Archive for April 19th, 2011

Joanna Clarke nominees focus on special education

| 19/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Many of the projects selected for this year’s Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award (JCA) focus on special education needs and are projects mostly outside the mainstream school curriculum. The finalists for the education initiative created by dms Organization Ltd (DMS) are Catch Up Literacy, Speech and Language Therapy Department, the Harmony Learning Centre, the School Counsellor’s Group and the Early Years Task Force. The five finalists were selected from twenty applications that qualified and one or more will receive up to KYD $12,000 to fund their project. Chairperson of the JCA Committee Joanna Clarke said there was a wider range of applicants, with more non-profit associations this year in addition to schools.

“While it is challenging to determine between such impressive initiatives, ultimately we determined the finalists due to them being the strongest in aligning with our distinct criteria, particularly that of sustainability,” she explained. “We have always been inclined to offer grants and support initiatives that we are confident will continue to grow and flourish for many years. Interestingly, three of our five finalists were literacy initiative candidates, which is key to children’s education and development. We certainly have a hard decision ahead of us.”

Catch Up Literacy requested funding for its programme addressing the problem of underachievement that is often rooted in literacy and numeracy challenges. In 2010 literacy coaches underwent training to offer the programme which is based on a proven literacy model that enables and supports the sustainable use and embedding of the Catch Up Cayman intervention for ‘at risk’ students across Cayman’s public schools.

The Speech and Language Therapy Department is seeking funding to set up a Training Assistance Programme, which is intended to train and support parents and caregivers of children with language delays to understand how they can assist with language development. They will undergo a 12-week training programme to become language facilitators and understand how to maximize children’s daily routines and playtimes.

The Harmony Learning Centre, based in Cayman Brac, is dedicated to supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families through increasing their opportunities to make choices and decisions about the quality of their lives and responding to their changing needs. The centre requested funding to launch its Day Programme.

The School Counsellor’s Group applied for the grant to support its mission to use guidance counselling to expose and build awareness in social skills, human development, self-identification and how to make decisions based on facts.

The Early Years Task Force is seeking help with its Preschool Educational and Training Assistance Programme to provide literacy and phonics kits to all 30 registered preschools throughout the Cayman Islands. The project will also provide the relevant professional development and training workshops for teachers.

Last year’s JCA recipients were Cayman Prep and High School for its Marine Science Programme, George Town Primary School for its Digital Visual Media Club and John Gray High School for its Scuba Diving Club.

The five finalists for this year will now have the opportunity to present their project and partake in a question-and-answer session, which will be considered against the award’s criteria previously established by the committee members.

DMS Vice President and JCA Committee Member Krista Pell said the award was one which DMS holds in the highest regard as it draws attention to the number of deserving local initiatives that need private sector support. “Corporate social responsibility is key, and we take that responsibility seriously,” she added.

The 2011 winner or winners will be announced Saturday, 14 May, at the Grand Old House. The evening is open to the public and money raised from the event funds the Joanna Clarke Scholarship Fund, an extension of the JCA, to support to an aspiring or existing teacher looking to further their education.

“We hope the business community joins us to celebrate and support these amazing candidates who are all working toward a better tomorrow for Cayman,” added Pell. “We also wanted to take the opportunity to express our appreciation to the many local media entities that continue to show support in heightening awareness about this award – it is truly a community effort.”

Joanna Clarke Award of Excellence in Education website

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Cameron tells IMF not to choose Brown as new boss

| 19/04/2011 | 1 Comment

(AP): Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron insisted Tuesday that his predecessor Gordon Brown shouldn’t become a candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund, and suggested the next chief should be the first from outside of Europe. Cameron said Brown may not be a suitable replacement for Dominique Strauss-Khan, because of his views on what needs to be done to sort out Britain’s public finances. During Brown’s premiership, Britain’s borrowings mushroomed in the wake of the financial crisis and the ensuing recession. The Prime Minister said the next chief must be someone who "understands the dangers of excessive debt."

He suggested the IMF should look to emerging economies in India, China or South Asia for a candidate, instead of a "washed up politician."

"It may well be it’s time actually to have a candidate from another part of the world in order to increase its standing in the world," he said.

That would mark a change of direction for the IMF, which has been headed by a European since its formation after World War II. Frenchman Strauss-Khan is widely tipped to leave the post he has held since late 2007 at the end of this year, and possibly make a run for his country’s presidency in 2012.

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Web-based media wins Pulitzer Prize

| 19/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): For the first time in the history of the Pulitzer Prize – the highest honour in American journalism – the award has gone to a series of articles in an investigation that never appeared on the printed page. ProPublica, the web-based independent investigative news organisation, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for its expose of dubious dealing on Wall Street leading up to the financial crisis, with the judges praising the way journalists Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein used online tools "to help explain the complex subject to lay readers." While ProPublica won its first Pulitzer Prize last year for an article that appeared in the New York Times Magazine – and split the award with the Los Angeles Times – this year it won the award outright.

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Techy park needs new law

| 19/04/2011 | 41 Comments

(CNS): Developers of the proposed special economic technology zone, Cayman Enterprise City (CEC), will break ground before the year-end if a new law is passed in time. Although there are still no anchor tenants or a confirmed location, CEO of Hon Development, Jason Blick, says that if the details of the Special Economic Zone Law and agreements with government are finalised in the next few weeks, the project could be underway by December. The law is expected to define the zone but also offer those inside it specific concessions. During the recent Middle East visit the developers met with several technology firms with the hope that one will become an anchor tenant at the site, which Blick said would be located East of George Town in one of three possible locations.

In Dubai the Hon/CI government delegation met with Oracle, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, Xerox and Hewlett Packard, said Blick, who stated, “We are keen to launch the project with key anchor tenants.”

The developers are offering a range of concessions to those who will become tenants, including reduced flat-rate work permit fees, a reduced import duty structure, as well as protection of intellectual property, which will, they say, be part of the law the Cayman government will pass to facilitate the project.

The ‘techy park’ or enterprise city will only offer space to very specific types of industries, the developers have said, and it will be designed to accommodate those future technologies.

“CEC is designed to meet the needs of five specific types of industries,” Blick said, which he listed as ICT, biotechnology, commodities exchange, media and complementary academia. “This means the creation of unique infrastructure taking account of the bespoke requirements of these ‘future-proof’ industries. In particular, the IT backbone that supports CEC will be one of the most advanced in the Americas region, propelling the Cayman Islands to the forefront of the high-tech sector.”

Blick said that the developers hope to have the ‘Definitive Agreement with Government’ within the next seven weeks, along with the commitment to pass the Special Economic Zone Law. It is not clear exactly what the law will entail but it is understood that it will provide for the concessions and reductions in the usual permit, duty and licence fees that the tenants of CEC will enjoy.

The CEC project is being developed by Hon Development Company LLC and it will be based on the models established in Dubai. The developer says it will be a minimum of 500,000 square feet of office space by June 2016, built in three phases. Phase one will include 150,000 sq.ft of leasable office space, which will be completed within 24 months of the commencement date, the developers said.

The project involves an initial investment of approximately $326m between 2011 and 2020. Hon says there will be some 5,000 jobs created by CEC, and a KPMG Report said it would generate almost 10,000 indirect employment opportunities in total. Developers said that while one fifth of the jobs would go to locals, the remaining 80% would be work permit holders.
 

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Cayman CAA gets into helicopter business

| 19/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): CHC Helicopter, an offshore helicopter services provider, has entered into a partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI), according to a news release on the international wire services. The firm states that this new partnership will provide CHC Helicopter with the opportunity to obtain and maintain a Cayman Islands Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to conduct offshore operations in several foreign jurisdictions worldwide. The Cayman Islands AOC was issued to CHC Helicopter on Monday and two inaugural CHC AS332L2 Super Puma aircraft have reportedly now been transferred to the Cayman Islands Register and will start offshore operations in South America.

The helicopter firm, which is described as world’s largest commercial helicopter company servicing the world’s offshore oil and gas sector, said its operating structure, content and standards are closely aligned with the CAACI Air Regulations. Having issued an AOC to the helicopter firm, the CAACI says it diversifies its base of private and corporate aircraft and will offer an opportunity to expand and diversify the aviation register.

"We are very pleased to be associated with CHC Helicopter, a company whose embedded safety culture exemplifies quality air transport operations that leads the aviation industry," said Richard Smith, Director-General of the CAACI. "Their credible reputation in the global aviation industry underscores the selective nature with which the CAACI accepts registrants to the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry."

William Amelio, president and CEO of CHC Helicopter, said that CAACI can provide the flexibility and scope needed for its operations."I am proud that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands and CHC has agreed to such a mutually beneficial arrangement," he added.

The CHC Helicopter group of companies said it is the world-leader in the provision of civilian search-and-rescue operations, with major contracts in the UK, Ireland and Australia and a world leader in helicopter maintenance through its Delta, British Columbia-based division, Heli-One.

 

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Artist creates foundation to help those in need

| 19/04/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Local visual artist Al Ebanks is planning to auction off some of his work to raise money for those who have suffered as a result of the devastating earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. Ebanks, whose work has found success on the international stage, says this initiative also marks the start of his new foundation, From the Art, which will use art to raise money for local and international causes.“It has been difficult for me to watch the devastation in Japan and I feel that this is something I can do to help with the recovery efforts,” said Ebanks. Guests will have an opportunity to bid on the pieces on display at the silent auction on 12 May at 6pm at Camana Bay

There will also be appetizers, champagne, music and dancing, and the opportunity to win various prizes donated by local merchants.

For more information please contact Cindy Jones of Guavaberry Marketing at cindy@guavaberrymarketing.com.

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West Bay action group calls follow up meeting

| 19/04/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The people of West Bay are following up on their recent success in opening recently blocked access ways along Seven Mile Beach and are turning their attention to the North Sound proposed dredging and the port in East End. Joining forces with the Save Cayman group and those opposing the commercial seaport development, the Concerned Citizens group is calling the people to come out again on Tuesday to the John A Cumber school to hear the latest on beach access as well as these other projects. At the meeting last week passions were running high, not just about the short term problem of the barriers appearing along Seven Mile Beach but also about plans to move the West Bay Road and over development in general. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

At this second meeting there will be a number of guest speakers, including Wayne Panton, Captain Bryan Ebanks (above) and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller.

The meeting starts at 7pm and will take place John A Cumber Primary School Hall (West Bay Primary School Hall) tonight (Tuesday 19 April).
 

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PPM asks costs of Cohen deal

| 19/04/2011 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Now that government has finally sorted out the financing arrangements for this financial year with a regular commercial loan, the opposition says government needs to reveal the details of the temporary loans which were organised by the New York firm, Cohen & Company Capital Markets LLC, and the process regarding the latest award. Alden McLaughlin, the leader of the PPM, said that while he was delighted that a local bank was supplying a conventional loan, there were still a number of unanswered questions surrounding the entire process. He said the people needed to know how much the loans of some US$138 million that were arranged by Cohen had cost in fees and interest and what had actually happened during the tendering. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

“Given the concerns over what transpired when government circumvented the tendering process in the first instance, it is in the public interest for government to offer some explanation,” he said. “I am delighted that a local bank has got the financing and this appears to be a conventional loan agreement. I don’t recall there being a new tendering process since it was announced that the Cohen deal was not going ahead.”

McLaughlin said while the conventional commercial loan government had now settled on was certainly what the people wanted to see, he believed the situation necessitated more transparency as it was not clear how the selection had been made.

“There are real concerns about the legacy of the Cohen arrangement,” the opposition leader pointed out. “What has that cost government? We need to know what we will end up paying,” the opposition leader added.

Cohen and Co arranged two temporary short-term bridging loans for government of around $36 million and around $92 million to enable it to pay bills during this financial year while it made a decision on the long term loan of up to $185 million. It is understood that fees were paid to the New York firm for arranging those loans which have not been revealed, nor were the interest rates.

The cost were incurred because of government’s initial decision not to accept any of the original bids for government financing made at the beginning of this financial year, one of which is believed to be the bid from FirstCaribbean International Bank (Cayman) Ltd, which has now been accepted.

The opposition leader said there needed to be far more transparency about the loan arrangements so people can understand what happened and why and how much it has cost the public purse. McLaughlin revealed that the opposition had submitted a number of parliamentary questions some time ago that have still not been answered and he said he intended to submit them again in preparation for next month’s new session of the Legislative Assembly.

The need to maintain confidentiality as a result of commercial sensitivities arising during negations was no longer a necessity, McLaughlin said, maintaining that there was a need to reveal what had happened. He also said he wanted to see the auditor general’s report on this and was hoping that it was a specific forensic report on the Cohen arrangements and not just a review of the tendering process.

“The people need a full explanation about what happened and what part was played by a UDP party executive in the process,” he said as he stressed the need for transparency.

The government finances for the 2010/11 year attracted considerable controversy when the premier rejected the recommendations of his own ministerial technical team, which had been approved by the Central Tenders Committee, in favour of a separate deal with Cohen and Company, which had come into the second round of bids, even though the firm had not been recommended in the top three.

The premier said at the time he had made the decision because the financiers had said they were also able to get financing for Cayman Airways — which had not been part of the original bid — and that the rate the firm would be able to secure would save the country $24 million. However, in February of this year the premier announced that the deal was not going to produce the anticipated savings and government was reviewing its position.

The premier further stated that the administration might not need to borrow the full US$185 million which had been approved by the UK, which was based on the presumption that the public finances would still be in deficit this year. However, it has been said that the country’s finances are improving and the premier is expecting a double figure surplus by the financial year end.

Treasury officials have pointed out, though, that the loan amount of $185 million approved by the parliament and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is the last loan that the UK government is prepared to sanction until the CIG comes back into line with the parameters of its own Public Management and Finance Law.

Therefore, while taking the full amount would increase the public debt, it would be available for contingency plans, but not taking it wouldmean losing access to it altogether.
 

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Cayman rugby squad beats Jamaica 36-24 in key game

| 19/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CRFC): Cayman triumphed over a Jamaican side touted by some as “the best ever seen on these shores” in front of a capacity crowd at the South Sound Rugby ground on Saturday 16 April. The win sees Cayman safely through the first round of the 2011 NACRA Men’s Caribbean Championships and the Cayman team must now travel to Mexico City to play a Mexican national side which defeated USA South 25-9 on 9 April. The date for the Mexico vs. Cayman fixture has yet to be officially decided but it is likely that Cayman will not get much of a rest before they make the trip to Mexico.

The South Sound encounter lived up to all expectations. Within moments of the 4pm kick off the Jamaicans were in control of the game with a 5-0 lead. The early pace and explosive power of the Jamaican team shocked the Cayman XV and onlookers alike but Cayman’s composure lead to a long period of Caymanian control and the sure foot of full back Robbie Cribb soon slotted 3 penalties to give Cayman a 4 point lead.

With the Cayman side settling into their pattern and dominating both the scrum and line out the Jamaican’s were increasingly starved of the ball. Josh Clarke extended the Cayman lead further having pounced on some scrappy Jamaican lineout ball to catch the Jamaican defence asleep to take the score to 16-5.

Cayman would have hoped to close out the half with an 11 point lead but the Jamaican team marched back up field to score before the half timewhistle and bring the score back to within four points 16-12.

The Cayman team came out in the 2nd half and wasted no time in getting the score board ticking over again. Having retrieved a Jamaican ball from a kick off some quick hands in the Cayman back line allowed Mike Wilson to score out wide. Shortly thereafter, some further hard fought phase play from the Cayman forwards gave space for Keswick Wright to dive over the line and with Robbie Cribb slotting further penalties when given the opportunity the Caymanian lead grew.

Whilst the Caymanians showed their ability to control the ball and maintain their lead the Jamaicans showed their ability to soak up the Caymanian pressure and score when opportunity came knocking and late in the 2nd half 2 more Jamaican tries lead to a nervy finish for the Cayman team.

Final Score: Cayman 36-24 Jamaica

The Cayman Islands have climbed 2 places in the IRB world rankings from 69 to 67 as a result of the win over Jamaican

For Cayman:
Tries: Josh Clarke, Mike Wilson, Keswick Wright
Conversions: Robbie Cribb x 3
Penalties: Robbie Cribb x5

Cayman Team:

1. Ben McDonald 2. JS de Jager (subbed Mick Kehoe) 3. Peter de Vere (subbed Paul Parker, subbed Ron Arscott) 4. Dan Bond 5. Doug Anderson (subbed Shaun Gerrard) 6. Craig Morgan (Subbed Macdonald Machingura) 7. Josh Clarke 8. Ben Blair 9. Simon Crompton 10. Sam Sage 11. Keswick Wright (subbed James Waters) 12. Joel Clarke 13. Mike Wilson 14. Dow Travers 15. Robbie Cribb. Unused: Ed Hayward.

For Jamaica:
Tries: Tyrom Rowe (x3), Alessando Allen
Conversions: Everton Richard (x2)

Jamaica Team:
1. Tiege Jackson 2. Jadeek Clarke 3. Romren Campbell 4. Sandino Hastings 5. Amil Edwards 6. Tyrom Rowe 7. Allesando Allen 8. Oraine Smith 9. Oshane Eddie 10. ONeil McCallo 11. Andrew Fong 12. Everton Richard 13. Ryan Spence 14. Lavior Carl 15. Joseph Shae

Subs: 16. Carlyle Burger 17. Robert Johnson 18. Jade Harris 19. Christian Grayson 20. Ryan Hytton 21. Omar Jones 22. Jason Bineham

Pictures (by Caroline Deegan):
CayJam1: The Victorious Cayman National XV.
CayJam2: The Jamaican forwards struggled in the scrum and lineout for 80 minutes.
CayJam3: Michael Wilson on his way to score for Cayman.
CayJam4: Keswick Wright scored Cayman’s 3rd try.
CayJam5: Josh Clarke scored for Cayman and defended strongly throughout.

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All games available to watch free on www.caymanrugbytv.com

 

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