Archive for July 29th, 2014

Cayman’s Chris Jackson takes final aim in Glasgow

| 29/07/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands shooting team wraps up in Glasgow, they can walk away with guns held high. The clay shooters aim for their final targets in Scotland, at the Commonwealth Games, on July 29. Chris Jackson will compete in day two of the trap qualifiers from 9am Scotland time (3am Cayman time) at the Barry Buddon Shooting Center in Carnoustie. Jackson, 47, is the last of the team members to fire away after Edison ‘Eddie’ McLean and Andrew Schirn (left) got their shots in last week. Schirn, 18, and McLean, 44, both competed in the skeet event but were eliminated in the opening stages. (Photo by Matthew Yates)

“I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I hope to be back in four years,” Schirn said. “At first, it was pretty nerve-racking having cameras videotaping me and having a crowd watching because I never had to do that before. But in the end, it didn’t affect me as much as I thought it would.”

Schirn would finish 21st in the first round of qualifying by nailing 61 of 75 moving targets, before shooting down 42 of 50 targets in the second round, which placed him 18th. McLean, in his fourth Commonwealth Games, used his experience to shoot a score of 65 in round one to place 17th before grabbing fourth place in the second round with a score of 48.

“The weather is constantly changing. In the morning when I started, it was really cold. Then it was close to our climate. It’s hard because then you have to keep adjusting and changing your clothes to meet the climate at the time. I feel it went pretty well, I was aiming to shoot in the 20s constantly throughout the two days and I achieved that. That’s the best I can do so I’m happy with it,” a pleased Schirn said.

The shooters will be among the first athletes to wrap up in Scotland, after getting into Glasgow early. The side arrived before the opening ceremony to familiarize themselves with the shooting range. Organizing the group was team manager Kevin Schirn, Andrew’s dad, who has guided national shooting squads for nearly 15 years.

Kevin Schirn, who had the group competing in the United Kingdom this summer in preparation for the Games, says the team was pleased with the Carnoustie facilities.

“The team was very happy to be at the shooting village in Dundee. The shooters had days of training at the range and reacquainted with friends from previous Games. The organization of the Games was great and the team was pleased with the set-up of the training fields. Our accommodations were very comfortable and training went well.”

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Cayman squash team singles results, doubles up next

| 29/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Julian Jervis (16) made it as far as the semi-finals of the squash consolation plate singles event at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, but lost to Zambia’s Manda Chilambwe 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6. The doubles segment goes into action this week, with Jervis returning to the court alongside Myron Blair. Heading into Scotland, expectations were high for Jervis, who won the CASA Junior Championships Under-17 title in Bermuda earlier this month. He lost his first two matches to Chris Simpson of Guernsey (11-7, 11-4, 11-1) and Ravindu Laksiri of Sri Lanka (11-6, 11-3, 11-3) but had two wins over Moreaina Wei of Papua New Guinea (11-2, 11-4, 11-1) and Kevin Hannaway of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (11-1, 14-12, 11-5). (Photo by Mathew Yates)

Jervis said he has been impressed with Scotland and remains confident in his abilities.

“I’m still running off the vibes of winning the junior Caribbean Area Squash Association title,” Jervis said. “The guy I played earlier is a really good player. I still have my confidence because I know I can do better than I did. We’ve been training for three to four months, really intensely for this stuff now so I feel prepared. Glasgow is amazing, the village is great and the facilities are amazing. I couldn’t be happier.”

Jervis also revealed he has been playing through a nagging injury.

“Laksiri ran me to the point where I aggravated my shin, which is a problem that I have quite often. I couldn't really move into the front very well after a while, but he played very well. I was training one day with Cameron and I just think he did the same thing and the same thing happened. When I went to physio they told me it’s because I have a really tight calf, which makes me not able to bring my feet up enough. It forces me to use muscles in my shin a lot more. It happens all the time now and I’ve been dealing with it for over a year.”

Another highly touted player for Cayman, Cameron Stafford, had mixed results. On his first day, he would defeat Christian Navas of Gibraltar 11-2, 11-5 and 11-3 before losing to Botswana’s Alister Walker 11-3, 11-4, 11-5. He would then make the classic plate quarterfinals, where he would lose to Scotsman Kevin Moran 11-13, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 16-14. As Stafford tackles the mixed doubles with Marlene West, he says he is motivated to post better results.

“I’m trying to redeem myself and get my confidence back,” Stafford said. “I go on to the doubles matches with Marlene and we take on two former world champions on the glass court. Marlene and I have never played on a glass court with each other so it’s a whole new experience. I’m healthy but there is a little tweak in both of my calves. I’m stretching, running, covering with a lot of cold ice baths. I’m moving well, playing well but getting the experience against these top players is what I need. You don’t get to play against the top players in the world every day. I get to train with upcoming juniors like Julian all the time so it’s about getting that exposure really.”

Cayman had two other players in the singles event. Daniel Murphy lost all three of his matches, falling to Kenya’s Hartaj Bains 11-7, 11-4, 11-6; Uganda’s Michael Kawooya 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 and Zambia’s Chilambwe 11-9, 11-5, 11-6. Eilidh Bridgeman lost to Wee Worn Low of Malaysia 11-1, 11-2, 11-2 and Vanessa Florens of Mauritius 11-6, 11-1, 11-5. Murphy says while his results were discouraging, he intends to keep battling.

“It was hard to adjust to the courts but overall I thought I played alright,” Murphy said. “I’m going to just try and play my best, stay on court as long as possible with the professionals. I’ll give my all and that’s all I can do really.” Murphy will be teaming up with Bridgeman in the mixed doubles event. Bridgeman says at times she felt outclassed.

“I played No. 5 in the world so it was really tough playing Low,” Bridgeman said. “Obviously, there’s not much you can do against someone who is that good. But I think she was quite nice at keeping the rallies going. I was just running and running and that’s all I could really do. A lot of the players here are so strong that you’re going to meet someone very strong, very quickly. So really, as soon as you go on against someone like that you’re not going to get the chance to do it again so you have to make the most of it.”

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Cops hunt Brac booze burglar

| 29/07/2014 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The police boss on Cayman Brac is appealing to the public to look out for someone selling booze on the island following a break-in at a local bar early Tuesday morning. Chief Inspector Franks Owens said that officers on the Sister Island have begun an investigation into a burglary at Coral Isle Bar, Southside Road West, in which the rear glass door of the premises was damaged and a number of rum and whiskey bottles were taken. Promising to keep any information on the break in confidential Owens asked people who may be able to help to call the police.

“If you see anyone with bottles os whisky or rum that appear suspicious or if anyone attempts to sell you any of these items please contact the police," said Owens. "All information will be treated with the utmost confidentiality," he added.

Anyone who has information or saw suspicious people or vehicles in the area in the early morning is asked to call the Cayman Brac Police Station on 948-0331 or 649-0331 or Chief Inspector Owens on 516-6100
 

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Diamond robber confesses

| 29/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A second man accused of a New Year's Day stick-up at a downtown jewellery store, in which the police commissioner apprehended the suspects, has admitted his part in the crime. Last week James McLean pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm as part of the joint enterprise although he never held the gun. The crown has also accepted that McLean was not aware that the weapon used in the robbery at Diamonds International was loaded. He will now be sentenced in October along with Jonathan Ramoon who pleaded guilty in June and has only recently left a wheel chair after he was mowed down by the RCIPS boss who was off duty and in the area at the time of the robbery.

Ramoon suffered a number of serious injuries following the botchedgetaway from the robbery after the men crashed the car used in the hold-up as they were being chased by David Baines. The men jumped from the vehicle and continued to try and make their escape on foot however, the commissioner drove at the men and in the process ran straight over Ramoon who had to be cut out from under the commissioner's vehicle. the robber broke both legs and his arm and suffered some internal injuries. He then made his first appearance in court after charges were laid against the men on a gurney and was confined to a wheel chair for some five months.

Since then following an internal investigation the director of public prosecutions ruled that Baines did not use excessive force in the arrest and no disciplinary action was taken against the head of the local police service.

While Ramoon and McLean have admitted their part in the morning robbery which took place around 8-30am on the first day of 2014, Christopher Myles has still not answered the charges against him. Alleged to have been the getaway driver, the crown says he is guilty of robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm by virtue of the joint enterprise. At the moment Myles is scheduled to face trial in September.

All three men remain on remand at HMP Northward.

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Woman in $2m theft case instructs new lawyer

| 29/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 52 year old female resident from Canada, accused of stealing more than $2million from an elderly resident, who is scheduled to face the courts in January of next year has changed her legal team. Michelle Bouchard, who has pleaded not guilty to the massive fraud, had been due to stand trial next month but that date was changed at the defence's request to facilitate her then lead counsel. However, Bouchard has swapped her legal representation and has now instructed Anthony Akiwumi but the crown made it clear lastweek that it won't allow any further changes to the trial in what is expected to be a complicated case.

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Cayman boxer fights through in games debut

| 29/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Tafari Ebanks fought his way to the boxing bantamweight quarterfinals in Glasgow yesterday beating Papua New Guinea’s  Henry Umings with a technical knockout in the second round to advance to the next stage of the competition keeping his medal dreams alive in his Commonwealth Games debut. While Kemar Hyman missed the 100m sprint finals on the track as his semi-finals time was too slow, Tuesday, Brett Fraser also ended his swimming competition when he failed to make the freestyle 50m finals. Fourteen year old Lauren Hew however had a great competition making it through to swim in the semi-finals of the 50m backstroke in the teen's first ever Commonwealth Games.

The squash team had some players advance and Cameron Stafford went through to the Classic Plate Quarterfinal Round but was beaten in an exciting game with the host nation's Kevin Moran.

Eilidh Bridgeman advanced to the Women’s Plate quarterfinals, but was beaten by Mauritius’ Vanessa Florens. Julian Jervis hit through to the Consolation Plate semifinals before falling to Zambia’s Manda Chilambwe, 3-1. Chalambwe also dispatched Daniel Murphy 3-0 in their Consolation Plate quarterfinals meeting.

Today Bethany Dikau will continue her efforts in the gymnastic competition, while Ronald Forbes takes to the track for the 110 metre hurdles. Meanwhile the Morgan brothers will begin their competition on the field in the men's long jump.

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Job seeker hurdles mount

| 29/07/2014 | 290 Comments

(CNS): From pre-interview tests with absurdly difficult questions and the patronizing treatment of well qualified candidates, to job adverts in the press with no contact details at all, the local job hunter is faced with an ever-increasing number of hurdles in a still very tough employment market. CNS has been collating experiences from job seekers, which indicate that too many employers are trying to avoid taking on locals. In the latest noticeable issue, one offshore firm ran an advertisement for an office manager, and despite the rules regarding posts held by permit holders, the firm completely failed to include contact details. But a common theme seems to be random tests, exams or questions that are unrelated to the posts or absurdly difficult.

Sandra Catron who has had a lot of local job seking experience for herself as well as assisting other candidates, said that this latest advertisement was shocking and is part and parcel of a catalogue of tricks that employers, who must advertise work-permit holders' posts, are using to evade the requirements of the law.

Catron has taken to posting on Facebook, alerting local MLAs and the relevant authorities when she sees labour law infractions, and it seems the difficulties that she and other job-seekers who have contacted CNS recently are encountering are getting worse.

"It appears that people are being set up for failure," she told CNS after a number of demoralizing interviews where she was asked questions about the intricacies of certain legislationthat no one could be expected to have memorized and answer off the cuff.

"It would be useful for the employers to advise candidates as to what type of examination to expect when they come for an interview," she said, as she pointedto an incident where she had spoken with an IT manager who was asked to write an essay exam of which he had not be informed until he arrived. "There is no harm in allowing an individual to sufficiently prepare for an exam of this nature."

Her concern was that these things are sprung on candidates and in some cases appear to be made up on the spot to ensure the candidate is eliminated.

"It is a challenge even for highly qualified candidates in the job market. I have actively been assisting unemployed persons for several years and the various stories that I have heard makes me question the authenticity of the recruitment process for many," she said.

Concerned about the things employers are doing and their motivations, Catron said that employers should not be using tests as a "means of trickery" but as a way to assess candidates skills.

Catron is far from the only person to have contacted CNS over their job hunting challenges but most job-hunters are very reluctant to go on the record about their experiences as they point out it will undermine what already appears to be their slim chances of securing work. However, many are encountering similar problems.

Job seekers tell CNS that employers frequently simply do not respond to applications and if they do they are often rude or dismissive. Many other candidates have reported facing absurd questions ,which they say are clearly designed to create false barriers to Caymanians applying for posts held by permit holders.

One job seeker who experienced unexpected questions while looking for work in accounting said he has been asked everything but questions on "string theory" for a straight forward post in the financial sector, but when he approached the NWDA the tests there are exceptionally simple and often patronizing for candidates armed with academic and professional qualifications.

"There is a clear disconnect between what is needed in the job market and the NWDA, which does not seem to be equipped to assist qualified or experienced job seekers," he told CNS. With employers throwing up more and more barriers, he said, the difficulties that genuine job seekers face are not being taken seriously by the NWDA.

Another candidate who registered with the NWDA wrote to Employment Minister Tara Rivers as a result of what he described as a "frustrating" and "humiliating experience" at the NWDA. Despite being a PR professional he was offered work as a gardener or a hotel bus-boy.

"Going to a meeting for a so-called assessment, being handed a booklet of jobs and then told to pick the one I want boggles my mind at how simply unprofessional the process and treatment was," the candidate told the minister in his letter, as he described being handed a printout on how to dress for a job interview. "Every day I watch Caymanian employers advertise and hire unqualified expats in my field," he wrote. "I realize that work permits are far more lucrative business than placing Caymanian talent, but it’s disgraceful," he added.

While the National Workforce Development Agency is claiming to be upping its game in assisting those looking for work and communicating directly with the immigration boards so that they know where Caymanians are available for permit jobs, candidates tell CNS that there are a catalogue of problems with the government job agency's online portal as well. Employers are also reporting some difficulties using the new website and finding potential candidates.

As the issue of local unemployment remains a pressing problem, few politicians seem to be taking genuine complaints from qualified and experienced job seekers seriously. While government has promised to address the problems, so far the political rhetoric is slow to change into reality.

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Implementation team critical for ‘Rationalization’

| 29/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is urging the government to be transparent and to share the EY report on government rationalization, which is expected this week. However, Chamber President Johann Moxam said it was “imperative” that the government then puts together a competent and professional implementation team. “That is the key to the overall success of this exercise, ensuring that the persons responsible and tasked with taking the recommendations and implementing them have the necessary skills experience and expertise to get it done,” he said. Read more and watch the video on CNS Business

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Looking for feedback on the comment system on CNS Business

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Looking for feedback

| 29/07/2014 | 9 Comments

We’re trying out a new comment system on CNS Business and would appreciate any feedback and problems that readers find with it. The new business site layout is based on Wordpress rather than Drupal (as this main site is) so we cannot use exactly the same comment system. After looking at all our options, we decided to go with Disqus, which is the neatest system that we have found so far.

We could commission someone to build a custom comment system but we’d rather avoid that expense if possible.

You can still comment anonymously – you have to click the little box that says “I’d rather post as guest” – but you will have to supply a name or a pseudonym and an email address. If you comment a lot, you can register with Disqus with either a real name or a pseudonym, or you can log in using a Facebook or Twitter or Google+ accounts, so you don't have to go through that each time.

Comments will be moderated before being posted as before.

Some of the advantages are that you can share particular comments that you especially like, and you can view comments from newest, oldest or “best” – comments that people have starred as a favourite.

So please let us know what you think, or if you have found something better that will work with Wordpress.
 

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Mental health body begins to meet obligations

| 29/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Although the Mental Health Commission (MHC) was established in legislation under the Mental Health Law early last year, it has only just begun to deliver training about the legislation to stakeholders who will deal on a daily basis with mental health patients. With the spotlight well and truly on Cayman's inadequate provision for those suffering from mental health issues at the moment, for the first time key personnel such as police and prison officers, court staff as well as government workers from the Department of Children and Family Services and the Community Rehabilitation Department and some private sector staff have undergone training regarding the new law and how it impacts their jobs.

One ofthe roles of the MHC set out in that legislation is to “oversee and deliver mental health training and sensitization sessions for prison officers, constables and any other persons who may, in the performance of their functions, be expected to deal with mental health patients.”

The series of training sessions began on Thursday 24 July and participants covered topics such as the definitions, types of detention orders, comparison between the old legislation and the new, rights of the patient or nearest relative to appeal, as well as the attendees own role and how the new law will impact their function.

The training was delivered by Julene Banks, Dr Taylor Burrowes Nixon and Dr Marc Lockhart. Participants included staff from the RCIPS, Department of Community Rehabilitation, The Counseling Centre, Department of Children and Family Services, Judicial Administration, National Drug Council, Cayman Islands Red Cross, Prison Service, and both private and public mental health professionals. Future training sessions are planned for teachers, health care workers, laypersons, counsellors and other mental health professionals.

Officials from the MHC are hoping to receive feedback from the trainees by email to mhc@gov.ky.

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