Archive for January 12th, 2012

Inmates on remand to use jail-court video link

| 12/01/2012 | 10 Comments

large_hal%20turner.jpg(CNS): Government is hoping to cut down on costs and increase security with the advent of a video link at the prison that will allow inmates detained at HMP Northward and Fairbanks on remand to address the courts or consult with their lawyers without leaving the jail. The CCTV link is expected to go live within weeks to allow "virtual" remand hearings, removing the need to shuttle defendants from the prison to the George Town court house. "We transport some 100 Category-A and -B prisoners and persons on remand weekly, including those charged with capital crimes," said Prison Director Dwight Scott.

The move is also expected to save government significant sums by cutting down on the number of vans and officers needed to guard prisoners when they leave the security of the prison.

Scott said that normally at least three prison staff and two vehicles have been dedicated to processing and transporting remand prisoners each day. Royal Cayman Islands Police Service resources will also be saved as their officers will be relieved of transport and security duties, too.

The CCTV system uses two separate sound-proof rooms at Northward. One, with a 'dock', will enable the judiciary to confirm that the inmate is secured in custody and allow hearings and questioning from the courtroom. A separate room, also equipped with CCTV, will allow confidential conversations between persons on remand and their attorneys.

"Deploying this technology removes the need to transport dangerous persons outside the prison gates, thereby removing many risk factors,” said Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs' Deputy Chief Officer Eric Bush during a live test this week. “Many issues were taken into consideration, including the human rights of those detained."

The application of this "live" technology was coordinated by government's Computer Services Department and included input by Hazard Management Cayman Islands as well as private sector companies, Creative Tech and Aviation Communications. The system uses fibre-optic lines and secured microwave links to transmit the conversations, which are encrypted at both ends to prevent interference.

Backbench government MLA for George Town Ellio Solomon, who is chair of the E-Government Committee, said as well as enhancing security and access, the CCTV link will save government money, with the initial costs of $85,000 being recouped within eight months.

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UN to erect slave trade memorial in New York

| 12/01/2012 | 2 Comments

475181.jpg(CNS): The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution to construct a permanent memorial to those who suffered under the yoke of slavery and the transatlantic trade at its headquarters, UN officials confirmed Thursday.  The assembly stressed the importance of educating and informing current and future generations about the causes, consequences and lessons of slavery, and requested the Secretary-General to continue organizing activities related to the commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which is held annually on 25 March.

During the assembly’s debate, several delegates added that adopting the resolution, and inturn completing the permanent memorial, were the “least the United Nations could do” to honour those who forcibly became part of the global African Diaspora.

The representative of Jamaica, which chairs the Permanent Memorial Committee, said that while some of the gravest historical wrongs against humankind had been addressed, others had not. Slavery and the transatlantic slave trade had not yet met the threshold of acknowledgement and redemption, which served as rationale for continued action at the United Nations. As the theme for the permanent memorial stated, he said, we are “acknowledging the tragedy, considering the legacy, lest we forget”.

The representative of Guyana, who introduced the resolution on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said the memorial would offer current and future generations the opportunity to contemplate and reflect on the horrors and indignity of the ignoble system of slavery. It would also serve as a source of inspiration, a symbol of the indomitable spirit of human beings and their capacity to triumph over the worst forms of oppression and bigotry.

The permanent memorial, first called for in General Assembly resolution 62/122, was slated to be completed by the end of 2012, and would be erected in a place of prominence at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

An international competition to select its design was launched in September, and a Trust Fund was established to support its construction. Numerous delegations today stressed the importance of contributing to that fund, which to date had raised over $1 million of the estimated $4.5 million needed to complete the project.

“We are magnanimous enough to forgive, but human enough not to forget,” said the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, speaking on behalf of the African Group of States. The transatlantic slave trade had torn millions of Africans from their homes, “dragged them in chains to the Americas and sold them as slaves”.

Its most salient outcome, he stressed, was the dehumanization of people of African descent, which led to a disturbing legacy of racism and racial discrimination in many countries. Referring to the annual International Day to commemorate victims of the slave trade, he said that event recognized the dearth of inquiry into the experience of enslaved Africans, as well as a continuing gap in literature regarding their individual and collective experiences.

More efforts were needed to promote research, education and outreach programmes to fill that gap, he emphasized, adding that it was “unacceptable” to continue to sweep the identities and contributions of enslaved Africans under the carpet.

Meanwhile, some speakers pointed out that the unjust legacy of slavery was still alive and well in the social life of many countries. The representative of Cuba, stressing that the people of his country were proud of their heritage – which included both Spanish and African blood – said that Africans would remain exploited as long as the “unsustainable and unjust” consumption patterns continued to exclude the majority of people around the world. Former colonial metropolises must “honour their debt” to slaves; it was impossible for them to “wash their hands of the past” and of their responsibilities in that regard.


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Man gets 10yrs for wife attack

| 12/01/2012 | 35 Comments

evans.JPG(CNS): A West Bay man was sentenced to ten years in prison on Thursday for attempting to kill his wife by setting her on fire. George Dexter Evans was found guilty of attempted murder and arson following a judge alone trial before Justice Charles Quin in August last year. As he handed down his sentence, the judge pointed to Evans' alcohol problems as the cause of his crime. Social enquiries, doctors reports and his family found that when sober Evans was a loving and hardworking husband and father but a completely different person when drunk. The judge told Evans he was lucky that in the end his wife was unharmed.

Evans, whose drinking had caused significant problems between himself and his wife at the time of the incident, turned up at Plantation Village on Seven Mile Beach, where his wife worked, on 12 December 2010.

The court heard that Evans had been drinking again when he arrived at the condos and attempted to lure his wife to his truck where he pulled out an H7 bottle. While she was in the reception area of the condo complex, Evans sprayed his wife with liquid from the bottle which turned out to be gasoline. Although the fuel went over her body and face, including her eyes, she and a colleague managed to close the door on Evans before he threw the lighted matches, saving her life as the door burst into flames.

Evans then got into his truck and crashed the vehicle into his wife’s car before driving it into the condo reception doors. He then proceeded to pour more petrol in the area before setting light to the building.

His wife — the intended victim — managed to escape the flames but Evans' arson attack caused some $200,000 worth of damage. As the area was engulfed in flames, Evans, who was said to be enraged at the time, was said to have shouted, “I am George Evans. I did it I did it!”

The judge said in his sentencing ruling that Evans had been found guilty of attempted murder as it was clear he had planned the arson attack on his wife because he had come with petrol and deliberately threw the fuel at his spouse. His wife escaped serious injury but the Justice Quin said it was clear she been put through a terrifying experience.

“This is a tragic case where the negative effects of alcohol added to uncontrolled jealousy have made this defendant behave in a manner in which he would otherwise not behave,” Justice Quin said.

As he handed down the ten year sentence in accordance with the guidelines, the judge said it was vital that Evans, who has been in prison since his arrest on the day of the crime, continues to receive medical care and continuing professional rehabilitation to address his alcohol abuse and deter him from violence in future.

“I strongly urge the defendant to continue working with the prison authorities in their rehabilitative programmes,” Justice Quin said. “This, together with regular visits from his wife and son, will hopefully ensure that he will never come before the court again for criminal behavior.”

The judge warned Evans that he could never drink alcohol again because when he did he became a different person.

Evans also received an eight year sentence for the arson attack and a further six months for the charge against him for damage to property but the judge ordered that they both run concurrently with the attempted murder sentence of ten years as the crimes were all committed at the same time.

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CNCF offers grants for artistic endeavours

| 12/01/2012 | 1 Comment

cayfest.jpg(CNS): The Cayman National Cultural foundation is inviting applications from individuals, groups and organisations who need financial assistance with artistic projects. The deadline for applying for one of the CNCF grants is Monday and the grants will be awarded in May. As part of its mission to facilitate and preserve artistic expression generally and Caymanian performing, visual and literary arts in particular, the Cultural Foundation awards financial grants to help further development, to assist in bringing a worthy project to fruition or in some cases to support an on-going project or programme. 

The CNCF Grants and Awards Committee reviews the applications to determine if the application has merit and decides if the dollar amount applied for should be granted, or granted in a reduced amount. The committee members are Board Members Lorna Reid and Morgan DaCosta, and sculptor Horacio Esteban.

CNCF has awarded grants for training, productions, publications, attendance at festivals and special projects. Click on the link below to download a copy of the Grants for the Arts Guidelines & Application.

Interested individuals can download a copy of the CNCF Grants for the Arts Application and Guidelines or collect a copy from the CNCF offices. Call 954-5477 or email for more information

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Cayman runner makes bid for world championships

| 12/01/2012 | 0 Comments

Rankin_Jon-FifthAve09-200x300.jpg(CNS): Local middle distance runner Jon Rankin will be running a very important mile in his first competition of 2012 when he competes at the University of Washington Indoor Preview Meet on Saturday in effort to qualify for the Indoor World Championships in March in Turkey. Last year in Puerto Rico Rankin earned a bronze medal in the 1,500meter race at the the CACAC Senior Championships. In this Olympic year Rankin is hoping for even more success.  “I truly believe it's going to be an exciting year this year because it's an Olympic year,” he said this week. Rankin hits the track on Saturday at 12:15 pm PST and the results will be available on the even website after the race.  

Although Rankin was born in the United States and lives mostly in Seattle, both of his parents were born in George Town and he competes for the Cayman Islands. He is Cayman’s only middle distance competitive runner and is expected to be in the CI team heading to London this summer

To see results of the race next Saturday, click here

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Lions promote need for early glaucoma detection

| 12/01/2012 | 0 Comments

glaucoma-test.jpg(CNS):Local Lions are doing their best this month to raise awareness about the sight-stealing disease glaucoma and the importance of early detection and treatment, before it causes major vision loss. The Lions are helping to arrange comprehensive dilated eye exams for persons in need by eye care professionals upon request. They are also helping with the purchase of low vision devices and aids to help those with visual impairment maintain their independence. Glaucoma is called "the sneak thief of sight" since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it's permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing. 

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. 

It is the second leading cause of blindness globally, and the blindness it causes is irreversible. At first, there are no symptoms of glaucoma. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. Without treatment, people will slowly lose their peripheral (side) vision. Over time, straight-ahead vision may decrease until no vision remains. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.

Contact the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens at for more information on their effort to educate the community about this disease.

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Atlas documents state of Caribbean seabirds

| 12/01/2012 | 0 Comments

brown_booby.jpg(CNS): A new atlas compiled after an eleven month study in the Lesser Antilles has revealed the current state of endangered sea birds in the region. Environmental Protection in the Caribbean’s (EPIC) Seabird Breeding Atlas is the first of its kind to document the birds in the area as many existing records are based on anecdotal notes from the early 19th century. Globally, seabirds are among the most threatened of bird groups, with 80% of species in decline and 90-99% of seabirds lost from tropical islands. Prior to European contact, it is believed there were tens of millions of seabirds breeding in the Caribbean region, now there are under two million.

Stretching in a thin arc from Anguilla to Grenada, the Lesser Antilles are the final frontier between the Caribbean Sea and the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. Over an eleven month study period, between 2009 and 2010, EPIC’s partners Katharine and David Lowrie, sailed 3,162 nautical miles, surveying by land and sea 200 islands above the high-tide level capable of supporting seabirds, surveying each island in the winter breeding season and again during the summer.

Surveying islands that few other sailors will venture near, the study was dubbed by the sailing community as, a survey of the worst anchorages of the Caribbean.

“The reason for such remote nesting sites is that seabirds have been pushed out from their previous breeding grounds by development. Being mostly ground-nesting, they also have no defences against voracious introduced predators such as cats and rats”, Katharine Lowrie explained in a release from the environmental organization.

The EPIC Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles reveals that four of the 18 species recorded are present at globally significant levels, with a further 11 species considered significant within the Caribbean region. It also reports that Battowia, part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, followed by Dog Island of Anguilla, are the most important individual islands for globally significant seabird colonies.

One of the distressing discoveries of the study, David Lowrie said was the extent to which egg collection and hunting of seabird chicks and adults still persist throughout the chain.

“We repeatedly encountered fishermen whose only reference to the species we were studying was their relative taste,” he said. “On one island during one day we were greeted by tens of decapitated Brown Booby heads representing 39% of that colony’s generation of chicks. On another island Sooty Terns are practically ‘farmed’ for their eggs, with ‘shoot outs’ being reported between rival hunters”.

The atlas provides vital data on this poorly studied group of birds. It includes species accounts for all eighteen species; island accounts including abundance and distribution of breeding colonies and threats; detailed methods and data analysis and discussion of the priority breeding sites and species of concern in the study area.

“The vision for the Atlas was born out of frustration with the huge gaps in information in the region for simple facts, such as the breeding locations for certain species or the main threats for each site,” Natalia Collier, EPIC President said. “It was crucial that the Atlas provided transparent, standardised methods and analysis, facilitating future seabird monitoring in the region to guide conservation priorities”.

EPIC’s Atlas is available from the CreateSpace online store. Purchases through CreateSpace return a percentage of royalties to EPIC to help cover expenses incurred during the project.

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DHL Storm on top

| 12/01/2012 | 0 Comments

week3d (242x300).jpg(CRFU): The DHL Storm entered the holiday season with a 3rd consecutive win over the Queensgate Pigs Trotters to guard their top spot in the Alex Alexander Memorial League table.The victory over the so far winless Pigs Trotters was not an easy affair however as the Pigs Trotters looked set to secure not only their first XV’s win in over a year but what would be the biggest upset of the season. The Pigs Trotters maintained the lead in the game for the majority of the 80 minute match up! Marco Du Plessis was once again the hero for the Pigs Trotters as he guided his team into control of the game but a late surge from the Storm, led by none other than Venassio Tokotokovanua meant that the Trotters hearts were broken once again as the DHL Storm trudged off 29-22 victors.

Photos Caroline Deegan

The loss did give the Pigs Trotters their first league points of the season as they only lost the game by 7 points and the team will be buoyed by the knowledge that they face the DHL Storm again on 14 January and the Storm will likely be without the services of Tokotokovanua! With another strong performance the Pigs could have a real chance of starting 2012 with a win!

week3b (300x197).jpgThe John Doak Architecture Iguanas season lies in the balance as they faltered to their second defeat of the season against a determined Krys Global Buccaneers side. The Iguanas, who had the week before overcome the Queensgate Pigs Trotters, failed to maintain any momentum and some unforced errors gave the Buccaneers the chance to take the game by 6 points 11-17. The Iguanas and the Buccaneers face off again in the knowledge that the season is all still to play for. Whilst the DHL Storm top the table a reversal in fortune for the Storm could give the Iguanas or the Buccaneers a shot at the league title.

See cup standings here

Next games:  Alex Alexander Memorial League Trophy 4th Round:

14 January 2012
Krys Global Buccaneers vs. John Doak Architecture Iguanas @2pm
Queensgate Pigs Trotters vs. DHL Storm @4pm

All games are streamed live worldwide on

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Week3a: Steve Brougham pressures Mariano Marco at the base of the scrum
Week3b: Chris Kennedy tracks down Morgan Hayward of the Buccaneers
Week3c: Marco du Plessis challenged the DHL Storm defence
Week3d: Simon Crompton takes a shot at goal for the DHL Storm



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Cayman referee gets international nod

| 12/01/2012 | 0 Comments

AR1 (248x300).jpg(CRFU): Cayman Attorney, Alasdair Robertson (left) of the Cayman Rugby Union Referees Society has been selected as one of two North American & Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) representatives to officiate at the upcoming World Sevens Series (WSS) of Rugby in Las Vegas on February 13thand 14th.The World Class event features twelve of the world’s best Rugby Sevens teams. The series is played in ten different venues starting in October and ending in June each year. The selection of Alasdair Robertson, based on his recent refereeing form at the NACRA Sevens in Barbados last November is tantamount to his hard work and dedication over the past several years in becoming recognized throughout the region as a leading official of the sport.

Director of Rugby Richard Adams added ‘we are all delighted with Alasdair’s selection, he certainly deserves the accolade and I know that he will do well and bring back to the Islands new knowledge and direction in terms of officiating, it also goes to prove that you don’t have to be a player to excel in sport and I hope Alasdair’s success will help a new generation decide to get involved in this way.’


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Local doctor comes home to practice

| 12/01/2012 | 2 Comments

dr best (249x300).jpg(CNS): The Health Services Authority has taken on former John Gray High School student, Dr. Ciara Best, who has recently returned home to begin her practice as part of its physicians team.  She received her M.B.B.S. from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and will spend some time with the local health authority before heading off overseas to specialize. Before joining the Health Services Authority, Dr Best interned at Cornwall Regional Hospital in Jamaica where she rotated through Internal Medicine, General Surgery, OB/GYN and Pediatrics departments for a period of three months each.

She currently works on the Medical Ward  where she oversees the management of care for many of the patients there. Dr Best previously spent six months as the Senior House Officer in Pathology and has also worked in the Accident and Emergency department. Delighted to have returned home and joined the team at the HSA, having achieved her goal of becoming a qualified physician, Dr Best said.   “The welcome by both staff and patients has been a very warm one and I am glad to have been able to return home and to be of service to the people.”

HSA Medical Director, Dr.  Greg Hoeksema, and Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood said they were  proud to welcome another returning Caymanian doctor to the team.
“Dr. Best is a wonderful and talented asset and we look forward to her input in the years ahead.  We are confident that she will continue to enhance our services and we are grateful that she has chosen to practice medicine with us,” added Yearwood.

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