Archive for May 22nd, 2012

More flooding expected

| 22/05/2012 | 17 Comments

IMG-20120521-00096.jpg(CNS): Schools update — Government schools reopened on Grand Cayman Wednesday but as rains turned heavy on the Sister Islands schools there closed. Officials said staff should report for work unless flooding prevents them from doing so and external exams will go ahead as planned. Local forecasters have called for more heavy showers Wednesday and police warned boat owners to stay out of the water. Inspector Tahal of the RCIPS Marine Unit advised all vessels to exercise caution, to avoid venturing out into open waters and to seek safe harbour where possible. Scattered showers and overcast conditions were expected to continue until Wednesday evening and weather experts warned of further flooding.

All government schools were closed Tuesday and both UCCI and ICCI cancelled their evening classes. However, officials confirmed that both government and private schools were expected to open Wednesday provided there were no flooding problems.

"Based on the latest weather forecast we anticipate that government schools will be able to open (Wednesday) provided that weather conditions remain stable," the education ministry stated. "However, weather conditions may change without notice and the public is encouraged to closely monitor public announcements until this weather system passes."

The forecast calls for overcast skies with widespread showers and some thunder, especially over the Sister Islands. Some showers may be locally heavy and lead to further flooding of low-lying areas.

Temperatures will fall to the upper 70’s. Winds will be south to southwest 15 to 20 knots with higher gusts in and around showers. On Wednesday cloudy skies and showers will continue with further possible flooding of low-lying areas. Temperatures are expected rise to the low 80’s. Winds will be south to southwest 15 to 20 knots with higher gusts in and around heavy showers.

The outlook calls for a general decrease in cloudiness and shower activity from Wednesday evening.

In the meantime, seas will continue to be rough with wave heights of 4 to 6 feet, especially along the south and west coasts. Small crafts should continue to exercise caution over open waters.

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More CAL delays as weather deteriorates in Cuba

| 22/05/2012 | 9 Comments

737-300-cayman-airways.jpg.jpg(CNS): Cayman Airways has said that the sudden closure of Cuba's Jose Marti International Airport by officials today due to poor weather conditions in Havana forced Cayman Airways flight KX832 to return to Grand Cayman. On arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) all passengers except three remained on board; the flight departed at 3:47pm and was scheduled to arrive in Havana at 5:45pm. Flight KX833 was then re-scheduled to depart Havana at 6:45pm, arriving in Grand Cayman at 6:45pm. This has also caused the delay of flights KX106, which is due to depart Grand Cayman at 8pm, arriving in Miami at 10:20pm; and flight KX107, which is now set to leave Miami at 11:20pm, arriving in Grand Cayman at 11:40pm.

Passengers who are booked to travel on any of these affected flights today may call Cayman Airways Reservations on 345-949-2311 (within the Caribbean) or 1-800-4-cayman (within the United States) if they need more information.

Meanwhile, Cayman Airways Express added six flights between the Sister Islands Tuesday morning to shuttle passengers from Little Cayman who were not able to travel on Monday because of inclement weather conditions. The heavy rains led to the cancellation of all Cayman Airways Express flights to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.  

Passengers from Little Cayman were transferred this morning to Cayman Brac in order to connect with an added Cayman Airways jet flight KX2402, which departed Cayman Brac at 11:40am and arrived on Grand Cayman at 12:18pm today.

“All necessary Cayman Airways staff were on hand yesterday to ensure that any affected passengers were informed as soon as possible of changes in their travel itineraries due to the inclement weather conditions, and to rebook them on the alternate flights where necessary,” said Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms. “We sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we continue to put the safety of our passengers and crew first.”

For more information visit 

or the Cayman Airways Facebook page 

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Cayman undone at the death in Bermuda

| 22/05/2012 | 3 Comments

BerCay1.jpg(CRFU): The Cayman National Rugby team travelled to Bermuda on 18 May to take on the current Caribbean Rugby Champions Bermuda in what promised to be a real battle of attrition between two sides with similar rugby playing styles. Cayman lead the game in a very low scoring affair 3-0 for about 75 minutes before a mistake in front of the posts gave Bermuda the opportunity to score the only try of the game and take the contest 7-4. Cayman’s National Coach Brad Cowdroy commented “It was a very tough, physical, in your face encounter as was expected. Our defence was excellent all day, especially around the ruck area and fringes and when they did break our line on the odd occasion, we scrambled well to stop them.”…

“It was not that we played badly, as a team we competed well. But it came down to a couple of little things that didn’t go our way that decided the match and it could just have easily been us as the winners.”

Cayman now face the Bahamas at home and although the loss to Bermuda will be a blow to the National team all is not lost… Cayman will need to achieve a bonus point win over the Bahamas this Saturday by scoring 4 or more tries to be in the best possible position to go through this round. The Bahamas will host Bermuda on June 9 and if Bermuda wins that game Cayman will have no hope of progression.

However if Cayman (with similar home support that saw Cayman hammer Mexico) beat Bahamas and the Bahamas beat Bermuda then each team will have 1 win and 1 loss and it will come down to bonus points. Cayman earned a bonus point in their loss to Bermuda by losing by less than 7 points, Bermuda didn’t attain any bonus points in their win over Cayman as they didn’t score 4 or more tries. So all is still to play for on 26 May when Cayman host the Bahamas for BIG GAME 2 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

FINAL SCORE: Bermuda 7-3 Cayman

Photo: Ben Blair of Cayman stops a Bermuda attacker at the ruck.

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Free diver takes record breaking breath in Cayman

| 22/05/2012 | 0 Comments

steve-150x150.jpg(CNS): A new free diving record was set in the Cayman Islands by Steve Benson from the United States earlier this month when he held his breath for seven minutes, 43 seconds in the free-diving discipline of static apnea during an international competition. Static apnea challenges breath-hold divers to float face down in the water for as long as possible under the supervision of safety divers and official judges. A physician’s assistant at Eastern Urological Associates, Benson surpassed the static apnea record of 7:39, set by Hawaii’s Bill Graham in July 2009.

“My focus was relaxation and meditation,” said Benson, who spent the first four minutes of his breath-hold imagining himself in a “happy place.”

Soon after the four-minute mark, his diaphragm began to contract involuntarily in a desperate urge to breathe. Benson tried to suppress the contractions through mental focus he told the Daily “Staying in the moment and telling myself, ‘I can do this all day’ was key,” Benson said. “If I start thinking about how much time I have to go, I am sunk.”

After seven minutes underwater, Benson’s coach began to call out the time signals every 15 seconds. After surpassing the record by four seconds, Benson surfaced with some heavy breathing and quickly demonstrated that he had full control of his mind and body by completing a protocol that included telling the judges he was OK.

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GT primary building open

| 22/05/2012 | 25 Comments

033 (234x300).jpg(CNS): The first new classroom block in the government’s renovation and expansion of public primary schools opened last week at George Town Primary, much to the delight of teachers, students, parents and politicians. Education Minister Rolston Anglin said that, given the economy constraints on government, the decision to renovated rather than build new schools presented a practical approach to overcrowding and facility shortages in many of the islands' primary schools. With nine classrooms, each with smart boards, a library and music room, the new block brings much needed modern learning space for the young students.

The block which was demolished at the school to make way for the new classroom building was more than 50 years old and the school had also suffered in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Anglin said that when he became minister and began his tour of all of government’s schools, the first and last questions asked by teachers and parents at the George Town primary was “When are we getting a new school?” This was not surprising, Anglin said, because it was apparent the school was in desperate need of investment.

“It became obvious to me that we had to invest in infrastructure at the primary schools,” he said.

Government, however, was not in any position to build a new school, so the decision to renovate on the school sites rather than trying to build new schools was seen as an immediate solution to the problem, the minister explained.

“We had to think how we could deal within the financial realities and at the same time deal with the needs of the children,” Anglin said at the opening ceremony on Thursday evening. He said the ministry went back to basics and thought about practical and sensible solutions. “We went to the drawing board and came up with a plan that would revolutionize the school,” he said.

He said it was about finding solutions that wouldn’t mortgage the country’s future or make promises that couldn’t be kept, as he took aim at the previous minister’s decision to build two brand new high schools that the current government says the Cayman Islands cannot afford. Anglin said he was looking for equity across the system and the result was a first rate school building by any standards and a solution to the schools problems, delivered in a cost effective way.

He saidthe building would allow teachers at George Town Primary to deliver the highest quality of learning.

“Every single classroom in this facility has a smart board,” he said, adding that what teachers can do with such tools is transformative. “We were able to deliver what our children deserve." He said schools were about learning and there had to be first rate learning in schools, which had to be delivered by competent teachers. He said that under the principal, Maria Martin, the school would continue to get first rate learning.

Martin welcomed the school block and said she had not believed she would ever see the day. “No better investment can be made than in education,” the school head noted.

George Town Primary is the first of a number of primary schools where renovations are underway, with West Bay, Bidden Town and Savannah primary schools all due to have new blocks opening shortly.

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SEZ for financial services could attract business

| 22/05/2012 | 0 Comments

Ingrid Pierce.jpg(CNS Business): International financial centres such as the Cayman Islands could attract more direct foreign investment by introducing a special economic zone (SEZ) for financial services, Ingrid Pierce, partner with Walkers, has suggested. Some may argue that small offshore centres were themselves special economic zones, but within such jurisdictions they might benefit from having a zone that gives extra preferential terms to encourage investors for inward investment, Pierce said. However, political stability, rule of law, an educated work force, and sound and sustained financial infrastructure were essential, so IFCs must have high education standards in place and get crime under control, she said. Read more on CNS Business

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Veteran marathon runner raises cash for hospice

| 22/05/2012 | 0 Comments

csn-11954.jpg(CNS): Former senior police officer and local sports personality Derek Haines raised more than $34,000 through sponsorships and donations for the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon last year in order to buy a vehicle for HospiceCare. Keys to a brand new Ford Escape were recently turned over to the centre after Vampt supplied the car at cost and government waived the duty. A surplus of $12,000 was alsopresented to Cayman Rugby for its youth development programmes.

“I am extremely grateful to all those who have so generously supported this worthwhile cause,” said Haines, a long-time Rotary member who has been running marathons since 1982.

“HospiceCare does such a great job helping people who are terminally ill, as well as providing comfort to the family. It’s a charity I have some personal contact with, including friends and fellow Rotarians who suffered from cancer,” he added.

HospiceCare Operations and Fundraising Manager Jennifer Grant-McCarthy said the donation of the vehicle has been a great boost to the organization.
“Everyone got involved supporting Derek, and we’re extremely grateful,” she said. “Almost all of the care we provide is in the person’s home, so it is very helpful to have a reliable vehicle on site.”

This year, Haines, senior manager of security at Dart Cayman, will be running the 26.2-mile marathon in December to raise funds for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society that will be earmarked to assist with fitting out a chemotherapy facility.

Haines previously raised $67,000 in the 2010 marathon, which bought a new bus for Cayman’s Special Olympic athletes.

Cayman HospiceCare is a not-for-profit organization that provides palliative care free of charge to anyone with cancer or other end-stage illnesses. Specialty nursing staff manage pain and other symptoms, and attend to the well-being of both patient and family.

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Government launches pre-school reading initiative

| 22/05/2012 | 0 Comments

free-hidden-object-games-56_0.jpg(CNS): The Education ministry and the Cayman Islands library service will be launching a library-based reading initiative next week which focuses on pre-school children. Officials said “Play, Read, Learn!” is designed for kids between the ages of three and five years and their parents/caregivers.  The series aims to provide a reading experience for children and carers together that encourages “play with purpose".  The series will focus on a structured story time programme that incorporates five basic practices that support learning to read: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. Each week programme participants will listen to stories, sing songs, and create a craft based on the programme theme.

The modules, which were designed with help from the ministry’s “Early Childhood Care and Education Unit, will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 AM weekly in each location. The classes at George Town Public Library will be held every Wednesday from 30 May to 27 June, and the classes at the West Bay library will be held every Thursday from 24 May to 28 June. 

All children must be accompanied by an adult who will participate in the programme with the child. Spaces will be limited to 15 children along with their parent or caregiver so interested parents are encouraged to contact the libraries to sign up for the programme.


For more information on the “Play, Read, Learn! Programme” please contact Juliet Lawson, Youth/Reference Services Librarian, at the George Town Public Library at 345-949-5159, or Dothlyn McFarlane, Community Librarian, at Emily (Teacher) Redley Powery Memorial Public Library at 345-949-7659.

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Procurement officials take part in CDB workshop

| 22/05/2012 | 0 Comments

Ken Jefferson Nick Freeland (226x300).jpg(CNS): Senior officials from government ministries and agencies in the Cayman Islands involved in implementation of public funded projects took part in the Caribbean Development Bank’s two-day workshop conducted by CDB’s Head of Procurement, Norman Cameron last week. Nick Freeland, Chair of the local Central Tenders Committee, said the workshop was timely, since the Cayman Islands is currently in the process of reviewing its own procurement procedures.  Ahead of the regional bank’s board meeting on Wednesday this was one of a number of events surrounding the high level meeting. 

The workshop was organised to launch the bank’s revised procurement guidelines for consultants for projects financed by the bank.

Despite the inclementweather the meeting of the Procedures Committee of Contributors to the Bank’s Special Development Fund (SDF), opened Tuesday followed by a resumption of negotiations for a replenishment of the SDF. 

The SDF is CDB’s largest source of concessionary finance for providing soft loans and grants to its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).  Replenishment of the SDF takes place every four years, and the current cycle comes to an end in December.  The first formal negotiation meeting was held in Dominica in March 2012.
The Thirteenth William G. Demas Memorial Lecture will also take place on Tuesday,and forms part of the Annual Meeting activities.

Meetings of the Board of Governors will be held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, while the Board of Directors will meet at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa and the Youth Forum will also be held there.  The Demas Memorial Lecture will be delivered at the Marriott Grand Cayman.

Headquartered in Barbados, CDB – of which the Cayman Islands is a founding member – is the Region’s premier development financing institution.  It was established in 1969 to respond to the urgent social and economic development needs of its BMCs.

CDB’s Board of Governors is the Bank’s highest decision-making body.  Each year the annual meeting is held in a different member territory. Premier McKeeva Bush has been serving as Chairman of the Board of Governors since the 2011 meeting he will preside over this year’s meeting before handing over to his successor at the conclusion.

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McLean says land claim debts not just PPM issue

| 22/05/2012 | 26 Comments

Esterley tibbetts.jpg(CNS): Former roads minister, Arden McLean, has admitted that several million dollars was owed in land compensation claims when he left office but it was not as a result of poor management by the PPM or down to just the roads he was responsible for completing. McLean told CNS that when he took office there was more than $20 million outstanding going back over the previous decade, including when Truman Bodden was leader of government business. McLean stated that during the PPM tenure he cleared more than $13 million worth of compensation claims and the administration budgeted more than $3 million year on year to clear the existing backlog.

As new roads were built, however, new compensation payments were made and others went into dispute, adding to the total amount.

Answering recent criticisms from Bodden, the former government leader, and former MLA John McLean, tMcLean said that new claims had arisen from the road developments during his time in office but he was also faced with tackling claims and disputes stretching back many years.

The former PPM Cabinet minister pointed out that it was not a matter of him leaving money to cover every possible settlement in the future but for each administration to manage the claims, which is what the PPM government had done by reducing the previous debt as well as beginning to negotiate the new claims. He pointed out that over the last three years the UDP government had budgeted less than a half million dollars per annum to deal with the ongoing negotiations.

Blaming the PPM for the entire debt burden regarding roads was unrealistic, McLean said, as he pointed to the complexities of the process and the disputes that are bound to occur. He said the hold-up was not just down to the previous government.

“In one case we had a land owner offered $20 per square foot by government but they wanted $60 per square foot, so it went to a hearing where the owners were awarded only $16. The owners then appealed that decision and they were eventually awarded $20, which is what we had offered in the first place,” McLean told CNS.

He explained that the amounts offered on compensation for lands purchased for roads are frequently disputed and resulted in protracted negotiations, and it was not a matter of simply pointing to the PPM as being the people behind the hold-up for claims being settled.

McLean pointed out that when he left office there was over $4 million worth of claims in negotiation, despite having paid back over $13.5 million on the $20 million he was presented with on coming to office. He admitted that the development of new roads swelled the claims back to $14 million, which he said was the total amount at the time he left the ministry.

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