Archive for November 10th, 2008

Schools closed on Sister Islands tomorrow

| 10/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): All government schools in Grand Cayman will be open and operational on Tuesday 11 November. Damage to educational facilities in Grand Cayman from Hurricane Paloma was minimal and efforts are already underway to address any necessary repairs. The education facilities in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have sustained some damage and these facilities are currently being assessed. For the time-being therefore, all schools in Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman Education Service will remain closed.

Shirley Wahler, Chief Education Officer is on the ground in Cayman Brac and is personally liaising with the relevant agencies to promptly complete a review of the educational facilities in the Sister Islands, according to a release from the Education Ministry. The Department of Education Services has a range of contingency plans for the delivery of education in the Sister Islands and as soon as the facilities review has been completed, an appropriate plan will be implemented. At that time, a further statement will be released so that teachers, parents, guardians and residents of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman can be fully informed and updated on all of the provisions being put in place.

Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Minister of Education, has been working assiduously with all parties concerned and assures the public that the priority for the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture and the Department of Education Services is to re-open all education facilities in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman as soon as is safely possible.

As with all Government Agencies at this critical time, the Department of Education Services and the Ministry of Health and Human Services, particularly the Department of Children and Family Services, are working closely together to assist families affected by Hurricane Paloma. While both Ministries are conscious that some families from the Sister Islands may opt to temporarily relocate to Grand Cayman, assistance can be provided more efficiently if requests are directed to the appropriate agency. Consequently, Hon. Anthony Eden, Minister for Health and Human Services is advising persons in need of social assistance to contact the Department of Children and Family Services in George Town on 946 0024; in West Bay on 946 1950; and in Bodden Town on 947 7144.

Alternatively, the Department of Education Services is ready to assist families with school-age children who have already left the Sister Islands and need to be registered to attend school in Grand Cayman. The Department of Education Services will have personnel available to process registrations at its office in the Countryside Shopping Village in Savannah from 1.00pm on Tuesday 11th November and the Department can be contacted at 244 1845 for further advice and assistance.

Continue Reading

Curfew lifted on the Sisters

| 10/11/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): With the police station on Cayman Brac destroyed in the storm this weekend, police operations on the island will be run from a temporary headquarters at the University College of the Cayman Islands. Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis, representing Gold Command on Cayman Brac, said that this should be set up shortly. He also said that the curfew on the islands is now lifted.

Speaking to CNS Monday, he said that there had been no reported crimes in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma and he was satisfied that the people on the Sister Islands were law abiding and some had even called to ask what they could do to help the police.

While the curfew is now lifted, Ennis said that this would be under constant review. Once reconstruction of the island begins there would be new people on the island and they were going to be very proactive with law enforcement. "The island is very vulnerable at this stage and there may be people who would take advantage of this vulnerability," he explained.

Seven additional police officers flew in from Grand Cayman to the Brac. He said the two officers on Little Cayman were assessing the needs there. He had already made several visits to the island and there did not appear any need for additional officers. However, they would do rotations to give the Little Cayman police officers a break.

The two police vessels, the new Defender and the Protector, are both on the Brac patroling and assisting with operational supplies and welfare for the police officers. The vessels would also assist residents if necessary, Ennis said.

"We’re here to support the Sister Islands operations essential to policing. We’re all in this together," he said.

All law enforcement agencies – police, customs and immigration – are monitoring who travels to the Sister Islands at this time. "We’re a small territory and domestic law enforcement agencies all work together," Ennis said.

A Gold Command control centre, chaired by Police Commissioner David George, had been set up on Grand Cayman which met twice daily and was monitoring and responding to the needs of the Sister Islands. While on island, Ennis said he had been  bringing the rest of the control centre up to speed via conference calls. Due to return to Grand Cayman Monday evening, he said that  the command leaders would be Chief Inspector Adrian Barnett, who is filling in for Chief Inspector Patrick Beersingh to head the Brac operations, and Detective Inspector Kim Evans.

"I’m very satisfied with the job that they’re doing. All of the Brac and Little Cayman officers are doing a fabulous job under very extreme and difficult circumstances," Ennis said.



Continue Reading

Pirate capers underway

| 10/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): While Pirates Week has certainly been interrupted by rain before no one can remember a Hurricane turning events upside down but that is exactly what happened this past weekend when Hurricane Paloma shut down the openingevents of Pirates Week. However, with Grand Cayman escaping the worst of Paloma the week’s celebrations are underway again today but with a few schedule changes.


Dave Martins Executive Director of Pirates week said that due to flooding from the hurricane at the North Side District site, the North Side District Day will be held at the Lions Centre, going all day on Tuesday 13th November from 11am to 2am. Daytime activities will include food, entertainment, heritage displays, and children’s entertainment.  For the evening street dance, featuring IMIJ & CO there will be a nominal cover charge. “With that exception, the Pirates Week schedule for the upcoming week will be as previously planned,” said Martins.

West Bay, has kicked things off today, Monday 10 November at Boatswains Beach which will run until 8pm. Bodden Town is on Wednesday 12 from 11am to 2am with IMIJ & Co; Geroge Town (on Cardinall Avenue) on  Thursday 13 from 11am to 2am with IMIJ & Co; East End on Friday 14 from 11am to 2am with IMIJ & Co.

Martins explained that the activities postponed from the first weekend due to weather, will all take place on the final Saturday 15 November. Roads will be closed from 9am downtown on that day. Events on Saturday will include the Cardboard Boat Race at 12:30pm; pre-Landing Entertainment at 2pm; Landing Pageant at 3pm, Float Parade at 4pm, Pirate Costume Competition at 5:30pm; Festival Queen Competition at 6:15pm; Songfest at 6:45pm; Trial of the Pirates at 7:30pm; Gala Fireworks 7:45pm; Street Dance with IMIJ & Co and Jumo at  8:05pm. The 5K Road Race will now take place on Friday 14 November. However, the swimming pool events, and the 10K race will remain as scheduled.

Continue Reading

Little Cayman in good shape

| 10/11/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Although Little Cayman has lost most of its light poles and power is out across the island the smallest of the Cayman Islands stood up well to the passing of Hurricane Paloma on Saturday and one resort manager there told CNS that once power is restored the island should be able to start taking tourists in time for Thanksgiving.

Jason Bellport the Resort Manager at the Little Cayman Beach Resort said the island had largely withstood Paloma’s onslaught with all the resorts virtually operational and all boats and docks in tact.  “Once we get power we can start taking tourists and keeping the Sister Islands tourist brand going,” he said. “We aiming for thanks giving to get back on track so we are really pushing to get power restored.”

Bellport explained that some private homes had sustained some damage that poles and trees were down but the roads were almost clear and the island was navigable already. “Aside from the North East corner you can almost go round the whole island but we can pretty much get where we need to go,” he added.

Bellport who was speaking to CNS from the Brac which he said was in far worse shape said that he was loading generators to take over to Little Cayman and some supplies to ensure shops and services could function and help get the island back to a standard to receive guests as soon as possible.

Earlier reports have confirmed that the runway on Little Cayman is fine and now the flood waters have subsided the island appears to have faired very well.

Little Cayman is about 87 miles northeast of Grand Cayman and five miles west of the Brac and is the smallest of the islands at less than ten square miles in area and most of it is at sea level. It has a fluctuating permanent population of around 200 people, however, it is a very popular destination for divers and the economy depends entirely on tourism and it is an important element in the Cayman Islands overall tourism product. The most famous dive site area, Bloody Bay is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top wall dives.

The Little Cayman is also home to the Little Cayman Research Centre part of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute which has according to reports on the website suffered some damage.


Continue Reading