Archive for October 22nd, 2014

Clock ticking on daylight saving discussion

| 22/10/2014 | 102 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Commerce and Investment is making a final appeal to the public to complete the government’s survey on the introduction of daylight saving time in the Cayman Islands. The on-line questionnaire will close at the end of this month and people are being urged to express their opinion on whether Cayman should adopt the practice of adjusting clocks one hour forward during the summer and back again in the fall in order to keep Cayman in time step with Miami and New York year-round. It is believed that by keeping in time with the US east coast there will be benefits for the cruise and overnight tourist industry, as well as the offshore financial services sector. The survey takes about three minutes to complete.

Link to the survey

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HSA to get $800k Ebola unit

| 22/10/2014 | 87 Comments

(CNS): In an effort to keep the country free of the deadly Ebola virus the Cayman government has made a decision to ban anyone from, or who has visited, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Congo within the past 21 days from the Cayman Islands. But in case the virus is brought here, Cabinet has agreed to allocate the necessary $800,000 to buy a purpose-built isolation unit, or field hospital and personal protective equipment that officials will need to isolate or quarantine individuals. The health minister announced that alongside the travel ban officials are actively reviewing and considering options to further enhance the islands’ state of readiness.

“Staff will receive specialized training to ensure the correct use of this PPE. At today’s meeting, my colleagues and I were reassured by the clear evidence of inter-agency collaboration and cooperation, and we are confident that as a country we are on the right path in our approach,” Osbourne Bodden said following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“While I do not believe there is cause for alarm, we simply cannot afford to be complacent. As the Minister of Health, I am committed to keeping the governor, the premier and my Cabinet colleagues informed of any new developments on this front. My ministry is also committed to providing the public with regular updates concerning our efforts. I want to assure the public that we will keep them informed of our progress including weekly updates,” he said.

Concern had increased locally after the deadly virus reached the shore of the US and those concerns were heightened when a lab technician who had handled samples of the virus in Texas was discovered to be travelling on a cruise ship in the region last week. Although that health worker tested negative for Ebola and the ship cleared by the CDC this weekend the opportunity for the virus to move from place to place unchecked raised the alarm.

Bodden said Wednesday that officials, from 13 agencies have been working together for several weeks now, to prevent the Ebola virus from entering Cayman and are in regular communication about plans and procedures, to satisfy the protocols necessary to contain the virus.

“This committee has considered a range of matters to date, including entry screening protocols, contact tracing, and contingency plans that cover issues such as: transportation, isolation and quarantine, case management and infection control measures,” the minister added. “Government is also monitoring the situation in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia—the three remaining African countries with outbreaks, now that Nigeria has been declared Ebola free. We have also been monitoring the situation in the United States, where they had their first cases, as well as the emerging situation in Congo.”

The Immigration Department and Public Health department have created a health questionnaire to address passengers’ travel patterns for the four weeks before their arrival in the Cayman Islands. The cruise lines have also distributed similar health questionnaires to passengers before they embark, and there are established procedures and protocols whereby a passenger who becomes unwell is not permitted to disembark.

“If a passenger has a travel history to one of the affected countries and appears well, the person will be placed in the Public Health office in the airport arrival hall, and the HSA team will be contacted. If the person is unwell, staff will call 911. An emergency medical services (EMS) team will assess the passenger through a Health Screening questionnaire that will elicit exposure history. They will also take that person’s temperature. A passenger who does not have any fever or other symptoms, and is a visitor, will be denied entry and quarantined until departure,” Bodden said as he explained the now defined procedure for handling Ebola should the need arise.

He said residents will have an option to be quarantined in a designated place at the Cayman Islands Hospital, or in their own home supervised by security guards, if all household members were also passengers, or if living alone.

“If quarantined in the Hospital – the individual will also be watched by a security guard, and arrangements made for daily needs to be met in a manner similar to any inpatient of the Hospital. Similar arrangements will assist the daily needs of persons quarantined at home.”

Quarantine notices will be served by the Medical Officer of Health and passengers will also receive information about the Ebola quarantine and how to self-monitor for signs of the illness. Quarantined persons will be instructed to inform their security guard, or contact the telephone number on the quarantine notice, if they become unwell at any time, or for any concern or need. During quarantine period, the Public Health team will monitor the person’s temperature twice a day. If at any time the person has a temperature of 101˚F, they will be moved to an isolation room and managed as a suspect case.

The HSA has adequate protective gear for Hospital staff, should a suspect case arise, and is procuring additional supplies. It is also organizing training through an overseas facility and webinars in all aspects of managing the virus.

Hospital boss, Lizette Yearwood, will also be appearing on Cayman 27 this evening to talk about the field hospital that the government will be buying. The HSA already has 500 protective suits, and extra hoods and head shields have been ordered. Facing the worst case scenario an Ebola care team of volunteers is also being trained. The field hospital will be able to house up to eight patients in isolation and the unit will be able to quarantine patients who had been exposed to the disease but not necessarily sick

See health minister's full VT Ebola message here

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Entertainer’s line up for NCVO fundraiser

| 22/10/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): In desperate need to raise around $140k to keep its projects going the NCVO is hoping the community will dig deep this week as it broadcasts its annual fundraiser live from the Prospect Playhouse. Terri Quappe, Gone Country, Barefoot Man, Andy Martin, Trinity, Gordon Solomon, Quincy Brown, J.R. Douglas, Swanky, Cook Skool Jazz, David Verhoeven, Heat, Sea N’ B, and Funk Republic are just some of the entertainers who are performing free throughout the radio/telethon on Saturday night. Viewers can phone in with their donations/pledges on the night to the dedicated phone line for the event; all money raised helps children on island through the NCVO’s Children’s programmes.

There is a variety of fabulous musical entertainment with something to please everyone, the amazing line up of entertainers includes: Terri Quappe; Gone Country; Barefoot Man; Andy Martin; Trinity; Gordon Solomon; Quincy Brown; J.R. Douglas; Swanky; Cook Skool Jazz; David Verhoeven; Heat; Sea N’ B, Funk Republic and more.

Viewers who make a pledge have a chance to win one or more of over 50 prizes donated by many different companies. Prizes this year include tickets from Cayman Airways to New York and Tampa, a Blackberry Q5 from LIME, spa treatments, meals at some of Cayman’s best restaurants, cinema tickets, staycations and numerous other gift certificates from popular stores, hotels and restaurants around the Island.

The NCVO is a non-profit, charitable organisation that is dedicated to the care, education and well-being of children and families in need of support in the Cayman Islands. 
Projects run by the NCVO include: The Nadine Andreas Residential Foster Home, “Miss Nadine’s” Pre-School, Jack & Jill Nursery, The Caring Cousins Welfare Fund and The John Gray Fund.

While the event will be live on Cayamn27 and Radio Cayman Everyone is invited to come out and watch the live entertainment free of charge at the Prospect Playhouse. For more information or to make a donation to the NCVO prior to the Radio/Telethon, contact the Janice Wilson at the NCVO on 949-2124, 525-3976 or

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CIrider clinches 2nd in Puerto Rican contest

| 22/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Phoebe Serpell, one of two Cayman riders who entered the Federacion Puertorriquena de Deportes Ecuestres (FPDE) came away with the reserve trophy after two days of jumping competition. Hannah Fowler, came in fourth. Normally a local contest to allow riders to compete on their own horses, the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation plans to host the competition for the first time next year but as Serpell and Fowler will be too old then the girls decided to gain overseas competition experience by borrowing local Puerto Rican horses for the San Juan competition.

Fowler and Serpell chose to enter the Bronze Tour and jumped four different courses over two days, with fence heights set at 1m. Both riders were delighted to jump a clear round on the first course, despite wet and soggy conditions. In the second round, both collected four faults. Fowler for a knock down and Serpell for a refusal.  At the awards ceremony, Sophie Uldry of Puerto Rico took first place with two clear rounds, Fowler placed second, Daniela Vargas of Puerto Rico third and Serpell came in fourth.

On the second day, Fowler was first into the arena in brighter conditions but caught two fences leaving her with eight faults. Serpell posted a clear round putting pressure on the local talent. In the final round, both Fowler and Serpell went clear. For the day this placed Serpell first, with locals Uldry and Vargas second and third, respectively, and Fowler in fourth.

As the results were calculated for overall positions, Uldry was named overall Champion with Serpell winning the overall Reserve Champion trophy, Vargas was placed third and Fowler fourth, who also won the Best Presented Horse award in the Vet Jog.

Secretary-General of CIEF, Pamela Fowler, who attended the competition with the riders, said they were competing against riders riding their own horses and so both did really well.

“As a Federation, we hope to be able to organize this competition in Cayman in 2015 so our riders can ride their own horses at home. It will be another welcome milestone in our development as a Federation; hard work, but worth it for the opportunity it affords our pool of young riding talent. Having said that, it is always great for development when our riders can gain overseas experience on borrowed horses, and we know both girls really enjoyed the experience and are eagerly looking for their next opportunity to compete overseas,” she added.

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Physio dept welcomes kids equipment donation

| 22/10/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A Cayman based charity which works towards poverty alleviation in the region has made a donation to the local hospital’s physiotherapy department. I AM CO, gave the department a selection of sensory toys and equipment for the forty or so children that are being regularly treated there. Rockella Smith, Physiotherapy Manager at the HSA, said the equipment and toys will be of great benefit for the children.  “They will help our young patients with mobility, balance and flexibility.  In addition to the specialised equipment, the sensory toys will keep the children engaged and incorporate fun activities into their sessions,” she said.

WendyAnn George, I AM CO representative said the charity aimed to help individuals to become more independent and reach their full potential. “We saw the HSA’s physiotherapy department as an opportunity for our organisation to touch the lives of the children currently receiving treatment, as well as those in the years to come.”

In addition to twenty sensory toys, I AM CO also donated a Rifton Pacer Walker, Leckey Tot Standing Frame, Climbing wall ladder, Angle ladder, Steam Roller, Scooter board, PT stool, Home therapy system – linear glider, Big Talk Triple Play Sequencer, Talking MagicRoller and a Somatosensory Bead chain.
To learn more or to donate to I AM CO, visit  For more information about the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, please visit

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Local travellers pick up dengue and chikungunya

| 22/10/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): While fears over the global spread of the deadly Ebola virus capture international attention, public health officials in Cayman are still battling to contain chikungunya virus and once again dengue fever. Although there have been no new local transmissions of chikungunya virus, one result from a patient sample sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency has tested positive for the virus having travelled to Jamaica where there is a major outbreak. Another sample tested for dengue for the first time this year in a patient who had travelled to Honduras. Both viruses are similar and spread by mosquitoes so health officials continue to urge all residents to take precautions.

“As an outbreak has been established in Jamaica,” said Dr Kiran Kumar, adding that this was where the majority of patients in Cayman had contracted the virus, “the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has advised that only a limited number of samples with travel history will be tested as all of them will be clinically diagnosed and considered as suspected cases.”The public health boss explained that “this means that since we have not had a locally transmitted case since 20 September blood testing will be carried out for those without travel history, to consider if any local transmission is occurring.”

So far Cayman has recorded 26 cases of chikungunya since the first case in June. Just four were acquired locally the rest of the people had travelled to the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica and St Lucia.  

This week Cayamn received results for 12 of 24 outstanding samples ten were negative but a resident of North side tested positive for chikungunya having travelled to Jamaica and another tested positive for dengue having visited Honduras where that virus is common, but both patients are no longer infectious.

Chikungunya causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Officials urge anyone who may be experiencing these symptoms to immediately see a healthcare provider. Use mosquito repellent with DEET on the skin, and wear long sleeve pants and shirts when outside during times that mosquitoes bite, whether in the Cayman Islands or on travels.
Further information can be obtained through Regional updates can be accessed by visiting the CARPHA website on In addition United States updates are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on

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Home Guard takes centre stage of Remembrance

| 22/10/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Those who served in the Cayman Islands Home Guard will be the focus of this year’s Remembrance Sunday Parade and Ceremony which is scheduled for Sunday, 9 November, at 10.45am, on Harbour Drive in front of Elmslie Memorial Church. Each year Remembrance Day honours the military heroes lost during World Wars I and II, as well as all mariners lost at sea during the long maritime history of the Cayman Islands. This year also marked the centenary of the start of WWI, the conflict which triggered the annual remembrance ceremony that now encompasses all those who lost their lives in wars and serving their country.

Officials said that the The general public should assemble by 10:30am on the day of the ceremony in Grand Cayman and over on Cayman Brac the Remembrance Day Service there will run simultaneously in front of the Cenotaph in Stake Bay.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Premier Alden McLaughlin, and the opposition leader, McKeeva Bush will lay wreaths at the Cenotaph and the Seamen’s Memorial, in George Town while Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell will lay wreaths on Cayman Brac.

Religious organisations and the general public are also invited to lay wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph, in honour of local veterans, and at the foot of the Seaman’s Memorial in memory of our Seafarers. Members of the public, who wish to lay wreaths, should contact Meloney Syms at the Protocol Office, at 244-3612, or email

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Wild green turtle poached from WB beach

| 22/10/2014 | 38 Comments

(CNS): Poachers are believed to have illegally taken a nesting green turtle from a beach in West Bay. While on patrol recently the Department of Environment (DoE) Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr said he discovered signs that the adult female was dragged off when she came onto the beach to lay eggs. “This incident was discovered on 6 October,” he said, adding that it was not an isolated incident. “This summer, DoE volunteers also discovered parts of a slaughtered loggerhead turtle in North Side. We don't believe these are isolated incidents; we believe other, undetected incidents have also taken place.”

The DoE also said that results from new and ongoing research show the urgency of reducing the illegal take of green turtles from Cayman's small nesting population as there is evidence that significant numbers of the endangered wild marine creature are being poached.

Research involves a night-time tagging project, funded by the UK Darwin Initiative and launched in June 2014, and a daytime beach monitoring programme that began in 1999.  DoE Research Officer Dr Janice Blumenthal said there are serious concerns about the population despite the increase in nest numbers since 1999, when daytime monitoring of beaches in Grand Cayman started. 

“We've seen an increase from a low of only one nest in 1999, to a high of 181 nests in 2012,” she said.

While the daytime monitoring establishes the number of nests each year, it only provides one side of the story – it does not allow a precise determination of the number of females nesting. This is where the tagging of turtles proves useful.

“The true number of turtles nesting each year in Grand Cayman was unknown until the Department began its Darwin-funded, night-time tagging programme,” Dr Blumenthal said. “We know that the 131 green turtle nests found in Grand Cayman so far this year were not laid by 131 turtles. Our challenge was to tag and individually identify nesting green turtles to determine how many females laid these nests,” she added.

By cross referencing the new night-time tagging data with information gleaned from the department's longstanding daytime monitoring efforts, the DoE is now refining estimates of the number of green turtles in the nesting population, and better estimating the contribution of the Cayman Turtle Farm to wild nesting populations, with the goal of protecting nesting turtles. The purpose of the daytime monitoring is to establish the number of turtle nests laid each year, in order to indicate population trends.

Female green turtles can each lay up to six nests per season; and they typically nest every two to three years, rather than every year.

DoE staff and volunteers tagged 21 green turtles in 2014 and, while the research is ongoing, preliminary results suggest that these turtles represent the vast majority of this year's green turtle nesting population, with each turtle laying up to six nests. This indicates that the illegal take of turtles poses a serious problem, because the overall population size is extremely low.
“It's clear from our preliminary results that populations are even smaller than previously thought, and thus more vulnerable to threats such as illegal take,” Dr Blumenthal warned.

Losing even one turtle means six fewer nests – and, as turtles lay more than 100 eggs per nest, this means 600 fewer eggs in that turtle's nesting year. This reduction affects the population for every year that the turtle could have continued to nest.

Orr said that, because of the very low numbers of nesting turtles on our beaches, DoE considers illegal take of turtles to be one of the most serious conservation offences. Past cases of this nature have resulted in fines and prison sentences, and any equipment including vehicles and boats used in the offence may be confiscated by the courts. Anyone with information regarding illegal take of turtles is asked to make a report to Mark Orr by calling 916-4271; 911; or Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS.

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Appeal court to deliver decision in child murder case

| 22/10/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Court officials have confirmed that the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal will deliver its long awaited decision in the case of Devon Anglin and his acquittal after a judge alone trial for the murder of a four year old child. Following a report posted on CNS Tuesday, indicating that the crown had been waiting for more than a year to hear the higher court’s judgement, in the Jeremiah Barnes appeal case and that it was still not listed for the up-coming November session, the courts have said it is now expected during this sitting. Last Friday, crown counsel had raised concerns, in the Grand Court, that decision was still not scheduled. However, a spokesperson for the courts told CNS that the chief justice has now stated it will be delivered next month. 

The crown’s appeal had been heard in August last year and despite the emphasis on the time line, if a retrial was to be considered, both parties have waited more than 14 months to hear the ruling.

See related story on CNS

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Tropical depression stirring up local weather

| 22/10/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A tropical depression which is currently meandering over the southern Bay of Campeche is expected to become a tropical storm today as it begins to move eastwards. TD9, likely to be Tropical Storm Hanna is almost stationary but it will begin moving soon weather experts say. Heading slowly towards the Cayman area the late season weather system is already stirring things up for miles around. The cyclone winds are currently at 35 mph and although it is expected to strengthen then weaken as it passes over the Yucatan Peninsula, when it moves back over the warm Caribbean waters it is expected to strengthen again bringing more inclement weather to Cayman over the weekend.

According to the NHC in Miami the storm will be passing south of Cayman on Monday. In the meantime, the local weather report states that moderate southeast winds and seas are expected over the Cayman Islands for the next 24 hours in association with the low pressure over the southwest Gulf of Mexico. Radar images show, north westward moving scattered showers around the Cayman area.

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