Archive for April 8th, 2013

Housing trust can’t help new families in need

| 08/04/2013 | 22 Comments

home-300x226.jpg(CNS): Although 94 new homes were built during the last administration, few new local families were helped because most of the properties are going to tenants from the original initiative since the old homes have been declared unsafe. The legal department ruled that the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) must allocate new houses to the old Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) clients, so the goal to help new families buy a home has not been achieved, despite claims of success by the former UDP government. The cost of the new concrete houses is also presenting a problem as they are no longer all that affordable and the investment of public cash in the project has done little to resolve the living conditions of many local families in need.

In a statement released by the board Friday, Deputy Chairman Allan Bush set out the dilemma faced by the Trust and said that the NHDT is reliant on government for viable solutions and ways to address the situation the Trust now faces, given that in the current circumstances it cannot fulfil its mandate.

The NHDT is faced with a number of barriers to provide affordable homes for those at the bottom of Cayman’s socio-economic pile. The main problem, however, is that a local engineer’s report found that the properties built during the previous UDP administration between 2001 and 2005 were not safe and presented a potential liability to both the NHDT and central government. This means that the Trust has had to re-house many of the original tenants in the new homes at the same price as the client’s original houses, even though they are worth considerably more, causing a loss to the Trust.

With only enough money to build 94 new houses, based on the funds that were made available, transitioning the 107 AHI clients into the new homes and presenting housing opportunities to new applicants has been impossible, the Trust said.

Six clients have been found to earn over the CI$3,000 limit in income and, as a result, the board issued a notice to terminate those owners' agreements as they earn sufficient income to price them out of the initiative. Three more other clients have breached the initial AHI agreement as, despite being employed, they have not maintained their monthly commitments for a substantial period or they have sublet their homes without notifying the NHDT.

However, the trust is continuing to house the elderly and indigent who simply cannot afford to maintain their commitment, as well as those who have been unemployed for a substantial period and are being subsidised by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“The NHDT has issued no termination notices to individuals that cannot survive out of the AHI program,” the Trust confirmed.

Given the current situation, the Trust’s goal to help more of those who are the poorest in the community to own their own home is becoming increasingly elusive, despite the investment made.

A spokesperson for the NHDT also confirmed Friday the situation regarding the completed but empty new homes in West Bay. He said that in some cases the Trust is simply waiting on the planning authorities to issue occupancy certificates but in the case of two of the homes there is an on-going legal dispute regarding a boundary on the properties which has not yet been resolved.

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Isolated coral reefs can heal themselves

| 08/04/2013 | 0 Comments

scott-reef-close.jpg(Live Science): Coral reefs may be more independent and resilient than previously thought. New research shows that an isolated reef off the northwest coast of Australia that was severely damaged by a period of warming in 1998 has regenerated in a very short time to become nearly as healthy as it was before. What surprises scientists, though, is that the reef regenerated by itself, found a study published in the journal Science. Until now, scientists have thought that damaged reefs depend on new recruits from nearby reefs to quickly heal themselves, said study author James Gilmour, a researcher at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

But this study found that may not always be the case ― at least with reefs like this one, which has good water quality and isn't heavily impacted by humans, Gilmour told OurAmazingPlanet in an email.

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Cyclist hit by truck, driver arrested for DUI

| 08/04/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A man who was hit by a truck as he cycled home along the West Bay Road on Friday night is recovering from serious injuries in hospital. Meanwhile, the driver of the truck which hit the rider has been arrested on suspicion of DUI. The cyclist was hit just before 11pm on Friday as he rode towards West Bay in the area of the Mandalay Condominiums and was taken to hospital. Police are asking anyone who might have witnessed or who might have information relating to the incident to call 949 7777 or 800 TIPS.

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Purple Dragon to host karate championships

| 08/04/2013 | 0 Comments

Purple-Dragon.gif(PDSMA): The Purple Dragon School of Martial Arts will host the Cayman Islands Karate 2013 Championships on 27th April. All local karate schools are invited to participate. The event, which will take place at the St. Ignatius Catholic School, will be a light contact tournament using international open circuit sport karate rules to ensure that no advantage will be given to any particular karate discipline. The competition will take place across all categories – sparring, katas, self-defense and weapons – and will be for all age groups and abilities, including children from 4 to 18 years and adults 18 years and over. Sensei Floyd Baptiste, a fifth degree Purple Dragon Black Belt and head of the Cayman Islands Purple Dragon dojo, is organising the event.

He said, “I am extremely excited for the Purple Dragon Karate 2013 Championships. It is a wonderful opportunity for the martial arts community of Cayman to compete against new opponents outside their own club, whilst having fun and learning from each other.  I really want to encourage all karate schools large or small to come out and take part.”

Registration is through the Cayman Active website, www.caymanactive.com.  Registration is $25 for 2 categories, with a $5 charge for each additional category. Online registrations must be completed by April 19th. More information is available on the Purple Dragon website at www.purpledragon.ky.

The event is sponsored by Tower Marketing and Sprint. The organisers are inviting additional sponsors to help fund the event, with any extra funds going towards the Purple Dragon child sponsorship programme, which aims to give Cayman’s underprivileged children the opportunity for personal growth through training in self-defense and self-discipline in Purple Dragon.

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