Archive for February, 2013

Cops support skateboard club

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

skateboard (228x300).jpg(CNS): Local cops have made an on-going commitment to host a local Skateboard Club, which is one of the most popular options in the Ministry of Education’s Extended After-School Programme.  Over 100 students between five and eleven yearsof age take part in the club, which sees the education department partnering with the RCIPS in a club that kids enjoy and have the chance to build good relationships with local police officers. Police Commissioner David Baines and Chief Officer for Education Mary Rodrigues have signed an MOU formalizing an agreement for the RCIPS to provide off duty officers to keep the club going.

The education minister said that through the club students interact in a positive way with police officers, as coaches and mentors.

“These officers are sewing very important seeds that will pay off in a big way in terms of how the police force will be viewed by these students and their families now and in the future,” Rolston Anglin said.  “We believe that the actions of these officers and the relationships they are developing should be considered one of the most effective crime-prevention strategies we could implement.” 

Michael Myles, Programme Coordinator for At-Risk Students, said Skateboard Club was one of the Extended After-School Programme’s wholesome activities for children, in a structured and safe environment.

“Research tells us that a programme like this can help our children improve their social skills, confidence and grades and also help to counteract the negative influences that can lead to risky behaviours,” Myles said, adding that since September 2011, the programme has been extended to all public schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Over 1,400 students attend regularly.

While the ministries responsible for education and youth provides core funding, the Extended After-School Programme depends on donations and volunteer assistance to maintain the range of programmes and services provided.  Anyone interested in making a donation or volunteering can email michael.myles@gov.ky or call 244-3150. 

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Foreign offices boost public coffers, says law society

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

hong-kong1_0.jpg(CNS Business): As the battle between local lawyers and government’s latest version of the proposed Legal Practitioners Bill continues, research commissioned by the Law Society has revealed that in 2012 just nine local firms’ foreign law offices practicing Cayman law overseas generated US$28 million in 2012 for government coffers. In the previous year these international branches brought in around US$24 million in fees, figures that the lawyers hope may persuade government to change course over the requirements and the restrictions that the law firms say it is trying to impose on them with the new legislation. Read more on CNS Business.

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Women to live and learn over ‘hearty’ lunch

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

authur.JPG(CNS):  Guests at the fourth annual Red Dress learn and live fundraising lunch and expo will hear from the author of the bestselling “The South Beach Diet” next month. The gala event which is hosted by the Cayman Heart Fund and sponsored by Baptist Health will take place between 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and Dr. Arthur Agatston a Clinical Cardiologist and author of the famous diet book will talk about preventing heart attacks.  The expo will also feature among other things spa treatments, specialty foods, women’s heart health Information and Risk Factor Screening.

The programme is as follows:
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Women’s Heart Care Extravaganza Expo
12:30 AM – 1:00 PM Luncheon
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM Key Note Speaker
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Raffle, Vote of Thanks and Closing Remarks

Tickets are $55 per person & Corporate tables of 10 for cost $500. For more information 516-7323 or e-mail: mosscharmaine@yahoo.com
See flyer below

 

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Technology refines cataract surgery at Baptist hospital

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Miami based hospital popular with Cayman and other Caribbean patients has introduced a new surgical technology used by ophthalmologists to remove lenses clouded by cataracts with minimal trauma to the eye. A femtosecond  laser, manufactured by LENSAR, Inc., is now being used to perform cataract surgery at the Medical Arts Surgery Center at Baptist Hospital (MASC), one of only two sites in South Florida with this new technology.  “We’re seeing great results from the cases we’ve done,” ophthalmologist William Trattler said.  “Our patients are recovering much faster than with the traditional methods of cataract surgery.”

According to Dr Trattler, the femtosecond laser provides increased precision to modern cataract surgery, helping to further improve an already very safe procedure.  With the LENSAR system, a rotating camera generates an image of the eye and the lens within, enabling the surgeon to make very precise incisions to ultimately remove the cataract. The system also detects when the lens is tilting so that the surgeon can more accurately follow patients’ unique eye anatomy, resulting in a custom treatment for each patient.

Prior to this technology, surgeons manually created the opening of the cataract and more ultrasound energy was required to remove the cataract, resulting in a longer recovery for vision.  In addition to cataract surgery, surgeons within MASC’s ophthalmology service also perform retinal surgery and treat problems of the cornea and glaucoma.

 

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Activists call for review of sex offender sentencing

| 27/02/2013 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The recent community outcry over a suspended sentence given to a sex offender has resulted in local activists starting a video petition calling on legislators to review legislation and sentencing guidelines. While the case in question caused concerns, the judge had sentenced according to the local guidelines as the man was convicted on a charge of defilement and not rape. This was as a result of the decision by the Office of the  Director of Public Prosecutions not to press ahead with the rape charge but to accept his guilty plea on the second count of defilement. Activists are now seeking a review of the criminal justice system relating to sex crimes and in particular those involving children. 

“This is not about revenge or getting even," a spokesperson for the campaign said.  “This is about determining what kind of society we would like to be.”

Following the revelations about the case (see CNS story here) where the teen was sexually assaulted, the community was outraged by what some believe was a light touch with the two year suspended sentence. Activists are now pushing for a major review and debate about the issues surrounding the complexities and sensitivities associated with victims and offenders.

“There are no words to express how thoroughly we, as a community, have failed this child and so many others like her,” said Carolina Ferreira about the teen victim in Friday’s case. “Child sexual abuse is a complex, multi-faceted issue that will require a multi-organisational, holistic solution.  However, as is clearly illustrated by this case, a starting point is to review the cases and sentencing guidelines as this is clearly not the message that we want to send to our children about their worth.”

The activists are asking people to video their support for the petition to help raise the profile of the message. Ferreira said campaigners want supporters to record themselves reading the petition on their computers, smartphone or tablet and email it to carolla78@gmail.com. Once compiled, the video will be disseminated via email, You Tube, Facebook and any other media possible, she added.

The petition text is as follows:

I, (insert name here), am outraged, disheartened and disgusted by the fact that our current legal system is such that an adult who admits guilt over sexually assaulting a child is given more consideration than the victim of his/her crime. I *demand* that our elected representatives- and that means you:

Juliana O'Connor Connolly, Rolston Anglin, Mark Scotland, Cline Glidden, Dwayne Seymour, Alden McLaughlin, Kurt Tibbetts, Moses Kirkconnell, Anthony Eden, Ezzard Miller, Arden McLean, McKeeva Bush, Mike Adam, Ellio Solomon, and Eugene Ebanks-make the issue of child welfare, and more specifically child sexual abuse, a matter of priority and give it not only the attention but the action that it requires.  This is a multi-faceted, complex issue which will require amulti-sectorial, holistic solution. 

However, it is clear that a starting point is by doing a comprehensive review of the cases of child rape, assault and defilement and the current sentencing guidelines being used by judges.

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Two charged with conspiracy in missing person case

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

H Gonzalez December 2012.jpg(CNS): A 31-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman have been charged with conspiracy to pervert or defeat the course of justice in connection with a missing person’s case. Guyanese national Hemerson Raymond Gonzalez has been missing since Tuesday, 11 December, when he disappeared while visiting friends in the Cayman Islands. The 31-year-old man was said to be a regular visitor to the jurisdiction and was staying at an address in Canyon Dawn Drive, Savannah. Following his disappearance two women were arrested in January; one 25-year-old woman was arrested at that address on drug offences and a 19-year-old woman was arrested in Prospect on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

A third person was arrested at Owen Roberts International Airport on 11 January but the police did not reveal the man’s age or the details of his arrest. It is not clear if this is the same person that police have now charged.

It is anticipated that they will appear in court on Tuesday, 5 March.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez has still not been found. He speaks with a Guyanese accent, is about 5’ 8” tall, with a dark brown complexion and curly black hair. He weighs about 180lbs, has a tattoo of a compass on his left forearm and writing tattooed on the inside of his left wrist.

When last seen he was wearing brown jeans shorts, a t-shirt and blue low cut cloth shoes. At the time of his disappearance, police said that Gonzalez was feeling ill and had been suffering from severe vomiting. Checks with local hospitals at the time confirmed that he did not seek medical attention.

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Two more suspect dengue cases under investigation

| 27/02/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Another two people with no travel history to country where dengue fever is endemic are suspected to have contracted the disease transmitted by mosquitoes locally. According to public health officials 42 suspected cases of the fever have already been investigated so far this year following on from the 94 cases reported last year.  The latest two patients were not residents of West Bay where most of those who have contracted the disease locally have stayed but one was from Bodden Town and the other George Town. Neither patient has been admitted to hospital.

Eleven results were received during this week from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) but only one was positive for dengue. So far 121 results have been returned 42 have been positives, 75 negative, and 4 were inconclusive. Local health officials are still waiting for a further 15 results.

Of the 42 confirmed cases this year only 12 had reported a travel history to endemic countries and 30 had no travel history, suggesting that they had acquired the dengue fever locally. Most of those patients were residents of West Bay where 25 transmissions appear  to have occurred. Meanwhile three people were residents of George Town and two from Bodden Town.

While thirty people have been admitted to hospital everyone, so far, has made a full recovery.

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Road activists turn to courts

| 26/02/2013 | 182 Comments

WB road protest_0.jpg(CNS): Four of the women who are part of a wider campaign to keep the West Bay Road open have turned to the courts in an effort to stop the imminent closure of the road they say has been in use for over 100 years. Using the bill of rights and the constitution to make their case, they also claim that the governor, the attorney general, the minister with responsibility for roads and the National Roads Authority will breach a number of laws including the National Roads Law, the Crown Lands Law and the recent amendments to the Public Management and Finance Law if they continue with the proposed plan to close over 4,200 feet of the highway running parallel to Seven Mile Beach between Governor’s Way and Yacht Drive.

Alice Mae Coe, Annie Multon, Ezmie Smith and Betty Ebanks filed the writ on behalf of a mixed group of activists that are opposed to all, or elements of, the government’s proposed deal with the Dart Group, known as the ForCayman Investment Alliance.

The suit was filed in the Grand Court on Monday and deals with what is known as the NRA agreement, a controversial deal signed by the NRA, the former UDP government and the Dart Group in December 2011, part of which includes the closure of the West Bay Road to facilitate the development of a new resort on the former site of the Courtyard Marriott.

The women are taking the action under Part 1 of the Cayman Islands Constitution which is the Bill of Rights. Section 26 of the bill states that anyone can apply to the Grand Court if they believe government has breached or threatened their rights and freedoms and allow the courts to make a determination.

In the 22 page document the women point to a number of issues they believe make the NRA agreement unlawful and are seeking a declaration from the court on their various claims with the hope of putting a stop to a closure, which, according to comments made by the premier last week, could happen by Thursday of this week.

The ultimate goal is for some 4,250 feet to be closed to vehicles in the coming weeks as more of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway Extension is completed by Dart, but government is hoping to close over 1,000 feet running past the public beach by the end of this week to facilitate a planned upgrade to the beach before Easter.

The women have filed a statement of claim that covers a wide number of issues, from what they describe as the failure of the governor to follow the requirements of the Crown Lands Law, the easement rights regarding the West Bay Road, which has been in use as a public thoroughfare for more than 100 years, the failure of government to demonstrate value for money, the secrecy surrounding the deal, the efforts by Cabinet to circumvent proper lawful processes and, they claim, the illegality of the NRA being able to even sign to the deal in the first place.

The plaintiffs claim that under section 19 of the Constitution “the first defendant, third defendant and fourth defendants have not acted lawfully, have acted irrationally and have not be procedurally fair in agreeing to” the roadclosure and giving the land to Dart and “have abdicated their statutory and constitutional duty in doing so”.

The women say they are seeking declarations from the courts to this effect and a declaration that the agreement as a stand-alone contract is flawed and beyond the powers of those involved to make. The plaintiffs also claim that the first defendant has breached section 18 and 31 of the Constitution and seek declaration to that effect as well.
The document also discusses the cultural loss to the community, given the historical significance of the road and the fact that it remains the only stretch of Seven Mile Beach that still provides a view and access to the famous beauty spot.

The women state that all of them have used the road for more than fifty years and that it is common knowledge that the West Bay road has been in use as a right of way for the people of West Bay and others to the rest of Grand Cayman and vice versa for over 100, years starting with horses and donkeys in the 19th century, without interruption until the present day. They say they are bringing the proceedings on the basis that the agreement and the way it is being implemented is unconstitutional for a numberof reasons. The women point to the fact that the country’s parliament, and by inference the people of the Cayman Islands, have never been fully informed of the details of the agreement to close the road and have it absorbed as part of Darts beach front property.

They say that value for money has not been demonstrated to the public nor has an independent review of the agreement been published publicly, despite being completed many months ago. All of this, they say, contradicts the requirements of the framework agreement that Cayman signed with the UK and is now in the Public Management and Finance Law but they also state the secrecy about the deal is unconstitutional.

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3rd man for PPM WB battle

| 26/02/2013 | 60 Comments

cptbebanks.jpg(CNS): The People’s Progressive Movement has announced that Captain Bryan Ebanks will be standing on the party’s West Bay platform in May,joining Woody Da Costa and Ray Farrington. Given the recent turn of events, the opposition believes that the long running hold that the former premier has had on all four seats in the district can be broken and will be going into battle to ensure that, if that is so, the seats go to their candidates. The PPM has said it plans to field four people in the district, which will be the toughest battleground for the Progressives, but a fourth candidate has yet to be named. Captain Bryan said it had been too long since the “little man” had good representation in West Bay and he intends to change that.

The West Bay boat operator is no stranger to the public platform, having been active in a number of campaigns affecting the people in his district and his industry recently, from the battle to ensure the boat operators' needs are met during the changes at Safehaven to his role in the battle to keep the West Bay Road open. Ebanks was also at the forefront of the campaign to protect the North Sound in the face of the former premier's plans to dredge a channel through it.

Having already started his campaign in West Bay, Ebanks says he has received a warm welcome from the district as the people are desperate for change.

“It has been too long since the little man and the working class have had good representation in West Bay. I intend to change that. The people of West Bay have been taken for granted by their present representatives for too long. Dispensing political largesse every four years is not real representation. Where is the commitment to empower our young people, to strengthen families, to build our communities?” he asked.

As the owner of a thriving fishing and snorkelling business, Captain Bryan said the tourism product, which is supposed to be a Cayman experience, needs more Caymanians to be involved.

“Let us concentrate on filling the available tourism jobs with Caymanians,” he said. “To do this we must provide the necessary training for our people at all levels to give them a stake in what is widely regarded as a world-class tourism product. Other destinations in the Caribbean have done so with great success and there is no reason why we cannot do likewise.”

Party Leader Alden McLaughlin said the Progressives were pleased to have Capt. Bryan aboard. “He represents the spirit of every Caymanian. He has worked hard to become a successful entrepreneur and with his experience he has a lot to offer to our young people in particular in this regard,” the opposition leader added.

Bryan Ebanks is the fourteenth person to join the PPM slate of an anticipated 15 as the party leader has stated that the Progressives can work with both their former colleague Arden McLean (East End) and the North Side Independent MLA Ezzard Miller and therefore will not field candidates against them.

In addition, with the popular deputy opposition party leader, Moses Kirkconnell, and the new premier, Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, the only candidates in the Sister Islands race at present, the PPM will not be fielding a second candidate for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

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Lionfish tournament to help battle fishy pest

| 26/02/2013 | 1 Comment

cayman-lionfish-TYSawyer1807.jpg(CNS): a local supermarket and the private sector tourism association are teaming up to host the first Lionfish Tournament in Cayman, which will take place on Earth Day. The goal is to cull lionfish from local reefs as a part of the efforts to fight the invasive species, which is now prevalent in Cayman waters and threatening the native marine life and diversity of the reefs. CITA and Foster's food Fair are hoping to partner with restaurants and watersports companies so that the fish caught in the tournament can then be served up for dinners in the evenings of the two day event. Organizers hope people will visit their favorite participating restaurant and enjoy the variety of ways lionfish can be enjoyed.

“Beautiful, healthy reefs are critical to our dive tourism in the Cayman Islands," said Jane van der Bol, executive director for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). “By pairing watersports operators and their clients with local restaurants that want to serve lionfish, this event aims to create a self-fulfilling supply and demand situation for this delicious fish.”

Restaurants are being asked to sponsor a culling team with a CI $300 investment and then each restaurant sponsor will receive 75% of the fish that is caught by their team, with the remaining 25% going to Foster's. Sponsors and watersports operators team up to put together a culling team of six licensed cullers. Then during the 24-hour time period from 5pm on Friday, 26 April to 5pm on Saturday, 27 April the cullers hit the oceans and hunt for the pesky fish.

A weigh in will take place at the end of the tournament with prizes awarded for the winning restaurant  with the largest catch, the biggest lionfish in length and the largest cull in weight as well as the smallest lionfish in length.

Foster’s Food Fair has supported community lionfish hunts for more than a year, with an initial grant of CI $20,000 to CITA to help encourage operators to cull lionfish. The fish is sold in the seafood department at Foster’s stores. Almost every time Fosters has received a delivery of lionfish it has immediately sold out, demonstrating that Cayman is keen to eat the fish. Given that over fishing works, the goal now is to get everyone to pick the pest as their fish of choice and begin to rid Cayman waters of the serious threat.

For full details and information about the registration for restaurants and watersports companies, visit www.cita.ky/lionfishtournament2013. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their watersports operator of choice to register their participation.

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