Archive for August 1st, 2014

‘De-mucking’ operation at Saltwater Pond

| 01/08/2014 | 70 Comments

(CNS): A “de-mucking” process at one of the wetland areas on Cayman Brac started last week to try to deal with the bad smell emanating from Saltwater Pond. However, although this was one of the main complaints of the owners of the adjacent Alexander Hotel, which closed its doors on 15 June, a spokesperson for the District Administration Ministry said that the owners have not indicated that this process will result in the re-opening of the hotel. While the Department of Environment was not apparently consulted, the ministry said that the de-mucking has been previously conducted on two separate occasions about 15 years ago with positive results in terms of reducing the stench emanating from the western end of the pond.

The Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport authorized the Public Works Department to go through the de-mucking process “in an effort to bring some relief to the uncomfortable and obnoxious odor emanating from the sediment at the western end of the pond”, the spokesperson said.

The process requires some filling in of the pond to build a ramp at road level so that a back-hoe has access to scoop out the muck, and a truck can carry it away. Once the process is complete the fill will be removed, Environment Minister Wayne Panton told CNS. He said this was a short-term solution but they also needed to look at what steps can be taken for a more long term solution to the pond smell.

The DA Ministry spokesperson said, “The build-up of muck/sediment and the resulting odor has been a concern for some time. Consequently the decision was taken, in consultation with District Administration, to commence the de-mucking exercise. Multiple complaints have been received from neighbouring property owners and other residents, who have asked that somethingbe done to address the problem.”

The de-mucking exercise is being funded by the government through District Administration, and is expected to be completed in approximately 3-4 weeks.

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Water & alcohol don’t mix

| 01/08/2014 | 16 Comments

The Cayman Islands are well-known for its climate which offers great outdoor activities residents can enjoy year round. Summertime is simply that time of year when you can enjoy the Islands’ natural beauty with family and friends. Excursions of underwater adventures on the Submarine or glass bottom boat, wave running, kayaking, boat charters, trips around one of our islands, paddle boarding, or just an afternoon at the beach, are just a few of the outdoor activities one can enjoy during the summer.

While many people reach for a cold beverage during the hot summer weather, perhaps already knowing the health benefits of keeping hydrated, what you may not know is that whether you are boating, swimming or diving, fun in the water and alcohol just don’t mix.

Alcohol impairs judgment, balance, vision and coordination and is not a good combination with water sports. A single drink can impact your ability to observe and react; two important skills that are necessary in the event of an emergency.

The consumption of alcohol can cause problems with swimming and diving. When under the influence of alcohol persons are not able to accurately judge what is safe and thus can get themselves into dangerous and even life threatening situations.

When boating, the addition of wind, sun, noise, and motion can intensify the effects of the alcohol and result in a hazard for the driver and the passengers which include falls on or overboard, collisions with other boats or other water crafts, a higher risk of stumbling at the dock resulting in bruises, cuts and falls.

The combination of alcohol, heat and outdoor recreational activities poses a serious health implication for older adults, individuals with medical conditions, or those on medication.
We recommend packing the following to keep hydrated: plenty of water, juices and non-caffeinated soda when preparing for a long day at the beach or when participating in outdoor recreational activities.

If your summer plans include the consumption of alcoholic beverages, consider the following seven safety tips and risks of mixing summer fun with any amount of alcohol:

  1. If you drive, do not drink; if you drink, do not drive. There is no safe level of alcohol for drivers because everyone reacts differently to alcohol on different occasions. If you are going out with others, decide beforehand who will be the designated driver.
  2. Never drink and pilot a boat of any kind. The same things that make drinking and driving dangerous can be as deadly on water as they are on land. Boating, windsurfing, wave running and jet-skiing can all be dangerous to anyone who has been drinking.
  3. If you are riding in a boat, remember that alcohol will impair your balance and increase your chances of falling overboard. This danger,compounded by alcohol's effects on your swimming ability, can be fatal.
  4. Do not swim or dive if you have been drinking. Remember that alcohol will inhibit your swallowing and breathing reflexes, both of which are necessary for swimming. In addition, drinking affects your ability to judge distances and may lead you to swim too far out in the ocean.
  5. Eat before and during occasions when you are drinking — eating will slow alcohol's effects.
  6. Feel free to refuse alcohol for any reason, regardless of pressure or encouragement to drink.
  7. Do not drink if you are a child or adolescent. For anyone under 18, alcohol is an illegal drug. While the summer boasts of a wealth of opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation, when mixed with alcohol, these activities can become dangerous for both youth and adults. Weigh the risks and choose responsibly.

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Import duty reduction not enough, Chamber says

| 01/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): A 2% reduction in import duties, which was part of the government Strategic Policy Statement and Budget Address, takes effect today but the Chamber of Commerce is concerned that these reductions will not go far enough to help small and medium businesses and is urging government to do more. Chamber President Johann Moxam told CNS Business that government must make good on its campaign promises to help small and medium sized business, which have seen a dramatic rise in fees over the last ten years. Moxam said, “At this point we feel that the government should be doing more, and could do more to help businesses survive in a very trying economicclimate.” Read more and watch the video on CNS Business

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Breastfeeding best for infant

| 01/08/2014 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Exclusive breastfeeding and adequate appropriate complementary feeding are key interventions for improving child survival, potentially reducing deaths among children under five by about 20%, the HSA said at the start of  World Breastfeeding Week. Early and exclusive breastfeeding improves newborn care and reduces neonatal mortality, which contributes to the majority of infant deaths. Breastfeeding has been shown repeatedly to be the single most effective way to prevent infant death; it plays a major role in children’s health and development, and significantly benefits the health of mothers. This coming week, 1-7 August, marks the 22nd annual World Breastfeeding Week launched originally by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, the HSA said.

This year's World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. This comes as part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals # 4 which speaks to reducing child mortality and # 5 improving maternal health.

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA)  will be observing WBW with an information booth located in the Atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital August on Friday 1 August and Monday through Thursday, 4-7 August, from 9:30am – 10:30am.

Simone Sheehan, HSA Dietician, is heading up this initiative along with the Women’s Health Centre and the Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group.

“We will have HSA midwives and Public Health Nurses available at the booth to hand out information and to answer any questions about breastfeeding,” Sheehan said.  “This year’s theme is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life with the purpose of increasing awareness and the many benefits to breastfeeding.”

“When mothers are able, we encourage breastfeeding as the first option over formula, as there are many health benefits for both the mother and the baby,” Sheehan said. “In addition to the health benefits, it also helps build a strong bond between mother and child.”

The Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group is also a stakeholder in this initiative offering on-going support for breastfeeding mothers in the local community.

Annie Mae Roffey, a volunteer at the Breastfeeding Support Group, said she is looking forward to this year’s activities scheduled throughout the week. “In addition to the informational booth, we will be hosting a Breastfeeding Café social event which is open to the public and specifically mothers who are breastfeeding fathers and their babies,” Roffey said.

The Breastfeeding Café will be held at the Family Resource Centre [located in the Cayman Compass Centre, Shedden Road] on Monday 4 August from 12 noon until 2pm.

“This is a great opportunity for breastfeeding mothers to get together and discuss their personal experiences and exchange ideas,” Roffey said. “The Family Resource Centre also has a breastfeeding room with an electric pump available to mothers who may need a private place to feed or pump, which is convenient for working mothers who need some privacy during the workday.”

For more information about World Breastfeeding Week, visit www.hsa.ky or www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org

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Pedestrians escape serious injury in hit and run

| 01/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Two women were hit by a Toyota mini-van on Wednesday as they ran across the West Bay Road to try and catch a bus, police have said. The RCIPS said that the women were run down on the West Bay Road, near to the West Shore Plaza in the evening at around 10pm. Running into the path of the vehicle as they headed for a public bus, the women were both hit but were treated at the scene by paramedics. They were then taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital but a spokesperson for the RCIPS said the injuries they sustained were not serious. Police also stated that the van driver stopped/ left the scene and they are now seeking witnesses to the incident. The public is asked to call………???

 

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Cops learn search techniques for container operation

| 01/08/2014 | 13 Comments

(CNS): The customs and police officerswho are now involved in a major joint operation to recover stolen goods that law enforcement officers believe are being stored in containers and shipped overseas have been learning some new search techniques to ensure they don't mess up any investigators and potential prosecutions. The team involved with ‘Operation Spearfish’, which involves 25 customs and four police officers as well as sniffer dogs, learnt how to effectively and safely search people, vehicles and buildings as well as deal with the necessary paperwork.

Officials said that they expect more swoops in the operation over the coming weeks following the seizure of six containers recently, as they focus on this area in the local crime fight. 

Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett warned that how searches are conducted could determine the success or failure of the investigations and so it was important that officers learned to get it right.

The customs department is currently reviewing its systems and processes to enhance its ability to interdict transhipment of stolen goods. Changes include moving goods meant for export into a special area prior to them being loaded. 

“Cargo containers are a major area of concern in terms of security and vulnerability. The process of securing, tracking and inspecting them at various locations can sometimes be difficult and involves considerable manpower,” the assistant collector of customs, Jeff Jackson, said.

Stolen goods can remain undetected even by high-tech solutions including x-rays, especially when decisions have to be made quickly to avoid delays and negative impact on legitimate trade, he added. “At the same time, the loopholes in detection and detention of stolen goods must be closed and the process reinforced. Interception of stolen goods should never be by luck or chance.”

Bennett added that a review of the process of exporting full containers with personal items is currently underway. This will be streamlined to be monitored in a controlled environment to mitigate any risk factors of not only stolen items leaving the country but also prohibited items.

“However, our approach has to be one that is practical, assuming that the majority of items that are exported on a normal basis are done so in a compliant manner. We hope to have the new process in place by the end of August,” she said. 

Customs Training Manager Langlie Powery emphasised that learning, whether it occurred on the job or in the classroom, would help the team to “work smarter”.  He said the training will prove useful for seasoned officers as a refresher course in search skills, but would be invaluable to new members of the team.

Jackson coordinated as well as taught the course at UCCI along with Police Sergeants Jonathan Horner and Daniel Cowan of the Operational and Uniform Support Groups.

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UK can’t turn back on slavery obligations

| 01/08/2014 | 85 Comments

(CNS): The British government has "a case to answer to in respect of reparatory justice", the chairman of the CARICOM reparations commission told the House of Commons in a special presentation to UK parliamentarians earlier this month. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles asked parliament to take decisive action to correct “the terrible wrongs of the past” as he continued the fight for restorative justice for the Caribbean people and the legacy of the slave trade. He said restorative justice would bring honour and dignity to the people of the Caribbean, but also to Britain and Europe. Beckles said the last 50 years had been about cleaning up the mess left behind by the colonial masters and Britain could not walk away from that.

He said the UK and its parliament could not morally and legally turn their back upon this past and the mess they have left behind.

Speaking to the elected members of the Commons on 16 July, the chairman of the commission outlined the injustices of slavery and the genocide that occurred as a result of European expansion and urged the government to respond with humility and openness when they receive a request for dialogue on the issue of reparations from Caribbean governments.

“This Parliament has to return to the scene of its crimes, and participate as a legitimate parliament, as a legal parliament, in the healing and rehabilitation of the Caribbean,” Beckles stated in his address.

Reparations remains a key aim for the CARICOM Heads of Government. Earlier this year Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, announced that that the Caribbean Reparatory Justice Programme (CRJP) was accepted by the CARICOM Heads of government as a basis for discussions on reparations. CARICOM leaders have agreed to dispatch a Draft Notice of Complaint to the relevant European governments, with a request that a conference be held on the issue.

The full text of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles’ address to the House of Commons, Parliament of Great Britain is posted below.

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Sunday trading up for debate

| 01/08/2014 | 246 Comments

(CNS): The PPM government has signalled a clear intention to revise the Sunday trading laws and has opened a public discussion about lifting the shopping ban. Wayne Panton, the financial services minister who is also responsible for local commerce, said he wants to modernize the law and make it more appropriate for the current business environment. He said the goal was to revise the legislation to give merchants the opportunity to open on Sundays if they wanted to. The minister said it was part of government's goal to encourage economic activity, support local business and even create jobs, as he encouraged the wider public to submit their views on the newly drawn up consultation paper.

"We want to understand the views of the general public and all key stakeholders so that government has a guide for developing appropriate policy on the issue," he said.

Following comments made by the premier in the budget debate about changes in the law offering consumer flexibility, fairer competition among retailers, while respecting family life and religious considerations, government will be looking for cross the board support for revised legislation.

The lifting of the shopping ban has wide support in the community and objections come mostly from churches but government will be hoping to strike a balance with a law that does not interfere with the rights of everyone in Cayman to rest on Sunday if they choose and to practice their religion. However, it is also seeking a modern way to allow those who want to sell, work or shop on the weekend day the ability to do so as well.

Theconsultation period will last for two months until 30 September and those wishing to make a comment or offer their thoughts on the way forward can contact info@dci.gov.ky or at the Department of Commerce in the government building on Elgin Avenue in George Town at suite 126.

See full draft consultation paper here.

CNS poll: Should the law be changed to allow for Sunday trading?

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Seven cops suspended

| 01/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS has revealed in records released following a freedom of information request that seven of its officers have been suspended from their jobs. Giving very few details about the rank of the officers or their crimes, they admitted that five of the officers remain on full pay. They are being investigated or going through the courts as a result of infractions ranging from traffic offences to serious corruption. Four officers are being investigated under the anti-corruption law and another under the penal code; a sixth is facing investigation in relation to customs and a seventh traffic. Of these CNS understands that just three cases are before the courts, one relates to an officer and his wife charged with perverting the course of justice, another is a careless driving case and the the third is facing domestic violence charges.

The police have often been accused of sweeping infractions by officers under the carpet and quietly removing or moving officers accused of breaking the law. However, following the conviction of Elvis Ebanks for corruption recently, the police have said they will pursue any allegations against its officers who fall foul of the law.

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Theft pushes up crime stats

| 01/08/2014 | 19 Comments

(CNS): Although serious crime fell by just over 2% in the first six months of this year when compared to last, statistics released by the RCIPS this week reveal that overall crime is up by more than 27% as a result of a massive surge in theft. The half year numbers from the local police demonstrate a fall in robberies and several serious crimes but the giant leap from 237 theft cases to 437 reflects Cayman's continuing tough economic times. Meanwhile, on the roads there was some improvement in driving safety, with all categories of road offences showing an overall fall in the figures of 34% when compared  to 2013.

So far police this year have investigated just one murder, in which the perpetrator took his own life after murdering his female partner in a brutal killing in Bodden Town. They have, however, investigated 5 attempted murders and 15 firearms offences were recorded compared to 13 last year, demonstrating that Cayman continues to have a problem with illegal guns on the streets.

Although residents may feel that street robberies, burglaries and attempts at those crimes have surged, the figures actually fall below last year's burglary and robbery toll for the first six months of the year.

See full details of the crime figures and the traffic offences

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