Archive for July 5th, 2012

Market at the Grounds mango mania

| 05/07/2012 | 1 Comment

mangoes_img1.jpg(CNS):  More than 400 people came out to the 3rd annual Mango Fest held in conjunction with Market at the Grounds last weekend where local chefs and farmers showcased the many varieties of the fruit and use in cooking. The Cayman Islands Agriculture Society and Department of Agriculture also took the occasion to celebrate the local fruit and teach visitors about it. A wide variety of jams, cakes, tarts, cookies and juices were sold at the family fun event. The agriculture minister, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly described Mango Fest as a “key cultural event”. 

"Festivals such as these provide the opportunity for growers of mangoes and tropical fruits to share their different crop varieties with the community and are an ideal forum for crop producers and business owners to showcase their produce, arts and crafts, food and merchandise. It was a great family outing and I would like to thank all those who made the day possible," the Deputy Premier said. 

The local varieties of mango in season and at the show were mainly the Nam Doc, Julie, Kent, Valencia Pride and Jakarta. Cayman’s celebrity chefs and representatives of Slow Food South Sound showcased their culinary expertise, with the mango. Dishes included mango ice cream,  grilled mango and manchego bruschetta, as well as curried mango spring roll, mango tarte tatin with almond cream dessert, tuna ceviche with Julie mango and crispy cassava, smoked pork shoulder using mango wood with mango barbeque sauce, green mango slaw and mango flan.

Mango trees were also on sale at the event and the Department of Agriculture took the opportunity to educate the public on the care of mango trees and the effects of the disease, Anthracnose, by distributing a leaflet on the subjects. In addition, the Society's display included general information about mangos and a variety of mango samplings, cakes and juices.
 

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Politicians decide to make top titles eternal

| 05/07/2012 | 141 Comments

_DEW9467.jpg(CNS): Members of Cabinet have decided that top politicians and speakers of the LA will keep their 'honourable' monikers for all eternity because of the “burden of responsibility borne by those posts”, according to government officials. A release from GIS stated that people who have held top political positions in the Cayman Islands Government or presided over the legislature will retain the title of “Honourable” in perpetuity. Officials have said, however, that there will be no cost to the public purse and that the small numbers of posts involved will limit the potential for proliferation of holders.

Government said a soon-to-be revised Order of Precedence will include an explanatory note to this effect, although the former post-holders will not otherwise appear on the list that outlines the ceremonial order for government officials.

As a result of the change former LOGBs, such as Truman Bodden (1994-2000) and Kurt Tibbetts (2005-2009), are entitled to resume use of the so-called honorific title. Those who have since passed away will also be bestowed with their honourable titles beyond the grave.

Meanwhile, past Speakers Linford Pierson and Edna Moyle may also begin using the designation. The current deputy premier, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, who served as Speaker from 2001-2003 can retain her honourable title should she leave Cabinet.

National Hero Sybil McLaughlin, who was the first Speaker of the House (1991-1996), is already honourable.

The position of leader of government business (LOGB) became defunct following the enactment of the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009, which introduced the new title of premier, a position presently held by McKeeva Bush, who had previously served as LOGB from 2001-2005.

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Cayman U19s off to Mexico to defend their title

| 05/07/2012 | 2 Comments

u19Mex1 (300x256).jpg(CRFU): The Cayman Islands under 19 rugby team travels to Mexico City on Friday July 6 to defend their Caribbean championship crown won last July in Cayman at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.In last year’s tournament, Cayman defeated Barbados in their opening match, before seeing off Bermuda in a tough semi-final and then Trinidad & Tobago in a nail biting final. This year Cayman will get their campaign started against hosts Mexico on Saturday July 7.Cayman haven't met Mexico since defeating them in the final back in 2009.

Cayman’s second game of this year’s tournament will be against Barbados, and if they are successful in these games, they could meet either Bermuda or Trinidad & Tobago in the final on Saturday July 14.

Cayman’s most recent warm up match was last Saturday against a Shane Williams XV. Williams who was on island for the Cayman Rugby Football union annual dinner, is an international superstar of rugby. Williams is one of the world’s most exciting wingers, known for his side-step and electric acceleration and has played 91 international matches for Wales and the British and Irish lions, scoring 60 tries. He was also the 2008 IRB world player of the year.

Cayman have had an impressive recent record in the Caribbean championships, winning the title 3 times in the past 4 years. This squad is the most experienced for a number of years with three members, Morgan Hayward, Tom Mann and Alex Pineau, playing for the full men’s Cayman International XV’s side in this year’s regional campaign which saw Cayman defeat Mexico and the Bahamas on home soil.

All of the squad, management and parents have been working hard for months to raise the funds for this 10 day trip. The venture would not have been possible without financial support from the Cayman Islands Government and the following local businesses.
DART, Deutsche Bank, Conyers Dill & Pearman, Rawlinson & Hunter, Pestkil, Caledonian Global Financial Services, Otis Air Conditioning, ICG Management Limited, Universal Air Conditioning, Cayman Pal, Island Air, CUC, Rankine & Kerrie McMillian, DMS Offshore, the Security Centre and the Queensgate Pigs Trotters RFC.

Games will be streamed live over the internet on

http://www.justin.tv/fmru#r=l6QtvHU~&s=em

See the U19 sqaud profiles below U19 Squad Profiles

 

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Cayman’s lord chairs UK web-snooping committee

| 05/07/2012 | 6 Comments

021 (237x300).jpg(CNS): Lord Blencathra, the head of the Cayman Islands UK office and Cayman’s cheerleader in the corridors of power in London and Brussles, is chairing a committee to examine the British Government’s draft Communications Data Bill. "Each and every one of us" will be affected by the bill, the Conservative peer told the BBC on Thursday. Blencathra chairs the joint committee of MPs and peers holding the inquiry and stressed a privacy-security balance. Under government's plans, internet service providers will have to store details of internet use in the UK for a year to allow police and intelligence services to access it.

Records will include people's activity on social network sites, webmail, internet phone calls and online gaming.

Ministers argue that changes are needed to ensure that law-enforcement agencies can access data about new technology communication just as they are currently able to with older forms of communication.

"This committee wants to ensure that the draft bill will ensure a sufficient balance between an individual's privacy and national security," said Lord Blencathra. "We intend very thoroughly to examine the government's proposals and hope to hear from interested bodies and organisations about exactly how the changes in technology and the way we use it should be reflected in legislation about access to communication data."

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Lone dolphin may be aggressive warns DoE

| 05/07/2012 | 32 Comments

Dolphin_FulvioBonati (249x300).jpg(CNS): Marine mammal experts at the Department of Environment (DoE) are warning people not to swim in the water with a lone male dolphin currently swimming around the North Sound. Over the past two weeks, the DoE has received several reports about the bottlenose dolphin, which is said to be approaching boats in the sound, swimming back and forth within small areas for hours or days and rubbing against moorings and anchor chains. "Observing a wild dolphin is a rare privilege in the Cayman Islands,” said DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal. “However, wild dolphins, especially lone dolphins, can be unpredictable and dangerous when approached by swimmers.” (Photo Fulvio Bonati)

She added that the DoE was warning members of the public not to be tempted to enter the water with this animal.

"People who have approached the dolphin have reported ‘jaw-clapping’, which is the dolphin rapidly snapping its mouth open and shut. Dolphins use behaviours such as jaw-clapping to communicate dominance among members of the pod. In interactions with swimmers, this can convey agitation and aggression and is a clear warning sign," Blumenthal warned.

This is not the first time the government department have received reports about a lone dolphin and for several years people have spoken of a solitary dolphin living in the North Sound. It is not known whether this bottlenose dolphin is the same long-term resident dolphin. Given its smaller size when first sighted, the DoE believes it might be a young animal which was separated from its pod.

The reasons why some dolphins become solitary are not well known. While some lone dolphins have become famous for their friendly behaviour, international marine mammal experts have many concerns for the safety of lone dolphins and people when interactions occur, DoE experts explained.

The dolphins sometimes display aggressive and sexual behaviours directed toward swimmers who approach or harass them, leading to serious injuries and even death. In addition, veterinary experts are concerned about the potential for transfer of diseases from dolphins to humans and vice versa. For lone dolphins, habituationto people often leads to changes in behaviour, infections and injuries such as propeller strikes from inhabiting areas of high human activity.

To avoid altering the natural behaviour of the apparent local resident dolphin, the DoE is asking asks members of the public who see the dolphin to watch it from a distance, not approach too closely, and not to attempt to feed the marine animal.

In order to gather information on the behaviour of the animal, sightings should be reported to DoE by phone (949-8469) or email DoE@gov.ky.

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Six months more for building material duty cut

| 05/07/2012 | 1 Comment

12786building_materials (300x246).jpg(CNS): Despite the budget difficulties faced by the government at present, the premier’s office has announced that import duty concessions on building materials will be extended for another six months. In a release on Thursday afternoon, McKeeva Bush, who is also the minister of finance, said the extension was an effort to further stimulate economic activity so the concessions would continue on until 31 December. Under the extended concessions imports of building materials to Grand Cayman will be charged a flat rate of 15% for the period 1 July to 31 December instead of the usual 22%, and imports to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman will be 100% duty free.

“The extension of these concessions is consistent with the government’s ongoing efforts to stimulate growth in the economy,” saidBush. “I encourage all developers and other stakeholders to accelerate their construction activity during this further concessionary period.”

For the purpose of these concessions, building materials have been defined as: All physical components and substances, whether solid or liquid, used in the construction, renovation or restoration and forming a permanent part of any building or related structure.

Items such as furniture, accessories, electronics and appliances are specifically excluded.

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Government offers new post-grad teacher training

| 05/07/2012 | 3 Comments

teacher.jpg(CNS): The education department is on the hunt for exceptional people to become teachers. Starting in September, in partnership with the University of Sunderland in the UK and the University College of the Cayman Islands, the department will be offering a new teacher training programme as part of the Ministry’s “TeachCayman” initiative. One of the goals of that initiative is to attract high-performing individuals to the teaching profession. Students will follow an internationally recognised, on-line programme leading to the Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) which will be complemented by specially designed workshops.

Cetonya Cacho, the Co-ordinator for Initial Teacher Training, who is on secondment to the Ministry from her post as principal of Bodden Town Primary school said it was an internationally recognised qualification. “It is aligned with the Cayman Islands National Curriculum and will prepare teachers who meet the Cayman Islands National Professional Standards for Teachers,” she added.

The course is a one-year, full-time programme, designed to prepare new teachers for the primary years in Cayman Islands schools.  The course is intended to attract Caymanians but non-Caymanians will be considered. Applicants must have at least a Bachelor’s Degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate studies or a 2.2 honours degree.  No prior teaching experience is necessary as teaching experience will be a key part of the programme organised and supported by the Ministry.

“Teaching is a most honourable profession and one that should be respected and valued,’ said the education minister, Rolston Anglin. “It is also a profession in which we need to see more young Caymanians. As a result, my ministry felt that it was important that a high quality teaching qualification should be provided locally.  I encourage all those who wish to pursue teaching as a career to consider this opportunity and apply for this course.”

Chief Officer in the Ministry, Mary Rodrigues explained that the University of Sunderland has substantial experience in delivering on-line Initial Teacher Training programmes in a number of different countries. It has been quality assured by OfSTED. 
“It is a very flexible and accessible way of following a PGCE programme. Alongsideof their academic studies, student teachers will spend a substantial amount of time based in a Cayman Islands school practising their teaching skills and will be supported individually by a designated, trained, mentor who is an experienced classroom teacher,” she said.

Applications for this course are now being accepted.  Application forms and all the details of the course can be found on the Ministry of Education’s website: www.education.gov.ky.  Alternatively, interested persons can email teachcayman@gov.ky or call 244-5736 or 244-5724 for more information.  The application deadline is Friday July 13, 2012.

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Legal appoints a new solicitor general

| 05/07/2012 | 15 Comments

SG Jacqueline Wilson (223x300).jpg(CNS): Government officials said that Jacqueline Wilson has now taken up the post of the Cayman Islands’ new Solicitor General in the wake of the acting government solicitor’s departure to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The Portfolio of Legal Affairs said Wilson who is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, was selected following an open recruitment process to fill the vacancy created when Cheryll Richards QC, the former Solicitor General was appointed as Cayman’s first Director of Public Prosecutions, an office independent of Legal Affairs.

Wilson is no stranger to the Cayman Islands having previously worked as an attorney in the Attorney General’s chambers for 5 years, leaving in 2002 to work with British Virgin Islands government where she has been for the past ten years.

Richards, who is now has the DPP, has independent responsibility for Public Prosecutions, a role formerly carried out by the Chambers of the Attorney General prior to the 2009 Constitution.  As a result Wilson will now be responsible for the day to day management of the Solicitor General’s office which on behalf of the Attorney General deals with all government civil and advisory matters.  She will also be the Portfolio’s Chief Officer under the Public Service Management Law.

The Deputy Governor and the Attorney General said they were pleased to have Wilson re-join the Cayman Islands government service and said they were confident in her ability to manage the responsibilities associated with the post.

The Attorney General thanked Vicki Ellis who was acting as Solicitor General for the greater part of the period when the post became vacant. She is now a judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He has also expressed his appreciation to both Douglas Schofield and Reshma Sharma for also acting for short periods prior to Wilson’s arrival.

Wilson said it was a privilege to return to Cayman and was grateful for the support from the Portfolio of Legal Affairs.  “I will make every effort to fulfil the expectations and to effectively discharge the responsibilities of the post,” she added.  

 

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El Nino could curb Atlantic peak season storms

| 05/07/2012 | 2 Comments

305631520-23135453.jpg(CNS): Experts at the U.S. Climate Prediction Centre revealed Thursday that the emergence of an El Niño in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, may limit the development of hurricanes in the Atlantic as the storm season reaches its peak in September. The weather boffins said that the number of warm spots across the central Pacific has grown indicating an El Niño may form before the storm season reaches is busiest time. “Overall, the forecaster consensus reflects increased chances for El Niño,” the centre said. This phenomenon in the Pacific increases wind shear inthe Atlantic that can keep tropical systems from forming.

The experts said observations reflect a likely progression towards El Niño and favour the development anytime from now until September the busiest period when storms form in waters off the African coast and intensify as they travel across the Atlantic.
This hurricane season started with four named storms in its first month — the most since the National Hurricane Center began keeping records but the season is still expected to be relatively quiet, with a total of nine to 15 named storms four to eight of which are expected to become hurricanes.

The phenomenon of El Niño usually forms every three to five years as warm surface waters in the Pacific Ocean shift from west to east. Those warmer waters form upper atmospheric storms that can thwart hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. While El Niño can dramatically reduce hurricane formation, it does not eliminate it.
As the climatologists made their predictions Thursday there was no sign of any tropical storm formation across the Atlantic.

 

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Capital projects poorly run

| 05/07/2012 | 20 Comments

clifton hunter (239x300).jpg(CNS): In his latest report the auditor general has raised concerns about how government manages major capital projects. Alastair Swarbrick used the new Government Office Administration Building (GOAB) and the high school projects as case studies and found a number of problems, from a lack business cases and undefined roles for politicians and administrative staff to problems with financial management practices and standards for how these projects should be built. He pointed to a waste of scarce resources and lack of accountability, though he did note some good practices during the construction of the GOAB.

“While there are problems with the government’s management framework for major capital projects, we found good practices used in the building of the Government Administration Building,” Swarbrick said on Thursday as his report was revealed to the public. “The government may wish to consider these for standard practice for the management of all future major capital projects.”

But with significant gaps and weaknesses in how government manages its spending on capital projects on the whole, he said the public was not getting value for money. The high school projects came in for considerable criticism by Swarbrick, who said his team found significant problems with project management.

The public auditor said the construction of the high schools was handed over to the Ministry of Education to build when it did not have the management expertise or experience to execute such a project. The lack of an experienced project manager together with the involvement of politicians in the conceptual design phase resulted in the projects being poorly managed and controlled.

“Government needs to ensure that effective and robust practices are in place across the public service to manage these significant capital projects to demonstrate due regard for value-for-money. We found it is left up to the individual ministries to determine how it is done,” he noted.

The auditor did find, however, that the procurement process was followed and in both cases the process was fair and transparent. But the company selected to construct the third high school in West Bay began work before a contract was signed, which ultimately resulted in significant costs to government when it was forced to stop the project as the economic downturn hit.

For more on the auditor general’s view of these key controversial projects and a full copy of the report check back to CNS later.

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