Archive for August 2nd, 2010

Baby’s body found in Jamaican landfill

| 02/08/2010 | 5 Comments

(Jamaica Observer): The body of a baby was found in a garbage heap at the Riverton City landfill in Kingston, yesterday (1August). Joan Gordon-Webley, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), told the Observer that the baby’s body was discovered by workers at the landfill about 1:45 in the afternoon. The child’s sex and age were not ascertained up to press time, as officers from the Hunt’s Bay Police Station were still processing the scene. Gordon-Webley said the NSWMA will be meeting Tuesday with the contractor, along with the driver of the truck that took the body to the landfill.

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UK visa clinic helpful says applicants

| 02/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The first of the United Kingdom government’s biometric clinics held in the Cayman Islands attracted 49 people last week. Officials said that the new service which was held on Tuesday, 27 July has eliminated the need for UK visa applicants from Cayman to travel to Jamaica as their data can now be captured here at the clinic. Organised by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) and facilitated by the governor’s office, the one-stop clinic was run by UKBA’s commercial partner for the Americas Region, CSC.

The 48 appointment holders and one walk-in included members of the Cayman Islands cricket team who are headed to Italy for a tournament. The main nationalities assisted were Indians and Jamaicans, according to Staff Officer Andy Holbrook.
One of the applicant’s from India using the services said it was really helpful. “It saved me money from having to travel to Kingston to keep the appointment for a UK visa,” he added.
The clinic will now be provided on the last Tuesday of every month at the Smith Road Centre in George Town.
The next clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, 31 August. The fee is US$150 per applicant. Persons wishing to attend the clinic are required to apply online by visiting and then book a biometric clinic appointment by visiting

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Info boss goes to Little Cayman

| 02/08/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Although the least populated of the three islands Little Cayman residents are still actively involved in the happenings of the country an with that in mind, the Information Commissioner, Jennifer Dilbert and her staff traveled to Little Cayman on 26 July 2010 to promote and educate the public about Freedom of Information (FOI) and how they can access Government records using the Law. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has made several trips to Cayman Brac since opening its office in 2009, however this was the first official visit to Little Cayman. 

While there, the ICO team met with residents and answered questions about FOI and the role of the ICO. District Officer, Mr. Larry Foster also stopped by to meet the group and discuss some social issues specific to the islands. As a formal revision of the FOI Law is underway, the ICO team dedicated a portion of the day to discuss the Law and formulate suggestions the will be presenting to the Committee of the Legislative Assembly tasked with overseeing the reform process.
Along with promoting the Law, the Information Commissioner is responsible for monitoring the compliance of public authorities with respect to the Freedom of Information Law, 2007. That Law gives the public a general right to access records held by public authorities, and requires that authorities provide the record within 30 days, unless one of the limited exemptions to disclosure applies. Individuals who are dissatisfied with the response of the public authority to their request may file an appeal with the Information Commissioner

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HSA is not subsidised, says management

| 02/08/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): By turning its first ever profit, the Cayman Islands Hospital will not receive a subsidy this year from the public purse, officials say. The board and management said last week that although the hospital receives money from the public purse, it is not a subsidy but payment to cover the cost of services requested by government. Currently the hospital costs around $80 million to run, and around $30 million of that comes directly from the budget in output payments for things such as health care for children, the operation of district clinics and the ambulance service. The rest of the revenue for running the country’s government health facility comes from insurance payments and direct fees from paying patients.

Lizette Yearwood, the hospital’s chief executive officer, explained at a press briefing last week that many people still believe that the money the hospital receives from government is a direct subsidy, but this is not the case. She said that in the past when the hospital ran at a loss government had made direct injections of cash to subsidize the deficit but over the last few years the hospital’s direct subsidy had decreased to the point where this year the facility made $2.3 million in profit, which would be reinvested.
As the hospital seeks to reinvest future profits into better medical facilities and services, officials from the board and the hospital management team explained that it would not only be improving the quality of its clinical services but it would help government save more money by reducing the number of overseas referrals that government pays for, as the hospital was able to handle more and more medical situations on island.
The hospital is also expected to make a profit again in 2010/11 of just over $1.1 million, but it will still receive just under $30 million from government. According to the output payment documents, the HSA receives funds to run a number of services it either would not offer and to subsidize the patients who have no insurance cover, not to subsidize the hospital. The government pays for mental health services, school health services, nurse training and even accident and emergency.

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Junior squash team bring home silver

| 02/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cameron Stafford was crowned the U19 Caribbean Junior Squash Champion on home turf after dispatching his fellow friend and foe (on court) Micah Franklin of Bermuda in four nail-biting games, with each game demonstrating great athleticism and a strong heart from both players. Stafford was one of three finalists at the Championships, which were held this year  on Grand Cayman at the South Sound Squash Club, and although he was the only one to the Cayman Flag to the top of podium,  Julian Jervis in the U13 and Kristina Myren in the U17 also made Cayman proud.

The Squash Club has seven air conditioned courts and six of the seven have glass wall backs. This venue played host to eight different Caribbean Countries and over 150 junior squash players.

The Cayman Islands were crowned Boys’ Team Champions after dismissing a valiant and deadly Guyanese team. Cayman clinched the Boys’ team title in a 3-2 thriller by just slightly edging Guyana in the U19 #2 String when Alex Frazer stormed back to win the match from 2-0 down.

In the Girls’ Team event, Cayman finished 5th out of 8th, which was impressive considering that the girls’ team was completley assembled just 3 months before the tournament. With the Boys’ team titled tucked away to Cayman and the Girls’ 5th place finish, their results combined into 2nd Place in the Overall Standings, a big leap from 7th Place in Barbados last year.

The overall winning team was Guyana, which took Gold by thrashing Jamaica in the Girls’ Team Final 4-1. The Bronze was awarded to Trinidad & Tobago.

The National Team was led by Coach Dean Watson, who seemed ecstatic beyond belief as they were crowned Silver. Next year’s competition will be held in Guyana, where Cayman is hoping to repeat their finalist appearance.

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Fourth tropical depression forms in the Atlantic

| 02/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): AT 11:00 am EDT today (2 August) the National Hurricane Centre reported that a new tropical depression had formed out in the Atlantic. The weather system was located more that 1300 miles from the Lesser Antilles with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. No warnings have yet been issued and the system poses no threat to the Cayman Islands at this time. The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph and a continued motion toward the west-northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. Forecasters say the system is likely to become a tropical storm by Monday night or on Tuesday.


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Reflections on the Round Table on Gambling

| 02/08/2010 | 138 Comments

I was privileged to be among the small audience that supported the round table discussion on gambling, sponsored by Generation Now, which was held last evening (July 29th) at UCCI. Aside from the awful acoustics, which made it difficult for both panellists and audience to clearly hear what was being said, it was an evening well-spent. It was one of those occasions that offered more light than heat, for a change.

All panellists appeared to have done their homework, at least sufficiently to support their positions, but I was especially impressed with the arguments of Dr. Frank McField (whose position I do not support) and Mr. Billy Adam. They gave the evening the spark that was needed to hold our focus.

Dr. Frank, in reflecting on the question as to whether Christians are right in opposing gambling on moral grounds, rightly stated that moralconvictions change. Consider slavery, for example (my example, not his). It thrived for hundreds of years because the church and society in general saw nothing morally wrong with it. Yet it was because the church and society changed their moral stance on slavery that it was eventually abolished.

Dr. Frank suggested that what we need is more empirical evidence as to the costs vs. the benefits of gaming in order to make an informed decision. Morality alone was not sufficient grounds to prohibit the legalization of gambling, was his point. But, if I may be permitted to use the example of slavery again, I would remind Dr. Frank (and being the astute man that he is, I’m sure he would see my point) that the abolition of the slave trade by the British parliament was due to the relentless advocacy of William Wilberforce, who used empirical evidence to show that slavery was morally reprehensible. In other words, empirical evidence is not self-serving; it is the ammunition that wins the war, or to use another analogy, the evidence that proves the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Touching also on the worth of empirical evidence, Rev. Nicholas Sykes, responding to the question as to whether a decision could be made on the basis of comparing economic benefits to social costs associated with gambling, rightly stated that the question itself was based on a faulty premise, that one could compare economic benefits to social costs; it would be like comparing apples and oranges, he noted.

As none of the panellists denied that there are ethical or moral issues associated with gambling, I was left wondering exactly what quality or quantity of evidence gambling advocates would need to quell all arguments in their minds. A chance meeting today with another member of last night’s audience shed some light on that for me. It seems that the real answer is money, lots of money. So, in the end, it is all an exercise in situational ethics: gambling may be morally suspect, but if it can inject sufficient money into the Cayman economy, then the ends justify the means—presumably if there is an astounding amount of money then the moral issue totally evaporates.

As I stated, it was a most helpful experience. I am left, however, with the clear conviction that every single panellist was conscious that the subject of gambling has implications beyond economics, that there are considerations in the moral or ethical domains that must be contended with as well. And that being the case, do we want to be the generation that legalizes what is at least morally questionable, only to have it abolished by future generations after it has wreaked havoc on our society?

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Levers denies racism

| 02/08/2010 | 41 Comments

(CNS): Following the publication of the Privy Council’s judgment regarding Grand Court judge, Justice Priya Levers and her comments in court, Levers has denied she is a racist. When asked by CNS, she stated that, despite reports in the Jamaican media, the PC had not accused her of being a racist but had said one of her comments could have been perceived as such. Married to a Jamaican and having spent almost three decades practising as a lawyer there, Levers said she was not racist towards the people of that nation. She pointed out that the tribunal which examined the allegations against her had accused her of racism, but the PC had stated that she had given the perception of it — an important difference she noted.

In the wake of the Privy Council’s ruling and its recommendation that Levers be removed, the judge insisted her comments were not meant to be racist. “The Privy Council states that I am not a racist and that I am not anti-Jamaican,” she told CNS. “Inparagraph 94 their lordships do not suggest that I, who am after all married to a Jamaican, am a racist. What they have said is that a comment I made could be perceived to be racist.”
Levers says that she regrets the manner in which she made the comment because of the perception it gave, but she said it was one comment made during one case of literally hundreds of cases in which she had appeared and her intention had been to comment on people who came to the Cayman Islands and behaved badly. “Their lordships have deemed it to be a perception of racism and I have the utmost respect for their lordships,” she added.
Levers pointed out that the accusations of racism were particularly hurtful and upsetting as she herself had been ostracised by her own family for marrying a black Jamaican, but had still voluntarily given up her native Sri Lankan passport to take a Jamaican one when she married. She said she had practiced as a lawyer there for almost three decades. And, she added, her three children were all born in Jamaica, and she had kept a home in the country during her time on the bench in Cayman.
Accepting the ruling from the Privy Council which recommended her removal, Levers told CNS that despite the situation the commission had resurrected her reputation and criticised the tribunal for going too far. Levers, who is expected to be removed from the bench by Governor Duncan Taylor this week, said she hoped that people would read the judgment for themselves.
“The Privy Council makes it clear that the tribunal had no right to damage my reputation before the case went to them,” she said, adding that she was grateful the Cayman Islands Constitution required that the PC rule in such cases. “I hope the people will read the PC judgment and not just the tribunal’s report or the news headlines.”
She said that at least the PC had repaired her reputation as a good lawyer and a person with high standards, although she acknowledged they had pointed out fatal flaws in her career. Levers said she was not attempting to justify the findings against her but she said she felt it was important to emphasise she was not a racist.
She also pointed out that some people had suggested she had come to work in the Cayman Islands for the money, or health coverage, which she said simply was not true. Levers said that having worked as an acting judge here she had liked the jurisdiction very much and wanted to work here. She said she came with her own money, her own private health insurance and had bought her own house.
Levers said she had worked very, very hard during her time in Cayman despite being unwell, and even during the year she was having dialysis she still sat on some 45 cases. She said she was disappointed that all her hard work had ended like this but hoped that she had seen that justice was done and people would recognise she had the interests of the Caymanian people at heart.
Levers said she did not want to comment further on the ruling at this time until her circumstances were officially settled by the governor.

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Man pleads not guilty to attempted murder

| 02/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Orland Seymour will be facing trial for attempted murder next month after pleading not guilt in the Grand Court to the attempted murder of Ricardo Richards. Seymour appeared before the chief justice, Anthony Smellie on Friday morning and pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, wounding with intent, theft and damage to property.  The charges all relate to an incident that took place at an address in Newlands, Bodden Town in August of last year. Seymour will go to trial on 6 September and is represented by Lucy Organ from Samson & McGrath.  Seymour is expected to claim self defence in face of the charges.

The defendant who is currently on bail has not yet chosen whether he will have a judge alone, or a jury decide his case.

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Cops find ammunition after East End bar fight

| 02/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Police say that they recovered three live rounds of ammunition in East End at the weekend following a major brawl involving several people. Although it is still not clear if shots were fired during the fight in which five people were later arrested police said that they have not found any spent rounds near the Eastern Star Bar where the disturbance had started nor did they find any firearms. At around 1:30 a.m. on 31 July an officer on patrol responded to a bar fight where people were reportedly throwing stones and bottles outside the bar. Police said the fight had started between two women inside the bar who were asked to leave by the security staff.

 An RCIPS spokesperson said when the officer arrived at the scene he found a number of people involved in a fight  and radioed for assistance. As the police officers tried to restore order, “a firearm may have been discharged” the spokesperson said. The RCIPS did find two live rounds of ammunition and later recovered another one. Officers took five persons into custody in relation to the incident.
Police are now asking for witnesses or people with anything that can help the investigation to call either the George Town Police Station on 949-4222, the Bodden Town Police Station on 947-2220, or the anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line on 800-TIPS (8477).


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