Archive for July 1st, 2014

Hospital battles with medicine shortages

| 01/07/2014 | 16 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the local hospital say they are doing what they can to address the problem of drug shortages following revelations in Finance Committee recently that the pharmacy at the George Town hospital had run out of important medicines. As one of the busiest pharmacies on the island, the facility is feeling the impact of what is said to be a global shortage of some drugs. Officials claimed the shortages of prescription medications is affecting many countries around the world, and the Health Services Authority (HSA) Pharmacy is from time to time unable to source a variety of prescription drugs medication in sufficient quantities to keep up with the demand.

Colin Medford, the HSA’s chief pharmacist, explained that the purchasing of medication in Cayman is bound by annually tendered contracts awarded to suppliers but even when orders are placed there is no guarantee that the ordered amounts will be delivered because of the current global shortages.

“The HSA orders larger quantities of prescription drugs than any other pharmacy on island and stock the widest variety of drugs, including a range of specialist medicines,” he said. “”The drug shortages that are occurring in the US and UK is causing a trickledown effect here in the Cayman Islands as both the US and the UK are our largest direct and indirect suppliers,” Medford added.

Given the high volume of patients served by the HSA, combined with global shortages, this was making things very difficult, he noted..

“To reduce the inconvenience, the pharmacy tries to obtain whatever stock is available on the island, in order to facilitate patients who only use the government hospital …When this is not possible, patients may be directed to private pharmacies to buy their prescription and request a refund for their purchase through an established process,” he stated in a release from the HSA Tuesday.

The situation is said to be improving and the hospital boss said the HSA was asking patients for their continued support and understanding. “The HSA is doing everything in its power to retain an adequate supply of prescription drugs,” said CEO Lizzette Yearwood. “All efforts are being made to have substantial drug quantities in store for the hurricane season and these have already been ordered.” She added that the Health Services Authority makes the availability of pharmaceutical drugs an utmost priority for its patients, despite the global supply challenges.

“We apologise for the inconvenience our patients are experiencing and appreciate their understanding of this ongoing global challenge,” she said.

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Tourism sector wants airport before port

| 01/07/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS Business): Many stakeholders in the tourism industry are calling for the Cayman Islands government to place more emphasis on the airport development and runway expansion, as opposed to focusing on developing the proposed cruise port. Much of the public discourse in the islands had surrounded the issue of a cruise berthing facility on Grand Cayman as a means of improving the tourism product and increasing trade. However, according to restaurateurs and water sports operators, this might be the wrong way around. They argue that cruise numbers are already robust and the airport should be the priority while improving the tendering process before eventually developing the port. Read more on CNS Business

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Hospital prepared in case of chikungunya outbreak

| 01/07/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Following the news that a local resident tested positive for the first imported case of the mosquito borne virus Chikungunya, Monday, the health minister has stated that the local health care system is “ready and able to treat anyone who should fall ill with the disease,”. Osbourne Bodden said in a statement Tuesday that the MRCUwill continue to do its part to ensure that there is no local spread but the public should remain calm and follow the guidance in eliminating mosquito breeding sites around homes and property.

“We must also protect ourselves from mosquito bites, which is the only way to prevent Chikungunya,” he said. “Protective measures include using mosquito repellents on skin and clothes. When outdoors, during times that mosquitoes are biting, persons should also wear long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.”

Thanking the Caribbean Public Health Agency for expediting testing within five hours of receiving the recent sample, which was confirmed as chikungunya, as well as to PAHO for their technical support and commitment, Bodden also added his gratitude to staff at the public health department for their surveillance and guidance on dealing with the threat.

The minister promised a weekly update ensure transparency and keep the public informed as the diseases spreads across the region.

See full statement below. 

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Shetty hospital welcomes first group of interns

| 01/07/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Sixteen Caymanian students will be taking part on an inaugural internship programme at the Shetty hospital this summer. Fourteen of the students from high school and university will be focusing on medicine while two students are following a maintenance/building operations and marketing at the facility. Six of the interns started this week and the programmes vary from two weeks to two months. Dr Candy Abraham, Medical and Facility Director at Health City, said the exposure the students gain will assist them in deciding which spheres of medicine they may wish to specialise in.

“We offer our internships to give students a taste of the various areas of the medical fields in which we specialise,” he said. “These include cardiac surgery, cardiology, orthopaedics, pulmonary and paediatric endocrinology. It is a broad spectrum and we are sure the students will enjoy the variety of subject matter we are able to show them.”

Dr Candy said it is Health City’s intention to provide interns with first-hand experience within the hospital to help them make a decision if medicine is a field they would like to pursue further. “Our ultimate goal is to have one third of all medical staff be Caymanian in the coming decade,” he said. “We hope that internships will inspire future careers.”

Gene Thompson, the local partner in the venture with Shetty, said he was delighted to be working with education ministry adding that Mminister Tara Rivers and Winston Connolly, the councillor, have confirmed they will continue to support Health City in its goal of having one hundred interns in the calendar year of 2015.

“We will be working diligently in partnership with the Ministry of Education to see this commitment through,” Thompson said.

Connolly, who visited the hospital with the interns, said the ministry was excited about the inaugural cohort.

“[We] trust that these young Caymanians will seize this opportunity to educate themselves and help form their career decisions. We congratulate Health City for their vision and believe that this will be a mutually beneficial exercise,” the government backbencher stated.

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Gallery hosts exhibit of 100 plus student pieces

| 01/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) and a local law firm has been hosting an  exhibition of over 100 pieces of work by kids from the Walkers Art Club school programmes. The work was displayed in the Community Gallery and exhibiting artists ranged in age from pre-schoolers through to primary and secondary students, and teens. It included highlights from a busy year during which hundreds of work has been created of assemblage art, recycled art, drawing, painting, sculpture and collage. Subject matter included self-portraiture, icons of Cayman, nature, maritime history, as well as themes from the wider history of art.

Over one hundred people gathered to celebrate the students at the opening reception where the senior partner at Walkers Mark Lewis congratulated the kids on their impressive display.

“It is very pleasing to see first-hand the remarkable talent from Cayman's young artists exhibited here,” he said. “Walkers Art Club plays a key role in filling the need for creative, engaging, and accessible afterschool programming – in Grand Cayman, and now also in Cayman Brac. The Walkers Arts Club provides a unique opportunity for students from public and private schools to work collaboratively and forge new friendships.
“Enabling students from both public schools and the private schools to meet and interact over art is something we are very proud of,” he added.

Walkers has partnered with the National Gallery to provided free creative afterschool programming since in 2005. Initially starting with Walkers Art Club primary and secondary classes, in 2012 the programme grew even further to include after-school classes in Cayman Brac and a Teen Club for art students to aid in preparation for art and design examinations, the gallery explained in a release.

The most recent addition to the schedule was Walkers Lighthouse Club in 2013, which provides much-loved weekly classes for young people from the Lighthouse School.

“We believe that art is integral to the academic development of our children and this programme allows children of all ages, from preschool through high school, the opportunity to participate in a free comprehensive art classes,” said NGCI Director Natalie Urquhart. “Through a combination of hands-on instruction and individual experimentation with foundation principles, children learn technique, art history, self-confidence and how to form and articulate opinions about the work they are creating. In addition to individual art projects, students work collaboratively on group projects which connect participants to one another and encourage them to appreciate the unique abilities of their peers. We commend Walkers for their long-term commitment to this programme and are grateful for their ongoing support."

The exhibition closes this Friday and Walkers Art Club will resume in September. For information or to apply email or call (345) 945 8111.

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Jet Ski races return to Seven Mile Beach

| 01/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The 2014 Hydrocross Jet Ski competition is returning to Grand Cayman and its famous stretch of beach this coming holiday weekend. The Cayman Islands Watercraft Association said the annual event will be at Royal Palms Beach Club and spectators are being promised a”tremendous tournament”. Staring at 10am until 4pm it will feature 21 riders competing for island glory in three divisions; Beginner, Amateur and Pro. Event Organizer, Pablo Rousseau of Wet ‘n Wild Water Sports said the contest would provide local young riders with a great chance to show off.

“We’re very excited about the 2014 Hydrocross Jet Ski Race. Cayman has a rich watercraft culture, and we decided to step up and organize the event this year to give some of the youngsters the ability to compete and demonstrate their talents. We are catering the event to the fans and spectators across the island, with Jetpack demonstrations, prizes and parasailing throughout the day,” Rousseau added.

Eight riders will compete in the Beginner Division including: Anthony Logan, Ryan Vanderbol, Matt Panton, Nathan Ebanks, Shemaiah Grant, Justin Rankin, Cline Gidden and Kelsey Rae Smith. The largest division of the competition, the Amateur group will feature riders: Kaleb Ebanks, Mark Rae-Smith, Ryan Harding, Frank Watler, Nicolas Hydes, Javier Medina, James Foster, Jeremy Thompson, Darren Mclean, and Jordon McLaughlin. The Expert division featuring the top competitors will showcase the talents of Seth Watler, Paul Rousseau, and GJ Whittaker.

Spokesman for the Cayman Islands Watercraft Association Vincent Ramgeet offered his full backing to the competition which it will be managing.

“The approach to the Hydrocross event, is exactly what the association mandates were formed around. We are fully on board and will be sanctioning, governing and providing race day management support of the race. We are hoping to see more local race promoters emerging and CIWA can take its rightful place as the sanctioning and governing body of PWC racing within the Cayman Islands and step back from race promoting. This was started with Jet Around Cayman and the East End Surf challenge which were the legacy races.”

The Hydrocross take places beach side at  Royal Palms Beach Club on 7-mile beach, Saturday, July 5th  from 10 A – 4 P. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to secure their place on the beach. For more information on the 2014 Hydrocross event, contact Event Coordinator, Pablo Rousseau at 938-9751.

Sponsors include to assist with the event including, Sea Farer Adventurers, Comfort Suites, Royal Palms, A.L. Thompson, Wet n Wild Watersports, Fat Fish Adventures, Paddleboard Cayman Style, C.I.R.E.B.A, Mobile Tire Services, Tony’s Toys, Vibe 98.9 FM, Spin 94.9 FM, and Monster Media.


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Rotary Central appoints 2014/15 leaders

| 01/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Members of the local service club Rotary Central said goodbye to their outgoing president and hello to a new one last Friday at the annual
Change Over evening. New Officers for the 2014-2015 Rotary Year were installed and the NGO celebrated its accomplishments under the leadership of outgoing President Naude Dreyer. Rotary Central was awarded the Best Club in District 7020 as well as Platinum Club of the month winner from 84 other clubs.

Four new Rotarians were inducted and the theme of “Light up Rotary” was confirmed.

This year’s officers are: President Larry Tibbetts; President Elect Sandy Cram; Vice President Mike Pratt; Secretary Trudy-Ann Scott; Treasurer Paul Arbo. Directors include Susie Bodden, Nickii Sonnenberg, Katie Dilbert, Sue Holmes, Colin Fawkes, William Inniss, Richard Lewis and Sergeant At Arms Mike Donnelly.

Rotary International President-elect Gary C.K. Huang chose Light Up Rotary as his theme for 2014-15 inspired by the teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius

In keeping with this year’s theme Tibbetts chose “Our Projects, Our Rotarians” as the Club’s motto which will focus on highlighting our Projects and engaging and recognizing our Rotarians.

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Mac pushes marina row on

| 01/07/2014 | 62 Comments

(CNS): Seizing yet another opportunity to air his grievances over what he claims is the unfair treatment of a hotel owner in Cayman Brac for a proposed inland marina next to his property, the opposition leader was given leave by the Legislative Assembly speaker to bring yet another motion about the issue Thursday. Having raised the subject several times in the LA and Finance Committee recently, McKeeva Bush once again attacked the environment minister over the handling of Cleveland Dilbert’s application and the requirement that he undertake an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Bush has not only raised this in parliament, he has also taken every chance he has had to berate government over this particular project in public forums as well.

Going out to bat in earnest for Dilbert, the owner of the Alexander Hotel, Bush appears to have made it his personal goal to press this matter until the project is given the green light without an EIA.

The proposal was first raised during Bush’s time as premier and tourism minister but the coastal works application was not considered by his UDP government at the time and it is not clear why it wasn’t, though Bush has pointed to civil service stumbling blocks.

It eventually came before the PPM Cabinet along with two other smaller marina proposals by MMCB Ltd earlier this year and all three were approved as a result of pressure from the Brac business community to boost the economy. With the two marinas proposed by MMCB being less complex and in areaswhere the Department of Environment (DoE) could predict the impact, the department had advised Cabinet that if it must approve such proposals, these projects were limited in their environmental harm.

However, the DoE had advised that the Dilbert proposal was far more extensive and complex and the experts in the department believed that the risks associated with it were far more significant, and with no way to mitigate the potential risks, they advised Cabinet to reject the proposal. Despite that advice, Cabinet still approved it after Dilbert made a presentation saying he believed the DoE’s concerns were unjustified. Given the potential dangers however, Cabinet said Dilbert should undertake an independent EIA, which, if he was right, would show that the DoE was wrong and demonstrate how the proposal could be mitigated.

Since then Dilbert has claimed that he is being treated unfairly and does not want to undertake the EIA.

Bush has become increasingly incensed over the issue on every occasion he has raised it, suggesting that the two other marinas, which he says he supports as well, are just as environmentally threatening, and asking why, if they don’t need an EIA, should Dilbert be required to undertake the costly assessment. 

The opposition leader spoke about his support for the family hotel, which was suffering because it was built next to a brackish pond that can give off a strong smell, and pointed to the removal of Saltwater Pond's status as a bird sanctuary. However, efforts to address the smell were understood to have failed and the Dilbert family then proposed the idea of a marina, which he said his government backed.

Bush hurled insults at the DoE director and the environment minister, made allegations of corruption and cronyism, nepotism and bad governance surrounding the owner of MMCB and Cabinet members. He accused government of trying to besmirch the Dilbert’s name and a concerted effort by the environment department to turn a blind eye to the environmental damage of the other marinas, while trying to stop the Alexander project due to a bias against Dilbert. He said that it could not be that one developer “can get so much and the other pounced upon and called names”, as he insisted, in contrast to the DoE scientists' assessment, that the impact on the environment by the other marina proposals was potentially just as damaging as the Dilbert proposal.

The opposition leader said he found government’s “behaviour appalling” and was tired of the “self-serving actions" and their excuses.

Responding for the umpteenth time to what he has insisted are Bush’s unfounded allegations, Environment Minister Wayne Panton said he had a sense of déjà vu about the accusations and the opposition leader’s motion.

He said the opposition leader was totally misrepresenting the situation and Dilbert’s application was processed and reviewed in accordance with any coastal works application. Panton emphasised the scale and scope and complexity of that project and how it had to have an EIA to prove that Dilbert was right and the DoE wrong as the risk were significant.

The minister said it involved a canal that was 700 plus feet long, 12 feet deep and 100 feet wide cutting through the reefs and the marine park to connect into the interior pond, which was startlingly different from the other proposals, with layers of complexity that would be impossible to mitigate. The other two proposals, he added, had far morelimited impact and it was not possible to compare the projects.

However, regardless of the potential environmental disasters presented by the Dilbert’s proposal, the Cabinet had approved it dependent on an EIA. “Cabinet felt that the only responsible reaction, in wanting to support the Brac, was to ask for the EIA and have experts demonstrate that what he was saying was correct,” Panton added.

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