Archive for May 6th, 2009

Cayman remains flu free say officials

| 06/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Public health officials have said today that they have investigated a total of ten patients with respiratory infections since the WHO notification of an overseas outbreak of H1N1 flu and there are still no cases of the virus in the Cayman Islands. Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar reiterated that investigating a case of respiratory illness does not mean health officials suspect H1N1 flu but this is a precautionary measure only.

Five of the investigated cases had travelled to areas affected by H1N1 flu, such as Texas and Toronto and both the HSA and Public Health will continue to vigilantly screen and investigate all cases of respiratory illnesses, even if H1N1 is not suspected, Dr Kumar said.

As part of Public Health’s vigorous surveillance, samples were sent to the CAREC laboratory in Trinidad as well as to the IRL-Miami laboratory to establish whether there was any influenza activity. Three samples were sent on 29 April to CAREC: The results showed no flu, meaning not even seasonal flu. Two samples were sent to Miami on 30 April: The results showed no flu, meaning not even seasonal flu. All other samples tested negative for Influenza A (with the HSA’s local testing), but these were nevertheless sent to the CAREC laboratory for final verification. Results are still outstanding for one sample sent on 1 May, two sent on 4 May, and another sample that was sent today.

Authorities said that the HSA is now able to conduct a basic test to see if a person has flu with results available in 3-4 hours. If the test is positive for Influenza A (the flu comes in two major types – A and B), the test will be sent to CAREC in Trinidad. At that point a person would be considered to be a suspect case, if he/she travelled to an affected area in the past seven days. If CAREC determines it is H1, the person is a probable case and the test goes to the CDC in Atlanta. The CDC puts the last piece in place – determining whether the virus is the N1 strain which is causing the current flu outbreak (Influenza A H1N1).



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Ellio sacrificed for baby girl

| 06/05/2009 | 142 Comments

(CNS): Facing a considerable amount of criticism in postings on the CNS website and from various quarters on the campaign trail over his undergraduate education, Ellio Solomon, a candidate in the forth coming general election, has told CNS that the only reason he did not complete his degree was because of the birth of his daughter Shawn Renee (left at four months old) in 2000 who has sever disabilities. Solomon said that no one understands the decisions he had to make as a father, but as far as he was concerned his family came first and there was no other choice.

Solomon’s wife Betsy explained that since Shawn, who was born 1 November, became ill suffering seizures a few months after her birth, the couple have had to make many sacrifices for the sake of their daughter, and her husband’s studies were just one of the difficult choices they made. Speaking about the comments and criticisms that her husband has faced, Betsy said it was very hurtful. “When people make unkind comments about other people’s lives, about things that they cannot understand, it’s very painful,” she said, adding that no one can know what it’s like unless they experience it.

She explained that, as a high achiever and only six months shy of finishing his degree, it was incredibly painful for him, but Ellio was forced to quit because of the specialist medical treatment as well as the care their daughter needed. However, Betsy said that they had grown as a family despite the sacrifices and that they thanked God every day for their beautiful little girl. “Every day we are thankful for our daughter because she has made us fight, and fight hard, to help her and other Caymanians,” she said.

Adding that the family had achieved many things, she said that people don’t see the incredible pain and struggle behind the triumphs but in the end their family was more united and stronger for it. Betsy said that from the time Shawn was four months old until she was 5 years old, the couple and their two other daughters did not see her smile, but today at 8 years old and a student at the Lighthouse School their daughter is a bundle of smiles and the family’s pride and joy.

“Shawn does not walk or talk, she smiles, she gestures, she laughs, she holds on tight and she continues to spread joy in our lives and all that she comes in contact with. She is our inspiration. She is the one who keeps us fighting for all of those who cannot fight for themselves,” Betsy added.

She explained that when Ellio speaks out on any subject people can hear his passion and that he does not need to read from any prepared documents as he speaks truly from the heart.

Reflecting on his circumstances, Solomon said that he would have loved to have completed his bachelor’s degree in Science and Business Adminstration at ICCI, which he was taking when Shawn was born, but there was no question of him not taking responsibility for the special care his baby daughter would need, and as the man of the house, he said, he needed to work. “Of courses I would love to have finished but my family and their needs came first,” he added.

Solomon has demonstrated since the launch of the website Caypolitics in 2001, during his time as a host on Rooster’smorning show Crosstalk and since taking to the hustings for election 2009 as a United Democratic Party Candidate that he feels very strongly about the myriad issues affecting his people and has a strong desire to serve them and advance their cause.

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Ivan victim gets new roof

| 06/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): More than 4 years after Hurricane Ivan devastated Grand Cayman, Anita Welds and her 2 children, Brandi and Tiffany finally have a dry roof, thanks to the efforts of the National Recovery Fund, joint Rotary Disaster Fund and Rotary Central. Two years ago, Rotary Central was approached to assist Welds with repairs to her home. Now she not only has a new roof, but new dry wall, cabinetry and tiling.“This project took a long time, and it was well worth it. The NRF was able to provide this family with so much more than what Rotary could have done on its own,” said Nickie Sonnenberg Community Services Directory of Rotary Central in a release from the club.

“It is really nice to live in a dry house” said Tiffany. Brandi was all smiles and equally pleased with the work done to make their home livable.

Two years ago, when a member of the community asked Rotary Central to finish roofing Welds home, Rotary Central provided labor and materials to install rubber coating on the roof. The roof continued to leak even after an additional coatings was applied. After getting an estimate from Square Deal Roofing for construction of a new roof, Sonnenberg contacted Welds to discuss how to proceed. Welds informed her that the NRF had gotten involved with the home but needed additional assistance in order to finish the project.

The joint Rotary Disaster Fund agreed to donate CI$ 4,000 and the Rotary Central board of directors agreed to match the donation.

“The National Recovery Fund is delighted to be in partnership with Rotary to assist with helping this needy family back into their home after such a long and patient wait since Hurricane Ivan” said Mark Laskin, Executive Director of NRF.

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Bermuda downgraded

| 06/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(Royal Gazette):Finance Minister Paula Cox has lost her grip on public finances, according to Bermuda’s Opposition after credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Bermuda Government bonds. Acting Shadow Finance Minister Pat Gordon-Pamplin said the Island’s first ever downgrade by Moody’s was "disappointing news". On Wednesday, Moody’s lowered the Island’s bond ratings to Aa2, with a stable outlook. The agency cited Bermuda’s small size and lack of diversity, and "external shocks" as major factors in the decision.


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Brac Lions help victims of fire

| 06/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Lions Club of Cayman Brac has donated essential home supplies to the two families who suffered losses from the fire on Cayman Brac back in March this year. The club purchased a range of items including pots, plates, cutlery, pillows, blankets, laundry baskets, sheet sets, baby diapers, wipes and clothes iron. A release from the club said members were happy that they could have assisted and encouraged others to give what they could to assist the families.

“They have lost everything and it will take time and money for them to replace all they have lost. The club reminds the community of Albert Einstein’s famous words, ‘A life lived for others, is a life worthwhile’,” the club said.

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Ex-employee work permits must be cancelled

| 06/05/2009 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Employers are legally obliged to cancel the permits of workers who are no longer employed by them. Failure to inform the Department of Immigration of the changed job status of an employee is illegal under Immigration Regulations and employers can be fined up to $5,000 for such an offence. Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said that the department has had to deal with several cases where persons no longer have the jobs for which work permits were granted yet they remain on-island.

A release from Immigration said employees could also be fined and removed from the Islands if found to have remained without the specific permission of the Immigration Department after his or her employment has been terminated.

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith noted that the department would be stepping up efforts to investigate and prosecute such offences. “Department of Immigration’s Enforcement and Intelligence Office will deploy all resources available in an effort to identify and vigorously pursue all persons and/or companies choosing to abuse the law,” Smith said, adding that anyone found in breach should expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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West Bay’s wind of change

| 06/05/2009 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Embarking on his third attempt at securing a seat in the Legislative Assembly, Bernie Bush asked the voters of West Bay not for another chance after eight years, but for just one chance to serve them well. Having come close to being elected twice before, Bush is hoping for third time lucky and in a calm presentation on Monday evening in Hell he told local voters that he felt the wind of change blowing through the district. Telling the audience to vote smart and not straight, he said he would set a new standard of service for an MLA in the district.

“Be wise and vote smart not straight. This should not be about green and red as this tribal system is pulling us apart and dividing the country. Tell your friends and family to give Bernie a chance,” he said.

Bush noted that his record of serving his community for almost 30 years demonstrated that he could get things done and that he cared about his people. In a presentation focusing on the needs of the community and the issues he would like to address, Bush avoided insulting or directly criticizing any of his opponents.

He told the audience that the country had historically failed to invest in its ownpeople which was Cayman’s most precious natural resource. Bush lamented the local tendency to undermine one another and for people to put down those who were successful. He said the community needed to be supportive of those who did well. He noted how other communities around the world supported and protected their own, which in turn fuelled their success, and he said it was something Cayman needed to do.

He said education was incredibly important to the country’s future and noted that the early years were the most significant for children and that resources were badly needed for kindergarten education. He said the calls for more after school programmes were unfounded as the programmes were already there, but the problem was getting young people involved, something that he had spent most of his life doing and if elected he wanted to be able to utilise his skills to being more people together and get more young people engaged.

Bush also noted that the problem with unaudited government accounts owed much to the introduction of the Public Management and Finance Law, which he said was cumbersome and expensive to implement and had been copied from New Zealand, where they themselves were now reconsidering its implementation. He said there was an idiotic amount of bureaucracy in government and that agencies did not communicate properly.

When it came to the numerous issues concerning the financial services sector, he said he had been talking widely with those working in the industry and said it was clear there was a need for more innovative thinking and new approaches. He said there were also untapped opportunities for Cayman’s economy to diversify.

“Some people tell me the lawyers and accountants have been running things for too long and they cannot think outside the box,” he said. “There are ways for us to come up with new approaches for economic development. Eco tourism or sports tourism are just some. We have talked about this for years and I know it can work, I’ve seen it work.”

He explained that these two areas could have a significant impact on tourism overall and Cayman was well placed to encourage both.  He also agreed with the thoughts of a number of other candidates on the trail that part of Cayman’s problem with regards the decline in the tourism business overall was the lack of Caymanian faces in the business and that somehow this had to be tackled.

Telling everyone he was his own man and not part of the UDP or the PPM, he said his hands were not tied and asked for a chance to serve.

In 2005 Bush polled over 36% of the electorate, the highest percentage of the vote by any independent candidate other than Moses Kirkconnell, who joined the PPM a few days after the election.

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Monarchs rule in B-Ball

| 06/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Monarchs are dominating play in the PricewaterhouseCoopers U-16 Girls Basketball League. They have won four games and lost only one, which was a forfeit. It is hardly surprising that Monarchs are leading, given that they have Christina McLean, one of the top players in the league, on their roster. McLean also has played in the Women’s National league ended a few months ago, so she has plenty of experience under her belt. She is the top scorer in the U-16 Girls League with 25 points. (Photo by Tara Bush: Monarchs April Ebanks in action during one of the games in PricewaterhouseCoopers U-16 Girls games)

There are a number of players, likeMcLean, who were tested in the Women’s League this past season, who are leading in the stats. These include Amber Watson, April Ebanks and Felecia Conner, to name a few.

Sparks are the second place team with two and two. Lynx is third with one win and four losses. Comets has two wins and three losses but has been outscored by Lynx, which has 118 points to Comets’ 111. Lynx has conceded 133 against and Comets 115 for.

The stats leaders are La-Torae Nixon from Sparks with 5 assists. Amber Watson (Lynx) leads with 3 blocks. Four players have eight blocks apiece: Christina McLean (Monarchs), Shana Linwood (Comets), Watson and Felecia Connor (Comets). Sashaneil McField (Lynx) has 13 turnovers. April Ebanks has 18 rebounds and Watson 17.

Redver Ebanks, coach of the National Women’s Basketball team, said he is pleased with how the league is progressing.

“It is nice to see the evolution of the players as league play continues. They are gaining confidence and taking more chances.”

Games in the PricewaterhouseCoopers U-16 Girls League are played every Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Monarchs April Ebanks in action during one of the games in PricewaterhouseCoopers U-16 Girls games.

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Culture highlighted at CITE 2009

| 06/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): International travel wholesalers, members of the local tourism industry and both international and local media had the opportunity to experience first-hand what they will promote and sell to our potential guests at the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange (CITE), where they were treated to Cayman culture, Caymanian hospitality, networking functions, presentations and a business forum. A release from the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) said the 8th annual CITE, held from 30 April to 2 May at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, offered the perfect opportunity for the Cayman Islands to stand out from other destinations.

The invited travel wholesalers mainly from the US and UK were identified and recommended by local tourism operators, CITA and the CI Department of Tourism. Wholesalers include both traditional and web-based operations which have supported the Cayman Islands in the past or have the ability and interest to do so in the future. The format of the event included a business session with presentations and updates on tourism developments, property tours, pre-scheduled appointments, networking functions and activities for all delegates.

The wholesalers were met by over 20 local tourism operators who provided information on their products and services directly to the wholesalers during the three day event. The local operators’ key objectives at CITE were to reaffirm existing business relationships and to form new ones where possible with this important group in the travel distribution chain. Although the event is geared toward properties, our local suppliers included many of the transportation providers, water sports representatives, and attractions as well. (Above: Penny Cumber-Cayman Villas, Effie Mitchell-Casa Caribe, Robert Bodden-Islands Club, Elizabeth Oliver-The Cayman Club and Lisa Hernandez-Christopher Columbus meet with Susan Crea-Tighe from MLT Vacations)

The festivities began with a Roof-top Welcome Reception hosted by Camana Bay. Delegates were treated to an incredible view of the North Sound, Seven Mile Beach and George Town from atop the fifth floor of the Ernst & Young Building at Camana Bay.

The Opening Ceremony started off Friday morning with opening remarks and presentations by various tourism officials including the Tourism Minister Charles Clifford, Sharon Banfield-Bovell of DoT, and CITA President Steve Broadbelt. Pre-arranged, one-on-one business appointments between the international wholesalers and local operators made up the remainder of the day with the exception of breaking for a luncheon and Destination Weddings presentation at Blue Restaurant sponsored by Celebrations. Friday night the delegates were in for a real Caymanian treat when local culture met tourism at “Culture@Callalloo hosted by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation at the home of Martin & Vivian Bould.

This year a new feature was added on Saturday morning – a team building exercise in a Jeopardy Game Show format – which allowed some great data to be captured from the wholesalers about how they view Cayman as a destination. Afterward the delegates wereoff on one of many excursions including a day trip to Little Cayman, Islands Tours, Site Inspections, the Batabano Parade, and Watersports activities. The Farewell Party was hosted by DOT at Ristorante Pappagallo.

This year’s CITE events were hosted by CITA and sponsored and supported by American Express Publishing, Camana Bay, Cayman Airways, Celebrations, CUC, Department of Tourism, Martin & Vivian Bould and the Cayman National Cultural Association, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Travel Agent Media Group, Tropicana Tours, and Webster’s Tours.

For more information about next year’s Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange, contact the Cayman Islands Tourism Association on phone: 345 949 8522 or email

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Two polls will be easy to follow says Gomez

| 06/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): With only two weeks to go before Cayman goes to the polls not just to elect a government but to vote on the country’s new Constitution, the Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez has assured the electorate that with trained election officers on hand to assist and a logical set-up of polling stations, voters will find that “dual polling” will not be a difficult process. After months of preparation for the historic event he said that the process will be smooth and efficient.

“For the first time in history, the Cayman Islands will hold a Referendum on the same day as General Elections and the two separate votes will be conducted at dual polling stations because they are being held under two separate laws – the Elections Law and the Referendum Law – and to avoid any confusion,” Gomez explained.

As people arrive at polling stations, trained Field Officers will meet them and help determine whether they are on the List of Registered Electors and at the correct polling division. Voters will then be directed to the correct polling station, which is determined alphabetically by voters’ surnames.  Gomez said that everyone is encouraged to check in with the Field Officers to avoid delays later.

As voters approach the physical voting station, they will see a yellow line. They should stand behind it until the Presiding Officer calls the next person forward.  “It is the Presiding Officer’s responsibility to keep order and see that voters are not impeded or molested in any way. A Police Officer will be present, in uniform, and the Presiding Officer may call for his or her assistance if considered necessary,” the Supervisor added.

As a voter approaches the Poll Clerk, he will first state his name, address and occupation as it appears on the Register of Electors. A Polling Clerk will confirm the information while another Polling Clerk enters that information into the Poll Book. Voters will then proceed to the Presiding Officer, who will explain the voting process and issue the ballot paper. The voter then takes the ballot into a Voting Booth, marks it, folds it and returns it to the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer removes the counterfoil and the Voter deposits the ballot into the ballot box.

The voter then exits the Election area, which is the entrance to the Referendum area where another Field Officer will be stationed here to confirm that the voter is proceeding correctly. The voter will again approach a Polling Clerk, stating name, address and occupation as it appears on the Register of Electors and the information will be entered into a Poll Book. The voter proceeds to the Presiding Officer for the Referendum, who will explain the process and issue the ballot before taking the ballot to a voting booth, to mark it, fold it and return it to the Presiding Officer, who will remove the counterfoil and return the ballot to the voter. Finally the voter will deposit his or her ballot into the ballot box and then exit the polling station.

Although voters are not compelled to take part in both the General Elections and the Referendum, the Election Office said it is urging them to take advantage of the opportunity to cast ballots on this historic occasion. Speaking at the recent polling demonstration set up by the elections office Colford Scott, Deputy Supervisor of Elections said that the office hopes that by passing through both sections people will be encouraged to take part in the full democratic process.




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