Archive for December 13th, 2011

Hazard agency aims to reduce panic with drills

| 13/12/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In an effort to reduce panic to a minimum the nest time that Cayman experiences a significant earthquake, the HMCI is using Earthquake Awareness Day the anniversary of the 2004 quake on 14 December to raise public awareness of the threat, and to mark the beginning of its earthquake awareness period, December – February.  Deputy Director of Hazard Management, Omar Afflick said the agency will be doing a number of sensitization sessions in schools and is extending the invitation to businesses, service clubs, government offices and other organizations to take the opportunity to schedule sensitization sessions or drills for their organization.

“If desired, HMCI will also review your disaster plans, discuss other earthquake related threats and provide input for your evacuation and assembly points," Afflick said.

In January 2010, many residents in Cayman felt a 5.9 Magnitude quake and this resulted in some amount of panic. "With continued sensitization and drills HMCI is hoping that this panic type response should not occur again,” the local expert added. “Over the past few years HMCI has been conducting sensitization sessions and drills in both businesses and in the schools. The results have been good. Students are now responding appropriately during the drills, they know what to do, and it hoped that it becomes second nature for them."

The threat of an earthquake is real. The occurrence of earthquakes in the Cayman region results from the interaction of the North Americanplate and the Caribbean plate. These plates slide past each other just to the south of the Cayman Islands at about the speed that a finger nail grows. Unfortunately the movement is not always smooth. Terrific tension builds up when these plates grind past one another and the energy can suddenly release without warning.

When the plates suddenly move in relation to one another, even if the movement is minimal, this can result in an earthquake being experienced in the Cayman Islands. Most of the time the earthquakes are small and generally Cayman residents don't even feel them, but occasionally a large earthquake will occur and severe ground shaking may result.

Afflick pointed out that, "It is this larger magnitude earthquake that we must be prepared for, we must know how to react in an appropriate way and there are a number of straight forward things that we can do to reduce the risks in the meantime."

He said the first consideration is to establish afamily plan then go through the home or office and look for potential hazards that could cause injury during an earthquake and reduce threats. 
“Some of the potential threats might include things like a bookcase that is not secured or attached to a wall, a large picture or mirror above your bed, a heavy light fixture that is not well anchored to the ceiling or rigid pipes connected to propane gas cylinders,” he said. “It is important to secure items that could potentially fall over or land on you during a period of shaking.”
He advised residents to practice their response to a seismic event and to "Duck, Cover and Hold" as protection from falling objects before calmly evacuating the building to an open area away from trees, poles and buildings.

HMCI is planning to conduct more drills in the schools to ensure that both students and teachers know how to respond during an earthquake and for the schools to practice their respective plans. 
"We want to put the danger of earthquakes on the radar screen of Cayman residents,” the HMCI deputy said. “We prepare for hurricanes, northwesters, floods and things of that nature, but we want people to be just as prepared for earthquakes. There is no advanced warning for an earthquake, so it makes it that much more important that you know what to do."

Given the fairly recently recorded earthquakes in 2004 and 2010, Omar Afflick believes a lot of residents know what do in an actual earthquake, but he believes they could do more to reduce the threat in their home and work environments.

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George Town relinquish their cup

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Elite_SC_saw of cup holders George Town (213x300).jpg(CIFA): For the past two seasons George Town Sports Club have proudly held possession of the Digicel Cup, GT are known for being a knock out cup team who always manage to put aside their league form to rise to the occasion in a knockout situation. Not this year, George Town fell at the first hurdle as Elite took the spoils this Sunday and George Town will now have a few Sundays off as they will watch from the sideline as the four remaining teams left in the Digicel Cup battle it out to take their crown. Jario Sanchez’s early free kick sent Elite on their way, Sanchez smashed home from a central position 20 yards out after George Town gave away an innocuous foul.

George Town forced their way back into contention before a killer blow just before half time. A lack of communication at the back resulted in Metchie Williams heading into his owngoal, GT failed to handle a long ball which initially presented no danger and on the stroke of half time they went 2:0 down.

Elite seemed to be sailing into the next round of the cup and George Town’s reign was nearing an end, but with ten minutes to go GT must have woken up to this fact and piled on the pressure.

Greg Ebank’s side were reduced to 10 men with ten minutes to play after Elite defender Demarr Walker handled in the penalty area giving George Town a lifeline. Fabian Malcolm coolly converted from the penalty spot and set up a frantic finish. GT could of and should have equalized, GT had three golden opportunities to level things up after a long ball into the penalty area was miss handled by Elite goal keeper James Josephs who was under immense pressure from the athletic Justin Pierre who mange to rise above Joseph and get a head on the ball to create a manic scramble in the box. The ball fell to Tex

Whitelocke who’s goal bound shot was re directed by Fabian Malcolm who managed to hit the cross bar from three yards out, the re-bound fell back into the path off Whitelocke who fired wide right from 8 yards out, the chaos in the penalty area had the large crowd in attendance on their feet as GT looked to pull out a comeback.

The narrowmiss seemed to spur on GT who felt that they could get an equaliser and take the game into extra time.  

GT will regret not tying the game up as they were punished severely in the dying moments of the game when the ten men Elite side countered George Town who were over committing players to attack. In an imperious closing spell GT left themselves short at the back and Alex Belcher made them pay, Elite broke with pace and Belcher sealed Elite’s win and threw GT out of the cup with a superb strike in the 83rd minute finding the bottom right corner of the goal from 25 yards out.

Elite’s victory condemned George Town to their third consecutive loss in all competitions, whilst Elite’s unbeaten run continues, after losing 1:0 to Roma in their first game of the season Elite have been near perfect.

In the earlier match up Roma United saw off Cayman Athletic to put their name into the hat for the next round, it took overtime before the deadlock was broken. A stunning strike in 101st minute by Kenroy Graham saw off Cayman Athletic and it was a strike worthy of winning any game as Graham cut in from the left 30 yards from goal to deliver a sublime top corner finish.

Roma will enter the semi-final draw as underdogs as they currently are the lowest positioned Premier League team to make it through to the next round as high flying Bodden Town and Scholars both registered their places into the semi-final draw with wins in West Bay.

Bodden Town saw off Tigers FC in the earlier match up at the Ed Bush Sports Complex, after going a goal behind in the 73rd minute courtesy of a Alfredo Challenger penalty Bodden Town battled back to score two goals in seven minutes, Yefry Calderon continued in his rich vein of form equalizing in the 79th minute as did Arvid Harris who completed BT’s comeback in the 86th minute.

In the later game at Ed Bush, Scholars ran out 2:0 winners over Future Sports Club who remains winless in all competitions this season. The goals came from Scholars Captain Mark Ebanks in the 12th minute and Damalay Howelle in the 85th. 

The draw for the next round of the Digicel Cup will take place this Thursday December 15, 2011 at 10am at the retail Digicel store in Camana Bay. Bodden Town, Elite SC, Roma United and Scholars International will be included in the semi-final draw. The semi-final draw will consist of two games and the total aggregate score will be taken into account. For more information follow Cayman Football at www.facebook.com/caymanfootball

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Judge refuses to ID witnesses

| 13/12/2011 | 1 Comment

3289957486_8b99815db3_b.jpg(CNS): Chief Justice Anthony Smellie has refused an application by defence lawyers to remove the anonymity order placed on two crown witnesses in the Devon Anglin trial for the murder of Carlo Webster, keeping their identity a secret from the accused. The chief justice, who is the only person who has been able to see the witnesses and hear their evidence via unaltered voice link during the trial, said Tuesday that he was satisfied that this was not a case of partiality and there was nothing to suggest that the two witnesses had colluded or were motivated to lie. With the anonymity order still in place, Anglin’s defence team moved immediately to make a no case submission.

In his ruling the chief justice said he had been well aware of the need to constantly review the status of the witness anonymity to ensure the defendant had a fair trial but he was satisfied that the order should not be lifted and that the defendant in this case could still have a fair trial without knowing the identity of these witnesses. Revealing who they were would not impact the evidence they have given to the court, the judge indicated.

The order, which was the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands, was originally made by Justice Charles Quin in August and applies to two people, one of whom has said they know Devon Anglin well and saw him shoot Webster in the Next Level nightclub in September 2009. A second witness, who said they did not see the shooting, said they did see a man they later identified as Devon Anglin, whom they did not know at the time, walk past them on the way out of the club, seconds after the murder, pushing a hand gun into the waist of his pants.

Following Chief Justice Smellie’s decision, leading counsel for the defence, Dorian Lovell-Pank QC, began a submission before the senior judge that the crown had not made a case against his client. He said the sole issue in question was the identity of the gunman on the night of the murder and it was not the defendant.

Anglin has claimed that he is not the man the crown has identified as him on the CCTV footage from the club on the night of the shooting and he says that the key witness is either lying or mistaken about who they say they saw shoot Webster in the crowded, poorly lit nightclub.

The lawyer told the court that the quality of the evidence that the crown had placed before the court was so poor that were the case being tried by a jury, properly directed they could not convict his client.  

He said there were serious contradictions and inconsistencies in the crown’s case which could not be explained and that the prosecution was cherry picking the bits of evidence it felt suited its case against Anglin.

Given that the crown had accepted that its case depended heavily on the key first witness, known as witness B, the defence lawyer noted that this person’s evidence contradicted not just the second eye witness, witness E, but the CCTV footage as well.  Lovell-Pank said that far from supporting and corroborating its key witness, the rest of the crown’s evidence contradicted it and the judge should dismiss the case.

Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl Richards QC will respond to the submission Wednesday before the judge decides if the defence must answer the crown.

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Police arrest West Bay man for nightclub stabbing

| 13/12/2011 | 0 Comments

crime-scene-tape.jpg(CNS): Following an operation in the West Bay area on Monday afternoon (12 December) police confirmed that a 20 year old man has now been arrested in connection with a stabbing which occurred at a West Bay road nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning. The police said that the man who has been arrested on suspicion of Assault GBH remains in custody as enquiries into the incident at Club 7 continue. The 36-year-old man who was stabbed is still recovering in hospital. Anyone who was within Club 7 around that time and has any information which could assist the police is asked to call George Town police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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BT dump coalition puts pressure on MLAs

| 13/12/2011 | 35 Comments

Mount trashmore_0.jpg(CNS): The Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free is cranking up its campaign against plans to establish a new landfill in their district and is reminding the two United Democratic Party representatives that it was the people in the district that voted them into office and not the Dart Group. Hoping to meet with the MLAs this week a spokesperson for the collation said the group had been bolstered by the growing support across the island as well as support from the PPM members of the LA and the independent member for North Side. Meanwhile, the district’s government representatives have stated that they support moving the dump despite their constituents concerns as the MLAs say they will all be addressed. (Photo Kerry Horek)

Speaking to Cayman27 Monday, UDP backbencher Dwayne Seymour said that when he first heard that Bodden Town was the area that had been identified for the new landfill he was concerned too but after he and his constituency colleague checked it out they decided it was “heading in the right direction and…we gave assent to what we thought would be an improved waste-management facility.”

Mark Scotland said that he and his colleague were in a difficult position as people may say ‘is that all you are doing for Bodden Town’ but he said that he was confident the concerns would be addressed in the end. The technical people in government are working alongside Dart’s technical people, Scotland said and the new facility will be nothing like the George Town dump.

“I can understand the public’s concerns because the only thing they have now to compare is the existing dump in George Town,” he said but the new site would be completely different.

Seymour said the issue is a national project not a Bodden Town issue but as the third elected member for the district with only 36% of the vote in the last election and less than 18 months away from the next  Seymour is sitting in the district’s most vulnerable seat.
Vincent Frederick, the spokesperson for the to Keep BT Dump Free Coalition intends to impress upon the district’s members that the people of Bodden Town do not want a new landfill and will be reminding them who put them in office.

“The agreement with Dart to relocate the dump in Midland Acres is a threat to Bodden Town, to its people, its environment and its future, but government has completely failed to consult Bodden Towners,” he said. “Although a meeting with Mr Seymour and Mr Scotland is no substitute, it will give us another chance to demand that they represent their constituents, defend their district, and give voice to those who voted for them. They were not elected by Dart.”

Arden McLean who is also endorsing the project and was the former minister with responsibility for the dump said that the previous government had spent considerable sums building the infrastructure at the present landfill for sorting and recycling facilities and to establish a waste-to-energy project that would have reduced the existing dump by converting the trash into power to be sold to CUC. Other experts have told the coalition that it is impractical to move the landfill especially so far from where most of the islands’ waste is generated in George Town and West Bay.

The dump move is part of the ForCayman Investment Alliance which government is negotiating with the Dart group. Overriding the previous decision of the public works ministry’s technical team and the tender award to the US based firm Wheelabrator, for the waste-to-energy project,  the premier announced in January that Dart would be given the existing dump on crown land to cap and remediate. In the summer he revealed that it would become part of a much bigger investment swap with the developer which would include the land swap in Midland Acres and that Dart would pay for the development of what it has stated will be a modern state of the art facility and eco-park.

See Cayman27video here

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Government claims success for jobs programme

| 13/12/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Government officials have said that 111 young people having successfully completed the employment ministry’s job placement programme Passport2Success since it started in 2010. The ministry said that 58% of students have been employed within six months of graduating from the programme and 69% of participants from the first two classes are still employed 12 months after graduating. The ministry stated that former participants are utilizing the skills they gained on Passport2succcess to not only find work when the programme is over but students have also succeeded in maintaining employment up to twelve months after.

During the graduation of the fifth and latest group of Passport2success students Shannon Seymour of the Wellness Centre that co-ordinates the training said some of the graduates had already secured full time employment.

“The success of the Passport2Success programme comes directly from the fact that each sector of our community is making a necessary contribution,” she said. “The Ministry has been fully supportive of the programme and the participants, the private sector has been a critical partner in providing invaluable opportunities for our participants to gain meaningful employment experience.”

Mary Rodrigues, Chief Officer of the Ministry of Education said the programme makes demands on students and asks them to change their level of preparation and approach to getting and holding onto a job, and most difficult of all, to change their attitudes.

Graduates from the programme can get grants to continue their studies and can be referred for future employment opportunities. The Ministry has also engaged the Wellness Centre to keep in touch with the graduates, to monitor their progress and to support and encourage them.

Applications are now being processed for two new Passport2Success programmes, which will start in January, 2012 targeting unemployed young men aged between 20-25 and young mothers.  

For more information in regards to Passport2Success as well as application forms and dates in regards to the start of the next programme, visit www.passport2success.ky

 

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Seasonal road clean-up reduced to two weeks

| 13/12/2011 | 46 Comments

Nov 17 Island Cleanup Update -pic.jpg(CNS): Some 700 workers will get only two weeks work this year as part of government’s annual roadside Christmas clean up. The short term seasonal work project, which started Monday, aims to give the unemployed a chance to earn some cash at Christmas time while simultaneously sprucing up the island, but it has been cut short this year. The UDP government introduced the concept of a seasonal island-wide clean up during its first year in office as a result of the high levels of local unemployment amongst non-skilled workers and it has continued with the programme each year since.

In 2009, the UDP administraiton's first year in office, government spent almost $2 million on providing temporary work for up to 800 people as it extended the project into January. Last year around $1 million was spent on the clean up, which lasted four weeks. It is not clear what government has spent on the clean-up programme this year as cash continues to be tight for government and this year the programme is scheduled to last only two weeks.

While the clean-up has been welcomed by some it has also been criticised in various quarters for being nothing more than a PR exercise that demonstrates government is failing to take care of the long term local unemployed who have no work to go to during the other 50 weeks of the year.

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Individual health coverage a ‘national crisis’

| 13/12/2011 | 0 Comments

Gilbert 2011 Image.JPG(CNS Business): Premiums being paid to private health insurers are “astronomical”, according to former health minister Gilbert McLean, who believes they are creating a "national crisis”. However, the recent decision by Cayman First not to take on any new individual health insurance policies further reduces options in Cayman for people who do not have access to group coverage, causing concern among those with knowledge of the industry. McLean asks why, if every individual must have health insurance, does the government not make it mandatory for companies to provide it and believes the health insurance law should be changed. Read more on CNS Business

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