Archive for February 17th, 2012

Olympic committee organizes coaches’ workshop

| 17/02/2012 | 0 Comments

waving2_0.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) will be hosting the first ever Caribbean Coaching Certification Program (CCCP) training workshop in here in Cayman officials said this week. The workshop is for all teachers and community coaches from any sport and will be in partnership with the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC). It will focus on general sport topics, and will cover ten modules including topics such as Coach as a Leader, Developing Sport Skills, Sport Medicine, Event Organization, and Fitness among many others. 

Donald McLean, the President of the CIOC said training and educating coaches at all levels is important to national sports.

“It is imperative that we provide training and education at a grassroots level to enhance the coaching base within our community so that we may best prepared and help our athletes achieve their goals” he said.

The workshop will take place over 3 days in February and March and will be held in Camana Bay.  The dates for the training workshop are February 21st from 9:00am-5:00pm, March 29th from 1:00-5:00pm and March 30th from 9:00am-1:00pm.  The course will be conducted by Dr. Dalton Watler, the Deputy Chief Officer for Tourism Development and President of the Cayman Islands Athletics Association. 

To register or find out more information on the Caribbean Coaches Certification Program, please contact Jessica Wolfenden at cioc2@candw.ky or 946-6984.  Space is limited.

 

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Ministry appoints programme leader to family centre

| 17/02/2012 | 0 Comments

Miriam Foster (249x300).jpg(CNS): The community affairs ministry has appointed Miriam Foster asthe Family Resource Centre’s (FRC) Programme Coordinator. Foster joined the then Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) six years ago as an Administration Intake Officer. In 2009, WRC joined the National Parenting Programme (NPP) and the Young Parents Programme (YPP) to become the Family Resource Centre. Since then she has worked as a Programme Officer and Programme Facilitator and has been acting as the Programme Coordinator since August. Foster initiated the first celebration of International Men’s Day Celebration in Cayman which focused on improving male health while promoting gender equality.

In celebration of Honouring Women’s Month in March, she and her team is currently busy planning the various activities outlined for the month; including a revamped International Women’s Day Celebration that will be on the 8 March at Camana Bay from 6-8pm. It will feature music, competitions and a silent auction.

“I am honoured to be working with a great team and be able to aid in improving the lives of families in the community,” said Foster who encourages families to attend the free parenting sessions which are held on the third Wednesday of every month and get to know the diverse programming that FRC offers.

She strongly believes in developing programming that meets the needs of the community and constantly looking for ways to stay relevant.

“Government is really excited to have Miriam on board with us,” said Minister Mike Adam. “I am confident that with her wealth of knowledge, commitment and hard work, she will continue to be a valuable asset to our islands, and in particular, many families.”
 

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Cayman luring insurance market away from Bermuda

| 17/02/2012 | 0 Comments

mac8.jpg(CNS Business): Premier McKeeva Bush has said that while Bermuda has been the champion of the insurance and reinsurance industry, the Cayman Islands was now a better choice and could grow in this market “without the malice, without the inhibitions of race, without the inhibitions of transport.” Speaking at the 11th annual Insurance-Linked Securities Summit, Bush said that in addition to changes to immigration policy to entice the industry to this jurisdiction, his government intends to offer financial concessions that will dramatically reduce operational costs compared with other financial centres. An industry expert at the summit said Bermuda would lose out because it had adopted its own capital rules that in many ways were similar to the European-led Solvency II regulation, which he described as a “huge miscalculation”. Read more on CNS Business

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Activists and MLAs unite

| 17/02/2012 | 154 Comments

8329-cns (253x300).jpg(CNS): The West Bay groups fighting to keep the West Bay road open and the Bodden Town coalition aiming to keep the dump out of their district were joined by the opposition leader and two other MLAs on Thursday night as they stepped up their campaigns at a public meeting. More than 250 people turned out for the gathering, which focused heavily on opposition to government’s proposed deal with Cayman’s biggest developer. The activists and politicians all spoke about the pressing need not to give up the fight over what was described as the gifting of crown land to the Dart Group and other elements of the deal, which they all believe will in the long run be detrimental to the people. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)
 

The politicians as well as activist leaders spoke about a rally that is being planned for when the Legislative Assembly eventually returns for business, though the premier has not yet set a date for when the country’s parliament will meet. They also spoke about occupying the more than 4,200 feet of the West Bay Road (a distance now confirmed by the Lands and Survey Department in contrast to Dart’s earlier claims of around 2,500 feet) which the government intends to swap with the developer.

Although parts of the proposed ForCayman Alliance appear to have already been sanctioned, including an agreement signed with the developer and the Ntional Roads Autjority, the main deal, which involves multiple elements, has not yet been signed.

The meeting focused very heavily on the concerns and fears in the community on government’s relationship with the Dart Group, which few considered to be beneficial for the wider community and in particular what many people see as a poor deal for the Caymanian people.

Current estimates regarding land value in the alliance suggest the deal could be worth more than $800 milllion to the developer in exchange for around $100 million of investmentin public amenities and the dump move, and the activist say if this is the case Cayman is getting the raw end of the deal.

“We are losing this place fast,” said Captain Bryan Ebanks, one of the leaders of Save Cayman, and he urged people to stand up and stop the government from using the developer’s money to destroy the country. He pleaded with the Dart Group not to take the West Bay Road, pointing out that the (group) was already wealthy enough and did not need more land or more money.

Paul Rivers, a member of the West Bay Action Committee and former political candidate at the previous election in West Bay, spoke about government’s dismissal of a petition which contained more than 4,000 signatures against the closure of the West Bay to accommodate the wishes of just one developer. He said that occupying the road was probably the only message that the government would understand.

Activists all said that the Dart Group could still develop its land without closing the West Bay Road or moving the landfill. Gregg Anderson, one of the leaders of the coalition to Keep BT Dump Free, said that after considerable research there were no scientific, economic, social or geographical reasons to move the GT dump to Bodden Town and that it could be addressed on site.

This was echoed by Arden McLean, the PPM member for East End and former public works minister, who said that work by the previous administration, which had included a cross party committee, had all shown that the dump had to be dealt with where it was. He told the crowd that Dwayne Seymour and Mark Scotland must be sick of politics after just three years to support such a move as he urged the whole of Cayman to come together and stop the dump move and the road closure.

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin noted that the “absolutely idiotic proposals” were symptoms of a much bigger more frightening problem, which was that the country had a government that was “clueless”, as he described the premier as “flailing around” trying to come up with a solution to the country’s economic ills but failing at every turn. “The reality is there is no plan,” he said. “The only economic policy the UDP has is to sell assets and buy votes.”

Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, urged the people to march and stand up to what was happening as he criticised the Dart Group for exploiting the low paid workers who were clearing the ground for its promotional material.

Pointing to the significant percentage of the land and businesses owned by the developer across Grand Cayman, he urged people not to give up. “The closure of the West Bay Road is the tip of the iceberg,” Miller warned as he encouraged everyone to march on the LA when it eventually reconvenes.

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Education department to release statistics

| 17/02/2012 | 14 Comments

sums_200.jpg(CNS):  Teachers, public, special needs,exam results, attendance figures and numerous other data relating to the country’s schools will soon be in the public domain when the education department publishes its first compendium of statistics next month. Speaking at the National Data Day seminar on Thursday, the education minister said reform could not depend on “hunches and gut feelings” but needed reliable credible data. Rolston Anglin said that while there was a risk of criticism by publishing statistics, there was a need to be truthful school by school to manage resources and make key decisions in the future.

Anglin anticipates that within about four weeks the Department of Education Services will for first time have real holistic data to build upon. While he admitted that this first set of statistics was unlikely to be perfect, he believed it would be credible data on which decisions could be made.

Despite the possibility of resistance, the minister said it was important to publish the data and not be put off because of the claims of disadvantage that would be made over catchment areas and socio-economic issues. He said it was evident that these would have an impact on school statistics.

“We can't allow ourselves to be drawn as we need to achieve a target of 75% of students attaining five passes,” he said, adding that criticisms and fears should not distract from that aspiration. “We need to make data driven decisions,” Anglin told the group of educators and school principals at the seminar.

He said the collection of information needed their support to ensure that accurate statistics would be at the heart of future decision and policy making.

Anglin spoke about how he had listened carefully to educators when he first took up office in order to inform what he described as the substantive reform that has taken place, and he was excited that the department was at a point where it could talk about actual performance.

“This will help drive systemic change and 21st century education reform,” Anglin said as he revealed that reform would be an ongoing process. “All of us might want to get to a comfortable place where reform comes to an end, but I believe when anyone decides they have reached the pinnacle and stop reforming, they will lose pace.”

He said that the world was continually changing and as a result teachers were continually asked to fill the new gaps in the world’s job market. He said today’s teachers were teaching kids who would probably end up in jobs that don’t even exist yet.

Speaking about what the statistics might show, Chief Officer in the education ministry Mary Rodrigues said all the latest research confirms that in order to reform you have to understand where you are. Historically that had not been the case, she said, but now the information was being collected from the “chalk face’ of education.

She said data was needed on student performance for comparison locally and internationally, as well as informing how resources would be spent and key decisions made.

Since 2005, when only 23 percent of children were leaving school with five passes or more, the figure has been steadily rising to an all-time high of 45% in 2011, which is still some way from the minister’s target of three quarters of all students leaving school with 5 high passes.

The compendium of statistics will cover more than exam results, however, as a snap shot circulated to the press Thursday revealed percentages of children with special needs in all of the government schools as well as teacher ratios and attendance levels.

The preliminary data shows that 660 primary school children and 365 secondary students have special education needs. SEN is split into three phases and almost 10% of the country’s students in public high schools are in phase three, with the most pressing problems. Cayman Brac has the highest percentage of SENs in both primary and secondary, while Clifton Hunter, the new high school, and Prospect and East End primary schools have the lowest level of phase three special needs students.

In the primary system the average teacher-child ratio is 14.4 but Prospect is as high as 20.4 while kids in Little Cayman enjoy a ratio of 5 kids per teacher. In the high schools the average ratio is 10.6 with the new Further Education Centre double that at 22.1 compared to Cayman Brac which is 6.6.

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Drugs found in prison office

| 17/02/2012 | 49 Comments

prison_0.JPG(CNS): For the second time in a week ganja has been uncovered in staff offices inside Northward Prison. Sources told CNS that an undisclosed amount of the drug was found on Thursday morning in a packet hidden inside the shift commander's office.  CNS also understands that several packets of ganja were recovered from the administrative office in the same building as the prison director’s office last week. Although it is not uncommon for drugs to be found inside the prison, in the possession of prisoners or in their cells as well as around the prison boundary this is the first time that news of the drug being found in staff offices has emerged from inside the facility.

CNS has contacted the RCIPS, the prison director and the chief officer in the portfolio of internal affairs but so far no one has confirmed the details of the prison drugs stash or how it came to be in the areas used by officers and managers.

As with most prison’s drug smuggling is a significant problem inside HMP Northward and officials have admitted that dealing with contraband from mobile phones to ganja is a constant battle. Prisoners are using inside the facility and freely admit the fact as evidence during the proceedings of a recent murder trial when a witness serving a sentence told the judge that his memory was faulty as a result of his regular ganja use which had persisted whilst he was incarcerated. 

 

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