Archive for March 5th, 2013

Chavez loses cancer battle, dies age 58

| 05/03/2013 | 55 Comments

chavez.jpg(CNS): Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has died at the age of 58. Chavez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several operations in Cuba, but returned home to Venezuela last month. Nicolas Maduro, his vice president, made the announcement on Tuesday, flanked by political and military leaders. The Venezuelan leader had suffered a severe respiratory infection just before his death, officials in the country stated. In the wake of the president’s death Maduro also announced that the government had expelled two US diplomats from the country for spying on Venezuela's military.

In an emotional television address Tuesday evening, Maduro relayed the “tragic information that … Comandante President Hugo Chavez died today at 4:25 pm." He spoke of a plot against Venezuela, suggesting that Chavez' cancer, first diagnosed in 2011, was a result of foul play by Venezuela's enemies. The US rejected the accusations as "absurd" but Madura insisted that a scientific commission could one day investigate whether Chavez' illness was brought about by an enemy attack.

Struggling to hold back tears, Maduro called on the nation to close ranks after their leader's demise. He said the government had deployed the armed forces and police nationwide "to accompany and protect our people and guarantee the peace".

A statement by the military said it would protect the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country. It would remain loyal to the vice-president and to parliament, it added, urging people to remain calm.

Under the constitution, the head of Venezuela's Congress, Diosdado Cabello, will assume the interim presidency before an election is held.

Analysts say Chavez' death could alter the political balance in Latin America, dealing a blow to leftist states while favouring more centrist countries. There could also be an economic impact, given that Venezuela sells oil at below market prices to some neighbouring countries, especially in the Caribbean.

One of the most visible, vocal and controversial leaders in Latin America, Hugo Chavez won the presidency in 1998 and had most recently won another six-year presidential term in October 2012.

Chavez was renowned for his flamboyant public speaking style, which he has put to use in his weekly live TV programme, Alo Presidente (Hello President), in which he talked about his political ideas, interviewed guests and sang and danced.

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Iguanas wear the Crown

| 05/03/2013 | 0 Comments

AAcupw6b (301x400).jpg(CRFU): The Advance Fire & Plumbing Buccaneers were left heartbroken and empty handed on 2 March as a resurgent Century 21 Cayman Storm won their 2nd game of the 2013 Cayman Rugby domestic season with a dramatic 24-23 win over the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers, going into the final week of play sitting in first place knew that a win over the Storm would seal the league trophy after 6 weeks of hard hitting rugby and indeed the pundits saw the Buccaneers win as a forgone conclusion based on the Buccaneers run of form in the build-up to the final round of play mixed with facing off against bottom of the table Cayman Storm RFC. Photos Caroline Deegan

The Cayman Storm, sporting an almost full squad however were on the scoreboard first when no. 8 Phil Thompson broke the Buccaneers defence on the 8 minute mark, The Buccaneers responded soon thereafter with a score from Shaun Gerrard and a nail biting see-saw battle ensued between the teams. Storm hooker Al Forget (returning from injury) brought a big smile to the Storm bench by going over in the corner for the teams 2nd before the Buccaneers responded yet again with a Michael Peck (featuring in his first game of the 2013 season) score. The Storm marched into the 2nd half with a 4 point lead 17-13 after Phil Thompson secured his second try for the day (Josh Brown getting the conversion).

Aacupw6c (400x235).jpgBoth the Queensgate Pigs Trotters and the John Dock Architecture Iguanas were egging on the Cayman Storm to keep their momentum going in the knowledge that a win for the Storm gave one final opportunity to the 2nd place Iguanas and 3rd Place Pigs Trotters to make a last ditch effort to win the league trophy.

Cayman Storm stalwart Vanassio Tokatokavanua earned a bonus point for his team by taking the field in the 2nd half and soon after finding his way to the scoreboard to give his team their 4th try of the day and with Josh Brown earning his 2nd conversion to ring in 24 points it was all hands on deck to stop the Buccaneers push for the win.

The Buccaneers, looking at an 11 point deficit scored a big try through Mark Stabler and the Conversion from Morgan Shelford made the score 24-20. With the clock winding down the Buccaneers earned a final penalty (which Shelford duly converted) to make the battle a 1 point game 24-23 and there the game would finish as the Buccaneers were stifled of any further scoring opportunities and the Storm secured one of the biggest upsets in Cayman domestic rugby history.

With the league decider handed to the Pigs Trotters and Iguanas by the Cayman Storm the Iguanas knew that a win of any size would hand them the league crown whereas a 2nd win for the Pigs Trotters over the Iguanas would either gift the trophy back to the Buccaneers or, should the Pigs Trotters win by a large enough points difference then it would be they who would raise the Alex Alexander Memorial Trophy (in the Pigs Trotters case for the first time in a decade).

The Iguanas were intent on playing a smarter game of rugby after their big loss to the Buccaneers and were first on the board 3-0 with a Doug Kennedy penalty before the Pigs Trotters responded with a Chris Haines unconverted try to make the score 5-3.

The Pigs Trotters used their dangerous back line to great effect in the early exchanges with James Waters and Dave Acut making long runs against the Iguanas backline whilst the Iguanas forwards chose to run a much tighter game with hit ups from Ben McDonald and Peter de Vere being the order of the day.

A Dave Acut penalty gave the Pigs some breathing room 8-3 before Iguanas inside centre Adam Keenan found his way to the try line (converted by Doug Kennedy) to regain the lead 8-10.

Doug Kennedy had 2 more kickable penalties to give his team some breathing room but those sailed wide before Dave Acut regained the lead once more 11-10 heading towards the half.

Doug Kennedy made amends on the stroke of half time by slotting a long penalty kick to give his team some momentum in the 2nd half with a 2 point lead 13-11.

A nervy second half saw the Iguanas playing momentarily without fullback Walter Myers who was binned for offside before the Pigs Trotters were forced to make personnel changes having lost Haines at flyhalf. Both teams exchanged 1 more penalty each to ring in the score of 16-14 and a jubilant John Doak Architecture Iguanas side raised the Alex Alexander memorial Trophy for the 3rd time in four years.

 

Next games:
13 March: 5pm KO – Cayman U19 XV v Ashbury College XV (Ottowa)
15 March: 5pm KO – Cayman U19 X v Ashbury College X (TBC) (10 a-side)
16 March: 5pm KO – Cayman U19 XV v Ashbury College XV
18 March: 5pm KO – Cayman A XV v Princeton University XV (USA)
19 March: 3pm KO – Cayman U19 XV v Ashbury College
19 March: 5pm KO – Cayman B XV v Princeton University B XV
21 March: 5pm KO – Cayman B XV v Princeton University B XV
22 March: 5pm KO – Cayman A XV v Princeton University XV

Follow Cayman Rugby on Facebook and Twitter @caymanrugby

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Bad weather prevents Brac cruise ship call

| 05/03/2013 | 21 Comments

Delphin_March_5th_monteleethornton_ 015.jpg(CNS): Choppy waters on the north coast of Cayman Brac caused the MS Delphin, a small cruise ship scheduled to make a rare stop at the Sister Island, to pass by without any passengers disembarking. According to a spokesperson for District Administration, the captain of the ship decided the anchorage site was not safe for getting the passengers off and on the ship. The Delphin, which has around 300 passengers, would have been the first cruise ship for five years to make a port of call at the Brac and was the last ship to visit the island on Easter Monday in 2008. Pre-booked island tours were on offer for the cruise ship visitors as well as an information booth, a craft market and samples of local food. (Photo by Monte Thornton)

Related article on CNS Business:

Small cruise ship stopping at Cayman Brac

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Cruisers take advantage of winds to 12 mile banks

| 05/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CISC): Conditions for last weekend’s 12 Mile Banks and back Cruiser race were unusually benign with light winds out of the South South East producing swell but no real problems for even the smaller boats. The 12 mile banks race goes back to the days of the mighty schooners that would race from Seven Mile Beach out to the banks and then back for bragging rights which boosted their trading credentials. The modern race is a bit longer, starting in North Sound and returning via Hog Sty Bay to Seven Mile. Seven boats made the start and it wasn’t long before Blue Runner had broken out and led the fleet out through the main channel of North Sound.

It soon became apparent that the expected spinnaker run out to the banks was not as easy to hold without sailing a longer course which meant that those boats not flying the kites were competing on more level terms. Yahoo Yahoo was in pursuit of Blue Runner closely followed by Pie Sees 3.
Mark Rickman’s Panacea sailed well in the first half of the race as did the smallest boat in the fleet, Nigel Bates’ Artemis, a Catalina 25 footer. Shanti sailing with an inexperienced crew from Portugal and South Africa had quite a few technical difficulties and were left struggling towards the back. As the fleet turned at the banks for the sail back to Seven Mile Beach and the harbour they were well spread out but different courses and tactics did see some boats coming together in the harbour for the final turn up to the Beach Suites and the finish line.

After 32 miles of sailing, Blue Runner, skippered by Bruce Johnson sailed well all day to take first place by a handsome 23 minutes on corrected time. Pie Sees 3, last year’s winners, took second place by just over 4 minutes from Artemis with Yahoo Yahoo just 3 minutes behind them.

Jonathan Cuff from Harbour House who sponsored prizes for the first three places was quick to point out that Blue Runner was the first boat to win this trophy for a second time having first won the race in 2007. “They have spent some time and money bringing the boat up to spec but they also have put together a consistent crew who know the boat”. Bruce Johnson was quick to acknowledge his crew too saying “The key positions on board are filled by the people who have been with us some time. This means that all I have to do is drive!”

Rob Hutchison, the cruiser rep for the sailing club, thanked Terrie Farrington and her Race Committee, Harbour House for their sponsorship and The Grand Cayman Beach Suites for hosting the after race BBQ. “There is always a bit more of a thrill sailing offshore and we are now looking forward to the Easter Round the Island Race”.

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Would-be politicians hear South Sound woes

| 05/03/2013 | 32 Comments

south aound aerial.jpg(CNS): There was a full slate of potential politicians padding out the crowd at an awareness meeting Friday regarding the threats to the marine environment and surrounding areas of South Sound in the face of a proposed development. Despite the long campaign to stop the Emerald Sound project, activists were able to attract a significant number of new faces this weekend as the election approaches and candidates become aware that this is and has been a significant local issue. The activists are fighting against a Central Planning Authority ruling that the developer could recover a pre-Ivan costal boundary as well as cut a canal through from the ocean to his development, and they hammered home the dangerous precedents that could be set by the decision if it is not overturned on appeal. (Photo David Wolfe)

Recounting the history of the campaign fight to well over 100 people, Katrina Jurn, Melissa Wolfe, John McKenzie and  Berna Cummins set out the issues at stake and the serious threats posed to the community and beyond by the development.

South Sound is a Marine Replenishment Zone and designated a scenic coastline by the country’s development plan. But neither this nor the significant number of objections from residents and environmental activists, or even recommendations from the government's environment department, has prevented the CPA from granting permission to a developer to destroy a recovering mangrove project and recover several hundred feet of eroded coastline.

As well as allowing the developer to reclaim his land from the sea, even though the law says that coastal boundaries are not fixed, the Central Planning Authority also granted planning permission in August 2011 for the Emerald Sound development project to cut a canal though the road from the sound inland to the development’s marina, which would require the relocation of the existing road inland by some 75 feet and a bridge over the canal.

The activists, known as the Protect South Sound group, have appealed the CPA’s decision over the development but were forced through a lack of resources to give up on their fight to try and stop the land reclamation of some 2000 feet from the sea and several tons of fill has now been dumped by the developer into the Sound.

“We were able to get the developer to agree not start the construction of the seawall until the Planning Appeals Tribunal has heard the appeal,” Jurn told the audience of budding politicians but she explained that this was not before the marine area was significantly damaged.

“The coastal mangroves along those 2,000 feet of coastline are gone. The natural coastline lies under 30,000 cubic yards of fill or more,” she added. “However, potentially the worst is yet to come. If we allow this CPA approval to stand unchallenged, many other coastal property owners around the island will seek to do the same. It’s extremely important that we take this to the Planning Appeals Tribunal in order to protect not just South Sound but our entire coastline.”

Begging for the conservation law and for clearer protections for the islands’ coastline and environment all round, Jurn said the campaigners could not do this alone.

She said the precedent it could invite a flurry of applications for people to extend their properties out to coastal boundaries from years before and reclaiming land from Cayman’s already threatened delicate marine environment.

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Marine law to limit board tenures and protect rays

| 05/03/2013 | 7 Comments

stingray.jpg(CNS):  Amendments planned for the Marine Conservation Law to protect Cayman’s famous stingrays will also include a three year limit for the directors appointed to the board because, the minister has reportedly said, it should not be appointed in tune with elections as it makes them too political. The amendment bill which is being brought to the Legislative Assembly at what will probably be its final sitting before the parliament is dissolved ahead of the May election will not include any changes to the current marine park zones. Despite the pressing need to update the parks in order to increase the protection for local marine life, the environment minister appears to be wishing to avoid tackling the major issues because of some limited objections from fishermen.

The amendments to the law are limited to preventing anyone from taking stingrays from anywhere in Cayman waters but it does not extend that protection to sharks. However, it makes the possession of rays taken from waters an offence, which means that the local dolphinarium which currently holds several rays caught in local waters will need to return them to the wild.

Following significant public outcry after a local vet spotted tagged rays at Dolphin Discovery, the Department of Environment (DoE) was able to recover and release the tagged rays, which had evidently been taken from the Sandbar, but the facility’s management refused to give up the rest, which were not tagged. With no law in place at the time to protect any rays, the DoE was unable to compel their return to the sea. DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie welcomed the move to protect local rays outside of the WildlifeInteraction Zone at the Sandbar as she said it should prevent what happened at Dolphin Discovery happening again.

The changes to the law also include changes to the conditions for people who will serve on the Marine Conservation Board and will see the current members removed once the law is passed. The draft legislation will in effect dissolve the current board and require the governor to appoint a new one board once it comes into effect.  The amendment reads:

“As soon as practicable after the entry into force of the Marine Conservation (Amendment) Law, 2013, the Governor shall, notwithstanding any terms and conditions of appointment of any member of the Board, dissolve the Board existing at that time and appoint a new Board under this section and may reappoint any member of the old Board.”

The minster has reportedly stated that the amendment which limits the tenure of board members out of the election cycle for the first time is to limit the politicisation of boards.

While the minor amendments will be made before Cayman goes to the polls in May, it is clear that the pressing need to enhance the marine parks and zones in Cayman waters will not happen before a new government is elected.

Along with the failure of the previous UDP administration and the new interim government to address the critical and pressing conservation issues on land, it is also failing to tackle the main issue of Cayman’s future marine environment, which is even more critical to the local tourism product and the local economy.

See amendment below

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Teen takes own life with .38 revolver

| 05/03/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS have confirmed that a teenage boy who appears to have shot himself in the head with .38 revolver has died. The police were called to the scene of the shooting on Monday night at an address in Prospect, where a gun was recovered from the scene. The 15-year-old boy was taken to the George Town hospital, where he died at around 3am, apolice spokesperson stated, adding that an investigation was underway but officers were not looking for anyone else in connection with the teen's death.

The police did not say whether the gun used in the incident was a licensed weapon or not, or how they believe the teenager accessed the handgun.

The incident reportedly took place at a house on Mangrove Avenue, George Town, at around 8:30 in the evening.

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