Archive for May 11th, 2011

Good turnout for Cinco de Mayo fun run

| 11/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The usual spirited group of Cinco de Mayo celebrants were on hand for the annual run/walk on Thursday, 5 May. Although a plethora of activities scheduled for that date cut into the number of entries on this occasion,the organizers kept to the tried-and-true elements of the event which make it a one-of-a-kind presentation. Sponsored by Carlos and Martin's Tex-Mex Cantina, event shirts commemorated the activity. Performance and random awards followed the theme for the day, as the Glassblowing Studio provided chili pepper paperweights for the first five male and female finishers,as well as earrings and necklaces in the form of chili peppers,maracas,and cacti to random winners.

Cayman Taffy offered a selection of sweets made up of red,green and white confections-the colours of the Mexican flag-which were claimed by finisher number 55-Tommy Williams-,and Eziethamae Bodden,whose finish time was closest to 55 minutes.

Jacques Scott donated the hydration materials and post-race refreshments. The Phoenix Athletic Club, organizers of the action, thanked all participants and volunteers, and wished all present an enjoyable and safe continuation of the festivities to the music of Los Tropicanos during the evening.

Fleetest of foot over the out-and-back course at Safehaven were:

1.Marius Acker (17:21);2.Russell Coleman (17:35);3.Derek Larner (18:01;
4.George Mirica (19:24);5.Scott Norman (19:59)

8.Tiffany Cole (20:16);9.Caroline Cahill (20:29);13.Ashley McLean (21:02);
17.Emily Davies (21:19);22. Lucy Nicklas (22:38)

Times for all finishers are available at www.caymanactive.com

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Ministers offer Mac support

| 11/05/2011 | 95 Comments

(CNS): Cabinet ministers rallied round the premier and the UDP government as a whole last night at a mid-term political meeting. Rolston Anglin, Mike Adam and Juliana O'Connor-Connolly all said they believed McKeeva  Bush was the right man for the job in the face of a no confidence motion filed by the opposition. Deputy Premier O'Connor-Connolly said the people had demonstrated their confidence in the premier when they voted for the UDP two years ago as they “were sick and tired of the extravagance and thoughtlessness of the last regime,”and voted for change. She said democracy was an “awesome thing” and the people should not let the PPM persuade them they had made a mistake at the polls. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Offering her backing to the premier, she said Bush was a great leader and was working hard to get the finances and economy backon track while the opposition had the audacity to bring the no confidence motion.

“Who in God's earth would bring a no confidence motion at this time?” she asked the crowd gathered outside the courthouse. “Who would dream up such a vicious weapon in the pursuit of power.”

O'Connor-Connolly said the opposition had “gotten on the fighting side of her” as would anyone who was trying to tear down the Cayman Islands.

The Sister Islands representative said that while some people were suffering and there had been unemployment, Bush could not be blamed for that. Asking the people to put their confidence in government, she said the UDP team was the best. She asked for a chance to prove the opposition wrong and to prove that the voters did not make a mistake in the election.

“Thank God for democracy,” she said, noting that because the government had the numbers in the Legislative Assembly the no confidence motion would fail. “The Cayman people are not fool fool and they don't want to go back to the previous administration,” O'Connor-Connolly added.

Mike Adam also offered his backing to the premier, saying he believed he was “a capable leader with the right approach”. The community affairs minster said government finances were on track, tourism was up and major projects were to come on-line to give a boost to the economy. He called on the people to give their support to Bush as he had stopped the deterioration. Adam said a number of people in the tourism business had told him they believed this winter season was the best in the tourism sector for a  long time.

Adam, however, spoke mostly about the achievements in his own ministry over the last two years, pointing to the development of affordable homes and the extensive assistance given to the most vulnerable people in the community. He said that during 2010 the Department of Children and Family Services had assisted more than 8,000 people.

Rolston Anglin focused on his predecessor, Alden McLaughlin, the former education minster and now opposition leader who had filed the no confidence motion, which dominated the night's proceedings. Further highlighting the government's concern over the motion filed last month, Anglin said it was not just aimed at the premier but all of the members of government.

The minister said that a no confidence vote was one of most important tools an MLA has at his disposal and it should be used wisely and responsibly, but this motion was “reckless and immature”.

He added that he expected the opposition would point to the motion that he had brought in 2001 but he said he had thought that through carefully and made sure he had a potential government in place and the votes to see it through. “When I did move the motion it was about you the people and it was not about Rolstin Anglin,' he claimed, while McLaughlin's motion, he said, was all about him and his arrogant attitude.

“It's about him and what he wants; it's about power,” the minister said, adding the motion was doomed to failure.

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Hotline to protect nesting turtles

| 11/05/2011 | 3 Comments

(CNS): While sea turtle remains a popular national dish in the Cayman Islands, the public is being asked to join a world wide effort to halt the decline of these endangered species. The Department of Environment (DoE) is appealing to the public to aid in the recovery of Cayman Islands sea turtle nesting populations by reporting turtle nests to a new DoE Turtle Hotline 938-NEST (938-6378) whenever sea turtle tracks or nests are found. The goal is to find all turtle nests and protect them from the time they are laid until they hatch two months later.

DoE Research Officer Dr Janice Blumenthal explained that during the turtle nesting season DoE staff and volunteers patrol beaches four days per week finding and protecting nests but they are not able to visit every beach every day so rely on the public to assist them.

She added, “While sea turtles spend the majority of their lives in the ocean, from May to November females make their way on shore to lay their eggs. On the beach, nesting turtles, turtle nests, and baby turtles are extremely vulnerable. We hope that with the new and easy to remember Turtle Hotline number, members of the public will be better able to assist in sea turtle conservation efforts.”

Data collected by DoE over the past decade show that Cayman Islands sea turtle nesting has begun to increase but many nests are in highly developed areas such as Seven Mile Beach. This makes nests susceptible to threats such as lights near the beach, beach driving, heavy equipment operation, bonfires, and poaching. The Turtle Hotline makes it possible for members of the public to help by alerting DoE when they spot turtle nests or see a nesting turtle or baby turtles in danger.

In addition to reporting nests, beachfront property owners and residents can assist by following the DoE’s guidelines for making beaches safe for turtles:

  • Reduce beach lighting: turn off, redirect, or shield any lights that can be seen from the beach during the turtle nesting season (contact DoE for more information). Lights near the beach can lead baby turtles away from the sea and result in their death. Lighting may also deter nesting females from coming ashore.
  • Remain quiet and stay at a distance if you see a nesting turtle. Flashlights, loud noises, or getting too close might cause the turtle to abandon her nesting attempt.
  • Remove obstacles such as beach chairs and recreational equipment from the beach at night.
  • Do not drive on the beach—this can crush turtle nests. Contact DoE before using beach cleaning machines or heavy equipment.
  • Protect beach vegetation. Vegetation blocks light from buildings, stabilizes the beach, and encourages turtles to nest.
  • Do not have bonfires on the beach in the summer—use a designated BBQ pit.
  • Do not rake or cover turtle tracks. Department of Environment staff and volunteers use the tracks to find and protect nests.
  • Call DoE’s Turtle Hotline if you find a turtle track, nest, or babyturtle.
  • Remember that sea turtles are protected under Cayman Islands Law and turtle poachers face steep fines and imprisonment. If you see persons harming or taking sea turtles or their eggs call DoE Enforcement or the police (911).

Contact Janice Blumenthal at DoE for more information or to volunteer for the Marine Turtle Beach Monitoring Programme. DoE Turtle Hotline: 938-NEST. General: 949-8469. Emergencies: 916-4271 or 911. Email: DoE@gov.ky.

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Man stabbed in West Bay

| 11/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A man is recovering from stab wounds to the chest and police have arrested a 33-year-old woman, who police say stabbed the 57-year-old man during the altercation between the two of them in Dixie Lane, West Bay. Police received a report of the incident shortly after 9.00 pm last night, Tuesday 10 May, and the injured man was conveyed to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where his injuries are described as non-life threatening. The woman was arrested on suspicion of Assault GBH and remains in police custody while enquiries are ongoing.
 

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No plan details at UDP rally

| 11/05/2011 | 48 Comments

(CNS): The premier has failed to deliver details about the new cruise port developers that are offering to undertake a number of other infrastructure projects on island. Despite saying in his Monday night TV and radio broadcast that he would be updating the country on government’s plans for the cruise berthing facility and other new developments at the public meeting outside the courthouse on Tuesday night, McKeeva Bush reviewed the past but offered few details on the future. Although he said he planned to start some projects, he did not say which or when. He offered support for the oil refinery proposal again but failed to say if government had entered into a deal with the developers. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Despite opposition from inside the civil service, as well as the PPM, their supporters and others who opposed the development proposals, Bush insisted that he would be going ahead with some new projects soon. He said the people of the country had voted for the UDP to deliver economic growth.

“The projects have to go through otherwise the country is going to go belly-up,” the premier warned as he accused the opposition of putting every possible barrier in place to prevent development. He said the PPM leader knew these developments would bring jobs and economic prosperity and he was attempting to stop all that with his no confidence motion.

The premier said he would be revealing the details of the projects before the end of the month but said nothing about the cruise berthing facilities and the recent decision to cancel the deal with GLF. He simply stated that government was in negotiations with a new group of developers that would deliver multiple infrastructure projects.

He did, however, state firmly that Dart would be capping and remediating the dump and “government would work with them” as it had been an unsightly mess for years, despite the situation with the CTC process. He said people could "cuss" him out but he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Bush also raised the possibility of an oil refinery once again, insisting this was a modern version that would be clean and not give off dirty emission. The premier said if this had been developed many years ago as he had suggested people would not be paying so much now for fuel.

In what turned out to be a mid-term political rally for the United Democratic Party, Bush ended a long night of political speeches, MC’d by Ellio Solomon, and focused on the shortcomings of the PPM and in particular the party leader, the no confidence motion filed by the opposition and what he said were the successes of his administration so far.

Aside from taking political swipes at Alden McLaughlin, the opposition leader, Bush also questioned the loyalty of the civil service, pointing to the recently leaked memo he had sent to heads of department. This illustrated the difficulties his government had to deal with in getting things done, he said, when the civil service were leaking things to the press, who were making headlines before he was able to deal with issues.

He also answered a number of the criticisms railed at him and his Cabinet colleagues, though not all of them. Bush said that while people were criticising and saying they weren’t free, he had never heard so much criticism in his life and wondered how much more freedom to criticise people wanted.

Bush also defended his travelling, which has been a particular focus for his critics, but he said he would continue to travel when it was needed. The premier said he had to work tirelessly going “from country to country” and had to “beg them for business” because of the state the PPM had left the public finances and the country in general. “We didn’t have money,” he said and added that Cayman was being watched and when its name was called by international bodies and G20 countries he had to be there to defend the financial sector.

He also defended his deputy, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, and said there was nothing wrong with paving the private driveways in Cayman Brac as it was often done when the main roads were being paid to level the areas off so water would not run on to them.

Referring to his demands that civil servants find a surplus before the fiscal year end, the premier, who is also minister of finance, said it was completely puzzling that in March there was a surplus of around $15 million and then a few weeks later the country was running a deficit. He would not tolerate that and warned that he would not allow unnecessary spending and did not care which public servants weren’t happy.

Focusing heavily throughout his speech on the previous administration, he said his government was hindered by having to rectify the problems of the last one. Things, however, were now getting on track, Bush told the audience of around one hundred people, and that was why the PPM leader had brought the no confidence motion — because he knew things were set to turn around and he did not want to see the UDP government succeed.

“They know we are going to bring a better budget soon,” he added.

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Lund lives in hope of projects

| 11/05/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Local realtor Kim Lund has pointed to fifteen development projects that he says will start this year or next that will get the property industry back on track. In his latest report, the agent, who is known for maintaining an upbeat approach to even the worst state of the real estate market, included four projects that have started but listed the cruise dock in George Town, the special economic technology zone and a new 5 star hotel resort in Colliers at the eastern end of Grand Cayman in his wish list. He said after “a decade of paralysis, government has committed the country to an economic stimulus package” that would lead Cayman back to prosperity. Lund said major decisions had been made on projects but action was now needed, not more bureaucracy.

Supporting some unpopular projects, such as the dredging of the North Sound channel, the moving of the West Bay Road and the East End Seaport, Lund said that after the last “two very difficult years, the country needed to bring to fruition the positive impact from these initiatives, within the economy, this year.”

The realtor said the lack of development over the last ten years had led to Cayman falling behind the curve, but he believed an aggressive plan was now in place to build Cayman’s economy back up.

“A major element of the stimulus is to fast track some new development and improvements to the country’s infrastructure, which will provide a more immediate boost to the economy, while creating a positive longer term impact on jobs and businesses,” he said in his summer report.

Lund was particularly hopeful about comments made by government about allowing the Dart group to move the West Bay Road to facilitate the redevelopment of the former Courtyard Marriot as a new beach front resort. He said this was a “bold move” by government.

“The impact for development on Seven Mile Beach, which was virtually stalled, is enormous, not to mention providing more land for the very popular Public Beach,” Lund said. “The area impacted is the section of road between West Bay and George Town that is very close to the sea.”

He added that aside from being vulnerable to storms, the road limited the prime beachfront land, which was too narrow to be developed, but he said now it could provide a great economic benefit to the country.

“With the road being moved further inland, this land can now serve as another location that will provide a long term economic gain. It will do so by enabling development and creating thousands of jobs through construction and, eventually, hospitality industry and affiliated positions,” he argued.

Not everyone agrees with Lund, however, as concerns recently have been raised that the moving of the West Bay Road will signal the end of access to the famous beach for locals.

The Lund Report Summer 2011

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