Archive for April 29th, 2013

Recycling Mount Trashmore and more

| 29/04/2013 | 19 Comments

When will it dawn on the human race that the planet Earth has an ultimate recycling mechanism which will, in due course, remove all traces of the existence of humanity? I refer, of course, to the subduction zones of the tectonic plates that slide one piece of rock beneath another, and melt everything — metals, plastics, rock, even discarded flip-flops and plastic water bottles — in the magma beneath.

It cannot be beneath the wit of man in these days of precision guided weapons to place whatever needs to be disposed of at exactly the right place such that it will be digested in the earth’s maw. The precision is important: the speed of the Cascadia subduction zone, for example, off the pacific coast of North America, is currently estimated at 40mm per year, (Wikipedia) or about 15 inches in ten years, so any waste must be placed in close proximity.  But, the subduction zone is about 800 miles long.  So, if items were in, say, one foot thick bricks, one foot wide, over four million cubic feet of material could be removed from the planet surface in ten years at this site alone. 

Subduction has been continuing at this particular site for an estimated 200 million years, so it is reasonable to assume that it will continue for the foreseeable future. There are many others (conveniently spaced?) around the globe. Who knows? Garbage may even lubricate the junction between the plates, and reduce the risk of earthquakes.

About now, the environmentalists and the politically correct will be going ballistic, as all subduction zones are under water. A lot of water: about eight to ten thousand feet. I am not suggesting that waste should simply be dumped at sea (enough countries do that already, hence the flip-flops and water bottles on the beach) or that this is a substitute for careful management of waste, and conservation of the limited resources available, or that it would be an easy solution. But it is not something that I have found considered elsewhere and is, at least theoretically, possible. I know of no other permanent earth-based solution. It has to be worth serious consideration and research – unless you have another answer? I appreciate that it could not be started next week, or probably next year, but I doubt that any meaningful effort will be made to deal with Mount Trashmore in that time-scale either.

It does also, however, presuppose that waste is actually managed at a waste management facility by someone who knows what they are doing.  Everything arriving needs to be sorted, or even sorted before collection. Sorry about that: it’s not difficult though. Most civilized countries do it.  Are useful car parts stripped out and sold from the written off wrecks? Thought not.  Sell the bodywork and engine metal for recycling, and remove the major metal from the dump. Tyres? They can be ground up and used in the asphalt mix for road resurfacing. Or perhaps you would like to re-introduce a fashion for Whompers? Paper and wood products can be bundled together and recycled, or at least used as an energy source.

Hard core (a.k.a fill) commands a high price in Cayman, so should not be used in the dump to cover other waste. And then there are the plastics and medical waste. Medical waste probably has to be incinerated. Organic material will not leave any residue, but will generate CO2 (and water). Other residue would have to be lumped in with the plastics and encapsulated (I believe the Mafia used concrete) and then could be deposited in a subduction zone. So: no need for a new dump. Nothing more than a temporary stop at a waste processing plant somewhere. In the meantime, a start could be made on processing Mount Trashmore. After all, that’s what the present owners and all the rest of Cayman want, and none of it would need to end up in Bodden Town.

Provided no items are allowed to float to the surface, it would seem to be an infallible, if slow, permanent solution.


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Board members to face mandatory training

| 29/04/2013 | 24 Comments

(CNS): Following the revelation from the minutes for last week's civil service heads' meeting that new MLAs will be offered an orientation programme after the May General Election, the most recent minutes circulated by the deputy governor’s office say that mandatory training of board members is now being considered. According to the minutes for the 15 April meeting, Franz Manderson told his management team that a proposal for mandatory training of members of boards and committees on good governance and applicable laws would be presented to the new government

The deputy governor said that the Portfolio of the Civil Service had facilitated a Handbook for Directors on the subject of public sector good governance and was prepared to offer training when new boards were appointed. He also said that UCCI had expressed an interest in assisting with the training and that a Code of Conduct for new board members was being discussed by the chief officers.

During the latest top level public sector meeting, the senior civil servants discussed government IT and data security. They also examined the latest draft policy on the voluntary severance package for the service to help with the much needed cuts in the government head count.

Martin Ruben, from the Office of the Auditor General, and the audit team presented an overview of a draft performance audit plan for the review of travel and hospitality expenditures in core government. The report is planned to be issued at the end of September and the team said it was looking forward to getting cooperation from government officials during the course of the audit.

The issue of travel expenses and entertainment of local politicians was a thorny issue during the previous administration in the light of the significant amount of travel undertaken by former premier McKeeva Bush and the current premier, Juliana O’Connor Connolly, while she was his deputy.

See minutes released by the deputy governor’s office below.

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Pension thief gets sentence cut by one year

| 29/04/2013 | 17 Comments

Cocaine-Addiction-Treatment-Rehab (276x290).jpg(CNS): A 41-year-old US national who stole almost three hundred thousand dollars from the Chamber of Commerce Pension Fund has had his sentence marginally reduced after a successful appeal. Robert Schultz was given a five year sentence last year following his admission that he stole US$289,660 over a two year period to fund an uncontrollable cocaine habit when he was the fund’s manager and  sole employee. Justice Charles Quin had handed down a five year term, which was cut by the Court of Appeal last week to four when the three judges found that the judge had begun his calculations at too high a point as he had not considered the conversion of the currency or inflation.

As the sum was in US dollars and not CI and using guidelines based on case law from a theft which occurred more than fifteen years ago, the appeals court agreed with Ben Tonner, Schultz’s defence attorney, that the judge had used too high a guideline and had not taken inflation into account. The three judge panel re-started the calculations in a lower band, but because of the circumstances of the case they too found few mitigating circumstances and arrived at four years, cutting the jail term by only 20%.

Related articles on CNS:

Addict admits 289k pension fund theft

Pension thief gets 5 years

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