Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Man injured in explosion

| 22/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A man has been injured during a home explosion that occurred in a one-bedroom concrete residence in Northward this morning (Wednesday 22 April), according to reports from the Cayman Islands Fire Service. The property on Fig Tree Drive is said to have received extensive damage as a result of a home propane stove burner being left on, and the man is currently in hospital receiving treatment. CIFS said that it received a call at 7:33 am from a Northward resident reporting the explosion.

The caller stated that there were no longer signs of fire or smoke but one person had been injured by the explosion. A fire vehicle was dispatched from Central Fire Station, arriving at the scene at 7:50 am. CIFS investigators report that the structure’s windows were blown out, the roof was lifted from the belting, and doors were blown off their hinges and destroyed.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion is been carried out but preliminary findings indicate that a stove burner, which was apparently left on, caused an accumulation of gas that ignited. Officers are testing the gas line for leaks, as well as the stove.

This is the third residential propane incident this year involving a kitchen appliance. Chief Fire Officer Dennom Bodden said residents using gas stoves must ensure that gas lines and appliances are in proper working condition.  Propane tanks, including the small portable tanks, should be storedoutdoors. If any scent of gas is detected, residents should not turn on electric lights or any other possible igniters, CIFS said. The area should be ventilated, and the gas source turned off. Residents should leave the building and contact the fire service if necessary.  Smoke and gas detectors should also be installed.

For more information on preventing and detecting residential fires, contact the Fire Services’ Deputy Chief Fire Officer Doorley McLaughlin who has responsibility for the Fire Prevention Unit.

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Hernandez resigns from CAL

| 22/04/2009 | 52 Comments

(CNS): Offering few details as to what caused her resignation, Cayman Airways has today said that Angelyn Hernandez has resigned from her position as the chairperson of the airline’s Board of Directors, along with fellow board member Dax Foster. The airline said in a statement that the resignations were effective immediately and that Deputy Chairman, Capt. Johnny Brown, would assume the role of Acting Chairman. Charles Clifford, Minister with responsibility for Cayman Airways, expressed his gratitude for the contributions made by Hernandez and Foster but did not give any reason for their sudden departure.

In the statement Hernandez was said to be “stepping down for personal reasons” and said she was "honoured and humbled to have been given this opportunity to serve Cayman Airways and my country for almost four years. I will carry with me a deep affection and respect for what CAL does and represents,” she added.

Cayman News Service has contacted both Hernandez and Foster for comment regarding their  resignations and Hernandez said having served for almost 4 years to the best of here abilities because, “that is the only way I believe you can serve,” she said that she held CAL and its entire staff close to her but, “it is simply time to leave.”

The minister noted CAL’s many achievements during her tenure, including the completion of the airlines for Cayman Airways, the fleet modernization, the completion of efficiency audits and related action plans, successful route launches to New York and Washington DC, the rebranding campaign and the purchase of equipment dedicated to serve the Sister Islands. He said he was confident that CAL, as led by the Acting Chairman Capt. Johnny Brown, and under the continued guidance of its Acting CEO Gilles Filiatreault and CEO (Designate) Capt. Olson Anderson, would continue to build upon the company’s legacy of success.

Hernandez was appointed to the board in 2005 and became chair in July 2006. While the CEO post has changed hands three times during that time the board has remained stable. Patrick Strasburger, took up the post at the national flag carrier in March 2007 replacing Mike Adam who left the airline after more than 20 years the previous December. Strasburger resigned some 16 months later and was replaced by Acting CEO Gilles Filiatreault and CEO (Designate) Capt. Olson Anderson. Vice President ofCommercial John Wrightington also resigned his position after one year.

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Police in teenager standoff

| 22/04/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Police said today that an 18-year-old man with mental health problems who barricaded himself in his house armed with two machetes after making threats to harm his family last night has now been taken into custody safely following a major negotiation operation by the RCIPS. Police were alerted to the incident in West Bay at around 8:50 pm last night, Tuesday 21 April, when a woman reported that her son had been causing problems at her house and requested police assistance.

Police said that officers responded to the scene and the young man then barricaded himself in his room, refusing to come out. The two other occupants of the house were removed safely from the scene. Officers entered into negotiations with the man, whose mood police described as fluctuating frequently between calm and erratic.

The RCIPS stated that he made serious threats against his family and the police. During the standoff the house was cordoned off and two officers trained in negotiation tactics, including one who is currently on annual leave, attended the location.

Conversations with the man continued into the night and he was persuaded to give up one of the two machetes he had in his possession. Following a number of hours of negotiations and based on the increasing risks the Senior Incident Command made the decision to deploy a tactical entry into the house using trained specialist officers and the man was taken into custody without incident under the Mental Health Act.

He was also arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, threatening violence and failing to attend court.

“This was a situation which had the potential to end tragically or in serious injuries to the occupants, the subject or the officers,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ennis. “I am extremely proud of the professionalism and skills displayed by the officers who brought about a successful end to this volatile incident.”

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station 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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Fidel ‘corrects’ Obama

| 22/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(Huffington Post): Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul’s remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on dollars people send to the island. Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw after nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their US counterparts and discuss "everything, everything, everything," including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners.

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Day continues to storm sports

| 22/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The name Merta Day is synonymous with sports, and to the long list of accomplishments she has, Day has just added another title — Most Valuable Player — in the finals of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s (CIBA) National Women’s League. Her team, Quick Cash Storm, remained undefeated throughout the entire season, even though Day endured the much of the season with a niggling injury. In the finals, however, she was ready to play her role to maintain her team’s unbeaten run and to take the winner’s trophy. (Photos by Tara Bush)

According to a CIBA release, 43-year-old Day probably began her sporting life when she began to walk. With an athletic body built for running, a commanding height for basketball and netball, the agility and coordination for tae-kwon-do, the strength and endurance for rugby and the hand-eye coordination for squash, Day has competed in just about every sport.

Truth be told, she is one of the lucky ones who has found a way to turn her passion for sport into a career. She is currently employed with the Cayman Islands Department of Sports as Sports Coordinator for Women. She has been with the department for the past 23 years.

No stranger to sporting awards, Day has won Netballer of the Year “many years back”, as she recalls. She has been named Player of the Match in rugby and has many middle distance running events to her credit. She has received the coveted Sports Person of the Year award and was the first person in the history of these islands to be awarded an international medal – as the Tae-kwon-do winner at the Central American Games in Ponce Puerto Rico year 1992. She was also local middle-weight champion.

In 2008, Day was awarded the Sports Woman’s Diploma from the International Olympic Committee for outstanding contribution to the development of sports for girls and women in Cayman Islands.

Her basketball accolades are pretty impressive as well. She wasthe first woman to record the first triple double – this means she secured double figures in scoring, rebounding, assist or steals. Along the way, she says she has earned a variety of titles in the local women’s league and won the MVP award in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. She did not compete in the 2008 league.

Merta Day is the real sport deal. She started playing basketball seriously in 1992 for Cayman Women’s National Team, under the tutelage of Rick Catlin. She says she found the game to be fun and was drawn it to due to its high visibility on television.

“But what I really liked was that everyone on the team got an opportunity to shoot the ball and also because of the scholarship opportunities,” Day said.

Day, who emerged the MVP in this year’s finals of the basket ball league, said she did not set out to be a stats leader this year. “I deliberately looked for a team that had reliable players, specifically the centre positions, so that I would have less playing time and could be on the bench, instead of being one of the key players. I also wanted to play for a team that enjoyed playing ball and simply having fun,” she explained.

She says that sport is important to her because of three things: cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and flexibility, which she says are key ingredients to a healthy lifestyle.

“Sports keep me fit, healthy and happy. I get to socialise and meet people, travel the world and be an ambassador for my country. Sports also gave me a scholarship and even though I did not capitalise on it back then, this kind of opportunity can be a blessing to young people whose families cannot afford to pay college tuition fees,” she added.

Day said she was pleased to receive this year’s award, but was equally surprised because so many of her teammates played well. “I say a huge thank you to my team mates who supported me and made the good passes to me, allowing me the opportunities to score, and thereby allowing us to maintain our winning streak. I must also thank my coach. It was a total team effort, especially since we didn’t even have a team practice, because we were all so busy,” she said.

In further praise to the efforts of her team, Day noted that she sat on the bench for four weeks due to a hamstring injury and the team “fought tooth and nail during the play-offs to make it to the finals. Any of our starting five could easily have won the MVP award — more specifically Lavern [Ebanks] or Bobeth [O’Garro] I applaud them all – they are all MVPs in my opinion and it was an absolute pleasure playing with players you can rely on,” she added.

Day encourages young women to get started in sports early. “The younger you start, the easier it is to learn new skills. Sports provide wholesome activities that can be enjoyed at all levels and keep young people out of trouble,” she said.

“There are so many benefits to sports, ranging from a healthy lifestyle, to opportunities for scholarships. Young sports persons must be disciplined and maintain good grades in school,” she added.

Merta Day is married to Michael and they have a daughter, Chantelle Day, who is one of the top squash players in the Caribbean.


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Sparkies need to be licenced

| 22/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): All active electrical contractors need to submit an electrical contractor’s application to the Building Control Unit (BCU) by Thursday, 30 April 2009 the Electrical Board of Examiners  (EBE)  has said. According to the Electricity Law (Revision 2005) and the Electricity Regulations (Revision 2005) section 60(1) no one is allowed to trade as an electrician without a license and the requirement is being enforced as part of the phasing in of regulations.

The law states: “No person shall trade, contract or carry on business as an electrical contractor of any nature or employ staff for any such work unless he is licensed in that behalf by the Board (Electrical Board of Examiners) and also holds a licence as an electrician or contractor under the Trade and Business Licensing Law (2003 Revision).”

As of Tuesday, 19 May 2009, the Building Control Unit (BCU) will not conduct inspections for electricians who do not meet the requirements detailed in the regulations, section 60(2), as they would be operating illegally.              “Most applications received to date have been approved,” said EBE Chairman Robert Duty. “We expect that most contractors will be in compliance,”

The electrical contractor’s application is available on, and at BCU, in Regatta Office Park. There is no application charge at this time.                            The EBE will consider applications during its regular meetings, which normally are held the second Tuesday of each month.

The board is also advising those sitting the next Electrical Licensing Exam that it is scheduled for Friday, 29 May 2009 on Grand Cayman. People wishing to take the exam must submit their applications to the Planning Department no later than 12 noon, 8 May 2009. Application forms are available from the Planning Department website as above or from the office.

The exam is scheduled to take place from 8am to 12 noon in the training room at Innovative Management & Professional Training, located in Alissta Towers, Unit 201, 85 North Sound Road. Each applicant must pay two separate fees in order to sit the exam. The first fee of CI$25 is an application processing fee, which is payable by cheque or money order to the Cayman Islands Government. The second, is the US$60 exam fee which is payable only by a US currency money order to the International Code Council. Both fees are to be submitted along with the application by 8 May 2009.
The 2009 examination dates for Grand Cayman are as follows:

Exam Date                                         Deadline

29 May 2009                                     8 May 2009

28 August 2009                                 7 August 2009

27 November 2009                           6 November 2009

For further enquiries, please contact the Planning Department at 769-PLAN (7526), fax: 769-2228, e-mail: visit, call EBE Chairman Robert Duty on 916-4891 or EBE Secretary Emerson Piercy on 526-1521.


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Christianity’s human-rights heritage

| 22/04/2009 | 12 Comments

Our proposed Bill of Rights allows discrimination as long as it is “justifiable”. That’s what Section 16 says. What all the fuss is about is who decides what is justifiable.

My guess is, the Privy Council in London will decide on a case-by-case basis – each case being brought by a very rich person who doesn’t need to live here. The Attorney-General’s Office will defend the discrimination every inch of the way and will appeal every time it loses, and will delay payment even when the Privy Council does rule against it. Also, the plaintiff will lose his residency papers within 24 hours of going to court. That’s what happens to people who take on the Cayman Islands Government.

The Bill of Rights doesn’t actually identify gays as the prime target of any discrimination. The British Government wouldn’t stand for that. Anyway, our politicians are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of having their broad power to discriminate enshrined in the Constitution. Can you imagine? Who wouldn’t want to be best-buds with them, then?

Disguising the target (the gays) compromises the whole purpose of the Bill. Politicians and bureaucrats know that “rights” aren’t worth a hill of beans if they can be arbitrarily withheld. Our FCO masters know it too, and it’s cause for concern that they seem to be going along with this swindle.

This situation arises out of some local church-leaders’ loathing of homosexual men and women. How ironic that is. Christians have led many reform movements over the Centuries: what a shame the tradition looks like coming to the end of the line in Cayman.

Reform movements throughout Christendom would never have succeeded without the leadership of Christians. It was devout Christians who led the fight to abolish chattel slavery in the British Empire, two hundred years ago. In 1772 a judge had ruled that as a matter of common law, slavery was not legal in England. By implication, it had not been legal since the Norman Kings, though it had always been widely practised both in England and its colonies.

That ruling encouraged some liberal Christians to mount the campaign that resulted in the Great Emancipation of 1833. A second campaign promoted the belief that slavery ought to be abolished everywhere in the world. Freedom from slavery was so fundamental a status that it transcended nation, religion, sex, race, and every other consideration. Heathen black African women had as much God-given right to freedom as Christian white English men.

One hundred years before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international campaigners recognised that virtue is not the exclusive preserve of Christianity or any other religion. Rather, virtue derives from rules of behaviour that are common to all mankind regardless of religion.

Belief in the Christian God does not guarantee good “Christian” behaviour. Christianity is not an ethics-based religion, any more than Islam is, or Judaism. Decency and compassion have nothing at all to do with religion, and vice versa. It was this non-religious decency and compassion that was evident in the anti-slavery movements.

The abolition of slavery in nation after nation placed the “civil” right to own humans below the newly recognized “human” right of all humans (even foreigners) not to be owned. Some generations later, in the aftermath of the Second World War, activist Christians led the political battle to agree the contents of the Universal Declaration. What a glorious victory that was, for a religion that is not rooted in an ethical ideal.

There has been no general retreat by Christendom since then, from its commitment to human rights. Some small and introspective communities have found it difficult to overcome their loyalty to their narrow traditional beliefs, and that is understandable. Prejudices harden in cultural isolation.

Native Caymanians comprise one of these communities, resistant to mainstream Christianity’s generosity of spirit towards new ideas that promise greater kindness. Thus, the veneration of selected Old Testament myths and parables that happen to coincide with the community’s prejudices.

Has Cayman forgotten that many of our ancestors were set free by Christian activists? Is there no residual gratitude?

Prejudice and discrimination go hand in hand, don’t they? We see this in the draft Bill of Rights. Our most vocal religious spokesmen are anxious to shore up their prejudices, and our political representatives are anxious to get their fingers on the trigger of unlimited personal discrimination.

But it won’t kill us to wait a few more years to get a Bill of Rights that is free of discrimination against our fellow humans. Our leaders have led us to the cusp of shame, by packaging reasonable new rules of governance with a Bill of Rights that enshrines bigotry and discrimination. The packaging is a trick.

It would be a stunning defeat for virtue and compassion if Cayman were to vote for the proposed discriminatory Bill of Rights. We who value fairness over prejudice must hope with all our heart that the proposal fails.

Let us who respect fairness in our lives honour the Christians of 200 years ago who battled the racial prejudices of their time. In the privacy of the voting booth let us vote NO to the new Constitution and reject the Bill of Diluted Rights.

Let us not be persuaded by “leaders” who are ruled by their prejudices.

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Drivers warned to be careful on clean-up day

| 22/04/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is asking motorists to take extra care on the road this coming weekend as hundreds of people give up their time to assist in the Chamber of Commerce annual Earth Day Roadside Clean-up. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people will be taking part in the event on Saturday, 25 April, which will see volunteers collecting litter and debris from the side of the road between 7am and around 12pm.

Police said drivers are urged to be on the look out for them and be mindful that more people will be out on the road than usual. Motorists should take extra care by slowing down and being alert. Anyone wanting more information on the event should contact the Chamber of Commerce on 949-8090 ext. 124 or visit their website at

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station 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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TIEAs are not for fishing

| 22/04/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): When it comes to offshore business at present all eyes are on Jeffrey Owens, the OECD’s Director of Tax Policy and Administration who has played an instrumental role in encouraging Offshore Financial Centers to sign tax information exchange agreements or TIEAs as part of a move away from bank secrecy and towards transparency. Owens who is scheduled as headline speaker at the forthcoming Offshore Alert conference next week recently said the agreements do not allow countries to go on "fishing expeditions" for information about taxpayers.


Offshore Alert organizers said Owens will be presenting on this, one of the most topical issues in the offshore world when he delivers a key-note address entitled "Tax Co-Operation: Risks and Opportunities" at the 7th Annual OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference, which will take place in Miami Beach, Florida 26-28 April.

Owens has said that TIEAs respect a taxpayers’ right to privacy and the rights of countries to "tailor their own tax systems to their own needs." Over the last five months, 27 TIEAs have been signed or announced, including 11 by Bermuda and seven by the Cayman Islands, stated Owens.

As well as explaining the issues surrounding TIEAs he will look at "What’s Next" for OFCs as the international drive towards greater transparency for tax purposes gathers momentum amid the threat of sanctions against countries deemed to be non-cooperative. In the wake of the G20 summit in London he also noted that more progress on tax transparency and cooperation had been made in the last two months than in the last ten years. “We’ve moved very substantially to a level playing field,” he said, adding the recent agreements apply as much to companies as to individuals. “We’re in favour of fair tax competition,” Mr. Owens said. “It’s up to each country to decide its own rate of tax.”

However, Owens has also criticized tax haves for their impact on developing countries he recently told Reuters, that tax drainage to havens was equal to 7 or 8 percent of the gross domestic product of the African continent.

Following Owens’ speech, the conference will hear from Wendy Warren, who is the CEO and Executive Director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board. In a speech entitled "The Offshore Perspective outlining her vision of how OFCs must adapt in order to thrive in the current global economic and political climate.

Owens and Warren will also take part in a panel discussion regarding the issues affecting OFCs with Eduardo D’Angelo Silva, Vice Chairman of the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association, David Chenkin, a New York-based attorney and Bob Roach, Counsel and Chief Investigator to the U. S. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, which is chaired by U. S. Senator Carl Levin, the principal sponsor of the ‘Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act’, which is currently being considered by Congress.

So far, 250 people from 28 countries have registered to attend the conference, which will look at the latest developments in Offshore Financial Center

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Strong support to preserve Blossom Village Road

| 22/04/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Three of the four Sister Islands candidates are among more than 250 people who have so far signed a petition to ask government not to pave the old-time Caymanian sand road that runs through Blossom Village in Little Cayman. Both incumbents, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly (UDP) and Moses Kirkconnell (PPM), and independent candidate Lyndon Martin have signed the petition, as well as the four West Bay UDP MLAs. However, while paving plans have been halted for now, District Administration Minister Kurt Tibbetts has not ruled out the paving of the road. (Photos by Foots)

Elsie Kynes, and her husband, the artist known as “Foots”, launched the campaign (See Campaign to save historic road in LC) on Monday, 23 February, when they found out that Public Works Department on Little Cayman was set to start work on paving the road. While pleased that the immediate plans have been stopped, they are now determined to preserve the road as a national landmark forever.

Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie has said, “The DoE’s position is that we would not wish to see this road paved for the same reason we chose not to pave the parking lot of the recently constructed DoE building on Little Cayman (which is also in Blossom Village), which is that the road, like our parking lot, is within the extended beach ridge system and should therefore not be covered over with an impervious surface which has the potential to significantly alter the drainage characteristics of such areas," Ebanks-Petrie said. "We also believe that the public’s concerns over the potential speed limit increase and the aesthetic impact on Blossom Village are legitimate.”

Foots says they intend to take the petition to the Governor’s Office next week, and petitions are circulating on both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Anyone interested in signing can call him at 925-0904 or email or . There is also a website Blossom Village Road blog, launched by local photographer David Wolfe, where people can vote in an online poll. To date 172 people have voted “no” to paving the road, and two people have voted “yes”.

A statement from Kurt Tibbetts reads, “A few weeks ago, we were advised of a petition signed by Little Cayman residents in response to the proposed paving of the Blossom Village Road. While the petition has not been received to date in light of the concern, paving plans have been postponed, pending reassessment and discussion between District Administration and the Department of Environment.

“However, it should be noted that work on that stretch of road was originally scheduled in response to requests from residents and landowners living in the area. The plan for the road was then announced during the Little Cayman District Office opening in May 2008. At that time District Commissioner Ernie Scott invited residents to forward their comments regarding the proposed work to his office. Once District Administration has had an opportunity to discuss this with the various stakeholders, a decision regarding the proposed road works will be made and the public will be advised accordingly.”

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