Archive for October 16th, 2014

Clock ticks on Chamber’s cruise survey

| 16/10/2014 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The local Chamber of commerce is urging its members to take its on-line survey about the proposed cruise berthing facility in government before the web-based questionnaire closes at the end of this month. The Cayman Islands Government is proposing to develop a cruise berthing facility in the George Town harbour with two finger piers to accommodate the next generation of mega cruise ships. The construction of this new facility will require dredging of the sea floor, land reclamation activities, construction of retaining walls, drilling and blasting.

The debate about constructing cruise berthing facilities in George Town has raged for many years and the former UDP government committed to develop the facility during the last administration but the project was derailed as a result of a number of issues, but mostly because of the government’s failure to follow due process in its efforts to find a private sector partner to not only construct but also finance the project.

The issue has however remained controversial and although the cruise tourism sector is extremely eager to see the piers built not everyone in the tourism business is supportive and the wider public is divided over the need for such a costly project. Even though government will be seeking a partner to finance the project in the first instance, the investment will be recoupled from the cruise ship passenger fees.

The PPM is committed to the project and has already spent several million dollars on consultants, the strategic business cases and the environmental impact assessment but the Chamber is seeking a definitive position on the project from its more than 700 members.

“This survey has been developed to seek your views on the proposed project and the likely potential impacts associated with the construction and operational phases,” said Johann Moxam as he urged people to participate in the survey and make their voice heard. “All information provided will be kept confidential and will assist the Chamber Council with determining the membership's collective view on this proposed infrastructure project.”

See the survey here
 

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Elite finding formula for success

| 16/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CIFA): Elite Sports Club Head Coach Gregory Ebanks, has credited the return home of key players on their roster and the commitment of veterans to their solid start in the Cayman Islands Football Association Premier League season. Defender Benjamin Cupid and striker Mark Ebanks are back in the starting eleven for the reigning FA Cup champions. Along with permanent fixtures Abijah Rivers, Jason Ebanks and others Elite has found a winning combination. Cupid is a former national team defender and just completed his studies in the United States, while Ebanks returns from a stint in California with Temecula FA, a North American Soccer League club.

“We have a good core of players that have joined us and strengthened us this season,” said Ebanks. “We are slowly but surely gelling together, understanding each other’s roles in the game; we have quite a few new faces and young ones as well, who we are getting to adjust to our game plan.”

After four weeks of the season Elite has nine points from three wins and one loss.
Last Sunday Elite defeated defending champions Bodden Town 3-2. Coach Ebanks isn’t taking their start very lightly especially with the quality he has seen this season in all the teams.

“Our first four games were challenging and very competitive. Every game has been a final for everyone, on any given day, any team can win a game, Ebanks said. 

Elite returns to the pitch on Sunday against George Town Sports Club after Roma tackles Bodden Town FC at the T.E Mcfield Sports Centre. At Ed Bush Sports Centre Scholars International face Sunset. On Saturday, Cayman Brac hosts Cayman Athletic at the Brac Sports Field.

WK 5 Cayman Islands Premier League – Fixtures
Saturday, 18 October 2014
Cayman Brac Sports Field
Cayman Brac v Cayman Athletic
Sunday, 19 October 2014
T.E Mcfield Sports Centre (The Annex)
5:00 PM Roma United v Bodden Town Football Club
7:00 PM Roma George Town Sports Club v Elite Sports Club
Ed Bush Sports Complex
7:00 PM Scholars International v Sunset FC

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Lawyers help out Magic Reef Recovery project

| 16/10/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): As volunteers, local dive companies and the department of the environment continue the painstaking work to try and save the reek which was crushed by a cruise ship anchor recently, they were joined last week by a group of local lawyers. Taking time from their billable hours eight Appleby staff members swapped their business suits for dive suits and joined Off the Wall Divers to help recover live coral dislodged by the anchor during the devastating destruction of the reef in August. Now dubbed the Cayman Magic Reef Recovery project it will run for several months as divers continue removing rubble from some 12,000 sqft of reef and then try to reattach the remaining live coral.

Over 8,000 pounds of rubble has already been removed from the damaged reef since the restoration project began more than four weeks ago.

“Filling and carrying the crates of rubble at depths of 60 feet and deeper is slow moving, but soon the reef will be in a state where reattaching rescued coral to the reef using marine epoxy can begin,” said Traci Brummet, from Appleby, who organised the firms’ volunteers. “The benefits of everyone’s efforts won’t be realised for some time to come but we’re delighted to have been involved in such a worthwhile project. The determination seen from other divers and dive operations, who are also volunteering their time and resources, is amazing.”

Bryan Hunter, the firm’s managing partner said he was delighted that his staff were able to make a positive contribution to the recovery project. “Volunteering enables our employees to contribute their time, knowledge and skills to make a difference in the community we live in.”
Appleby also thanked Thomas Shropshire of Off the Wall Divers for donating his time, boat and dive equipment.

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Hospitals begin roll out of free flu shots

| 16/10/2014 | 28 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Hospital on Grand Cayman, the Faith hospital on Cayman Brac and the district health centres will be offering seasonal flu vaccines from Monday, 20 October. Director of Primary Health Care, Dr Kiran Kumar said the shots will protect against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu as well. The flu vaccine is free to all residents and no appointments are needed but the public should indicate to the registration officer at the clinic that they need to have the flu shot. “We recommend that people get vaccinated as soon as possible and definitely before the peak of the flu season which ranges between December and January,” Dr Kumar said.

The vaccine is only effective for one season and babies 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine and it is especially important for people at high risk for complications frominfluenza and those who live with or care for them, are vaccinated early each year. High-risk persons include young children 6 months to four years of age, but especially those under two years, pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older. Anyone with a weakened immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart, kidney and lung diseases, diabetes and the obese should all be vaccinated as well as those living in nursing homes or long term care facilities.

To minimize workplace disruption and ensure that as many persons as possible get vaccinated, Dr Kumar said the Public Health Department will continue the onsite workplace vaccination initiative for companies with twenty or more employees wishing to have the vaccine, 

“As we have to schedule the visits to worksites with current staff that have regular duties, the visits cannot be done immediately,” said Dr Kumar as he asked employers to schedule the visits. “While we offer the vaccine at no cost, we are proposing to utilize off duty staff or retired nurses to participate in the flu vaccine programme at workplaces to administer the vaccine as soon as possible for companies willing to contribute $200 per session.

“Companies that do not wish  to make arrangements for immediate flu vaccine coverage for their employees may get it in late November or December as the visits will be scheduled when employed staff time is available” he added. 
Companies interested in the program should contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 to register.

The flu vaccine will be available at: The General Practice Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and all District Health Centres, from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Little Cayman Clinic: Residents of Little Cayman should contact the clinic to make arrangements. To meet the demand in the initial period, the flu shot will also be available at the Cayman Islands Hospital Atrium (next to the Pharmacy) from October 20th to October -31st  2014 from 10am – noon on weekdays. Flu Shots will also be available at CayShop 2014, October 30 to November 1 at the Arc Cayman Bay.

See more information about the flu vaccine below

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3rd robbery in 3 days

| 16/10/2014 | 45 Comments

(CNS): Police are now investigating a third armed robbery in three days after a man was mugged by two masked men one of whom was armed with a handgun in George Town while sitting in his car. The latest robbery was reported to police at 12:41am on Thursday 16 October, and had taken place on Zeedah Crescent, off Walker’s Road. The victim said that while seated inside his parked car he was approached by two masked men, one of which was armed with a handgun. The villains demanded money from the victim before telling him to get out of the car and lie face down on the ground. The robbers then made off on foot with the man’s Samsung phone towards the Windsor Park area. 

The culprits are described as around 5ft 11ins tall and both were wearing dark clothing and spoke with Jamaican accents. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.

This latest armed stick-up comes after a robbery on Tuesday at the Fish Shack by masked men armed with guns and a street mugging on the West Bay Road on Monday by a robber armed with a machete. Police also reported nine separate burglaries during an eight hour period on Tuesday.

Anyone who was in the Walkers Road area, and saw anyone suspicious around 12:30am -12:45 am, or has any other relevant information about the latest or any other robbery should contact George Town CID on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800 8477(TIPS).

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Man killed in bike crash

| 16/10/2014 | 53 Comments

(CNS): Updated Police have now confirmed that the local man killed in a motorbike crash Thursday morning was 23 year old Seion Brown of Windsor Park. The smash occured at around 6:30am on the Shamrock Road, west of the Savannah Primary School. Brown is beleived to have lost control of his bike as he travelled west on Shamrock Road. An RCIPS spokesperson said as the bike took a left hand bend in the vicinity of Buddy’s Way,it skidded and collided with a sign post. Brown sustained serious head injuries and was pronouced dead at the George Town hospital.

Police are now seeking witnesses too the collision and are asking anyone who can help to contact PC Eunel Gilzean at the Bodden Town Police Station on 947 2220.

Following the serious crash the police closed Shamrock Road for several hours in both directions around the crash scene which caused severe traffic problems during the morning communite into George Town.

 

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Cocaine Found During Midnight Road Block

| 16/10/2014 | 24 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS have arrested a 31 year old man from George Town for drug offences after they seized what they suspected to be cocaine and ganja during a roadblock. The police have also argued that their roadblocks are legal despite a criminal complaint filed by a local attorney who states that the blocks are unconstitutional. This road block which netted an undisclosed quantity of drugs took place at around 12:30am on Sunday 12 October at the Sound Way and Sparky Drive intersection. Police said the suspect was searched and found to be in possession of several packets of white powder believed to be cocaine.

Following the seizure of the class A narcotic the police conducted a further search of the man’s car which was when officers said they found several jars of vegetable matter resembling ganja. He was then arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled drugs and possession with intent to supply controlled drugs.

In the wake of a formal complaint filed by local attorney Peter Polack after he was stopped in a road block on 11 September, which he said was unconstitutional and therfore illegal, a spokesperson for the RCIPS said: “Under the Traffic law 2011, constables are authorize to stop vehicles and erect roadblocks or barriers.  Road blocks are common place in the Cayman Islands and often serve as sobriety check-points for general road safety and enforcement of the traffic law.”

However, Polack said that the claims by the police that the law provides for the roadblocks are wrong as it breaches the constitution. He also noted that officers are not even conducting the blocks in accordance with the section of the traffic law that has not yet been updated to reflect the new constitution.

Polack who is continuing with his complaint said that this was an example of one of many laws that have not been amended or updated to reflect the constitution. In a recent Viewpoint posted on CNS Polack pointed to the failings of the attorney general in relation to the amendments that are desperately needed to update Cayman’s statute books. Despite spending almost $1.5 million in the last three years on outside counsel, the government’s chief attorney had still not dealt which this fundamental job, he argued.

Polack warned that the number of unconstitutional laws as well as the failure of the police to carry out their duties even within the parameters of the laws that are unconstitutional is leaving government exposed to human rights challenges.

 

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Sprint meet opens season with a splash

| 16/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(SSC): The Cayman National Fall Sprint Meet, hosted by the Stingray Swim Club (SSC) of Grand Cayman at the Lions Aquatic Centre takes place this Saturday, 18 October and will see swimmers from SSC, Camana Bay Aquatic Club and Team Treasure Island competing in a number of sprint distance events and relays. Cayman National – a long-time supporter of Stingray Swim Club is proud to once again sponsor the first sprint meet of the 2014-2015 competitive age group season. Shari Whittaker, Marketing Manager of Cayman National explains why this is a successful, long-standing partnership: “Cayman National has deep roots in our community, and Stingray – a not for profit swim club – works hard to keep swimming available to everyone in our community.

"Stingray’s partnerships with both the government Learn to Swim programme and with the Lions Club; plus the personal values and disciplines which swimming teaches our youth make them a community programme we are happy to be associated with and we wish all swimmers the best of luck on Saturday,” she added.

Stingray’s Head Coach Andy Copley is looking forward to the Sprint Meet. “We have been back in training for about two months now; have performed well  in the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association’s last two sea swims and now we are ready to get back on the blocks and compete in the pool as well.”

“Cayman National is a wonderful supporter of swimming,” said SSC President Amanda Roberts. “The Cayman National Fall Sprint Meet is going to be fast and exciting and we invite everyone to come to the Lions Pool to support all our young swimmers.”

The next event on the Stingray Swim Club Calendar is the Mike Lockwood Memorial Pirates Week Meet, which offers a full array of events – sprint, middle and long distances.
For more information on Stingray Swim Club www.caymanswimming.com .

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Statistics Week Message

| 16/10/2014 | 23 Comments

This week (October 13-17, 2014) is Statistics Week in the Cayman Islands.  This is being held in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which is celebrating the region-wide Statistics Day on October 15, 2014.  This year’s celebration has the theme “Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.”  In many parts of the world, the development of statistics has been recognized as a critical factor in facilitating sustainable economic development.

In the new “information economy,” greater focus is being centered on the generation and use of economic information as a resource, in addition to a greater emphasis being placed on human capital as the principal producer, repository, and disseminator of information. Organizations continually aim to maximize profitability or value for money, and increase the productivity of human resources. To achieve this objective, an even greater reliance is placed on the utilization of sound information. In short, good statistics allied to appropriate government policies, business and individual plans can change things radically for the better.

The rapidly emerging environment of the “information economy” further underpins the importance of statistical offices as   information sources. Although it is not easily recognized, information provided by these agencies can have significant impacts on the lives of people through various uses of their outputs and services. 

Statistics such as the gross domestic product (GDP) influence the way in whichpeople view their country’s economic prospects and challenges.

The more familiar consumer price index (CPI) provides a basis for changes in the compensation paid to workers and pensioners, as well as utility charges.

Macroeconomic statistics also provide a snapshot of the country’s standing in the global economy, which we in the Cayman Islands cannot take for granted in view of our reliance on off-shore markets. Several of these statistics such as GDP per capita and   balance of payments determine in part the government’s sovereign credit ratings and therefore, the interest rates paid by the government and businesses in the global capitalmarket.

In recognition of the challenges posed by the data revolution, as Minister for Finance and Economic Development, I have prioritized a number of changes that seek to further make our official statistics more responsive to the needs of the community in general and policy-makers in particular.  Additional resources are being provided to the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) for new surveys. Next year, the Household Budget Survey 2015 will be conducted from January to December. This survey will determine the importance or statistical weights of household items that will be included in an updated consumer price index basket which is popularly used for monitoring the cost of living in the Islands.   

Starting next year as well, we will have two Labour Force Surveys (LFS) – in April and October. (The October 2014 LFS, covering all districts of the Cayman Islands, started last Sunday, October 5th, 2014). LFS interviews are now conducted using tablets rather than the previously used paper questionnaires. With this enhanced technology and twice-a-year survey, we can expect more timely labour force statistics in support of employment monitoring and policy-making.

I have also proposed amendments to the Statistics Law aimed at strengthening the flexibility of ESO to respond to emerging data requirements on one hand, and ensuring greater participation of residents to these data collection activities on the other hand.

The official statistics being disseminated by the ESO are not only beneficial to the local community; they have also become assets for raising Cayman’s reputation in the global investment community.  Top-notch global data organizations have recently requested to become data dissemination agents of ESO’s economic indicators to global investors. In light of these requests, there is a need for the ESO to catch up with the data dissemination terms and conditions of the most developed statistical offices in the world such as Statistics Canada. More importantly, such opportunities make it more compelling for every member of the community to invest in official statistics by participating willingly in surveys, and ultimately by using them for everyday decision-making.   

In conclusion, on behalf of my Ministry, I wish to extend our sincere gratitude to all members of the community who have willingly participated in all household and business surveys. Without the information that you provide (and will continue to provide), all efforts to upgrade official statistics will be in vain.  ESO will continue to abide by the provisions of the Law and the   highest professional and ethical standards to respect the confidentiality of your information, as it has done so in the many years of conducting censuses and surveys.  

Thank you and may God bless the celebration of Statistics Week 2014 in the Cayman Islands.
 

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Two year sentence for machete attack

| 16/10/2014 | 13 Comments

(CNS): A 20 year old man from East End will spend the next two years in jail after a violent attack with a machete and a knife on two men during a brawl that got out of hand in a family yard in February 2013. Antascio Rankine was handed the two year jail time despite his relatively clean criminal record as the judge described his attack on an uncle and another man during the dispute as “outrageous conduct.” The court heard that during a dispute in the yard in Eastland Drive, East End which erupted over cigarettes and insults. Rankine had attacked one man with a machete causing him injuries to his head and stabbed his uncle in the arm with a knife.

“This violent behavior in the context of drink is bad enough but the use of a machete made things even worse,” the sentencing judge said. “Because this was a family dispute made it no better as family members need to be protected by the courts from violence like this. Not content with using a machete you also used a knife…It is wholly unacceptable and lucky the injuries are not much worse. You could’ve killed somebody.”

Rankine had pleaded guilty on the day of his trial as a result of on-going negotiations with the crown over other charges he faced which were eventually dropped. But Justice Michael Mettyear, the visiting judge presiding over the sentencing stated that this should not have delayed the guilty pleas for the charges which he admitted.The judge indicated that discounts on sentences were for tendering please at the earliest opportunity not after last minute “robing room discussions with counsel” he noted.

He also said it was pointless to ask Rankine to pay compensation to his victims for their medical bills, which the crown had revealed had amounted to over $15,000 between them, as the young man had no job and no money or any prospect of paying the money back. Justice Mettyear said he wished he could order compensation for the two men who had suffered greatly as a result of Rankine’s violent behavior.

Pointing to what he described as a “depressing social enquiry report” the judge said Rankine had been rated as having a risk of reoffending as a result of him hanging with the wrong crowd, smoking ganja, misbehaving, and having a bad temper with anger management problems.

The judge did however, point out that Rankine was still young and this was his first serious offence as his previous criminal record was for possession of ganja. Justice Mettyear said, “It is quite impossible to deal with this offence other than with a custodial sentence.”

Starting at 3-4 years because of the level of violence he reduced the sentence to 2.5 years as a result of his youth and his late guilty plea. In addition he tookinto consideration that Rankine had been on curfew with an electronic tag for some 18 months before his trial. In the end he handed down one year for the stabbing and 2 years for the machete attack both to run concurrently.

Alongside Rankine in the dock was Roland Welcome who was one of several other men allegedly involved in the major brawl but the only other person to be charged with an offence. Welcome who is currently serving a twelve month sentence for possession of a BB gun had also faced assault charges but those were dropped leaving him facing just a charge of damage to property.

The court heard that he had smashed up a truck belonging to one of the men at the yard that night involved in the dispute with a piece of two by four but his arm had also been broken during the melee.

However the judge said “this was disgraceful bad tempered drunken behavior” as he added a further three months to Welcome’s existing sentence.

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