Archive for May 27th, 2011

Blatter in FIFA probe over Caribbean bribes

| 27/05/2011 | 1 Comment

(ESPN): FIFA placed its own president, Sepp Blatter, under investigation Friday in a widening bribery scandal just days before Blatter faces re-election against Mohamed bin Hammam. With both candidates now under investigation, it is unclear whether Wednesday's election will proceed. Blatter is accused of ignoring alleged bribes to Caribbean voters, and soccer's governing body said he must submit a statement by Saturday before appearing at an ethics committee hearing in Zurich the next day. "I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me," Blatter said in a statement released by his advisers. "The facts will speak for themselves."

Bin Hammam denies accusations of buying votes. The Qatari official contends there is "increasing evidence of a conspiracy" against him, and he is confident the ethics panel will "see through this tawdry maneuver" to remove him from the race.

Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb, who will chair the ethics hearing, is to deliver the panel's initial findings Sunday night at FIFA headquarters. The candidates could be banned if wrongdoing is found or provisionally suspended if the panel needs more time to study evidence.

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Four men in dock for drug crimes

| 27/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reports that four men appeared in court earlier this week charged with a total of seventeen different drugs offences including supplying cocaine. One of the men was additionally charged with the supply of MDMA (ecstasy). Of the four men, who are aged  25, 27 35 and 43 years, two are from the Cayman Islands and two from Surinam. A police spokesperson said the RCIPS was unable to offer more details on the circumstances under which the men were arrested or when the arrests took place but added that the men were all remanded in custody as enquiries continued.

Meanwhile, police also confirmed that the men who were arrested following the seizure of 285lbs of ganja and charged with immigraiotn offences were still in custody and had not yet been charged with any drug related crimes.

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Local mother jailed in Trinidad for drug smuggling

| 27/05/2011 | 45 Comments

(CNS): A 42-year-old Caymanian mother of two children has been sent to jail for 18 months in Trinidad, according to reports in the local press. Bridget Ebanks, a vegetable farmer, pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to export and being in possession of cocaine. Ebanks reportedly told the Trinidadian magistrate that business in the Cayman Islands was very slow and she was given two packages to deliver to someone in the country. In passing sentence, Magistrate Joan Gill said incidents of this nature were too prevalent in Trinidad, which is being used as a transshipment centre for illegal narcotics. Gill said a custodial sentence was most appropriate since the court must send a clear message that drug trafficking will not be tolerated.

The Trinidad Express reported that court prosecutor Sgt Fitzgerald Johnson said officers from the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau were on duty at the airport last Thursday when they decided to search Ebanks. They  found two packages hidden in her underwear which contained 337.9 grams of cocaine.

At the time of her arrest, Ebanks was returning to the Cayman Islands after a short vacation in Trinidad.

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Four robbers target victim in West Bay

| 27/05/2011 | 5 Comments

(CNS): While the RCIPS could offer few details, they have confirmed a report of a robbery last night at Batabano Plaza, West Bay, by four men armed with a knife. Police say they received a report that sometime between 11pm and midnight on Wednesday 25 May a man was robbed by four others. The suspects threatened the man, punched him and stole some cash and a camera from his bag. No descriptions are available for the suspects. The man sustained bruising on his arm as a result of the incident. Anyone who was in the area at the time and can provide any information which could assist the enquiry should call West Bay police station 9493999 or Crime Stoppers 8008477 (TIPS).


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Education department pays for dance workshop

| 27/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Ministry of Education, Training and Employment sponsored 200 primary- and secondary-level students to attend the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble workshop this week. Education Minister, gave the students $2,000 to cover the costs of the unique opportunity. The dance troupe was brought to Cayman by the Cayman Islands Netball Association (CINA) to raise money for the sport. The workshops were held in conjunction with the fundraiser events for this weekend. Performances are scheduled for 8:00pm on 27 and 28 May and 6:00pm on 29 May at the Harquail Theatre.

Students that participated in the workshop will also perform alongside the pros in a special matinee show at 4:00pm on 28 May, also at the Harquail Theatre.

Photo: Rolston Anglin, participating students, Tracey Hydes and Megan Hurlstone CINA President Lucille Seymour and Vice President Norma Ferryman.

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Barkers moves to tourism

| 27/05/2011 | 114 Comments

(CNS): Although it has been a goal of the Department of Environment for over a decade to make Barkers a protected national park, the concept appears to have been moved into the premier’s tourism ministry. An announcement by the governor in the Throne Speech on Monday that Barkers would be expanded and designated a national park with its own park rangers was coupled with a notice in the gazette of a compulsory purchase order of land to expand the proposed park, signalling changes ahead for a site that is considered an important environmental area. Despite its scientific and ecological significance, it appears Barkers is to be managed as a tourism attraction and not by the islands' conservation experts.

The DoE confirmed that the 3.8 acres of land in question is within the boundaries of the proposed Barkers National Park (BNP) and that the department has not had any involvement in the compulsory purchase of the land. The department also stated that the Park Rangers which have reportedly been hired are not employees of the DoE and it had not been informed that staff were being taken on to work inside the park.

“It is unclear to the DoE exactly how the Park will be established and managed as there is no legislation that allows the creation of National Parks. This is an area that is covered in the Draft National Conservation Law,” a spokesperson told CNS.

Back in 2001/02 the environment department was the government agency steering the proposal to establish the country’s first national park at Barkers because of the natural significance of the area which also has beautiful untouched beaches, areas of swamp and mangrove and is home to a number of unique flora and fauna.

With that goal in mind, the DoE began meetings and discussions with the stakeholders, such as the horse-riding businesses based there and the land owners in the area, as well as with the wider West Bay public. Through the public consultation, the department said it managed to achieve consensus on a common vision for the Park.

“The DoE is concerned that the general public’s trust in the department could be eroded if the current plans, of which we have no knowledge, vary significantly from the generally agreed vision for the proposed BNP,” the DoE said in this week in the wake of the announcements.

In a speech delivered by Duncan Taylor in the Legislative Assembly Monday, government had outlined its broad goals for the portfolios and ministries. The expansion of Barkers was listed in the plans for the Ministry of Tourism. However, it was not made clear under what legislation or how the new national park will be designated or managed, in terms of conservation, if it is to become a tourism attraction.

The governor said the ministry was in the process of securing additional property and had already employed park rangers.  “This will protect important aspects of our natural resources and culture, while again enhancing our tourist attractions,” he said.  According to the gazette, government is purchasing block 9a parcel 99, a plot which is over 3.8 acres, under the land acquisition law.

Although often believed to be a national park, Barkers was never designated as such and there is no legislation to protect the area. The goal, however, was to create the first land based environmental sanctuary at Barkers, which covers over 261 terrestrial acres coupled with the more than 2,036 marine acres that are already protected under the Marine Parks legislation.

It is a unique, diverse and environmentally valuable coastal eco-system that, despite considerable development pressure throughout the rest of the peninsula, has remained largely undisturbed. The area is a prime example of untouchedlow elevation Caribbean beach ridge vegetation, a native and diverse coastal forest community of ironwood, silver thatch, wild cocoplum, broad leaf and other species.

The ponds and extensive mangrove wetland area already provide feeding, breeding and passage grounds for a variety of bird species and the land had been earmarked by the DoE as a potential burrowing ground for a planned re-introduction of the endangered endemic Grand Cayman Blue Iguana.

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Teen binge drinking is major concern, says NDC

| 27/05/2011 | 21 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of the recent results of the student drug survey, the National Drug Council executive director says one of the major concerns for the organisation is the issue of binge drinking, which can be more dangerous to the individuals and society as a whole than even persistent heavy drinking. Although the NDC said the decline in the number of young people using drugs or alcohol was positive data to report, the evidence of an increase in binge drinking among students that were using drugs and drink poses significant risks. The survey found that students having had a drinking session where they had more than five drinks in one sitting had double compared to previous research.

32.1% of students in 2010 admitted a binge drinking session two weeks before the survey compared to 15.2% in the 2006 research. While overall alcohol use in Cayman was lower when compared to research conducted in Canada and the US, when it came to binging Cayman kids were drinking more heavily than their North American counterparts. While 5% of eighth graders in Canada admitting binging and 8% in the US, 22% of kids in 8th grade here in Cayman said they were binge drinking.

“The NDC does have concerns in regards to alcohol use and binge drinking as we know binge drinking poses significant risk to the body and to society as a whole,” the executive director of the NDC Joan West-Dacres said about the findings.

She said that expert studies have revealed that it's not chronic heavy drinkers who have the highest risk of alcohol-related injuries but moderate drinkers who sometimes drink heavily who are more like to suffer injuries, especially while they are drinking. Research reveals that at highest risk in both sexes are those who usually consume moderately but sometimes binge drink.

The NDC also noted that according to the centre for disease control and prevention binge drinking is associated with many health problems, from sexually transmitted diseases to a catalogue of cardiovascular diseases. Un-intential injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence, unintended pregnancy are all associate with binge drinking as well as the obvious issues of alcohol poisoning, liver disease and aggravation of diabetes.

West-Dacres stated that the key to addressing the issue lay with education. “We know that the more awareness and education that is provided, students have a greater opportunity to make better choices,” she said.

To keep young people off drugs (including drink) there needs to be “vigorous, ongoing and comprehensive education and prevention programmes in our schools and in our communities” to provide families, groups and organisations with the information to help young people make healthy choices. “Children should be provided with age appropriate materials and information from a very young age,” the executive director added.

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Owners need to get in touch with ‘business feelings’

| 27/05/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Businesses progress through time in various and quite obvious set stages and understanding which stage your own business is at is crucial if you want to remove the barriers to its growth, master business coach, Glyn Heald said this week. Speaking at a special seminar, the former Global CEO of business coaching firm Shirlaws explained that getting in touch with feelings about a business is just as important as strategies and planning. Drawing out a time line for any business, Heald detailed the various stages that business owners could expect to face during the life of their business and the corresponding emotions the owner could anticipate experiencing.

Heald was brought to Cayman this week by business consultant Tom McCallum, who has himself recently joined the firm to establish a practice in the Cayman Islands. 
The business coach said that day one for business owners brings excitement which moves into a more frantic stage of being as the business owner realises they have to do everything themselves.

The first brick wall for the business owner may occur at any time in the life cycle of the business, but, Heald assured the audience, it would come. Getting through that brick wall (such as making a decision to expand or take on more staff) usually brings on a period of inward investment which should move the business on to what Heald described as “the good times”.

Using a seminar attendee’s personal experience of developing his own pharmacy business as a real example of this onward movement, Heald encouraged the pharmacist to talk through his own experience. 

Mimicking Heald’s charting of a business almost to the letter, the pharmacist concurred that his business had started the same way.

Following the good times period comes what Heald termed “payback”, generally a short period of time when the business suddenly grows exponentially, i.e. payback for all the hard work and investment ploughed into the business in earlier times.

“It’s at this time that you might consider selling the business,” Heald said.

At this point the business suddenly takes off, the business owner’s standard of living usually increases, as do their costs.

“This is a time when marriages feel the strain as the business owner might feel that as they increase their standard of living they might also want to upgrade their partner!” Heald quipped; although the serious point was made that strain starts to become apparent on the business owner at this point in a business’s cycle.

Once finished its steep upward curve, the business will most likely then hit another brick wall, but this time it’s much larger and harder to break through. “It’s at this point that the business owner maybe feeling considerable pain,” he confirmed.

The pharmacist concurred and said that he had experienced growth and took on a new business partner, which initially aided growth but then a parting of the waysoccurred, which was his own major brick wall.

Business owners usually feel pain and frustration during these difficult times because they have moved away from doing what they are best at and have to become more focussed on management and staffing issues.

“You go into business because you’re either good at selling or making something,” Heald said. “Now you become frustrated because you might not be giving the same service you originally promised your customers.”

The business owner was generally the first person to experience such feelings, with the business as a whole lagging behind. It was usually at this crisis point that business coaches such as Shirlaws were brought in to assist in turning around the business.
“But we would be far happier seeing a business at the good times stage,” Heald confirmed, “then we can hopefully get the business through the major brick wall at a much quicker rate, turning that stage into really just a period of transformation,” he explained. 

All businesses would follow the same model, Heald said, including hitting the major brick wall, but business coaches could provide business owners with the skills they needed to get them through it unscathed. Such skills included understanding the positioning of the business, i.e. why they were in business in the first place, as well as appreciating how the business could attract new channels to the market.

Having clearly defined roles within the business were key, as were ensuring staff were skilled enough to handle this second brick wall. Succession planning was also a key to getting the business through this major brick wall to the next level of expansion, which Heald termed advanced growth.

“If you get to that stage the general feeling of a business owner is pride,” he said, confirming that this was another good time to sell the business.

The only alternatives to advanced growth were bankruptcy or a plateau, neither were desirable outcomes. Heald said that business owners could not let their business plateau: “It’s a fallacy that you can retain a business on a plateau just to keep the lifestyle; youhave to work at it,” he said.

The hardest part for any business owner was positioning the business for sale, because to do that they had to make themselves redundant.

“People shy away from this,” he said. “They treat the business like a member of the family. They liken the feeling to having to sell a child. But it’s a fact that if a business owner is integral to a business that they want to sell, they will lower its value.”

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