Archive for April 12th, 2010

Last call to remove bats before end of season

| 12/04/2010 | 3 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island science and nature news, bat conservation(CNS): Bats living in roofs are always insect-eating species – not fruit bats – and each one eats up to 2,000 per night, as well as playing an important role in plant pollination, so if you find these harmless creatures in yourroof, don’t think of them as pests but as critical components to the Cayman ecology. If you have bats in your building they can only be moved out of buildings safely until mid-May when baby bat pups are born, so now is the time to call for help. Volunteers at the Bat Conservation Program say you can call them if you need help removing bats permanently and humanely, at 916-6784, the Wildlife Hotline at 917-BIRD, the National Trust at 749-1121 or contact Bats not out before the deadline cannot be properly removed until November.

According to the BCP, to find out if there are bats in your building, go outside at dusk, just after sunset, but while the sky is still light, and watch. If you see bats emerging, do not plug the hole. Plugging holes can trap bats inside, forcing them into your living areas. Bats can be sealed out (not in!) using simple methods and volunteers are available to advise and/or recommend qualified professionals to assist.

Bats give birth to only one pup per year. Bat-pups cannot fly for several months and remain in the roost while their mothers go out to catch insects. For this reason, exclusions are not done during the summer when these flightless young are present. Often people don’t realize that they have bats in the roof until summer when they hear the young ones squeaking as the mothers return to nurse them in the quiet pre-dawn hours. To avoid the long waiting period, the Bat Conservation Program is hoping to reach everyone with this message in time so that bats can be moved before the mid-May deadline.

“Bats are harmless. Each one eats up to 2,000 mosquitoes and other insects, including crop and garden pests, every night. But, they should still be moved out of roofs to avoid odour problems. We want to help get bats out of houses and calm fears,” said Lois Blumenthal, Coordinator of the Caribbean Bat Conservation Project for Bat Conservation International ( and Director of the Bat Conservation Program for the National Trust. “Our goal is for all bats to live in bat houses and no more bats in roofs.”

With the cooperation of Caribbean Utilities Co Ltd (CUC), Ron Moser’s Machine Shop and extensive volunteer labour, there are over 80 bat houses in all districts of Grand Cayman. They provide alternative habitat to help to keep bats from moving into roofs. Bat houses are a great success but bats won’t move out of roofs without an exclusion.

Bats are part of the balance of nature and helpful to humans in many ways, notably, the control of insects but they are also important pollinators and seed dispersers. Bats living in roofs are always insect-eating species. Fruit bats have never been found in roofs here and do not use bat houses. Bat houses can only provide habitat for three of the Cayman Islands’ nine species. The other bat species need forest and cave habitat to survive.

For free information, a map of Cayman Islands bat house locations, photos of local bats, or to download an educational slide show about the Cayman Islands Bat Project, visit The National Trust Educational Program Manager visits local schools with a presentationabout Cayman Islands Bats and free information is also available on

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Teen charged with murder

| 12/04/2010 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Cayman crime(CNS): Updated 2:30 pm. A 16-year-old boy arrested last month in relation to the fatal shooting of Marcos Mauricio Gauman Duran appeared in court this morning charged with the murder. The teenager arrived at court on crutches as a result of a gunshot wound he received on the night the crown alleged the youngster killed Duran. Represented by Lloyd Sampson, the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was seeking bail because of his need for specialist care as a result of his severe leg injury. Samson also suggested the young boy would be at risk if he were to be held in custody at Eagle House. The crown objected on the grounds of the seriousness of the offence but  Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale deferred the bail hearing in lieu of more information.

Samson said he had concerns about the cogency of the crown’s case as he said that while his client’s DNA may have been found at the scene, there was no evidence that the teenager committed any crime.

The crown, however, alleges that the young man went to the address in Maliwanas Way, West Bay, on Thursday 11 March to rob the deceased. During the incident the defendant received a gunshot wound and left blood at the scene before he made his escape to Birch Tree Hill Lane from where a call was made to the emergencies services reporting his injuries, the prosecution said.

The teenager, who is still receiving treatment after major surgery, was arrested on Thursday 8 April in relation to the murder and was charged with the crime this morning (Monday 12 April.)

Samson told the court during the bail application that his client was not a flight risk, not least because of his condition but because he also had family support. The lawyer said his client was a candidate for an electronic monitoring device. The magistrate remanded the teen in custody overnight as she deferred the matter until tomorrow morning.

Duran, an Ecuadorian national from George Town, was killed as he was visiting an apartment on Maliwinas Way and was the third murder victim of 2010.

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Man charged with teen rape

| 12/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Jeffrey Barnes (30) has been charged with abducting and raping a 16-year-old girl and is expected to appear in court today. Police say that, shortly after midnight on Tuesday 30 March, a 16-year-old girl reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted by a man who had offered her a ride home from a bar in the Mary Street area of George Town. The man, instead of taking her home as agreed, had taken her to an isolated beach location and raped her.

Barnes, a Caymanian from the George Town area, was arrested the next day, the 31 March. He has now been formally charged with rape, abduction, threatening violence and is expected to appear in court later today, Monday 12 April.

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Cayman’s children and the Catholic Church

| 12/04/2010 | 126 Comments

For God’s sake, what is it going to take? How many more horrible stories must we see in the international news before someone in the Cayman Islands takes a good look into the safety of our children who are involved with the Catholic Church here? Wasn’t the report about the priest who molested approximately 200 deaf boys at a boarding school in Wisconsin the final straw?

Or what about last week’s revelation that Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became pope, appears to have sided with that monstrous priest over the child victims?

Given the ever-growing scandal of rampant sexual abuse of children and teens by Catholic priests, it is absurd for us to pretend that it could never happen in the Cayman Islands. It may already have happened. Who would have told the public if it had? Who would have warned parents if a priest had come here under a cloud of accusations and past crimes? Certainly not the Church.

Defenders of the faith are likely to cringe in horror at such comments. After they finish cringing, however, they may want to consider who oversees Cayman’s St. Ignatius Parish. The Archdiocese of Detroit has pastoral responsibility for Cayman and this is their record: Sixty-three of their clerics sexually abused 116 victims over the past 54 years. This is what is on record. No one knows what the real toll might be. Bad as that is, however, consider these findings from an in-house national review board: In the US, from 1950 to 2002, more than 4,000 priests and deacons have sexually abused nearly 11,000 American children. A more recent report, dealing with the period from 2004 through 2009, identified 3,091 “abusive clergy” and 4,568 victims. These are astonishing numbers alone. However, they are even more striking since they are attached to an organization that claims to occupy humanity’s moral high ground.

Perhaps the only thing more disgusting than so many priests sexually abusing so many children and teenage minors is the way Catholic leadership reacted to the crisis. The institution that once ran inquisitions and burned women at the stake seems very forgiving of sin when the sin involves their priests molesting children. Rather than pick up the phone and call the police like any normal and decent human being would do upon learning that a child has been raped, Church leaders often chose to hush it up and simply transfer offenders to new hunting grounds where they could continue preying on children. Therefore, it is not rude or unreasonable to openly wonder if any predator priests were sent to the Cayman Islands over the last 60 years. (For most of that period Cayman was under the leadership of the Kingston Diocese. The Arch Diocese of Detroit took charge of the Cayman Islands in 2000.)

In addition to the past, there is the present and the future to consider as well. Someone here should be asking hard questions, doing background checks, and—if all is well—reassuring the public that there is nothing to worry about. In the absence of that, based on what we see in the international media every day, shouldn’t St. Ignatius Church have a warning sign posted on its property at the very least?

Here’s a discomforting thought for Cayman’s Catholics to ponder when they put their hard-earned money in the collection plate this Sunday. So far, the US Catholic Church has paid out some $3 billion to victims who were sexually abused by clergy.No doubt, as more cases come emerge around the world, many more settlements will have to be paid. One wonders why good people are content to help pay for the evil deeds of others.

To be clear, nothing in this commentary should be misinterpreted as an accusation against any individual priest in Cayman, past or present. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, of course, and the majority of priests are decent people who would never harm a child. Child molesters can be found in any profession. However, when an employee is caught having sex with children or minors, most companies and institutions have the good sense to fire them immediately and report it to the police. Or, at the absolute minimum, make certain that this employee is not allowed to be around children anymore. Most CEOs definitely would not react by simply transferring the offender to another region, as the Catholic Church did in numerous cases. The key message here is that the Catholic Church itself, the entire global entity, has shown that it cannot be trusted with children.

Catholics may be interested to know that some non-Catholics are genuinely confused by the Church loyalties of so many mothers and fathers. Why would any parent continue to involve their child in an organization with a record like this? Just imagine if some Cayman organization or company had a similar international scandal, one involving years of abuse by a significant number of its mid-level managers, blatant cover-ups by top executives, and big payoffsto victims. They probably would have been shutdown long ago. One would think that our government would be very interested in their activities here. It would also be reasonable to assume that no right-thinking Caymanian parent would allow their children to go within a mile of their property, right? So why is it different with the Catholic Church? Why don’t “better safe than sorry” and “I’ll do anything to protect my child” apply in this context?

Imagine if one of our local fast-food franchises was connected to a pattern of abuse and cover-up that extended up to the highest levels of management. What if the scandal involved several countries and, from 2004 through 2009, 3,091 of their employees were known to have sexually abused 4,568 child victims? Would you continue to give this company your money and eat their food? Would you let your child work there?

Before local Catholics circle the wagons and misinterpret this commentary as a mean-spirited attack against them, one hopes they will consider what really matters here. This is about children. This is not a grumpy tirade by a bitter ex-Catholic with an axe to grind. These are not the ramblings of some nut who thinks the Pope is the Anti-Christ. This commentary is only pointing out that there is clear reason to be concerned about the safety of our children, nothing more. Hopefully, sensible Catholics who love their children will recognise this and agree.

No one in Cayman can deny that the warning has been sounded loud and clear. So many US cases have been reported in print, on radio and on TV that it feels routine. Now the scandal has grown to include Ireland, Germany, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, and other countries. This is not a US problem, as the Vatican once claimed. Clearly it is a Catholic problem that national borders do not contain. There is nothing so special about the Cayman Islands to suggest that it could not have happened here or that it could never happen here.

If it ever comes to light that even one Caymanian child has been sexually abused by Catholic clergy in recent years, or at any time in the future, the guilt will extend far beyond church grounds. As a society we would have no excuses to hide behind. None of us would have the luxury of feeling surprised or shocked. This problem has been on the radar since at least the 1980s and should be common knowledge by now. The story is out and it’s everywhere: the predator priests, cardinal cover-ups, and the Vatican unwilling toact decisively in the interest of children. If it happens in Cayman, we certainly can’t say that it snuck up on us.

A recent letter sent to Catholic leaders from past victims of clergy abuse in the Pacific island of Guam pleaded for accountability and safeguards against future abuse. It contained the following line: “We fear for the children of Guam.”

One wonders about the children of the Cayman Islands. Does anyone here care enough to fear for them?

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Half hour exercise a day helps treat depression

| 12/04/2010 | 1 Comment

(Telegraph): Researchers found that a workout reduces stress and anger and boosts the sense of physical wellbeing. They claim physical exercise should be more widely prescribed as a treatment to tackle depressive or anxiety disorders. Professor Jasper Smits, a psychologist, at the southern Methodist University in Dallas said that physical therapy could be prescribed instead of or as a supplement to medication. "Exercise can fill the gap for people who can’t receive traditional therapies because of cost or lack of access, or who don’t want to because of the perceived social stigma associated with these treatments," he said.

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World’s deepest sea vents found in Cayman trough

| 12/04/2010 | 19 Comments

(BBC): What are believed to be the world’s deepest undersea volcanic vents have been discovered off the coast of the Cayman Islands. The vents, known as black smokers, were located over three miles down in the Cayman Trough. The volcanic chimneys spew out water hot enough to melt lead. Marine biologist Dr Jon Copley part of the team that discovered them said: "Seeing the world’s deepest black-smoker vents looming out of the darkness was awe-inspiring. Super-heated water was gushing out of their 2-storey-high mineral spires, more than 3 miles beneath the waves." The vent’s depth and isolation has raised hopes that new and exotic forms of life may be found basking in the warmth of the superheated mineral-rich water.



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Selita gets fired from TV game show as sprinter walks

| 12/04/2010 | 38 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s supermodel Selita Ebanks was fired from Celebrity Apprentice last night after the girls lost the challenge. Having beaten the guys for two weeks in a row, the women’s team found themselves facing Donald Trump as the losers and the world’s most famous boss fired Ebanks as he said she lacked "that fierce business instinct and not aggressive enough". Ebanks was not the only celebrity on the show that seemed less than enthusiastic about winning the game. Last night Sprinter Michael Johnson left the cast citing a family matter, Sharon Osbourne ‘called in sick’, Cindy Lauper spent most of the episode in Washington and Bret Michaels was distracted by family health problems.

All of this comes following Darryl Strawberry’s departure last week after he asked to be fired. Ebanks, however, has had considerable exposure from the show and won $20,000 for her charity when she won the challenge as the project manager in the previous episode.
Despite that success Trump said she was an easy choice once the women lost the challenge, headed by project manager Holly Robinson Peete, to make one 30-second advertisement and  then another 10-second ad for Right Guard deodorant with basketball star Scotty Pippen.
Although the women’s commercial was arguably better than the men’s effort, headed by celebrity chef Curtis Stone, the execs at Right Guard picked the men because they made a completely new ad for their 10 second slot, whereas the women cropped a segment from the main ad.
Despite Selita’s dignified departure she got a parting shot at wrestling Diva Maria Kanelis who had, after all,  thrown her under the proverbial corporate bus.

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Man avoids life sentence in child molestation case

| 12/04/2010 | 18 Comments

(Naples News): A 57-year-old Florida man, and father of a Caymanian, has been convicted of molesting two young girls in the US.  Wayne David Smith (left) pleaded to two counts of lewd fondling and was sentenced to two years in a state prison followed by four years of sex-offender probation after entering into a plea agreement. The mother of the two victims denied Smith’s contentions that they filed the charges to get $32 million they believe he has stashed in the Cayman Islands. Smith’s son, David Smith, who is Caymanian, was also previously charged with molesting girls but was acquitted. It was a trial with allegations of sex and millions of dollars.

The prosecution called it a family secret involving sex between relatives, while the defence contended one of the two relatives claimed she’d been molested by the two men up to 14 years ago just to get her hands on $32 million and better her chances at winning her lawsuit against them.

In May, a Collier Circuit jury acquitted David Smith, a father of five, who walked out a free man after facing life in prison on two counts of capital sexual battery.

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World’s deepest undersea vents discovered

| 12/04/2010 | 0 Comments

(LiveScience): Beneath the Caribbean Sea a remotely controlled vehicle came upon the world’s deepest hydrothermal vents, where super-heated mineral-rich water gushes from chimney structures onto the ocean floor. The black smokers, named for how they spew out an iron sulfide compound that’s black, sit 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) deep in the Cayman Trough in the Caribbean. While black smokers are the hottest of the undersea vents, white smokers are cooler and often contain compounds that are white in color. Until now, the deepest known vents had been found some 2.6 miles (4.2 km) below the sea surface.

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