister Islands Emergency Committee is monitoring Tropical Storm Gustav and making preparations, and keeping in close touch with Hazard Management Cayman Islands. Cayman Islands residents should monitor all local media outlets that carry local news in order to stay informed about Gustav.

At this time, residents should make sure they have food and medicine supplies, shuttering supplies, as well as important documents, including travel documents, in order. They should also look after marine interests and have a pet safety plan. Residents are also advised to check generators and make sure they have fuel, and ensure that family members and anyone who will be staying with them in the event of a storm are aware of the plan.

The Water Authority – Cayman is urging all customers to take note of the water specific tips on their website Customers are also reminded that major hurricanes do pose a serious threat to our pipelines along the coast, and therefore it may become necessary for the Authority to temporarily disrupt service in order to protect the distribution system. Should this action become necessary, the Water Authority will give as much notice as possible once the decision has been made.

The Public Works Department and National Roads Authority will close for regular business tomorrow (Wednesday, 27 August) and Thursday, 28 August. Both departments will begin shuttering and preparing government facilities for the passage of Hurricane Gustav. Anyone in need of emergency assistance may call the helpdesk at 916-6694.
In order to facilitate hurricane preparations, the Planning Department will be closed to the public on Wednesday, 27 August, and will reopen as soon as practical thereafter.
The meeting of the Central Planning Authority scheduled for Wednesday, 27 August, has been rescheduled for Wednesday 3 September 2008, conditions permitting. Interested parties are asked to monitor the media for further announcements.
The Department would also like to remind all residents and contractors to take a moment to ensure that all construction material and jobsites are secured to minimise flying and floating debris.


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CAL adds flights

| 27/08/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The City Ticket Office and Reservations Departments will remain open tonight (Tuesday) until 7:00 pm and tomorrow (Wednesday) until 9:00 pm. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the date of resumption of normal operations, return tickets are currently not being confirmed between 30 August and 5 September. Passengers wishing to confirm return flights are able to do so outside of these dates at the published hurricane fare. Please note that the hurricane fare will be available at 12:01am 27 August.

The one-way Hurricane fares for such a schedule will be US$250.00 (including taxes) for Grand Cayman to South Florida and US$75.00 (including taxes) between Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands. Passengers will be able to book on these flights using all normal means including Cayman Airways’ website, reservations call centre and ticket office and also through travel agents. Passengers are strongly encouraged to use Web Check-in, now available at

Change fees/penalties are being waived for all passengers travelling to or from any Cayman Airways gateway between 26 – 31 August. Only two changes per ticket are permitted. For passengers whodecide to cancel their reservations, a travel voucher for the full value of the ticket may be issued. This voucher must be issued before departure of original travel date and is valid for travel only on Cayman Airways for a year from the date of issuance.

Passengers are asked to ensure that all travel documents are in order, including visas, re-entry stamps and all other immigration requirements. Due to the uncertainty of the weather situation surrounding Hurricane Gustav, for the latest and most accurate flight information passengers are advised to check the Cayman Airways website or with the Cayman Airways Reservations Department at 949-2311.

Cayman Airways has announced that, given the current projected path of Hurricane Gustav, all flights are presently expected to operate according to the normal schedule with the exception of the following cancellations:

KX792 GCM-JFK (Aug 27, Aug 28, Aug 29)
KX793 JFK-GCM (Aug 28, Aug 29, Aug 30)
KX832 GCM-HAV (Aug 28, Aug 29)
KX833 HAV-GCM (Aug 28, Aug 29)
Passengers are advised to contact their travel agents or Cayman Airways Ticket Office for alternate travel arrangements.

In addition the following flights will be added:

Wednesday, 27th August

Flight # Depart Arrive
3404 from Cayman Brac 3:30p 4:00p
3401 to Cayman Brac 6:05p 6:35p
3402 from Cayman Brac 7:15p 7:45p

3606 to Kingston 5:30p 6:25p
3607 from Kingston 7:05p 8:00p

3102 to Miami 8:00a 10:20a
3103 from Miami 11:20a 11:40a
3114 to Miami 8:45a 11:05a
3115 from Miami 12:05p 12:25p
3104 to Miami 12:40p 3:00p
3105 from Miami 4:00p 4:20p
3116 to Miami 1:25p 3:45p
3117 from Miami 4:45p 5:05p
3108 to Miami 4:00p 6:20p
3109 from Miami 7:20p 7:40p
3110 to Miami 8:40p 11:00p
3118 to Miami 8:45p 11:05p
3106 to Miami 9:00p 11:20p
3112 to Miami 10:20p 12:40a (next day)

Thursday, 28th August

Flight # Depart Arrive
3401 to Cayman Brac 6:30a 7:00a
3402 from Cayman Brac 7:30a 8:00a

3600 to Kingston 11:45a 12:40p
3601 from Kingston 1:30p 2:25p

3102 to Miami 8:00a 10:20a
3103 from Miami 11:20a 11:40a
3114 to Miami 8:45a 11:05a
3115 from Miami 12:05p 12:25p
3104 to Miami 12:40p 3:00p
3105 from Miami 4:00p 4:20p
3116 to Miami 1:25p 3:45p
3117 from Miami 4:45p 5:05p
3106 to Miami 7:40p 10:00p
3110 to Miami 8:40p 11:00p
3118 to Miami 9:20p 11:40p
3112 to Miami 10:20p 12:40a (next day)

3200 to Tampa 4:00p 6:40p
3201 from Tampa 7:40p 8:20p

Further, the following flights have been added to/from the Sister Islands on 27th August:

4421 to Cayman Brac/Little Cayman 7:10a 7:50a
4421 to Grand Cayman (from Cayman Brac) 8:10a 9:00a
4422 to Little Cayman/Cayman Brac 9:15a 9:50a
4422 to Grand Cayman (from Cayman Brac) 10:30a 11:10a
4423 to Little Cayman/Cayman Brac 12:30p 1:05p
4423 to Grand Cayman (from Cayman Brac) 2:20p 3:00p


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Hurricane Watch in effect

| 27/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With Gustav heading for the Cayman Islands, a Hurricane Watch came into effect 6:00 pm Tuesday indicating that hurricane conditions could begin to affect the Cayman Islands by early Thursday, according to the latest report from the Hazard Management Cayman Islands’ Joint Communications Service (JCS).

JCS reports that the Sister Islands Emergency Committee is monitoring Hurricane Gustav and initiating preparations, and keeping in close touch with Hazard Management Cayman Islands. According to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT Hurricane Gustav was located near 18.4 north and 73.2 west, or about 450 miles east-southeast of the Sister Islands, and 538 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman. The storm is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph. A turn toward the west-northwest, with a decrease in forward speed, is expected tonight and a general west-northwest motion is expected on Wednesday.

Gustav is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 75 mph, with higher gusts. Some weakening is likely while the center is over land, but re-strengthening is forecast to begin when the centre moves back over water tonight or early Wednesday. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the centre, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles. The estimated minimum central pressure is 992 Mb.

JCS recommends that Cayman Islands residents should monitor all local media outlets that carry local news in order to stay informed about Hurricane Gustav. The next JCS bulletin will be issued at 10 pm local time this evening.

At this time, residents should make sure they have food and medicine supplies, shuttering supplies, as well as important documents, including travel documents, in order. They should also look after marine interests and have a pet safety plan. Residents are also advised to check generators and make sure they have fuel, and ensure that family members and anyone who will be staying with them in the event of a storm are aware of the plan.

Gustav, the seventh storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, Fears that Gustav may strike US Gulf of Mexico oil rigs and refineries by next week pushed the price of crude oil up by more than $2 a barrel.


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