Archive for October 2nd, 2011

Driver’s defective light cause of road death

| 02/10/2011 | 13 Comments

(CNS): A grand court judge handed down a custodial sentence last week following the guilty verdict in a dangerous driving trial based on a defective light. Mario Pereira was sentenced to 18-months in prison and banned from driving for five years after he was found guilty by a jury of causing the death of 52-year-old Winston Welsh outside the Mango Tree, on Crewe Road, George Town last year. The 30 year old Indian national had pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the accident as he claimed that although it was not his fault as the victim “had jumped out” and hit his car he was afraid he would still be in trouble. Pereira admitted driving away but pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving and opted for a jury trial. (Photo Dennie Warren jr)

The court heard that Pereira had fled the scene after hitting Welsh, who died of multiple skull fractures, not knowing if he was dead or alive leaving it to others to call 911. He then went to CUC where he had sprayed the car black removed the registration plates and the windshield and abandoned the vehicle. He told the court he had no memory of what had happened after he had hit Welsh but that he had remained in his room until he gave himself up to police two days later.

Pereira was charged with dangerous driving because the vehicles lights were in such poor condition that a competent and careful driver would have found them to be dangerous. The defendant denied that the lights were defective and that he had just passed his inspection a few days earlier despite the police finding that the right headlight was wedged in place with a piece of wood. 

He also said that he was driving at only 20-25 miles per hour when the accident occurred when he claimed that Welsh had jumped on to the side of his car. Witnessed had said that Welsh had stepped into the drivers land and the post-mortem had revealed that Welsh had been drinking. Pereira was never tested as he did not go to the police until the Sunday morning after the accident had occurred on the Friday night in November the first night of pirates week.

Pereira will also face another sentencing hearing in the Summary court having already pleaded guilty o leaving the scene of an accident in the lower court.

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Tobacco dealers need to re-register to ply wares

| 02/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Tobacco dealers only have one month left to apply for registration to trade next year if they wish to carry on selling the product.  Tuesday, 1 November is the deadline to apply for renewal for 2012. A total of 138 tobacco dealers registered last year and Mark Scotland the health minister thanked the business community for their support in implementing the provisions of the tobacco legislation: “Business owners have been very accommodating of the changes and we hope to see this trend continue,” he said as he advised anyone with doubts about the legislation or if anyone was still selling tobacco products without a registration certificate to contact the Public Health Department to avoid prosecution.

“According to the Tobacco Law, everyone dealing with tobacco products must register annually and display the Certificate of Registration (similar to a Trade and Business License). Also, failing to re-new the registration in time will attract late fees,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said.

Applications submitted after 1 November and up to 31 December will attract a late fee of an additional 50% of the registration fee. Applications submitted after 31 December and up to 31 January will attract a late fee of an additional 100% of the registration fee. If no application for renewal is received by 31 January, dealers will have to cease operation for 12 months before submitting a new application.

The annual registration renewal fees are CI$500 for a retailer; CI$750 for a cigar bar, and CI$5,000 for a wholesale distributor or importer. Applicants will need a renewal application form (Form 3); a current Trade and Business License Certificate; and, if there were any changes in dealership since the last registration such as contact information, location, ownership or trade of products, Form 1 (application for registration as a tobacco dealer) in order to renew their registration.

Application forms and guidelines are available from the Ministry of Health’s website. For further information contact Ms. Annadurai Richards, Tobacco Registrar, Public Health Department, Cayman Islands Hospital on 244-2889 or email at annadurai.richards@hsa.ky

 

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Youth policy launched in wake violent crime spree

| 02/10/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Government launched its National Youth Policy on Friday in the wake of one of the most violent crime sprees Cayman has ever seen. Against the backdrop of the killing of five young men in September the minister with responsibility for youth stated that being young should be the “best years of your life” but the senseless murders demonstrated how some young people have a very different experience. Mark Scotland said that the new policy calls for more collaboration.  He said there are more than 50 different organizations and programmes catering for young people but the new policy aimed to coordinate them to ensure that they were relevant and that resources go where they are needed.

Despite the number of reviews already undertaken and the number of committees and councils established in the past regarding youth policies the minister announced the creation of another committee to co-ordinate this latest policy.

“My Ministry will immediately start to realize this goal by appointing an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Youth,” he said. “This high-level body will work to improve the coordination and collaboration between agencies. It will also ensure that resources go where they are needed, when they are needed. This committee will meet regularly to firstly ensure that we are moving forward on youth related matters and secondly guarantee that we are moving forward in the right direction.”

He said this time government had “clearly identified the issues,” and knew “the details of the problems” and now had clear goals and objectives.

The minister said that the community also had to play its part and he asked the business community to reflect on its role in addressing youth concerns. As he asked them to give staff time-off to do more volunteering; sponsor a youth group and other community initiatives; develop an internship or apprenticeship programme and devise flex time to help single parents to spend more time with their children.

“I myself will be recommending the same to Government so we can lead by example on this,” he added.
He also challenged charities and churches to expand community outreach to find the young people at risk and get to know their families and invite them into the programmes. Scotland also asked people to enroll in the Youth Worker course at the University College of the Cayman Islands or sign up for conflict resolution classes or courses dealing with domestic abuse so that more people can help.

He reserved his final challenge for parents, family members and neighbours asking them to spend time with young people.

Chair of the National Youth Commission which did the research work to inform the policy explained that in late 2009 the commission did an in-depth analysis of the previous surveys and reports on youth.  “We already had a wealth of reports and recommendations from both local and overseas experts, so it made sense to utilize information from these highly regarded documents to inform the Policy revision,” Jenny Manderson said.

She spoke about the lack of accountability, duplication of efforts and lack of coordination which were genuine concerns and the new policy provides mechanisms to address these issues. One is an implementation plan which she said includes performance measures and is time and cost specific. 

“Once the Commission is armed with this plan it will be empowered to monitor the plan’s implementation, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. There will be no doubt about who should be doing what. Secondly, accountability and policy coordination will  be further enhanced by the appointment of an Inter-ministerial Committee on Youth, This Committee will also be responsible for ensuring that youth perspectives are incorporated into the policies of their respective Ministries,” she added.

The premier who was also at the launch pointed out that while the new policy echoes some of what was said in Vision 2008 and the National Youth Policy 2000 it introduces cross-ministerial collaboration. “It represents a launching point for a holistic, integrated and coordinated approach to youth development. In other words, it shows how everything we do is interconnected,” he said, adding that the policy recognizes the needs and concerns of young people and that they will not be left to find their own way in a difficult and ever changing society.

See National Youth Policy 2011 here
 

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Study ‘won’t kill you’ Mac tells would-be mechanics

| 02/10/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The country’s premier encouraged a group of young people to stay the course last week when he visited them as they started a free training programme at a local automotive shop. McKeeva Bush told the six boys and one girl to make the most of the chance they were getting to learn how to be mechanics.  The students will take a year of theory and practical lessons which will prepare them to take the first assessment examinations at the Jamaica German Automotive School in order to become certified automotive technicians. “Studying will not kill you,” Bush said.

He urged them to be punctual, attend classes regularly and concentrate on the course that is being provided free of charge by Superior Auto.

“It hurts and tears me apart to see young people not being productive,” he said as he told them that lack of funds had stymied his own further education in his teen years. Bush explained his determined efforts to improve his education led him to read books from the public library, but the encouragement he received from many people helped him.

He asked the trainees to make the most of the support they were getting from Mark and Denise DeMercado of Superior Auto, the principals behind the training programme.“

This is the second programme that the DeMercados have undertaken and Denise said the three students from the first class are already employed at Prestige Motors, Car City and Superior. “It is challenging but we need to help the young people,” she said acknowledging the support the programme has received from individual volunteers as teachers and monetarily from Rotary Sunrise, Rotary Central, Price Waterhouse Coopers and HSBC.

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Recovery Benefits Everyone

| 02/10/2011 | 0 Comments

Alcohol and drug addiction carry tremendous costs to the individual, his or her family, employers and the community. As the Cayman Islands ends its observance of Recovery Month, it’s important to remember the benefits of intervention and prevention.

According to a Norwegian police chief, “every new drug abuser lures or persuades about 3-4 of his acquaintances to try the drug. Each of these make 3-4 others join and so on, thus creating an increase like a geometric pattern: 3-9-27-72 and so on.”

As drug abusers form communities of users, so society initiates and supports programmes — such as law enforcement, prison treatment, adolescent prevention/treatment, community outreach , half-way and aftercare services, and inpatient and outpatient programmes – to form communities for those in recovery.

The economic, health, and social benefits of the treatment and recovery of addicts are well documented. The statistics below from the USA provide support for the necessity of treatment of alcohol and drug addiction:

a) Since 1980, the number of deaths related to drug overdoses has risen over 540 per cent.

b) Alcoholism causes 500 million lost workdays each year. In adults 50 years and older, alcohol was the most frequently reported primary substance of abuse for all substance abuse treatment admissions. Of those admissions, 76 per cent were 65 and older.

c) Each year, drug abuse and drug addiction cost employers over $122 billion in lost productivity and another $15 billion in health insurance costs.

d) Monitoring the future, 66.5 per cent of high school seniors reported drinking alcohol and 31.5 per cent reported using marijuana in the last 12 months.

(These statistics come from health-based agencies such as SAMHSA, NIDA and the Caron report.)

In a February 2005 review paper, the authors (Belenko, Patapis and French) noted that “nearly two decades of treatment research, represented by hundreds of studies, finds that substance abuse treatment,…, results in clinically significant reductions in alcohol and drug use, crime and improvement in health and social function for many clients.”

Spending on addiction intervention programmes is an investment in the entire community. Not only is the recovering addict’s quality of life improved but so also are the lives of those with whom the recovering person interacts. Restoring an individual to normalcy has a positive impact on the prevention of crime, disease, and the harmful influence of addiction.

Visit the Join the Voices for Recovery website and read the testimonials of personsin recovery. They report benefits such as the healing of relationships, a renewal of spirituality, the ability to continue education, maintain employment, and abstinence from criminal activity.

As more national and international exposure is given to the treatment of substance abuse and recovery, more of society is convinced that substance abuse is a disease that requires treatment.

However it should be noted that treatment and recovery are successful only if an individual receives support. The person in recovery requires the assistance of family, community, churches, self-help groups, governmental and non-governmental partners, to ensure access to the services necessary to rebuild his or her life and learn to “give back” to society.

In summary, prevention is one of the most powerful tools against any anti-social element, which in itself argues for its support. Treatment enables people to counter addiction's powerful effects on the human brain and behavior. Treatment provides addicts with the life skills that allow them to refocus their talents and efforts, regain control of their lives. Recovery is the continuity of the growth process which allows not only addicts to then benefit but also the society in which they live.

Recovery benefits everyone.

This commentary was written by Cindy Dilbert. a Social Worker, Department of Children and Family Services, in collaboration with the Department of Counseling Services

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Climate change inaction may cost region 5% of GDP

| 02/10/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A report from the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says adapting to climate change will cost Caribbean countries 2-3% of their annual GDP over the next forty years but the cost of inaction could be as high as 5% of annual GDP. Owing to the geography and small economies of the Caribbean countries, experts say the region will be among the first to be affected by climate change. “Since more than half of the population lives near the coast, increase in temperature, change in precipitation and rise in sea level due to human activities will not only lead to loss of land but to lowered prospects for economic growth as well as quality of life for its people,” said Hirohito Toda, Officer-in-Charge of ECLAC.

Among other things, the report recommends that Caribbean countries consider a sub regional response to adaptation; strengthen institutional frameworks for responding to climate change; implement financing mechanisms to support adaptive actions; and introduce energy efficiency measures.

"The Economics of Climate Change in the Caribbean Summary Report" was launched at ECLAC's Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago last week and summarizes two years of research.

The work was undertaken by ECLAC in cooperation with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), estimating the potential economic impact of climate change on the region. It includes assessments of eight sectors across 14 countries. Funding for the project was provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

See the full three opart report  here

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World famous diver calls for rational local policy

| 02/10/2011 | 38 Comments

(CNS): World famous ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau has called on Cayman’s minister with responsibility for the environment not to allow the proposed Emerald Sound coastal development to go ahead in South Sound. The President of Ocean Futures Society and international marine environment advocate has written to Mark Scotland, adding his voice to the opposition to the proposal, pointing out the negative impact the development will have. Cousteau has also implored the minister to come up with a “rational policy without loopholes" that will once and for all define what is and is not appropriate for the future of the islands.

The letter (posted below in full) speaks about the need to look beyond short term gain and what he describes as “the gradual and endless push to sacrifice” the future environment for the economic benefit of a few.

Cousteau has been visiting Cayman for more than thirty years and says in that time he has seen the human impact undermine the natural environment as a result of a failure to have a national policy to protect the islands’ coastlines.

The letter comes at a time when the Department of Environment is reviewing the marine parks law, the only piece of legislation that offers some protection to some parts of the islands' marine resources but at a time when the National Conservation Law seems to have been place once again on the backburner by government. Despite continuous consultation on the law since the UDP administration came to office well over two years ago, it has still not been brought to the Legislative Assembly.

For more informaiton about Cousteaus' work see:

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society's FaceBook page

Follow Jean-Michel Cousteau on Twitter

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Australia’s Gold Coast steals Cayman’s bikini record

| 02/10/2011 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The world record for the longest bikini parade held by the Cayman Islands was stolen by Australia on Saturday when more than 350 bikini wearers paraded on the Glitter Strip along the Gold Coast to set a new Guinness World Record.  Cayman’s record of 331 set last years was exceeded by 26 bikini wearers as 361 women strutted their stuff along Cavill Avenue on to the Surfers Paradise beach but four had to be disqualified for being overdressed. Surfers Paradise councillor Susie Douglas told the local press that it was fitting the Gold Coast held the record. "We have beautiful beaches … we've got a great foreshore and got healthy young women and a sense of fun," she said.

The record breaking attempt was supported by the Surfers Paradise Alliance Australian and Guinness world record adjudicator Chris Sheedy was on hand to officially declare the attempt a success.

"Today 361 girls walked through the counter but there had to be a few disqualifications because they were not wearing bikinis," he said. "Unfortunately for the Cayman Islands they have had their record smashed."

It is understood that the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association’s (CIASA) organizers of Cayman’s world record breaker last year won’t be taking this lying down and will be making an attempt to break this new record next year.

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