Archive for July 8th, 2010

Local charity declares war on fat and flab

| 08/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): On Tuesday, 24 August, the Cayman Heart Fund will launch its third annual War on Weight competition and the WOW committee is currently looking for 10 volunteers dedicated to losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. Contestants will need to beable to dedicate themselves to the 16 week-long weight loss challenge, which will entail an hour of group exercise five times a week, bi-weekly visits with a team of medical professionals to ensure weight loss is safe and consistent, as well as a strict nutritional plan under the expert eye of a registered dietician.

Each contestant will have access to more than $2,000 worth of expert advice and training.
To help motivate contestants, former WOW participants as well as the WOW committee will be on hand for added support. A family fun day will also be organised as part of the programme as well as a number of other social events to help encourage contestants further, including a kick-off party scheduled for end of August.
The biggest ‘loser’ will be measured by a formula approved by WOW’s expert advisors, as well as points gained by programme participation. Three top losers will go on to garner a prize package, which will include gifts certificates to help them continue on their weight loss programme.
A select number of applicants will be asked to interview with the committee to ensure they are dedicated to losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, before the final 10 participants are selected.  The competition is primarily aimed at adults who have a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 30 or over. However, parent and child are also encouraged to sign up. All participants will be expected to become dedicated ambassadors of the Cayman Heart Fund’s mission to promote a healthy change in lifestyle.
Committee chairperson Leandra Charles said the competition is designed for those who really have a heartfelt desire to make a change and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“This year we are looking for 10 contestants who are really prepared to go that extra mile. We have had some great participants in previous years and many have continued on with their weight loss programme. Getting involved in a competition like this is a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle; with access to a wide range of expert advisors all dedicated to helping you achieve your goal.
“We really hope that through the WOW competition we can increase awareness in Cayman on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly to cut down on the growing obesity problem. Every year the WOW competition continues to grow and this year will be the biggest and best yet. We are truly very excited about what we have lined up.”
Ms Charles added: “Without the help of Cayman businesses each year, the WOW programme would not be a success and we are appealing for anyone who wishes to support the competition through sponsorship or prize donations to get in touch.”
The competition includes:
Fitness – five days a week mandatory programme, which will include a wide range of group instruction and activities, as well as access to a fitness centre.
Nutrition – bi-weekly consultation with a dietician, as well as a customized meal plan.
Medical – health screening, blood testing and monitoring by physicians and accompanying supporters.
Psychology – consultation and counselling by an approved professional throughout the competition for proactive mental advancement and support.
Education – informative seminars and workshops to educate contestants on the components of the programme.
Community involvement – WOW contestants will participate in activities to help promote the programme as well as assist with charity and community events.
The WOW competition is funded by the CHF, a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to the reduction of heart and circulatory disease in the Cayman Islands. Heart and circulatory disease, known as cardiovascular disease, is one of the biggest health problems in the Cayman Islands.
Marking its third year as a non-profit organization, the CHF has a number of goals, which includes improving the quality of life to all those affected by cardiovascular disease by providing the community with information, education, and participation through free screening clinics, contests, events, and its annual expo.
Application forms are available at and Alternatively email Committee members will also be at Foster’s Food Fair Airport on Friday, 23 July, 11am to 2pm and Saturday, 24th July, 10am to 4pm to answer questions and sign up interested participants.
Deadline for application is Saturday, 31 July.

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LIME and Digicel heading back to court

| 08/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Following the settlement of two regional telecom’s firms recent legal battles Digicel and LIME look set for another round in the law courts. LIME Antigua has now filed suit in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court against Digicel seeking to have its rival stopped from bypassing its international network. LIME is also asking for of EC$23-million which it says Digicel owes as a result of the last three years of bypassing the network. LIME said that it had already written and asked Digicel to stop bypassing, however, it had not done so and as a result LIME was now taking legal action.

“Lime has requested that Digicel cease and desist, with immediate effect, from illegally bypassing LIME’s international network. LIME is also seeking redress in the sum of EC$23-million which represents revenue that LIME and the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) have lost over the past three years because of Digicel’s bypass activities,” LIME said in a statement.
“LIME has determined that Digicel Antigua is engaged in bypass activities in relation to the origination and termination of international calls out of and into Antigua and Barbuda in contravention of the exclusive licence under which LIME operates,” Don Austin, LIME’s Executive Vice President for Legal and Regulatory said.
“This action by Digicel has resulted in significant financial losses to both LIME and APUA and by extension the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
“We wrote to Digicel some weeks ago asking that they put a halt to these activities failing which we would have to pursue other options available to us. They have not discontinued the bypass activities and we therefore had no other recourse but to initiate legal action seeking legal redress through the law courts,” he added.
The two rival communications firms have only recently settled their legal differences following a suit Digicel had brought against Cable & Wireless claiming it had intentionally delayed Digicel’s entry into markets in the Caribbean between 2002 and 2006. Digicel lost the most part of the case in the UK High Court and was forced to pay costs to its competitor.

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NCL Old George’s last chance

| 08/07/2010 | 12 Comments

(CNS): The National Conservation Law presents a last chance for a number of critically endangered endemic and indigenous species that could be extinct very soon without some kind of legal protection The pygmy blue butterfly, the white shouldered bat, the traditional herb tea-banker, inkberry, the pisonia margaretea tree and the bromeliad known as Old George (left) are six local species of flora and fauna on Grand Cayman that are critically endangered as their habitat has all but disappeared. The passage of the NCL could give these unique plantsand creatures a hope of survival but without it they will likely be consigned to the history books in a matter of a few years.

Despite the Cayman Islands limited size, its evolutionary natural history has given rise to a significant number of indigenous and endemic species of flora and fauna — sometimes found only on one of the three islands and then only in one place. Old George, for example, is found only in a forest close to George Town, so it is not just endemic to the Cayman Islands but specifically to George Town.
“There are clearly a unique set of ecological circumstances that occur just in that location which has given rise to the evolution of this specific species of bromeliad,” Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the director of the Department of the Environment, said, pointing out how important it was for the country to begin conserving at least some of the country’s natural resources.
With less than 0.5% of the Cayman Islands set aside as conservation areas, the country is in danger of losing a significant number its unique species because of the loss of the critical habitat.
If the National Conservation Law is passed, the DoE will have the opportunity to try and protect a little bit of this crucial habitat and Ebanks-Petrie has said that there are six endemic species which are confined to very, very limited areas on Grand Cayman that will be the department’s first priority. Although there are no guarantees that the DoE will be able to save them from extinction, with legislative power there is at least a chance.
The pygmy blue butterfly (left) is one of the tiniest butterflies in the world and the subspecies found on Grand Cayman is close to extinction. Both the butterfly and its habitat are now critically endangered. It was first discovered by scientists in 1938 and was not documented again until 1985, when two colonies were located on the north and west coasts. In 2002 a colony was also found at Midland Acres. The butterfly is found only in salt–marsh areas where its larval food plant, Glasswort, Salicornia perennis, is found. The DoE hopes to be able to protect in law the tiny areas on Grand Cayman where the pygmy is believed to be surviving.
The white shouldered bat is one of nine species of bat found in the Cayman Islands, none of which have any legal protection. It eats fruit and lives only in Cuba, Hispaniola, Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. This species is extremely rare and elusive and was not seen alive in Grand Cayman for many years until it was rediscovered by wildlife biologist, Anne Louise Band, in a small remnant patch of forest in Lower Valley in April of 2000.
The critically endangered inkberry or bay balsam (right) is threatened by competition from invasive landscaping plants, such scaevoala sericea, and the plant is currently confined to one small area on the northern shore line of East End. Tea banker, a local type of mint, is currently part of an emergency conservation action programme. Also threatened by scaevoala sericea, tea banker, which once flourished on the coast, is now confined to one area in the district of North Side.
The pisonia margaretea, a small shrubby tree that forms suckers and thickets, is found only in Spotts and nowhere else in the world. It was discovered in 1993 and named by Dr George Proctor in 1995. The Botanic Park has been attempting to save the tree from extinction and it is now growing in locations within the park similar to its natural habitat in Spotts, which the DoE would hope to protect with the help of the NCL.
Finally, Old George, a unique bromeliad which lives solely in the Ironwood Forest in George Town, a tiny piece of green left on the edge of the country’s capital, which is also home to the country’s rare and beautiful ghost orchid, is fighting for survival.
Currently there is no legal requirement for anyone to take any of these critically endangered species and their habitats into account when developing. Ebanks-Petrie explained that the NCL seeks to provide government with the tools to protect, conserve and manage natural assets such as these in the face of future development.
“On land masses as small and fragile as our islands and without any form of protection whatsoever we are effectively relegating these species to eventual extinction,” she said, emphasizing yet again the desperate and pressing need for Cayman to enact the National Conservation Law. She pointed out that because so much of Cayman’s native flora is slow growing and has limited habitat nearly half – 46 percent — of it is threatened with extinction.
Both the country’s national flower, the banana orchid and the national tree, the silver thatch are endangered, with many more species on the critically endangered list. The DoE director pointed out bluntly that, when it comes to danger lists for flora and fauna, after “critically endangered” there is only extinction left.
The next DoE public meeting about the law is this evening Thursday 8 July at Elmslie Memorial Church Hall, George Town. The team will be in Little Cayman on Saturday 10 July at National Trust House and then on Monday 12 July at John A. Cumber Hall, West Bay, before heading to East End Community Centre on Tuesday 13 July with the final meeting on Thursday 15 July at the Aston Rutty Centre, Cayman Brac.
The Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting the DoE at a special ‘Be Informed’ session at The Westin Casuarina on Wednesday, 14 July 3-5 pm in the Galleon Ballroom. To register please go online at
Anyone can show their support for the NCL by emailing the Department of Environment at and offer your support or log on to the comment form at on the DoE website

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Prisoners come through for East End dogs

| 08/07/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A group of local volunteers have coordinated a project in East End to provide local dogs with their own kennels. The “home to call my own” project is an initiative of CARE – Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts and helped by Ogier’s Animal Welfare Fund as well as the inmates from HMP Northward. Volunteers said the dogs in East End were targeted by CARE over the past few months which included a spay and neuter programme. They also recognised th need to protect some of the younger dogs from the elements and enlisted the skills of Northward’s craftsmen.

Lesley Agostinelli of CARE who delivers meals on wheels in East End said as she grew to know the people in the district she was able to begin tackling some of the animal issues there. “This has given me a great opportunity to get to know the people of East End and also discuss the issues of pet over population and how we can solve the problem by spaying and neutering,” said Agostinelli.  “The residents have been very receptive as the main issues for not previously spaying and neutering their pets was due to lack of transportation to the veterinary clinic and the cost of the surgery.”    
In the past few months, with the help of local vets CARE has successfully supported the spaying and neutering of more than 15 East End dogs. 
Having discovered that some of the puppies had no shelter in their yards Tracey Goldie, a member of Ogier’s Animal Welfare Fund and CARE came up with “The Home to call my Own” Project.  Then with the help of Ransdale Rankine and his team at the woodwork shop at HMP Northward four custom built kennels were constructed for the East End dogs.  Another six dog houses are now on order to give more of the districts pets a home. 
With the help of Androgroup’s pick up truck and two members of staff David Goffe and Roger Hines the CARE Volunteers got the dog houses in place, on Saturday 3 July just in time to offer a respite from the weekend’s downpour.   “It was a fantastic morning and despite the hard work involved, it was not only extremely rewarding, it was a lot of fun,” said Alana Julie one of the care volunteers. 
The project is not being confined to East End and Care volunteers said that with the continued help of Ogier’s Animal Welfare Fund and Rankine’s woodworking skills more kennels would be donated to dogs across Grand Cayman.

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NRA plans to make West Bay road safer

| 08/07/2010 | 28 Comments

(CNS): Plans to make the West Bay road safer by lowering the speed limit and introducing crossings are now on the table. The National Roads Authority said over the next 12 months it will be introducing safety measures that include a roundabout at the junction near Tikki Beach which leads to the bypass, at least one crosswalk near the Strand shopping plaza and a 30mph zone from Eastern Avenue in George Town up to just North of Tikki Beach. News 27 reports that the NRA is taking calls regarding the need to improve pedestrian and traffic safety on the road seriously. The project is expected to cost up to $30,000.


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Sailing club opens doors for summer nights

| 08/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After a successful open day last month the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) is hosting Summer Nights, a twice monthly open house on Friday evenings in July and August 2010. The evenings will feature live music, drink specials and free sailboat and windsurfing rentals. There will be snacks available. Sailing Director, Michael Weber, says that Summer Nights is a unique family happy hour. “This is the only spot where you can enjoy live music while sailing with your family and then have a few drinks and watch the sunset,” he said.

“Even if you just want to come down and watch the sailing, it’s a great spot to hang out and have a few cold ones.”
Weber also noted that the dates coincide with the final day of the summer sailing camps that run throughout the summer. “This has always been a popular evening for children to show their parents what they have learned and we are looking forward to a good turnout.”
The dates for Summer Nights are July 9, 23, August 13 & 27.  The evening kicks off at 4:30pm.The public is encouraged to attend. To find the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, follow the CISC signs on Selkirk Road (just past Hurleys) in Red Bay.    

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Constitutional change comes at a cost, says premier

| 08/07/2010 | 10 Comments

(CNS): In his message to the country for its first Constitutional Week the premier said the country’s new constitution was not a perfect document and came at a cost. Since the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009 was put before the people, McKeeva Bush has said he was not in favour of it and voted “no” in the May 2009 referendum. However, To mark last Monday’s Constitutional holiday he acknowledged the importance of a country’s constitution and that it reflected the support Caymanians had for democracy. (McKeeva Bush becomes premier under the new Cayman Islands Constitution)

“Just over a year ago, the people of the Cayman Islands voted in our first Referendum, to adopt a new constitution. This document will have a major impact on the shape of Government, and the nature of governance in the Cayman Islands for generations to come,” he said in his message, adding that it will broaden public participation in government.
“But it does come with a monetary cost to the country,” Bush stated. “Nevertheless, Caymanians have believed in democracy, in government of and by the people. It is central to our political heritage. It is not a perfect document, but it is what you voted for; it is what we have.”
The Leader of the Opposition however, a wide supporter of the new constitution, said the concepts enshrined had become the ‘house rules’ of the Cayman Islands. “They have been exhaustively debated, negotiated, sanctioned and agreed-to by the majority,” Kurt Tibbetts said.
He pointed out that it is a living, continuously evolving document which needs to keep pace with the times as it sets the stage for civil society. Tibbetts said the constitution was “like a major muscle that must be worked and exercised to reach its full potential.”
Express his support for the country’s first Constitution Week the governor paid tribute to the caliber and commitment of those nominated and appointed to the Constitutional Commissions and other agencies, who he said were hard at work on behalf of the people.
“And it is good that they are, for they are ensuring that the groundwork is being carried out to realise the provisions of the Constitution, from government accountability to human rights, all of which are designed to help ensure a positive future for these islands,” Duncan Taylor said in his message.
“The promotion and understanding of public ownership of the Constitution is vital, especially in terms of transparency and proper checks and balances,” he added encouraging everyone to learn about the constitution and support the work of the new commissions.
“Without your input, they cannot do their job effectively; and in supporting them you will bring the government closer to you, the people,” Taylor said ahead of a week of promotional activities and celebration of the new Constitution.

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Family to press on with Cayman Net News

| 08/07/2010 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Cayman Net News, Desmond Seales(CNS): Despite the sudden death of its editor in chief, Desmond Seales, the newspaper man’s family are determined to ‘press on’ with Cayman Net News. The family has established the Seales Legacy Trust in an effort to assist his widow, Susan Seales, to keep the paper alive. Seales will be laid to rest this Saturday afternoon (10 July) at 3pm at the Agape Family Worship Centre, Fairbanks Road, George Town, followed by an interment at the Eden Cemetery. Seales, who was 71, died on Saturday 3 July in hospital in Miami following surgery for a heart problem. A controversial local character, Seales’ came to the Cayman Islands in 1969 from his native Trinidad via the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

He began the Nor’wester magazine in 1971. The publication was the first of its kind in Cayman, covering politics, culture and history, and was a hit with the local community. Despite its continued success for many years, the magazine came to an end in 1984 as a result of financial troubles, but not before Seales received an MBE in 1982 for his services to publishing.

Seales then turned his hand to television in the early 1990s but a complex set of financial problems with the station led to dark times for Seales, who served a period of time in jail. However, although he was down for a short time, Seales was certainly not out and came back with vengeance in time for the new millennium. In 1999 he launched Cayman Net News on-line before introducing the print edition in 2000.

Over the last decade the paper has undergone a number of changes in size, shape and style – as Seales always said “change is good” – and it enjoyed mixed fortunes. The recent recession hit the Cayman Net Group hard but Seales never gave up and despite the constant battering from government and struggles to keep the paper financed, Net News still rolled off the press in Miami.

Seales fought a number of hard battles with the authorities through his long career as a publisher and is considered by many to have been a voice of the people and to have advanced the cause of free press in the Cayman Islands.

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Mac may lift Jamaican visa

| 08/07/2010 | 154 Comments

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands’ premier prepares to leave Jamaica following this week’s CARICOM heads of government meeting, McKeeva Bush has revealed that he has plans to remove the requirement for Jamaican nationals to have a Cayman Islands visa if they already have one for the United States. Following comments made in the Legislative Assembly recently about the discrimination he maintained Jamaican’s have received in Cayman, he said that any moves he made towards a visa waiver for Jamaicans would be met with opposition. Bush has told the Jamaican Gleaner that it would not be well received by the PPM.

"Only God knows what they will do. They will jump on any political bandwagon, but we have to do what is right," Bush said.
During a recent Finance Committee hearing when the issue of residents not being able to employ Jamaican helpers was raised, Bush said Jamaicans had not been treated well in Cayman despite the fact that they often took care of the country’s most vulnerable people.
Bush told the Gleaner that Jamaican immigrants played a major role in the Cayman economy, particularly as tradesmen, health-care staff, and domestic assistants. He said that some of the “best workers in the Cayman Islands” came from Jamaica. “I have no problem hiring Jamaicans," he said.
Talking about the historical connections between Jamaica and Cayman, Bush said that today there were many business connections and legitimate business people needed to move to and fro. The premier revealed that he thought the rigorous process to which applicants for US visas are subjected should be satisfactory for entry to Cayman, removing the need for the granting of a Cayman visa. "The US visa process is well scrutinised. If it serves the US, then it serves us. What I do believe needs to be done now is to consider allowing entry to persons with US-issued visas,” he added.
The Cayman Islands introduced a visa for Jamaicans visiting the islands in November 2005 and the Jamaican government then responded in kind requiring Caymanians to takeout a visa in order to visit Jamaica.
The visa was introduced at a time when the number of Jamaican migrant workers had soared on Grand Cayman as they came to assist in the post-Ivan reconstruction. George McCarthy, who was chief secretary at the time, had said that Cayman was grateful for their help. Nevertheless, with the increase in numbers there had been “some worrying trends”.
He said the increases in Jamaicans attempting to gain entry that were not genuine visitors had led to stricter examination procedures at immigration control, causing severe delays for incoming passengers, including legitimate business or vacationing visitors. He said the visa would ensure a smoother passage for genuine visitors.
Currently Jamaican nationals do not require visas if they hold a local work-permit  or if they are resident in the US, Canada or the UK and arriving into Cayman from those countries. The cost of a visa is CI$92.
Bush has not yet revealed his plans to change the visa requirements for Jamaican nationals to the Caymanian public, but the Legislative Assembly resumes tomorrow morning (Friday 9 July) following the premier’s return from the CARICOM meeting in Montego Bay.
The first time that a UN Secretary General has attended a CARICOM summit, the region’s heads of government also had talks with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahnn which included, among other subjects, discussions on hurricane relief funds.
The Cayman Islands is an associate member of CARICOM.

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Second tropical depression stirs up in the gulf

| 08/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A second tropical depression formed in the Gulf of Mexico last night and the National Hurricane Centre is now issuing warnings for the coast of Texas south of Baffin Bay to the Mouth of the Rio Grande and the coast of Mexico from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Rio San Fernando. Although poorly organized the NHC said the tropical depression could become a tropical storm before moving inland today. At 7am this morning (Thursday 8 July) it was moving toward the northwest near 15 mph with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph with higher gusts. 

Forecasters said the storm would bring around 4-8 inches of rain over portions of far northeastern Mexico and coastal Texas with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches.
Meanwhile, in Cayman, the forecast is for patchy cloudiness and isolated showers and some thunder associated with an upper level trough. This trough will linger for the next couple of days. Further east, a tropical wave east of the Cayman area moving west at 2 to 5 knots will move into our area later this evening. Winds will be east to southeast to 5 to 10 knots with higher gusts in and around showers and seas will be slight with wave heights of 1 to 3 feet. Today’s expected High is 87°F – 31°C and the Low: 79°F -26°C

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