Archive for April 18th, 2011

Blues reported in Czech zoo

| 18/04/2011 | 63 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the Cayman Islands Blue Iguana Recovery Programme are investigating reports that a zoo in the Czech capital, Prague, is claiming to have acquired pair of the critically endangered rare Grand Cayman iguanas. According to reports on the internet, the zoo has had the blues on show since January and got them from a Hungarian dealer. The zoo’s director, Miroslav Bobek, reportedly spoke with local journalists earlier this year and revealed that it was the only zoo in Europe to have the rare iguanas. "From our point of view, the acquisition is a treasure comparable with finding a pot with ancient coins," said Petr Velenský, who is in charge of reptiles in the Prague zoo. (Left: a Blue Iguana in Cayman)

According to local news reports, the two iguanas were christened at the ceremonial opening of the 80th season of the Prague Zoo in March. The city’s mayor, Bohuslav Svoboda, is said to have named the blues Faust and Margarita. Reports also revealed that the zoo had been seeking to acquire the Grand Cayman iguanas for more than ten years and the director said he hoped they would multiply.

Fred Burton, the director of the recovery programme, confirmed on Monday that contact has been made with the zoo in Prague and he is now awaiting a response from the local iguana specialist.
“We hope to find out who the Hungarian breeder is and where he got his stock from. If the zoo did due diligence and has a respectable association with that breeder, it should be possible to get to the bottom of this,” herevealed.

The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is indigenous to Grand Cayman and is the most endangered iguana on earth. It was driven to the brink of extinction, with only about a dozen surviving from the original wild population by 2002, as a result of a combination of habitat loss, road kills and the deaths caused by free-roaming dogs and feral cats.

Although these human-caused pressures have led to the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana being endangered, the recovery programme has revealed that it can be saved. The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is making remarkable strides and there is great hope for the future of the Blue Iguana and its extraordinary wild habitat.

As a result of the conservation work there is now a free-roaming subpopulation in the QE II Botanic Park and the Salina Reserve of almost 300 individuals. The continued main threat to the recovery of this incredible creature is habitat destruction. Land clearance within remnant habitat is occurring for agricultural purposes, road construction and for real estate development and speculation. Conversion of traditional croplands to cattle pasture is also eliminating secondary Blue Iguana habitat.

See internet articles relating to zoo’s acquisition here and here.

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Documents

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

Over the years many reports have been commissioned, and many of the authors made discovered that are either useful to policy makers and the public which employs them, or may become useful to students or historians. The documents and reports below represent an incomplete collection which we hope to add to as we unearth them. If you have any documents that you think should be in the public domain, please send them to nickywatson@caymannewsservice.com.

 

Anti-Money Laundering Regime in the Cayman Islands – fact sheet (CIG)

Criminality Report (2006) By Yolande C. Forde

Cruise port documents

DART/CIG proposal

Electoral Boundary Commission Report 2010

Framework for Fiscal Responsibility

Grouper fishing ban

ITALIC Review Report (April 2006) By Hassan Syed

Operations Tempura and Cealt

Petition for single member constituencies

Review of British offshore financial centres (October 2009) By Michael Foot

Salary of public servants

Sale of Government Office Administration Building (GOAB) proposal

University and Beyond

 

Video archives

Little Cayman, 1970

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Onions help peel off weight says study

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(The Chronicle): AN ONION a day may keep a cold at bay but also it has the potential to combat obesity, diabetes and an increased blood pressure, according to a new study by University of Southern Queensland (USQ) biomedical scientists. The study showed that rutin extracted from onions reversed fat stores in laboratory rats, lowered blood pressure, reversed glucose problems and improved liver damage. The research was conducted by Professor Lindsay Brown, Sunil K Panchal, Hemant Poudyal and Thiruma Arumugam and will be published in next month’s prestigious Journal of Nutrition.

Rutin is a non-nutritive component of many foods such as onions, apples, tea and red wine, and has shown health-improving effects in different animal studies but this is the first study concentrating on diet-induced health problems.

The study, led by Professor Brown, involved feeding rats a high carbohydrate, high fat diet for eight weeks until they developed signs of metabolic syndrome, including obesity, hypertension, fatty liver and cardiac stiffness.

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Virgin boss under attack over invasive monkeys

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(The Telegraph): When Sir Richard Branson bought the £10m Caribbean island of Moskito in 2007 and pledged to turn it into a luxury ‘eco-resort’ he was widely applauded by conservationists. The Virgin tycoon said he had purchased the pristine island – part of the 60-strong British Virgin Islands (BVI) – to "protect" it and create "the most ecologically friendly island in the world". But now Sir Richard has been accused of threatening its fragile ecology by planning to import non-native lemurs to live there. Scientists say that lemurs are "opportunistic predators" that will threaten native species and are "totally unsuited" to the 120-acre island’s habitat.

They fear that the lemurs, which live in the wild only on Madagascar, will bring in disease, devour insects and birds’ eggs, destroy plants and wipe out the island’s "dwarf gecko" (Sphaerodactylus parthenopion), one of the world’s rarest lizards. Sir Richard has applied for – and been granted –permission to bring in about 30 ring-tailed lemurs, with the first group due to arrive in the next two or three weeks.
 

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Cruise passengers evacuated to Mexican port

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(USA Today): A fire in a generator knocked out power to a cruise ship sailing off the Mexican coast over the weekend, forcing the evacuation of nearly 750 passengers and crew. The Associated Press reports 522 passengers and 226 crew members aboard the Ocean Star Pacific on Saturday were evacuated by catamaran to the port of Huatulco on Mexico’s West Coast. The Ocean Star Pacific is a nearly 40-year-old ship originally built for Royal Caribbean as the Nordic Prince that just began sailing for Ocean Star Cruises, a new line based in Mexico.

It was on its second voyage for the line, according to industry watcher Seatrade Insider which quotes an executive at the company as saying it was a "small, small fire."
 

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Local fitness teams topping regional contest

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Some of Cayman’s local residents are taking fitness to a new height and are currently leading competition tables for the region in the CrossFit Games. The competition, which includes 30,000 people world-wide, has turned a workout into a professional sport. Sponsored by Reebok, the games are described as "the ultimate test of fitness". Ten athletes from CrossFit Cayman are competing to land a spot at the 2011 games, which is scheduled to take place in California in July. To qualify athletes must complete one gruelling workout per week for six weeks and rank in the top 60 positions within their region.

As the defending Latin American team champions, CrossFit Cayman has their sights on a repeat victory at the regionals and another chance at the elusive CrossFit Games championship.

Tarasa Barnett, one of Cayman’s competitors and and co-owner of CrossFit Cayman, explained that the workout is posted each week for a six week period and, after completing the workout of the week, contestants post their scores and times to the game’s website. Ranking is determined by how good your score or time is each week compared to everyone else competing in sectionals.

“Each week your scores accumulating which can move you up and down on the Leaderboard. There are over 20,000 competitors worldwide competing in these sectionals,” she explained.
Tarasa and her husband Matt who are competing as individuals as well as part of the Cayman team, are in first place atop the leader board in the men’s and women’s divisions, with Ashley Puschman in second place and Krista Pell in fifth place. On the men’s side, James Melen is currently in 7th place, Tim Pell is in 15th place and Fabio Sordinelli is in 18th place in Latin America

As well as the bragging rights for winning, the contest has a total purse of over $1million. Although based on the regular workouts that people do in gyms every day, Barnett said the sport of CrossFit is intense and unlike any other.

“It’s a combination of Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, gymnastics, and cardio all mixed into one workout. CrossFit is high intensity interval training. We incorporate a wide array of movements, put it to a clock, and make it like a sport," she added. “The workouts are constantly varied so there is always the element of change, which is what our athletes love about the programming. Because everything is quantified there is no doubting that your fitness levels are improving.”

To track the results of CrossFit Cayman and the Barnetts, log on to the Reebok CrossFit Games Open website and view the Latin America leaderboard. If you would rather check out their performances in person, CrossFit Cayman can be found in the Industrial Park area off Sparky’s Dr in Lincoln Dr Warehouses Unit #2, and information on how to participate in a free trial class can be found at www.crossfitcayman.com

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Young lions hunt for teen beauty queens

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Leo’s Club of Grand Cayman has started its search for girls aged between 15 and 17 to enter the 33rd annual Miss Teen Cayman Islands pageant. This year the contest will take place on 27 August at the Lion’s Center and organisers say it will be bigger and better than ever. The committee’s, theme for 2011 is ‘The African Safari’ Beauty beyond the Horizon and the motto “Women of Tomorrow. The deadline for entry is 6 May. “The LEO Club Grand Cayman has worked hard to keep this prestigious event alive for over 32 years and we look forward to bringing the public another magical Miss Teen Cayman Islands,” said Lea, Cedric Gidarsingh.

“We encourage the public and businesses to support the LEO Club of Grand Cayman biggest fundraiser of the year – Miss Teen Cayman Islands 2011."

Applications are available from the reigning Miss Teen Leanne Ritch, Miss Teen Committee or any Leo Club member.

“As Miss Teen Chairperson I would like to encourage all young women to become a part of the Miss Teen Pageant where they will grow and learn the importance of becoming a positive role model for the youth of the Cayman Islands.” Leo Kayla Archibold.

Any further questions contact Leo Kayla Archibold 927-3004, Leo Jamie Rogers 916-9264 or email
missteencipageant@gmail.com .

 

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Local communications firm returns to West Bay

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): LIME has re-opened its old West Bay store in Heritage Square with a new look and a new line of products. Previously known as the West Bay Comms Station, this newly refurbished location will give customers access to all of the firm’s services and products. Customers looking for residential services or changes to their existing services including mobile services, bill payments and service upgrades. The firm also said it has a full range of LIME mobile phones including the latest in touch screen mobile technology with a selection of Android smartphones and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The shop will also stock mobile accessories such as batteries, headsets for hands free mobile use and car chargers.

“If you live in West Bay then the convenience of having a LIME store in your neighbourhood is a welcome addition. We are very pleased to see the Heritage Square location open,” Daniel Tathum, Head of Department – Retail Sales, said about the new store.

The hours of operation are 10:00 am to 7:00pm, Monday to Saturday. For billing inquiries customers can call 811 or visit LIME’s flagship locations at Galleria Plaza or Anderson Square.

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Public asked to comment on return of deportees

| 18/04/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The government is now circulating the proposed amendment to the immigration law that seeks to define how deportees and banned immigrants can return to the country. The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Chief Officer Franz Manderson said there was a need to formalise the process and provide transparency and consistency in decision-making, because at the moment there are no hard and fast rules about how people can return. The public is asked to review the new amendments and provide input on how those who have been kicked out of Cayman as a result of crime or immigration abuses can apply to come back. At present there are no time lines, frequency limitations, formal application processes or eligibility criteria.

“The system is totally unregulated and open to abuse,” said Manderson, who explained that people are applying to return almost immediately after being deported. “If that request is refused, the person may reapply at any time and Cabinet is required to consider the new request.

The wider public is now being asked to review the proposed amendments, which were published in the Cayman Islands Gazette # 8, dated 11 April 2011 or available at the Legislative Assembly. (See below)

The proposed measures would create minimum exclusion periods that are based on the seriousness of the offences committed by the individuals. Until this minimum period has elapsed, no applications for permission to enter the Islands will be considered. For the most serious offences, such as murder, rape, arson, drugs offences, and grievous bodily harm, people will not be able to apply to enter for a minimum of 30 years from the date of deportation. For crimes such as fraud or handling stolen goods the new law proposes an exclusion period of 20 years. For consumption or simple possession of a controlled drug, common assault, or immigration offences, people may apply after having been outside the jurisdiction for 10 years, the amendments suggest.

However, those with Caymanian family connections would be treated differently under the proposed Bill. In most of these cases, the minimum exclusion period will be one-third less than the period prescribed for persons with no local family connections. “Caymanian family connections” refers to a deportee whose mother, father, spouse or child possesses the ‘Right to be Caymanian’, in other words those with Caymanian Status.

Manderson said that, regardless of family ties, in order to maintain a meaningful deterrent, the absolute minimum period before which persons may apply for entry should be no less than 10 years.

The new law includes provisions for an advisory committee, which would assess applications and conduct comprehensive background checks on applicants before making recommendations to Cabinet.

This committee would comprise the deputy governor, chief immigration officer, commissioner of police and a mental health professional. “This board would enable a much more in-depth examination of applications by specialist personnel,” Manderson added.

The bill also addresses the risk of allowing prohibited immigrants or deported persons to re-enter the Islands and to monitor the people when they do return. When permission to enter or return is granted, a probationary period of one year would be imposed. In the event that the individual offends during this period, they would be deported immediately and prohibited for an indefinite period from returning.

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Dart removes posts blocking beach access

| 18/04/2011 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Wooden posts erected along the various access points along the north end of Seven Mile Beach have been removed. The barriers, which were placed there by Dart Reality, were taken down on Friday following a meeting held in West Bay on Thursday evening in which a group of residents had said they would taken them down themselves if the developer didn’t remove them. The posts were placed at the head of track ways along a number entry points to the beachfront on land recently purchased by Dart. Regardless of private ownership of beachfront property, from the high-water mark to the sea the beach belongs to the public, and as a result, access to the beach has been an important factor in preserving the people’s right to use it.

With Easter now only days away, when many people follow the long held tradition ofcamping out on the beach for the weekend, the appearance of the posts along one of the favourite camping sites had cause real concern. However, the developer, who stated that the posts had been placed there to stop people stealing sand and not from getting access to the beach, announced that the posts had been removed.

"We understand people are concerned about the loss of vehicular access to the beach, especially as we approach the Easter weekend when camping is an island-wide tradition. In response to these concerns, we have removed the posts which were installed at the entrances to beach properties owned by Dart Realty on Seven Mile Beach, and local residents and visitors once again, have full vehicular access to the beaches," Ken Hydes, from Dart’s management team said in the statement .

"The posts were installed simply to prevent ‘stealing sand’ and it was never our intention to restrict public access to the beach. Now that vehicular access has been restored, we hope that the community will come together to stop the mining of sand and protect the beaches.”

He added that all of Dart’s beach properties are available for everyone’s enjoyment over the Easter weekend and at any time as he wished everyone a happy Easter.

It was not clear, however, whether the removal of the posts is a temporary measure to facilitate access for camping over the coming weekend or a more long term move.

Dart has already announced its intention to build a new beach front resort in the area by moving the West Bay Road, which residents believe will permanently close off access to the beach in one of the last remaining stretches of Seven Mile Beach which has not yet been developed.

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