Archive for September 29th, 2010

Women under and misrepresented by news media

| 29/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Women are still significantly underrepresented and misrepresented in news media coverage according to new research by Global Media Monitoring Project. Despite significant change since the project began 15 years ago 76% of the people heard or read about in the world’s news are male the organisation said on Wednesday.  The research covered 108 countries, 1,365 newspapers, television and radio stations and Internet news sites, 17,795 news stories and 38,253 persons in the news and found that female representation in the news had only increase by 7% since 1995. However 44% of people providing popular opinion in news stories were female compared to 34% in 2005.

The report Who Makes the News? The Global Media Monitoring Project 2010 found that news media show significant gender bias with 46% of news stories reinforcing gender stereotypes.  13% of news stories focus centrally on women.  Expert commentary is overwhelmingly male with only one female in every five experts.  The age of women in the news is mentioned twice as often and family status almost four times as often as for men. Today female reporters are responsible for 37% of stories compared to 28% fifteen years ago, and their stories challenge gender stereotypes twice as often as stories by male reporters.
Gender bias in Internet news is similar and in some respects even more intense than that found in the traditional news media.
The GMMP is the largest and longest running research and advocacy initiative on fair and balanced gender representation in the news media. It is coordinated by WACC, a global network of communicators promoting communication for social change, in collaboration with data analyst Media Monitoring Africa, and with support from the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Continue Reading

Kurt says Mac has no plan

| 29/09/2010 | 83 Comments

(CNS): The government does not have any real plans to improve the country’s economic fortunes and “is floundering hopelessly” as it tries to work out what to do, the opposition leader told the country on Wednesday night. In response to a recent address to the nation by Premier McKeeva Bush, the leader of the opposition, Kurt Tibbetts, says that despite the premier’s globe trotting endeavours he had achieved little in his 500 days in office and the country’s fortunes have continued to decline under the new administration. Speaking on Radio Cayman and Cayman 27 the PPM leader said the premier has not put forward one meaningful solution to stimulate the economy since he was elected

In his own address to the country the opposition leader referred to the premier’s extensive travel since taking office on a number of occasions as well as the failure of the wining and dining of international leaders to woo any new investors or millionaire residents to the islands.
Criticising the hikes in fees Tibbetts spoke a lot about the proclamations that the premier has made consistently since coming to office that have not led to anything concrete.
Tibbetts said that after two budgets and two -soon to be three- world tours to promote and encourage inward investment the government cannot point to one economic success story or one tangible project that has started since it took office the opposition leader said.
In his statement he claimed that there was nothing of substance in the premier’s address earlier this month, to reassure the people.  “The country’s economy cannot prosper on a diet of the Premier’s rhetoric and travel stories,” Tibbetts said of the current government statements and rhetoric. 
Pointing to the premier’s announced 11 point plan Tibbetts said it would be fine if he had just been elected but his government has been in office for nearly a year and a half, delivered 2 budgets, numerous policy statements and conducted various reviews and reports.
“A full year ago government announced a National Planning Initiative and the appointment of two strategic advisors who would prepare a plan dealing with the physical, social, cultural and economic development of the country. What has happened to that plan?” Tibbetts asked. “We haven’t heard a word about it since the grand announcement 12 months ago.”
He also pointed to what the PPM have called ill conceived and hastily drafted legislation affecting the financial services sector, saying that some of the changes to laws have raised very serious concerns in the financial industry which are also adding to the wider problems caused by the extensive increases in fees and duties which Tibbetts says are crippling the local economy.
“What must be considered at this point are not so much the most recent promises and rhetoric of the Premier, most of which we have heard before, but the effect of the measures which have been taken by the government since it took office 16 months ago to alleviate the impact of the recession on Cayman, its people and businesses,” he said. “We must ask: Have the actions of the government actually improved life for the people who live, work and invest here? This is the question which must be answered in evaluating the performance of the government over the past 16 months. “
The issue of immigration, Tibbetts said was not the reason behind Cayman’s economic misfortunes. He also noted that the previous government had closely examined the length of the break in stay and were advised that 12 months was the safest minimum period.
“We considered reducing the break to six months but were advised against it because of concerns that such a short break, if challenged, might not be considered by a court to have broken the individual’s legal and ordinary residence in this jurisdiction.  We are perplexed as to how the Premier can announce that advice from the United Kingdom says that we can make the break following roll-over as limited as we want in our legislation and I call on him to make that advice public,” Tibbetts said.
 He pointed out that in 2003 the premier insisted that two years was the minimum break but today the government advisors are purported to be giving completely different advice.
Tibbetts cautioned acting on the adviceparticularly in light of a recent report by the UK Parliament advocating the right to vote should be given not just to citizens of Overseas Territories but the residents as well. 
Given the failure of current policies to help stimulate the local economy or assist the flagging financial and tourism sectors Tibbetts posed the question of what the government has been doing since it was elected 500 days ago.
The opposition leader called on the current government to roll back hikes in license fees and other taxes to relieve small businesses as well as the financial services sector and give an undertaking that there will be no further increases during this term. Tibbetts also said government should introduce tax breaks and incentives to rejuvenate small businesses.
He asked government to get public spending under control, publish the plan on how the administration intends to do it and convince investors and the Cayman public that it is realistic. When it comes to immigration Tibbetts said the government’s review of the immigration laws and policies should be done openly with full disclosure of legal advice and not behind closed doors.
The opposition address was transmitted on Radio Cayman Wednesday evening 29 September after the 7 pm news and again after the 10 pm news. It was also broadcast on CITN (channel 27) at 8pm on Wednesday. It will also be aired on Cayman 27 again on Thursday morning at 8:00 am and evening at 8:00pm.
The leader of the opposition’s full speech.

Continue Reading

All clear issued for Cayman

| 29/09/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Updated 5pm  —  Education officials have confirmed that all government schools will open at their usual time tomorrow (Thursday 30 September) unless weather conditions deteriorate overnight. The decision comes in the wake of the discontinuation of the Tropical Storm Nicole warning by Hazard Management Cayman Islands. HMCI discontinued the tropical storm warning at 3pm on the advice of the National Weather Service and the ‘All Clear’ was declared.  The broad Area of low pressure will persist however, over the Northwest Caribbean leading to continued poor weather over the Cayman area for the next 24 to 48 hours.  Boating interests should continue to remain in safe harbor as strong southwest to west winds will persist, reaching tropical storm force at times.

Rough seas, with wave heights of 8 to 10 feet are expected to continue over our area for at least another 24 hours. The south and west coasts of our Islands will continue to experience heavy wave action and some beach erosion.

At 4pm the NHC said that Tropical Strom Nicole had already dissipated over the Straits of Florida but large areas of heavy rains were persisting. The storm was about about 175 miles ENE of Havana Cuba and the circulation had degenerated into an elongated area of low pressure. The remnants of Nicole were moving toward the north-northeast near 12 mph with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph with higher gusts. Winds associated with the remnants of Nicole should gradually subside, the NHC said, but a strong non-tropical low pressure system with gale force winds is expected to develop near the southeast US coast tonight.
Tropical storm force winds still extend outward up to 345 miles to the southeast of the centre which is still impacting the Cayman area.


Further information on local weather conditions will be issued in regular weather forecasts.

Continue Reading

Crews working on flooded roads

| 29/09/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): The National Roads Authority currently has six crews dealing withthe flood waters associated with Tropical Storm Nicole, across Grand Cayman. According to Hazard Management Cayman Islands early assessments although a number of roads have been flooded, flood waters have not caused damage to homes. HMCI and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Shelter Operations are currently working with the NRA to alleviate areas where flooding has occurred. Areas in George Town, Prospect and Newlands have been flooded but officials said that the Cumber Avenue area of Bodden Town had escaped this time.

In George Town portions of Windsor Park were flooded but NRA is actively pumping the water out although there is still standing water on Anthony Drive and Templeton Street officials stated. Over at Randyke Gardens parts of Concord Avenue and Randyke Way are flooded. In the Several roads in the Industrial Park are flooded including Maclendon Drive, Industrial Way, Dorcy Drive, Red Gate Road, Commercial Avenue, Seymour Road, Barnes Drive and Webb Road.
Large areas in Washing Boulevard area (Swamp) have been flooded but NRA is also pumping the water out. There is still standing water on Woodpecker Close, Grackle Road, Washington Road, Cypros Road Brushy Avenue, Greenwood Drive, and Kennedy Drive. There is also flooding in Central Scranton towards the back of Tigris Street and the northern portion of Watlers road has flooded. Along Eastern Avenue portions of Saturn Close has sustained flooding as well as the end of Courts Road.
Meanwhile, in Prospect Marina Drive, Rosemary Street, Mahogany Way, Party Lane, Almond Avenue, Buttonwood Avenue, Logwood Way, Birch Avenue are all flooded. In Newlands portions of Moonbeam Drive and Butterfly Circle have also sustained flooding.
While Cumber Avenue in Bodden Town is saturated there was no flooding in the area officials said.
If your area had been flooded and is not present on this list, please specify the street name and contact HMCI at 945-4624 or the NRA at 946-7780. If you need shelter or other assistance please contact Lynda Mitchell at the DCFS Shelter Operations at 949-0290 or 925-5346.

Continue Reading

Bakery robbed in rain

| 29/09/2010 | 26 Comments

(CNS): Updated 4:45pm — Despite the inclement weather conditions it appears local robbers were not put off by the downpours and squally conditions. Police have now confirmed reports that Caribbean Bakery on Mount Pleasant in West Bay was robbed just before noon today. Two armed assailants escaped with a small amount of cash after threatening a female member of staff. One of the men was armed with a hand gun but no shots were fired and no one was hurt. Detectives are now appealing for witnesses and say that both men are described as approximately 5"7 in height, slim build, both wearing blue jeans and long light coloured shirts with their faces covered. (Photos Dennie Warren Jr)

The police helicopter was deployed in the wake of the armed robbery and police confirmed on Thursday morning that three teenagers had been arrested in the West Bay area soon after the robbery. Officers were seen  arresting two young men close to the entrance of The Shores along Batabano Road. A third suspect was then apprehended along  Mount Pleasant Road. All three men are now in police custody.

Detective Constable Marcia Myles of West Bay CID is appealing for anyone who has information regarding this crime to come forward. The public can phone West Bay CID on 949 3999 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS)



Continue Reading

CUC and CBP&L battling to keep power on

| 29/09/2010 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Update 2:32pm Wednesday – A 30 minute power outage on Cayman Brac was cause by a tree falling off the Bluff, CB Power & Light Co General Manager Jonathan Tibbetts said.  P&L staff are working in the rain to keep the system up but Tibbetts said that there were many weather related problems appearing and if there were too many for the crews to handle they might have to close down the power later today to protect the system. Electricity consumers in certain areas of Grand Cayman have been experiencing sporadic power outages as a result of the ongoing inclement weather, the local power company said this morning. However CUC said it was working to ensure power was restored as quickly as possible on each occasion.

Power interruptions have been ongoing throughout Wednesday morning in certain areas such as Prospect and Spotts/Newlands but outages have usually been limited to less than 30 minutes a spokesperson for the firm stated. At 11:00pm last night customers in the Breakers, Frank Sound and East End areas were without power due to an electrical fault on the distribution lines also as a result of the severe weather conditions.

Line crews repairing the fault were hampered throughout the night and early Wednesday morning by strong winds and heavy squalls. Service was restored to customers at approximately 2:00am on Wednesday morning. A similar problem reoccurred on the lines at approximately3:00am and the Company’s line crews were again hampered by the inclement weather. Service was periodically restored to customers throughout the morning and all customers were restored by 7:30am CUC stated.
Customers experiencing power outages should call the Company’s 24-hour fault reporting number at 945-1CUC (1282). CUC regrets the inconvenience to customers in the affected areas.

Continue Reading

Hews to redevelop Dorcy Drive site with FedEx

| 29/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After almost ten years a locally owned family business has finalized its plans to help improve the look of one corner of George Town’s dusty industrial park area. Close to a decade after developing a plan for the land at the corner of Dorcy Drive and Portland Road, the Hew family will be using the site to provide a new home for FedEx as well as their own offices. The first plan was derailed by the evens of 9-11 in the US, then again by the impact of Ivan in 2004 but now they have found a solid partner with the international courier service and hope to have the project complete before early next year.

 “We had a plan in place back in 2001 with another courier service, a much smaller project, that was derailed by 9-11 and so we just had to bide our time,” said Joey Hew, the family’s lead on the project. Hurricane Ivan dealt the family a second setback as they were about to launch a second development plan. “It seemed to us at that time that perhaps fate had something else planned for us for that site” he added. “When the Phoenix Group inquired on behalf of FedEx in 2008 I knew then what we had been waiting for all along”
Neil Rooney of Exeter Development, the Phoenix Group’s development arm said the firm had been in discussions with FedEx since 2004 about managing a design/build/lease solution for them.
“Over the years, while we waited for FedEx Head Office to prioritize the project, we examined multiple sites for traffic flow, travel time, access, visibility and, critically, the right corporate partner for FedEx. The site, as it turns out, was right in almost every way and the Hew family was exactly the sort of landlord in which FedEx could see a long-term future,” Rooney said. “It was our job to make sure that the every aspect of the projectwas consistent with the long-term goals of the all parties involved.”
The new project, along with the new Thompson Building going up alongside it represent the next steps in an area that is gradually changing to a more up-market profile than the dusty face of the Industrial Park that it used to be, the parties involved said.
 “We always felt that the area would evolve” Hew said of Grand Cayman’s industrial area. “We are seeing more quality retail in the area with the classy refurbishment of Car City, the reno of Cayman Air Conditioning and the additional retail space that will be available in the new FedEx building, which will be called Hewden Place – in fact, we also have some additional office space for lease in the new building” he added.
The project, which has been financed by HSBC will open in early 2011.

Continue Reading

Some Thought for Food

| 29/09/2010 | 30 Comments

Here is some food for thought and at the same time some thought for food. Lately we all seem to be ranting about politicians, corruption, crime, unemployment, just to mention a few of the seemingly urgent problems facing us in Cayman. However, none of these issues can be properly addressed without first considering our most pressing problem as outlined here.

It is the penultimate problem we are facing which will eventually render all other problems as insignificant.

Cayman’s current population (not counting tourists and visitors) is about 50,000 men women and children who represent the complete spectrum of class structure from the very wealthy to the poorest of the poor.

We all have one thing in common in that each of us wants and needs to eat 3 meals a day. It is estimated that the AVERAGE cost per person per day for food is CI$20.00. The math shows that 50,000 times $20 = 1 million dollars per day for all of us to eat each and every day. That translates to $365 million per year. It is probably more since this does not take into account the restaurants and hotel food service facilities catering to tourists.

So each day we all eat about 1 million dollars worth of food. Since very little is produced or grown here, most of the money will be sent to the USA to buy more food for tomorrow and the next day, etc. The money keeps flowing out and the food flows in. But wait! If the money keeps flowing out without being returned, won’t we eventually run out of money? The answer is YES. In fact, we have already run out. We are on our second loan from the UK and have a half billion dollar debt load. Why? Because the money is flowing out faster than it is flowing in.

The money can only return here if it is brought by tourists, investors or the financial industry. Of course, there is one other way, which is in the form of the Cayman Government seeking loans from Great Britain to help keep us afloat. So in essence we already have run out of money. When we are finished spending the latest money loaned to us by the UK, what then? There are not enough tourists to make a dent in our debt situation.

The financial industry is leaving for greener pastures where other governments offer little or no fees and taxes. In trying to remedy this massive debt problem the government has decided to try the "quick-fix" solution of raising duties and fees in order to get the badly needed capital to pay off past due loans and to make the civil service payroll. All government fees and taxes are the reason for the increase in the cost of living; such fees also act as a dam or blockage which prevents money from flowing to Cayman.

The real solution to our financial crisis is to lower or eliminate government fees and duties for a time in order to allow the economy to make a recovery. Lower prices mean more tourists and investors. It appears that the current government, for whatever reason, does not see the big picture and is destined to make the same mistakes that have been repeated many times throughout history.

Two things are noteworthy about all of this. First of all, you will notice that it does not take someone with a degree in economics to exercise some common sense and use some simple math to see that we are headed for certain disaster. Secondly, the above million dollar a day scenario is only for food. It does not take into account our other daily needs such as gasoline, electricity, water, clothing, mortgages, cars, furnishings, dishes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap etc (you get the idea).

All in all, we import about a billion dollars worth of stuff each year. The money flows out but it’s not coming back. We need to lower government duties and fees NOW (yesterday would be even better) because no matter what causes or organisations people are a part of, their causes will be dwarfed by the need to find something to eat.

Defenders of the government’s policies will show you that our cost of living is on a par with other similar places to Cayman. But Cayman does not grow sugar cane, or coffee or have anything to export. We are unique in this way and cannot be compared to other places. Such explanations are obviously hollow or we wouldn’t be in this negative spiral that we find ourselves. It is also silly for the UK or the government to consider a system of direct taxation since if the money going out is greater than money coming in, there will be an ever decreasing amount of money you can tax.

Equally silly is that the "quick-fix" of raising duties on fuel and electricity in order to get some quick cash to rescue the economy for the near term is the government taxing itself. Government is the biggest user of fuel and electricity in Cayman so by increasing the cost of these items means the cost of running government went up as well which causes the need for even more money than before. The tragic part of this logic is that now, by making everything even more expensive than before when it was already too expensive in the first place, we have further deterred visitors from coming here and bringing back the money we need to survive.

My only hope is that you read and understand this, email it and share it with as many people as you can. Shout it from the mountaintops!


Continue Reading

FOI ‘ID’ing’ will be costly

| 29/09/2010 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The information commissioner has pointed out that removing the right for the public to make freedom of information requests anonymously could be a difficult and costly exercise. Following comments by the premier on a number of occasions that he does not think that it is right for people to withhold their identity when applying for information, Jennifer Dilbert has said that trying to verify who people are would require even more work on the part of government information managers. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, which was Right to Know Day, Dilbert said while government had the ability to remove the right to anonymity it would not necessarily be in its interests to do so and would be both expensive and impractical.

“As I have said before, I don’t see how it can practically work,” said Dilbert. “It won’t be easy for information managers to verify the identity of an applicant. I imagine they will have to request a passport or a notarised application, which will just add to their workload and, of course, the costs. It is also very likely that those concerned about revealing their identity will simply ask other people to make their requests for them, so there is little point in attempting to remove the anonymous application.”
The information commissioner pointed out that the elected government has the power to change the law but, as elected officials, they must do what the electorate wants and she doubted that there would be support for the removal of anonymity. She explained that during the upcoming review of the law, while there were a number of changes the Information Commissioner’s Office was recommending to speed up the process, it would be down to the Legislative Assembly to decide what changes, if any, would be made.
Jan Liebaers, the deputy information commissioner, questioned why the identity of a requester was relevant, except where an individual is asking for their own personal files, because general public information belongs to everyone. “Why would you want to know, what could possibly be the reason?” he asked rhetorically, adding that there was certainly no good reason why a government official would need to know an applicant’s identity.
The deputy commissioner said he believed that there had been some association with some people in government departments confusing vexatious requestswith anonymous requests. However, Liebaers pointed out that they were different and that the law dealt very clearly with vexatious applications.
“It is inappropriate to associate anonymity with vexation,” he said. “These are two very different things and it is clear what is vexatious and we have seen very, very little of it.”
Liebaers said that for a wide number of reasons the ability to request information anonymously was important and it underscored the fact that the information was for everyone and anyone and not just the person making the request.
The country’s premier has made a number of public criticisms of the Freedom of Information Law and in McKeeva Bush’s latest interview with Cayman 27 he said the “wrong information should not be allowed to get into the wrong hands” and accused the “haters" of using information against people. At both press briefings and from inside the Legislative Assembly Bush has also criticised CNS and other media  for making requests, as well as members of the public who have used pseudonyms.
However, the information commissioner said that despite the rhetoric and the comments by the premier, no one was interfering with her work and the law was providing access. “I am under no pressure. My office remains independent and I do not feel fettered in anyway,” Dilbert added. “Whatever is being said, the law’s working as the information is getting out there.”

Continue Reading

TS Nicole redefined

| 29/09/2010 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Updated 11:30am — Tropical Depression #16 turned into Tropical Storm Nicole at 10:00 am local time as the NHC redefined the centre of the system. The south east bands of Nicole continued to drench the Cayman Islands with more and more rains as yesterday’s forecasts that conditions were expected to improve today (Wednesday 29 September) proved incorrect. Cayman Islands Weather Services said the newly formed Tropical Storm was now closer to the Cayman Islands than previously forecast with an area of TS winds over the sister Islands. A report from Cayman Brac at 10:15am indicated sustained winds of 30 knots with a gust to 44 knots. All three islands will continue to experience overcast skies with frequent heavy showers.

Strong southwest to west winds reaching tropical storm force and rough seas, with wave heights of 8 to 10 feet are expected over our area. The south and west coasts of our Islands will continue to experience heavy wave action and some beach erosion. All boating interests should remain in safe harbour until further notice.
Cayman remains under a tropical storm warning and att 10:00am local time Nicole was located 120 miles ESE of Havana Cuba and moving towards the north east at 9 mph with maximum sustained Winds of 40mph.
Another 2 to 4 inches of rainfall are likely during the next 24 hours leading to extensive flooding of low lying areas. Residents of these areas should continue to take the necessary precautions.
Road networks are flooded and Hazard Management is asking motorists to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Standing water poses a risk, particularly when driven through at speed. Heavy rainfall can cause deep pockets of water to accumulate making roads impassable. When driving through flood water drivers are asked to proceed with caution as flooded roads could hide significant potholes. 
The CI National Weather Service will continue to monitor the progress of this system, and all residents are urged to stay tuned to the local media for further updates. Additional information on weather conditions over our area for the next 24 to 48 hours can be found in the local weather forecast. or
All public service announcements about Tropical Depression #16 will be posted on CNS Storm Watch, which has a quick link on the main menu bar in Classifieds to the latest updates about hurricanes and storms under the sub-categories ‘Be Prepared’, ‘Business Update’, ‘Official News’ and ‘Personal Notes’. The link to the Cayman Islands Weather site is also on the Classifieds menu bar so that all the weather information is easily accessible. 

Continue Reading