Archive for August 12th, 2010

Rotarians provide dental care to children in Peru

| 12/08/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): A 15-member team, partly sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise and led by Sunrise Rotarian Dr Bert Thacker, recently traveled up into the High Andes of Peru on a dental mission. The team visited five villages in five days and performed sealants, fillings, extractions, examinations and fluoride treatments on nearly 1,000 children. Dr Thacker has been leading dental missions for six years, from the Amazon region to the High Andes of Peru. Generally the team has two dentists and a cadre of qualified dental assistants, but the bulk of the effort is made up of amateur volunteers with no medical or dental training. (Left: Photo by Jonathan Adam – the youngest member of the team, 14-year-old Parker Godwin performs dental procedures at 15,000 feet)

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise contributed $5,000 towards the cost of this year’s mission, which covered about 1/3 of the costs, with the remainder coming from Smile Dental Clinic. Individual team members were responsible for their airfare, hotels, and personal incidentals.

Dr Eduardo Ochoa, a native Peruvian, and his father Marco, a hotelier and tour operator in Peru, were instrumental in arranging the trip, and also acted as “kid wrangler” for the five days. According to Rotarian Frank Balderamos, without them and their skilled bus driver, Americo, the trip could not have taken place.

Rotarian Jonathan Adam was in charge of sterilizing all of the dental tools, while his wife, Sian, acted as dental assistant to Dr Ochoa. Chantel “Smoothly” Moodley of Grand Cayman’s Smile Dental Clinic performed sealants and small fillings, as well as keeping everyone organized and on track. Fourteen-year-old Parker Godwin acted as her dental assistant for the five days. Balderamos said his son, Parker, displayed an unusual level of professionalism and poise for a fourteen year old, and was as vital a member of them team as any adult.

This year the team had extra help from Lindsey Brown and Sarah Vaughn, two dental students from Texas. Sunrise Rotarian Frank Balderamos alternated between being a dental assistant and providing entertainment for the team to keep everyone awake and alert.

According to Dr Bert, the most important part of these missions isn’t the dental work performed but rather the education provided to children who have been raised with no regard (or instruction) for proper dental care. This part of the effort was guided by three people. Chris Roides led the “Tooth Brushing University”, assisted by Nick Kladitis, who was also in charge of fluoride treatments, and Nora Balderamos. Kladitis is a former flight attendant from Canada who spends a large part of his retirement working with the poorest of the poor in Peru. Besides helping with the “University”, Nora’s main task was to hand out toys and clothing to the children after their treatment and education were complete.

Despite being extremely ill for the first days of the mission, Roy Rojas was a vital member of the team. A former Cayman resident now back in his native Costa Rica, Roy set up equipment, then quickly fixed any equipment that broke down, assisted with tooth extractions, and also prepared meals for the team.

Balderamos said of the team leader, “Dr Bert’s patient demeanor under tremendous stress was wonderful and his dedication to ensuring these missions are successful isimpressive. Vocational Service is a key Avenue of Service in Rotary, and Bert is a superb example of how to travel down this Avenue. Bert is not only committed to his patients, but also to promoting his vocation and training new dentists (as evidenced by his patient work instructing the two dental students on the 2010 team).”

He continued, “The team members all had a fantastic time, though they were exhausted by the end. Sixteen-hour days along with high altitudes, language barriers, and a lack of toilet seats, combined to wear everyone out. But each one of them would do it all again. The scenery, the fellowship, the connection with native Peruvians, and the sense of having accomplished something will not soon be forgotten.”

Dr Thacker has dreams of building a permanent clinic (or two) in Peru and there will be future announcements regarding fundraising initiatives toward that end.


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Tourist dies while swimming near East End resort

| 12/08/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A visitor from the United States has died while swimming in the ocean in East End. The 61 year old man who was from Colorado, but who has not been named, lost consciousness in the sea at around  7.25 pm. last night, Wednesday 11 August a police report has confirmed. The man was helped to shore close at the Morritt’s Tortuga resort by friends who conducted CPR until the arrival of the paramedics. The victim was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police said that enquiries into the man’s death are ongoing.

Police named the man on Friday he was Brian Joseph Fitzpatrick of Luisville, Colorado, USA.
This is the third person reported to have died while swimming in the water in the Cayman Islands this year.

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Cayman’s Youth Olympians arrive in Singapore

| 12/08/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands team taking part in the Inaugural 2010 Summer Youth Olympics departed from the Owen Roberts International Airport on Tuesday. The Games, which commence on the 14 August in Singapore, marks the first time that the event will be held and it will also give athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age the immense opportunity to hone their skills and win medals for their country. The Cayman Islands has a team of 3 athletes in Singapore in their hopes of bringing back some medals. They are accompanied by President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Donald Mclean. (Left: Lara Butler with her Carifta gold medal in Jamaica)

In theaquatics field, the team will be managed by National Swimming Coach Dominic Ross, who will be managing Lara Butler (women’s 100m backstroke and women’s 100 m butterfly) and Seiji Groome (men’s 200m breaststroke and men’s 200m individual medley). In sailing, Cayman’s own Elizabeth Wauchope will be contending as well, although she was a last minute entry. Cayman’s three talented trio will hone and contest their skills against the world’s best athletes of the same age.

Cayman has strong hopes in our aquatics athletes as Lara Bulter and Seiji Groome were strong medal producers at the Carifta Games. Lara comfortably won the girls 15-17 finals at Carifta in Jamaica; her finals time was 4 seconds faster than her previous best. Seiji Groome took bronze in Jamaica after placing 3rd in the 200 meters breaststroke.

The athletes arrived safely in Singapore this morning (Thursday 12 August) and are currently getting ready for their events. Lara Butler describes Singapore as “a different and unique country”. Butler added, “I think everyone will have to adjust to the gum ban as well.” Gum is illegal if chewed in Singapore and there is a large fine for those caught chewing gum.

The aquatic events commence on the 15th at the Singapore Sports School — the venue for all aquatic events up until the 24 August.

For all sailing supporters, Lizzy Wauchope races on the 17 August at the Singapore National Sailing Centre.

For more results and coverage, visit the Youth Olympics website.

Cody Stafford (15) is a CNS summer intern.

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College expands to fit growing student body

| 12/08/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the International College of the Cayman Islands have said enrolment for 2010/11 academic year is expected to be the college’s largest class of students since it opened its doors to provide further education for working adults with evening degree programmes. The number of students attending the International College has grown over the last three years to the point that it has used all of its classrooms in its existing two buildings and the college now has plans to construct a new business building which will start in the fall.

Demand for more business classes is expected to continue to rise steadily over the next year, particularly for accounting and finance courses, said Dean Scott Cummings (above). “We have done everything we can to maximise our space, from using classrooms back-to-back for our evening courses to cannibalising our bigger faculty offices into classrooms,” Cummings said. “We have simply run out of space. It is a good problem to have.”
The new building is expected to open early next year and the classrooms will be fitted out with best practice teaching tools such as a smart board, projector and a laptop. The Cayman Islands Professional Society of Professional Accountants is sponsoring one of the classrooms in the new building and the college says it is reaching out to other companies and associations to fit out the second classroom and to help fund the construction of the building.
The new business building will enable the college to increase its course offerings and still maintain its low instructor-student ratio.
“The age range for our students is very broad,” Cummings said. “Our students range from teenagers out of high school all the way to adults in their 50s; so most of them are juggling work, family responsibilities, going to school at night and are squeezing in time to study whenever they can. We have found that our working students really benefit from our smaller classes so that instructors can give more contact time to each student and help them really understand the material.”
The International College offers a range of degrees in business, liberal arts and education, but with the rise of the offshore financial and tourism industries, it has increased its focus on its business programmes with concentrations on accounting and finance. The majority of the students are enrolled in a business programme at the associate, bachelors or master degree level.
The new business building is the next step in the evolution of the college explained the president of the college, John Cummings, Ph.D.
“Over the long run, we want to build three more buildings, which will house more classrooms, meeting areas and a new library that will not only be used by the students and faculty, but will also service the Savannah-Newlands community,” he added.
The college is also celebrating its 40th anniversary in September with celebrations taking place over the weekend of 24-26 September. “We are excited about inviting everyone – students, alumni, their families, the business community and the general public – to come view the site for the new building during our open house celebrations for our 40th anniversary,” said Dr. Cummings. “This is an inclusive, momentous event. Over the course of 40 years, we have had more than 1200 graduates and many of them have gone on to become leaders in the private sector and government and we want to celebrate that legacy.”
Incoming students this fall are a mixture of working students and recent high school graduates, said the Director of Admissions Anita Fausett-Khan.
“With the economic downturn and increasing pressure to stay competitive in a regional and international level, more people are going back to college to get their associate’s or bachelors degree,” said Khan. “If they already have their bachelor degree, then they are coming back to do their MBA or another one of our master programmes. Khan says the evening programme and international accreditation are both powerful motivators in attracting new students.
The International College has been accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in the United States for over 30 years, and is evaluated and reassessed approximately every three to five years. Accreditation by an international accrediting body is an important part of its educational programme, especially since it has students from 24 countries. An evaluation team will be doing an onsite evaluation in February 2011 to renew its accreditation for 2012.
The International College of the Cayman Islands is a non-profit, private institution of higher education, offering associates, bachelors and masters degrees in business, liberal arts and education. Although a small private institution, the ICCI receives a small contribution from government which was $70,000 for this year according to budget documents.

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Kids consume over two hundred books intwo weeks

| 12/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Book worms Chrisann Haughton and Kody Wright gobbled up a record-making 246 books – in only two weeks during the Cayman Islands Public Library Service’s summer reading challenge. Nine-year-old Chrisann ploughed through 164 books making her the top overall reader and the girls highest reader while eleven-year-old Kody read 82 books and was the highest reading boy. The youngsters took home gift certificates for swimming lessons, sponsored by Fitness Connection.

The challenge was part of the library’s recently concluded Make a Splash – Read! summer reading programme. This year, it attracted more than 250 children to Cayman’s six public libraries. During the programme, participants were treated to enlightening talks about sharks, turtles, surfing, and Cayman’s environment, and attended field trips including a Nautilus Submarine dive, and a Boatswain’s Beach visit. 
“Many individuals and businesses in the Cayman Islands community generously gave prizes, amazing discounts, and snacks. Many others too took the time to either listen to the children read, or just sit and read with them,” said Acting Library Director Juliet Lawson.
Community Librarian Deborah Powery-Zureigat said the kids only had the opportunity to borrow good books, but to see positive adults in their community who value reading.

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LIME announces $600million investment

| 12/08/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS):  Telecommunications company LIME has announced that it will invest $US600 million in its business across the region over the next five years. Although the firm did not spell out how much would be spent in which countries, it said the investment will underwrite new services and a wide-scale upgrading of existing infrastructure to enhance the quality of the company’s current offerings. The firm will also be launching TV in some countries but there are no plans to do so in the Cayman Islands. However, the firm said it would be upgrading its contact centre, a move likely to be welcomed here. 

At a media briefing in Kingston, Jamaica on Wednesday LIME’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Chris Dehring said: “Over the next five years we intend to invest more than US$600 million in our 13 business units across the region to improve the services that we offer and to roll out the kind of new technologies and innovative services that will help us to retain our present customers and attract new ones”.

Dehring said the company would be launching its TV service, initially in Jamaica and Barbados, by the end of 2010. The firm will also be upgrading its Internet capacity to deliver speeds of 8mb or higher, improving its mobile coverage with innovative value added wireless services, and rolling out next generation fixed and mobile networks.
The CMO said LIME would be accelerating the roll out of retail stores tomake it easier for customers to access the company’s products and services, and will upgrade its Contact Centre to provide an improved Customer Service experience across the region.
“LIME is investing aggressively in the growth and expansion of our business to give the people of the region services that are on par with those offered in places like North America and Europe which will ensure that we remain the provider of choice both now and in the future,” he said. “Throughout most of the Caribbean, LIME is the dominant player in the telecoms market and we have no intention of conceding this position.”
He said the firm was not just about providing telecommunications services but an integral part of the region for 140 years. “It will continue to remain so by ensuring that it contributes to improving the life of Caribbean people in everything they do.”

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Bodden pulls no punches

| 12/08/2010 | 37 Comments

(CNS): A key player in his own book, former minister Roy Bodden paints a candid, critical picture of modern Cayman politics and pulls no punches when it comes to examining the behaviour of his legislative colleagues over the years. Although Patronage, Personalities and Parties is an academic work, Bodden admits it is controversial. The book, which was published last month, is also a far cry from the usual dry political text books found in university libraries. Bodden gets to the very heart of the fundamental problem, which still impacts Cayman politics today. The author and former politician says that the “motive of monetary gain while in public office has been allowed to ride roughshod over the altruistic obligations of holding public trust.”

From the country’s national hero, Jim Bodden, to the current premier, McKeeva Bush, Bodden criticises the country’s recent political representatives for allowing enrichment to get in the way of ethics.
The book is a treasure trove of revelations regarding Cayman’s recent political history, and the university president offers the first intelligent analysis of the problems that have plagued the country’s representatives. Bodden is fearless in his open criticism of the main characters and points out that the self interest which has been persistent in local politics has been detrimental to the development of democracy and the people.
Bodden is particularly critical of politicians having significant outside business interests, which he acknowledges is not illegal but is still damaging.
“While holding outside interest is not in itself illegal, once the requisite declarations are made, one is left to ponder the morality of situations in which representativesplace themselves in conflicting positions of competing against those very persons they purport to represent by using their privileged positions to obtain critical inside information, then establishing entities to capitalize on this information,” Bodden writes.
Elected to the legislative assembly in 1988, Bodden was Education Minister from 2000-2005. Losing his Bodden Town seat in 2005, Bodden returned to the world of academia and began writing his trilogy of books on Cayman’s political, economic and social history.
Patronage, Personalities and Parties is the second in the trilogy but Cayman’s first definitive look at the behaviour of the political players in this country and dares to call into question those who have dominated the political scene. Bodden, who is now president of the University College of the Cayman Islands, points out in the book that the vices of greed, selfishness and arrogance are rampant amongst the country’s political elite, which has made it difficult for courage, ingenuity and honesty to rise to the top.
One of only a few minster that have held office and nothad outside business interests, Bodden points out that in Cayman politicians have criticised other politicians for not having successful businesses and have promoted the myth that unless one is successful in business you can’t be a politician. He notes that in Caymanian society it is more prestigious and respected to be rich than to be lettered.
Throughout the book Bodden gives an honest assessment of the performance of many of Cayman’s historical political figures, including those who are still serving. In his examination of the leader of the United Democratic Party and current premier, McKeeva Bush, Bodden, who was once a member of the UDP, points out that, on occasions, Bush has come across as a man with more ambitions than principles and describes him as the consummate modern Caymanian politician.
“For the better part of his political career he has never lost his hold on Caymanian politics,” Bodden writes of Bush. “He has demonstrated a gladiator’s record in dispatching his political enemies.”
The UCCI president describes Bush as combining the ruthlessness of Niccolo Machiavelli with the savvy of Sun Tzu, and while he says Bush has brought a 21st century approach to local politics, some still believe Bush is too willing to sacrifice principle for expediency.
Bodden has much praise for his former political colleague, though, and suggests those who have criticised him have done so from a position of prejudice. He points out that Bush has often managed to outsmart and out-manoeuvre political opponents who saw themselves as being more intelligent.
However, in his book Bodden makes a telling observation when he describes McKeeva Bush as being “on a political treadmill, constantly searching for new political friends.”
Bodden pays tribute to Bush’s ability to resonate with the people and the way he moves among the ordinary Caymanian folk, which he says is why he has endured for more than 25 years in politics. “He has left those who view themselves as politically superior on numerous occasions during election time to wonderwhat happened,” Bodden writes.
Bodden argues that Cayman has stumbled into the twenty first century carrying all of its acquired baggage of voluntary colonialism, which has been an underlying issue of Cayman’s modern political history and diluted its agenda of self determination. But he also raises concerns that all politicians in Cayman are trapped in the legacy of the past where they have viewed political office as a way to get rich. Bodden wonders if there will ever be in time when the country’s political representatives will not be asking themselves who benefits.
Patronage, Personalities and Parties is published by Ian Randle and is available at supermarkets and bookshops across the islands.

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Cops admit knocking down cyclist

| 12/08/2010 | 38 Comments

(CNS): Despite denials to Cayman News Service days after the incident by an RCIPS spokesperson at George Town police station, the police have now admitted that an RCIPS marked car hit a cyclist in downtown George Town on 1 August. According to reports on News 27 on Wednesday police are investigating one of their own. A police officer has been suspended from driving police vehicles after crashing into the cyclist on North Church Street, near the offices of Cayman Real Estate. The car was said to be heading towards West Bay when it struck a 36 year-old-cyclist going in the same direction.

The police driver also hit a parked car on the road. The cyclist was treated at the hospital for injuries to his head and body. He was discharged three days later.
Although CNS contacted George Town police in the days following the incident as a result of calls from the public we were told that the police had no reports of any incidents involving a cyclist on 1 August.

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