Archive for March 8th, 2012

Police investigate possible Lakeside home invasion

| 08/03/2012 | 6 Comments

Crime-Scene.jpg(CNS): A spokesperson for the RCIPS confirmed Thursday evening that the police had received a report earlier in the week concerning a possible home invasion at Lakeside Villas in George Town. The police said that the report of masked men invading a home in the early morning hours of Tuesday when three residents were said to have been tied up was not reported to the police until sometime after the incident had occurred.  “We can confirm we received a report late Tuesday morning of an incident at Lakeside that had occurred some 12 hours earlier. The facts of the matter have not yet been established and police enquiries are on-going,” the spokesperson stated.

The police were unable to give any descriptions or further details of the incident or how the suspects got into the apartment.

According to the local television news channel Cayman27 the residents of the apartment say four masked men armed with machetes and a gun entered an apartment at the complex and tied up the 3 occupants before stealing cash and jewellery but the occupants were said not to have been harmed during the home invasion.

Cayman 27 reports that the details of the robbery were circulated among tenants at the apartments by the Lakeside management which says it’s reviewing current security arrangements at the complex with a view to making improvements.

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GOAB wins silver medal for being green

| 08/03/2012 | 28 Comments

GOAP (243x300).jpg(CNS): The new Government Office Accommodation Building has been awarded an important green accolade that demonstratesthe energy saving efficiency of the office headquarters. The GOAB has been awarded a Silver Rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the US Green Building Council. A rare status in the region, the award is the first of its kind for a building within the Cayman Islands. “This is a major achievement and we in government, past and present MLAs and ministers, are proud to receive the silver certification,” said Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the minister responsible for facility management.

“It is important that government leads by example and it is our responsibility to design our headquarters as a high performance, energy-efficient building that requires less water, and energy as well as reduces the operational cost substantially from prior levels. There are very few LEED-certified buildings in the Caribbean and the government and the McAlpine Design Build Team should be congratulated for providing the Cayman Islands with a truly sustainable facility,” she added.

The current administration has persistently criticized the previous government for commissioning the new office accommodation building and at one point attempted to divest the building to raise much needed cash. The goal, however, of the previous leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, had always been to provide government with a modern energy efficient home that would in less than a decade recoup the cost of the project by a reduction in expenditure on rent and cut government utility bills.

GOAP project manager Jim Scott said the GOAB has the lowest electricity bill per square foot of any commercial office space in the Cayman Islands and explained some of its design qualities that led to the building receiving the certification.

“The building compares very well to an office in the US and has applied best practice design principles,” he said. “It has concentrated on minimizing energy and water intake and waste output, while maximizing recycling and environmental quality. It uses about 45 per cent less energy than typical existing and old US offices, and about 20 per cent less energy than typical new US offices.”

LEED is a standard for measuring a building’s sustainability. Certification can only be awarded after a facility undergoes a rigorous and detailed evaluation by an independent third party. The LEED process began when the building was being constructed in 2008; it was included in the contract that McAlpine had to achieve a LEED Certified Award from the US Green Building Council. The building was registered as a Green Building during the construction phase and now has achieved the Silver Rating. Gold rating or higher requires that all construction materials be purchased within 500 miles of the project and this one of the reasons why the GOAB received a silver rating.

Alan Jones, Chief Officer in the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, said the Cayman Islands government is keen to reduce its carbon footprint.
“By recognizing innovative construction methods, sustainable use of resources and a design that prioritizes the needs of the wider environment and society, we have demonstrated that we are environmentally aware as we contribute to the development of an eco-friendly Cayman Islands,” he said.

Other environmental initiatives include an aluminum can recycling programme, established by Facility Management and the Department of Environmental Health, and only green housekeeping products are used at the building.

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Ritz law suit a threat to CI

| 08/03/2012 | 35 Comments

RitzCarltonGrandCaymanParent.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has warned that the impact of the legal action against the owners of the Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman could pose a threat to the Cayman Islands reputation and tourism industry. Alden McLaughlin has said that for all of the issues surrounding the development of the internationally branded resort, and those since, it has been a boost to the islands tourism industry and its closure would be detrimental to business and Cayman’s standing. While the PPM leader said the outstanding $6 million duty was also of significant concern to government, as it was very unlikely the public purse would now recoup that debt, the hotel closure could be even worse.

McLaughlin was the first person to query the stalled duty payments publicly when he raised the issue during question time in the Legislative Assembly in September 2010. The premier admitted that the developer, Michael Ryan, the owner of a number of companies linked to the hotel, had ceased making payments on a debt to the public purse of some $10 milllion, despite there being more than $6 milllion still owing.

Government officials have recently confirmed that it is several months since they last had any contact with the developer regarding the negotiations for a new payment plan.

Given the current circumstances after a creditor filed legal action in the Grand Court last month in an effort to take control of the Ritz, McLaughlin said the chances of the Cayman Islands Government now recovering the outstanding duty were not good.

“The government’s claim would be pretty low on the totem pole as it is an unsecured debt,” the opposition leader said, if the hotel was to be taken over by creditors. But given the circumstances, government was now unlikely to be agitating as they should be for the money, he added.

Notwithstanding the significance of that amount, McLaughlin pointed to the risk of the hotel closing, which he said could have a much greater impact on Cayman as a whole than the missing duty. The opposition leader said the closure would impact the islands’ image as a high end tourist destination as well as directly affect tourism related businesses. Even if government can’t recoup the debt to the public purse, McLaughlin said, it must do all it can to keep the hotel open.

The opposition leader noted that the duty should have been recovered by now as under the previous administration the developer was obligated to pay back the waiver from the Ritz before the PPM administration agreed to new concessions for a proposed new development at Dragon Bay. He said the government, of which he was a part, had made it clear that new concessions could only be granted on the basis that the previous duty waivers, which became due after the hotel opened, would be repaid.

Ryan’s companies stopped paying the quarterly instalments immediately after the UDP government was returned to office and has made no payments since March 2009.

Independent member for North Side Ezzard Miller said he wanted to know what had changed after the May 2009 election that allowed the developer to stop making the payments, especially now that it was clear the $6 million of public money was in danger of never being repaid. He said the finance ministry should be taking steps to protect the government’s claim in case the results of the pending legal action do not go in Ryan’s favour.

“We need to establish if the Cayman government could be a legitimate creditor,” Miller added.

In 2010 the premier said that there was little risk that the money would not be returned when he told the Legislative Assembly that the Ritz developer was seeking a new payment plan but, Miller pointed out, 18 months later there was now a very demonstrable risk that the money would not be returned.

In addition, as the developer had not made any effort to pay government any money for almost three years, Miller said he believed there did not appear to be “any real intent on his part to pay it back either”, never mind the risk that Ryan’s legal dispute now raised about his ability to pay going forward.

See related stories:

Rritz-duty-still-not-paid

Ritz-carlton-faces-takeover

See details of legal action here
 

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Approach to troubled youth begins transformation

| 08/03/2012 | 7 Comments

Cayman Islands Youth Centre (290x300).jpg(CNS): The way local authorities deal with young offenders and those with behavioural problems is beginning its transformation. With the ground breaking of a new young offenders institute in George Town next week and the official adoption of the Missouri Model at the Bonaventure Boys Home in West Bay, the community affairs ministry is leading the charge to switch from a punishment focus regime to one which encourages troubled youngster to confront their issues. This specialist model focuses on rehabilitation typically within a peer-group setting and since its recent adoption, the programme has seen significant improvements in the boys, officials have said.

The new youth centre which will also be based on the Missouri Model, is due to be finished by May next year and will serve as both a home and treatment centre for juvenile offenders and remanded young people.

“Missouri’s approach is not at all a ‘soft’ approach to delinquent behaviour, but instead, much harder, more demanding and more likely to bring about meaningful change as you must face and deal with your most difficult and traumatic issues and take responsibility for your actions and behaviour”,” said the Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, Mike Adam.

“With these enhancements in youth rehabilitation, we all have an opportunity to help chart the way forward by empowering our children and youth, strengthening our community and securing the future of these Islands,” he added.

Along with the new programme the Bonaventure home as also recently been renovated to reflect the new philosophy. There is now an open dorm layout for staff observation and safety, classrooms, and a group meeting room. Residents have a daily schedule consisting of education, group counselling, individual counselling, meals, recreation, dorm cleaning, and check-ins.

The Chairman of the Children and Youth Services (CAYS) Foundation, Garth Arch, which runs the home said, “It is encouraging to witness the significant progress being made with the shift in youth rehabilitation from the traditional punitive approach towards a strength-based model focusing on group interaction and positive personal development.

The establishment of the new Therapeutic Community Programme is a meaningful advancement towards successfully rehabilitating at-risk youths to become positive and productive citizens.”

The Therapeutic Community Programme General Manager, Sydney Williams, is happy with the home’s new look. “With our remodelled home, we now have a full plan – one that includes more suitable accommodation, trained staff, new principles and higher standards for the boys to enjoy,” he said. “The new system has really put a positive spin on the way the boys interact, and I am confident that this new direction will help our youth become productive citizens of this country.”

 

The ground-breaking ceremony for Cayman’s first purpose-built youth rehabilitation facility, Cayman Islands Youth Centre, on Thursday 15 March at 4pm at 73 Fairbanks Road.

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UCCI promises unforgettable conference

| 08/03/2012 | 14 Comments

ucci%20front%20sign.jpg(CNS): Organisers are promising a feast of intellectual thought later this month with this year’s UCCI conference. With its theme of surveying the last fifty years and mapping the next fifty, it offers an opportunity to empower an entire community as members revisit the success stories of the past while charting a course into the future, the college said this week as it promoted the conference. A diverse list of speakers includes Cayman’s own chief justice, the former prime minister of Barbados and the premier of Bermuda. “This coming together of intellectuals, policy makers and the general public should allow for an unforgettable experience,” said Conference Director Dr Livingston Smith.

“UCCI is engaged in these conference initiatives for no other reason than to stimulate and inject new ideas and to thus offer invaluable opportunities to raise national intellectual and social assets to respond in more innovative and creative ways to the needs of the island and those of the broader Caribbean,” he added.

The conference is being hosted by UCCI in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI, Mona) and the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI). 50-50 Caribbean Conference is scheduled for 21-23 March and is the third in the series of well-received annual regional conferences staged by UCCI.

The line-up of speakers includes Owen Arthur, the opposition leader and former prime minister of Barbados; Paula Cox, Bermuda’s premier; Sir Ronald Sanders, an international consultant and former senior Caribbean ambassador; Professor Orlando Patterson, historical and cultural sociologist from Harvard University;  Dr. Carlyle Corbin, an international advisor on governance and multilateral diplomacy; Cayman Islands Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie; Dr Dax Basdeo, the financial services chief officer; as well as Prof. Neville Duncan, Dr Michael Witter and Dr Keith Nurse from the University of the West Indies. The former Bermuda premier, Ewart Brown, will also be chairing a panel and presenting a paper.

“It is safe to remark that it will be a long time before this level of expertise is assembled together in one room, not to mention the added bonus of being able to hear them explain and expound their positions,” said Roy Bodden, UCCI President. “As if this is not reason enough to warrant attending the conference, there are some one hundred papers to be read and discussed. The UCCI International Conference has truly grown in significance and I implore you, the public, to attend as many presentations as possible,” he added.

Bodden said the collaboration of UCCI, UWI and ICCI is precedent setting. “Together these institutions of higher learning have set as their collective objective to provide an enlightening and outstanding experience for all conference participants.”

The 50-50 Conference is a huge event representing various sectors of the community coming together to encourage awareness and education and Bodden offered his appreciation to the sponsors.

To register and for further information, visit www.ucciconference.ky

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26 swimmers heading to CARIFTA games

| 08/03/2012 | 0 Comments

Geoff Butler (242x300).jpg(CIASA): The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) has announced the National Junior Representative Swimming Team which will travel to Nassau, Bahamas to compete in the XXIV 201CARIFTA Swimming Championships 12-15 April. Swimmers from Stingray Swim Club (SSC) and Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC) have been training hard all season. With the final qualifier  – the Pete Ribbins Memorial Consolidated Water Meet – behind them, CARIFTA Head Coach Dominic Ross and assistant Coaches Katie Lambert and Paula Swaby-Ebanks have made the final team selection of 26 members.

“As coaches we are fully aware of the levels of commitment, sacrifice and effort displayed by each of these athletes,” said Coach Ross. “It is their dedication to the sport they love that has brought them to this point. The future has never been brighter for Cayman Islands Swimming and it is with immense pride and tremendous anticipation that we continue with the final preparations for this team, working in unison towards a successful CARIFTA 2012 next month in the Bahamas"

Swimmers who will be representing the Cayman Islands at the XXIV 2012 CARIFTA Swimming Championships are:
– Girls 11-12: Katie Klein (SSC), Lauren Hew (CBAC), Stefanie Boothe (SSC),  Kavanagh Lambert (CBAC), Jayde Solomon (SSC), Flynn Hope (CBAC) and Samantha Bailey (SSC).
– Boys 11-12: Rory Barrett (CBAC), Matthew Somerville (CBAC), Samuel Burnstein (CBAC) and Jonathan Key (SSC).
– Girls 13-14: Coral Tomascik (CBAC), Catriona Macrae (SSC), Isabella Tongnazzo (CBAC), Ashley Theaker (SSC)and Alice Narborough (SSC).
– Boys 13-14: Simon Butler (SSC), Iain McCallum (SSC) and Cole Morgan (SSC).
– Girls 15-17: Lara Butler (SSC) and Tori Flowers (SSC)
– Boys 15-17: Geoffrey Butler (SSC), Alex McCallum (SSC), Elliot Vernon (SSC), Joshua Bain (SSC) and Asher vanZanten (Unattached)

Mark Matthews, CIASA Director and Chairman of the Representative Team Committee (The Representative Team Committee – RTC – is a sub-committee of CIASA which deals with matters relating to the representation of the Cayman Islands at international aquatic competitions) said it was delighted to receive the recommendations.

“Cayman Swimming has experienced incredible growth in the past year and we anticipate that this growth trend will continue in the coming years under the leadership of Ian Armiger, the new Technical Director for swimming,” he added.

With a potential maximum team size of 32 swimmers the Cayman Islands will be sending 26 swimmers this year and with veteran CARIFTA swimmers from the Butler and McCallum families on the team the first time competitors will have good mentors in their team mates.

“I would like to congratulate all of our swimmers,” said the sports minister Mark Scotland. “Swimming requires incredible commitment, discipline and focus … and many early hours at the pool. I want to acknowledge the fortitude of these young athletes and to thank their parents for the support and often referenced ‘swim taxi service’ which they provide. On behalf of the Ministry of Sports and the Cayman Islands Government we wish you all success in the Bahamas.”

The CARIFTA Team travelling to Nassau will include Head Coach Dominic Ross, Assistant Coaches Katie Lambert and Paula Swaby-Ebanks; Team Managers Melanie Solomon and Jeffrey Wight and Team Phsyio Cayman Physiotherapy’s Bethany Cook.

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Organisers rig up for Race Cayman 2012

| 08/03/2012 | 1 Comment

Race Cayman J22s racing upwind (264x300).jpg(CISC): Cayman Islands Sailing Club will be hosting Race Cayman 2012 15th – 18th March. Racing takes place in North Sound and will include the Western Caribbean and Open Optimist Dinghy Championship and the J22 International Invitational Regatta. Cayman competitors will be racing against visiting sailors from USA, UK, Bahamas, Jamaica, Germany, Norway and South Africa on Friday 16th through Sunday 18th March.This event is the largest international sailing regatta that is held in the Cayman Islands attracting competitors and teams from around the world.  

"We are very excited to be hosting another prestigious international regatta in Cayman" said CISC Commodore AndrewMoon. "We are thrilled to welcome on board with us principal sponsors HSBC Cayman together with the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture who are major supporters of the event.'

He added that the Club is grateful to Andreas Ugland and the Cayman Motor Museum, Flowers Bottled Water, Jacques Scott, Water Authority of the Cayman Islands and Schloss Johannisberg wines for their additional support.
 
Visitors will be treated to the ideal sailing conditions of North Sound with racing taking place over three days, each starting at 12 noon, under the guidance of Race Officers Peta Adams and Andrew Moon along with visiting International Judges Gilmour Manuel and Harry Keith.

Cayman's sailing team is made up of top junior sailors Alena Rankine, Florence Allen, Pablo Bertran and Finley McDougall in the Optimist Class and J22 teams led by Jane Moon, Simon Farrington and Mike Farrington. In addition to the on water racing programme, the regatta features a full schedule of social events which are open to all. 

More information is available by contacting CISC at admin@sailing.ky and the Club hopes that spectators will come out on the North Sound to enjoy watching some exciting sailboat racing.

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Invisible Children highlights atrocities in Uganda

| 08/03/2012 | 0 Comments

Kony.jpg(Huffington Post): American filmmakers who reported on wartime atrocities in Africa for a 50-minute work called "Invisible Children" drew more attention than they imagined when their project was released in 2005. They soon founded a nonprofit organization to campaign against the brutality. The group's new 29-minute video is gaining even more attention, thanks to social media. The work released Monday is part of an effort called KONY 2012 that targets the Lord's Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony (left), a bush fighter wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Uganda, Invisible Children and (hash)stopkony were among the top 10 trending terms on Twitter among both the worldwide and U.S. audience on Wednesday night, ranking higher than New iPad or Peyton Manning.

Twitter's top trends more commonly include celebrities than fugitive militants.

Ben Keesey, Invisible Children's 28-year-old chief executive officer, said the viral success shows their message resonates and that viewers feel empowered to force change. It was released on the website, www.kony2012.com.

"The core message is just to show that there are few times where problems are black and white. There's lots of complicated stuff in the world, but Joseph Kony and what he's doing is black and white," Keesey said Wednesday.

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Specialist dogs arrive to help missing man search

| 08/03/2012 | 0 Comments

_DEW6034_0.jpg(CNS): A team of specialist dogs and their handlers have arrived in the Cayman Islands from overseas to join the on-going search for Nathan Clarke, a 31 year old resident of West Bay who has been missing for almost twelve days. The team, from Metro-Dade, arrived on island last night at the request of the RCIPS and joined the search as it resumed on Thursday morning. “The two dogs, which have specialist skills in search and recovery, joined the water-based search when it resumed at 9.30am,” an RCIPS spokesperson stated. Nathan was last seen on the Saturday, 26 February, close to the water’s edge at Calico Jack's bar on Seven Mile Beach.

Despite extensive searches on land and sea and scrutiny of hours of CCTV footage over the last 10 days, the only sign of the British man who worked as a teacher’s aide at Cayman prep is his mobile phone. The phone was found on the seabed by a cruise ship passenger snorkelling some fifty metres out from public beach close to the area where Nathan was last spotted.

More than 500 volunteers, some 39 police officers using marine and air resources have combed the area over the last eleven days on land and sea, accumulating more than 28,000 man hours in the search, but there has been no further sign of Nathan.

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

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2012 will be an ‘electric’ year on Cayman roads

| 08/03/2012 | 0 Comments

AMP jeep2.jpg(CNS Business): Local businessman and auto trader, John Felder, has spent many years campaigning to get electric vehicles on Cayman’s roads and despite further delays to the implementation of thetraffic law the Cayman Automotive owner says 2012 will be the year of the “electrics”. Already the exclusive Cayman dealer for a number of eco-vehicles, he recently signed a new agreement with AMP Electric vehicles to become their exclusive Caribbean dealer. AMP is an electric vehicle company specializing in truck conversions and the agreement gives Felder the exclusive retail and fleet distribution rights in Jamaica, St John, St Thomas, St Kitts, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Barbados, as well as here in Cayman. Read more on CNS Business

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