Archive for August 28th, 2014

Mosquito plane starts swampland spray

| 28/08/2014 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The Mosquito Research & Control Unit (MRCU) will be conducting aerial operations over mosquito-breeding swamp areas on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac from Tuesday, 2nd September, officials have said. The operation will involve low-level flights during the mornings and late afternoons. The operation will start in Grand Cayman in the area of West Bay and finish on the north side of the island, then move to Cayman Brac. Weather permitting the operation should be complete within ten days. Some 12,000 acres of swamp are targeted in this operation in Grand Cayman, 320 acres in Cayman Brac and 475 acres in Little Cayman were which was sprayed last week due to elevated mosquito breeding there.

“The distinctive red and white MRCU aircraft will be applying the small pellets specifically designed to target mosquito larvae developing in aquatic habitats; this means preventing the occurrence of biting mosquitoes,” officials said. “Once the rains begin the pellets are activated and will provide control for up to two months.  Low-level flights over specific areas are necessary to ensure that correct application and successful control of mosquitoes is achieved.”

This is the second island-wide treatment this year and officials hope it will assist in providing control through to the month of October as the rainfall starts to increase. A third treatment will follow as the chemical activity wears off.

Further information can be found on the Mosquito Research & Control Unit’s Facebook page or website (www.mrcu.ky).  A daily update of the areas being treated will also be available on those sites. Please feel free to call MRCU with any enquiries on 949-2557.

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Cubans land in South Sound seeking help

| 28/08/2014 | 18 Comments

(CNS): A group of sixteen Cuban migrants in makeshift overcrowded vessel sailed into South Sound on Thursday morning in desperate need of food, water and shade for their boat, according to local reports. Government officials confirmed Thursday afternoon that immigration officers had gone to the location where the eleven men and five women had docked. Officials said the migrants were in Cayman Brac earlier this week and two of the Cubans had previously repatriated from Cayman in January.

It was still not clear Thursday evening whether or not the migrants have elected to press on with the treacherous journey or were being detained at the Fairbanks Centre awaiting repatriation.

With migrants from Cuba still commonly passing through Cayman and many being forced to disembark, the recent problems with repatriation have caused problems for the detention centre over security.

Government officials are reportedly due to meet with Cuban officials next month to address the repatriation programme and find ways to speed things along.

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Ganja smoking couples less violent, says study

| 28/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A new study by researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers conducted over the best part of a decade has revealed that husbands and wives who frequently smoke cannabis are less likelyto engage in domestic violence than those who don’t. The scientists found that couples who used cannabis three times or more each month they reported the lowest number domestic violence incidents over the first nine years of marriage. The couples completed questionnaires during the study on how often they used the drug and other substances, such as alcohol.

They were asked to report violent incidents with their spouses and the study concluded that the more coples smoked ganja, the less likely they were to be violent to each other.

Kenneth Leonard, the director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions and the lead researcher stated that the study suggests cannabis use is predictive of lower levels of aggression. The authors suggested chronic cannabis users exhibit "blunted emotional reaction to threat stimuli" which could also reduce the likelihood of aggressive behaviour.

The study was published in the online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors in August.
 

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UK network launched to help CI’s overseas students

| 28/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands UK Office along with the Department of Tourism, and the Friends of Cayman group in the UK have launched a new website and organization to support Cayman students in the UK. Officials said the new network Cayman connection UK is a medium by which students can keep connected whilst studying abroad, and a resourceful point of contact for simple queries or in the event of an emergency. Students can also become part of a smaller group of Cayman Student Ambassadors, who are the administrators of the group. These Ambassadors not only represent Cayman Connection, but the Cayman Islands at their designated Universities.

At a reception here at the National Gallery last week Ken Millwood, Cayman Connection Events and Entertainment Manager said the student ambassadors had worked hard on their first event. “We are grateful for the support we have received thus far and look forward to working together to further grow this organisation. The network is starting to feel like a family where the gravitational centre is the Caymanian spirit and strong connection with our UK brethren.”

Sponsors Mourant Ozannes, a local law firm, have also partnered with the group for their first subject specific student event, which will be hosted this October in the UK for law students within the network.

The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce has also teamed up with the group to help the student ambassadors further develop the organisation and extend the network. Governor Helen Kilpatrick has also shown her commitment to furthering the group by confirming plans to host future networking events in Cayman at Government House.

For more information on Cayman Connection UK visit www.caymanconnection.org or email hello@caymanconnection.org.

 

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Cops encourage owners to increase boat security

| 28/08/2014 | 28 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS is warning owners to secure their boats against opportunists who are looking to steal boats to take offshore to another country, or to use for their own escape from prosecution in the Cayman Islands. Following the theft of a boat from the dock at Omega Bay earlier this week Acting Chief Inspector Ian Yearwood of the RCIPS’ Marine Unit said: “Boat owners invest thousands of dollars in their boats, and they must take the necessary precautions to secure their boats against theft.” The police are advising boaters to limit the amount of fuel in their boats to a range of about twenty-five to forty miles to make it difficult for thieves to reach another land destination if they steal a vessel.

“The nearest land to Grand Cayman are Little Cayman and Cayman Brac which are about 74 and 89 nautical miles, respectively away,” the police stated. “Boats owners should make it extremely difficult if not impossible for thieves to steal their boats by investing in security systems that electronically disable their boats from thieves having to drive them away.”

Encouraged to Install GPS tracking systems to allow owners to monitor the locations of their boats the police also said keeping boats in brightly lit areas at night will also deter the theft of their costly vessels.

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Report reveals entrenched elites running Britain

| 28/08/2014 | 77 Comments

(CNS): A new study in the UK has found that elitism is so embedded in British society that it has created a closed shop for the country’s top jobs which are held by privately educated and Oxbridge graduates. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission examined the social background of those "running Britain" and described the situation as 'social engineering', as it was keeping out talented people from diverse backgrounds. Only 7% of the UK population attended private school. But 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior officers in the armed forces, 55% of top civil servants, 53% of senior diplomats, 50% of members of the House of Lords and 45% of public body chairs did so.

The details of the report are published in Thursday’s edition of The Guardian and Alan Milburn, the Labour former cabinet minister who chairs the commission, said that, as well as being unfair, this situation was unacceptable because "locking out a diversity of talents and experiences makes Britain's leading institutions less informed, less representative and, ultimately, less credible than they should be".

Looking at the background of more than 4,000 people filling jobs at the top of government, the civil service, the judiciary, the media, business and the creative industries, the commission investigated where they went to school, on the grounds that going to a private school is reasonably indicative of a wealthy background.

The study found that Oxbridge graduates have a stranglehold on top jobs. They comprise less than 1% of the public as a whole, but 75% of senior judges, 59% of cabinet ministers, 57% of permanent secretaries, 50% of diplomats, 47% of newspaper columnists, 44% of public body chairs, 38% of members of the House of Lords, 33% of BBC executives, 33% of shadow cabinet ministers, 24% of MPs and 12% of those on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The report says the judiciary is the most privileged professional group. About 14% of judges attended one of just five independent schools (Eton, Westminster, Radley, Charterhouse and St Paul's Boys).

"Where institutions rely on too narrow a range of people from too narrow a range of backgrounds with too narrow a range of experiences, they risk behaving in ways and focusing on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society," Milburn stated.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, said the report showed the coalition was failing on social mobility. "Under the Tories, the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and the rest is increasing, millions of hardworking people are seeing their living standards go backwards and child poverty is set to increase," he said.

See details of report here

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CoP:Tempura not truth v lies

| 28/08/2014 | 29 Comments

(CNS): The questions surrounding who knew what and when in the endless saga of Operation Tempura may never be answered as the commissioner of police (CoP) points out many of the questions over what happened relate to interpretation. Limited in what he can say because of court orders banning the release of certain information relating to Tempura by a high court judge, David Baines said that the accounts given by former CoP Stuart Kernohan, former chief superintendent John Jones, then governor Stuart Jack, Attorney General  Sam Bulgin and the OT Security adviser, Larry Covington, were all given “honestly and with integrity” and the issue is not a black and white case of lies versus truths.

The comments come from Baines following a miscommunication between the senior police officer and CNS over responses to questions sent to him at the beginning of August. Baines sent his answers to an incorrect email address, and despite efforts by CNS to chase the commissioner about the missing answers, we were never told that a response had been sent.

Nevertheless, CNS is now in possession of the response from Baines, who explained that although Jones and Kernohan both gave evidence during the trial of Lyndon Martin over the covert entry into Net News, where he worked at the time, stating that the entry had been approved by their superiors, it does not necessarily mean they were lying. Baines also said that just because the two men were presented as crown witnesses does not mean that he agreed they either were or were not witnesses of truth.

“The legal complexities make such simplistic contrasts inappropriate,” he told CNS.

“I will say that I have found the accounts given by Stuart Kernohan, John Jones, the former Governor Jack, AG Bulgin and Larry Covington to be given honestly and with integrity,” the commissioner stated. “I have no justification, reason, nor evidence to doubt the integrity of any of those concerned. At the centre of any variation in the accounts given is ' who was aware, who approved and who authorized the entry into the Net News Office'. It is clear that some (not all) were made aware of the proposed entry and that this was understood and interpreted as approval or authorization. That interpretation whilst honestly believed could never be the case as all operational and tactical decisions are the legal responsibility of the Commissioner of Police,” he added.

Baines stated that although he did not interview Martin Bridger, the original senior investigating officer on Tempura, or see the evidence that Bridger now claims he has indicating that the three officials were aware of Kernohan’s intended course of action, he found there was no reason to doubt what they said.

Baines stated in his response to CNS questions that he had made a full review of the allegations made by Bridger and compared them with the original documents, evidence and files as originally recorded. He said these documents are protected from disclosure or comment under a court order and explained that this is why he cannot not divulge any more details of why he arrived at the decision he did.

He further noted that the governor, the attorney general or the legal advisor to the OTs did not have any statutory role in making and authorizing police tactics or actions. He said their role was to provide advice and counsel, not to authorize.

The questions surrounding the events were stirred up by the revelations from SIO Bridger that he had been under the impression that Kernohan and Jones had been on what he described as “a frolic of their own” when they colluded with John Evans and Lyndon Martin, both journalists at Net News at the time, to look for evidence of alleged corruption in office of their boss, the late Desmond Seales.

The former discredited Tempura investigator, who is now embroiled in several legal battles to expose what he claims is the truth about the investigation, said that if he had been aware that Kernohan and Jones had consulted and received what they believed was authorization from the FCO officials and the AG, he would not have pursued the long and costly enquiry that the local tax payer is still financing.

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HMCI plans Ivan anniversary symposium

| 28/08/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Alongside exhibitions, TV shows, church services and other events, Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) will be hosting a free public symposium on 10 and 11 September to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Ivan and the country’s survival and rapid recovery from the devastating storm. Local officials and private sector representatives who played key roles during the storm and its aftermath will be speaking alongside international guests. Hurricane preparedness, forecasting then and now, economic consequences of hurricanes, and business continuity and the lessons learned from Ivan will be at the centre of the two day seminar.

International guests include representatives from the United States National Hurricane Centre, the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency, the Insurance Association of the Caribbean. Winston Garraway, a senator from Grenada, which was one of the Caribbean countries to be worst hit by Ivan, will also address the conference. Members of the public are invited to attend the free sessions and will be able to submit questions via social media.

Alongside the symposium a month of activities in September is planned by various organisations to remember the worst hurricane in the islands since 1932 which struck Grand Cayman 10 years ago. The storm’s devastating impact will  be on display on 6 September, when the National Gallery opens a month-long photography show titled “Ivan Remembered”. The Gallery has also planned a number of educational activities based on the exhibition which will continue throughout the month.

HMCI is also planning an exhibition on the post- Ivan recovery with pictures from all districts following the storm, alongside pictures from 2014 showing how things have changed. This will be located in the George Town public library for the first two weeks of the month—where it is expected to reach a large youth audience. It will then move to Government Administration Building for the remainder of September. 

On Saturday 6 September and Sunday 7 September, churches have been invited to mark the anniversary with community lunches, and to share disaster preparedness literature with their congregations. Among those churches to have already agreed to take part are Elmslie, South Sound and Robert Young United Churches, as well as Boatswain Bay Presbyterian Church.

Cayman Islands Government TV will also produce a documentary on the storm to air on 11 September on Westar channel 20 and Logic channel 23. Meanwhile, Cayman27 will re-air “36 Hours”, a 2005 documentary on Hurricane Ivan. Caribbean Utilities Company is also working a documentary on its response to the aftermath of the hurricane to be aired on also on Cayman 27 on 12 September at 7.30pm.

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Official app gives up to the minute local weather

| 28/08/2014 | 25 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands National weather service has launched a new free-to-download mobile app with a simple interface giving up-to-the-minute updates on weather throughout the day. Available for iOS, blackberry and android platforms it  includes the temperature, conditions, precipitation or cloudiness, the current radar images, the 5 day forecast with wind speed and direction, sea conditions and times for sunrise and sunset. “When people are going about their daily business they want a forecast that will indicate possible weather changes in the future,” said National weather service Director General John Tibbetts.

“With this in mind, the app gives users three options enabling them to check for either the current weather, current radar or a 5 day forecast,” he added.

Tibbetts explained that the current radar tab provided a graphical image of possible rainfall over and around the Cayman Islands, while the five day forecast gave a summarised overview of anticipated weather conditions for the week ahead. During hurricane season or in instances where severe weather is anticipated, the app will also carry marine and flood warnings as well as hurricane warnings to ensure residents can be informed and prepared.

“The weather app is a convenient portal for getting weather information that is specific to the Cayman Islands out to the general public and is intended to service a number of needs,” said the tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell, whose portfolio includes the National Weather Service.

“As well as enhancing people’s safety both on land and at sea by alerting them of  impending weather events, the forecasts also have significant relevance to the aviation industry and can evenhelp to reduce uncertainty when planning ahead for events by allowing time for  contingencies to be put in place if needs be,” he added.

The app was developed as part of the Weather Radar Project which gave the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) access to US$5.5 million (€4.16 million) from the European Commission (EC) for the purpose of the installation of an early warning Doppler radar system.

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Cruise anchor hits reef

| 28/08/2014 | 53 Comments

(CNS): The poor positioning of a cruise ship which arrived in George Town on Wednesday led to an anchor being dropped on the reef, which local divers say is happening all too frequently. Concerns were raised yesterday by a local operator and it is understood that following intervention from dive operators and the Department of the Environment the ship was eventually relocated by the Port Authority but not until after its massive anchor had been dropped on the coral for several hours. CNS contacted the Port Authority about the location of Carnival Magic but the questions have not been answered.

Local divers told CNS that this is far from an isolated incident and when they noticed the ship's anchor was dropped pretty far south of the usual anchorage #4 spot they contacted the port. They were assured that the anchor had been checked by the authority patrol and the anchor was on a sand patch and not the reef. However, the port officials also told the divers they could go check themselves and report any concerns to the DoE.

When the divers went to the area they found the anchor was on the coral and not the sand bed and as a result notified the port again and the DoE. The Department of Environment confirmed that they had then pressed for the boat to be relocated and moved away from the reef and into the normal location at anchor # 4.

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