Archive for December 3rd, 2014

Piped water project resumes on Cayman Brac

| 03/12/2014 | 6 Comments

(CNS): Over thenext eight months the Water Authority will install approximately three miles of pipes on Cayman Brac. The authority resumed its work there Monday and engineers have started work at the intersection of West End Road and Cross Road, the WA said. Workers will lay pipes from there to West End Primary school and all developed side roads in between. “The new pipeline will ensure that theWater Authority can deliver piped water efficiently and reliably to more customers,” said Water Authority Deputy Director Tom van Zanten. The project is part of the Water Authority’s 10 year plan to expand water infrastructure and services in the Sister Islands. 

Since November last year, approximately two miles of new water main has been installed and one mile of existing water main has been upgraded.

“We are confident that these infrastructure development works will offer employment opportunities while expanding the services to residents and businesses in Cayman Brac and ultimately to Little Cayman," said Water Authority Board Chairman Lemuel Hurlston.

Although the authority said it does not anticipate any road closures during the pipelaying work, motorists traveling in the area are urged to proceed with caution and obey all road signs.Where required, flag men will facilitate traffic flow.

For more information visit www.waterauthority.ky.

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International Day: Persons with disabilities

| 03/12/2014 | 3 Comments

With recent history being made by the passing of the first ever Cayman Islands Disability Policy 2014-2033 we have much to celebrate on this year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities in the Cayman Islands.This Policy is a huge step in the right direction to “ensuring persons with disabilities live with dignity, are respected, and have the opportunity to participate fully in society”. 

This is the vision of the Policy which encapsulates all that we as a country should aim to achieve as we develop a more accepting and inclusive community for all.

The annual observance of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992.  This year’s theme is “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology” which focuses on the role of technology in disaster risk reduction and emergency responses, creating enabling working environments and disability-inclusive sustainable development goals (www.un.org/disabilities). 

The Cayman Islands Disability Policy goals include the need to make technology accessible for persons with disabilities to function in their everyday lives.  Goal 2 in particular, addresses employment and aims at ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal access to employment opportunities.  It also addresses the need for some persons with disabilities to access assistive devices in order to perform their duties. Both the Public and Private sectors are encouraged to support putting in place such accommodations, so that persons with disabilities can have access to the necessary tools required to carry out their work.

Disaster risk reduction is always a top priority in the Cayman Islands, as is seen in our annual preparations for Hurricane Season.  Being safe during natural disasters is taken seriously by our residents, who remember the devastation we experienced during Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Paloma.  Goal 4 Strategy A in the Cayman Islands Disability Policy includes the provision for persons with disabilities in the National Hazard Management Plan, particularly in regard to transportation and shelter accommodations.  We must ensure the safety of all citizens of the country, which of course includes persons with disabilities, who may require more support and assistance.

The entire policy document supports disability-inclusive sustainable development goals.  Persons with disabilities are not separate to our society; they make up a significant number, should have equal rights as everyone else, and should be included in all development goals of the Cayman Islands.  According to the World Health Organisation, over a billion people in the world have some form of disability (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs352/en/).  That is approximately 15% of the World’s population.  In the Cayman Islands, our 2010 Census Report showed that approximately 3,000 people identified themselves as having some form of disability which ranged from physical, mental and intellectual disabilities; however, we know that these numbers are underestimated as the statistical collection framework used for the collection of such data does not sufficiently capture all persons with disabilities within the Cayman Islands currently.

The work of improving the rights of persons with disabilities in the Cayman Islands has taken a significant amount of time and meaningful effort is still needed to create and develop a fully inclusive society for all.  But we are charging forth in the right direction and this work has my support, as well as that of the Cabinet and the Government as a whole. I would like to thank the Policy Steering Committee and all persons who have contributed in some way to protecting and improving the rights of persons with disabilities in the Cayman Islands.

In honour of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I encourage everyone to wear yellow, the recognised colour for celebrating and supporting the day, and get involved in the process.  As we continue to change attitudes towards Persons with Disabilities, to those of respect, appreciation and inclusion in our society, we do well to remember one of the key messages of a Special Olympics International campaign:  “It is not a person’s disabilities, but rather their abilities that are important.”

 

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Local HIV figures low but public urged to get tested

| 03/12/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): As the global community marked another World Aids Day at the start of this month the Cayman Islands is still retaining a low prevalence rate of the disease. However, officials are still urging people to take advantage of free testing this week to ensure that people know their status and can continue to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid developing AIDS. Since the first documented diagnosis in Cayman 1985 to date, just 123 people have tested positive for HIV. With 43 of those people dying from AIDS and 18 patients having left Cayman 62 people are living with HIV locally.

Sexual transmission still accounts for 90 of cases here more than half of which are via heterosexual intercourse.  There have been just four recorded cases of mother to child transmissions and the last case was in 2004.

The Public Health Department, the Cayman AIDS Foundation and the Cayman Islands Red Cross have partnered to organize free HIV/AIDS testing this week. Officials promised the testing will “be speedy and confidential.”

No appointment is necessary and the waiting time should be no more than ten minutes. People who wish to be tested and/or receive counselling need only indicate to the registration clerks that they would like to register for free HIV screening. The results will be available in three working days. These will be given only to the patient, who mustreturn to the clinic where the test was taken to receive the results. Those who have taken the test outside of clinics will be advised on how to get the results at the time of testing.

In future from Tuesday 6 January next year free HIV testing will be available year-round at the Cayman Islands Red Cross on Thomas Russell Way, every Tuesday between 9 and 10am.

Osbourne Bodden, the health minister said that the Caribbean region which has the highest transmission rate outside sub-Saharan Africa said local initiatives will help to reduce new HIV infections, late diagnosis and AIDS-related deaths.  As he pointed to the UN’s goa for the region to be clear of the disease in the not too distance future and for everyone to know their status.

Each year World AIDS Day draws together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. It also seeks to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries around the world.

Globally 35 million people live with HIV and more than 39 million have died of AIDS since 1981.

The theme of World AIDS Days between 2011 and 2015 is: "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". This year marks a push towards greater access to treatment for all and action by governments.

For more information on HIV testing and other activities please contact HIV/AIDS Coordinator Laura Whitfield at 244-2631 or Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay at 244-2632.

See break down of Cayman statistics on HIV and AIDS below

 

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Football boss says discrimination still shocking

| 03/12/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s international football boss, Jeffrey Webb said this week that it was still “shocking to see” the discrimination in the game. Chair of the Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force, the FIFA Vice President and CONCACAF President said it needed the support of clubs, member associations, NGOs and campaign groups to help the task force tackle the issue. Meeting in Switzerland this week the task force discussed strategies for strengthening education and sanction measures in football. The task force also revealed plans not only to reinforce monitoring and mechanisms to tackle discrimination but the appointment of anti-discrimination officers for tournaments.

“It is shocking to see how we still face cases of discrimination in football on a regular basis," said Webb.  "The appointment and training of anti-discrimination officers as well as the publication of a handbook of good practices will be two important steps in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination. Both measures send out a concrete message. Now we need the full support from clubs, member associations, NGOs and campaign groups.

Further measures in the fight against discrimination include the publication of a handbook of good practices that will be distributed to FIFA member associations in 2015, guiding them to fosterdiversity and anti-discrimination in football in their respective countries. The handbook will include information and best practices on policy, education, sanctions and cooperation with civil society partners.

“The Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force and Jeffrey Webb, as its Chairman, have the full support of FIFA and its administration,” said FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, emphasizing the need for strong measures in order to achieve concrete results, as discrimination impacts heavily on the image and enjoyment of the game.

The Task Force which includes representatives from the United Nations, NGOs, players, coaches, referees, media, legal and member associations, among others, agreed on the importance to use the 2018 FIFA World Cup asa platform to raise awareness on the issue and showcase FIFA’s zero tolerance policy against any form of discrimination.

“It was an interesting discussion about concrete measures to combat racism and discrimination. Together with FIFA and the other stakeholders, we are developing a plan that will encompass all areas concerning the fight against discrimination,” said Alexander Djordjadze, Deputy CEO of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organizing Committee.

Piara Powar, CEO of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) added that there was a very mature and intense debate at the meeting. “Which is a good sign: it means that the Task Force is getting beneath the skin of the issues that face us. This bodes well in terms of getting a clear direction to football around the globe, which in the end is what FIFA is about,” he said.

The Task Force was also handed for their review and feedback the first edition of CONCACAF Diversity Handbook, which gathers educational information and practical resources from leading international organizations to promote inclusiveness within the football family.

The FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination was announced by FIFA President Joseph Blatter in March of 2013, following a meeting of the FIFA Strategic Committee, as part of a series of measures to tackle the pressing issue of racism and discrimination in football.
 

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HMP Northward shapes up on rehabilitation

| 03/12/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): After many years of acting like a warehouse for criminals waiting to get out to commit more crime than a place of real change, HMP Northward appears to be making some advances in rehabilitation of prisoners. Officials said that this year 15 different educational and rehabilitation programmes were offered to over one hundred inmates. Speaking at a special event marking their achievements, recently, the prison director Neil Lavis said he was proud to be a part of a prison “changing its approach to rehabilitation,” as he urged the private sector to continue partnering with the facility.

The deputy chief officer in the ministry of home affairs, Kathryn Dinspel-Powell said her office was dedicated to continuing the programmes underway at the prison and to expanding on the “good work” that has been carried out so far.

Over 110 inmates at Northward received commendations during the fourth Annual Prisoner Recognition Day, on Friday, 28 November. The prisoners recognised had taken part in vocational training, work activities, chaplaincy, and individual and group intervention programmes.  Ten of the prisoners received special awards for outstanding achievement, having successfully completed four or more of these programmes. Gifts certificates were donated by Book Nook and Foster’s Food Fair.

Officials said IT, maths, English, parenting education and drug abuse prevention, employability skills and anger management are just some of the programmes now on offer along with several crafts and vocational pursuits. Community service has also become an integral part of the rehabilitation and work-preparation process.  Inmates who qualified, based on risk level, behaviour and skills were allowed to undertake work within the prison compounds, or to go outside the prison for community work – with some undertaking paid employment.

Joanne Vaughan, Policy Officer with the Governor’s Office, congratulated those involved as noted that everyone needs to be involved in meaningful activities in order to have self-worth and pride, but it also facilitated future employment.

Deputy Director, Rehabilitation, Aduke Joseph-Caesar said prisoners may be anxious over the process of changing but noted the importance of learning new skills to address their thoughts, beliefs and the attitudes which had led to their offending behaviour. She pointed out that recognising the need to change and that they had created victims along the way by what they had done they might not like the picture in the mirror. But urging inmates to look inward, to recognise their duty to society, and to accept responsibility, she said they should appreciate the opportunity to change.

Supporting agencies, non-profit organisations and volunteers also received  acknowledgement at the event including The National Drug Council, Department of Community Rehabilitation, Government Information Services, Family Resource Centre , National Workforce Development Agency, Department of Children & Family Services, National Gallery, Rehoboth Ministries, Cayman 1,000 Man March,  Feed Our Future, Cayman Islands Red Cross, Cayman Islands Reading Aides, Rotary Sunrise, Savannah United Church Girls Brigade and the Parole Commissioners Board.

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Struggling students supported by charity and school

| 03/12/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): With the help of a local literacy charity, its volunteers and the school’s teaching assistants, John Gray has introduced a specialist literacy programme to help struggling readers in Year 7. The programme has been underway since September and students have already shown improvement and responded well to the intervention, officials said. As part of the partnership to improve literacy standards among all kids the education service and LIFE – Literacy is for Everyone, an independent charity, have selected Levelled Literacy Intervention a supplementary small group intervention program that encapsulates expert teaching; quality levelled books; and good instructional design.

Despite the massive improvements in recent years of student’s year end exam results literacy standards in students are still a hot topic and the education system has come in for criticism from the private sector that it is not producing students that it can employ.
There are also a significant number of local students who have special needs but after some success in the primary school with the programme, LIFE has helped the education ministry to introduce the programme into John Gray for new students there.

“LIFE received a lot of positive feedback about LLI from primary school teachers last year,” said Woody Foster, Chairman of LIFE, as he added the group was pleased to bring it to JGHS.

The programme runs during the regular school day with the help of JGHS’s teaching assistants and is being spearheaded by the school’s Special EducationNeeds Coordinator Elliot Smith, and supported by the school’s principal, Lyneth Monteith. “We are delighted to partner with LIFE and grateful for the hard work of the two teaching assistants running the programme. The literacy initiative bodes well for literacy at JGHS,” said Monteith.
LIFE volunteers are using a Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) to anonymously measure progress in student achievement. 

The charity has also contributed to literacy by organising groups of volunteers to support children in primary schools, purchasing literacy resources for government school use, partially funding the purchase of Levelled Literacy Intervention kits for government school use, and funding pilot projects as well as the Partners in Print programme across the system.
Tara Rivers the education minister said the commitment and collaboration with the e ministry has produced a partnership that benefits young Caymanian students and helps ensure the best education possible is provided in government schools.

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Local riders start show jumping season

| 03/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CIEF): The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation launched its National Jumping Series for 2015 last week. Isabelle Smith on Edson Arantes MB was the only competitor to take on the 1.1m and 1.2m jumps going clear for first place in the 1.1m class and finishing on twelve faults in the 1.2m class. Pheobe Serpell executed a clear round on Sunday’s Edition to take first place in the 1m open class with Amara Thompson on Rumour Has It in second place with 12 faults. In the open class for adults and juniors at 0.85m several riders fought it out with Jenna Boucher on Katrina taking first place with zero faults.

Also clear was Serpell on Sunday’s Edition in second place. Meanwhile Thompson took third, with four faults, on her own horse, Rumour Has It, and Fowler followed suit with four faults to come fourth on Shirley. Rounding it out was Michelle Boucher on Filipio H with eight faults.

The fences had started at 0.6m and over the course of the day doubled to 1.2m, a new class added for 2015. The CIEF said the lower classes “were encouragingly competitive” with new riders Abbey Swartz and Laney Bodden joining the series for the first time.

In the 0.6m junior class, Chloe Fowler, rode Eva Muspratt’s pony, Oscar, to a clear round and took first place with Basil Humphries on Storm in second, with a cleanly executed clear round. Abbey Swartz was clear on Zeus for her first round of the series  taking third place. Ashley van den Bol on Pony Up and Lea Rado on Never Ending Story both collected four faults with a knock down placing them fourth and fifth, with Laney Bodden and Star in sixth with 5 faults.

At the lower levels, the adults and juniors compete separately and in the 0.6m adult class Amara Thompson was the sole competitor and introduced newcomer Cayman horse, Teddy, to the Series, with a clear round to take first place.  The 0.7m junior class, there was as much competition for riders as in the 0.6m class. Jenna Boucher was last to go with a clear round taking first place with the fastest time of the day.  Three other riders went clear. In second was Rado on Never Ending Story, third was Fowler, this time on her own horse Shirley, and fourth was Humphries on Storm. Bodden on Star and van den Bol on Amarilla took fourth and fifth, respectively, with four faults each.

In the adult 0.7m class, all four riders went clear, leaving it down to the clock to separate the placings. In first place was Juliette Forrester on Apollo, second was Amara Thompson on Teddy, third was Tanja Braendle on Harry and fourth was Michelle Boucher with newcomer to the Series, Filipio H.

CIEF also hosted cross rails classes for beginners to get their first taste of competition.

The second round of the National Jumping Series is on 1 February and will follow a week of intense jump coaching for members of CIEF, when UK show jumping coach, Corinne Bracken, visits Cayman to help riders develop their jumping skills.
 

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Planning denies infractions over Kimpton permits

| 03/12/2014 | 35 Comments

(CNS): The director of planning has written to the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, denying allegations that it had not issued the necessary permits to Dart Realty and its associated businesses in connection with the development of a new hotel. Despite revelations made public through an FOI request released by the department last week indicating that a red permit had not been issued until well after the construction of the hotel, Haroon Pandohie said the permits were all in order as the developer had received a foundation only permit in October last year, a structural shell permit in April, and it was the full building permit which was issued to the hotel just last month.

This is at odds with the release by the information manager, which pointed to a different process (See Dart’s waivers exceed $11m on CNS). As a result, that FOI request now appears to fall outside the spirit of the FOI law, if not the letter. That law requires public servants to be open and honest about requests and not attempt to manipulate the information requested in an effort to limit what information is given out.

The original FOI response given to Miller also related to duties and waivers but not all of those were included in the FOI either. Days after Miller received the response, Finance Minister Marco Archer revealed these figures in the Legislative Assembly when he answered a parliamentary question submitted by the East End member Arden McLean. However, they were considerably less than those given via the FOI request. 

In his letter to Miller, who had raised concerns about rules and regulations being bent to assist specific and often powerful or wealthy individual developers, Pandohie maintained that the rules had been followed.

Listing when the Kimpton permits had been issued for both the hotel and the proposed condo development, he said the “applicant had obtained all the necessary permits”.

See letter below.

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Ebanks: ‘I didn’t kill Bise’

| 03/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Leonard Antonio Ebanks repeatedly denied killing a Swiss Banker in 2008 with Chad Anglin, when he took the stand in court this week. The West Bay man said there was not a “scintilla of truth” to the allegations against him that he had killed Frederic Bise with Chad Anglin, which come exclusively from two women. One he said is a scorned ex-girlfriend whom he admitted treating badly and who, he said, was having sex with most of the local police force. The other he accused of practicing Obeah and saying whatever the police told her to say because she was desperate for money. Owning up to a long criminal history because of drug addiction he denied being a murderer.

However, the court heard the details of Ebanks’ conviction for the killing of Tyrone Burrell, in 2010, which he also denied. He said the evidence against him in that case again came from the paid witness and the judge had believed her as oppose to all the evidence that indicated he had not killed Burrell.

Ebanks (44) who was belligerent and argumentative undercrosss examination at times was still clear and emphatic on the stand as he gave an account of his life at the time of the Bise killing in 2008 when he was living on Birch Tree Hill Road in West Bay. He said he couldn’t remember exactly what he was doing on the night Bise was killed, or any specific day, as at that time his life was all about hustling for money to get a fix of crack and he said he was using both cocaine and ganja heavily at the time.

But over and over Ebanks told the court that, “I have no knowledge of when he was killed, why he was killed, or who killed him,” as he denied the murder.

He recalled meeting Bise, on one occasion at Maccabucca in West Bay some time towards the end of 2007, when he was in the company of man who Ebanks knew and who was known to be gay.

But Ebanks said he had never been to Bise’s house and knew nothing aboutthe killing until after the fact when the word spread around West Bay. He said he didn’t know anything about what Chad Anglin was up to and he said he could not vouch for him but he was not withAnglin on the night Bise was killed and he did not drop blocks on the man or help Anglin with the body or anything else.

Ebanks said he was not particularly close with his cousin and they did not hang in the same circles. He pointed out that despite the claims by the witnesses that he and Anglin had communicated that night there was no telephone evidence to link them. He noted that while Anglin was seen leaving Kelly’s Bar with Bise and his DNA was found at the house and in the dead man’s car, there was nothing that suggested he had been anywhere near, Bise or Anglin. Ebanks said he was not involved at all.

He denied driving around West Bay with the body of Bise in the murdered man’s car, as one witnesses had alleged, claiming not only was he not driving that night he did not drive at all and got around on a bicycle. That point was supported by another witness who had known him all his life who told the court that he never seen Ebanks drive a car.

Ebanks pointed to inconsistencies and differing statements given by the two women against him. He told the jury that his former girlfriend had very close relationships with the West Bay police and at some point had said she was a special constable. Ebanks said he later learned that she had gone to the police alleging he had confessed to her that he was involved in the Bise murder on the day after he walked out on her and gone back to his wife.

Ebanks said that he had been taken aback by the confession from the helper who worked at the local drug yard in West Bay which he frequented as he said they were friendly. But he believed she was desperate. As a result he said she was persuaded to lie about him as a result of the cash inducement of the witness protection programme. He said at the time she made up the allegations she had complained repeatedly of many problems and not getting paid at her job.

Despite rigorous cross examination by the crown’s leading QC, Simon Russell Flint, Ebanks did not waiver about not killing Bise and although he told the jury that he was “fighting not to tell this man some bad things” he said he was not the killer and did not know who was.

When the QC asked if Ebanks if he was “a batty boy” a term brandished around during the trial in reference to Bise being gay and that Ebanks himself had a local reputation as a homosexual he denied that he was gay or that he had ever had sex with men for money to get drugs. He said Flint was “talking rubbish of the highest order,” as he struggled to rein in his temper.

He emphasized the common mistrust of the police in the district and alleged conspiracies and corruption as he repeatedly denied not just the Bise killing but the Tyrone murder as well. He implied that the police had assisted the women to coordinate their stories.

Ebanks said he was no saint and throughout his life his cocaine addiction had driven him to do many things including burglary, assault and even robbery but he said he never killed anyone.

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