Archive for August 28th, 2013

PPM re-shuffles authority boards but keeps chairs

PPM re-shuffles authority boards but keeps chairs

| 28/08/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The chairpersons of three critical statutory boards have all been retained. Instead of the usual political overhaul, Sherri Bodden-Cowan remains at the helm of the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), Dale Crighton remains as chair of the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) and Lemuel Hurlston stays in the chair at the Water Authority (WA). There were some changes at the ERA but, aside from the chair, there was a clean sweep at the ICTA, while all members of the Water Authority were re-appointed. There has also been a re-shuffle at the Development Control Board, which approves planning applications for the Sister Islands. Ashton Bodden takes over as chair from Ernie Hurlstone, who has not been re-appointed. 

The members of the ERA are: Sherri Bodden-Cowan (chair), Derrick Tibbetts and Dara Flowers-Burke (both re-appointed), and new members Anna Rose Washburn, Reginald Nixon, Alee Fa’moe Member, and from Cayman Brac, former district commissioner Kenny Ryan, who now works for CB&LC Power & Light Company as plant manager. Charles Farrington is the Managing Director/Secretary and another member will be the chief officer or a designate of the  Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure (PLAHI). The appointment is for three years.

Miguel Barcelo,  Gene DaCosta, Gavin Dixon and Michael Herland have not been re-appointed to the ERA Board

The members of the ICTA are: Dale Crighton (chair), John Thompson, Ian Tibbetts, Gene Banks, Daniel Ebanks, Jean Gordon, Chris Gourzong, plus the chief officer or a designate from PLAHI. David Archbold, the ICTA managing director is an ex-officio member and secretary. The appointment is for three years.

George Berry, Alexander Bodden, Lyndhurst Bodden, Joseph Jackman, Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden, Chris Narborough, John Thompson and Paul Tibbetts were not re-appointed to the ICTA Board.

The members of the Water Authority Board are: Lemuel Hurlston (chair), James Gill, Otto Watler, Christopher John Randall, Alfonso Wright, Tannya Mortimer, Hansen Bingham Ebanks, plus the chief officer or a designate from PLAHI, the financial secretary or designate and the attorney general or designate. WA Director Dr Gelia Frederick-van Genderen is secretary. The appointment is for two years.

Ashton Bodden has been re-appointed to the Development Control Board but takes over as chair. Royce Dilbert and Melgreen Reid have been re-appointed, while previous members Captain Arlin Tatum, Alva "Billy" Bodden and Garston Grant have re-joined the board and Zanda Scott is a new member. Planning Officer Andrea Stevens is the executive secretary. The appointment is for two years.

Ernie Hurlstone, Larry Bryan, Ronald "Foots" Kynes and Delano Lazzari have not been re-appointed to the DCB.

For more details see the Extraordinary Gazettes on the government website:



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Swimming club welcomes new top coach

Swimming club welcomes new top coach

| 28/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CBAC): It’s set to be another busy swim season for the Camana Bay Aquatic Club (CBAC). Not only has the competitive swim club added a new training group to its offerings and expanded its swim school due to growing demand – the club also welcomes new Head Coach Brad Hutton. He joins the club this week with more than seventeen years of competitive swim coaching experience. Previously, Hutton was Head Coach to the St. John’s Legends in St. John’s, Newfoundland, during which time the club doubled its number of competitive swimmers and performance levels greatly increased.

He hopes to play a similar role in CBAC’s development; the three year-old club has been expanding rapidly and now boasts more than 140 members.

“Brad is a perfect fit for our club,” said CBAC President Jeffrey Wight. “He comes to us from a similar background – a small town community. And just as we have watched our club grow from a simple idea to an amazing team, Brad was instrumental in the Legends’ development from a small, local club to one of Canada’s most respected swim teams.”
Hutton is looking forward to using his experience not only to benefit the club – but also to grow the sport of swimming locally.

“My coaching experiences have taken me across Canada, where I have been able to work with many of the top coaches and build a club that is highly regarded across the country. I am now looking forward to meeting other coaches from the local swim clubs and using our combined skills and expertise to further advance the high level of swimming in the Cayman Islands and beyond,” he said.

The new season also brings new additions to CBAC’s mix of competitive and fitness training groups. Age Group Performance is for swimmers 10 years and older who have outgrown Age Group Development but are not quite ready for CBAC’s top training group, MaplesFS Select. The group will train and compete both locally and internationally. For non-competitive swimmers, Wight recommends the club’s growing Aquatic Fitness programme.

“The focus is on fitness and technique, while having fun,” he explained. “Kids that play other sports come to the pool twice a week to work on their cardio and cross-training – plus, it simply keeps kids busy and active.”

Launched in January this year, the Camana Bay Aquatic Club Swim School also saw a successful first season, growing from 20 to more than 80 participants. And this term, the swim school becomes an integral part of Cayman International School’s Physical Education curriculum.

“Swimming is an essential skill for every person living in the Cayman Islands. Ensuring children learn to swim at an early age not only provides a number of health and social benefits – but could also one day save a life,” Wight said. The Swim School also offers adult beginner and intermediate lessons, and caregiver classes for adults working with children around water. Classes take place at the Camana Bay Pool and registration is open.

“I am very proud of the success of our club and excited about the future as we begin a new season with Coach Brad,” said Wight. “We’re looking forward to reaching new heights and standards and I have all the confidence in the world in our new coach. I expect it is going to be another great year for competitive swimming in Cayman.”


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FOI compliance falls short

FOI compliance falls short

| 28/08/2013 | 23 Comments

(CNS): The latest decision from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) combined with the findings in its latest report show that government departments' compliance with the Freedom of Information law appears to be getting worse. With resources scarce at the ICO and government entities apparently still not recognising that transparency is far cheaper than attempting to cover things up, applicants are still being given the runaround and public servants often appear to be merely paying lip service to the law. In her latest ruling, Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert found that the delays and difficulties at the Child and Family Services Department were “unacceptable”.

The DCFS for the most part did not meet ICO deadlines, they withheld records that should have been released far earlier than they were, and a conflict of interest was identified with the Human Resource Manager and Information Manager (IM) being the same person, forcing the department to appoint a new IM.

Under section 52 of the FOI Law, public authorities must maintain their records in a manner that facilitates timely retrieval and allows them to comply with freedom of information requests. “In this case the responsive records were not promptly and thoroughly identified and provided, and this may have been the case because of poor record keeping,” Dilbert found.

Listing a catalogue of problems associated with what was a very sensitive application, Dilbert said the DCFS handled the process poorly.

According to information which was given to CNS by the applicant who is a former employee of the department, the FOI request was made in pursuit of a much bigger and broader complaint. The applicant is accusing the department of unethical behaviour and pushing her out of a job as a result of false allegations based on records which she has now been able to prove do not exist as aresult of the request.

While Dilbert avoided detailing the complaint in her findings on the appeal, the applicant has gone through an exceptionally long process to not only prove that false allegaions have been made against her, but that there are serious ethical flaws in the way things are being conducted at the department.

In this case, which is Dilbert's 31st appeal, as with many others the information commissioner was forced to deal with a department’s failure to comply with the law in a number of different areas. As is increasingly common with government entities, endless delays in finding and then releasing documents, coupled with poor compliance resulted in a difficult and protracted case.

In her latest quarterly report Dilbert said that many appeals handled by her officer are down to poor procedural handling of requests by public authorities. Although PAs are by law required to conduct a reasonable search for records relevant to a request, and communicate with the applicant to ensure that there are no misunderstandings, the ICO said many public authorities do not take this duty sufficiently seriously.

“It is becoming increasingly commonfor significant numbers of new records to surface after an appeal has been raised and the ICO is in the midst of conducting a pre-hearing investigation, sometimes even after the applicant has repeatedly been assured that no responsive records exist,” she said in the final report for 2012/13.

Although it may be a positive step that a complete search is eventually conducted, even if it is after significant pressure from the ICO, this approach is unfair and inefficient. “It causes significant delays and creates unnecessary and entirely avoidable tensions between Government and applicants,” the commissioner said. She noted that her office is also finding it increasingly difficult to secure the cooperation of some public authorities and civil servants, even at the highest levels, in the context of an appeal.

“While an applicant is by law entitled to reasons why records are being withheld, such an explanation is sometimes not or insufficiently given, and it is not uncommon for full reasons to be delayed until a hearing has commenced,” she observed. “This is not acceptable, fair or legal, and the ICO will not tolerate it,” Dilbert warned. “One of the side effects of this deteriorating approach by some public authorities is the fact that appeals are taking longer to resolve. According to ICO statistics, in 2012-13 it was on average taking almost two months longer for the ICO to resolve an appeal through a hearing than before,” she added.
The commissioner is now scheduled to meet with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson to seek his support in ensuring that Freedom of Information requests are dealt with by public authorities in accordance with the Law.

The commissioner revealed that she will not be renewing her contract at the end of this year as she will be retiring and so the search will soon be on to replace Dilbert, who has been at the helm of the cash strapped but critical office in the reform of government since the FOI law was implemented.

See appeal 31 and latest report below.

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Blue iguana expert nominated for prestigious award

Blue iguana expert nominated for prestigious award

| 28/08/2013 | 11 Comments

(CNS): In recognition of his efforts in successfully bringing back Grand Cayman's blue iguana from the brink of extinction, Fred Burton (left) has been included on a list of thirty-nine of the world's foremost conservationists who have been nominated to receive the biennial Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. All nominees, including chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall, a household name for her conservation work, have dedicated their lives to saving the Earth’s endangered species. The winner will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award and the Lilly Medal. Five other finalists will each receive $10,000. The nominees’ work spans the globe and represents a broad range of species including chimpanzees, snow leopards, sea turtles, giant pandas, bats, swans and many more. 

An international Nominating Committee composed of renowned professional conservationists and local representatives will review all nominations and select six finalists, who will be revealed in the spring of 2014. The Prize Jury will then determine the winner, who will be announced in mid-2014 and honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc, to be held 27 September 2014, in Indianapolis.

“The current nominees are exceptional and they represent many of the most significant wildlife conservationists working in the field today,” said Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, which initiated the Indianapolis Prize as part of its core mission. “Increasingly more species are at risk of extinction, and these heroes deserve our recognition and support for their expertise, accomplishments, and tireless efforts protecting them. We encourage people around the world to celebrate the nominees’ important work and to join them in advancing animal conservation.”

Burton, the director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, is the author of "The Little Blue Book – a short history of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana", which tells the story of Grand Cayman’s unique reptile, from pre-Columbian abundance to the brink of extinction and last minute rescue. The book is available on the International Reptile Conservation Foundation website.

In alphabetical order, the nominees for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize are:

Joel Berger, PhD: (Wildlife Conservation Society) Distinguished scientist leading projects including pronghorn antelope migration corridor conservation, impacts of energy development on wildlife in Greater Yellowstone, impacts of climate change on musk ox in the Alaskan Arctic, and saiga antelope conservation in Mongolia.

Christophe Boesch, PhD: (Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology) Primatologist dedicated to decreasing pressure on wild chimpanzees, providing alternatives to bush meat and applying new technology to great apes conservation.

Sheila Bolin: (The Regal Swan Foundation, Inc.) Advocate for humane treatment and veterinary care for swans worldwide through conservation, research, veterinary medicine, education and swan-related product development.

Patrick Burchfield, PhD: (Gladys Porter Zoo) Persistent defender of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles against impossible odds; restored turtle nests and hatchlings released into the Gulf of Mexico by more than 3,000 percent since 1985.

Fred Burton: (Blue Iguana Recovery Programme) Internationally-known director of an integrated conservation program for the endangered Grand Cayman blue iguana; successfully brought the species back from critically endangered status on the IUCN Red List in 2012.

Gerardo Ceballos, PhD: (Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) Champion for jaguars in Mexico, conducting the first country-level jaguar census and the most comprehensive jaguar study to date. Finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize.

Wendy Collinson: (The Endangered Wildlife Trust) Passionate researcher and campaigner for the Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project; responsible for driving initiatives, international road ecology workshops, and action plans that address the recognized threat of roads to biodiversity in South Africa.

Andrew Conolly: (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust) Cattle and wildlife rancher turned lion conservationist; founder of the four-stage African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program to secure a future for Africa’s most iconic species.

Lisa Dabek, PhD: (Papua New Guinea Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Woodland Park Zoo) Founder of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program; responsible for the first Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea; used Crittercam© technology for the first time on arboreal mammals, allowing scientists to record animal behavior through mounted video cameras and transmitters.

Johannes Fritz, PhD: (Waldrappteam) Tireless advocate of the critically endangered Waldrapp ibis and founder of the Waldrapp team project to re-establish the bird in its historic migration range from Bavaria to Italy.

Biruté Mary Galdikas, PhD: (Orangutan Foundation International) More than 35 years of advancing research on wild orangutan ecology and behavior; established rehabilitation and release programs and saved millions of acres of tropical rain forest in Borneo.

Jane Goodall, PhD: (The Jane Goodall Institute) First anthropologist to observe tool-making in primates, now inspires action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, while encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.

Helen Hays: (American Museum of Natural History) Acclaimed ornithologist working on Great Gull Island to restore its population of Roseate Terns to the largest concentrationin the Western Hemisphere.

Denver Holt: (Owl Research Institute) One of the world’s leading owl biologists; founder of the Owl Research Institute and the Ninepipes Wildlife Research Center.

Rodney Jackson, PhD: (Snow Leopard Conservancy) Conducted in-depth radio-tracking studies of snow leopards since the 1980s; dedicated to building local communities' capacity as key players in conserving the species. Finalist for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Indianapolis Prize.

Christopher Jenkins, PhD: (The Orianne Society) Founder of the Orianne Society, dedicating numerous years to snakes, one of the most vilified and persecuted groups of animals in the world.

Carl Jones, PhD: (Mauritian Wildlife Foundation) Biologist who pioneered the techniques of applied population management to reverse the decline of highly endangered species; instrumental in the creation of the first national park in Mauritius; involved in the recovery of five bird species coming from populations of less than 10 specimens. Finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize.

Stephen Kress, PhD: (National Audubon Society) Widely respected ornithologist and expert in seabird conservation; known as "The Puffin Man” because of his extraordinary success leading Audubon's Project Puffin in Maine.

Amanda Lollar: (Bat World Sanctuary) Established Bat World Sanctuary, the largest rehabilitation facility in the world dedicated exclusively to bats. Created the first nutritionally sound diet for debilitated bats.

Patricia Majluf, PhD: (Universidad Peruna Cayetano Herdia) Almost singlehandedly led marine conservation efforts in Peru, through political unrest, countless governments and systemic corruption; improved industrial fishery practices and initiated campaign for the use of anchoveta as a protein source for Peru’s malnourished people.

Laurie Marker, PhD: (Cheetah Conservation Fund) Founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund, leading a conservation program from humble beginnings in rural Namibia to an unparalleled model for predator conservation. Finalist for the 2008 and 2010 Indianapolis Prize.

Nick Marx: (Wildlife Alliance) Revolutionized the rescue, care and rehabilitation of wild animals in Southeast Asia, risking his life many times and disrupting illegal wildlife trafficking by more than 75 percent.

Stephen McCulloch: (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution) Created legislation to fund several ongoing marine mammal research and conservation programs while working to construct the first teaching marine mammal hospital, science and education center.

Patricia Medici, PhD: (IUCN Tapir Specialist Group) An unsung conservation hero with over 20 years experience conducting field work on tapirs and other wildlife species; founding member of the Institute for Ecological Research, the most respected and effective conservation NGO in Brazil.

Charudutt Mishra, PhD: (Snow Leopard Trust & Nature Conservation Foundation) Conservation biologist working to protect threatened species and habitats throughout Central Asia, with a focus on the charismatic and endangered snow leopard.

Russell Mittermeier, PhD: (Conservation International) Visionary leader able to motivate every level of conservationist to support the greater good of many species, including primates; one of the first academic primatologists to become concerned with the welfare and conservation of primates. Finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize.

Attaullah Pandrani: (Save the Nature Organization) Marine biologist striving to improve nesting conditions of Pakistani sea turtles, protect mangrove trees as a natural habitat, and reduce hunting and trapping threats.

Michael Phillips: (Turner Endangered Species Fund) Montana state senator and co-founder of the Turner Endangered Species Fund; working to restore imperiled mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians and plants with an emphasis on wolf recovery.

Nicolas Pilcher, PhD: (Marine Research Foundation)Founder and executive director of the Marine Research Foundation, working to further the understanding of marine ecosystems and their functions, and conserve the abundance and diversity of marine flora and fauna through research, conservation and education activities.

Gay Reinartz, PhD: (Zoological Society of Milwaukee) Internationally recognized for her work on behalf of the bonobo in both the wild and captivity, working tirelessly to protect and conserve this endangered great ape that is found only in the remote heartland of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Carl Safina, PhD: (Blue Ocean Institute) Brought ocean conservation into the environmental mainstream by using science, art and literature to inspirea "sea ethic." Finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize.

Joel D. Sartore: (National Geographic Magazine) Renowned photojournalist with mission to give vanishing species and habitats a voice before they're gone forever; co-founder of The Grassland Foundation.

John Seidensticker, PhD: (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute) Pioneered the use of radio telemetry to study cougars in North America and was co-leader of the team that captured and radio-tracked the first wild tigers in Nepal; dedicated to tiger science and conservation for nearly 40 years.

Claudio Sillero, PhD: (Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, University of Oxford) Founder and executive director of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, keeping watch over Africa's rarest and most endangered carnivore.

Tara Stoinski, PhD: (Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Zoo Atlanta) One of the world’s foremost experts in gorilla behavior and cognition, with over 13 years of dual-expertise in wild and zoo-housed populations.

Ronald Swaisgood, PhD: (Institute for Conservation Research, Zoological Society of San Diego) Trained field biologist serving San Diego Zoo Global as director of applied animal ecology, overseeing recovery programs for species such as California condors, burrowing owls, Caribbean rock iguanas, mountain yellow-legged frogs, giant pandas, rhinoceros, kangaroo rats and Pacific pocket mice.

Randall Wells, PhD: (Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, Chicago Zoological Society) Program director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population.

Romulus Whitaker: (Madras Crocodile Bank & Centre for Herpetology) Devoted four decades of work to studying and conserving diverse reptiles and reversing both public and governmental opinion to one demanding conservation and appreciation.

Patricia Wright, PhD: (Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, Stony Brook University) Discovered the golden bamboo lemur in 1986, a species that was then unknown to science, which helped to catalyze the transformation of Madagascar's park systems, turning it into a model for global conservation efforts. Finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize.

The Indianapolis Prize was first awarded in 2006 to Dr George Archibald, the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The 2008 winner was George Schaller, PhD, senior conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and an icon in field conservation around the world. In 2010, the Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Iain Douglas-Hamilton, PhD, founder of Save the Elephants, who pioneered research in elephant social behavior and has led the way in fighting poaching of African elephants. Steven Amstrup, PhD, of Polar Bears International, received the 2012 Indianapolis Prize for his work promoting the cause of the world’s largest land carnivore.

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CS best worker of year to be revealed tonight

CS best worker of year to be revealed tonight

| 28/08/2013 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The deputy governor, who is still acting as governor, will be hosting a special event this evening at Government House where he will unveil the Civil Service Employee of the Year Award. For the past year, following the creation of the employee of the month initiative by Franz Manderson, a public servant has been singled out for going above and beyond the call of duty to be handed the award. The programme has recognized excellence in the civil service each month and the employee of the year will be chosen from among the twelve monthly award winners so far.

The presentation will take place this evening and CNS will post the details of the winner on receipt of the details from government officials.

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Tackling crime must be government’s priority

Tackling crime must be government’s priority

| 28/08/2013 | 22 Comments

As indicated during the elections earlier this year, the majority in this country has high hopes that the current government will be able to put the Cayman Islands back on the right track. Certainly, this will not happen overnight; however, it is crucial that the people of this country are seeing actions within the first year in order to not lose faith. Considering the headlines in regards to the home invasion which occurred in Savannah, it is now beyond obvious what the new government’s priorities must be. 

We have now come to a point where we can’t wait any longer for the ever increasing crime rate to magically decrease. Fluffed up statistics of decrease in crime are just that – fluff! We know that a lot of robberies, break-ins, thefts etc are going unreported. IF they are reported to the police, then many of them will not be reported in the local news. There is no police presence EVER on the streets and I can’t recall the last time I have witnessed police having pulled someone over for speeding, tinted windows, dangerous driving, etc. A 16-year-old visitor to Grand Cayman recently said this: “Wow, I guess you all must not be worried about police around here considering how everyone is speeding!”

When we think about the amount of money that is annually spent on the RCIPS and Legal Department, the return we get for this money is, to say the least, pathetic. If a company would be run in that way, they would have had to close their doors many years ago.

We are now living in a country where a large amount of businesses must have security guards. Even at the hair salon I go to, I now have to press a buzzer so they can let me in as the door is locked for fear of robbery. More and more developments want to install security gates. (BTW – they are useless! Just ask one of the gated developments where recently some 20 cars were broken into in one night!)

I am sure many of us can give account of having been victim of crime or having witnessed offenses being committed. Before you ask whether people have reported those crimes or offenses – yes, many people have but there are too many accounts of how a large chunk of those reports were ignored, disregarded or not dealt with in a professional or efficient manner. Before you tell me that the RCIPS can’t battle crime without the support of the community, I would like to hear for a change what it is RCIPS can do, rather than always hearing or reading about what they can’t do.

The first priority must be to get crime under control and the new governor must be made aware accordingly, since the governor is ultimately responsible for the RCIPS. The RCIPS, along with the Legal Department, must be cleaned out as needs be. The people who were hired based on their “qualifications” and “expertise” must deliver or get out. When cleaning house, don’t work your way from the bottom up, work your way from the top down! There is no more time for creating committees and compiling statistics. Talks about the cruise ship docks are in vain if we have to worry that the tourists will be mugged when strolling along the beach.

Preventative measures must be put in place to discourage crime to begin with. The constant knee-jerk reactions and band-aid applications are getting as nowhere. HMP Northward must be run like a prison and not like a hotel where the prisoners can have funky hairstyles and wear shades, have access to areas where they shouldn’t be and where contraband is smuggled on a regular basis. What better way to demonstrate that the police mean business than by being out on the roads and enforcing the traffic laws every day? Court cases must be moved along and a trial should not go on for two plus years to be completed. If someone is charged with a crime, it shouldn’t take a year before the case is processed in the courts.

We need to see the RCIPS and Legal Department doing their job so we can all live once again in a country where daily law and order prevails and where it is demonstrated that crime does not pay. At the moment, it is the ones who are following the laws and regulations, the ones who earn an honest living who are made to feel like fools and the criminals are having a good laugh.

Dear elected MLAs and ministers, as Van Morrison said in one of his songs, “There is no past, there is only future, there is only here, there is only now!” Don’t focus on the past and what the previous administrations have done or not done. Focus on the now and the future and let us see that you meant what you said during your election campaigns. We put our trust in you, don’t let us down!

What business can be more important than to ensure the safety of the residents and visitors of the Cayman Islands?

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Nominations open for more young achievers

Nominations open for more young achievers

| 28/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The public is being asked to submit nominations to government for a programme that honours young Caymanians who have achieved great things in a range of different fields, from academics and the arts to sports and service. The latest round of 'Proud of Them' nominations opened Wednesday 28 August until 27 September. Residents can nominate a young person between the age of 10 and 25 years to be recognised for reaching a significant level of success, which will be heralded in a public poster campaign for six months on giant billboards around the islands. 

Announcing the second round of nominations, Youth Minister Osbourne Bodden said he was pleased that the community had embraced the initiative.

“Showcasing the positive achievements of our young people, demonstrates to them that hard work does pay off. This is why the Ministry of Health, Sports, Youth & Culture (HSYC) remains committed to honouring such individuals,” Bodden said about the project created by his predecessor, Mark Scotland.

Continuing on with the initiative, Bodden urged people to nominate from each district to ensure that young people in each area could identify with those who are selected. Officials believe that this recognition programme will empower high achievers to continue their efforts, while inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

The categories for nominating young people include academics, business, sports, culture, community service or careers. Copies of the 'Proud of Them' nomination form are available online here.

For more information, or to submit your nominations, contact the organising committee at

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Giant plastic bottle turns up empty in Venezuela

Giant plastic bottle turns up empty in Venezuela

| 28/08/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The company behind a major publicity stunt to promote a Norwegian soft drink said that a giant message in a bottle pushed of the coast of Tenerife in March has finally turned up in Venezuela after being lost in the Atlantic for several weeks. But the message, as well as its radar equipment, solar equipment and cameras have all been raided by pirates, the firm believes. The 26-foot long, 2.5 tons replica soda bottle outfitted with solar panels, a camera, and tracking technology is believed to have been stripped of its expensive equipment somewhere east of Barbados.(Photos by Arjuna Maciel Camargo)

“We had almost given up hope when our social media-guy checked the hashtag #solobottle on instagram yesterday and found that a local Venezuelan photographer, Arjuna Maciel Camargo (@arjunamac), had posted photos of the local coast guard towing a yellow giant bottle,” said a spokesperson for Solo, the drink company behind the marine PR stunt.

The Venezuelan Coast Guard had found the bottle drifting in the Los Roques archipelago 100 miles north of the Venezuelan mainland on Tuesday. But there was a big hole in the bottle and the equipment as well as the message (a case of the fruit drink) were gone.

Around 100,000 Norwegians took part in a competition to guess where the plastic bottle would end up and the drinks firm is now working on establishing exactly where the bottle was found in order to announce the winner.

The firm’s boss, Joakim Sande, and his team will also be flying to Venezuela to throw a party for the Coast Guard and the 1,500 local inhabitants in Los Roques, where the bottle was recovered and taken from the ocean.

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New governor expected first week of September

New governor expected first week of September

| 28/08/2013 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands new governor, Helen Kilpatrick, is scheduled to arrive in the country on the morning of Friday 6 September. The first British bureaucrat from outside the Foreign Office and the first women to take up the post, Kilpatrick is a finance expert and is expected to focus heavily on the public purse during her tenure. Kilpatrick will be sworn into office at the Legislative Assembly at 2:00 on the afternoon of her arrival, before she settles into the Seven Mile Beach house where she will live for the next three years. Kilpatrick, who is taking up her first overseas posting on behalf of the UK government, has said that she does not believe that her lack of FCO experience will be a hindrance in her new job.

She said the position as governor would build on her previous experience in local government, in the Home Office, in policing and prisons. "Although working in the Foreign Office is new to me, the areas of responsibility I will have here are not new,” she told the press during a brief familiarization visit in July.

She said her financial experience would be a great help, as it was an “important aspect of government and an import aspect of business life in Cayman."

Kilpatrick said her first impressions of the Cayman Islands were “absolutely fantastic”, as she described the welcome as friendly and said everyone had been very open with her. She arrives in Cayman directly from her former Home Office job. 

Her predecessor, Duncan Taylor, said the job of governor is different from other diplomatic roles and comes with significant powers and responsibilities. He said Kilpatrick’s experience managing local government budgets and overseeing the administration of police forces and other such jobs at the Home Office would be beneficial.

As well as helping to get the public purse back in semblance of order, Kilpatrick will need to focus on what many believe is the islands' costly and over bloated civil service, but without cutting local jobs. Before he left, Taylor said that he was disappointed that he had not been able to advance issues of accountability and transparency in the service and noted that this remained a pressing issue.

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Manderson told to give it up

Manderson told to give it up

| 28/08/2013 | 5 Comments

(CNS): With his dad, Steve Manderson, and the other escaped prisoner, Chadwick Dale, back behind bars, the police are asking Marcus Manderson to give himself up to the authorities as time is running out for the young man, alone on the run. As the hunt for the last of the three inmates who escaped from HMP Northward on 14 August continued Wednesday morning following the early morning arrest of Steve Manderson (44), the officer leading the enquiry called on his 25-year-old son to give himself up. Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay said he did not know what conditions he was living in and he was not sure the young man even had access to food or water.

Despite rumours in the community that the young man has already left the island, Kay said that he believes that Marcus Manderson is still in Cayman. The younger Manderson is serving a mandatory ten year sentence for the possession of an unlicensed firearm after he was recently convicted of attempting to throw away a modified flare gun after being chased by police. He is the last of the three mento evade capture after they all escaped from HMP Northward fourteen days ago.

“It’s now been two weeks since the three men escaped from prison,” DCI Kay said. “Two of them have been recaptured and are now back behind bars. It’s clear that the men have been living rough and we believe that they have stayed together since the breakout. Marcus is now out there on his own. He will be tired and feeling vulnerable. He must know that it’s only a matter of time before he too is recaptured."

Kay added, “It’s not known if he has access to food or water. But once again I would ask property owners and residents to report any suspicious activity or thefts from their premises." He said the support from the community for the officers involved in the hunt has been great.

“I know that people will be encouraged by the results we’ve had so far and I am confident that the joint operations with our colleagues in the prison service will ensure that the remaining prisoner is brought to justice,” Kay said in a release following Steve Manderson’s arrest.

More than 30 police officers have been dedicated to the operation to recapture the escapees. On Tuesday 20 August Chadwick Dale was arrested after an operation in the North Side area. Earlier this morning, Wednesday 28 August, Steve Manderson was arrested following an operation in Frank Sound. However Steve’s son Marcus remains at large.

The father and son duo along with Jamaican national Dale broke out of HMP Northward on the evening of 14 August via the kitchen block and by cutting their way through two parameter fences.

The escape happened just six weeks after the arrival from the UK of the new prison boss, corrections veteran Neil Lavis, who said that during thirty years in the British prison service no inmate had escaped from the prisons where he worked.

Admitting he had let the community down, he acknowledged that the fundamental part of his job, as the prison boss, is to keep the community safe and the prisoners inside.

Pointing to the poor state of the under-resourced prison, it is not yet clear if the local authorities intend to conduct a public enquiry into how three inmates, all convicted of violent offences including (in Steve Manderson’s case) murder, managed to spring themselves from the facility.

So far, there has been no major clamouring for Lavis’ head as the fall guy for the escape as it appears to be a result of the existing weaknesses in the prison system and the crumbling condition of the facility rather than down to any directly implemented policy by the new boss.

Anyone who has any information which could assist the enquiry is asked to contact their local police station. Any sightings of Marcus Manderson should be reported immediately to 911.

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