Archive for October 22nd, 2013

Fixtures for this week’s football leagues

Fixtures for this week’s football leagues

| 22/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Football Association has released the various match schedules for the first week of the 2013-14 Foster's First Division, the second week of the 2013-14 Cayman Premier League and the schedule for the second week of the 2013-14 CIFA Women’s League. Each of the fixture lists are posted below. For more details on local football visit the website or

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Giant squid found in Cayman head to US museum

Giant squid found in Cayman head to US museum

| 22/10/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Two rare giant species of squid, which were found floating on the surface of the ocean by local fishermen, Dennis Denton andJonathan Arch, are on their way to the Smithsonian Institution’s preserved cephalopod research collection in Washington DC. The specimens are going to Washington via the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where they arrived this weekend for documentation and preservation before they head to the US capital. The squid, which are about two metres long, are described by local scientists as being in excellent condition and will provide important scientific data as these two deep sea cephalopod species are rarely encountered as adults.

The Megalocranchia is unique as many examined specimens are much smaller and there are very few adult animals in such good condition. Asperoteuthis acanthoderma is also extremely rare – the species was first discovered in the Wider Caribbean in 2007 with the only records until that time indicating that this species was found off the coast of Japan. 

The squids’ journey has been a collaborative effort between the Department of Environment and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, as well as Royal Caribbean.

When Dr Janice Blumenthal received the squid from the fishermen, she contacted cephalopod experts in the United States for verification of the species. Earth2ocean connected the Department of Environment and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg  and the cruise line, which agreed to transport the specimens from Grand Cayman to Port Canaveral, Florida.  Once there, Cephalopod specialist Dr Heather Judkins will document the find with measurements and photography this week before sending them on.

“It was a pleasure to work with all the Royal Caribbean staff to arrange this unique transfer,” said Blumenthal. “They were extremely efficient in arranging the complex logistics of transporting the rare squid aboard their ship and importing them into the United States – though this was of course the first time any of us had attempted this.”

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One day fair to explain how stats affects everyday life

One day fair to explain how stats affects everyday life

| 22/10/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Did you know that hypertension is the most prevalent chronic disease in the Cayman Islands? Yet even if you knew, how can statistics help you? According to Shanna Saunders-Best, the coordinator of the Cayman Islands’ first-ever statistics fair, they provide tools for the spectrum of health care decision makers – the government, hospitals, doctors, as well as you and your family — to work towards the improvement of well-being in this country. This is just one way that statistics affects everyday life that will be highlighted at the fair, which will be held at the University College of the Cayman Islands auditorium on Thursday this week, 9am to 6pm. Finance Minister Marco Archer will officially open the fair at 9:30am. 

The event, which has the theme “KyStats 4 Everyday Life: Let us Educate and Appreciate”, is hosted by the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) and the recently formed NationalStatistical Coordination Committee (NSCC). Ten government entities have planned information displays that will include interactive activities and games to highlight the importance of statistics. Among these is the Health Services Authority (HSA). 

Saunders-Best noted that results from the Health Risk Factor Survey 2012 indicated that 15.8% of the population aged 25-64 years had raised blood pressure (hypertension) but were not currently on medication. This rate is even higher among males at 18.8% compared to females at 12.7%. “If persons with elevated blood pressure are not on medication or being monitored, this could impact the health system severely when complications arise,” she said. To learn more information about this disease she urges the public to visit the fair.

HSA Director of Corporate Services Andria Dilbert added,“Visitors to the booth will learn more about their individual health. Moreover, they will also have the opportunity to understand how health impacts people's lives and what the country can do to work for their betterment. Each participant will also have the opportunity to learn about different methods of intervention that aim to encourage us to lead a healthier and more wholesome lifestyle.”

Equally stimulating booths are promised by other participants, including the ESO, the Departments of Children and Family Services, Education, Environment, Environmental Health, Immigration, Planning, and Lands and Survey, as well as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The public can expect to see presented in a number of interesting ways a comprehensive set of statistics that relate to all aspects of life in the Cayman Islands, including food, housing, education, disease risks, healthcare, natural resources, environmental health, foreign trade, property development, immigration, peace and order. There will also be special prizes, random drawings, sports statistics demonstrations and television interviews, Saunders-Best says.

Inviting the public to attend, Minister Archer said, “As part of the Cayman Islands’ celebrations of International Year of Statistics 2013, this unique event will seek to reach persons of all ages, especially students. As a former career statistician, with a life-long interest in statistics, I recognise the impact which data that is scientifically gathered can have on our everyday lives.” A means through which this impact is achieved is when governments use statistics to tailor policies, programmes and services, the minister explained.

“I am especially delighted that 11 government entities, led by the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO), are participating in the fair. I believe this will impart a better understanding about how statistics shape the everyday provision of service to our people,” Archer added.

UCCI President Roy Bodden and Director Maria Zingapan will also speak at the opening ceremony.

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KT waits on ICTA report

KT waits on ICTA report

| 22/10/2013 | 38 Comments

(CNS): Following a number of questions this week over the recruitment practices of public authorities and the particular revelations about how two posts were filled at the Information Communication and Technology Authority (ICTA), the minister responsible has ordered a full enquiry into the issue. The minister with responsibility for the agency, Kurt Tibbetts, told members of the LA on Monday that government was taking the situation seriously and he was waiting on a report from the board, which had held an emergency meeting at the weekend. Depending on the outcome, he promised the independent members that there would be accountability.

The troubles started when North Side MLA Ezzard Miller questioned ICTA Director David Archbold and eventually forced the authority boss to revealed that two recent members of his team had been recruited to very senior positions by circumventing the mandated recruitment processes for public sector jobs.

The two men, one of whom was given the post of deputy director with an eye to taking over Archbold’s job when he retires, appear to have been hand picked and then the jobs moulded to fit their qualifications. Contracts were offered and signed by the men, one of whom had been a previous board member and the second an overseas candidate, before the submission deadline in the advertisements in the local press had expired, making a mockery of the process.

The issue raised considerable concerns in the country’s parliament, and updating members, Tibbetts said he had instructed the chief officer in his ministry, Alan Jones, to meet with the board chair to update him on what happened, relay the significant concerns of the LA and then to instruct him to investigate the matter and deliver a report before the end of Finance Committee, which is expected to conclude Wednesday.

The minister said a meeting had been held on Saturday, then a letter was sent to Archbold instructing him to send a full report in relation to the hiring of the two men. Depending on that report, the board was expected to recommend further action. 

“I want to make it clear that I, the premier and the government take this seriously and we will be discussing it in Cabinet tomorrow,” Tibbetts stated. He confirmed Archbold’s post is appointed by Cabinet, via the board and chair, who are all responsible for recruitment, but the final decision will be made by Cabinet guided by the facts and recommendations of the board once the investigation was complete.

Answering questions from Miller about the transgressions of the director when he came to parliament and misled members, Tibbetts said it was important government got to the bottom of the whole matter first, but action would be taken. Miller said, however, that if it wasn’t, he would use the law to call the director to the bar and answer the charges directly to members, who would then decide his fate.

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Football summit opens with story of freedom fighters

Football summit opens with story of freedom fighters

| 22/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The debut CONCACAF sports summit opened Monday evening with a key note speech from South African, Tokyo Sexwale who recounted his time as a political prisoner in an isolation cell on Robben Island. Held along with Nelson Mandela and other leading figures in the struggle against the country’s apartheid regime, Sexwale revealed how he and other prisoners kept their spirits up by playing football inside the notorious jail and where they formed their own football association. “It was one of the key activities that kept us together, body and soul,” he said.

“It enabled us to transcend political barriers amongst prisoners including cultural, linguistic, regional, ethnic differences that we had. We could all come together and forget our differences,” said Sexwale who encouraged Webb in his role as chairman of FIFA’s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force.

Speaking at the opening dinner ahead of the summit ‘Transformation through Partnership’ designed to make regional football more transparent and accountable Concacaf president and Cayman’s own Jeffrey Webb said the beautiful game delights people of all creeds and backgrounds,” as he introduced Sexwale.

“Football builds character, it unites nations, it instils a sense of life-long friendship, it provides discipline and team work. It induces national pride, a sense of accomplishment and generates global exposure. In its utmost complexity, it can be perceived both as an art form and as a road to hope,” added Webb.

The CONCACAF President has already begun to make an impact in the field of social advocacy and the importance of his role was given a prestigious acknowledgment by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

At the dinner, it was announced by UNAIDS Senior Adviser, Dr. Djibril Diallo, that President Webb has been handed the 2013 UNAIDS “Protect the Goal” Special Award for the Diaspora.
Also present at the dinner was FIFA President Joseph Blatter, who on Tuesday will deliver one of the keynote speeches looking at ‘The Power of Football’.

A wide range of themes will be addressed in speeches and panel discussions with a session on ‘Football’s Positive Impact on Society’ looking at success stories where the game has been used as a tool for positive change and ‘Football in Your Economy” looking at the commercial benefits the game can bring.

The objective of the Summit is to enhance the vital partnership between governments and football federations, in order to improve the growth and development of the sport in the region while outlining initiatives in and encouraging sports tourism, as well as social and economic development.

A key element of the summit is the involvement of governments from across the CONCACAF region and Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, will address delegates about ‘Sport and Country’.

CONCACAF’s federations will also get in an insight into the workings of two of the most successful professional leagues with Nic Coward, General Secretary of the English Premier League and Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer both offering their insights.
The women’s game is essential to CONCACAF’s plans for growth and development and Victor Montagliani, President of the Canadian Soccer Association, will be outlining exciting plans for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Canada in 2015.

The 2022 men’s World Cup, which will be held in Qatar, is also represented on the agenda with Hassan Abdullah Al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, looking ahead to hosting the game’s biggest event, for the first time in the Middle East.

Former players from the region will also give their perspectives – ex-Manchester United and Trinidad and Tobago striker Dwight Yorke and former United States national team forward Cobi Jones are among the players contributing to a panel discussion.


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Open water clinic to help Pirate swimmers

Open water clinic to help Pirate swimmers

| 22/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CIASA): As the 2013 CIASA Open Water Season draws to a close with the 31st Annual Pirates Week 5K, on November 9th an opportunity to participate in a FINA Open Water Officiating Clinic the week before will allow swimmers to put newly learned skills to the test during the 5K sea swim. Open water swimming is an important part of Cayman’s swim history. For over 30 years CIASA has staged open water sea swims off Seven Mile Beach, with support from a number of longstanding sponsors: Fosters Food Fair-29 years, Lime-26 years, CUC-25 years, and ‘newcomer’ to the scene, Butterfield at 11 years. 

Complimenting CIASA’s sea swims are the Flowers Mile-21 years and Camana Bay Aquatic Club’s Lollipop Dash Swims-3 years, which are designed to introduce younger swimmers to the joy of the open water.

Jim Fraser, director of CIASA’s Open Water Committee, along with past CIASA boards has a reputation for producing well organized, safe events which are recognized throughout the Caribbean as being some of the best events to participate in – a legacy which all of CIASA wants, and intends, to continue and grow.

This long tradition and success of open water swimming led FINA to choose Cayman to host the November 5-9th Open Water Officiating clinics, which will be conducted by UANA (Union Americana de Natacion) Official Dennis Ryther.

The clinics are open to other countries and CIASA needs its members to take part as well; because, while it is true that Cayman hosts more open water events every year than many other places, CIASA wants and needs to increase our expertise to match our superb open water conditions. And then with our natural conditions and an increased number of qualified officials, the Cayman Islands sports tourism product will benefit from the open water swimming events which the country will be able to host.

The course is titled, “The Role of Open Water Officials and the Planning and Practical Aspects of Setting Up Open Water Events.” For more information on this course and to request registration information contact Olive Balderamos at or call 345.326.1750.
Cayman’s Technical Director Bailey Weathers and his wife Sue will be taking part in the clinics.
“This is an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about open water officiating,” said Weathers.  “I have enjoyed the CIASA Open Water swims that have taken place since I arrived in Cayman and this opportunity to learn more, and to be a part of growing Cayman’s sports tourism and hosting international open water swims here in Cayman is an exciting one.”
The benefits of open water swimming are multiple.

Swimmers are a cross section of the community from young competitive swimmers to elite swimmers; triathletes; recreational swimmers and those who just want to swim and stay fit. Swimming builds a foundation of fitness and strength, for older athletes is gentle on the joints and for others swimming is cross training and conditioning. There’s also the fun and challenge.  Like running on track, some swimmers view swimming in a pool as routine, they love the challenge of the ever-changing open water.  

Add to this the healthy life style which swimmers live and the social atmosphere with friends and family that sea swims represent and it is no wonder that sea swims are such an important part of Cayman’s sporting community.

Denny Ryther, Chairman of UANA Open Water Technical Committee for this hemisphere, has vast open water refereeing and organizing expertise.  Here as recently as June, for the Flowers Sea Swim, Ryther observed and critiqued the 1 mile, 5K and 10K events on the Monday after the Flowers Mile.  Ryther is encouraging the Cayman Islands to bid on and host big international open water events; and building a stronger base of officials – by attending the upcoming training – will enhance the strength of a bid.

Additionally the Special Olympics International is coming back to Cayman for the third time in May 2014 for its Open Water training clinic. This Special Olympic Open Water training clinic is the only one in the world, helping to prepare Caribbean Special Olympic swimmers for their 2015 World Games in LA and is a complimentary nod of recognition of Andrew Smilley’s success and Coach Penny McDowall’s expertise.

The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) is a volunteer, not for profit association dedicated to furthering the interests of all aquatic sports in the Cayman Islands. CIASA is the recognized Governing Body of aquatic sports in the Cayman Islands and is a member of FINA, UANA, CCCAN and the CIOC. For more information on CIASA .

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Air traffic controllers celebrated on their day

Air traffic controllers celebrated on their day

| 22/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In recognition of International Air Traffic Controllers Day, which will be celebrated worldwide this Sunday, 20 October, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) is acknowledging its team of 15 Air Traffic Controllers, three Trainee Air Traffic Controllers and three Air Traffic Control Assistants, at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) and Charles Kirkconnell International (CKIA), who are charged with the responsibility of keeping the skies of the Cayman Islands safe for the travelling public. It is on this day that Air Traffic Controllers all over the world celebrate the responsible and challenging profession they are in. (Left: Joshua Burke, Rodney Dixon and Hendric Myrie, part of the team at the Brac airport)

Every day thousands of flights are guided safely through the skies, the CIAA said in a release. Whether they are carrying passengers or cargo, flight crews rely on the professionalism of air traffic controllers, other support personnel behind the scenes and the systems they utilise to ensure a safe journey.

While most air traffic control environments utilize radar systems to assist controllers in providing required separation criteria between aircraft established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Cayman Islands’ airspace utilizes non-radar or “procedural” control. This method of air traffic control provides horizontal and vertical separation of aircraft based on time, distance, height and geographical locations of aircraft positions based upon ground-based navigational aids.

Procedural control requires the air traffic controller to mentally visualise the location of aircraft based on each aircraft's flight progress strip, which records its route, speed, altitude, and estimated times as they fly over predetermined points. The controller then makes the determinations in applying the required separation from this process. In other words, from all the information collated, a procedural controller’s “radar screen” is the flight progress board as well as the mental picture that is maintained in his/her head. In the world of air traffic control, procedural control is recognized as the most challenging and is highly respected. (Above: Clem Scott and Colin Solly)

Air traffic controllers in the Cayman Islands often progress from the role of Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) officer, which introduces an individual to the air traffic control environment. This function provides assistance to air traffic controllers and pilots by processing flight plans, disseminating critical airport operational information and collating the air traffic statistics for our airports. Depending on an individual’s desired career development and after meeting selection criteria, an AIS Officer could be selected as an Air Traffic Control Assistant (ATCA). This is seen as preliminary training for air traffic
control functions, as the Assistant is directly exposed to the control environment and assists in preparing information which the Controller requires. However, while an ATCA does not control air traffic, upon completion of a required period and undertaking a written and practical assessment program, an ATCA could be selected for formal air traffic control training.

The Cayman Islands utilizes the College of Air Traffic Control in Trinidad & Tobago, which is ICAOcertified. A Trainee Air Traffic Controller will undergo a ten-month program of academic and practical training at the College and if successful, will be required to undergo a minimum of three months of on the job training before being certified. Air Traffic Controllers are required to undergo full refresher training every 13 months in order to maintain their certification. Their entire training and certification process is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI).

Acknowledging the valuable contributions of the Air Traffic Controllers and Aeronautical Information Service Officers at the islands’ two international airports, Walter Ebanks, Senior Manager Air Navigation Services for the CIAA, commented, “On behalf of the Airports Authority, I commend our Cayman Islands team for their professionalism, track record and dedication to maintaining aviation safety in the Cayman Islands. Their combined efforts contribute to the overall safety of travellers throughout the world and
we recognise them on this special day.”

Hendric Myrie, who has been with the CIAA for the past 24 years, 21 of which has been as an Air Traffic Controller at CKIA, remarked, “I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the Air Traffic Control team and each day is a learning experience in this position. My career with the CIAA has been very rewarding and I go to work every day with a sense of appreciation for the responsibility entrusted in us to maintain safety in the skies.”

Commenting on her role as an Air Traffic Controller for the past 10 years at ORIA, Nicola O’Connor, who has been with the Authority for 17 years remarked, “I feel that the role I perform at the CIAA is an extremely responsible one and I am privileged to be a member of the Air Traffic Services unit which possesses a great track record for aviation safety. I am also proud to be the lone female Controller and encourage other aspiring females to pursue a career in this field as it is very rewarding. At present I provide guidance toa female Air Traffic Control Assistant as she undergoes training to move up the ranks.”

Air Traffic Controller at ORIA, Jeremy Miller, who has been with the CIAA nine years, also expressed his sentiments regarding the role his team plays, “I am proud to be a member of the CIAA’s Air Traffic Controllers and I appreciate having the opportunity to make a marked contribution to aviation safety in the Cayman Islands.”

Below: The Air Traffic Control team at ORIA: From L-R, back row: Robert Boggess, Jay Evans, Craig Smith, Supervisor, Erick Bodden, Supervisor, Jonathan Schutte, Robert Harris (currently Acting Chief Operations Officer), Theodore Kelly, Jeremy Miller, Alastair Bird, Jason Giddings, Michael Woods. Seated, from left: Derrin Brandon, Nicola O’Connor, Davina Jackson and Simon Rivers. Missing from photo: Meshak Conolly.

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Customs top job troubles LA

Customs top job troubles LA

| 22/10/2013 | 89 Comments

(CNS): Another recruitment difficultly for the civil service disrupted Finance Committee when it resumed Monday, with the issue of the customs department’s top job dominating the morning’s proceedings. Opposition Leader McKeeva questioned the deputy governor about someone from another civil service department without customs experience being given the top job, by-passing experienced staff in customs, because of the additional requirement to the collector of customs post of a master’s degree. Although her name was never mentioned, CNS has learned that Samantha Bennett is being seconded from immigration into the post.

Although Bennett is a Caymanian and the deputy chief immigration officer, she has no direct customs experience, and Bush expressed his concerns, while questioning the appropriations to the customs department in this year’s budget, that well-qualified long serving officers in customs were being by-passed as the job was, he said, manipulated to hand pick a particular person to fill the post.

Moving a motion that a member from the existing customs team be selected to head the department until a full time permanent Caymanian collector of customs is appointed, Bush clashed with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who pointed out that civil service recruitment is the remit of his office and not elected members.

Bush argued that since he was voting on a line item he had a right to move a motion, and while he was not telling the deputy governor who to recruit, he said there were at least four people in the department now capable of taking the job. He said morale was low already in the department, which is a critical revenue generator for government, as a result of the collector’s post being vacant for some two years, and Bush claimed that to bring in an outsider with no experience in that department would make things worse.

The UDP leader implied that the addition of a master’s degree for the post was another example of manipulation. He said there was some suggestion that the person selected was coming in to “clean things up”, when there had been no reports of anything untoward at the department.

“I am worried about posts being fixed again," he said in the wake of revelations earlier this week in Finance Committee. He said the Cayman customs department was one of the best in region and staff there should not be overlooked.

“If there was any kind of slackness there we would have heard about it," he said. “We have not had any great complaints about how they operate … If something was wrong then someone should have said, but I know from what I am hearing they have been doing their work."

Bush insisted that the criteria for the job had been stretched to fit a specific person, making a mockery of the open recruitment process. Admitting that he had no responsibility to hire people, Bush maintained that the problems still land with elected members, who have no ability to tell the deputy governor who to hire and fire.

“I can’t support this when people are not treated right,” he added referring to the vote for the appropriation to the department for its administrative costs. “We have people in customs that can do the job.”

However, Deputy Governor Manderson said that government had faced significant difficulties trying to fill the post because after three rounds of recruitment no one who applied had passed the assessment test.

As a result of the failed efforts, it was decided, he said, to increase the post to one equal to other enforcement heads, such as the police commissioner and the chief immigration officer. The increase in grade coupled with a better package had then in turn called for an increase in qualifications.

The post was then advertised again and a number of people applied but only one person met the qualifications. In order to have an open recruitment process, the deputy governor explained the need for at least two people to be interviewed. With only one suitably qualified candidate, however, Manderson said that a decision was made to offer that candidate a secondment.

Warning Bush that the motion infringed on his responsibilities, Manderson said it could not be right.

The opposition leader said that the deputy governor may feel he was being dictated to and he could “take it anyway he please” but he had a responsibility to try to make some intervention on behalf of his constituents.

“What I see being done is wrong because it’s fixing it for someone and this has gone on for too long. You have got good people who can do the work but there is too much building of their own hedges,” he said, referring to the civil service management.

There was a mixed response from the rest of the House, with several government members, including the premier, who had also voiced his concerns about the addition of a master’s degree requirement, abstaining from the vote. Bush’s motion was, however, defeated because, despite several abstentions, he could only muster up one other yes vote besides his own, as both the independent members, Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean, had shied away from getting into the fight and were absent from the Chamber when the vote was called.

What was clearly a sticky situation for members, with several (though not all) of them aware that it was Bennett who had been selected for the job.

Bush said it was being proposed that someone without experience was being placed in the job and happened to have a master’s degree but they did not have customs experience and none of the arguments he had heard held water. 

“Why people on that side can’t see through this, I don’t know,” he said as he questioned whether they didn’t support the motion just because it was him who had moved it.

Although it was defeated, Alden McLaughlin clearly had some sympathy with Bush’s point and he said there had been a number of discussions about this issue with the deputy governor. But the premier said his main concern was the need to fill the substantive post as a matter of urgency.

“Morale and operations are suffering as there has been no leadership for nigh on two years and we ought not to defer the appointment any longer. The position we have taken is not necessarily to insist the person holds a master’s degree but what we need is experience and competence and we ought not to rule out people with no masters but meet the rest of the criteria,” McLaughlin said.

Acutely conscious of the fact that the appointment of a public servant is not a matter for elected officials, he said he could only express concerns about the way this matter has proceeded. He did not want to see a constitutional crisis, he said, but the people of Cayman needed to be informed about what was really happening.

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