Archive for February 10th, 2014

NDC ‘pushes’ facts about drugs to teens

NDC ‘pushes’ facts about drugs to teens

| 10/02/2014 | 5 Comments

(CNS): As the battle continues to keep local teens away from drugs, including the legal ones such as tobacco, booze and prescription drugs, theNational Drug Council used the Drug Facts week recently as an opportunity to accurately inform and educated them on the risks to their health, success in school and the dangers of drugs. The NDC said when teens are given the facts they will be better equipped to make wise decisions for themselves and shatter the myths that currently exist about drug use. Working to encourage young people to seek factual answers from experts about drugs, drug abuse and addiction, the NDC said this was about hosting honest informative conversational sessions with teens about how drugs affect the brain, body and behaviour.

Students joined in on a number of the week's activities between the 28 January and 3 February, as well as the annual Poster Competition.

“Teens have the opportunity to creatively design and submit a poster with facts about drugs, slogans or myths. All entries should depict this year’s theme 'Shatter the Myths' and be submitted by 28 February 2014 to be judged. The winners in each category will be awarded a grand prize and the overall winner’s poster will be used by NDC for promotional purposes,” the NDC said.

As the week came to an end, the NDC encouraged parents to talk with their teens about what they know and research information using reputable sources.

“In the technological world we live in today, information is easily accessible to our children. Often they are bombarded with drug and drug abuse information from various outlets such as television programs, movies, music, the World Wide Web or simply from peers,” the NDC said, as it explained the importance of fact-based education.

“One way to invalidate the myths of drugs and drug abuse is for us to aim at shattering the myths by educating our teens. The National Drug Facts Week is a health observance week first launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse designed to address the myths about drugs and drug abuse using education as its platform. “

The NDC warned that too many teens use drugs just to experiment, as more than 70% of students who responded to the most recent survey said they began using illicit drugs mainly “just to try it”.

“Unfortunately, as parents it is just as necessary for us to gain factual information which at present suggests that many of our teens are unaware of the risks involved of just trying drugs,” the NDC warned. 

Despite the feeling that young people are extensively abusing drugs and alcohol as a result of the high levels of drug fuelled crime in Cayman, according to the NDC 2012 student drug survey less that 50% of teens admitted drinking alcohol and just 12% of using ganja. The findings of the Student Drug Use Survey 2012 are posted below and officials from the NDC said that next survey will be undertaken later this year.

Meanwhile, the NDC is also reviewing and updating the National Anti-Drug Strategy, which expired at the end of last year, and work is underway on a new four year plan, which will also review the achievements and success of the previous plan.

For more information go to the National Drug Council’s website or take the National Drug IQ quiz

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Airport placed on stand-by over ‘technical anomaly’

Airport placed on stand-by over ‘technical anomaly’

| 10/02/2014 | 31 Comments

(CNS) Updated 6:15pm: The emergency services were all placed on standby at Owen Roberts International Airport Monday lunchtime but the Cayman Airways aircraft in question landed safely. In a release from the airline on Monday evening officials expained that flight KX832 departed Grand Cayman for Havana, Cuba, at 1:25pm and "experienced a technical anomaly shortly into the flight", which resulted in the captain returning to the airport as a precautionary measure. CAL said the incident didn't constitute an emergency and one was never declared, despite initial rumours to the contrary. "The captain did however request for emergency crews to be on stand-by in an abundance of caution," CAL stated.

"At no time was the safe operation of the aircraft in question and the aircraft in fact accomplished a safe and uneventful landing at 1:57pm. On landing, the aircraft was removed from service for the anomaly to be addressed and a replacement aircraft was positioned and prepared to accomplish the flight to Havana, which departed at 5:30pm," the national flag carrier stated.

As a result, Cayman Airways’ Miami flights KX106 and KX107 between Grand Cayman and Miami this evening are expected to be delayed approximately 3.5 hours.

Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms, said, “As always, we know that the presence of emergency services for any landing causes concern for our passengers and the community at large, but we would like to give an assurance that the emergency services requested to be on standby in this instance, was purely precautionary. Our highly competent operating crews will at times request for airport emergency services to be on stand-by when landings are being undertaken with even minor anomalies, and this is a testament to the paramount importance we place on safety,” he added. 

Cayman Airways apologized for any inconvenience the precautionary return to the airport, and subsequent delays, may have caused for passengers.

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Professional paddle boarder takes Rum Run trophy

Professional paddle boarder takes Rum Run trophy

| 10/02/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Facing wind speeds of up to 21 knots local and overseas paddle boarders pitted their skills against each other and the elements last month during the Rum Run paddle board competition on Grand Cayman. While the strong winds kept the more faint hearted paddlers away, those who braced themselves to battle it out had a fantastic weekend on the water. Chuck Glynn from Laird Standup was the winner of the main event – a 2.5 mile leg from Rum Point up towards the Sand Bar and then nearly 6 miles riding the swells downwind. Photo by Mark Lewis.

Prior to the main race on Saturday 14 January professional riders from Laird Standup shared their expertise with the local enthusiasts in a technique clinic.  Glynn , the winner of the 2013 Battle of the Paddle unlimited class and Noa Hopper, one of the most promising upcoming teenagers in the SUP world) were an inspiration and wonderful ambassadors for the sport.  Both riders took part in the various sprint races through the afternoon.   

The Corporate Relay race was a chance for paddlers of all abilities to try the sprint course set up from Public Beach.  After some good humored competition, the Relay was won by Ocean Dental.  The Mens and Womens sprint races were slightly more serious affairs, with Chuck Glynn, Katie Matos and Jane Magis taking the top spots.  The children’s or “Grom’s”  race saw Freddie and Jonny Robson taking 1st and 3rd with William Priaux in 2nd.

On Sunday 18 paddlers completed the course but Glynn dominated the long distance down winder paddle from the start.

“The man is a machine!!”  said race organizer Neil Martin.  “His winning time of 1 hour 13 minutes on the 8.25 mile course across the North Sound was insane.  Hopper (only 14 years old) came in 15 minutes behind him and the fastest local rider, Sharn Mentz, finished in 1 hour 30 minutes.  The fastest woman to finish was Jane Magis with an impressive 1 hour 48 minutes.”

Prizes were awarded in various categories (unlimited, race board and surf board) at the prize giving held at Dukes.  

“All the paddlers deserve to be commended” said Martin.  “This is still a new event, only in its second year, but everyone had an absolutely fantastic time and we look forward to welcoming new participants from home and overseas next year.  Our aim is for the Rum Run to become part of the regular Stand Up Paddle racing calendar so that we can bring more tourists to the island to experience paddle boarding in our beautiful waters.”

He was also keen to thank the sponsors that made the event possible – Carey Olsen, Cayman Stand Up Paddle Co.,  Olukai,, Miller Lite, Caribbean Canvas Company, Laird Standup, Camana Bay, Blue Wave, Bliss Living Yoga,Seven Fathoms Rum, FCS, Sun Bum, Quickblade and SIC.

The Laird Standup team spent a week in Cayman hosted by the Cayman Stand Up Paddle Co.  “We were thrilled to enjoy some beautiful surf at different locations around the island” said Glynn. “The distance race from Rum Point to Camana Bay is one of the best down winders I have ever experienced.”

As the winner of the Rum Run, Glynn took home the unique Seven Fathoms trophy –  4 litres of locally made Cayman rum – a perfect momento of his first trip to the Cayman Islands.

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McLaughlin bumped for Sudanese foreign minister

McLaughlin bumped for Sudanese foreign minister

| 10/02/2014 | 9 Comments

CNS): Cayman will now have to wait at least one more day to see the recording of the premier on the BBC’s flagship news interview show HARDtalk. Alden McLaughlin’s head to head appearance with Stephen Sackur, which was recorded on 4 February, has been bumped from Tuesday to Wednesday, which means the first broadcast of the show on BBC World News will be 4:30am in London on 12 February, or 11:30pm local time Tuesday, and then again locally on Wednesday morning at 4:30am, 11:30am and then in the afternoon at 4:30pm. The slot is now being used to show an interview with Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Foreign Minister of South Sudan, where rebels have boycotted the latest planned peace talks.

Local officials in Cayman said that depending on news events, the programme could be moved again but once it has aired an audio version of the show will also be available on the BBC iPlayer or as a podcast. Video clips are also available on line but the full video is not available to viewers outside the UK on the show’s website.

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Big fleet at Capt Leroy Watson East End regatta

Big fleet at Capt Leroy Watson East End regatta

| 10/02/2014 | 0 Comments

CISC): Over thirty sailors took off to the eastern districts to sail in the idyllic waters inside the reef on the north eastern tip of the island over the Heroes Day long weekend. This was the 8th annual regatta held in memory of the late Captain Leroy Watson. The Pico double handed division saw a number of Parents joining their kids in the racing which summed up the great family spirit of the whole weekend. Matthew Hanson and Ethan Slocock ran out winners from Ian & Georgie Hider with Will Roberts & Tyler Lawson in third. In the Youth Optimist event, Allena Rankine showed why she is a champion sailor with another dominant performance taking first place in all the races. Will Jackson was second closely followed by Charles Allen.

The Open dinghy class featured Lasers and Bytes, a mixture of adult and youth racers. The winds were good but sailors did have to watch out for the odd shallow reef. Seven races over the two days saw the club coaches coming out on top with Coach Raph nudging out Coach Kelvin to take top honours. Charlie Grover took third and Thomas Bishop was the highest ranked youth sailor.

A new feature of the regatta was the participation of the Cat Boats. Jerris Miller of Morritt’s coaxed them out and they proved a wonderful spectacle. Captain Kem Jackson saw off Jerris to take line honours.

“Everyone enjoys coming out here every January,” said Club Manager Rick Caley. “It really does feel like travelling abroad and the conditions are fantastic. It is a huge undertaking to transport so many boats out to East End and a lot of work and we are grateful to Compass Marine for their help in that respect. Give us a few days to recover and we will be looking forward to doing it all again next year.”

The Cayman Islands Sailing Club runs dinghy racing every first Sunday of the month. If you would like to take part contact

Raised in East End, Capt. Watson rose to become a sea captain of super tankers before retiring. He tragically drowned in an accident in 2006. The regatta has been sponsored throughout by Donald McLean from Health Care Pharmacy.


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C4C slams public spending

C4C slams public spending

| 10/02/2014 | 92 Comments

(CNS): The Coalition for Cayman has taken aim at the government’s budget and accused it of tinkering around the edges rather than restoring stability and prudence to public finances as the PPM administration has claimed. The C4C chair, James Bergstrom, has written a letter to the media which attacks the number as well as the pay and benefits of the civil service and criticises government for not cutting spending by anything like enough or reducing taxes as it said it would. Despite having one of its own endorsed candidates working closely with the finance minister and another in the Cabinet, the C4C, which still insists it is not a party, is continuing to press the privatization agenda without indicating exactly what government should divest.

The C4C suggests that all government has to do is encourage the existing civil servants in unspecified departments, which it refers to as non-essential services, to set up companies, which will then provide those services to government.

For those public servants that don’t transition into entrepreneurs and business owners, the NWDA, which still has a long way to go before it is fit for purpose, should help the displaced workers find work by coordinating with work permit jobs. If those former government employees don’t like the new private sector jobs they are offered, then they are on their own.

The Coalition also thinks that civil servants’ health care and benefits should be cut in line with the private sector and that social welfare payments should also be reduced.

Citing its founding principles, the coalition chair said people should help themselves and their dependents and not take hand-outs. Making it quite clear on what side of the political spectrum the group is sitting, Bergstrom said that social assistance has increased 12%, which he thinks is far too much.

“The whole programme of social assistance by the government needs to be reviewed and restructured so that it is designed to provide a hand up rather than a hand out, be monitored and in most cases finite and properly directed to our most vulnerable,” he wrote.

The group takes aim at government debt, growing expenses, which it says need to be cut by a further $100 million, the cash paid into statutory authorities and also states that government should roll back fees in the financial services sector in particular. The C4C calls for the re-centralization of government services and questions why nothing is being done to prepare for the government’s debt bonds, which are coming due in the not too distant future.

Despite having three people who were endorsed as C4C candidates now sitting on the government benches, the Coalition implies that government has done nothing to address the problem of the size of government and how much it spends in the less than nine months since it was elected and points to the Miller-Shaw report as the guide that the Progressives should follow.

See C4C’s position on government’s 2013/14 budget in full below.

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Three new trash trucks roll into action

Three new trash trucks roll into action

| 10/02/2014 | 48 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) will soon be able to catch up with its residential and commercial rubbish collection following the arrival of three new garbage collection trucks last week. The 25-cubic-yard McNeilus trucks rolled across Grand Cayman before daybreak Monday and officials hope they will alleviate the residential collection delays caused by equipment shortages over past months. At a cost of $149,419 each, the double-axle rear-loaders have supplemental safety equipment, such as rear-cameras. Drivers and collectors have already been trained in the new features.

Osbourne Bodden, the minister with responsibility for rubbish, handed over the three clean, green garbage collection vehicles to the department on Thursday, stating that they would address the rubbish "crisis we’ve had for some time now” and give staff who have been  “working very hard to keep the service going under difficult circumstances” a chance to catch up.  “I also thank the public for their continued patience, as the department works to return to its regular collection schedule in the near future,” he added.

The new trucks will operate on double-shifts, along with the four reliable ones already in use, but the department still needs more to bring the service up to the desired standards.  DEH Director Roydell Carter said two additional collection vehicles for residential service, and two front loaders and two new roll-on-roll-off container trucks for commercial servicing should arrive on-island this summer.

Although things are expected to improve on the collection front, the public is being asked to check their collection schedule for their neighbourhoods and to continue to do what they can to control domestic garbage, including maintaining their personal garbage storage areas. Also, residents and visitors are reminded not to litter in public areas.

With the garbage collection crisis now averted, Bodden must turn his hand to dealing with where it goes. Coming under fire over the dump on Grand Cayman (a.k.a.  Mount Trashmore) the minister has committed to addressing it on site in George Town.

Bodden told CNS that a steering committee has been created and already met to discuss the way forward in accordance with the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility agreement with the UK. He said that more details would be revealed soon about the plans for the future of waste management.

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