Archive for July 30th, 2014

Alternative shooters offered

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Brian Borden’s defence against the charge that he and Keith Montaque shot and killed Robert Bush on 13 September 2011 has two main strands, as outlined in Grand Court Tuesday by Trevor Burke, QC, in his closing statement: firstly that an equally credible, or even better, case could be made for the shooters being Jordan Manderson and David Ebanks, and secondly that Marlon Dillon, the key witness for the prosecution, is not credible. Pointing to a number of statements that Dillon gave to the police that were later proved to be completely false, and the fact that he may be trying to curry favour with the court as he awaits sentencing for his part in two armed robberies, Burke called him a “tainted witness” and a “skilled and manipulative liar”.

Building the case against Manderson and Ebanks as alternative candidates for the murder, Borden’s lead defence lawyer referred to the testimony of Mayra Ebanks, who was in the passenger seat of the car in which Bush was murdered. According to her evidence, Manderson had told her that members of the Birch Tree Hill Gang wanted to kill Bush, her boyfriend, but had reassured her that they would have to get the weapons from him. So by this admission, the defence argued, Manderson claimed to be the armourer for the gang, and so would have access to the weapons that were used against Bush, and also highlighted the fact that that there were a number of people who wanted Bush dead.

Also from Mayra Ebanks’ evidence: the night before the shooting when Bush, who was associated with the Logwoods Gang, had picked her up from the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Rd and Birch Tree Hill Rd in West Bay, he had driven into the nearby yard of Tishara Webster to get some Rizla papers and had had a confrontation with Manderson, a member of therival gang. By doing so, Burke suggested, Bush had disrespected Manderson in front of his friends, especially as he had a romantic affection for Mayra. She had told the court that Manderson had “come on to her” severaltimes but she had told him that he was too young for her.

Manderson and David Ebanks knew that Bush was on his way to pick up Mayra on the night of the murder through a series of BBMs. The crown’s case is that they passed this information onto Borden, who used it to kill Bush. However, Burke noted that while Manderson and Ebanks passed Mayra as she waited for Bush to pick her up in the usual spot just minutes before he was killed, there is no evidence that puts Borden right at the scene of the murder. In fact, he argued, cell phone communication between them would indicate that he was somewhere else.

Conceding that the cell site and phone evidence blew holes in Borden’s alibi that he was at home with his girlfriend (now his wife) at the time of the murder, Burke said all that proved was that he was somewhere in West Bay, not that he was at the junction where the murder took place.

In addition, Burke noted that in the immediate aftermath of the murder, Mayra Ebanks' first reaction was to say that the two shooters had come out of Tishara Webster’s yard, where the defence’s two alternative suspects had gone to a few minutes beforehand. However, when people came running to the scene after the shooting, Manderson and Ebanks were not among them, he said.

Burke pointed to the similarity in the descriptions of the clothing Manderson and Ebanks were wearing that night to those of the shooters’ clothing, both of which were given by Mayra – though, as the crown noted, she also pointed to a few significant differences. These items of clothing had later been found hidden in a white bag in the loft space of David Ebanks’ grandmother’s house, Burke said.

David Ebanks had also been found with shotgun cartridges in his trouser pocket that had been processed by the same firearm that killed Bush, Burke noted.

All these facts raise a clear prima facie case against Manderson and Ebanks, the defence told the court.

Turning to the evidence of Marlon Dillon, Burke said he had two motives to lie about Borden’s supposed confession to him that he had killed Bush. Firstly, to ingratiate himself in court before his sentencing for his part in the CNB and WestStar armed robberies. While his testimony in those two trials, which had helped to convict the other robbers, had already resulted in as much reduction in his sentence as he was likely to get, Burke noted that, having implicated Borden, if he had not given evidence it would have gone against him.

The second reason for Dillon to lie was that, as he had told police in a statement on 10 July 2012, just after his arrest for robbery, he was particularly fearful of David Tomasa, whose case in the Bush murder trial was dismissed Monday but who is serving 14 years for the CNB and WestStar robberies. Dillon had told police that if Tomasa put the word out for his wife to be murdered, then Brian Borden would be the one to do it. Following Dillon’s statement to the police two days later accusing Borden of murder, he had been remanded in custody, removing him off the streets, so he could not hurt Dillon’s wife.

Burke pointed to “the merry dance” that Dillon had led police in a series of statements regarding both robberies, including the elaborate story he had concocted when first arrested on the day of the CNB robbery that he had been kidnapped by the robbers, stripped down to his underwear and locked in the trunk of his own car.

Initially he had told police that his role in the WestStar robbery had been as a getaway driver, for which he had received just $400, which was disproved by CCTV evidence. In anticipation of being confronted with the truth, he had even accused the police officers of fabricating what he had said.

“There is no doubt that he is a vile criminal,” Burke said.

Dillon’s testimony that on the day of the confession about the murder Brian Borden had been droppedoff at Tomasa’s house by Renaldo “Naldo” Sanchez had been sharply contradicted by Sanchez’ own testimony that he did not know Tomasa at all and had never been to his house. If Sanchez is to be believed, it completely undermines Dillon’s credibility, Burke said.

However, Andrew Radcliffe, QC, the lead prosecutor, said that when Dillon had implicated Borden, he could not possibly have known that it would be supported by other evidence, which gave credence to his testimony.

Radcliffe said that the supporting evidence – from Tracy Watler, from Mayra Ebanks, from an eye-witness that places him near the scene of the crime about an hour after the murder, as well as the cell site evidence given by an RCIPS expert witness – was all completely independent and was consistent with Dillon’s testimony.

He said that unless a series of unrelated witnesses either told lies about Borden or were wrong, it was “an extraordinary coincidence” that their evidence supported Dillon’s testimony.

The evidence exists that Marlon Dillon is an accurate, honest and reliable witness, Radcliffe submitted.

The case is being heard in a judge-alone trial before Justice Alex Henderson.

Read related stores  on CNS:

WB shooting trial begins

Borden obsessed, witness says

Witness saw gunmen coming

Key witness recalls confession

'No case' against Tomasa

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Track athletes finish Commonwealth run

| 30/07/2014 | 6 Comments

(CIOC): A number of Cayman athletes wrapped up their sojourn in Scotland. Gymnast Bethany Dikau, 17, finished 37th out of 40 athletes in the artistic gymnastics event. For the floor segment, Dikau had a score of 10.766 points and registered 11 points in the vault, 7.666 points in the uneven bars and 9.466 points on the balance beam for an all-around score of 38.898. Each apparatus carried a maximum of 15 points, with 60 points being the overall top score. Dikau, the first gymnast in Cayman’s history to compete at the Games, said she certainly felt the scale of the competition.

“I was definitely nervous but I was more excited so I had a lot more energy,” Dikau said. “I think that overtook my nervousness. I just took it skill by skill and then after I was done, I was relieved that I was done. But it went well so it was exciting.”

On the track, most of Cayman’s athletes failed to advance beyond the preliminary stages. Hurdler Ronald Forbes was fifth in his 110m hurdles heat, posting a time of 13.89 seconds. Ashleigh Nalty finished 11th in her high jump group with a leap of 1.71 meters – her best mark of the season. 

Carlos Morgan was eighth in group A of the long jump with a leap of 7.41m, while twin brother Carl Morgan was 11th in group B of the long jump with a mark of 6.99m. Tyrell Cuffy finished fifth in heat seven of the 200m with a time of 21.75 seconds and David Hamil placed seventh in heat nine of the 200m at 22.02 seconds.

Earlier in the week, sprinter Kemar Hyman offered a bright spot by advancing to the semis of the 100m. He would place sixth in his heat with a time of 10.31 seconds. He previously won his preliminary race in a time of 10.20 seconds.

Off the track, the shooting team wrapped up its Scotland performance. Chris Jackson, 47, was 20th in round one of the trap event, nailing 42 out of 50 clay targets. In round two, he would place 29th after hitting 55 out of 75 targets.

Over on the squash courts, the doubles event went into its second day. On the men’s side, Julian Jervis and Myron Blair started out by losing to India before beating Uganda. For the mixed doubles, Cameron Stafford and Marlene West lost to Australia before beating Zambia while Daniel Murphy and Eilidh Bridgeman lost to Malaysia before beating Papua New Guinea.

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Ebanks decisioned in the quarterfinals

| 30/07/2014 | 4 Comments

(CIOC): Tafari Ebanks gave a memorable showing for Cayman Islands boxing in Glasgow but his XX Commonwealth career came to an end earlier today. Ebanks, 20, advanced to the quarter-finals of the bantam (56 kilograms) weight class with a first round bye before beating 20-year-old Henry Umings of Papua New Guinea by second round TKO. His successful start didn’t follow him into the semis, however, where Ebanks dropped a unanimous decision to 29-year-old Benson Gicharu Njangiru, with each of the three judges scoring 29-28 in favor of the Kenyan.

The West Bayer started slowly, as Njangiru won the first two rounds by scores of 10-9 each time, before winning the final three-minute round 10-9. Ebanks says the fight did not show him at his best.

“It went extremely well but my performance wasn’t up to standard to how I wanted to make it,” Ebanks said. “It was a really close fight. I lost but I know I could have done better within myself. I got a lot to think about.”

Cayman’s national boxing coach, Norman Wilson, was in Ebanks’ corner for both fights. Wilson said the quarterfinal loss was a result of Ebanks not having enough heart.

“As the fight was going on, for some reason, I saw him a little lackadaisical,” Wilson said. “I told him he wasn’t in the fight in the first round. You have to win the first round; you have to because that sparks the judges. When the judges see you owning it that sparks them. He got hit with some shots that he isn’t supposed to get hit with. I told him when came to the corner, ‘you’re not in the fight, where are you?’ Then he picked it up a little bit in the second but not enough. He took the last round, but that isn’t good enough.”

“It’s him. See, if you know how to do everything and get in the ring and don’t do it, we can’t say it’s your jab or your guard; it’s you. You have to have that desire to be able to say, ‘I’m going to win.’ You got toknow how to win. Winning isn’t just getting in the ring, looking pretty, moving pretty. You got to fight.”

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More than ‘teething’ problems with customs codes

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The current duty codes and changes to the customs law have created some real issues and the customs department, the business community and the ministry need to find a way to get all the relevant stakeholders in a room and work through them, Chamber of Commerce President Johann Moxam told CNS Business. Despite efforts by the customs department to get the business community up to speed by working with the Chamber of Commerce to put on workshops, he said it now appears to take far longer now that it did previously to clear items from customs. He said it was too big a problem to dismiss as “mere teething”. Watch the video and comment

“We’re now a month into the process and the complaints are growing by the day and it’s something that needs to be addresses promptly,” he added.

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Swim team not sunk by missing treasure

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CIOC): They were touted as a group most likely to medal in Glasgow, but the Cayman Islands swimming team will be coming home empty-handed. Cayman wrapped up its aquatics portion of the XX Commonwealth Games in Scotland with no medals. With a team consisting of Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, David Ebanks, Brett Fraser, Lauren Hew and Alex McCallum which boasts an impressive collective resume that includes Olympic appearances, Island Games and CARIFTA swim championship medals, the lack of hardware this time around is surprising.

The history books will show Fraser, 24, produced the best results with a fifth place finish in the 50 meter butterfly finals and a berth in the 50m freestyle semi-finals, where he ended up seventh in his heat. Fraser, whose competition including athletes such as Olympian Chad le Clos of South Africa, says losing at thislevel is no disgrace. Certainly, it’s hard to argue against that.

“It’s just a matter of I’ve known these guys for a while, I’ve been racing them for a while,” Fraser said. “Everyone’s done their training, it’s fun to compete against these guys. I see it as more of an opportunity to just race and get better.”

After starring alongside his older brother Shaune at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, Fraser barely fell short of the podium spotlight. Fraser finished fifth in the 50m fly final in a time of 23.66 seconds,  just behind England’s Adam Barrett (23.43 seconds), bronze medalist le Clos (23.36 seconds), silver medalist Roland Schoeman of South Africa (23.13 seconds) and gold medalist Benjamin Proud of England, whose time of 22.93 seconds also set a new Games record. In the 50m free, Fraser would finish fourth in his preliminary heat with a mark of 22.79 seconds before posting a time of 22.87 seconds in the semis.

The only other swimmer to reach the latter stages of competition would be Hew, Cayman’s youngest Games participant at 14 years old. She would place sixth in the 100m backstroke at 1:07.34 and be listed as a reserve for the semis and end up eighth in the 200m back at 2:27.16 before finishing fifth in the 50m back heats at 30.55 seconds and seventh in the semis at 31.08 seconds. Prior to the 50m back semis, Hew said her team mates motivated her to perform well.

“I’ve been training quite hard this year and just to be here is pretty amazing,” Hew said. “I think with the atmosphere here I’ve been dropping time because of that, with the crowd and being part of a team with Brett, who is an Olympian and stuff like that. I think that just made me swim a lot faster.”

Another positive came from David Ebanks, a 32-year-old based out of Essex in England. Despite placing second in the heats of the 100m breaststroke at 1:08.36, he missed out on the semis due to his time. From there, he would finish sixth in the 50m breaststroke with a mark of 30.04 seconds.

On the flip side, it would seem nerves got the best of three bright Under-21 prodigies in the Butler siblings and McCallum. During his heats, Geoffrey Butler was seventh in the 1500m free at 16:14.39; sixth in the 400m free at 4:06.78 and second in the 200m free at 1:57.13 (he missed out on the semis due to his time).

Geoffrey Butler, 18, said after his 1500m swim that it was a forgettable showing on his part.

“It (the 1500m) was two seconds slower than my best so it was OK,” Geoffrey Butler said. “My best is my best so I can’t be too upset about that. You always want to do better and I only had one personal best this meet so it wasn’t my best meet. I don’t have that many excuses really, there’s no point putting excuses out there. Maybe just train a bit harder next year and hope for the best.”

During her heats, Lara Butler was eighth in the 100m back at 1:08.37, eighth in the 200m Individual Medley at 2:27.49, seventh in the 100m fly at 1:05.69 and seventh in the 200m fly at 2:22.53.Butler, 19, said the spotlight did affect her.

“I’m thinking a lot of it is nerves going in,” Lara Butler said. “People here are like really, really good and tops in the world and in the call room, you seem them all getting ready. It’s cool being able to race them all but it’s scary at the same time.”

During his heats, McCallum was eighth in the 50m back at 28.27 seconds, eighth in the 100m back at 1:01.22 and fifth in the 200m back at 2:13.87. McCallum, 20, revealed after the 200m back that he was not fully fit for his races.

“I just didn’t really feel the water very well,” McCallum said. “I struggled the whole way through. I wasn’t feeling too confident about my swim but oh well, it’s just one of those bad days. You got to get back up and train stronger for next season. It’s my first big competition so I was a bit nervous really. It was one good swim and a couple of bad swims but it’s just another meet and I struggled. Leading up, I was a bit ill before – like three weeks ago. So who knows, if I wasn’t sick it may have been different.”

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DUI arrest after fatal crash

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): 21-year-old Daniel Grant died late last night after his motorbike collided with a Honda CRV driven by a 37-year-old man on the West Bay Road in the area of the Captain’s Bakery. Police said the accident occurred at 11:50pm (Tuesday 29 July) as the motorbike, travelling from the West Bay direction towards George Town hit the CRV going in the opposite direction, as the driver was turning right into Slate Drive from the West Bay Road. Police and medics attended the scene and the bike rider was transported by ambulance to the hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead at 12:23am Wednesday. The driver of the CRV and his 38-year-old male passenger did not receive any physical injuries. However, the driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police said that a person riding a bicycle may have also been involved in the accident and is asked to come forward.

Anyone who was in the area who may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the investigating officer, PC Chong at 949-4222.

 

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‘Ritch’ pickings for the falcons

| 30/07/2014 | 1 Comment

(CTA): Episode 1 of Season Two of Cayman’s own sporting docu-soap drama, Millennium Falcon Cayman Women’s Touch League, opened with a bang as four new teams pitted it out for the title. New plot lines and new characters will no doubt come forth over the course of this event but this time around we are transported to outer space where we have the Millennium Falcons, the Ebon Hawks, Raven’s Claw and the Eagle Transporters vying for intergalactic supremacy. The names have been chosen on a Star Wars theme and the standard of play was certainly out of this world … some might say from a galaxy far far away.

Kindly sponsored by local firm Millennium Entertainment and our good friends at Miller Lite, Women’s Touch League is becoming more popular than a final episode of The Bachelorette. Each team has been selected by a highly detailed algorithmic database to ensure that they would be evenly matched. And so it proved, with the winning margin being by only one try in three out of the four games, the other being a draw!

The Millennium Falcons, who allegedly voted against the shortened acronym of “the MIL-Fs”, have started the season at Light Speed with two wins out of two. In their first game against Ebon Hawks it was Evelin Ritch who nabbed two tries to down the Hawks by 2-1. One of Ritch’s tries involved some excellent foot work side-stepping the defender and then racing to the line. Captain Marida Montgomery was very happy with her team’s performance especially as it is the first time many of these girls have played together. She highlighted the performance of Julia Spurdle and Loletta Hanna in defense as invaluable to the team’s strong performance.

For the Ebon Hawks, notable performances came from Karlie Cross, who scored their only try, and Elena Testori. Both are extremely fast and will be players to watch next time round. Testori is completely new to the game and picked up the subtleties quickly, as did other newbie Roisin Liddy-Murphy. Quincy Clark led the team well, and Lluvia Hirsch and Jacky Rowland were outstanding with their tactical awareness and positioning play helping guide those around them.

On the second pitch, Eagle Transporter soared to a 2-1 victory over Raven’s Claw. Tries from Alison Linley and Sharlee Henshaw were enough to clip the Ravens’ wings, with Jo Remillard scoring their try to make the result in doubt right up to the final whistle.

The two victors from Round 1 met each other in Round 2 and fought out an evenly matched 2-2 draw. Try-machine Emma Santiago opened her account with Loletta Hanna getting the second. Rhian Minty pulled one back for the Eagles and Sharlee Henshaw made it two tries in two games to make the scores tied. Henshaw has the uncanny knack of being at the right place at the right time when it comes to scoring – an invaluable asset for any team. At this level, a high conversion rate of chances to tries is essential, especially when games are inherently tight.

Ebon Hawks beat Ravens Claw 1-0 with a fine Karlie Cross try. That’s two defeats in two for the Ravens but Captain Caroline Deegan was not downhearted. Jodie Hooper had a couple of stand-out matches picking the game up very quickly in her first start and demonstrated some really tenacious defense and showed some serious ball handling skills. Sheleese Green also played well and nearly had two tries herself, one that was finished with a wonderful dive only to be thwarted by a vital late touch before gettingthe ball down.  The game of Touch can be a game of inches and on such small margin fortunes can be won or lost.
 

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Passport2Success class achieves a full house

| 30/07/2014 | 3 Comments

(CNS): For the first time since the Passport2Success initiative started, every single participant graduated from the most recent class. On Monday 21 July all of the students who started the government sponsored 12 week programme to prepare them for work made it through to the end. This was the 14th group of people who have gone through what is proving to be a helpful initiative, given the mounting problems faced by young Caymanains, in particular, looking for work. Many of the hurdles to employment faced by local workers have been highlighted on CNS recently but this course helps to element the barriers to work that the job-seekers can do something about.

Employment Minister Tara Rivers said the programme is not an easy one. "It is designed to instill a sense of pride and a strong workethic in each person that participates in the programme.” 

The programme’s successes include a 90 percent average rate of graduation, a 32 percent average rate of employment at graduation and a 54 percent average rate of employment 12 months after graduation. 

Shannon Seymour, who coordinates the course on behalf of the ministry, said, “These statistics prove that graduates of Passport2Success are continuing to use the skills they have learned and developed well after they have leftthe programme. It also proves that the programme is working and helping our young Caymanians obtain employment and also maintain it as many of our graduates have been in jobs for over a year now.” 

Pleased with the success of this class of 24 young people, Seymour said the group set out with determination. “The 14th cohort set out with determination to accomplish several goals. We are extremely proud of everyone who succeeded,"Seymour said.

Winner of the Most Outstanding Participant award, Alfredo Cardoza Chow, spoke about his entry-level job shadowing and work experience.

“When I was placed at my job shadowing, which was at Burger King on the waterfront, I thought it was going to be easy. But what I learned was that the staff at Burger King doesn’t have it as easy as we think. They have to be very specific about hygiene, watching the orders come in, preparing the orders and being very specific so they don’t make mistakes,” he explained.

“I did my internship at Business Solutions Technology Group. My first career interest was accounting, but when I started working in my internship with fibre optics I gained a passion for this type of work. I learned so many things, like how to connect cable boxes, install internet and how to set an antenna. I felt very passionate about this work because my dad is an electrician. The people I worked with were very nice and they took their time to teach me things each day. When I asked questions they were helpful and took their time to explain and answer my questions.  It was a great learning experience for me. I felt proud of myself because I really accomplished something positive on my internship.”

The National Employment Passport2Success Programme is a Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs initiative that runs three times a year. The employment preparedness course offers a 12 week programme for 17 to 21-year-old Caymanians and a 16 week programme for Caymanian Single Mothers, both designed to enhance workplace readiness skills and increase the employability of its participants. The programme is sponsored by Butterfield Bank and Webster’s Tours.

Each participant attending the course receives practical hands-on training, valuable work experience, better occupational, personal and job-specific skills, as well as gaining a clear idea of what kind of job suits them and a chance to impress potential employers.  Participants receive a weekly stipend (pay) with potential performance related bonuses.

Application forms for Passport2Successand and information about the start of the next programme can be found on their website www.passport2success.ky or contact the National Workforce Development Agency at 945-3114.

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UK Tory MP backs no turtle meat for tourists

| 30/07/2014 | 72 Comments

(CNS): A British Tory MP was in the Cayman Islands this week to lend his support to efforts being spearheaded by a UK animal charity to transition the Cayman Turtle Farm from a butcher's shop into a conservation facility. Dr Matthew Offord is also backing the campaign to persuade local restaurants to take turtle off the menu and stop promoting the meat to visitors. The Conservative back-bencher hosted a reception at Grand Old House, the first restaurant to stop promoting the meat, with the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) as the charity and the Cayman government resumed talks about the issue.

The ongoing animal welfare problems associated with the Cayman Turtle Farm, which is now the last place in the world commercially farming endangered green sea turtles, were at the top of the agenda at the event. Offord is a member of the UK parliament’s Environmental Audit Select Committee who is offering his support to talks about changes at the Farm.

Offord was one of the UK politicians on the committee involved in the Sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories report, which supported the findings of the WPA and its concerns about conditions at the Farm. The Committee has also raised the issue of the UK Government’s role as part of its ongoing discussions with the Cayman Islands Government.

Offord noted conservation efforts in Cayman and what he described as the "positive dialogue that is occurring between World Animal Protection and the Cayman Islands Government in addressing issues of sustainability at the Cayman Turtle Farm," adding that he was looking forward to its "cooperation in the future”.

Talks with the government will aim to build on positive measures agreed upon earlier this year, include the funding of research into the true local demand for turtle meat and the effectiveness of the Farm’s annual turtle release and the current suspension of that programme until the results of such research are available.

Dr Neil D’Cruze, Head of Wildlife Policy and Research at World Animal Protection, said, “We commend Dr Offord for his admirable advocacy on behalf of animal welfare, and are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with Caymanian stakeholders to continue our discussions on how best to achieve positive change for green sea turtles.”

World Animal Protection has long advocated for the Cayman Turtle Farmnot to close but to transition into a true rehabilitation and release facility that fully protects sea turtles.

Concerned that the farm has no idea what the real demand for the meat is even from locals, De Cruze also said he was delighted to hear that the Department of the Environment has received funding from the UK's department of food and rural affairs' Darwin initiative to begin a comprehensive survey of that demand and research into the genetic profile of turtles nesting on the beaches to identify the connections of the local wild turtles to the Farm.

That project is unrelated to the WAP campaign and part of the DoE's broader research work into the endangered species and their survival in the wild. It is being led by Dr  Ana Nuno from the University of Exeter and is expected to provide the first truly objective information about the origin of turtles that are breeding in local waters as well as get a true assessment of how much demand there is for meat and the issues surrounding poaching.

The WAP maintains that the CTF slaughters animals without properly assessing demand and also keeps huge numbers of the animals without knowing the true level of consumption and whether it is necessary to breed so many. D'Cruze said that any figures that can give a truer picture of how much and how many local people do eat the meat may help reduce the numbers held at the Farm.

Understanding that the effort to transition the facility to conservation will be a long process, he said that simply reducing the numbers, which are estimated to currently be more than 9,000 animals held at the Farm, would be a step in the right direction.

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EU officials visit to check HIV project progress

| 30/07/2014 | 0 Comments

(GIS): The Cayman Islands are working with other British and Dutch Overseas Caribbean and Territories (OCTs) to strengthen the regional response to HIV/AIDS. As part of the evaluation process, an independent team of consultants arrived last week to assess the outcomes of the European Commission Overseas Caribbean Territories (ECOCT) six year project. The team leader and international consultant Dr Roberto Gutierrez-Ortega from Nicaragua, and Sexual Health and Social Protection Expert Dr Katarina Greifeld, of Germany, upon request of the European Commission, met with local officials on Wednesday (23 July). Councillor Alva Suckoo met with the team and thanked them for their work to date.

Dr Gutierrez-Ortega and Dr Greifeld are using the evaluation process to determine any gaps or needs and to make recommendations in their report to the European Commission. Some of the initiatives facilitated by the project and already undertaken in the Cayman Islands include: development of a draft HIV Policy/Work Plan, staff development – participation in various workshops for capacity building, development of the National Health Policy & Strategic Plan (2012 – 2017) and the development of a National Health Laboratory Policy and Strategic Plan.

Other project plans include working towards receiving certification by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) on the elimination of mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, a quality management review of laboratory support, a parasitology workshop for public and private medical laboratory technologists, along with case-based surveillance for HIV patient care tracking.

Health minister Osbourne Bodden explained that the initiative seeks to address common HIV/AIDS issues and needs among OCTs, as well as to craft strategies to strengthen technical cooperation in order to respond more effectively to the needs of each jurisdiction.

“As we continue to tackle HIV/AIDS issues, this opportunity will not only strengthen ties between OCTs but will also improve our capacity to respond to such issues both locally and regionally,” he said.

Other participating British Overseas Caribbean Territories include: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos. The Dutch Overseas Territories taking part are: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.

 

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