Archive for November 8th, 2009

Hurricane Ida heads for Louisiana

| 08/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency as the US Gulf Coast are braced for the arrival of Hurricane Ida. Forecasters says the category 2 storm is entering the Gulf of Mexico with winds of up to 100mph (160 kph). Ida is expected to gather speed as it moves north over open water towards the US coast. However, the National Hurricane Center said it is expected to weaken before reaching the Gulf Coast by Tuesday. At 2100 GMT on Sunday, the centre said Ida was about 95 miles (155km) west-north-west of Cuba, moving at about 10mph (16km/h) per hour. The storm has already lashed parts of Central America and a tropical storm warning is in place for the western tip of Cuba.

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Foreign relations

| 08/11/2009 | 19 Comments

It’s never easy moving to another country. I arrived here shortly after Ivan. I recall being excited at the prospect of working for a while in the Caribbean. But as the aircraft approached over the azure sea and I peered out the window, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Lush? Oh, not really. More like Vietnam after it had been “liberated”.

I wondered why there were no leaves on the trees and the strange location of some of the boats. You see, you have no idea of the actual damage a hurricane can create through news outlets. And, as you well know, Cayman didn’t get much attention in the media. And it was hot. Real hot. Yes, I’m a gringo and as we headed from the airport on the wrong side of the road, I shed layer after layer. I was fortunate enough at that time to obtain a work permit because many of the requirements had been waived in the need for massive amounts of labor.

And I tell you, without a doubt, in spite of the destruction I saw everywhere, I was intrigued, and also enchanted. Not by the surroundings! By the people. When you come from a country, as I did, where the vast majority are homogenous, you’re looking through different eyes. And what I found was something that supported what I had always believed: We’re basically all the same. Given the opportunity and the right frame of mind, we’re also color-blind.

Now, if you’re a tourist, which many of us have been, arriving in a different culture and surroundings is interesting. But you do tend to gather together in flocks, take the requisite amount of photos to prove your arrival to friends back home, and approach the experience in many ways as a film you’ve gone to see. But when you move somewhere and work somewhere alongside others, that’s where the experience becomes real and immediate.

Most of us ex-pats are here, in reality, because of work. And very many of us have diverged from that initial purpose in that we have become attached in other ways than through our paycheques. That is a difficulty that many of us have encountered and it’s very personal. From our outlook, we are only here for a period of time. And, as many of the posts on these forums have hurtfully pointed out, in many cases we’re not completely welcome, orat best, seen as a hindrance. On a personal level … it does hurt, because you’re not sure what you’re guilty of, and if so, don’t know how to correct it. I’m open to suggestion.

But I’m not crying the blues, I feel most grateful for being given an opportunity, because I’m not rich, to live here. It’s difficult to express that. Both on a personal and, more importantly, a social level, that’s a serious problem for ex-pats. Other than to show respect, there is a desire on the part of many ex-pats to participate in what I guess we could call an adopted culture, or a culture that has adopted us – sometimes begrudgingly.

But many of us try and many of us are sincere. Home has different connotations to people. Sometimes it’s the place you were born. Sometimes it’s the place you have chosen. Sometimes it’s the place you would defend against all odds. So I am attempting to express my own personal views on the matter. It’s hard work sometimes in the heat, but I enjoy it. Not the sweat – no mon, that’s different – but the fact that at the end of my day I can stop by the store and see Caymanians, Filipinos, Jamaicans, Guyanians, tourists, and any number of the mix of people that make up our world mingling and shopping, checking out the produce, saying “sorry” and chasing their kids who have headed straight for the candy aisle.

No matter how hard my day has been and whatever mood it’s left me in … I have to smile. This is a world we envision – or should. And we’re actually living in it! Hard to remember that sometimes when there’s heated conversations going on.

While we talk about the practicalities, and yes, inequities, because they are present too, we should not lose track of the opportunity. For whatever reason, we have all gathered together here on this tiny dot in a world filled with strife.

Cayman has forever changed me, as it does everyone. Whether they arrive here as workers or tourists, I’m certain that everyone looks back on it at some point and says, “ That wasn’t a bad place at all … in fact it was kind of wonderful … and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.” And you can bet, it wasn’t because of the attractions – or even the lack of them. It was the people.

We all make up this society that no one can ever forget. And I am grateful for CNS in going a good way to helping us realize that. Now let’s continue to argue!

Because if I don’t hear from you, and you don’t hear from me, how are we supposed to know each other?

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Sharia compliant fund to target women

| 08/11/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Media Line): A Cayman island based wealth management firm has established a fund that will target female investors in the Gulf. The Mayfair Wealth Management Company has launched the Ameerah, a service offering advice on Sharia (Islamic law) compliant products and investment strategies for female investors in the Gulf. The estimated wealth controlled by the target group is $40 billion. Amani Choudhry, CEO of Mayfair Wealth Management confirmed to The Media Line that Ameerah, meaning princess, is the first fund to specifically target female investors in the Gulf.

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Ida Warning lifted

| 08/11/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Although the official storm warning for the Cayman Islands has been discontinued by the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Cayman will continue to experience unsettled weather for the rest of the holiday weekend.  The Cayman government issued an all clear this morning around 4:00am but more heavy showers and flooding in local areas are expected with rough seas and small crafts should exercise caution. The NHC said that at 6:00am this morning Ida became a hurricane with sustained maximum winds of 90mph. Moving at 12mph, Ida is located 70miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico and about 85 miles south-southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

Cayman Airways is advising customers that all of its international and inter-island flights are operating as scheduled. No disruptions are anticipated at this time due to Hurricane Ida, but the airline is continuing to monitor the system and will advise customers if any schedule changes become necessary. Should changes become necessary, advisories will be published on and through the local media.

Ida is expected to turn toward the north-northwest and then to the north over the next couple of days with an increase in forward speed and Ida could become a category two hurricane today or tonight. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

Ida which was the 9th tropical storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season passed Grand Cayman on the eve of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Paloma striking Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

See today’s weather forecast

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