Archive for April 17th, 2009

CITA proposes changes to permit restrictions

| 17/04/2009 | 9 Comments

(CNS):  As the Cayman Islands Tourism Association gears up for its Annual General Meeting and Board Elections, the organization said it has issued a vision of the top objectives for the future of the industry and offered some suggestions to improve the short-term outlook. A six month freeze on pension plan contributions and a change in the restrictions on job descriptions for work permits to allow managers to better utilize staff are some of the  temporary changes CITA is proposing.

Trina Christian, the Executive Director said the points will be shared with all the political candidates so that goals and priorities for tourism will be understood by any potential future leaders. The organizations says the long term goals are to sustain tourism arrivals from both stay-over and cruise tourism as well as improve infrastructure and the arrival/departure experience for both cruise and air visitors. The vision also talks about marketing the diversity of the product and increasing revenue opportunities for local businesses as well as defining the development plan for the Cayman Islands and prioritizing the implementation of the National Tourism Management Plan

However, CITA has also posed other ideas to improve the short-term outlook and act Christian said as a stimulus plan during this recession. The organization says that there should be a six month freeze on pension plan contributions to allow more cash flow for employees and employers during difficult times and reduce the investment during a time when pension funds are losing.

Another proposal is to reduce immigration restrictions regarding job sharing in the same category and same industry between companies to weather the slow times. “This will reduce the risk of losing good staff who provide quality service and training for Caymanian’s who are entering the industry,” Christian stated.

The idea of reduce immigration restrictions regarding multiple job duties for an employee will allow businesses to better utilize their staff in slow periods without having to wait until the renewal period of an employee’s contract. CITA has also suggested encouraging the training of Caymanian’s who are already employed in tourism so that they can work in multiple areas as well and may obtain maximum hours within a company.

The organization said that it has partnered with the Ministry of Tourism to successfully train Caymanian’s in Tourism through the Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme that has 25 students currently enrolled in the programme and who will be placed in CITA member businesses.

“This programme is essential to develop the human capitol in tourism; however it does not replace the need for businesses to also retain talented persons during these difficult times in our economy when exceptional service is how we maintain and gain competitiveness over other destinations,” Christian said.

Other Initiatives with which CITA is involved include the artificial reefing project, Kittiwake an online booking engine for small properties and CARIBCERT – tourism certification programme.

CITA will hold is AGM and board vote on 23 April 3pm -5pm at The Westin, Galleon Ballroom. Members are invited to attend this meeting where plans for the year ahead will be discussed. CITA’s President, Steve Broadbelt will be doing a special presentation on Market Share in the Caribbean and The State of The Tourism Industry. This year’s nominees for the 2009/2010 Board of Directors include:


Cruise Director: Bud Johnson – Atlantis Submarines ~ Condo/Villas/Small Properties Director: Tom McCallum – The Reef Resort and Harry Lalli – Treasure Islands Resort ~ Hotel Director: Walter Regidor – Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and Dan Szydlowski – Westin Casuarina (serving second year)~ Restaurants/Nightclubs: Kevin Doyle – Hard Rock Café and Cliff Woods – Tropical Trader Group (serving second year) ~ Transportation Director: Ronnie Anglin – Captain Marvin’s Tours and Robert Hartsfield – Cayman Airways ~ Watersports Director: Steve Surrey – Divers Down and Steve Broadbelt – Ocean Frontiers – serving second year ~ Allied Director: Emma Graham-Taylor – Image Holdings and Hugh Treadwell – Dart Cayman Islands ~ Sister Islands Director: Gladys Howard – Pirate’s Point. For more information on CITA Initiatives visit:









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Eastern voters will get chance to get IDs

| 17/04/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS):Voters in the Eastern district who missed out on collecting their Elector Registration Cards recently will be given another chance between now and the election, when a team will be sent to the districts. Owing to the Easter vacation and a shortage of staff the civic centres in East End, North Side and Bodden Town were inadvertently unattended on the evenings of 13-15 April.Offering his apologies on behalf of the elections office Chief Assignments Officer Eldon Whittaker explained the unexpected circumstances.

“It was not intentional and we don’t like making mistakes. When the schedule was planned for the Easter holiday period, we did not appreciate how many staff members already had travel plans. Then, in addition to staff shortage, one of our trucks broke down,” he said. 

Although voter Ids as they are known are not compulsory for people to exercise their democratic right in the General Election and referendum being held on 20 May it will expedite the process.

Whittaker said voters who work in George Town could come by the Elections Office at the Smith Road Professional Centre, where a card-issuing station is set up in the ground floor lobby 9am-5pm daily – including Saturdays and Sundays. An election team will be visiting Cayman Brac on 17 & 18 April.

The Elections Office still intends to send teams to the eastern districts, but it will be on a Saturday for the entire day. Dates will be announced as soon as staff and vehicle availability is confirmed.





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Get ready for National Trust Earth Week 5K Fun Run

| 17/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The PriceWaterhouseCoopers 5K Fun Run is scheduled for Sunday, April 26th at 7:30 am starting from the National Trust Visitor’s Centre on South Church Street. Individuals and teams can register for the Run by contacting the National Trust office at #558A South Church St, Telephone #949-0121. (Photo: NT Education Coordinator Erica Daniel (left) accepts a donation from PriceWaterhouseCoopers representative Courtney Phipps.)

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Mobile voting option in Little Cayman

| 17/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Voters in Little Cayman have the option to apply for mobile voting if they are not travelling to Cayman Brac for Election Day, 20 May, but the deadline for applications to be received is 7 May, says Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez.. Election Office workers from Cayman Brac will then travel to Little Cayman to operate a mobile polling station on a date to be set, Gomez said. That date will be before 20 May. Application forms for mobile voting should be returned to the Registering Officer for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Georgene Lazzari, at PO Box 17, Cayman Brac, KY2-2301.

The application forms can be obtained from the Little Cayman sub-post office. A copy can also be downloaded from the Elections Office website Click on Form BA.

Gomez noted that residents of Little Cayman had previously been allowed to vote by postal ballot because there was no polling station set up on that island. However, an amendment to the Elections Law in June 2008 introduced mobile voting, so postal ballots for people in Little Cayman have been done away with unless they will be overseas on Election Day.

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Walk with Grace for charity

| 17/04/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Grace Christian Academy PTA raised over $6000 for capital projects at the school and more than $500 for Cayman HospiceCare, the designated charity for the second consecutive year for ‘Walk with Grace’ Family Walk on Seven Mile Beach. More than 150 students, family and friends participated in the third annual beach walk in March, which ended with a picnic catered by Subway. Other organizations that the school has donated to include: Kiwanis Give a Kid a Breakfast program, Heifer International, the Cancer Society and the National Trust Blue Iguana Recovery Program.

“We incorporate donating to local charities as part of our school fundraising, with the knowledge that giving to charity at an early age proves to be an excellent template for the children as they get older,” said Jennifer Grant-McCarthy, president of the Grace Christian Academy PTA Board. “Each time these donations are made, we make sure the students learn about the charity they are supporting, and the value of their donations.”


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Water Authority sponsors Netball Association

| 17/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Young netballers will be able to improve their skills with a temporary specialty coach thanks to the Water Authority Board, which recently approved a donation for $1,500 to support the Cayman Islands Netball Association (CINA). The funds will go towards hiring the coach, who will concentrate on assisting the youth of the Cayman Islands in improving their skills both as individual players and team development.

Water Authority Director, Dr. Gelia Frederick-van Genderen commented: “The Water Authority is thrilled to support the CINA which provides the youth of the Cayman Islands with leadership, encouragement and team building proficiency along with a wide range of skills in the great sport of Netball. This is an excellent opportunity for our Netball teams to utilise the expertise of the new specialized coach to improve their individual and team skills. We wish the CINA a fun and successful Netball season.”

Lucille Seymour, BEM, JP stated “When the private sector partners with sports organizations the results are outstanding in the development of young people. The Youth love sports and sports builds character. This relationship must sustain and increase so that more pro-social activities in particular programmes can be developed for children and young people in these islands. I have been working in sports as a community volunteer all my adult life and to me its influence is comparable to good parenting. I thank the Water Authority-Cayman for its contributions which aid in the social transformation of our youth.”

Photo: (Left to right) Pat Bell, Chief Human Resources Manager, Water Authority-Cayman, U-16 Girls Netball Team mates – Glennique Bodden, New Horizons High School, Brittany Mobley, Cayman Prep & High School, Monalisa Cassanova, John Gray High School and Norma Ferryman, Secretary Cayman Islands Netball Association.

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George Town crime wave

| 17/04/2009 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Updated – Friday 2:30pmPolice said, today that one man has been arrested in connection with one of the break-ins in the Fairbanks Road area. The RCIPS confirmed it has received seven reports of break-ins or attempted break-ins at residential properties in that neighbourhood over the last week. “The police take this situation extremely seriously and are following up a number of leads including looking at a number of suspects,” police stated. 

Police are also concerned that other offences are not being reported to police and it is important that police receive details of all offences that take place so that patterns can be identified and evidence can be collected. Anyone who is a victim is urged to contact the police.

While police have acknowledged that there has been an increase in burglaries in George Town in general, Fairbanks is experiencing a crime wave of its own. Residents told CNS that four apartments at Stone Haven, a three building strata between Ithmar Circle and Secret Garden, had been broken into and all the units have reportedly had attempted break-ins, while across the street another two burglaries have occurred with six attempted break-ins during the last few weeks.

The most recent burglary occurred while a family, including two small children and a cross-Shepherd dog, were sleeping, which has caused considerably fear among the residents. “If they are so brazen to try with the dog in the house they must be desperate or have no fear, and either one is not good,” said the victim, who had lost phones, wallets and cash. “Even the police that came to my house ran back to their car when they saw my dog. I have two small kids and they could have been hurt if they had woken up as they usually do during the night.”

Reports have been made by all the residents who have been robbed to the police and one resident told CNS that CID and scenes of crime officers had taken statements. However, residents had been concerned that the crime wave had not been reported in the media and were keen to warn people of the level of burglaries taking place and the need for people to protect themselves. “The more people that know about this the better and we can all be even more vigilant and watch out for watch other,” the resident stated.

Residents also noted that some of the break-ins had occurred during daylight hours and a scooter was also taken two weekends ago but recovered, vandalized. 

Police said that the common method of entry appears to be via the rear of premises and theya re advising all residents to remian vigilant and ensure their windows and doors are locked securely and consideration should be given to inserting a piece of wood or something similar into the gap on sliding doors to prevent them being opened if the lock is breached.

Residents should also look out for suspicious activity and report anything out of the ordinary to the police, making note of people’s descriptions and license plate numbers of vehicles. Cell phone identification numbers, serial numbers of electrical goods and photographs of valuable items should be taken to help with reuniting recovered goods with their rightful owners. Cell phone codes can be obtained by typing in * # 06#. This will give you a unique code to the individual handset. The code can also be found on the original packaging / boxing usually adjacent to the bar code.

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Centuries long droughts in Africa

| 17/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): For at least 3,000 years, a drumbeat of potent droughts, far longer and more severe than any experienced recently, have seared a belt of sub-Saharan Africa that is now home to tens of millions of the world’s poorest people, climate researchers report in a new study. The last such drought, persisting more than three centuries, ended around 1750, the research team writes in the April 17 issue of the journal Science. The scientists warned that more such mega-droughts are inevitable, although there is no way to predict when the next one could unfold.

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Obama heads to Trinidad

| 17/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): When President George W. Bush traveled to Argentina four years ago for a gathering of Latin American leaders, protesters smashed windows, looted stores and sang anti-Bush slogans. Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, drew 25,000 to a soccer stadium to rail against the United States’ free trade policies. The summit meeting was a qualified fiasco for Mr. Bush and a low ebb for relations between the United States and Latin America. Now President Obama is planning to visit Trinidad and Tobago this weekend for the fifth Summit of the Americas, with a chance to dim memories of the last such meeting and re-engage with Latin America, a region that took a distant back seat to the Iraq conflict during the Bush years.


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Ebanks: ‘I don’t owe salary’

| 17/04/2009 | 71 Comments

(CNS): Launching his campaign in the district of North Side on the People’s Progressive Movement ticket, Joey Ebanks offered the people a plan for the community’s future to develop sustainable tourism and bring jobs. He also told the small audience that he did not owe the Turtle Farm money and he was not using turtle meat to buy votes. Supported by both the current seat holder, Edna Moyle, and Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, he said he was taking the people on a new journey.

Saying that it would be the last time he spoke about his opponents on the campaign platform and what they had said about him as he was from a new generation with a different way of doing things, he answered some of the criticisms. “I don’t owe the turtle farm any money for salary and I am not handing out turtle meat for votes,” he said on Tuesday night. He did not elaborate on the circumstances of how or when the salary advance was returned to the Turtle Farm but moved on to talk about his plans for the district of North Side.

He said there was a lot of talent in the district which was not being utilised, but he had already formed a district committee with which he was working to create opportunities for the community and to grow the local economy at what he described as a sustainable rate, and develop entrepreneurs.

Ebanks also said he had already started after-school programmes, which included sports and traditional activities like cat boating, as he said it was important for children to know their history. He spoke about adult literacy and giving the older members of the community a chance to excel too. “We need to treat people with respect and help them learn so they in turn can help their own children,” he added.

North Siders need to take advantage of the economic miracle in George Town, he noted, and said he wanted to introduce mentoring programmes between corporate Cayman and the district as well as improve access to scholarships for youngsters in the community.

He said the PPM had got many things done. One of them was the Clifton Hunter School, which the community would be able to take advantage of it as not only would it be a state-of-the-art learning facility for our children, it would be a recreation and sports facility for the community as well as a hurricane shelter and much more, he said. The school was proposed in 1972 and Ebanbks said that finally there was a minister who was getting it done and reforming education.  “Children can no longer learn under a tree. We cannot send our kids to the best schools in the world without first preparing them here.”

Speaking about attracting tourism business to North Side, he said the district needed a sustainable model as North Siders did not need another Seven Mile Beach. He suggested the district needed bed-and-breakfasts or a boutique hotel but it also needed entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities by offering kayaking rental, fishing tours, bicycle rentals, eco-tours and shore dive operations to tap into the potential tourism business in the district. He said such things were low cost start up and that together the community could work to make these things happen.  

If the people of North Side elected him into the Legislative Assembly, he said he would work hard to make these things happen and as the world economy might decline North Side’s economy would be on the up. “I will work so hard in this district, Arden McLean will need a new nickname!” he exclaimed.

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