Archive for December 23rd, 2009

Mini bus driver critical

Mini bus driver critical

| 23/12/2009 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Updated Thursday noon: Police are still appealing for witnesses to the West Bay Road crash that occurred on Wednesday morning at around  6.50 am (Wednesday 23 December 2009).  The driver of a 12 seat minibus was driving close to the Comfort Suites when the vehicle collided with what has been described as a cherry-picker type truck. The 65 year old driver of the minibus sustained serious head and facial injuries. He remains in a critical condition and police said the man was unable to be airlifted to Miami on Wednesday but medical officials hope to transfer him today, (24 Dec)  for further treatment. (Photo by News 27)

The driver of the cherry picker (51) – who had been within the bucket section of the vehicle at the time of impact – sustained slight injuries as well as a female passenger in the minibus. (Photo by News 27)

Both men have been conveyed to George Town Hospital where they are currently being treated.
Police enquiries are ongoing and Inspector Adrian Barnett of the RCIPS Traffic department is appealing for any witnesses to the accident to contact him on 946-6254. Following the collision West Bay Road was closed for just over three hours to allow accident investigations and the removal of the vehicles to take place. The road is now reopened to traffic.


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Teenager arrested after drunken car smash

Teenager arrested after drunken car smash

| 23/12/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A sixteen year old boy has been arrested on suspicion of DUI after the car he was driving hit a concrete pillar last night, Tuesday 22 December 2009 on the West Bay Road. The incident which is one of a flurry of car smashes in the last few days occurred at about 10.10 pm when the young man was driving a Honda Civic south along the road. Police say that when the teen driver tried to negotiate a left turn into Camana Bay he appears to have lost control of the vehicle and struck a concrete pillar. All five male occupants of the vehicle sustained slight injuries.

The 16-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving without a license and insurance. No other vehicles were involved and police enquiries are ongoing. Inspector Adrian Barnett, head of the RCIPS Traffic department is once again warning people about the dangers of driving without being qualified and of the obvious consequences of drink driving.

“I cannot stress this strongly enough – do not get behind the wheel of a car unless you are qualified. Driving tests are in place for a very good reason – to make sure that you have the skills to be able to drive,” said the senior traffic cop. “These five lads were very lucky to have escaped with relatively minor injuries. Drinking and driving is a lethal enough combination on its own – but when you mix that with inexperience and a complete disregard for the laws of the road the results could potentially be fatal.”

In the wake of criticisms that the RCIPS has been paying too much attention to traffic incidents while appearing to ignore what people see as more serious crime such as the armed robberies and shootings, Inspector Adrian Barnett explained that this type of incident is why the police were pursuing the festive clamp down.

“We will have officers out in force throughout the holiday period to drive home the message that drink driving and other actions which impact on road safety in the Cayman Islands are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We want this to be safe and happy Christmas for everyone on the islands – and we will not allow those who show disregard for the law to spoil it for others,” he added.

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New Year tobacco ban to provide smoke free air

New Year tobacco ban to provide smoke free air

| 23/12/2009 | 18 Comments

(CNS): It may have been almost a decade in the making but at long last government is enforcing legislation which stops the use of tobacco in enclosed public areas and creates smoke free air in enclosed public areas. One of the key provisions of the Cayman Islands’ Tobacco Law, 2008 is that all public places will be smoke-free from 31 December 2009. Legislated smoke-free areas include enclosed bars, restaurants and pool halls, parks, any commercial transport, public toilets and public transportation terminals (e.g. the cruise terminals) and all shops and shopping centres.

A disappointment to anti-tobacco activists and health campaigners, however, the law does allow for designated smoking areas in open air bars and restaurants.
This designated areas are faced with certain restrictions and they must be clearly marked They must be at least 10ft away from the non-smoking areas and they cannot be in, or within 10ft of, any entrance, exit or any other openings of the enclosed section. The Law defines ‘enclosed’ as a place which has a full or partial roof and where the sides are at least 50% covered with walls, windows, blinds or curtains.

Despite the fact that the legislation has been in place for well over a year business owners are still being given time to comply with the Law. The Public Health Department, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Society and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), has developed sample signs for tobacco dealers and restaurants and bars. Officials have also met with members from the business community to explain the new legislation and its impact on businesses.

 “We are all working together to ensure compliance, and although we urge business owners to have the necessary provisions in place by the end of this year, we are also realistic. As such, we will give business owners until 30 April 2010 to have the necessary, permanent signs in place,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said.

Similarly, tobacco dealers – retailers and wholesale distributors – have until 30 April 2010 to register with the Medical Officer of Health (Public Health Department). This will be an annual registration and dealers must display their Certificate of Registration (similar to a Trade and Business License). There is a once-off non-refundable application fee of $100, and the annual registration fees are as follows: CI$500 for a retailer; CI$750 for a cigar bar; and CI$5,000 for a wholesale distributor.

Those whose primary customers are minors (children under 18 years), for example indoor play areas; recreational facilities such as gyms, cinemas, parks (e.g. Botanic Park) or games rooms, and vendors inside health care, educational and cultural facilities (e.g. the Harquail Theatre) will not be able to apply for a tobacco registration.

For many people the legislation did not go far enough and ban smoking in other public places that are outside such as the beaches and parks. However, even in what is considered a diluted form the legislation is expected to save lives. Research in other jurisdictions has revealed that smoking bans can reduce deaths from heart related diseases by as much as 35%.

Application forms for the tobacco registry are available from the Public Health Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital in the New Year. For more information on the Tobacco Law and Regulations, business owners can contact the Public Health Department at 244-2621.


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Government confirms Monday as a public holiday

Government confirms Monday as a public holiday

| 23/12/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Christmas festivities will include Monday 28 December for some people as government has declared that date a public holiday. A release from Government Information Services stated that the move to confirm the holiday was prompted by wording in the Public Holidays Law (2007 Revision) schedule, which states that the “day after Christmas Day” is a holiday. But this year, Christmas falls on a Friday – meaning that according to law, the “day after Christmas” holiday, which we call Boxing Day, would be observed on Saturday, 26 December. 

However, the Public Holidays Law also allows the governor to amend, by Order, the schedule to the law and it has now been amended. So Monday, 28 December 2009, is now an official public holiday and Saturday, 26 December 2009, is no longer a public holiday. The Order to amend the law will be published today (23 December), in an extraordinary edition of The Cayman Islands Gazette.

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Kids give to kids in need

Kids give to kids in need

| 23/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The young members of the Church of God Chapel Children’s Choir demonstrated they were thinking about others this weekend when they presented some toys to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for its young clients in need, on Sunday (6 December)> The toys were handed over by the choir’s director, Carol Mascarenhas to the DCFS’ Community Development Coordinator Zemrie Thompson following the children’s performance of this year’s musical The Best Christmas Present Ever; Happy Birthday Jesus at the Family Life Centre. 

Mascarenhas explained that in the spirit of the season, each child on the 64-member choir was asked to contribute a gift for a child.    “We want to teach them early on that it is better to give than to receive and always to reach out to those less fortunate than they are,” she said.

Thompson thanked the children, applauding them for both the night’s performance and their generous gifts. “Your toys will help to bring Christmas cheer when they are distributed to our young clients in the districts,” she added.

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Ebanks reflects on the highs and lows of 2009

Ebanks reflects on the highs and lows of 2009

| 23/12/2009 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The acting governor, Donovan Ebanks has said that 2009 has been a year of unusual challenges in a special Christmas Message. Reflecting on the ups and downs Ebanks said that whatever people’s politics 2009 was a year which reminded us that we live in a democracy where the transition from one government to another took place in a peaceful, orderly and democratic fashion. He said the country’s first referendum on the constitution offered an opportunity to shape the future of Cayman by harnessing the resources of the new Constitution.

Full statement reads:  At this special time of year we look forward to enjoying the company of friends and loved ones, and to sharing with them in the traditional joys of the Christmas season. It is natural, too, for our thoughts to travel back over the year that is about to end and to ponder the New Year that is about to begin.

Each of us will look back on 2009 in different ways and with different feelings. Yet behind those differences, we see common themes and shared experiences. All of us have known both hardship and joy in some measure this year. All of us have been impacted by the worldwide economic recession – the worst for 80 years – longer than most of us have been alive. Many of us are still suffering the effects of this global recession, whether through the general business slowdown, or more personally, through the loss of a job or a business – be it our own or that of someone close to us. Yes,- it has been a year of unusual challenges.

Yet amidst these challenges we should also remember the blessings and successes of 2009. When the hurricane season began, for example, we were still smarting from the trauma of Hurricane Paloma in November 2008. The weather experts called for the Caribbean to experience an above average hurricane season with several major storms. It seemed a lot to hope that the Cayman Islands would feel none of their force. Yet we were spared, and now that the hurricane season is over we can count this as a major blessing.

Amidst the many other blessings and successes of 2009 are some that belong to the realm of government. Whatever our politics – and any year with a general election will see plenty of politics – we should never lose sight of the tremendous fact that we live in a democracy where the transition from one government to another takes place – as it did in May this year – in a peaceful, orderly and democratic fashion.

Alongside the election, of course, there was a Referendum that was a first for all Caymanians – and a further expression of our democratic way of life. And this was no ordinary referendum. Its subject was one of the most important any nation can decide upon, namely the political constitution that undergirds and shapes the actions of leaders and people alike.  As we look ahead to 2010, therefore, we do so in the confidence that the same ability to shape our future that we expressed this year in our democratic institutions can be demonstrated again in the way we use the new Constitution to advance our best interests as a people. A Constitution is really a living covenant of who we are. Let us therefore harness the resources of our new Constitution to become the best that we can be.

In closing, let me encourage all of us to enjoy the simple gifts that are always close at hand during the Christmas season, whatever our circumstances. Let me encourage each of us:-

To be energized by the exhilarating Christmas breezes;

To open our doors and windows to see and hear our neighbours, so that we give the words “open-house”  its true seasonal meaning;

To reconnect in new and lasting ways with our friends and family;

To ignore the size of the gifts and the tree. Instead, to focus on and be uplifted by those who join us around the family table; and finally

“To choose someone to be our “mirror” this Christmas – and to see our own true beauty reflected as we bring a smile to that person’s face! May God richly bless you and yours this Christmas, as you treasure the peace and joy of this special season, and may He continue to prosper and guide the Cayman Islands in 2010.”



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Gunmen rob East End Fosters

Gunmen rob East End Fosters

| 23/12/2009 | 47 Comments

(CNS): Updated. The RCIPS has confirmed that two men armed with guns took an undisclosed sum of cash from the East End Foster’s Express supermarket during a holdup yesterday evening (Tuesday  22 December) at around 7pm.  Police say that the robbers threatened two female members of staff and demanded cash. The suspects ran off with a small amount of money into a waiting car. Police have said they are currently investigating if there are links to the recent robbery of Jack’s Esso in North Side.

One of the suspects was described as 5’9” in height, medium build and light brown complexion. He was wearing a black mask exposing his eyes and mouth, a black long sleeved jacket , long blue jeans and spoke with a Caymanian accent. The other wore a white t-shirt over his head and was wearing a long sleeved dark coloured shirt and pants. No description is available of the driver of the getaway car – a black four door vehicle.

Detectives are investigating whether this robbery is linked to the North Side gas station robbery last week (18 December 2009). Detective Inspector Peter Kennett is appealing to all employees at cash businesses to be on the alert. “Please ensure that your CCTV is working properly and is recording correctly,” he said. “If you are unlucky enough to be robbed – do as the robber demands but make a metal note of everything that happens. If a vehicle is involved try and get a license plate. Write it down. Don’t do anything that could put you in more danger. Dial 911 as soon as you can.”

Other reports to CNS say that the robbery took place while several visiting tourists and local customers were shopping. The supermarket is located at the Morritt’s Shopping centre opposite two major tourism resorts on the Queen’s High Way.

Anyone with information about the robbery should contact Bodden Town CID on 947-2220 or call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Sea vets to get $100

Sea vets to get $100

| 23/12/2009 | 81 Comments

(CNS): Government has come-up with an extra payment of only $100 for the Cayman Islands ex servicemen and sea veterans. In a statement released yesterday, 22 December, Mike Adam blamed the lack of cash on the reckless spending by the previous administration, but said his government had “dug deep” to find the extra payment which vets will not receive until January. The former PPM government administration had granted extra-ordinary Christmas payments in both 2007 and 2008, through a supplementary request on the budget which was equal to the vets monthly stipend of around $550.

Adam said that the payment was not budgeted for in the 2009/10 budget appropriation but government has “dug extremely deep and is able to offer an extraordinary Christmas payment of $100.00 for each recipient of the Seafarers Ex-gratia Benefits, the Ex-servicemen Benefits and the Financial Assistance Benefits.” Adam stated.  “It should be noted that each person will only receive $100 as an Extraordinary Christmas Payment.  This payment will be made in the first week of January 2010 and will go directly to each recipient’s bank account.”

He said that the “wasteful and reckless expenditures” of the PPM government and the downturn in the economy mean that the UDP government couldn’t give any more money at this time.

Adman said that he would like to assure all the recipients that the government has their best interests at heart, and is committed to those in need wished them all a Merry Christmas and a joyful and prosperous New Year.

The minister confirmed to CNS that reports of regular payments not being paid to indigents by social services was not true. He said all veterans, seaman and those receivng assistance from family services were paid the usual monthly sum. Adam said the moeny for the clean-up programme had been budgeted seperately and had not affected the grant normally given to those in need.

He explained that with around 2010 people receiving benefits from government to have given all of those people the $550 which they had received in the last two years at Christmas time would’ve cost the ministry over $1.1 million.

Despite the dire financial problems faced by government, according to the government website, the UDP administration has created a new position of Housekeeper/Cook for the Premier. Although the candidate will work in the premier’s residence it is listed as a public sector position and pays a salary of up to $35,000.CNS has confirmed with PPM officials that Kurt Tibbetts did not have a government chef or housekeeper when he was leader of government business.

McKeeva Bush, who is also now the Minister of Finance, has stated that the performance of the budget is being closely monitored and a report will be forthcoming in January, of the first six months of the financial year 2009/10 and this report will form part of the briefing package for the new governor.

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Passengers survive Jamaican plane crash landing

Passengers survive Jamaican plane crash landing

| 23/12/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): An American Airlines Boeing 737 has crash landed in Kingston, Jamaica, when it overshot the runaway in heavy rain. Flight 331 took off from Miami International Airport Tuesday at 8:52 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Kingston at 10:27 p.m. According to a statement from American Airlines 154 persons were on board, 148 passengers and six crew members. Forty people are reportedly injured, no one seriously. The flight originated in Ronald Reagan Airport, before stopping at the Miami International Airport, on route to Kingston Jamaica.

According to reports from Jamaica however, the plane ended up in a mangled mess on a beach.  “The aircraft totally overshot the runway and ended up over the road in the sand," said Paul Hall, senior vice president of operations at Norman Manley International Airport. Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s information minister, told local media that 91 injured passengers had been taken to the Kingston Public Hospital.

One of the jet’s engines broke off, part of the landing gear smashed and the aircraft body was cracked, officials reported. Passengers had initially applauded what appeared to be a safe landing at the popular winter sun destination, but then the aircraft ploughed through the perimeter fence, skidded across a road and ended up on the beachfront. The airport was immediately closed and all flights diverted.

The airline provided the following information numbers (family members only):
(800) 245-0999 for calls originating in the United States;
(800) 872-2881 for calls originating in Jamaica

Family members from other locations outside the U.S. may contact American Airlines through the AT&T Direct Access system. Callers should dial the local AT&T Access telephone number, which can be found at, for the country from which they are calling. Once in the AT&T system, callers can then dial American toll-free at (800) 245-0999. Non-Family members are asked not to call these information numbers above.

48 passengers and six crew members. Forty people are reportedly injured, no one seriously. The flight originated in Ronald ReaganAirport, before stopping at the Miami International Airport, on route to Kingston Jamaica.

 Cayman Airways has confirmed that its flights to Jamaica have not been affected.

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