Archive for September 17th, 2013

Concerns abate over cholera outbreak in Cuba

| 17/09/2013 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams is continuing to remind visitors to Cuba to follow basic cholera prevention guidelines and to advise anyone returning from the neighbouring country to contact a doctor immediately if they develop diarrhoea within five days of their return. But with no further official reports concerning the Cholera outbreak in Havana, concerns are abating. According to the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are no new cases and no travel restrictions are in place. 

Chances of a cholera outbreak in the Cayman Islands remain very low as the islands have modern water and sewage treatment systems. 

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that is the result of ingesting contaminated food or water. It causes rapid watery diarrhoea that leads to severe dehydration. But according to WHO figures, up to 80 percent of cases can be treated successfully with oral rehydration salts. The disease is spread through water which may be tainted by the faeces of infected persons or by untreated sewage. Food can be contaminated by using this tainted water or by being handled by someone who has cholera.

Tips for Prevention

Travellers to Cuba can greatly reduce the risk of contracting the disease by following these practices:

  • Drink only bottled, boiled or chemically-treated water and/or bottled or canned beverages.
  • Ensure that seals are unbroken when using bottled drinks.
  • Disinfect your own water: boil for one minute or filter the water and add two drops of household bleach or half an iodine tablet per litre of water.
  • Use bottled, boiled or chemically-treated water to wash dishes and brush teeth.
  • Use ice in your drink only if you know it was made from boiled or treated water.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.
  • Clean your hands before you eat or prepare foods, and after using the bathroom.
  • Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself.
  • Cook all vegetables. Do not eat salads or other raw vegetables.
  • Do not buy food or beverages from street vendors.

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No link in murder, say cops

| 17/09/2013 | 18 Comments

(CNS): As the murder investigation into thefatal shooting of Irvin Bush (52) on Sunday continues, the police say they are ruling nothing out. However, a police spokesperson said Tuesday that while it might have been a gang-related killing, no direct link has so far been established to the murder of Bush’s son, Robert Mackford Bush (28), who was shot dead while sitting in a car in the Birch Tree Hill area of West Bay on Tuesday, 13 September 2011. Irvin Bush was gunned down outside his home in Daisy Lane at around 10:00 Sunday night. Police have not yet indicated how many gunmen are thought to have been involved or how they arrived at the victim’s residence.

“We are carrying out extensive enquiries to establish a motive. We haven’t ruled out the possibility that this was gang-related, but at the present time we cannot confirm that,” said Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay.

The most obvious question being asked, however, is if Bush’s killing is connected to the murder of his son. Following the fatal shooting of the 28-year-old in 2011, two other young men were killed in tit-for-tat violence in the district in a matter of days. A fourth West Bay man was also killed and a fifth injured in a related shooting in George Town off Crewe Road.

Only one person has ever been charged in connection with the series of shootings that marked the last spate of gangland killings in Grand Cayman. Brian Borden was charged with Robert MacKford’s murder last year and has been on remand ever since.

However, with constant delays in his trial, Borden’s attorney has filed a human rights petition tothe courts challenging the mandatory imposition of remand on all defendants charged with murder, regardless of the circumstance or quality of evidence against them. That petition is scheduled to be heard on Friday.

In the meantime, police have not yet made any arrests in the recent Bush case, nor have they released any more details, but they are asking the public to contact George Town Police Station if they have any information about the murder or were in the area at the time of the shooting. 

A murder incident room has been set up and people can also call a specific enquiry line on 925-7240 with any tips that can assist police. They can also call the RCIPS dedicated tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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600 dictionaries donated to local schools

| 17/09/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): For the third year in a row service club Rotary Sunrise has delivered over 600 dictionaries to year seven students at all government and private schools in the Cayman Islands, officials said Tuesday. Rotary Sunrise President JD Mosley-Matchett and Literacy Committee Member Woody Foster presented the books to year seven students at John Gray High School (JGHS) on 11 September and to Clifton Hunter High School on 13 September. It will continue distributing the dictionaries to private schools over the coming week.

Since 2011 Rotary Sunrise has delivered the UK version of the Usborne Illustrated Dictionary students as part of the Dictionary 4 Life Project, an international initiative in support of universal literacy

“My three year old son’s favourite book is a picture dictionary which we read on a nightly basis,” said education minister Tara Rivers. “I hope the students receiving their own personal copy of the Usborne Illustrated Dictionary will enjoy the book for years to come.”

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Triathlon to boost sports tourism

| 17/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With sports tourism one of the big hopes to develop the overnight guest market on Grand Cayman the forth coming   2013 Arch & Godfrey Cayman Islands Triathlon is much more than just a hard race. Set for 3 November the gruelling sports challenge is one of the Islands' premier sporting events which attracts a strong field of international competitors as well as locals, keen amateurs and spectators. More than 200 athletes are expected to sign up this year from home and abroad and registration is now open. There are several categories including the Olympic distance — 1500m Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run  as well as the shorter Sprint distance 750m Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run.

The first 200 athletes registered will receive athlete bags and goodies including race shirt, bag, race belt, water bottle.  Ahead of the main event, an optional training series is being held this month and next to help racers get in shape.

The triathlon starts at the public beach on Seven Mile with the swim, followed by the bike ride to West Bay and the foot race will be held along the West Bay Road

The 2012 Cayman Islands Triathlon saw Marius Acker finish the Olympic distance in 2:09:32, successfully defending and shaving 5 seconds off his 2011 Olympic distance title. Arwen Lawson meanwhile was first female finisher in 2:35:18. In the Sprint distance, Darren Mew took the title with a time of 1:12:59 and first female finisher was Gill Comins with 1:17:28. First team to finish was tRICS in a time 2:05:51.

The official race guide is expected to be on the website shortly at www.triathlon.ky

 

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Has there been a change?

| 17/09/2013 | 52 Comments

The current government must not forget why the Caymanian people overwhelmingly voted the past UDP government out of power in the last elections. While Caymanians chose more PPM candidates than any other group, it was not a resounding win for the PPM but rather a resounding vote against UDP. Caymanians chose overwhelmingly 'anything that was not UDP'. The PPM needs to give serious consideration to what it was the Caymanian people were unhappy about and make every attempt to follow policies that are in keeping with what the people want for their country.

One of the main issues was how our representatives worked with the Dart Group. Caymanians were very concerned with what seemed to be the great 'Dart giveaway'.  It seemed as though every deal made was beneficial to Dart but with little concern as to what was best for Cayman. While we, the general public, have very little knowledge of what is contained in the deals made during the last administration, the little we do know is very one-sided in favour of Dart. Instead of the 'ForCayman Alliance', it should be more correctly called the 'ForDart Alliance'. 

Government closed the West bay Road, gave them unbelievable breaks in import duty concessions and hotel tax concessions and probably much more that we are not aware of. In return, they built a new road (opening up their valuable land). They have developed Camana Bay, but that is a business venture to commercially develop their land holdings and not a response to what is good for the Caymanian people.

If more evidence was needed that Dart shows no concern for what is in the best interest of Caymanians or even Cayman, we need look no further than their choice of hotel franchise. If they were truly interested in the feelings and opinions of Caymanians, they would surely know our history and would not bring a franchise such as the Kimpton Hotel Group to Cayman. With all the brands of hotel franchises they could have chosen, what a slap in our faces to choose one that is openly gay-friendly based in San Francisco. While no one questions the right of Kimpton to market to whatever demographic segment of the market they choose, why would Dart choose that franchise for Cayman? Most likely, either they are unaware of our culture or do not care. Caymanians are not trying to restrict anyone from visiting but simply asking those that visit to respect our culture and way of life. This choice is just one more demonstration of how much Dart really cares about Cayman and our culture. 

The new PPM government not only should but they have an obligation to redress any of the wrongs done by the past administration. Where a bad deal was made we should now be making every effort to cancel it for the good of the country. The excuse of 'it is already signed' is not being accepted by Caymanians. If these deals were made in bad faith they must be cancelled.

During the last UDP administration there were many issues that were highly contentious and the people felt were wrong. The issues that caused the most contention seemed to be the way developers were able to get planning permission for whatever they wanted, even if it was something the Caymanian people were against. 

Caymanians actually came out in large numbers and marched against such projects as the East End Port, the South Sound road and canal plans and the closing of the West Bay Road. The PPM government must make it clearthey will listen to the people when it comes to these types of major decisions. If not, the people will feel as though everything is the same as before, only the faces have changed and the PPM government will be a one term government, just as before.

The minister for planning has not helped the cause by appointing a number of key members from the previous planning board to the new board. This will almost ensure more of the same and the Caymanian people will not accept it. In all the government boards there should have been a complete change but most especially the planning board as that is where the most serious concerns and lack of trust were demonstrated.

This government is still new, but they are being watched carefully.

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Complaint made to cops over NB fund recipient

| 17/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has confirmed that it received a complaint from the Ministry of Education earlier this month regarding the misuse of money allocated by the controversial Nation Building Fund to an individual for training courses. Although the police said an investigation was now underway and it would be “inappropriate for the RCIPS to identify the individual”, CNS can confirm that it is local activist Sandra Catron. On hearing that she was the subject of yet another police probe, Catron said she was extremely surprised to find herself at the heart of another ill-founded enquiry, especially when the money for the courses remains outstanding. She added that this latest investigation was harassment and she was considering her own legal action. 

Ironically, Catron said that several of the students who applied for nation building grants in order to take paralegal courses with Micro Matrix, Catron’s training firm, are still waiting for the cash to cover the cost of their studies.

"For the better half of a year now I have been chasing the Cayman Islands Government for final payment of these funds,” Catron told CNS. “None of the emails have been responded to since April 2013, and when they did respond they asked for information that had already been provided. The initial payment was done in installments because the government complained of their financial situation. However, chasing them for payment has proven to be difficult and we could not extend that arrangement to a second group of individuals.”

Catron explained that a partial payment was made for that group but she continues to wait on the remainder. “We have numerous emails to demonstrate our efforts to resolve this with three different offices of the premier,” she said, pointing to a chain of emails shown to CNS to the various government officials.

“If the CIG is interested in resolving this matter, they simply have to pay for the services to be rendered in full,” she said, adding that she hoped that those in charge of the NBF would now support the public-private partnership, which was meant to benefit Caymanians and had demonstrated that it had done so by the testimonials sent by students to the ministry.

Catron took aim at the police, however, pointing out that once again the RCIPS had found time to indulge in an investigation that centred around private contractual matters.

“At the end of the day, it’s no coincidence that the RCIPS continues to find time to launch their personal vendettas against me, often going as far as involving themselves in matters that the courts eventually deemed as civil,” Catron said, as she pointed to the cases she won over the alleged theft of a dog and arguments between herself and her landlord. 

“I’ve had numerous professional development contracts over the years from both government and private sector and have never experienced anything like this before,” she said after hearing that she was the subject of yet another odd investigation.

Catron is currently defending herself in a criminal case against her in connection with alleged harassment on an ICT network. However, in a recent judicial review the warrant used to search Catron’s office, home, computer and car and to seize personal possessions was thrown out after she successfully challenged its legality.

Although Catron has completed a law degree and the professional practice certificate, she has not been able to secure articles and so, as yet, she has not qualified as an attorney. However, her ongoing successful battles with the local authorities, in what can only be described as bizarre cases, continue to give her plenty of hands-on practice.

Recently, the police also began an investigation into a Facebook page with which Catron is directly associated, although it is now hosted in the US, which is naming convicted local sex offenders.

As Catron continues to find herself the centre of controversy, the Nation Building Fund, which was created by former premier McKeeva Bush, also continues to attract controversy. The new education minister said recently that the ministry staff discovered many irregularities with the scholarships awarded under it when they were taken over by the education department and the regular scholarship council.

The money given to churches caused even more controversy earlier this year when several gave back grants and even led to bust-ups among the recipients at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay, when the congregation differed over how the money had been used.

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Local fighter tipped to make it big

| 17/09/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): One young local boxer could be looking at a career in the sport after his great performance at the weekend battling it out against a more experienced opponent from Cuba, when the Cayman Islands Boxing Association hosted the Dalmain Ebanks Champions Invitational boxing extravaganza at Pedro St James on Saturday. The final bout of the evening involved Cayman’s young star Tafari Ebanks against Norlan Yera Diaz, a world champion boxer. Ebanks demonstrated real courage and skill, received cuts and bruises in the process, but fought to the end and beat his more experienced opponent on a points decision, catching the eye of Cuba’s boxing coach.

Professor Jesus Dominguez, who is also here to review the Cayman Islands Boxing programme, is a Cuban boxing legend, a famed boxing technical instructor and chief adviser to AIBA. He said that he had been watching Ebanks for some time.

“At the rate that that young man is improving, he will be one of the greatest Olympic Champions the world will ever see,” he declared after the bout Saturday night.

Professor Dominguez is also in Cayman to provide an audit of CIBA’s training programme and assist in its development towards the next Olympic Games. The next competition for the Cayman national team will be the World Championships hosted by AIBA in October in Kazakhstan. The Cuban team has also stayed to take part in the training with the local team until they depart on Thursday.

Coming from a country known for their boxing prowess, the visitors helped to put on a great boxing event at the weekend, which began with two bouts from the Extended After School boxing programme.

12-year-olds Finn Millward and Callum Smith demonstrated the skills and determination that they have learned through participating in the programme, with Millward getting the better of Smith after two rounds.

Then Bruce Lee Coulson fought Shawn Rankine, both from Cayman, with Coulson winning on points. The third bout involved two Cuban heavyweights, Emmanuel Reyes Platt and national champion Frank Sanchez. Reyes started faster, but Sanchez paced himself better to win on points.

Light-welterweight, Cuba’s multi-medaled Luis Oliva Gener showed why he is one of the world’s best in his division with a points victory over Cayman’s Kendall Ebanks, who pressed throughout the bout but just lacked that little extra to beat a more experienced opponent.

Cuban boxing has a long and rich history and is globally renowned for the quality of their amateur boxing programme. Organizers said it was an honor for four of their top fighters to display their skills here but they were equally pleased with the performance of the local young fighters.

“We are so proud of the event and how far our fighters have come,” said a spokesperson for the CIBA. ”To be able to hold their own against world-class Olympic boxers really demonstrates just how much progress they have made in the last eighteen months. We are also honoured to host the Cuban boxing delegation, who are very excited to be on island and have demonstrated great enthusiasm for the beauty of Cayman.”

Members of the Boxing Association took the Cubans to Cayman Cabana after the bout for a taste of Cayman-style dinner and dancing, as well as a trip to Stingray City on Sunday, which Frank Sanchez said was the best time he ever had in his life.

The Cayman Islands Boxing Association thanked everyone who came out to watch the event and everyone who assisted with the eventand our sponsors, who made the event possible. Long-term sponsors are the Ministry of Sports, Dart Foundation, Cayman Airways and Paramount Media. Event sponsors were Elite Marble and Granite, Scott Security, Cayman Cabana and One Tree Four Five.

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TCI corruption case drags on into 2014

| 17/09/2013 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the governor’s office in the Turks and Caicos Islands have revealed that the corruption case headed by the special prosecutor Helen Garlick (left) will be dragging well into next year after a trial date for the case against McAllister Hanchell, Lilian Boyce, Floyd Hall, Jeffrey Hall and others was set for July 2014. While officials said the delays were on the part of the defence, recent media reports have pointed to some difficulties for the prosecutors as well after money laundering charges were dropped against lawyer Norman Saunders Jnr as a result of a major legal stumbling block in the 2012 constitution which implies the Special Prosecutor doesn’t have the authority to prosecute anyone.

On 6 September, Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough ordered that the charges against Saunders be "vacated" after Garlick and the prosecuting team’s top lawyer Queen's Counsel Andrew Mitchell admitted that under the present 2012 Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, the Special Prosecutor did not have the legal power or authority to prosecute anyone.

Saunders' lawyers, submitted to the court that under the new law, the authority to prosecute and charge persons is vested in the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who would have had to delegate those powers to Garlick in order for the charges to be valid. They argued that Garlick is nothing more than a contracted legal worker with no Constitutional powers though the DPP is understood to have delegated powers to Garlick.

Garlick was accused of being on a “witch hunt” and had been quick to rush to judgment and press charges for the wrong reasons.

However, it appears that most of the others in the case were arraigned under the old constitution which means the prosecutions will go ahead with a firm date for the trial to start. The first charges in this case were brought in November 2011 as a result of an investigation following concerns of systemic corruption revealed by a commission of enquiry headed by Sir Robin Auld.

The prosecution claims it has been ready since July 2012 to begin the trial but the delay has reportedly been caused by issues relating to legal aid for some of those charged.
The TCI governor’s office also noted this week that Michael Misick remains in custody in Brazil awaiting extradition which the former TCI premier is contesting.

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Cruisers kick off the new sailing season

| 17/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CISC): As always, September heralds the beginning of the new sailing season after the long summer break and it was the Cruisers who went out on North Sound to do battle in Race 6 of the Harbour House Marina Cruiser series. Sunday September 7th saw seven boats with full crew jostling for position on a spinnaker start.  Light inconsistent winds getting increasingly lighter brought the sensible decision of race committee to shorten the course for the first time this season, allowing all to enjoy a wonderful BBQ and America's cup live action at the club afterwards. 

Tactics on the upwind leg determined finishing places with the youth team crew and head coach Raph on board “Shanti” rounding the 1st mark in 5th position staying the furthest south and taking advantage of the shifts to almost catch the eventual winner “Blue Runner”.  “Cheers” powered her way into third place from its Cuba bound course to make a clean podium sweep for the three J boats. Mark Lewis paraded his new 44 foot Jeanneau for the first time and left the fleet wondering how she will perform in stronger winds.

Race Officer, Peta Adams, summed up the racing.

“The conditions were not those favoured by most cruisers but it meant strategy was the key. Picking the best course to sail, looking for the slight advantage in wind shifts makes all the difference. The start of the race was the most keenly contested we have seen in the series so far," he said.
The next cruiser race is scheduled for October 13th.
 

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US health expert returns to Cayman for conference

| 17/09/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Dr James Merlino, Chief Experience Officer and Associate Chief of Staff of the Cleveland Clinic Health System will be delivering the opening speech at the fourth annual Cayman Islands Healthcare Conference, organisers said following his great reception at last year’s event. Themed ‘Taking Care of Business: A Shared Approach to Workplace Wellness’ the conference will take place from 17 to 19 October at The Ritz-Carlton, Speaking on the topic ‘Sickness to Wellness: How we must redefine our approach to Patient Care’ Dr Merlino is a practicing staff colorectal surgeon in the Digestive Disease Institute and is also the founderand current president of the Association for Patient Experience.

As a member of the Clinic’s executive team, he leads initiatives to improve the patient experience across the Cleveland Clinic Health System.

Giving some background to his topic this year, Dr Merlino said that transforming society’s approach to the care of its citizens requires “a shift from sick care to well care”. “Well care is the promotion of wellness,” he explains, “and, within our collective healthcare delivery ecosystem, the approach must include a paradigm shift focused on developing several key themes.”

These themes include the need to develop a sustainable system to reign in healthcare costs, a redefinition of focus where healthy habits, personal responsibility and prevention drive the care continuum and put patients first. Dr Merlino will talk about the need for being holistic in the approach to care and the need to partner to align the ecosystem of care.

In addition, he will discuss the challenges of moving to a culture of wellness focussing on national and international trends in healthcare and highlighting innovations that Cleveland Clinic has developed and implemented to help facilitate this paradigm shift.

Osbourne Bodden, the Cayman Islands Government’s Minister of Health, said he was grateful to Dr Merlino for agreeing to participate in our national Healthcare Conference once again. He is a recognised world leader in the emerging field of patient experience and we anticipate that delegates will learn a great deal from his presentation this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Ebi Awosika, President of Pinnacle Occupational Health Consulting and Subject Matter Expert, Employee Health Promotion Disease Prevention, is another expert in her field who will be presenting at the Healthcare Conference. Dr Awosika directs Employee Health Promotion Disease and Impairment Prevention in the Veterans Health Administration, a large healthcare system with 270,000 employees and she also serves as an Occupational Health and Wellness consultant to companies in the United States and Canada.

Dr Awosika completed her residency in internal medicine at the Harlem hospital, New York and her Occupational Medicine residency at Emory University, Atlanta. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Her conference presentation is entitled ‘Achieving Comprehensive Worker Health: A springboard for enhanced National Health’ and she will be providing ways of promoting health, safety and productivity and preventing disease in the workforce.

“It will energise your readiness to take action,” she said. “The time to act is now. Your nations’ health depends on it.”

Bodden added that this year focuses on improving health and wellness in the workplace and Dr Awosika’s presentation speaks to the very heart of what we are attempting to achieve. “We …urge everyone to attend and enjoy what is set to be another first class Healthcare Conference,” the minister said. 

The conference is free for delegates to attend and open to the public.  Registration is now open online www.healthcareconference.ky             

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