Archive for February 16th, 2009

Cruelty to animals must end

| 16/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Animal cruelty is a disgraceful occurrence that is widespread throughout Grand Cayman. It is a state of affairs that should not be tolerated by the public.

What makes this issue disturbing is that many times it is youths doing the damage or adults treating animals brutally in front of young children. What kind of morals are these children being taught? What kinds of adults will this produce for Cayman society? The way an animal is treated surely reflects the type of person one is, and if they will pick on a young, defenceless animal, what is to stop them from moving on to greater crimes, as what sort of conscience must they have to be able to do that?

 

I also do not think that most people on the island know that cruelty to animals is an offence under clause 70 of the Animals Law (Revised) liable on summary conviction to a fine of $4,000 and to imprisonment for one year. If you see animal abuse going on, don’t hesitate to call the police. Anyone can help save an animal from further torment with just one call — if you don’t want to call the police, call the Humane Society at 949-1461.

 

Most of these poor animals are being bred by irresponsible owners or, despite free spay and neuter, not being brought into the Humane Society for the procedure, so they have puppies which are then left to die chained up to a tree, get abused and become emaciated.

 

In the tropics many diseases are present, some which are zoonotic (transferable between animals and humans), and too many people are letting dogs become sick and not bringing them in for treatment and/or leaving them to die where parasites find the soil to thrive in and find new hosts. The Humane Society and others on the island are even willing to foster and take these animals under their care to give them a better chance in life.

 

We are obligated to do something as it is people that brought these animals to the island and made this a problem. We are the reason these animals suffer.

 

There are many issues in Grand Cayman, but this is also an important one as the reputation of the island also depends on it. Mahatma Gandhi said, "A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable…The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."

 

I myself have lived in many places in the world and must say Cayman is on the top of the list for "in your face" cruelty to animals.

 

In such a small island where so many people can be reached there is no excuse not to educate the public to let them know that it is an offence to abuse and neglect animals, to let them know there are people who care enough to do something about it and help, and that it is unacceptable to witness and allow anyone to indulge in such morally repugnant behaviour.

 

To express the extent of the cruelty, I feel its best to give some examples.

The first is Sarge, who was found (as pictured left) flea infested, dying of dehydration, starvation (weighing 17lbs) and heartworm on the side of South Sound Road with his companion and puppies, who had been thrown out by their owner, an elderly woman. He had been tied to a tree his entire life and cannot walk properly as a result. Someone kindly took him in, at which time he was only given a few weeks to live, but it has now been over a year.

 

Sarge before…………..Sarge now at 60lbs!

 

 

Another dog was tied to a tree so tightly that the rope cut into his flesh. When he was found his bone was exposed and so badly infected his leg had to be amputated. An old, deaf and almost blind dame, Ruby, was found on the side of the road, thrown out for a younger dog. She had been hit by a car that left her to die, and despite love and care from a foster parent, eventually died from brain haemorrhaging which was the result of a tumour that formed as a consequence of being hit by the car.

A dog had acid thrown in his face…for fun! Some kids thought it was amusing to see such suffering. By the time the dog got to the vets the acid was turning his bones into mush and he had to be put down. I won’t post a picture of this as it is too graphic, but I am sure you can imagine the suffering and pain he felt.

A mother and her puppies were found after begin thrown in gasoline and bleach as treatment for mange. The mother had scars all over her face from having stones thrown at her by children, whom she has been terrified of since. This is one of the puppies before and after treatment:

 

 

The most recent story is that of a 2.5 month old puppy that was being tormented and abused by a group of young children. Someone rescued him and he will now be fostered by a volunteer and treated for an infection he had been suffering from whilst being abused by these kids. The kids managed to fracture his skull! Lucky

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Constitutional Modernization

| 16/02/2009 | 9 Comments

In this specific instance the Leader of Government Business is right on Constitutional Modernization. There have been many examples in the past 18 months which makes it clear that this is necessary.

I have a piece of paper on which I’m trying to record what precisely has the British government done for these and other colonies that is favorable. The paper is still blank.

So it does our country no good for the Hon McKeeva Bush to demagogue this important issue for political positioning or whatever his motives are. In fact, it is a disservice to our country and I beseech him to cease and desist. This is conduct unbecoming of anyone that wants the best for our country and puts its best interests first. This is not behaviour that these islands are searching for with political leadership, especially someone vying to be the first Premier. You would think that he did not have anything to do with the negotiations. You would think that he did not have these objections at the table. Stop the Shenanigans. Let’s move our country forward and approve this Constitutional Modernization.

As for the Human Rights Committee’s objections, I do understand their concerns but I detect a bit of a two-faced move on their part. They have never done anything in the past about gay rights, they have never done anything about discrimination, even in their own profession, and they never been vocal about equal pay for all, so what is with the current drama with them throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of the process? I am not anti gay rights – they are people too. The Human Rights Committee fails to separate what is achievable from what is not achievable. Are they willing to pay for the cost of these rights that they espouse? We did not get the perfect Constitution, but got something that takes us further to defining “our own destiny”. Other steps will take time and will come in due course. So please do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Let us make this first step. Please for the good of our very small nation and more importantly for our children and grandchildren.

What we now need is a cadre of new leaders that are visionaries, balanced and fair. People that are honorable, capable and can work together and move our country forward. Since the party isn’t working, let us find the competent Independents that can do the job and do it well.
 

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Drug suspects escape in chase

| 16/02/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): A 32-foot canoe was seized and five people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import illegal drugs following a police operation conducted in East End Sunday night, 15 February, by officers from the Drugs Task Force, the joint Customs, Police and Immigration Marine Unit and the Air Support Unit. Three suspects on the canoe fled on foot and police said they are still searching the area.

“We know drugs and guns are being brought into the Cayman Islands by boat,” said Superintendent Kurt Walton who leads the Drugs Task Force and Marine Unit. "It’s one of our priorities to intercept these boats and prevent the contraband from making it to our shores.” The operation, which began at around 7:30 pm, involved one of the new vessels which have recently been added to the marine fleet.

The 38-foot interceptor, Niven D, was supported by Air Support throughout the operation. The suspect vessel was pursued and upon reaching land the three occupants made off on foot and disappeared into the bush undercover of darkness.

A full area search was conducted which continued Mondaymorning, 16 February but the three suspected drug runners remain at large. Five other people however, who through police investigaitons were discovered to have been conected to the incident were arrested in the East End area. These suspects have been detained and remain in custody polcie said.

“Although the three onboard the vessel have not been arrested yet, we know the operation will send a clear message to those involved in drug trafficking that the Cayman Islands is no longer an easy target,” said Walton.

Police confirmed that the canoe has been seized but no drugs were discovered aboard. However, police believe it is possible that the drugs were thrown overboard and will wash up in the next few days.

Anyone with information about the use and supply of drugs or firearms in the Cayman Islands is asked to contact the Drugs Task Force on 949-7710 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.
 

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New Immigration system

| 16/02/2009 | 3 Comments

The new immigration accreditation system for work permits is a welcome improvement. But if we implement the changes in isolation we would be doing a disservice to Caymanians.

The new changes to the work permit system seem to be a step in the right direction. It introduces a better system to ensure accountability on the part of businesses so that the Caymanians can secure a better quality participation in the work force. The new system also displays greater certainty for businesses with respect to their work permit applications.

Finally, the new system seems to introduce more "carrots" to firms to recruit and train Caymanians. By providing businesses with greater certainty and fast track approvals for their work permits, the firms have additional incentives to add to the already strong commercial reasons that are already there for hiring Caymanians.

But the new system brings with it the issue of additional costs of implementation and, of course, compliance and enforcement. It will also take some time for the system to work smoothly and we should expect that there will be new issues surfacing as it starts to work.

More importantly, though, the success of the new system is also limited to the overall policy framework in which it is implemented. Ultimately, if the main objective is to ensure that Caymanians who are qualified get their rightful level of participation in the work force, then this requires a comprehensive effort on several fronts, encompassing education and training and a national human resources strategy among others.

The point is that while the system appears to represent an upgrade to the work permit system, we should not expect the new system to do much more than bring some increased accountability to the hiring and training practices of businesses. And that assumes that we are in a position to implement all of the required compliance and enforcement functions to ensure that this objective is achieved.

On the other hand, if we place our focus simultaneously on training and education we would actually increase the value of the new upgrades to the work permit accreditation system because it would give more Caymanians a genuine opportunity to maximise their full potential.

In other words, not only should Caymanians receive their rightful preferential treatment in the work force (all other things being equal), but they also deserve an effective policy framework which provides them with access to education and training to ensure that, in the majority of cases, all other things are actually equal (or better yet, that more Caymanians possess globally competitive skills).

Achieving some improved accountability with the new immigration accreditation system would be a good result, but it will take a more comprehensive effort to fulfil the goal of maximising the participation of Caymanians, whether this is measured purely in terms of them having access to jobs or securing more upward mobility.
 

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Drugs and weapons found on Cayman Brac

| 16/02/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Update Monday 3:45 pm — Weapons and drugs were seized after a search of the Divi Tiara complex on Cayman Brac, where workers involved in the post-hurricane clean-up are staying. Police say a number of rooms were searched by officers on Sunday, 15 February, and two men were arrested for drug related offences. In addition, a number of prohibited weapons were found and seized and in the grounds of the complex a quantity of ganja was found and seized. In total, six men have been arrested over the last two days on Cayman Brac as part of efforts to stamp out illegal drug use and supply in the Sister Islands.
 

A number of Immigration offences were also detected during the operation; these will be investigated by the Immigration Department. The two men, aged 34 and 31, both residents of George Town, were arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine, possession of ganja and consuming controlled substances. They have been released on police bail pending further investigations, say police.

The Divi Tiara Beach Resort, located in the south west of the island, closed down in September 2006 and has been unoccupied since then until a contract between government and the Divi Corporation, made shortly after Hurricane Paloma hit the island 8 November, allowed workers helping with the clean-up operation to stay in the two eastern blocks of the resort. Workers accommodated at Divi are either working for government or employees of companies contracted for government projects.

According to the Public Works Department on Cayman Brac, out of a total of 18 rooms available, five are currently occupied by staff from the Department of Environmental Health and three are occupied by employees from two privatecontractors. Until last week, an additional five rooms were occupied by other contracted workers. The exact number of people staying at the resort is unclear at present.

According to the RCIPS, Cayman Brac police and the Drugs Task Force joined forces with the Immigration Department, the Department of Environment and HM Customs and Excise to carry out a number of operations on Sunday, designed to target the use and sale of illegal drugs and to ensure an accurate record is available of temporary workers on the islands assisting with the post Paloma cleanup operation.

A second operation involving the police and HM Customs was carried out at an address in the West End area of Cayman Brac, resulting in the arrest of two more people. A 30-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman, both Cayman Brac residents, were arrested on suspicion of possession of ganja and consumption of a controlled drug. Both have been released on bail pending further investigations.

A third operation was carried out in Little Cayman by police and HM Customs. As a result, a 40-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of theft, possession of ganja and consumption of a controlled drug. The West Bay resident was transported to Grand Cayman for processing.

Police reported Monday afternoon that a sixth man was arrested in Cayman Brac as part of efforts to stamp out illegal drug use and supply in the Sister Islands. The 28-year-old George Town resident was arrested Monday, 16 February, at Cayman Brac airport on suspicion of possession of ganja. He has been released on police bail pending further investigations.

“The Sister Islands should not be seen as a soft or easy target for criminal behaviour,” said Area Commander, Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay. “We will not tolerate crime in either Cayman Brac or Little Cayman and all those involved in illegal activity should be aware of this. If you come here thinking you can get away with it, think again.”

Kay also pointed out that the involvement of officers from the Drugs Task Force in Grand Cayman should not go unnoticed. “Even though we are separated by water, we have full access to all available resources in Grand Cayman and work hand in hand on tackling crime and disorder,” he said.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Sister Islands should contact their local police officers or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.
 

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Numbers up at UCCI

| 16/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): University College of the Cayman Islands reports a noted increase in the degree programme registrations, with over 750 students in the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters enrolled in the Associate degree programmes – 15% up from the previous academic year – and more than 100 students now doing Bachelor level classes, representing a 34% increase from the Fall 2007 semester. The success of the Masters in Human Resource Management (MHRM), introduced in 2008, has generated a flurry of interest in graduate degrees and certificates offered through the Executive Training Centre.

Acting President Dr Brian Chapell (above) said, “I am pleased to see that UCCI continues to grow from strength to strength. Students in the Cayman Islands understand more and more that a University education is crucial to success in today’s environment. UCCI is involved with ongoing assessment of programmes that are designed to meet the demands of industries on the island. This approach ensures that our programmes are always of the highest standard and maintain the relevance necessary for success in the competitive marketplace.”

According to UCCI, the increase in enrolment indicates that students and the community in general are increasingly aware of the importance of tertiary education and the qualifications that will prepare them for the local and global marketplace, and new and innovative programmes strengthened by multinational partnerships are continually being developed in response to the rapidly changing global demands.

In the full time certificate programmes, the refocused attention to student retention has paid early dividends, a release from the college states. The revised admission process, which includes a personal interview process that helps the student to understand expectations, has allowed administrators to better match students with their strengths and interests. The start of the Spring semester has shown a marked decrease in the attrition rates for the certificate programmes and should lead to higher numbers of successful graduates.

With six different certificate programmes, including the successful Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme (TATP), students have opportunities in a variety of areas to suit their interests. Now in its second year, the TATP has three sub-specialties in various disciplines within the Hospitality industry. With sponsorship and support from the Department of Tourism, this programme continues to gain strength and popularity as it puts qualified Caymanians into the tourism industry. All of the certificate programmes retain their focus of “hands-on” training by qualified practitioners in the respective industries.

The university claims it has a highly qualified array of faculty and staff, whose combined qualifications include, 14 PhDs and over 30 Masters degrees, as well as a many professional qualifications and designations, including CPA, professional engineering, Microsoft certifications, teacher qualifications and graduate diplomas and certificates. In addition to maintaining a highly qualified faculty, UCCI says it also provides an outstanding student services team, facilitating practical work experience and mentoring opportunities for students, among a variety of other services. Modern library and computing facilities also contribute to the learning environment, giving UCCI’s students access to a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.

 

 

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Tennis at the Ritz

| 16/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Mark Philippoussis, Jim Courier and Goran Ivanisevic (left) will headline the field at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships to be held 24 to 26 April, InsideOut Sports & Entertainment has announced. This will be the fourth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over, and will feature a field of six champion players competing in a single knock-out format event, vying for $150,000 in prize money and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1 in the Stanford Champions Rankings. The event’s other three competitors will be announced in the near future.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including 14-time major tournament champion Pete Sampras, four-time US Open champion John McEnroe, two-time French and Australian Open champion Jim Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The year-end No. 1 ranked player on the Series will receive a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Stanford Financial Group, the official rankings sponsor of the Outback Champions Series.

Philippoussis, 32, is currently attempting another return to competitive tennis and a hopeful return to the ATP Tour. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Philippoussis achieved a career-high ranking of No. 8 in 1999 and won 11 career ATP singles titles. He reached the final of the US Open in 1998, losing to countryman Patrick Rafter. He also reached the final at Wimbledon in 2003, where he lost to Roger Federer in straight sets – Federer’s first Wimbledon and first major singles title.

Courier, 38, is one of 15 men in the history of tennis to play in all four major singles finals – winning two Australian Open titles (1992 and 1993) and two French Open titles (1991 and 1992). He also was a finalist at Wimbledon in 1993 and the U.S. Open in 1991. An owner of 23 career singles titles and the No. 1 ranked player in the world in 1992, Courier helped the United States to Davis Cup titles in 1992 and 1995 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005. Courier has won seven career titles on the Outback Champions Series and finished the 2006 and 2008 seasons as the No. 1 ranked player in the Stanford Champions Rankings. Courier won the inaugural title in Grand Cayman in 2008, defeating Wayne Ferreira in the final.

Ivanisevic, 37, reached a career-high ranking of No. 2 during his career, where he is best known for his incredible run to the Wimbledon title in 2001, defeating Patrick Rafter in a dramatic five-set final. He was runner-up at Wimbledon on three occasions and won 22 singles titles during his career. He was a member of Croatia’s winning Davis Cup team in 2005 and reached the doubles final at the French Open on two occasions. In 1992, he won bronze medals in singles and doubles at the Barcelona Olympics.

“Mark, Jim and Goran are three of the most charismatic and talented tennis players in the last 20 years and are all favourites to win in Grand Cayman this year,” said Jon Venison, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series. “We are looking forward to our second year of bringing Outback Champions Series tennis to The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman featuring some of the greatest names in the game in a stunningly-beautiful location.”

Ticket, travel and tournament information can be found by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com
 

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Japan’s economy ‘worst since end of WWII’

| 16/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNN): Japan is grappling with its worst economic crisis since the end of World War II, the nation’s economic and fiscal policy minister said Monday. The comments from Kaoru Yosano followed news of Japan’s gross domestic product falling 12.7 percent in the fourth quarter in 2008. "This is the worst economic crisis in the post-war era," Yosano said at a press conference, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.   Go to article

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Sex trade, forced labor top UN human trafficking list

| 16/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNN): Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the most common forms of human trafficking in the world, a new report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said. The "Global Report on Trafficking in Persons" is based on data from 155 countries and offers a global assessment of human trafficking and efforts to fight it. The most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation, at 79 percent, the report said. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. In about one-third of the countries that provided information on the gender of the traffickers, women made up the largest proportion of traffickers. Go to article

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Nuclear subs collide

| 16/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in a collision with a French nuclear sub in the middle of the Atlantic, the MoD has confirmed. HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant were badly damaged in the crash in heavy seas earlier this month. First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said the submarines came into contact at low speed and no injuries were reported. Both the UK and France insisted nuclear security had not been compromised.  Go to article

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