Archive for March 5th, 2012

Info boss keeps busy, according to latest report

| 05/03/2012 | 5 Comments

jennifer-1316.jpg(CNS): With an increase in freedom of information requests of some 14%, the information commissioner is keeping busy, despite staff shortages. Between 1 July and 30 September 2011, 114 FOI requests were logged by public authorities. However, in her latest quarterly report Jennifer Dilbert revealed that 17 public authorities failed to submit their compliance reports before the deadline. The information commissioner says that between 1 October and 31 December last year the office opened five new appeal files, held four hearings, completed two investigations as well as starting one new one, and ordered the release of dozens of documents.

In her report released Friday Dilbert also notes that Section 58 of the Freedom of Information Law, 2007 stipulates that the law must be reviewed from time to time by a committee of the Legislative Assembly, and while a committee was created on 30 June 2010 and her recommendations for the review were submitted to it in September 2010, the review has still not been completed by the committee.

The office lost two members of staff at the end of last year and although it is running with less staff than intended due to budget cuts, the report shows that the two posts have now been filled.

The ICO was also well under its budgeted spendingforecast at the half way mark for this financial year. The report shows that the office has a budget of $287,418.00 but spent only 236,465.07.

See latest report below or visit www.infocomm.ky

Continue Reading

Activists plan George Town to West Bay rally

| 05/03/2012 | 41 Comments

wbay road 1.jpg(CNS): Campaigners who are trying to preserve the West Bay Road and those trying to prevent the relocation of the Grand Cayman landfill will be coming together to hold a demonstration this coming Saturday afternoon from the capital to the West Bay Road to show both government and the Dart Group that they will not be giving up the fight over these issues.  Although government and the NRA has already signed an agreement with the Dart Group to close a portion of the West Bay Road and paving the way for the developer to being the Esterley Tibbetts extension the campaigners still hope they can stop the closure of the existing road.

The campaign has attracted considerable support and the various West Bay based activist groups have now joined forces with the coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump free which is tied to the same ForCayman Alliance a deal which government eventually proposes to sign with Dart to include the opening of a new waste-management facility in Midland Acres. The campaigners also have the support of the opposition PPM and the independent member for North Side.

Speaking at a well-attended public meeting last month the activists vowed to keep up the pressure against the ForCayman Alliance which is seen as a detrimental deal for the Caymanian people but a good deal for the developer.

However, DECCO, the Dart Groups general contractor has already cleared the area for the start of the road extension as it wishes to close the key stretch of West Bay Road as soon as possible in order to begin development work on the new four or five star resort hotel it proposes to open there as a beach front property.

The activists, who are not happy that the land swap said it will result in a massive increase in the value of the developer’s property,  have organised a motorcade which will drive from the capital to the area of the West Bay Road near public beach at the start of the strip of road which government intends to give to Dart in the swap as part of the alliance agreement.

In return for the closure of what is estimated to be around 4200 feet of road some 2300 of that will be given to the developer in a swap for land in West Bay, land in Barkers and over $20million in cash, which the government has said will be spent on community projects and the save the mortgage programme.

Organisers stated that the rally and motor cade will start at 2pm Saturday afternoon at the cricket pitch in George Town, drive around the capital and head down the West Bay Road.
The event is being sponsored by the Concerned Citizens Group, the West Bay Action Committee, Save Cayman and the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free.

See more details on rally flyer posted below

 

Continue Reading

“Big Green” heading to Cayman

| 05/03/2012 | 0 Comments

7sChampions (300x147).jpg(CRFU): March is certainly going to be a green month in Cayman, not least because of the St. Patrick’s Day frivolities but because Dartmouth College Rugby Football Club is making its way to our shores to play a total of 6 games over a 1 week period. 

Dartmouth, an Ivy League college based in Hanover New Hampshire USA, has one of the very best College Rugby programs in the United States with its crowning achievement in recent years being the 2011 Collegiate Rugby 7’s Champions title in 2011.

Dartmouth regularly tour and are no stranger to Cayman Rugby rivals Bermuda, Bahamas and Barbados but this will be their first time to the Cayman Islands and the quality of local rugby and Cayman Rugby hospitality should not disappoint.

Schedule of games to be played at the Cayman Rugby Club in South Sound:
Saturday, March 17:
3:00pm KO – Dartmouth 2nd XV vs. Cayman Club Select XV
5:00pm KO – Dartmouth 1st XV vs. Cayman National XV

Tuesday, March 20:
5:00pm KO – Dartmouth 1st XV vs. Cayman Club Select XV

Thursday, March 22:
5:00pm KO – Dartmouth 2nd XV vs. Cayman U21s XV

Saturday, March 24:
3:00pm KO – Dartmouth 2nd XV vs. Cayman Club Select XV
5:00pm KO – Dartmouth 1st XV vs. Cayman National XV

 

Continue Reading

Prince Harry’s speed boat breaks down in Bahamas

| 05/03/2012 | 36 Comments

Prince+Harry,+wearing+a+lifejacket+and+holding+Bahamas'+national+flags,+smiles+as+he+leaves+after+a+tour+of+Harbour+Island (228x300).jpg(CNS): A speedboat carrying the UK’s Prince Harry broke down in the Bahamas during his official royal visitto the islands. The prince reportedly boarded a media boat after a mechanical failure stopped the Royal Bahamas Defence Force boat he was riding to Harbour Island at the weekend. The 27-year-old royal and third in line to the throne is visiting the islands as part of a tour celebrating the 60th anniversary of his grandmother's accession to the throne. Harry will be heading to Jamaica this week, where he will face a tough diplomatic test since the country’s prime minister has recently announced her intention to break Jamaica’s royal connections.

Prince Harry, whose ten day tour started in Belize, is among a group of royals touring commonwealth countries and overseas territories marking the jubilee celebrations. There are, however, no scheduled visits by any royals to the Cayman Islands.

The queen’s press secretary recently released details of the Diamond Jubilees tours that members of the royal family will be taking on behalf of Elizabeth II, who has been on the throne 60 years.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are going to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Meanwhile, Charles’ eldest son William and his wife Kate will be heading east to Malaysia, Singapore, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The Duke of York is heading for India, while the queen’s youngest son Edward and his wife, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, will also be heading to the Caribbean, visiting Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Gibraltar, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago

Princess Anne heads to Africa for Mozambique and Zambia, while the Duke of Kent will also visit Uganda and the Falkland Islands. Meanwhile the Duke of Gloucester will be journeying to the British Virgin Islands and Malta.

Continue Reading

UCCI fugitive spied in Vegas

| 05/03/2012 | 74 Comments

vegas (239x300).jpg(CNS): The former president of the University College of Cayman Islands, who is wanted by local police in connection with money he is alleged to have misappropriated during his tenure, was spotted by a CNS reader this weekend in Vegas. Hassan Syed was checking out at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday morning when he was caught on camera. Syed was at the centre of a financial scandal at the university in 2008 when the auditor general uncovered financial irregularities after Syed disappeared. For almost four years the local police have been investigating the suspected fraud, in which the former university boss is believed to have spent public cash on Tiffany jewellery and expensive overseas trips.

CNS contacted the RCIPS regarding the investigation and the photograph taken by a reader who knew and spoke with Syed, and a police spokesperson confirmed that the investigation was still ongoing. It is not known how many other sightings there have been of Syed over the last four years or exactly where he went after he left his last known job at Toronto’s Centennial College.

The irregularities of which he is suspected were discovered by the then auditor general, Dan Duguay, and were reported to the police as it appeared that Syed could have stolen almost US$200,000 in public money.

Prior to the discovery of the fraud the former president had also taken a salary advance from the college early in 2008 claiming that he needed surgery for a serious illness. He then sent his resignation to the board in May 2008. Sometime later, the accounting scandal was revealed by the auditor and made public at a meeting of Finance Committee in June 2008. A few weeks after the former president left Cayman and the accounting scandal broke he turned up at Toronto’s Centennial College, only to disappear again shortly after.

Following Syed’s departure, it was also discovered that he did not have the academic qualifications he claimed he had, which were required for his job, in particular a Phd.

Syed joined UCCI in 2003 and worked for three years as the chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Technology before he was named the new president of the University College of the Cayman Islands in August 2006.

vegas.jpg

Continue Reading

Search stalled in bad weather

| 05/03/2012 | 0 Comments

Nathan Clarke 24 Feb 2012.jpg(CNS): Updated – Police have now confirmed that Tuesday's search has also been called off. Officials were forced to abandon the search Monday for 31-year-old Nathan Clarke, the British teachers's aide who went missing over a week ago from Seven Mile Beach near Calico Jack’s bar. A police spokesperson confirmed that no searches had taken place on Monday and the situation would be re-assessed on Tuesday morning. Nathan’s phone was found in the ocean some 50 metres out and about ten feet down last Wednesday but despite one of the largest searches for a missing person ever seen in Cayman, there has been no other trace of the West Bay resident.

Friends and family held a candlelight vigil for Nathan on Sunday evening after some 520 volunteers and 39 police officers had spent 28,000 man hours searching for him over the last week.

Nathan was last seen on 26 February close to the water’s edge by his girlfriend Lisa Beck. Despite the extensive search on land and sea and scrutiny of hours of CCTV footage, there has been no sign of him.

His phone was discovered by a cruise ship passenger on Wednesday but his black fossil wallet and a pair of black Nautica sunglasses, which he may have also had with him that night, have not yet been found. When he disappeared, Nathan was wearing only a pair of beige shorts.

The disappearance of the British man has captured international media attention and in particular in his native UK. The volunteers have also utilized the social networking resource Facebook to raise money and support for the continued search to find Nathan, who is originally from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.

Volunteers said that land searches will continue regardless of weather conditions but they also hope to get back to the ocean searchesas well. Anyone who can spare the time is asked to report to the command centre at 10am Tuesday (6 March).

Anyone with information can call the RCIPS on 949 3999 and send images to nathanclarkeinfo@yahoo.com or for details of the search visit the Find Nathan Facebook page.

Continue Reading

Rookie robot team brings home the silverware

| 05/03/2012 | 0 Comments

photo(29) (236x250).jpg(CNS): The Cyber Rays team from Cayman Prep High School robotics club has come away from Florida with a new trophy for the school cabinet. This time the rookie team, who are enjoying a dream season, came away with the Florida State trophy for Innovation and Strategy at the First Lego League (FLL) Florida Championships held on Sunday, 26 February 26, at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. Allison Smith, the ICT Instructor and Coach of the group, was also the winner of the Coach Award. This is the first year the team has competed in the FLL event and at the State level and it was up against 47 other outstanding teams.

The team they were also awarded the most coveted prize on offer which is one of the 7 invitations to compete at the  World First Lego League World Invitational Open Championship in May at Lakeland / Winter Haven, FL, with closing events at Lego Land.  At this event the team will be competing with 64 teams from around the world.
The Cyber Rays are Josh Martin, Ryan Kirkaldy, Nick Crawshaw, Mike Boucher and Drew Milgate.  The coaches are Allison Smith (Teacher), David Kirkaldy and Jeff Boucher.

This year globally over 17,000 teams competed in a 'Food Factor' challenge with missions using the robot to clear bacteria, reverse pollution, safely transport groceries, harvest of corn, and eliminate viruses and many more.  Each mission has to be solved by the students with only coaching by the adult mentors.  The team uses the Lego NXT-G programming language and only official Lego parts and sensors. 

There are three additional but important aspects to the event.  The team has to research, prepare and present a project on the food safety theme with the Cyber Rays developing a solution to combat milk spoilage and have consistently impressed the judges with their innovative solution for a milk dispenser in a fridge door.  Secondly, the robot is judged in a technical session to review the process from start to final robot including lessons learned and changes to the programme.

The team presented a well-documented technical workbook with design method and prototype challenges, along with details of the programming code used in each mission.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the team is judged on its understanding of the FLL Core Values, with the key learning point being to always demonstrate 'Gracious Professionalism' and 'Cooperation'. 

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.  FLL sees Gracious Professionalism as part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity

The top scoring team of 48 at the FLL State Final earned 272 points on the table, with the second place team 206.  The Cyber Rays top score of the day was 169 (the highest they had ever scored even in practice), a fantastic showing for a first year team with all kids 13 and under.

There are five possible FLL Robot-based awards: Overall, Performance (for highest score on the table at the event), Programming, Innovation & Strategy, and Mechanical Design. A team can only win one of these awards at any one event, and not all events have all five awards.  In their quest to the Worlds this season the Cyber Rays have won three of the five FLL awards in the course of the three events they have attended.  They won the Performance at the Clearwater, FL, Qualifier with 16 teams competing, the Programming at the Tampa, FL, Regional with 32 teams competing, and Innovation & Strategy at Melbourne Florida State final with 48 teams competing.

To win programming, innovation, and mechanical awards, the team present and run their robot for a panel of expert judges who ask them questions about their robot and their solutions to the missions.  The team brings a computer with them and the judges review the details of their programming and ask them very specific and detailed questions. 

During initial judging at State, the team was asked about the programs they wrote.  The judges were impressed with the use of an “ALL IN ONE” program versus separate programs for each mission used by all the other teams), and the use of Loops and Switches.  Because the judges spent so much time on the programs during initial judging, the team was ‘called back’ for a second round where the judges focused on the mechanical attachments.  Both elements are considered for the Innovation and Strategy award they were given.  Dr Scott Evans who has designed all the tournament boards and missions for the past 10 years was at the tournament.  He is one of the FLL visionaries and celebrities and noted that he was impressed with the simplicity of the solution the Cyber Rays had for the return of a trailer. 

While 7 teams celebrated the journey forward to the World Invitational Open, the State tournament meant the end of the road for 41 teams, including great friends of the team, the Mustache Motors of Tampa, FL.  This team of two girls (Jenna and Tillie) and two boys (Chris and Joey) have been the epitome of Gracious Professionalism and were fast friends of the Cyber Rays from the qualifier in Clearwater, FL. 

Their parents and coaches have stored our bulky items between tournaments saving the team on travel costs.  Prior to the start of the State Tournament we all met in Orlando for a day of fun, a shining example of the camaraderie that builds within FLL.  The Mustache Motors plan to join the team again as supporters at the World Invitational Open, and plans are already underway to have them come to Cayman so that the two teams can do a demonstration tournament (the long term goal is to establish a FLL regional qualifier here in Cayman with other schools, home school groups, or after-school clubs competing).

Continue Reading

Pigs Trotters win big

| 05/03/2012 | 1 Comment

Dart1 (243x275).jpg(CRFU): If ever there was someone looking for a Cinderella Story in Cayman Rugby then they’d need look no further than the Queensgate Pigs Trotters. The Trotters, who had not won a game of XV’s Rugby in over 2 years, finished last in this year’s Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy Season and facing the current league champions the DHL Cayman Storm in a 1st vs. 4th place play off to see who would march into the DART Vase final, won the game in emphatic fashion 27-5. The DHL Storm, having started the 2011-12 season with a strong 48-5 win over the Krys Global Buccaneers, had made a marked decline in the 2nd half of the season to need a late comeback against the Pigs Trotters to avoid embarrassment, lose to the Buccaneers and finally struggle against a 12 man Iguana side. Photos  Caroline Deegan

The game started brightly for the Storm who camped out in the Pigs Trotters half of the pitch and had the first shot at points but the strong onshore breeze made kicking a treacherous prospect for Storm flyhalf Michael Sumares. His counterpart Marco du Plessis had little difficulty at the other end of the field when his team turned the tide and marched downfield into Storm territory and never looked back.

Dart2 (300x247).jpgWhilst the usually solid Pigs Trotter pack was pressured at the scrum by the DHL Storm every other aspect of the Pigs game was in the ascendancy. Indeed the first try for the Pigs came from a lineout drive with Captain Doug Anderson crossing the line. The dogged Pigs Trotters defense turned the Storm over at the breakdown and stopped the dangerous running of Keswick Wright and Vanassio Tokotokovanua at all the important moments. 

18-0 down at the half and after a strong talking to from DHL Storm coach Steve Clarke many expected to see yet another DHL Storm comeback but an early Iain Curry try in the 2nd half hammered home the Pigs desire to not see this game slip out of their grasp as had been the case on more than one occasion this season. 

As the game wound down the DHL Storm, knowing that overcoming a 27-0 deficit was a nearly impossible feat, looked instead to avoid a shut-out loss and thanks to the strong running of late substitute Baron Solomon set up an unconverted try to bring up the final score of 27-5.

With the Queensgate Pigs Trotters now set to face the in-form Krys Global Buccaneers in the DART Vase final there will be much debate on whether the Pigs Trotters can maintain this new found desire and resilience to raise their first trophy since 2007.

Next games 10 March 2012 at the Cayman Islands Rugby Club:
3.30pm: Krys Global Buccaneers vs. Queensgate Pigs Trotters (DART Vase Final)

 

 

Continue Reading

Athletes invited to CUC championships

| 05/03/2012 | 0 Comments

male_athlete_running_on_track_pss47002 (208x250).jpg(CIAA): The Cayman Islands Athletic Association will host the annual CUC Age Group Championships on Friday 9 March starting at 6:00pm and continuing on Saturday March 10th starting at 9:00am.  Ages 7yrs and above are eligible to participate in this great event.  Events being contested are:  80m, 100m, 150m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 100m Hurdles, 110m Hurdles, Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Javelin, Ball Throw, Discus & Shot Put.  Registration forms are available on CaymanActive @ www.caymanactive.com/cuc one is also posted below.  No entry fee is required and registration deadline is Tuesday March 6th.  Officials and volunteers are asked to please come out and assist. 

For further information contact Elizabeth Ibeh at 925-4763 or Harcourt Wason at 916-6966.

 

Continue Reading

Open water serious attracts 86 swimmers

| 05/03/2012 | 0 Comments

CBACswim_04 (206x250).jpg(CBAC): Swimmers,  and water walkers, are now gearing up for the second part in the Camana Bay Aquatic Club Open Water Series, which will take place on Saturday 10 March. The event will start with a 200m Lollipop Dash, followed by a 600m Sea Swim and a 600m Water Walk. The series will conclude on Saturday 31 March with a 200m Lollipop Dash, and a rewarding 800m Sea Swim and 800m Water Walk. The first event was held on Saturday 18 February with more than 86 participants turning out for the first in this three-part series of family-friendly open water events. “It went really well,” says CBAC Head Coach Katie Lambert.

“We had a tremendous amount of parent and volunteer support, which led to a very well-organised meet – and to a very positive experience for the swimmers.” The little ones enjoyed a 200m Lollipop Dash, designed for swimmers 10 and under who are new to open water swimming, with more confident swimmers participating in the 400m Sea Swim. The last event of the day was the 400m Water Walk, where participants walked through the water at waist height.

The Series allows swimmers to build open water confidence in a friendly environment while giving others in the community an opportunity to test the waters of competitive swimming, explains Coach Katie Lambert. “All events are open to swimmers of all ages and abilities and aim to encourage new swimmers to try a new sport, get wet and have fun.”

Registration for the remaining two events can be made on the day at the event, online at caymanactive.com or at The Discovery Centre in Camana Bay. Cost is CI$30 for a Series Package, CI$90 for a Family Series Package (2 adults and 2 children) or CI$15 per individual race. All swimmers will receive a CBAC swim cap, and those who sign up for the Series or Family Package will each receive a CBAC Open Water Series T-shirt.

For more information on CBAC and the Open Water Series, contact Coach Katie at katie.lambert@camanabay.com.

Continue Reading