Archive for August, 2008

Oil men keep eyes on Gustav

| 29/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(Market Watch) : As Tropical Storm Gustav set its sights on the Cayman Islands this morning,  energy traders eyed its projected path toward the Gulf of Mexico. Oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell began to evacuate hundreds of workers from the Gulf region, which produces about a quarter of U.S. crude. Go to article

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Climate fight hit by economic slump

| 29/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): – The fight against global warming is in danger of being downgraded on more urgent fears over energy security, heightened by a Russian war with Georgia, and a global economic slowdown. Added to the mix — politicians are faced with a rising clamor of complaints from voters over record fuel bills, and racing gas and oil prices have sparked new interest in high-carbon coal as well as cleaner alternatives. Go to article

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Price gougers will be prosecuted

| 29/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Anyone increasing prices for essential hurricane supplies and who is proven to have priced gouged in the run up to Gustav’s arrival will face the courts said the Leader of Government Business. “We are conscious of price gouging and we are depending on the proprietors and suppliers not to engage in it but if we have any concrete reports we are going to act on it,” he added.

“I still believe that the Caymanian community by and large knows better and I’m hopeful that we won’t have any serious reports. Once there is concrete evidence we will act accordingly,” he said.

Speaking at the media briefing on Thursday morning Kurt Tibbetts said that there is a price gauging law and there are penalties for those who break it and the public should report price gouging experiences to the police.  He warned however, that people needed to provide evidence. He said that sometimes people were just upset by the prices and felt it should be cheaper but that is not necessarily price gouging and the law was not to be treated frivolously.

Cabinet members appeared on live television to update the public about government preparations for the anticipated arrival of Tropical Storm Gustav which is expected to be a at least a category one hurricane by the time it reaches the Cayman Islands on Friday (29 August) evening.  The LoGB said fuel supplies were sufficient with more than forty days supply of gasoline with tankers expected on 9 September and that CUC had a twenty eight day supply of diesel with the supplier offering a reserve of one hundred days. He also said there was more than 82 days supply of aviation fuel.

Tibbetts said government would provide plywood to those in need of some assistance and that employers needed to give their employees the time they needed to prepare.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge all residents of all three islands to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that they are prepared for Gustav.  As we all know, tropical weather systems can be somewhat unpredictable in their paths and their intensities, so we need to be vigilant and monitor the storm’s progress as it makes its way toward our islands,” he added.

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Water to keep running

| 29/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Water Authority said that due to the new projected path of Hurricane Gustav and the expected weather conditions reported in the 4pm Weather Advisory, the Water Authority isaid a decision had been made to leave the water supply on. Piped water supply will therefore continue as normal. All customers are urged to keep listening to the radio for updates from the Water Authority as well as to visit our website at www.waterauthority.ky.
 

 Should the supply be distrupted as much notice as possible will be given but residents should ensure that sufficient water is stored The Authority hasurged customers to ensure they have adequate quantities of potable water and a sufficient supply of water for use to flush toilets in the event that there is an interruption in the supply of piped water.

“Water can be stored in buckets for non-potable use should piped water not be available. Inorder to conserve water, remember to only flush solid waste by pouring water in the tank,” it said. “In case you run out of non-potable water prior to restoration of piped water, be prepared to safely dispose of human wastes.”

Proper disposal of personal waste is very important in order to minimize public health hazards. Using basic materials, temporary suitable disposal may be accomplished by placing waste in a watertight plastic bag and securely closing the bag. Collect and store all such bags in a large sturdy garbage bag in a safe and restricted area until such time as it can be collected by DEH.

 

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Flight Information for US Air & CAL

| 29/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): US Airways flight 1124 for Friday, 29 August 29, will now depart Owen Roberts International Airport at 9:30 am. It was originally scheduled to depart at 2:15 pm but will now be departing early due to Hurricane Gustav. All customers are advised to be at the airport three hours prior to the new departure time toallow ample time for check-in and security clearance.

The Cayman Airways Ticket Office and Reservation departments will remain open tonight (Thursday) until 9:00pm. Website booking will be available anytime up until 3 hours prior to departure and is strongly encouraged as your easiest alternative to purchase.

Cayman Airways wishes to remind the public that our hurricane fare is currently in effect. For outbound flights to South Florida the one-way fare is US$250 (including taxes). Return flights from South Florida, booked prior to the passage of Gustav, for return dates through September 5 are one-way US$208.40 (including taxes).

All scheduled flights on Friday, 29 August have been cancelled and are replaced by the following flights:

Flight # Depart Arrive
3100 to Miami 5:00a 7:20a
3102 to Miami 5:15a 7:35a
3110 to Miami 5:30a 7:50a
3112 to Miami 5:45a 8:05a
3104 to Miami 9:20a 11:40a
3106 to Miami 9:35a 11:55a
3114 to Miami 9:50a 12:10a
3200 to Tampa 10:05a 12:45a
3113 from Miami 8:45a 9:05a

All scheduled flights on Saturday, August 30th have been cancelled.

Passengers wishing to purchase seats on these flights or change existing reservations are advised to contact their travel agent, the Cayman Airways ticket office or purchase online at www.caymanairways.com.

Change fees/penalties are being waived for all passengers travelling to or from any Cayman Airways gateway between August 26 – 31, 2008. For passengers who decide 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, which include: visas, re-entry stamps and all other immigration requirements.

Cayman Airways strongly recommends the utilization of our web check-in service available on www.caymanairways.com. You are able to check-in at anytime within 24hrs of your flight’s scheduled departure. Early check-in is also available at Cayman Airways Headquarters (Cargo Counter) from 5:30pm-8:30pm.

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 at www.caymanairways.com or with the Cayman Airways Reservations Department at 949-2311.

 

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Police to check-in as service prepares for curfews

| 28/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) officials have asked all police personnel currently on leave to either contact their line-managers or the area commander within their districts in order to determine if, and when, they will be required for actual duty. A curfew is likely to be imposed shortly before storm impact, the RCIPS said today, which is designed to keep people safe and out of harms way as much as possible.

 

However, it is recognized that there are various entities required to work past curfew times to maintain services. Group exceptions will be given to certain employers whose staff can produce work photo identification or a letter from their employer justifying their reason for travel.

Group exemptions will apply to the following industries: All Emergency Service, Health Services, Utility companies (CUC & water), Communication companies, Food & Fuel distribution, Public Works.

Police said advance notice will be given before curfew and stress that it is vitally important that people do not leave their homes prior to the curfew being lifted. Those that do will be dealt with appropriately.

During a storm the RCIPS are responsible for shelter security, protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring rapid high-visibility policing deployment post hurricane. The RCIPS also engages in Search & Rescue duties and will assist with helping people out of difficult conditions. The RCIPS will also assist in searching for survivors in areas where people stayed in their homes or sheltered in buildings that were heavily damaged or destroyed. Following the passage of a storm or natural disaster the RCIPS will assist in protecting critical locales, including those for water, fuel, electricity, and communications suppliers. The RCIPS said it has many plans in place and are more prepared than ever to respond in an emergency situation.

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Airport in high gear

| 28/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  All airlines at Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman were prepared to operate by Thursday afternoon, 28 August, from tents set up on the airport grounds. The tents were the first point to deal with all passengers departing from Grand Cayman due to the Gustav weather system. The Department of Immigration announced that effective immediately no visitors will be allowed to enter the Cayman Islands until after the passing of Gustav. And the CAACI says evacuation charters need licences.

At this morning’s Evacuation Emergency Operations Committee activation meeting, Senior Manager Airport Operations for the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, Kerith McCoy, explained that the passenger-holding tents will help alleviate congestion inside the airport. Airlines will begin processing passengers at the tents and all ticketed passengers will be permitted to enter the airport terminal 90 minutes prior to departure to go through security clearance and Immigration. This procedure will be strictly enforced.

Refreshments for waiting passengers will be on sale on site from the Hungry Horse Restaurant, Domino’s Pizza and Subway. The Department of Tourism will also be on hand to provide water and light snacks. Signage at the airport will clearly indicate key messages from the Cayman Islands Airports Authority and portable public address systems will broadcast other important information to passengers. 

Airport parking is limited and vehicles will not be allowed to park along the sides of the road leading there. Airport security personnel and police officers will monitor parking and all traffic in and out of the airport. Traffic handling of special needs passengers will receive priority.
The Red Cross staff will be on hand to deal with health-related emergencies and will be assisted by the Health Services Authority if necessary.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands is reminding those in the business community who maybe considering either pre or post weather evacuation charters from the territory of the requirement for all air transport operations to be duly licensed. As such, it is a requirement of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territory) Order 2007, that all scheduled and non-scheduled air transport operations have the appropriate operating permit.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAACI) will process these as received in the shortest time possible once all required technical aviation documentation has been received with the application. Once the operating permit has been granted, applicants are encouraged to check with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) in regards to airport operating times, landing fees, etc. The appropriate contact at the CIAA would be Mr. Walter Ebanks, Senior Manager of Air Traffic Services, walter.ebanks@caymanairports.com or 345-925-5174.

The check-list of required documents, associated fees, application form etc., can all be found on the CAACI website.

 

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Toddler dies in Tampa

| 28/08/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A 3-year-old girl from the Cayman Islands died Wednesday afternoon in Tampa after wandering away from her family and falling into a hotel swimming pool, Tampa police have said. The child and her family were on vacation from the Cayman Islands and staying at the Embassy Suites, 555 N. West Shore Blvd.

Family members, whose names were not released by police, were sitting near the pool when the child wandered away, police said. According to local media reports, the toddler was found unresponsive, and authorities do not know how long she was in the water.

A bystander gave the girl CPR until Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics arrived about 5 p.m. The girl was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Investigators have ruled the drowning an accident, and police said no charges would be filed.
 

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HMCI says Cayman ready for hurricane

| 28/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As Tropical Storm Gustav inches closer to the Cayman Islands, the subcommittees of Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) report that they have their plans in place to support the Islands during, and after, the storm.“Supplies have been checked, government buildings on all three islands have been shuttered, and the government hospitals, including Faith Hospital, are ready,” said HMCI Director Barbara Carby (left).

“Shelters are ready to receive persons, and government is working closely with the business and tourism sectors, to keep an open flow of two-way information.”

The airports and airlines, as well as tourism and immigration officials, are working together to assist passengers with their travel plans. And specifically on the Brac, the Sister Islands Emergency Committee is ready. Dr Carby also noted that the Red Cross and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have increased their Brac staffing and volunteer levels.

“The level of cooperation, as well as collaboration, is quite good,” she acknowledged. “This is the time for everyone to work together, and that is happening.”

This level of cooperation is also happening in the communities, she observed. “We’re hearing reports of how persons have prepared themselves for Gustav, and also how they are assisting one another, including our elderly, single mothers with children, and persons who may have difficulties getting ready.

“Coming from Jamaica, I know how people prepare there,” Dr Carby said. “But I’m seeing a level of preparedness here that supports all I was told about Cayman before I arrived here. It also bears what I’ve seen for myself over the past two years. The people of Cayman know how to prepare, and they look after each other.”

HMCI and its partner subcommittees are continuing to closely monitor Gustav, and to refine preparations in response. Residents are urged to listen and heed local news reports, which have been developed specifically for Cayman.

“Advisories from the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, and information on the Internet, can be helpful. But they are not written from the particular Caymanian context and perspective,” Dr Carby explained. “So it’s important to distinguish these from local advisories issued by HMCI’s Joint Communications Service, or JCS.

“Among other information, these JCS advisories provide storm proximity to the Cayman Islands; the estimated time for weather conditions to begin to affect us; and tell the public when to expect the next local update.”

In addition to staying tuned to local media for JCS advisories, residents will find local weather information on www.gov.ky and www.caymanprepared.ky. On CaymanPrepared, persons can sign up for local alerts to be delivered right to their e-mail addresses. Click “resources,” then “e-mail alerts,” and follow the simple prompts.

Residents also can subscribe to Ktone, a local, free service that sends short text-message updates to cell phones. Visit www.ktone.ky, click “create an account,” and check the box under “All Government Information Services.”

Dr Carby reminded the public that being ready, and staying informed, will help Cayman to better weather any hazard.

“All storms have their own personalities,” Dr Carby said, “and Gustav is no different. Predictions are made on the best information available, but they are just that: predictions. They can change in a matter of hours.

“But by working together – government, the private sector, and residents – we can prepare and recover from this and any hazard in the best way possible.”

 

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Gustav changes track

| 28/08/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Tropical Storm Gustav turned southwest overnight and is strengthening. The shift in track will now bring it very close to Grand Cayman tomorrow (Friday 29 August). Gustav’s centre is expected to pass very close to Jamaica later today. The forecast is for Gustav to become a category 1 hurricane near Grand Cayman early Friday afternoon. Grand Cayman is also likely to start experiencing hurricane-strength winds early tomorrow evening (29 August).

Tropical storm-force winds are likely to start affecting Grand Cayman early tomorrow afternoon. Therefore, the Cayman Islands remain under a hurricane Watch. This means that hurricane conditions could begin to affect the Islands within 36 hours. The timing of local activities such as airport closures will be announced to residents.

At 4:00 am. local time, the centre of Tropical Storm Gustav was located near 17.8 N 75.6 W, or 392 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman, 305 miles southeast of the Sister Islands. Gustav is near stationary, with maximum sustained winds near 70mph with higher gusts.

The Sister Islands Emergency Committee continues to monitor Tropical Storm Gustav. Preparations are well in hand, and committee members are 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.
 

Forecasters in Miami said that Gustav has been moving little during the past couple of hours but is expected to resume a motion toward the west-southwest and turn toward the west is expected later today as it passes very close to Jamaica. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 50 miles.

Rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are expected over southern Cuba, 6 to 12 inches over Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with isolated maximum amounts of up to 25 inches possible. These rains will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Coastal storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels can be expected in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area.

Gustav is blamed for the death of 23 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and is projected to hit the US Gulf Coast Monday. One of its likely tracks is toward New Orleans, the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 1,500 people and caused at least $80 billion in damage in several Gulf Coast states. The Louisiana governor has already declared a state of emergency and has called for 3,000 members of the National Guard to help prepare for the storm.

Meanwhile, in Cayman government is urging residents to complete preparations. To reduce any possibility of flying or floating debris, residents are advised to ensure that all movable construction materials are secured at jobsites and any loose tools and materials removed from yards. 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 www.waterauthority.ky. 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 be closed today as both departments will begin shuttering and preparing government facilities. Anyone in need of emergency assistance may call the helpdesk at 916-6694.

Cayman Islands residents should monitor all local media outlets that carry local news in order to stay informed about Gustav and the next JIS bulletin will be at 10:30am

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