Archive for May 2nd, 2014

Cops arrest illegal lottery ticket seller

| 02/05/2014 | 18 Comments

(CNS): A 43-year-old manhas been released on police bail following his arrest in Bodden Town on Tuesday in connection with illegal gambling as enquiries continue. An RCIPS spokesperson said the man was arrested at about 10-15am on 29 April by officers from the Bodden Town Police Station who carried out an operation at the Coe Wood Beach area in the heart of the district .  The man was arrested for selling lottery tickets and possession of ganja and a quantity of cash was reportedly recovered from him. Although all forms of gambling is illegal in Cayman arrests for the offence are still not particularly common most of the gaming that takes place locally in addition to the illegal numbers game on-line an area impossible to police.

The issue of a referendum on the topic of gaming and the potential for a local lottery to raise much needed taxes has been under discussion for some fifteen years but so far each administration has ducked out of a national ballot on the issue.

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Dilbert Marina flooding fears

| 02/05/2014 | 25 Comments

(CNS): A homeowner on Cayman Brac whose property lies on the  banks of the Saltwater Pond fears that if the proposal to develop the pond into a marina goes ahead, this may cause flooding in the surrounding land, including his own property. In a letter sent to a number of local and British politicians and officials, Robert “Peter” Bradshaw says the “unintended consequences for a project of this magnitude should not be taken lightly”. Noting that the developer, Cleveland Dilbert, who owns the adjacent Alexander Hotel, is “aggressively lobbying for this project to be endorsed”, Bradshaw calls for “a much neededdebate to clearly define national policy for future development of Crown Lands”.

The letter, which is co-signed by Carlton Ebanks, the owner of the Coral Isle Club, located next to the proposed channel to the marina, was sent to Environment Minister Wayne Panton and the two district representatives, House Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, as well as Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie and Planning Director Haroon Pandohie, and copied to the UK’s Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds and the Foreign and Commonwealth Environmental Audit Committee.

Bradshaw writes that government is “under pressure of public opinion to grant a green light to the proposed marina project” but says he has “personal, serious and valid concerns”, primarily the flooding threat to the neighbouring low lying areas, including his own home.

“My objection stems from the proposal presented to government for consideration of a coastal works license as there is severe scarcity of supporting engineering andscientific data, bearing in mind the geographical location, to whether or not the intended works will withstand severe weather including hurricanes of whatever category the island may experience. This is not a matter of if but when,” Bradshaw writes.

He says the proposed one hundred foot breach of the existing storm ridge that protects the low lying area around Saltwater Pond “along with the removal of the buffering habitat, namely the reef, will increase the vulnerability of this coastal area, stretching from the proposed channel to the western end of the island.”

This was clearly stated by the Department of Environment in its report on the project, Bradshaw notes and points to the marine life that will be damaged or destroyed, which will impact the dive industry. “Such thoughtless surgery to enable this type of project, present or future, calls for a national policy with a skilled and powerful legally backed system of coastal zone management,” he states.

“The unintended consequences for a project of this magnitude should not be taken lightly, considering the DOE report; therefore, I humbly ask, as the developer is aggressively lobbying for this project to be endorsed, that he should be made to comply in earnest with the statutory requirements from the relevant government departments,” the letter says. “What economic benefits it brings, along with the unintended consequences, should give rise to a much needed debate to clearly define national policy for future development of Crown Lands.”

He says that developers are “interested primarily in the accounting benefits” but he is “solely interested in the detrimental impact to my family and way of life, which could be compromised.” Disputing claims that the project will increase the value of his property, he asks, “What value will it have if it is always under constant threat of rising sea levels, severe weather and not to mention the insurance factor if such threats come into play?”

Listing more of his concerns, he asks, “Who will maintain such coastal works in perpetuity; will it be the government or the developer? Will the developer be able to complete such a project financially and meet the statutory requirements? Who will be responsible for the liabilities incurred by any unintended consequences?”

Bradshaw also questions whether the approval of this coastal works licence will set a precedent of future crown property development “after the advice from their technocrats is totally ignored”.

He says the developer “has yet to allay my fears and concerns” and says the onus is on Dilbert “to refute the assessment of the DOE in documentform and produce his EIA, bathymetric surveys, engineering drawings and other supporting information for public viewing”.

Related CNS articles:

Three marina plans for Brac

DoE: Dilbert marina 'flawed'

Brac hotel closing in April

Pond smell could get worse
 

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Hospital to celebrate local midwives

| 02/05/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): On Monday 5 May the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) will be celebrating ‘International Day of the Midwife’ with a display in the atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital from 10am – 4pm showcasing midwifery, one of the most vital services provided. Midwives play an integral role in the maternity and birthing process and have been recognised by the World Health Organisation as the best person to deliver babies, providing the circumstances are normal. “Cayman is well served by a small but talented team of midwives who are able to cover all three islands,” said Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA.

“The Authority employs 16 midwives in the Maternity Unit, plus two in the Women’s Health Clinic, and one in each of the District Health Centres.

“Midwives practice in a variety of environments, ranging from the hospital to delivering infants and caring for them in the parent’s home. Here in the Cayman Islands, our midwives practice in the hospital, clinics, and travel to visit mothers and babies in the home following delivery,” Yearwood added.

Nurse Shannon Hydes, Nurse Manager of Maternity, stated that midwives are highly trained individuals who undertake extensive training before they can become qualified.

“Midwives conduct deliveries for about 63 per cent of hospital clinic patients each year,” Hydes revealed. “However they assist at all births, including instrumental deliveries and Caesarean sections as well as with normal deliveries conducted by private obstetricians. Even though planned home births have not taken place on a regular basis since the 1970s due to safety concerns, midwives are able to undertake such deliveries in selected patients.

“All of our midwives must have acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery and use the title ‘midwife’, they alsohave to demonstrate competency in the practice of midwifery as set out by the International Confederation of Midwives,” she added.

Hydes described midwifes as a responsible and accountable professionals who work in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the mother and the new-born. Midwives need to be able to detect complications in mother and child and be able to access medical care or other appropriate assistance as well as carry out emergency measures, should the need arise.

“It’s a huge responsibility which requires considerable skill on the part of the midwife,” she said. “I would like to extend a big thank you to all midwives for their hard work and dedicated service to mothers and babies here in the Cayman Islands we well as abroad.”

Yearwood said that the midwife also carries out the important task of health counselling and education, not only for women, but also within the family and the wider community.

“This work involves antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and child care,” she said.

The role of the midwife is broad and reaches deep into the community as they provide family planning information and advice, diagnose and monitor normal pregnancies, prescribe and advise on necessary examinations for early diagnosis of risk pregnancies and provide a programme of parenthood preparation.

They also care for and assist the family during labour and to monitor the condition of the baby in the womb by the appropriate clinical and technical means, conduct spontaneous deliveries and perform episiotomies where necessary and recognise the warning signs of abnormality in the mother or infant for referral to doctors. The specialist care givers care for new-borns and mothers in the postnatal period and help with breast feeding as well as dealing with all the paperwork.

For more information on the celebrations visit www.hsa.ky

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Auditions open for summer arts programme

| 02/05/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Young at Arts (YAA) educational youth programme by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, supported by Butterfield is encouraging young people to come and audition at the Harquail Theatre later this month. Programmes Manager for CNCF, Rita Estevanovich said the intensive summer programme provides one of the best opportunities for children in Grand Cayman who want to explore the performing arts. “Professional instruction is offered in a number of areas that will develop latent talents and improve a child's confidence and understanding of self and others,” she said.

“As a former YAA member, I can say that each class and each tutor encouraged me to tap into my own creativity.  It was very challenging at times, but it gave me a good understanding of the level of commitment that is required to pursue a career in the arts,” added Estevanovich, thanking Butterfield for its support in the face of funding difficulties.

The principal purpose of the programme is to train young creative minds in the practical disciplines of the performing arts and, by doing so engage youth in creative activity through theatre practices and create an outlet for young people with creative potential. It helps fill a void left by the lack of adequate performing arts instruction in our schools and also creates an audience for the arts. The programme culminates in a live production at the Harquail theatre.

Butterfield which has been a committed major sponsor of YAA and CNCF and Rebecca Ebanks, Butterfield Marketing Officer said the bank was proud to support the programme.
“We believe that supporting the development and aspirations of young people is important,” she said. “Arts are a fundamental building block to education and academic achievement.  Programmes such as this build on our children's overall development, self-esteem, self-confidence and provides a positive outlet for after school and holiday times.  Butterfield encourages appreciation and exploration of the arts and is pleased to support our national foundation in this huge undertaking."

Audition will take place on Saturday 24th May (10am-12pm) and Saturday 31st May (10am-12pm) with callbacks on Saturday 7th June (2pm-4pm).

The YAA Summer Intensive runs 1st July to 8th August, 2014 Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 3pm and Saturdays, 9am to 1:00pm.

To book an audition, contact Rita at cayfest@candw.ky or call the CNCF on 949-5477 and see the flyer below.  You can also visit www.artscayman.org/young-at-arts for more information on how to prepare for the audition.

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Bitter-sweet reunion for owners in dog cruelty case

| 02/05/2014 | 31 Comments

(CNS): Elizabeth Schvartz and her fiancé Joel Larsen are asking the public to help them find the culprits who abused their full bred pet Doberman, Dante, and are offering a reward to anyone who can offer useful information about what happened to him during a recent disappearance. Dante went missing around four weeks ago but was mysteriously and suddenly returned to his home sometime in the night on Wednesday or Thursday morning, beaten and sick after what appears to have been a month of torture. The couple are asking anyone who may have seen the dog tied up somewhere or wandering around over the last four weeks to contact them in confidence. (See before and after pictures of Dante below)

Schvartz told Cayman News Service that on the night of 2 April 7-year-old Dante went to sleep as he always did on the front porch of his home where he lives with Larsen in Newlands. The following morning he was nowhere to be seen. Despite the couple's efforts to search for him over the days and weeks that followed, there was no sign.

“We searched the neighbourhood and surrounding neighbourhoods daily,” Schvaartz said. “We called the Humane Society, the pound and vets around the island to see if someone had picked him up and dropped him to any of these establishments and no one had seen him. I called the radio stations to put out an alert for him and offered a cash reward for his safe return. We got a few calls but none of them checked out.”

The suddenly on the morning of 29 April at around 7:45am, Dante simply re-appeared. 

(Left Dante before his disappearance and below right on his return)

"We don't know if he was dropped off by someone or managed to escape and find his way home,” Schvartz added. “He weighed around 80lbs before he went missing and much less when he returned with multiple wounds on his hips and side. He was starved and beaten for 27 days.”

A bitter-sweet reunion for Dante and Larsen, who was so happy to have his pet home alive, but the dog was clearly very ill. He was taken to the vet, where he was treated with antibiotics for both a liver and kidney infection as well as his wounds.

Schvartz said she is hoping someone may have seen him over the last month tied up in someone's backyard perhaps in the Northward area but possibly much further away. 

“There was no cause for this. Dante is a loving dog who would never hurt anyone,” she added, as she asked people to call her or Larsen at 924-8917 or 9248365, email:  Joel.larsen@live.com or to connect with them on Facebook.

The story comes following the creation earlier this month of the Humane Society’s campaign to stamp out cruelty and to press for the prosecution of those who abuse animals. The charity has offered to act as an intermediary and is asking people to call them about potential, suspected or witnessed animal cruelty cases, giving as much details to their staff as possible and they will then take up the case.

“Being a very small island, people are very nervous about reporting something like an animal cruelty case to the police or the department of agriculture as they don’t usually want to be identified,” said Michele Sabti, the charity's education officer  as she explained how the society would step in take on the abuse. Sabti has assured people they can report to the Humane Societywith complete confidence that their identity will not be required, just the details of where the animal at risk is located and what they know about the animal's suffering.
“We are pleading with everyone who cares, to stand beside us and put all those who abuse or neglect animals on notice that we are not going to tolerate it anymore,” Sabti said.

The more proactive position taken by the charity came as a result of increasing cruelty reports.

CNS is also still trying to confirm details of a case in Newlands, which was reported to the authorities, where an individual is accused of leaving poison on a neighbour’s property which killed their dog. We have contacted the RCIPS and are awaiting comment.

Anyone who has seen animals being abused, is aware of neglect or cruelty or even abandoned pets can contact the society via phone on 949 1461, email caymanhumane@candw.ky or visit the website www.caymanhumanesociety.com or the Facebook page or even drop a note to the offices in George Town at 153 North Sound Road.

People with information on Dante should contact Elizabeth Schvartz or Joel Larsen by calling 924-8917 or 9248365 emailing elizabeth.schvartz@live.com or Joel.larsen@live.com or via Facebook.

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Chikungunya spreads across Caribbean region

| 02/05/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Following alerts last December by the local Public Health Department of an outbreak of Chikungunya in Saint Martin, the virus has now gained something of a foothold in the region. There are currently more than 4,000 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the World Health Organisation, mostly in the French Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin. Another 31,000 suspected cases of the disease, which is spread by mosquito and causes an abrupt onset of high fever and intense joint pain, have also been reported across the region of scattered islands.

The often painful illness has spread to ten other islands since the first reports in St Martin and although it is rarely fatal there is no vaccine and patients can experience joint pain for months, even years. It is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue fever, which is a similar but often much more serious illness.

Although Dengue is not endemic in Cayman, an outbreak last year demonstrated how easily it could happen as the Aedes aegypti is well established in urban areas of the country. The only way to stop Chikungunya or any other disease carried by the common pest is to contain the population of mosquitoes, as experts say eradicating vector-borne diseases once they become entrenched is an extremely difficult task. Dr James Hospedales, executive director of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency, recently described the virus as the "new kid on the block".

In a recent public health warning here, Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said visitors to the Cayman Islands or returning residents from the countries now infected who have fever and severe joint pains should consult a physician and advise of their travel history to enable them to assess and test for Chikungunya, which will be carried out at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad.

Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea and rash. Joint pain and stiffness are more common with Chikungunya than with dengue.

Meanwhile, Dr Bill Petrie, Director of the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, has said that the measures for controlling the spread of Chikungunya are the same of those applied for the control of dengue. “The best way to protect yourself from the disease is to avoid mosquito bites and to prevent mosquitoes breeding in and around your home environment,” he advised.

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Brush blazes, road smashes keep firefighters busy

| 02/05/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The myth that firefighters are sitting around playing dominoes for most of their shifts waiting for a call has been debunked by the release of a log from the fire service detailing the number of calls firefighters responded to in just one day. On Thursday 1 May crews were out on the road dealing with myriad incidents from a house fire started by an electrical short to brush fires across Grand Cayman. At 1:25am the day started for firefighters with a road smash between a car and a motorcycle. Crews called to the scene cleared debris and set about absorbing and cleaning the motor oil from the road to make it safe for traffic.

By 10:30am crews were battling with a large burning tree stump on cleared land in Batabano and The Shores area of West Bay. And an hour later another crew responded to a call from a restaurant regarding a strong spell of smoke. At the scene on West Bay Road the fire crew did a comprehensive search of the entire property to check for fire but discovered air-conditioning technicians were working on a handler unit in the ceiling and the scent of smoke from that was being sucked into interior of the restaurant . The scene was cleared and crews returned to West Bay Sub-Station.

Meanwhile, in Newlands crews had been called to a house fire in Democracy Drive off Moon Bean Street where occupants of the structure managed to put out the blaze which was caused by a TV shorting out. Crews conducted a comprehensive check of the home and mechanically ventilated it and the fire safety investigator was sent to the scene. The structure of the home wasn’t damaged by the fire but, the safety officer said it sustained minor smoke damage.

Three more brush fires kept fire firefighters busy throughout the afternoon. Staring in Prospect where a cleared vacant lot was ablaze between two homes. The fire crew immediately attacked and extinguished the blaze without threat to the structures on either side. Another brush fire on Spinnaker Road saw crews dispatched in the evening but the fire burned itself out reports of another brush fire on Ranch Road in Newlands turned out to be a false alarm.

Facing considerable demoralization in recent years due to major cuts in personnel, missing pay and complaints over poor quality safety equipment, the home affairs ministry has set about a review of the service. It is currently engaged in a recruitment process for new firefighters and the hunt is also on for a fire service chief. Former fire bosses Kirkland Nixon and Roy Grant recently returned to hold the fort until a new boss is recruited.

An assessment by UK fire-fighting experts has also resulted in a report and a number of recommendations about how the service can provide better value for money to the public purse while meeting the demands from the community. The report has not yet been made public.
 

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Wong charged with DUI

| 02/05/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The deputy chief immigration officer, who takes care of enforcement at the agency, is facing charges in connection with a two-car road smash in December and will appear in traffic court on Monday. Gary Wong was arrested shortly after a midnight collision on Saturday 28 December last year for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and leaving the scene. The RCIPS said Thursday that police officers in Bodden Town had formally charged a 47-year-old man with leaving the scene of an accident, DUI and careless driving. The crash happened on Shamrock Road in the Lower Valley area of Bodden Town and involved a Dodge Ram Truck and a BMW motor car.

Wong was bailed to appear before the Traffic Court on Monday. He has not been suspended from his job as government workers are notroutinely suspended over traffic offences. He began his tenure as the deputy chief and enforcement boss almost five years ago and he is a holder of the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour.

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