Archive for May 25th, 2011

New kids need health checks, says school nurse

| 25/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): All students entering government or private schools for the first time in Cayman, are required to have health screenings, the school nurse said Wednesday. “This must be done before the new school year begins in September,” said Health Coordinator Joanna Rose –Wright reminded parents seeking to send children to school this September. The screening comprises assessment of growth and development, screening for vision and hearing; dental assessment; reviewing and administering necessary immunisations, and obtaining medical and surgical history and is offered free by public health to all students.

Officials said that for students entering schools in West Bay and the Eastern districts, health screenings will be done at the district health centres from 1 – 30 June and for all other students, health screenings will take place at John Gray and George Hicks Medical Centre from 6 July to 31 August 2011. Appointments can be made at the school the child will be attending.

Nurse Rose-Wright reminds parents and guardians that they need to accompany their children to the health screening and should bring the child’s immunization record.

“Vaccines will be offered to children whose immunisations are not up-to-date. A health screening certificate will then be issued which is to be taken to the child’s school,” she explained.

Parents may have their child’s health screenings done by a private doctor, as long as they ensure that he or she completes the school health screening forms provided by the Public Health Department.

The completed forms should be handed in at the John Gray’s Medical Centre between 6 July and 31 August, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Records completed by a private physician before or after these dates, can be dropped off at the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Public Health Clinic.

Once the record has been received, a health screening certificate will be issued which then must be taken to the school that the child is entering.

In Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, appointments for school entry screening can be made by contacting Public Health Nurse Nelsie Jones at Faith Hospital on 948-2243.

Detailed information sheets for parents and guardians are available at the schools. For more information, please contact Nurse Rose-Wright at 244-2734 or 244-2648, or John Gray’s Medical Centre at 949-2501. 
 

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Academics to mull future of overseas territories

| 25/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The Cayman Islands’ status as a dependent territory will be the subject of high-level academic discussion next month according to the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA). At an annual conference in Curacao a panel of Caribbean academics will explore the challenges faced by Caribbean territories. Under the title "Unfinished Decolonization: Proposals and Uncertainties in the Non-Independent Territories of the Caribbean," panelists will present scholarly papers on the range of political status options available to the small island non self-governing territories, and will examine how present self-governing arrangements of independence, free association and integration actually operate in practice.

Specific attention will be paid to the present political dependency status of the six British dependent territories of the Caribbean/Atlantic region, in particular Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands Montserrat, British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

The conference will convene from 30 June to 3 July at the World Trade Center in Curacao, the former capital of the Netherlands Antilles before its dismantling in 2010 to become the third autonomous Caribbean country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Aruba and Sint Maarten.

The panel will be chaired by professor of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Dr. Aaron Gamiel Ramos, who will also present a paper on “The Limits of Representation: Regional Cooperation Efforts of Non-Independent Territories.” Ramos has published widely on non-independent Caribbean issues, and co-edited with UPR Professor Dr. Angel Israel Rivera the seminal text, "Islands at the Crossroads: Politics in the Non-Independent Caribbean."

The role of the United Nations in the decolonisation process of Caribbean and Pacific island territories will be examined in a second paper, "An Assessment of the Implementation of the International Decolonisation Mandate", to be presented by the eminent decolonisation expert Dr. Carlyle Corbin, international advisor on governance, former US Virgin Islands minister for external affairs and United Nations expert.

Corbin, who is the Executive Secretary of the Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (CPGA), will also make a presentation on Implementation of Decolonisation 2020 on a separate panel on "Identity in Non-Independent States."

The Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) is an independent professional organization devoted to the promotion of Caribbean studies from a multidisciplinary, multicultural point of view. It is the primary association for scholars and practitioners working on the Caribbean Region (including Central America and the Caribbean Coast of South America). Its members come from the Caribbean Region, North America, South America, Central America, Europe and elsewhere. The CSA was founded in 1974 by 300 Caribbeanists and now has over 1100 members.

The focus of the CSA is on the Caribbean Basin which includes Central America, the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, as well as Venezuela, Colombia, Northeast Brazil and the three Guianas. The Association serves a critical function for scholars providing one of the only venues for persons working on the Caribbean to come together to share their work, to engage in collaborative endeavors, to exchange ideas, to meet each other, and to develop the field of Caribbean Studies.

Members of CSA have played leading roles in the Caribbean, most notably in public service and inacademia. These include current and past service as leaders of governments, administrators in multilateral and bi-lateral regional organizations. Many current members serve in senior positions at Caribbean, North American, and European universities.

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Caribbean profits tumble for Cable & Wireless

| 25/05/2011 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Financial results for the parent company of LIME, Cable & Wireless have revealed a fall in profits for the communications giant in the Caribbean region. The company said the downturn in earnings stems from its Caribbean arm due to economic conditions impacting usage in the thirteen countries making up the region. C&W said earnings were likely to slide further from £142 million recorded in the year to March, which itself represented a 15 per cent fall. Lower usage and a higher number of people leaving have caused call revenues in the region to fall by 9 per cent.

CWC now expects its underlying earnings from the Caribbean in 2011/12 to be in the range of £112 million- £130 million down by a third in two years.

Tony Rice, chief executive of the London-based Cable, which also has operations in Macau, Panama and Monaco, said the Caribbean has been more difficult than expected since the demerger and it continues to face weak or declining economies in the region.
Profits overall rose by 21 per cent to £287 million on last year, but on an underlying basis the performance was flat as revenues from the Caribbean business declined by 3 per cent.

The outlook for one of the company's most important markets overshadowed a better-than-expected 1 percent rise in core earnings helped by strong trading in Macau.
"We have had to navigate some choppy waters in the Caribbean," Chief Executive Tony Rice told Reuters on Wednesday. "We made no secret of the difficult economic and trading conditions we faced last year, which we continue to face and which we expect will continue next year."

Shares in CWC fell as much as 12 percent as the Caribbean outlook overshadowed full-year results.

CWC has been reshaping its Caribbean operations as it battles reduced tourism and increased competition. Rice said he had no plans to exit the region. "We've been there for a hundred odd years and we expect to see it through," he said.

See more on C&W results here
 

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Witness reveals gang connections in murder trial

| 25/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A former girlfriend of the man accused of killing Marcus Duran, but who is not yet on trial, gave evidence against him via video link on Tuesday, stating that it was his idea to blame the “Logwood boys” for the murder. The crown’s case against teen defendant Jordan Manderson is tied to the theory that he was part of a joint enterprise to rob Duran with Raziel Jeffers, who it says orchestrated the crime and then in the wake of the fatal shooting came up with the plan to blame other West Bay gang members. The mother of Jeffers' son told the court that he told her to go to the police and make a statement saying the boys he was at war with, including Andy Barnes, were probably the ones that shot the numbers man. (Photo courtesy of Cayman 27)

The crown called the nineteen-year-old mother to give evidence in Manderson’s trial because the teen also told police that it was Andy Barnes and Damion Ming (who was shot and killed two weeks later) that killed Duran. The Ecuadorian national was shot twice in the head outside the apartment of the witness’s aunt in Maliwinas Way, West Bay, in March 2010 as he visited her as one of his regular numbers customers.

Seeking to connect Manderson and Jeffers and also offer evidence of a conspiracy to blame others for their joint criminal act, the crown asked Jeffers’ girlfriend, who is now overseas, to tell the court about Jeffers’ activities on the night of the killing.

She revealed how Jeffers had dropped her and their baby that evening at around 6:30pm at her friend’s salon in West Bay at Batabano so she could get her hair done. The witness said he left in the Toyota Wyndham that he usually drove and after being at the salon for quite some time, she said, she received a call from him on her friend’s phone, as her battery was flat.

The witness said Jeffers sounded nervous and out of breathe and asked her to go pick him up, although she did not have a car and he had left in one a couple of hours earlier. He asked her to come get him in her friend’s car.

“I asked what was going on but all he said was he needed a ride right now,” the witness told the court. She said that being aware of the “history between him and the other gangs” and given she could hear sirens in the background, she told her friend that his car had broken down and they should go pick him up. “I didn't know exactly what was going on and didn't want to speculate so I told her best thing that came to mind but I knew what kind of lifestyle Raziel lived,” the witness said.

The two women, along with the baby, set off to collect Jeffers from Ebanks Lane, which is linked to Maliwinas Way, the scene of the shooting, by a short path near the apartments where Duran’s body was found. When they arrived there, she said, at first they couldn’t see Jeffers but he emerged from bushes as they drove up the short lane and jumped into the car. He asked the girls to take him to a friend’s house in Dolphin Point.

Asked if she noticed anything about him by crown counsel, Jeffers' girlfriend said that although he was dressed the same he was no longer wearing the Nike sneakers he had on earlier but a pair of slippers instead and his arms were covered in scratches.

She said that she returned to the salon to finish with her hair and later on Jeffers returned in a van with a friend to pick up her and the baby to take them to an apartment in Ocean Club, where they were spending the night. She told the court that they were living with Jeffers’ father in Fairbanks at the time but this was his cousin’s apartment as Jeffers had said he did not want to stay at home. She revealed how they took a circuitous route out of West Bay before heading to Ocean Club.

That evening she revealed how Jeffers had made several phone calls to a number of his friends saying to her that he needed to know what was going on at Maliwinas Way, including the defendant Jordan Manderson, but she said he failed to reach anyone.

She said that later Jeffers had instructed her to go to the police and give them a statement saying she had the idea that it was Andy Barnes and the Logwood Boys that had killed the numbers man. The witness said these were the boys that Jeffers “was at war with”.

During cross examination it was revealed that the witness had a long time friendship with Damion Ming. This was one of the men that Manderson told police had killed Duran but who was shot and killed in his own yard two weeks after the Duran murder, but she denied having a sexual relationship with him.

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Google to show off mobile wallet for Android phones

| 25/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Google is set to introduce a mobile payments platform that will turn its Android smartphones into a digital wallet. At an event in New York on Thursday, the tech giant is expected to show off the technology, called near field communication or NFC.The technology allows devices to "talk" to one another wirelessly. Consumers wave their phones in front of a reader at a checkout to pay for a purchase or to receive special offers.The Wall Street Journal has reported that the program will initially be launched in New York and San Francisco before being extended more widely across the US.

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May Time Trials 2011

| 25/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CIAA): The Cayman Islands Athletic Association will be hosting their May Time Trials Track & Field Meet on Saturday May 28th at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex starting at 9:00am. 
Age groups eligible to participate are: 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17 and over. Events to be contested are: Long Jump, High Jump, Shot Put, Javelin, Discus, Ball Throw, 60m Hurdles, 80m Hurdles, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and 3000m. 

Registration forms are available on Cayman Active website at www.caymanactive.com or by contacting or Liz Ibeh at 925-4763, Coach Kenrick Williams 925-4763; Coach Tyrone Yen 925-6917 or Meet Director Harcourt Wason at 916-6966.  Forms maybe returned to caymanathletics@gmail.com or anyone of the above persons.

We are also inviting officials to assist with the meet, and interested persons should contact Wason at 916-6966. Registration deadline is Thursday 26 May.

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Local lawyer’s book acquired by Portuguese publisher

| 25/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Work by local lawyer, armature historian and author Peter Polack is about to be published in Portuguese by Sextante, an imprint of the largest Portuguese publishing group Porto Editora. A significant African history book, Black Stalingrad by Peter Polack, is about the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, Angola (1987-1988), in an obscure war that appeared to herald great changes in southern Africa as well as the end of the apartheid government in South Africa. Polack has previously released a list of Cuban casualties of the Angolan war published in the Miami Herald and written an opinion editorial for the South Africa Times on Cuito's fallen.

He has also been interviewed about the book by the Portuguese service of Voice of America.

The Portuguese edition of the book is to be published and distributed throughout Portugal and Lusophone Africa in the summer of 2012 on the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

Polack says his interest in Angola was sparked by a meeting in 1992 with two Cuban refugees who had fought in Angola. He then made a trip to Cuba itself where he acquired several books on the war in Angola. "This was when I first heard about Cuito Cuanavale" and the battle that took place there in 1987 and 1988 where two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, "collided in a monstrous battle fought by their satellite nations of Cuba and South Africa who were assisting" Angolan groups.

The battle was significant, Polack says, because it represented the last major incursion in Southern Africa by Russia and USA, the start of the Angolan peace process, the end of Cuban international intervention, and the end of the cold war.

He says the battle itself is of great interest because no non-Cuban, South African, Angolan, Soviet or US author has written an objective, accurate, politically neutral and readable version of the fighting, because it is one of the last major land battles of this century described variously as the largest single conventional military engagement on the African continent since the Battle of Al Alamein, as the African Stalingrad or Angola's Verdun.

Peter Polack was born in Jamaica in 1958 and has been a criminal lawyer in the Cayman Islands since 1983 where he resides with his wife and two daughters.
In July 2005 he organized a Cuba relief shipment after Hurricane Dennis from generous donors of the Cayman Islands. He visited Cuba for the first time in June 2009.

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Police hunt for third man in West Bay stabbing

| 25/05/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): One man is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries, another in custody and a third on the loose following an altercation in West Bay on Tuesday evening. Police have confirmed that a man who has been arrested was stabbed in the shoulder during a fight that took place in Batabano Plaza at around 7:40pm last night and one man who received a bloody nose has also been arrested. The RCIPS were called to the location of the incident after reports were made that one of the men was brandishing a firearm. A search of a car beleived to have been used by  the suspects was searched and ammunition was recovered.

With investigations continuing along with the hunt for the third man, the police said that so far they were receiving very little co-operation from the men reportedly involved in the fight.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incidentor wo can help identify those involved in the altrcation is asked to contact West Bay police station on 949 3999

 

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MLAs plan to blockade GT

| 25/05/2011 | 250 Comments

(CNS): The opposition representative for East End and the independent member for North Side have sounded the alarm that government is pressing ahead with the East End cargo port and called on the people to join them in a full scale blockade of George Town to demonstrate the country’s opposition. Given the results of the developer’s environment report and the announcement on Monday that the premier still intends to approve the plan, Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller have warned of the serious need to stop the project before it is too late. With the support of their constituents in both the districts, a commitment from local quarry owners and truck owners, the MLAs are planning a full scale demonstration.

At a public meeting in North Side Tuesday evening McLean and Miller stated that the need to put a stop to the project was greater than ever. Pointing to the Throne Speech delivered by the governor in the Legislative Assembly Monday morning in which the cargo port was the only major public/private development project other than the cruise terminal cited by government as planned for this year, he called on the people to join the planned demonstrations.

With no mention of the Hon special economic zone or the plans for Dr Devi Shetty hospital, Miller said he believed this was a clear indication that the premier was prioritizing Joe Imparato’s plan for the East End Sea Port — which was nothing more than a disguised major quarrying project – as something he believed he could get off the ground.

“We need to continue and intensify our opposition to this project if we are to successfully stop it,” Miller said. He warned that, based on the government’s track record, the legislation to create the exemptions for the commercial port development project from taxes and other planning regulations could come to the House suddenly and without warning.

As a result, the MLAs were formulating a plan that would include as many people as possible to be ready to come to George Town with trucks to block the roads around the parliament building at a moment’s notice if necessary. He said there was a need for the people to come out in significant numbers and stand on the steps of the Legislative Assembly and make their feelings known as there was no other way to protect their country.

“We may have to act quickly,” Miller said. “We can’t say when this may happen it could happen very suddenly and we have to be ready to call on people to come to the capital and show their opposition.”

His colleague and opposition member for East End said that the government has the numbers to push through the legislation so the opposition MLAs cannot stop the premier from inside the Legislative Assembly. “This one will be fought outside and I shall be out there on the step with the people,” McLean promised. 

Although the two MLAs say they will be carrying on with the petition to collect enough signatures for a people’s referendum, the process could take too long to have any impact. By the time more than 3500 signatures could be physically collected and verified as voters the project could have already gained official approval and the necessary legislation passed.

The EIA has indicated very real dangers that the authors claim can be mitigated, but a closer examination of the report would suggest that mitigation would be difficult at best. McLean said the developer must think the people of the Cayman Islands are “stupid or that they won’t read” the report, as he said it has listed all of the things that both he and Miller had warned against, from the contamination of the water lens to the exposure during bad weather to dangerous flooding, among many other issues.

Aside from the obvious environmental issues, the MLAs warned of the special treatment that the developer of the project would be given, and even if the development was to ever be more than a “big hole” it would exclude the local people. The two men also pointed to the plan to allow the development to build up to seven storeys, a first for the eastern end of the island, where development has traditionally be held at a five storey maximum.

The law which will be passed to exclude the developer from the usual regulations is being drawn up by Imparato’s people, and according to the EIA, the Central Planning Authority will be guided by this master plan. The new legislation is said to be akin to that passed in the UK’s capital during the development of the London Docklands.

Miller and McLean explained that once he has written the rules he wants to play by, it will be up to government to pass them, which was an outrage. “The UDP government is manipulating the laws of this country for their friends and themselves,” the East End member added.

He said the people from across the Cayman Islands had to come together had to put a stop “to this rubbish” and called for full and wide civil disobedience if necessary to save the eastern half of the island from destruction.

Vote in the CNS poll: 

Do you approve of a blockade of George Town to protest the East End Seaport?

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Marine resources still in peril

| 25/05/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Reefs in the Cayman Islands, in common with those throughout the region and the rest of the world, are in increasing danger, the local environment boss warned this week as Cayman celebrates twenty-five years of marine conservation. Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that the country should be proud for taking the bold step a quarter century ago to protect marine resources but today, with ever more present dangers, she warned that much more needs to be done, as she called for the passage of the national conservation law and the need to reassess marine management. Even the most  well-protected and managed marine areas are under pressure from an array of regional and global problems, she warned.

“While it is true that our Marine Parks are now fully accepted by almost every citizen of these islands and while they have earned many accolades both at home and abroad — and so we have much to celebrate today — I feel a huge responsibility to use this time of celebration to also sound a warning bell.”

Ebanks-Petrie was speaking at a special event at the George Town library organized by the department to celebrate the significant achievements made in marine conservation, but after twenty five years she pointed to the need to step up the protection. “Major improvements in reef health will require a broader array of management interventions,” she said, pointing out the threats to reefs.

The latest World Resources Institute report on Reefs at Risk details the status and threats to the world’s coral reefs. It states that corals across the region have been in decline for several decades – with average coral cover declining from around 50% in the 1970’s to just 10% today. More than 75% of Caribbean coral reefs are considered threatened from impacts such as over-fishing, coastal development, marine and watershed based pollution. The increasing incidence of coral bleaching due to global warming increases the overall threat to more than 90% of regional reefs.

The director said local research by the DoE shows similar results for coral cover on Cayman’s reefs, which has declined from an average of about 32% in the early 1990’s to an average of about 10% today. 

“Our Marine Parks are an important tool for managing our marine resources, they are not a panacea,” she noted. “We will need to be ever vigilant and engage in a wide array of new management tools to tackle local issues, while also increasing efforts to quickly and significantly cause a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Pointing out yet another reason why the country needs comprehensive conservation legislation she said that the department would continue to promote the need for the National Conservation Law. She also spoke about the ongoing project to assess and review the marine parks and their effectiveness, given the increasing modern stresses and threats.

In association with the University of Bangor and The Nature Conservancy through a UK-funded Darwin grant, the DoE has also completed a Draft Climate Policy under the Enhancing Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change project, also funded by the UK which, Ebanks-Petrie said, would shortly be presented to Cabinet.

“We look forward to continuing the dialogue with members of the public on recommendations to enhance the system of Marine Parks that have served us so well over the last 25 years so that they are able to continue to play a major role in helping to preserve our marine resources for the next quarter century,” she added.

The minster with responsibility for the environment told the audience that the marine parks had enabled dwindling conch, whelk and lobster populations to be sustained and also protected our reefs and secured fish stocks, and that the move established Cayman as a regional leader in marine conservation.

“Apart from fulfilling the moral obligation to secure marine resources for future generations, the marine parks have also proven to be a sound economic decision. A 1985 National Geographic article described Cayman’s reefs as “a bonanza for pleasure and profit,” adding that the Islands’ “submarine splendor” supported an underwater recreation industry which even back then pulled in more than 350,000 visitors annually,” Mark Scotland stated.

He said that the country found itself at a defining moment for conservation as he pointed to the need for continued economic growth and the need to protect natural resources.

“Development should never trump conservation and even as we work to build a strong economy, it is equally important to think about the kind of environment we want to leave behind for our children. Yet the challenge is not only for government; it is also for individual citizens and for the private sector. Long-term solutions can only be found if everyone steps up to the plate,” he added.

Thanking the Department of the Environment for its tireless work to protect the environment he also applauded them for putting Cayman on the map as well through international research projects and conservation partnerships such as the shark research, the Darwin Initiative and the efforts to control the invasive lionfish.

Paying tribute to the early pioneers who had advocated for the parks who took on the difficult task of convincing the community to support what at the time was considered ‘futuristic’ legislation, Scotland made no mention of the conservation law that he has failed to steer through the Legislative Assembly as a result of the same kind of opposition faced by those marine park pioneers.

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