Archive for June 4th, 2014

Shake-up coming at immigration centre

| 04/06/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The chief officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs has indicted that a shake-up is coming at the Immigration Detention Centre in Fairbanks in the wake of news that two more Cuban migrants escaped from the centre early Wednesday morning. CNS is awaiting details from police and immigration about the migrants who are on the run but it is understood they absconded at around 6:20am. Addressing concerns that have been raised about the security company, chief Officer Eric Bush said that the security firm was engaged at a department level but the ministry was planning policy changes.

Bush said changes were coming, which he would soon be able to comment on, but these were at a policy level rather than the selection of vendors and other services, which are operational matters that are dealt with by the enforcement authorities.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is also the home affairs minister and responsible for immigration policy, recently pointed out that the ongoing difficulties, near riots and frequent escapes from the Fairbanks Centre are due to frustrations among the migrants over the length of time their repatriation is taking. McLaughlin said that the CIG was in talks with the Cuban authorities to try and improve matters.

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Minister shuffles cash to cover dump fire costs

| 04/06/2014 | 26 Comments

(CNS):The minister with responsibility for the dump and the museum has been given approval by Cabinet to shuffle around some of the financial allocations in his ministry during this current financial year which will end on 30 June. Osbourne Bodden told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that the Exceptional Circumstance Appropriation change was approved by Cabinet on 15 May which will see $240,000 allocated to the museum moved to environmental health to address the problems in the wake of the recent major blaze at the George Town landfill and the need for new equipment.

The money had been budgeted for the Cayman Islands National Museum under EI 23 to go toward securing a facility to house the museum’s support function and its collection of artefacts.

“Due to current conditions and incidents of fire at the landfill…. a decision to reprioritise this funding was made by the Ministry of Health, Sports, Youth & Culture,” Bodden said.  “The request for Cabinet Approval was made and granted under Section 11(5) of the Public Finance and Management Law (2013 Revision) for the reallocation of funds from EI 23 to EI 53 and from NGS 47 to TP 53.”

The minister said that advice from the finance ministry was that there will be no impact on the government’s forecast financial position to 30 June as the reallocation of funds corresponds equally.

Alongside the $240k moving from the museum to the landfill, Bodden also said that $10,426 which had been given to the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce under budget head NGS 47 for its Mentoring Cayman Programme was also being moved. Bodden said the Chamber will not conduct the programme this year so the ministry is moving the allocation to support the Junior Batabano Carnival.

He pointed out that over the years the money for that even had been reduced from $20,000 in 2011/2012 to $15,000.00 last year.

The funds come from TP 53 which is “Other Youth, Sports and Cultural Programme Assistance but the money remaining in that line item this year were insufficient to meet the ministry objective of ensuring that the event happened so the reshuffle of cash from the Chamber allocation has solved the problem.

Although the UK has stipulated that the various government ministries and departments are no longer allowed to re-appropriate funds once the budget has been approved this only applies if a refunding exercise pushes the budget over that agreed with the FCO.

 

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Housing trust looking for buyers for new homes

| 04/06/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The National Housing Development Trust is looking for buyers for its new homes in Bodden Town, East End and West Bay. Officials said there are 20 homes in Bodden Town six have two bedrooms costing $105,000 each and 14 are three-bedroom homes selling for $120,000 each. Once it has completed the applications for houses in Bodden Town the NHDT will be review those for eleven houses at the new sites in East End where three homes are available and in West Bay where eight homes available. The Trust is facing some controversy currently after being forced to tear down the original homes and re-build properties that are considerably more costly that many original buyers simply can’t afford.

At a recent meeting in West Bay where a significant number of owners are behind on mortgages and are set to lose their homes, the Trust board also revealed that it will no longer provide the mortgages for buyers meaning that any potential purchaser will need to go to the private banking sector effectively pushing the new homes out of the reach of most of those in greatest need.

Targetting lower wage earners who may be able to find the necessary deposit money and fees which is in excess of $12,000 as well as persuade the banks to give them a mortage, the trust said it is trying to negotiate better deals with the high street banks.

To qualify for a home applicants must be Caymanian or hold Caymanian Status and live in Cayman, be a first–time home owner and plan to occupy the home, earn no more than $30,000 per year for a single applicant or less than $2,000 per month and for families less $45,000 per year or $3,750. Applicants must be employed for at least six months, or self-employed for at least two years and be in the age-bracket required for repaying a mortgage.

The Trust plans to construct additional affordable homes in the various districts, and will issue a public notice to invite applicants when homes are available. There are also other services, including the “Build on your Own Property” assisted-housing scheme.

Officials said residents who have previously submitted an application for an affordable home in their district should provide the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) with updated personal information as soon as possible.

Potential buyers have until Wednesday, 11 June to submit all the informaiton and documents to the National Housing Development Trust’s office in the Cayman Centre; located across from the Airport Post Office, at 118 Dorcy Drive, Building E, Unit 4.

Required documents are:
•         Completed Application Form
Certified copies of:
•         Certificate of Caymanian Status/Right to be Caymanian
•         Letter of Permanent Residence, plus Residency and
Employment Rights Certificates
•         Original birth certificate
•         Original marriage certificate (if applicable)
•         Divorce decree, if applicable
•         Data/photo-page of current passport
•         Data/photo-page of spouse’s current Cayman Islands Passport
•         Original birth certificate of spouse, if applicable
•         A current local Police Clearance Certificate (original) for both applicants
•         Spouse’s death certificate, if applicable
•         Current employment letters for both applicants (if applicable)
•         Credit references for both applicants (from personal banks)
•         Original of child’s birth certificate (under 18 years, who live at home)
•         Proof of school enrolment, or copy of child’s last school report (for all minors)
•         Personal-reference letter from landlord/relative (if applicable)

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Weekend swim meet ends local swim season

| 04/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(Stingray): The 2014 Caledonian Global Swim Meet, hosted by the Stingray Swim Club of Grand Cayman at the Lions Aquatic Centre, takes place Friday June 6th – Sunday 8th and has the distinction of being the last domestic meet of the 2013-2014 Competitive Season for Cayman’s age group swimmers. Swimmers from Stingray Swim Club, Camana Bay Aquatic Club, Treasure Island and Triple C School and all expected to take part, as well as some of Cayman’s Masters Swimmers. Head of Marketing, Vanessa Polack for Caledonian Global Financial Services Inc, said she was pleased to once again be supporting Cayman Swimming.

“With the recent announcement of the Commonwealth Games Team – and the inclusion of swimmers such as Brett Fraser, Alex McCallum, Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler and Lauren Hew, who have all been a part of a dynamic and challenging local swim environment – we can say with confidence that supporting swimming here in Cayman is an investment which yields positive results. Caledonian prides itself in supporting empowering initiatives to help shape our youth of today into confident young adults for tomorrow. ”

She continued, “The upcoming Caledonian Global Swim Meet allows Cayman’s younger swimmers to challenge themselves in sprint and middle distance events and we look forward to seeing them put their many hours of training to the test. I encourage everyone in the community to come out and support these young athletes by volunteering or just cheering them on from the stands.”

Swimmers from Stingray Swim Club, Camana Bay Aquatic Club, Treasure Island and Triple C School and all expected to take part, as well as some of Cayman’s Masters Swimmers.

Stingray President, Amanda Roberts added her words of encouragement: “Swimming is a sport which develops extreme discipline, focus and commitment in athletes and we hear time and again these characteristics manifest themselves in the swimmers’ approach to their academic studies as well. In addition to fitness and academic studies, learning to swim is a life skill which can save lives. We thank Caledonian Global for its support of Stingray Swim Club and of all Cayman’s young swimmers and we look forward to an exciting weekend.

For information on how you can volunteer and help at the meet please contact MEET DIRECTORS: Elsy Adapa elsyalexandra@hotmail.com or Kathy Jackson skyjackswim@gmail.com .For information on Stingray Swim Club or the Summer Swim Camp visit our website www.caymanswimming.com  or email stingraysec@gmail.com

 

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Maples Reserves win rousing touch final

| 04/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): There was a rarified atmosphere at the South Sound Rugby Ground on Saturday as the massed hordes prepared to watch the final of the National Mixed Touch Rugby Championships 2014. Two teams had dominated the league this year and now they were to come face-to-face and get funk-to-funky in a winner-takes-all Final. The playing conditions were tough because overnight rain had made the pitch very slippy, whilst the baking sun made the humidity levels at pitch side close to 100%. Playing touch in a sauna may have a number of novel connotations to the playful mind but for these two teams it was going to provide conditions that would test their physical prowess and stamina to the limit.

Maples Reserves took to the field quietly confident that they had the moves and the grooves to get the job. They have a fast, mobile team of enthusiastic players able to play Touch at high tempo. Their opponent, SteppingStones, may not pack the blistering speed across the park that Maples do, but they have some highly experienced Touch players who can bamboozle any defence with their ability to switch, offload, reverse-pass and pick a gap.

Both teams started cautiously and there were handling errors aplenty. The pitch conditions meant sharp changes of directions were hazardous at best and none suffered more than poor Simon Raftopolous. Normally he bounces around the paddock like Tigger on springs but today he was more like Bambi on Ice in the first few minutes. Maples game plan was to make sure their defence was red hot and stifle Stones’ lightning pick-and-goes.

As an attacking force Maples started the brighter and their quick pick-ups from the dump ball kept ‘Stones on the back foot. The interchanges from their bench (touch rugby has rolling substitutions) were smooth in comparison to the ‘Stones which suffered from a lack of communication at times.  As Maples pressed their opponent’s line it took a splendid full-length dive by Dave Acutt to cross the whitewash. This is a trademark Acutt move and is almost impossible to defend as he goes fast, low and horizontal like a MiG-29 on a Crimean fly-over. When, a minute later, the splendidly bearded Ian Smith flew (not literally) through a gap to make it 2-0 Stepping Stones had to play catch up.

You can be sure though that SteppingStones do not role over without a fight and their Captain Morgan Shelver got one back soon after only for this to be cancelled out by Acutt’s second try of the day with a clean break from halfway. Back came the ‘Stones and Mike Smith scored after receiving a lovely switch and reverse pass to score through the middle. 3-2. Game on. SteppingStones continued to have a lot of the ball and the majority of the territory but they could not capitalize on the pressure they built often architects of their own downfall with dropped passes, miscommunication or choosing the wrong options. High pressure defence across the pitch was pivotal to Maples and their “enforcer” Andrew “Wild” West was more keen than most.

At the heart of the Maples attack was The Smiths. Now when you think of “The Smiths” you might be forgiven for thinking I am going to wax lyrical about the wonderful Morrissey and Marr and one of “the most influential British Guitar Band of the Twentieth Century”. You’ll be pleased to hear I’m not. Or perhaps when thinking of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” you might be drawn to that (really rather naff) movie where (allegedly) Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie first got it “on” on set.  No. In Cayman we have our own version of The Smiths – Ian and Jane Smith, a recently-arrived-in-Cayman couple from the land of the Dingo, the Drongo, and the didgeridoo.

Both played superbly well, cobber. Ian, coiffured and superbly groomed like a male model from one of those cheap catalogues your Mum used to have delivered through the door, moved fast and sure across the turf never putting a foot wrong. Jane Hale-Smith, tall, dark and brooding started to pull the strings and with a succession of neat passes and offloads she kept Maples on the front foot and moving forward. She seems to move in Matrix time rarely getting caught in possession, and rarely a hair out of place – understandable considering she missed the final trainingsession in order to get her hair donefor the Final. Thus giving truth to the statement that “If you look the part, you play the part” because, with her newly tousled tresses flowing in the breeze, she dominated. Thanks to Omar at Rock Gorgeous Hair!

Maples responded well to the ‘Stones repost when Riley Mullen, thinking quicker than any on the pitch, took a quick tap penalty to stroll over from 5 metres, and a few minutes later Andrew “NSE” West scored in the corner to give Maples Reserves a half-time lead of 5-2.

The second half continued much as the first and Morgan Shelver was trying to move heaven and earth to get the ‘Stones going forward. SteppingStones were playing very narrow at times and when the ball was eventually spread wide they often made good ground.

The conditions were taking their toll and as frustrations grew on both sides there was some interesting jesting and jousting between some of the players. Heat can induce madness and for some it proved too much. The referees, Chandra Friesen, Steve Henshaw and Brad Stephenson had all their work cut out to keep a lid on some of the more “enthusiastic” touches, the pick of which saw the pint-sized Riley Mullen bump a benevolent and off-balance Scott McCarty on his backside. He was lucky to stay on the pitch, Mullen that is.

It was Hale-Smith that opened the scoring halfway through the second half with a neat finish to stretch Maples lead and the clock was now working against SteppingStones as they valiantly threw everything at the Maples defense. Big Shaun McDermot pulled one back with an easy dive over but it was fitting that inspirational Maples Captain Adam “COLT45” Huckle scored the final try in the final minute. His laidback approach to captaincy allows his team to play without fear and deliver the goods on the big day. And so, a final score of 7-3 gave the title of Champions 2014 to Maples Reserves. Jane Hale-Smith won the MVP award and the fizzy started to flow!

After the game Huckle said, “SteppingStones pose threats and they have been the best team on island for some time now. Morgan (Shelver), in particular, is a handful. We love D (defence) and knew we had to stop their ridiculously quick rucking. Our ability to score quickly and consistently has been decent too. Thanks to all the organizers for a great tournament, the league is going from strength to strength. Bring on next Season.”

Defeated captain, Morgan Shelver (SteppingStones) was gracious in defeat, “I thought we played well with great moments in attack and defence. Unfortunately, when you play a team like Maples Reserves, your mistakes will be capitalized on, and we just made too many on the day. All in all they played better than us and made fewer mistakes”.

Maples Reserves are worthy Champions.

Throughout the season they have delighted the crowds with their standard of play and it is fitting tribute to their playing squad that seven tries were shared between six different scorers – a true team effort. For SteppingStones they will feel they failed to execute vital scoring moves during the first half in particular that may have changed the course of the game but they will go away and come back stronger next year. They gave it their all and no Captain can ask for more.

 

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Grass roots football club boosts standards of play

| 04/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Officials and organisers of the Grassroots Football Programme said they were pleased with the attendance and standard of improvement shown by the players this season as it draws to a close. The Cayman Islands Football Association initiative includes eight programmes, reaching all districts with thirty-two coaches and six supervisors. During the 17 month duration of the programme, over 500 children registered and the average monthly attendance was 75 percent. The season ended with a vibrant festival on Saturday with almost 300 children in attendance, producing a showcase of talent, energy and skill.

Grassroots Project Manager Darrel Rankine said, “To maintain the interest of the players and parents and to see how keen they were even at the final festival is testament to the quality of the  coaches and fun elements of the programme. The festival is an opportunity for all the boys and girls in the programme to come together in one setting with all the coaches. It was a great finale, despite the heat, it was obvious the kids enjoyed the play and each other.”

The programme restarts in September and officials are already looking ahead to the future.

“The programme is still finding its roots but I believe it is moving in the right direction – the future of football in these islands looks good from this level,” Rankine added.

CIFA 1st Vice President Bruce Blake told Cayman Football.com, “Congratulations to the coaches, parents and players and a big thank you to Maples and Calder for their continued sponsorship of the Maples Grassroots Program. The CIFA Executive is buoyed by the commitment shown by all involved and encouraged by the large turnouts weekly.

“Our children have a love for the sport and want to play football at every opportunity. If we continue to nurture such passion, the future of the game in the Cayman Islands looks bright,” he added.

 

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Social worker bags March civil service gong

| 04/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Another civil servant from the home affairs ministry has won one of the monthly public sector employee gongs as a result of here performance skills and advocacy for her clients. Community Service Coordinator Jenine Stewart’s attention to excellence helped her to take the top spot for March from nearly 2,400 core government employees, officials said. Stewart assists adult offenders to serve out community service orders as part of their sentences. Known for her kindness and sense of justice, she upholds the dignity of all clients, regardless of antisocial behaviour patterns, her bosses said.

Her Clients are referred to the Department of Community Rehabilitation (DCR) by the Courts, the Prison Service and the Parole Board and Stewart also liaises closely with community groups such as churches and non-governmental organisations.

She plays an active role in the department’s Empowerment Programme, helping persons aged 17 and over with employment options. She also garners vital training opportunities for them, including in the private sector. The challenging programme helps with intervention, aims to reduce recidivism and improve employability of persons who are often both vulnerable and anti-social.

Her goal is to prepare them to get suitable jobs in the workforce. She recently managed to secure five successful placements in a short time for young Caymanians. She regularly strives to positively impact these clients’ lives, going beyond the call of duty to ensure the young people are not marginalised.

“Whether it is performing routine duties or expanded responsibilities, you unfailingly demonstrate your acumen by working creatively and with minimum supervision,” said the deputy governor, Franz Manderson as he presented her with the Employee of the Month award recently. “I understand that you take proactive action, learn quickly and use your excellent communications skills to keep team members and clients informed,” he added.

“Often exceeding your performance targets, you are relied on for your skills, including time management, writing and research as well as advocacy and social work in all recent departmental activities, I am told. It is for these qualities that you are viewed as most independent and most multi-skilled. Congratulations and keep up the good work,” the civil service boss said.

Stewart said she was completely surprised and humbled by the award, which she believes also reflects her team’s support and good work. “I am concerned about the future of young Caymanians who pass through our system and believe we can make a difference, if we genuinely try,” she added.

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Senior rugby players treat kids to tickets

| 04/06/2014 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): The National Senior Men’s rugby team are providing tickets to Big Game 4 against USA South at the Truman Bodden stadium on 14 June to every youth player who played in the recent international tournament in Freeport Bahamas. This is in appreciation of the youth players unbeaten record and their support of the National Men’s team in their International test win over the Bahamas. National Captain Richard Lewis said he was delighted that the players have stumped up to buy these tickets.

“The Cayman RugbyUnion Legacy program is a huge part of who we are and what we are about and its about giving back to the community and youth players in every way we can,” he said. “We had hoped to be able to support these young players more while we were in the Bahamas but with our new professional preparation we were unable to spend as much time with these young protégés as we would have liked. The guys wanted to make up for that and thank the young Caymanians for their massive support of us when we played Bahamas in our first International of the year."

Details about the game and ticketing can be found at www.caymanrugby.com

 

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Coach faces almost five years jail in sex crime case

| 04/06/2014 | 27 Comments

(CNS): A local sports coach who was recently convicted of defilement after having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail Tuesday. The man, who cannot be named because of a court order aimed at protecting the identity of the girl, was 29 years old at the time of the offence, in March last year, and was coaching the teenager, who was just 13 years old. Justice Charles Quin, who presided over the case, described the coach as grooming the young girl, gaining her trust and then abusing her. He also expressed his concerns that the man still did not grasp the seriousness of his offence because he believed he was in a genuine relationship with the teen.

The judge acknowledged that the sexual act was not as a result of force, and while it was unlawful it was consensual. However, the judge said the coach was a mature older man acting in a supervisory role, which was a serious aggravating factor. He said the man had groomed the 13-year-old girl, who believed there was genuine affection between them and had then taken advantage of the situation for “his own selfish sexual gratification”.

Justice Quin said that the perpetrator, as a father of a son who is the same age as the teenager he had abused, must have realized that there could be “nothing right, proper, normal or legal” about the relationship.

The judge said that, given the circumstances and the breach of trust in the case, the starting point for his sentence was seven years. However, as a result of the coach pleading guilty from the outset Justice Quin reduced the sentence by 33.3% and arrived at a figure of 4 years and eight months. The judge also ordered an eight month sentence for possession of an indecent image of a child to run concurrently, as the coach had videoed the incident of unlawful sex on his phone.

During his verdict the judge pointed out that cases of older men defiling young girls was increasingly prevalent. In this case the age of the coach and his position was of particular concern and the judge noted that playing sports at a local club should be a safe haven for young people and not a place to be viewed with apprehension and fear. Justice Quin said a sports coach is a person young people should be able to look up to for protection and guidance.

The court had also heard that in the wake of this incident the victim and her family had suffered from bullying at the sports club, which had forced her from the club and made the circumstances even worse. Since then, the teen has been sent overseas to school, where her grades are suffering and the family fears she will lose her scholarship as a result, compounding the impact of the coach's offence.

The judge also raised concerns about the coach's possible re-offending. He said it was regrettable that there are no programmes at HMP Northward for sex offenders and that a social enquiry report had noted that this defendant would benefit from a particular programme to address the risk of further offending. As a result, thejudge ordered that the man face regular psychiatric evaluation during his time in prison to ensure he begins to understand the impact of his offence and that, whatever he may believe, he was not in a normal affectionate relationship with his victim.

The judge noted, however, the coach’s own very troubled background and the abuse and neglect he had suffered as a child. The defendant’s father is also serving a long prison sentence and his mother died when the coach was only sixteen as a result of her serious drug abuse problems. Before that the coach was both sexually and physically abused by one of the men who sold his mother drugs.

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West Bay man charged following machete attack

| 04/06/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): In yet another violent incident dealt with by local police, one man is custody facing attempted murder charges and another is in the critical care unit at the hospital. An RCIPS spokesperson said that at around 3.30pm yesterday afternoon, officers responded to a dispute at Rainbow Lane in West Bay. A 62-year-old resident received a number of chop wounds and was taken to Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where he underwent emergency surgery and is currently in the critical care unit. Police arrested a 43-year-old local man at the scene, who was charged with attempted murder and is due to appear in court Wednesday

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