Archive for August 7th, 2011

Cayman kids to try out New York air

| 07/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A group of local primary school kids are on their way to NewYork as part of the reciprocal arrangements in the department of tourism and Cayman Airways' partnership with the Fresh Air Fund. Five girls and two  boys left the Cayman Islands on Sunday 7 August to spend 10 days on a 2,300-acre Reservation in Fishkill, New York. Although the fresh air fund is designed to give inner city kids from New York a taste of the countryside or in the case of Cayman a Caribbean island, the reciprocal arrangement introduced last year offers Cayman kids the opportunity to see the bright lights of the Big Apple.

Shomari Scott, Acting Director of Tourism said the kids – Tiana Smith, Charlee Walton, Athena Smith, Tiona Miller, Destinie Bush, Anthony Penock and Jonassi McLean, were selected by the education ministry based on their consistently high academic achievements, positive attitudes and willingness to apply themselves to their schools and community through extra-curricular activities.

"I cannot say enough about the positive benefits that this programme has on the kids, who are able to participate in activities that are vastly different to what they would normally be exposed to in their home environs," said Scott. "My own parents served as a host family when the partnership with FAF was first introduced, so not only is the programme very close to my heart, but I can speak from personal experience about the constructive influence it has on the on the life of a deserving child. "

Following the kids' return from the up-state camp on 19 August, DOT staffers Rhonda Cornwall and Gary Dominguez will escort the children on a brief tour of New York where they will visit the Bronx Zoo, Governor's Island and possibly even a children's musical on Broadway before returning home on Sunday 21 August.

"I am delighted that the Department of Tourism and Cayman Airways have made it possible once again for Caymanian children to travel to New York for what will surely be the trip of a lifetime and an unforgettable Summer Camp experience" said the premier McKeeva Bush who is also minister of tourism.

 "During their time away, they will undoubtedly make new friends from a variety of cultures and ethnicities and they will also have the opportunity to swim in lakes,learn about outdoor survival, and practice their photography skills as DOT has given them all new digital cameras to record their excursions," he added.

Since its inception in 1877, the Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities. To date, 12 Caymanian children have benefited from the programme.

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Cayman faces inflation despite economic slump

| 07/08/2011 | 26 Comments

(CNS): Although most business are still feeling the pinch of the economic recession, Cayman has also been hit with a surge in prices and the highest inflation rate since 2008. According to the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO), the increase in the cost of fuel has pushed up the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by 1.0% in June 2011 when compared to June 2010. “The inflation in the second quarter is traced primarily to the higher cost of petrol, which pulled up the average spending for transportation by 13.3 percent,” the premier and minister of finance acknowledged this week. McKeeva Bush added that the increase of almost 24% in the cost of electricity, gas and other household fuels also added to the problem.

The sharp increases in energy prices were tempered by continuing declines in housing rentals during the period as compared to a year ago, which meant overall inflation was not as high as it could have been .

However, consumers still faced increased food prices of more than 1.6%, with some categories of food experiencing must higher levels, such meats and meat products at 6.2%, fish and seafood at 5.7% and other food products rising by 4%. A decline in the cost of fruit and veg balanced out the average prices at the supermarket. Transport costs increased by more than 5%, and a 3.1% increase in communications also influenced the inflation rate.

See the report below or visit www.eso.ky

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Cayman hosts first local anti-doping workshop

| 07/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  The newly formed Medical & Anti-Doping Commission, a sub-committee of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, is to host the first ever anti-doping workshop in Cayman next month. Geared towards athletes, coaches, trainers, administrators, and teachers the workshop will cover the latest information regarding anti-doping and how to make healthy decisions. Organisers said the goal was to educate, promote and inspire the fight against doping in sport. MADC was formed under the leadership of Donald McLean, Cayman Islands Olympic Committee president who said the workshop was the first step to Cayman becoming a regional leader in the struggle against drugs in sport.

"This workshop will serve as a stepping stone to introducing Cayman as a leader in the Caribbean in the fight against doping in sport.” said McLean.  "Doping in sport is a continuous struggle for athletes, coaches and administrators. This workshop is the perfect start to educating our athletes and their support systems around them, ensuring that the Cayman Islands continue plays fair and true.”

The free, one day workshop will be held onSaturday 10 September by Neil Murrell, the Deputy Director of Sports, National Spots Council in Barbados.  Members of the Commission will also be speaking, including Dr. Ruthlyn Pomares, the Senior Doping Control Officer in Cayman. 
The Medical & Anti-Doping Commission encourages anyone interested in participating to contact Jessica Wolfenden via email – cioc2@candw.ky.

The Medical & Anti-Doping Commission works to oversee all anti-doping education and programs in the Cayman Islands.  They work to develop educational programs and initiatives to educate athletes, as well as the public to uphold the integrity of sport and make healthy life choices.
 

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Swimming siblings qualify for London Olympics

| 07/08/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s swimming superstars, siblings Shaune and Brett Fraser, have both now qualified to compete in the 2012 London Olympics and will be part of the Cayman Islands squad. The brothers, who compete as elite athletes for the Cayman Islands, achieved the Olympic “A” standard in the same event — the 200 m freestyle. Shaune earned his Olympic spot at the recent FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China, with a time of 1.47.73, and Brett qualified with his gold winning performance Wednesday, 3 August, with a time of 1.47.56 seconds, which has nudged him up to 19th in the current world rankings in the event.

Brett clocked the time in the 200m freestyle at the ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships at Stanford University in Palo-Alto, California.
 
Cayman national swimming coach Dominic Ross said that summer 2011 was all about Olympic qualification for the brothers.

“The back-to-back events of the FINA World Swimming Championships and the US National Championships provided the perfect platform to attempt to achieve this goal,” he said.

Both swimmers have also earned “B” standards required for Olympic selection in other events. In China, Shaune swam in his second event, the 100m butterfly, to a time of 54.19 seconds, which is equal to the “B” standard required for Olympic selection in that event. Brett also met “B” standards in both of his events in Shanghai – the 100 m freestyle in 48.98 seconds and the 50m freestyle in 22.65 seconds, improving on his own national record in the latter, the coach added

The “B” standard for Olympic selection does not automatically qualify a swimmer for the Olympics. Any unfilled spaces following the official qualifying period will be filled by swimmers who have attained those “B” standard times, Ross explained.

Sports Minister Mark Scotland congratulated the local swimming stars and lauded the brothers' impressive achievement: “I am elated that Shaune and Brett will be swimming for the Cayman Islands at the summer Olympics in London next year,” he said. “Their consistency, dedication and superb effort are an inspiration to us all. I wish them the best as they train in the coming months.”

Brett is also the latest sporting star to join Cayman’s six other elite athletes, who are so named because they are top performers in their field. They are contracted to the Ministry of Sports to represent the Cayman Islands as professional athletes.

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Officials deny ignoring local musicians

| 07/08/2011 | 52 Comments

(CNS): The country’s premier and minister of tourism has denied not supporting local artists and says his ministry considers entertainment and culture important elements of Cayman's tourism product. In a statement on behalf of the ministry and McKeeva Bush, the Department of Tourism rebuked comments made in the press by Jean-Eric "Notch" Smith, president of the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association about the lack of representation on the Tourism Advisory Council and other tourism related bodies of CMEA. Smith had also said that government had shown a lack of respect towards local entertainers and was not prioritising culture as part of tourism policy.

Speaking to the Caymanian Compass last month, Smith made a number of allegations about CMEA having never been placed on tourism bodies and the government’s failure to consider the importance of local entertainment.

“Every Caribbean Island under the sun has sand, sun and beach. What makes a place different is its offerings in terms of entertainment and culture, neither of which are priorities in the Cayman Islands,” Smith said. “We have young Caymanians investing in this country and going unnoticed. Many of them are making music and videos that depict the Cayman Islands and in turn promote this place on radio, the Internet, and places too numerous to mention for all of us. Yet no entity will stop and take the time to partner with them.”

The ministry denied that culture and entertainment was not an important element in tourism promotion and said it was ripe for development.

“The ministry of tourism remains open to working with performing artists and producers to ensure home-grown entertainment attains its rightful place as part of the visitor experience in the Cayman Islands,” the statement read. It added that the department of tourism had supported CMEA by providing assistance for the development of a website to promote its aims and objectivesand bring greater visibility of their membership to a wider audience and had sponsored the annual Musaic event.

Where possible, it said, the DoT had provided airline tickets to CMEA performers to export local talent and assist Caymanian artistes to gain international exposure.

The ministry didn’t deny that CMEA was not represented directly on any tourism board. It acknowledged that TAC members are appointed by the Governor-in-Cabinet on the advice of the tourism minister and that most of them are Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) members. However, it denied that they were all food and beverage purveyors, as claimed by Smith. The ministry said some members came from the water sports, events and wedding, hotel and attractions sectors, as well as a marketing consultant.

“The fact of the matter is that CITA's membership is representative of Cayman's tourism industry sectors; therefore it follows that a majority of the TAC membership would be comprised of CITA members. Nevertheless, membership on TAC has much more to do with years of tourism experience than it does the sector in which a member works,” the MoT stated.

Officials also said that Smith had implied the ministry could prescribe that live music must be played at hotels and other establishments, but the statement noted that this was not possible as private business should decide what entertainment it offers customers. However, what Smith had actually said was that hotels did not consider the concept of live local music as a priority, which was evidenced by the fact that not one of them had facilities to accommodate live music.

“We are always an after-thought,” he said. “That is why we have ivory tower hotels that are not equipped with one bandstand. It’s because musicians and entertainers do not have a say when decision, policies, standards and laws are being made that will ultimately affect them.”

The ministry also denied accusations made by Smith that the reason there is no Cayman Jazz Festival now is because CMEA is not represented on the TAC. It said that Bush along with the acting chief officer of tourism had met with Smith and other CMEA representatives last year, when Smith had undertaken to write a letter to the premier giving input on the jazz festival and a review of CMEA's constitution.

“The understanding was that the purpose of the letter they were to submit went beyond the specific points mentioned,” the ministry said. “It was to show seriousness of purpose on their part, as they had made an approach for a more active and meaningful partnership with government, and were told that a letter from them could serve as the beginning of a more serious relationship.  To date, no such letter has been received from CMEA.”

However, Smith noted the continued lack of representation of CMEA on boards and in policy decisions, despite his advice that musicians should not always be considered after the fact. He said government’s attitude towards local musicians was an indictment on its priorities when it came to local entertainers.

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Brac man in road crash airlifted to Grand Cayman

| 07/08/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A one vehicle collision in Cayman Brac in the early hours of this morning resulted in man airlifted to Grand Cayman with injuries to his hip, knee and toe. Police say that at sixteen minutes past midnight today (7 August) 911 emergency received a call from a resident in Cayman Brac reporting that there had been a one vehicle collision near Aunt Sha's Restaurant in West End, and the driver, the lone occupant of the vehicle, appeared to be seriously injured. The airbag of the vehicle was deployed, the doors were unable to open and smoke was coming from the vehicle. Police and medical personnel attended the scene and found a man slumped over the steering wheel of a red compact Honda Logo car. He appeared semi conscious but was trapped in the vehicle.

Fire Service officers were called to the scene and used the jaws of life to cut the driver from the vehicle. He was taken to the Faith Hospital by medical personnel and later airlifted to the Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town, after it was discovered he had a broken hip, broken knee and broken toe.

It appeared the 47-year-old local resident, who was travelling in a westerly direction, veered off the roadway and hit a tree. The vehicle received extensive damages.

The man is currently in surgery at the Cayman Islands Hospital. Investigation into this collision is continues, police say.

The Cayman Brac police officers are asking for anyone who may have witnessed this collision or have information relative to it are asked to please call the Cayman Brac police station at 948 0331.

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Still no sign of missing woman

| 07/08/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Despite yet another intensive search by police and community volunteers on Saturday there is still no sign of Kerran (Kerry-Ann) Baker who has now been missing for more than one week. A police spokesperson said that more than 100 people joined officers and special constables to comb the islands’ eastern districts from Savannah out to East End, both land side and seaside looking for the missing woman or clues to her whereabouts. However, officials said nothing of significance was uncovered. Police say that are following up each and every possible lead which has seen both the air support unit and marine vessels carry out searches of the seaside in West Bay, canals and sea around Prospect and Newlands.

Chief Superintendent John Jones, who also turned out for the search on Saturday said it was very touching to see so many people come out to show their support for Kerran and her family through their commitment tosearch. “A community that unites together stays together that is what we experienced today,” the senior officer said. “However, we still did not find Kerran and as such we are renewing our plea to (anyone that) knows where she is or has any information as to her whereabouts to please report it to the police or someone you trust. Let’s continue to unite and find this young woman who has been missing for seven days now,” he added.

Kerran was last seen on CCTV footage at Foster’s Airport supermarket at around 7pm on Saturday 31 July. Friends and family say they last heard from her by phone a short time before then. On Sunday a concerned friend who not heard from Kerran since Saturday evening which was out of character for the twenty five year old, went to her home in Bodden Town. She persuaded the landlord to open the apartment in Arrow Drive Where Kerran lives alone where they phone her handbag and partially unpacked groceries from Fosters. They then raised the alarm with the police.

Kerran’s white Honda Civic was then found near to Pedro St James around lunch time on Monday 1 August and her car keys the following evening some fifty feet away by some smears of what police said could be blood but this has not yet been confirmed.

Since then, aside from a possible sighting of her car in Midway Close in the Lower Valley area around 9pm which has not yet yielded any further clues there has been no further information on what could have happened to Kerran after she got home from Fosters supermarket.

Several of Kerran’s family members including her parents, aunt and sister are now in Cayman from Jamaica helping with the searches. Kerran’s father Wilmot Anthony worked in the Cayman Islands for more than a decade and has pleaded for people to contact him if they are afraid to go to the police if they know anything at all.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to ask people who knew Kerran to come forward with any information about her that may offer a possible clue to what has happen to her.

The public is asked to call the police on 949 7777 or Wilmot Anthony on 321 4271 or alternatively the anonymous tips line 800 TIPS (8477) if they can offer any information that could assist the investigation.
 

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