Archive for November 14th, 2013

Conservation law going to LA

| 14/11/2013 | 46 Comments

(CNS): After more than ten years of debate and discussion, Cabinet has finally approved the National Conservation Bill for passage in the country’s parliament. It is now available for public review before it will be considered by members of the Legislative Assembly next month. The minister with responsibility for the environment, Wayne Panton, said he was looking forward to bringing this long-awaited piece of legislation for debate and he hoped the law would be enacted by the end of the year. Prior to taking up responsibility for the environment, on the campaign trail, Panton, a staunch advocate for conservation, had nicknamed the bill the ‘National Conversation Law’ because of the amount of talking and lack of action on it.

However, the minster had promised to take that necessary action as soon as possible in his recent debate on the budget in October.

“It is critical that we plan and implement infrastructure and physical development in ways that respect the natural environment and try to preserve the integrity of eco-systems that sustains and address the threats which are serious and growing. There is no more time to lose,” he said during the debate when he committed to bringing the law.

The bill is now available and people can still submit final comments and feedback before 29 November but this final draft will be more or less the shape of the legislation when it passes through the Legislative Assembly.

Although the independent members and the opposition may still vote against the law, having steered the bill through Cabinet, Panton can be assured of support from his front bench colleagues and, very likely, most of his back-bench government members too. Panton said Thursday that he was extremely pleased that Cabinet approved the bill on Tuesday so that it can be tabled in the LA.

“While the Bill is not a panacea for all our environmental concerns, it represents an important,essential step in ensuring the long-term conservation of our fragile island ecosystems and native biodiversity,” he said, noting that the bill has been in draft form for over a decade. “Although the Bill is substantially the 2009 version prepared by the former PPM administration, it incorporates recent feedback received from the public, stakeholders, the immediate past government administration and independent members of the Legislative Assembly,” he added.

Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie has been issuing continuous warnings about the need to place the environment on an equal footing to socio-economic considerations when thinking about development and the need for lawful protection for the growing list of vulnerable endemic species. She said that, when enacted, the law would give much needed protection to Cayman’s irreplaceable native species and habitats.

“As drafted, the Bill requires that the environmental consequences of all national plans, policies and projects, and all development proposals, are taken into account before any decisions or actions are taken, or permissions granted,” she said.

The Bill is available on the DoE website. Hard copies can be obtained at the Department of Environment on North Sound Road, and the Legislative Assembly.

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Facebook page highlights life in UK’s territories

| 14/11/2013 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Ahead of this month’s Joint Ministerial Council a new Facebook page has been created by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to highlight the human side of the relationship between the UK and its overseas territories. Each day between now and the start of the major London summit, which takes place on 26 November, one of the British territories will be highlighted on the Facebook page. Cayman will be featured on Thursday 21 November and the Office of the Cayman Islands Governor is urging people to submit their stories and thoughts on the territory. Throughout the day material will be posted about life in Cayman.

Facebook users are asked to visit the local Governor’s Office page and ‘like ‘the UK-OT Family page, and they are encouraged to help show off Cayman and its people to the world on the islands’ featured day next week. The page can be viewed here and it has already featured the Falklands, St Helena, the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar, as well as all of the territories’ contribution to the defence of the realm in the two world wars.

The JMC will be hosted by the FCO Minister for the Overseas Territories, Mark Simmonds, but government has not yet stated how many delegates from Cayman will be accompanying the premier when he leaves for the meeting or when he will be leaving.

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Booze sellers organize fundraiser for Philippines

| 14/11/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Brewery in Prospect will be hosting a major fundraiser on Saturday 23 November to raise cash for the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines at the weekend. This is the first time that all of Cayman’s liquor distributors — CIB, Cayman Distributors, Jacques Scott, Tortuga Rum Co, Premier Wines & Spirits and Cayman Distillery Co — have come together for a joint relief effort. With a significant Filipino community in Cayman, many residents have been seeking ways to help the people impacted by the destruction. Following the message from the premier at the weekend, the opposition leader also called on people to do what they could.

"I want extend my sympathies and regret to the people of the Philippines at destruction and loss of life caused by the recent typhoon,” Mckeeva Bush stated. “We remember the destruction wreaked upon us by Hurricane Ivan and thank god that we escaped with only 2 deaths. I want to ask anyone who can to do whatever possible in offering any kind of assistance to the people in the Philippines to do so, in particular if there are any person resident or person working in the Cayman Islands who have family affected.”

Anyone who can help is asked to contact Ms Lettie at 925-5454.

All the proceeds of the CIB fundraiser are going to Philippines Red Cross and the honorary consulate of the Philippines here in Cayman, ear-marked for the Arch Diocese, which is assisting the orphans and special needs children.

Meanwhile, humanitarian workers and military personnel from all over the world were arriving in the eastern area of the country on Thursday in an effort to rescue and feed those devastated by the devastating typhoon. With winds among the strongest ever recorded in a storm of any kind, the typhoon also brought a destructive storm surge, washing away towns on many islands. Although earlier estimates of as many as 10,000 were revised, more than 2,350 are dead, close to 100 missing and almost 4,000 injured.

There are now more than 2 million survivors who are in need of food and shelter, according to the Philippine authorities.

See details of fundraiser below and visit Facebook for more information.

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Canadian man shot with stun gun dies

| 14/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(BBC): A Montreal man has died following a confrontation with police in which officers fired an electric stun gun at him, Canadian media report. Donald Menard was pronounced dead at a local hospital on Monday night after the confrontation with police who were responding to a reported drug overdose. Menard, 41, fought the officers, who used a stun gun to subdue him, police said. Police said several officers were injured in the confrontation. Menard was reported missing from the Philippe Pinel Institute – a detention centre for the criminally insane – on Sunday, according to the Montreal Gazette.

On Monday evening, Montreal police were called to some accommodation where a woman had fallen unconscious. Menard struck a police officer in the face. CBC News reported that officers had responded with batons and pepper spray, eventually resorting to a Taser stun gun. Menard initially refused to be transported to hospital but later lost consciousness. He was taken to hospital and listed in a critical condition before being pronounced dead.

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Cayman Enterprise City brings in less than $17k

| 14/11/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Hopes that Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) would boost government coffers have been dashed as the ring-fenced initiative has barely covered the costs of setting up and running of the Special Economic Zone’s authority. According to details revealed under an FOI request, the money collected under the special economic zone (SEZ) since it was established by law in September 2011 is just over $150,000. However, running the new authority costs over $68,000 per year, leaving government with just a few thousand dollars from the collection of trade certificate and the zone’s employment certificate fees since it opened. Billed as a potential new economic pillar for Cayman, there is still no sign of the promised campus and the predicted earnings for the public purse have failed to materialize. Read more on CNS Business.

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World Diabetes Day

| 14/11/2013 | 6 Comments

Diabetes is one of the world’s most preventable epidemics. This year as we observe World Diabetes Day, around the globe 371 million people and their families are living with diabetes. Another 280 million are at high risk of developing the disease. If this is not alarming enough, half a billion people are expected to be living with diabetes by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization.

The local perspective is also a cause for concern. The Health Services Authority (HSA) is currently treating approximately 2,000 diabetic patients. Health officials estimate that an equal number is receiving care through private practitioners. 

This is corroborated by the Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey completed in 2012, in which 10 % of adults aged 25-64 years, reported having been diagnosed with diabetes. This amounts to 3,500 people.

There may be many others unaware that they have the disease.  I urge every adult to get diabetes checks done, as recommended by their health practitioners.

The Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey showed that our adult population consumes an average 2.8 servings of fruits vegetables a day. This is below the minimum daily recommendation of five servings of fruit and vegetables.

Furthermore, slightly less than half of our adult population (47.9 %) engages in high levels of physical activity such as running, fast cycling and participating in competitive sports. Inactivity and improper diet are two major risk factors for the onset of diabetes.

Given the close connection between unhealthy lifestyles and type 2 diabetes, these statistics illustrate why the fight against this disease is central to the well-being of our small community.

Accordingly it is fitting that annually, every 14 November, we join the international community in raising awareness about diabetes-related issues. 

The theme of this year’s international event, “Diabetes: protect our future”, suggests how important it is that we turn the tide of diabetes to protect our future, our people and our country. 

Government realises the challenge that the community faces in motivating as many Caymanians and residents as possible to incorporate physical activity and healthy eating habits into their daily routines.

As such we are committed to supporting the primary health care initiatives underway within the Public Health Department and the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association. 

Their capacity building strategies will help our people to achieve their health goals. I particularly encourage diabetics and their families to take advantageof the upcoming diabetes education course on 27 and 28 November. 

Additionally, we will continue to work with other ministries, agencies and departments to create an environment that supports the healthy lifestyle choices. My ministry is also committed to supporting the development of workplace wellness programmes in our Islands.

It is easier than we think to get moving and the rewards are limitless.  Much of the solution to the dilemma of diabetes is within our grasp; we all have a role to play and must recognise that the time is now. 

On this World Diabetes Day, let us all “take a step for diabetes”, and help to protect the future of the Cayman Islands and the world.

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Judicial website posts all active laws and amendments

| 14/11/2013 | 14 Comments

(CNS): For the first time the public can access all of the laws in the Cayman Islands in the same place free of charge on a readily accessible up-to-date database.  Not only will ordinary citizens have direct on-line access to every piece of legislation he laws are posted alongside amendments allowing people to see the changes to legislation in context. Alongside the laws the judicial services department is also posting judgments from the courts on its website as well, beginning with the Financial Services Division. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie QC said: “A critical part of maintaining the rule of law is to make it as easy as possible for members of the public to find out what the law is.” 

Bringing together laws and respective amendments, the database should help people better understand the laws that govern the country. Although laws are published when they are passed, the chief justice said it has been very difficult to know whether they have been amended or changed or whether the law is only partially in force. 

“This part of our website brings all the laws and the amendments together in one place. I am very grateful to all members of the team who have been involved in this,” the Chief Justice added noting specially the work of legal researcher for the government legal department, Christine Cooke, who compiled the laws.

The online publishing of judgments will gradually expand to cover all parts of the court, with all judgments ultimately placed on the site shortly after being handed down. 

“Public access to decisions of the court and of the laws is very important,” said Court Administrator n McCormac. He added that these advances add to a range of information already on the website.  This includes information for jurors and witnesses, for those considering proceedings under the Children Law, and for those making a Small Claim with an extensive guide prepared by the Office of the Complaints Commissioner.

“This has all been a big team effort,” said McCormac.  He credited major contributions to Court Librarian Beverley Speirs and volunteers from various firms under the umbrella of INSOL [International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals].

To access go to then select from the main menu, “Laws” or “Judgments.” For Laws, a drop-down menu shows “Laws Adopted” and “Laws-in-Force.” For direct access to laws-in-force, the link is The service is provided free of cost to members of the public who are required to register through a simple online process. 

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