Archive for January 27th, 2012

Cop car damaged in arrest

| 27/01/2012 | 4 Comments

(CNS): A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a police operation in George Town Friday afternoon in which a police vehicle was damaged during the chase. A spokesperson for the RCIPS said that the suspect was pursued by police for a short distance and during that pursuit it appears the car was damaged but the details of how the damage occurred were not revealed. Police did state however that no one was injured. The suspect was arrested by officers, at around 2.50pm this afternoon in the Crewe Road area in connection with the shooting of a man in Hirst Road, Savannah, on Thursday 19 January.

The victim had turned up at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, last week suffering from what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his back having flagged down a lift from a man in a blue car.

The man told police that he had been shot in the vicinity of Countryside shopping plaza though police stated at the time they had received no reports of any shots being fired in the area.

Following Friday’s arrest of the 22 year old man police said that enquiries into the case are on-going.

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Cayman National sprint swim meet makes a splash

| 27/01/2012 | 0 Comments

Photos downloads to Jan 14 2012 081 (249x300).jpg(CIASA): The Cayman National Sprint Meet, hosted by the Stingray Swim Club (SSC) of Grand Cayman at the Lions Aquatic Centre and traditionally the first meet of the New Year, took place on January 14th and held on to that honour. Ninety-four swimmers took part in the day’s events and with the stands full of family, supporters and well-wishers the day was a resounding success. “It is always amazing to me,” said Cayman National’s Brian Esau, Executive Vice President of Cayman National Bank, who was on hand to watch the races and present trophies.

“When the youngest age groups – the U6’s are swimming. The courage it must take to stand at the end of the pool looking down the longest 25m of their life … and they just dive in and swim. It is impressive. Swimming is a sport which the youngest competitors can excel in – and given that is takes place in the water it is perhaps one of the most sensible sports to take part in, in the Cayman Islands!”

Sprint Meets focus on the short distances – 25m races for the U6’s and U8’s and 50m races for the other age groups. With all of the scheduled races taking place between 9am and 12:30pm the event is short in length and fast in excitement; and at the end of the day there were a number of well deserving swimmers who were recognised with High Points Awards.

Boys: U6 Liam Chisholm (CBAC); U8 Corey Westerborg (SSC); U10 Jordan Crooks (CBAC); U12 Rory Barrett (CBAC); U14 Iain McCallum (SSC) and 15 and Over O Wunyae Crawford (SSC). In the girls division High Points winners were: U6 Marisa Poole; U8 Sabine Ellison (UNN); U10 Zororo Mutomba (CBAC); U12 Stefanie Boothe (SSC); U14 Lauren Williams (SSC) and 15 and Over Danielle Boothe (CBAC).

Notable by their absence from the pool at the meet were a number of Stingray Swim Club’s Senior Swimmers who were in Florida at the 2012 Jaked Senior Invitational Swim Meet held at Nova Southeastern University Aquatic Centre in Plantation. With a cold front passing through Florida the swimmers had to contend with far colder weather than they are used to; but, despite the cold the swimmers, who were accompanied by Coach Dominic Ross has a great experience and returned home enthused and enthusiastic.

SSC President, Brenda McGrath was delighted with the turn out. “It really was a wonderful morning,” she commented. “It was unfortunate that we experienced some glitches with the electronic timing system; however, people triumphed over technology and the great swimming, fantastic music and wonderful volunteers all worked together to make it a great day for everyone.”

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PPM chair calls Mac probe a “strange situation”

| 27/01/2012 | 61 Comments

anton duckworth.jpg(CNS): The opposition party chairman said that Cayman was in a very “strange situation at present” with an ongoing investigation into the premier that has not been explained by him or anyone else and it was having a detrimental impact on the public and business. Part of a panel discussion at last week’s Cayman Business Outlook conference that looked at good governance and transparency, Anthony Duckworth raised the current police investigation into McKeeva Bush concerning what have been termed as “financial irregularities”.  No one else on the panel mentioned the probe during the discussion, which touched on the fight against corruption.

The PPM chair and local attorney pointed out that corruption and a strong economy are at opposite poles and that the public plays a crucial role in fighting political corruption and poor governance.

He said that if the public was prepared to put up with corruption, no matter how many institutions were in place to address the problem there would be “politicians looking after themselves” regardless of any anti-corruption commission. He said that the new constitution provided Cayman with the right institutions but not all were working properly yet and Cayman still had a long way to go.

“It is very important that the voting public comes on board with the issue that corruption is a very real problem and that it needs to be stamped out,” Duckworth said.

Speaking to the packed ballroom at the Westin, which included international guests, Duckworth said the investigation into the premier put Cayman in a strange situation where everyone appeared to be remaining silent about the issue. That point was emphasised when the issue was not mentioned by anyone else on the panel, which included the governor, the auditor general, the information commissioner and local attorney Michael Alberga with Tim Ridley as chair.

Duckworth said the silence surrounding the probe into Bush and the existence of the investigation was not just a poor reflection against the country’s leader but was a poor reflection on the country as well.

He said good governance came through information so that the electorate could make informed decisions but the public should not tolerate poor or corrupt governance. However, in the end the first and most important thing any government can do to about corruption was “not to practice it”, he said.

Jennifer Dilbert noted that the anti-corruption law places considerable emphasis on the public to report what they believe are corrupt practices and she recommended everyone read the law and understand how they can play a part in preventing corruption here.

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Political suicide

| 27/01/2012 | 30 Comments

At the risk of understatement here, even the most diehard UDP supporters cannot deny that the current government is doing a pretty good job at rubbing at lot of the voting public up the wrong way at the moment. But there is little doubt that when it comes to upsetting the electorate the best way to do it is to tell them you are moving the dump to their town. Relocating a landfill under any circumstances is nothing less than political suicide for any administration and especially the representatives of the constituency involved.

It would not matter if the government could find a way to make the proposed new facility the most eco-friendly, state-of-the-art, nice-smelling, prettiest-looking dump the world has ever seen, the community, in this case Bodden Town, will not under any circumstances thank their government for it and it is not hard to understand why.

But the two government representatives for the district of Bodden Town must recognise that if this move goes ahead, 16 months from now they are undoubtedly going to lose their seats.

It would be a miracle if Dwayne Seymour, who was elected by only the narrowest of margins with less than 37 percent of the vote, is re-elected, especially given his performance in office, not to mention the embarrassingly public domestic dispute which landed the MLA in court.

In fact, he would probably have more chance of being re-elected if he stood up and said he did not support the dump move and challenged the UDP party hierarchy. Leading a rebellion and joining the coalition could save what is looking like a very short lived political career and even make him a hero in the community (if not a sacred vessel).

Mark Scotland's record in office has been marginally more impressive as he has presided over some improvements at the HSA, and he might, if he can sort out the health insurance before the end of his term, have something to campaign on. With over half of the district’s electorate backing him in the poll last year, Scotland did, until the dump came along, have a hope, despite the UDP’s dwindling popularity, not to mention the challenge to his return following the issues surrounding his declaration of interests at the last election.

His support for the project and his failure to speak with the district he represents on the dump issue has certainly pulled the rug from under that hope. He cannot seriously imagine that when he gets on the campaign trail people will be whooping and cheering for the BT dump. However many of the UDP party faithful are shipped into the district for the political rallies, it won’t change the results in the polling booth.

Working on the assumption that the two men are not completely politically challenged, they must be aware of this. Oh to be a fly in their brain. What must they really, honestly think?

Both men own homes in the district, have extended families and close friends that also own homes, and they know full well, despite what they say in public, that moving the dump to Bodden Town will be, quite simply, the worst thing they could do for their constituents. (Perhaps putting the oil refinery there would have been worse, though really there’s not much in it.)

They are residents in the district and must recognise that the value of their own homes is at risk. Despite their public rhetoric, in their private moments their despair is probably quite moving.

Both Scotland and Seymour are also very well aware, or at least should be as they are in government, that the proposed eco-waste-management park, which is a fabulous modern way of dealing with garbage, could very easily be established at the existing site.

Recycling, composting and waste-to-energy could all happen now at Mount Trashmore. Had government continued with the contract negotiations with Wheelabrator and its local partner CWML (some more lost votes for government there!) the work would have started by now. In time, once the existing pile of garbage was being burned and turned into energy, the landfill would begin to come down and remediation could have happened on site.

It is, of course, no surprise that the Dart Group wants the dump moved. It is without doubt a serious blight to the group’s not insubstantial investment. Nevertheless, for government to take such a significant step, even if it really believes the ultimate financial return to the country from Dart’s continued development would outweigh the significant detrimental consequences of moving a dump, the process requires a mammoth amount of research, analysis and ultimately an extensive PR and consultation campaign.

One midweek evening public meeting is hardly enough to win the hearts and minds of those you are about to dump on.

Just about every waste-management expert in the world will say that no matter how bad the circumstances of an existing landfill, moving it will always make things worse. In our case the landfill has already contaminated the site where it is and it is essential that this is addressed. So much time has been lost over the years through procrastination and then the economic downturn but this decision has further delayed the literally mounting problem.

We have to stop the leeching and runoff and begin to reduce the mound. We desperately need a comprehensive recycling and composting programme and the dump needs to be mined.  None of this is going to be pretty but it is still much better that going to a pristine wetlands site, in the middle of a residential district, 17 miles away from where 80% of your waste isgenerated. 

Even if the existing landfill is capped, it will be decades before it will be safe for use. If government persists with this foolhardy plan, the result will not only be two contaminated dump sites but at least two contaminated  MLAs as well.

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Air arrivals boost Cayman tourism for 2011

| 27/01/2012 | 0 Comments

AmericanPlaneUnloading-Read-Only.jpg(CNS Business): Overnight visitors to the Cayman Islands during 2011 increased by more than 7% compared to 2010, the Department of Tourism has revealed. Official statistics expected to be released tomorrow show that more than 309,000 visitors flew in and stayed in Cayman last year, exceeding the government’s target of 302,000 and representing a bumper year for tourist arrivals and the best year for a decade, when 334,071 arrived herein 2001. In December alone more than 31,000 air passengers came to Cayman representing the best December figure since the year 2000 and a 6.3% increase on the same month in 2010. Read more on CNS Business.

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Dart dump bid ranked lowest

| 27/01/2012 | 102 Comments

Mount trashmore_0.jpg(CNS): As the campaign against the government’s decision to enter into agreement with the Dart Group to relocate the landfill to Bodden Town gathers pace, an FOI request made by CNS confirms that the developer’s original bid for the project scored the lowest number of points during the tendering process. The firm that the committee recommend the ministry award the waste management contract to – Wheelabrator — scored 81 points for its submission, compared to the bid submitted by Malcolm Point, backed by Dart, that scored only 36 points. In a memo to the Central Tenders Committee, the chair of the technical committee said that concerns had been raised about that particular bid because of the proposed relocation to an environmentally sensitive area. (Photo Kerry Horek)

According to the memo, ten companies submitted bids in response to a request for proposals for private companies to manage and operate the landfill and introduce waste-to-energy and recycling facilities to tackle the growing problem of Grand Cayman’s dump, a.k.a. ‘Mount Trashmore'. Four companies were immediately rejected for not meeting the minimal technical or financial qualifications. Of the remaining six Wheelabrator was awarded the most points at 81 out of a possible 100, WRR holdings Ltd received 64 points, MSolar received 56 points, Nova energy LCC received 53 points, Cambridge Project Development received 46 points and Malcolm Point Engineering came in sixth with 36 points.

The committee found that in many respects the bid from Malcolm Point did not address the requirements of the RFP. It proposed to cap the dump, the memo stated, but it did not provide a definitive solution and focused on the desire to relocate the dump to Bodden Town.

“The relocation of the site was of great concern for the Committee in relation to the environmental impact, especially since the proposed new site is in an area that is environmentally sensitive,” the memo stated.

The committee went on to recommend that government begin talks with Wheelabrator, which is the largest waste management company in the US and which had provided all the required elements to successfully complete the project and a comprehensive breakdown of their approach.

The memo sent to CTC on 17 December 2010 came just a few weeks before the ministry confirmed that it was following the recommendation and would begin talks with Wheelabrator in the New Year.

However, only a few weeks after the decision was made public the premier made an announcement at the 2011 CBO conference that the dump would be relocated after all and that Dart would be engaging a firm to cap and remediate the existing George Town site and a new eco waste-management site would be created in Bodden Town.

The swap later emerged as a key component in the deal government is proposing to sign with the developer under the ForCayman Investment Alliance with the Dart Group. It also emerged that Malcolm Point would be the company that would coordinate the remediation of Mount Trashmore and develop the infrastructure for the new Bodden Town facility.

During a public meeting this week the members of the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free said they still want to know how government went from awarding a waste-to energy waste management contract to Wheelabrator that had planned to deal with the dump on site in George Town to the relocation of the landfill to Bodden Town only weeks after the CTC had rejected that solution.

See technical committee memo below.

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