Archive for August 18th, 2008

Cayman gets all clear on Tropical Storm Fay

| 18/08/2008 | 0 Comments

As Tropical Storm Fay moved towards Florida, all warnings and watches are discontinued for the Cayman Islands. The Hazard Management Cayman Islands’ Joint Communications Service warned that Cayman could still experience heavy showers which may lead to flooding of low-lying areas, mainly over the Sister Islands.

At 8:00 am Monday (18 August) Tropical Storm Fay was located about 80 miles east of Havana, Cuba and about 100 miles south-southeast of Key West and gaining strength.  Moving toward the north-northwest near 12 mph, the motion was expected to continue for the next 24 hours with a turn to the north expected on Tuesday.  Maximum sustained winds are now near 60 mph with higher gusts and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.  Some strengthening is expected as the centre of Fay moves over water and it may be approaching hurricane strength by the time it gets to Florida where a state of emergency has been declared.

CNS contacted Cayman Airways and was informed that by 9:00 am no flights had yet been cancelled but they were unsure if this situation would change later in the day.

The sixth storm of what experts predict will be an unusually busy Atlantic hurricane season, Fay has claimed at least four lives in Haiti and the Dominican Republic with torrential rains and floods.

 

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Forbes over first Olympic ‘hurdle’

| 18/08/2008 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Breaking his own personal best of 13.63 with a time of 13.59 Ronald Forbes (2nd left) has made it through to the quarter finals in his Olympic 110 metre hurdles debut. Finishing fifth in his own heat with a Cayman Islands national record, Forbes was placed 19 out of 43 to make the top 32. “It’s a new national record and I think the race went real well,” said Forbes.

Forbes has been out of competition for several weeks struggling to a beat a foot injury.  "It could have been better but I only had about two weeks of solid practice and am still not fully recovered, but the time speaks for itself. It was my best effort.” 

Forbes’ coach Kenrick Williams was delighted with his performance and noted that the young athlete had reduced his time from 14.28 to 13.59 in less than twelve months .”It’s tremendous work and it shows tremendous ability, we could not have asked for more. He has made a personal record at his first Olympics,” said Williams.

Forbes too said that anyone who knew about times in the 110m hurdles would recognise that shaving that much off in less than year was a significant achievement.

“Anyone who knows about time knows that’s like a bus length,” said Forbes, who acknowledged that many of the athletes in Beijing have more experience than him but it wasn’t going to stop him from putting in his best performance. Having broken his current best time, which he set at the NCAA nationals in Iowa in June, Forbes said he would be aiming for another PB and to correct the mistakes he believes he made in the first round in the next race.

The Olympic record holder and the man tipped for the top spot, China’s Liu Xiang, stunned the audience when he hobbled out of his heat with an injury, but Forbes said he would not be distracted by the situation regarding other athletes.

“We are all fierce competitors here and who ever gives the best effort walks away with it,” he said.

Forbes will make his next Olympic appearence in the quarter finals on Tuesday. (Photos: Shurna Robbins)

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Texaco says rules won’t help

| 18/08/2008 | 1 Comment

The country’s second local fuel supplier has now raised its concerns over government’s decision to introduce regulations regarding the way fuel is priced. Chevron Caribbean Inc, trading under the Texaco brand name in the Cayman Islands, said in a statement that regulation would not be the best way to resolve the problems of rising fuel costs.

"Although sensitive to the Government’s concern over the high fuel prices, regulation is not the best way to address the matter, since it will not allow market forces to work in favor of the consumer,” the oil firm said.

Chevron specified that prices are posted at all Texaco service stations so consumers can have information that allows them to make their decision on where to purchase gas. That makes competition react, getting the market working for the consumer. The company explained that their prices are based on the cost of the product in the international market, which has been rising since the beginning of the year, influenced by several factors such as the weakness of the US dollar and fundamental factors that impact the balance of supply and demand of crude oil, making product prices reach record levels this year.

Echoing the sentiments made by Alan Neesome, Country Manager of Esso, that the current volatility in the oil market is a worldwide problem, Texaco said the issue was a global phenomenon, not only impacting the Cayman Islands.

Last week Neesome told CNS that government’s decision to have oil distributors notify the Chief Petroleum Inspector before increasing their prices goes against the principles of a free market. He said it was biased against the oil companies, but above all it would not address the problem of escalating fuel costs.

“Competition is to the benefit of all consumers and Governments must promote equal treatment among market players, industries, technologies and favour policies that enhance competitiveness,” he said.

Government announced plans at the weekly cabinet press briefing to amend the Dangerous Substances Handling and Storage Law (2003) to regulate the process by which the two wholesale distributors of gasoline and diesel and any other future distributor could increase their prices. The oil distributors will have to notify the Inspector in writing of plans to increase fuel, and failure to notify the Inspector could result in a fine of $10,000. Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts explained that the Inspector would be required to consider relevant factors, which may include data provided by the wholesalers, or public interest in making his decisions and if wholesalers are dissatisfied they would be able to appeal.

“Oil prices are siphoning money out of everyone’s pockets,” said Tibbetts. This government’s foremost responsibility is to look after the welfare of its citizens, and this is exactly what we hope to do with these amendments.”

However, Neesome noted that comparisons between regulated oil markets with free markets reveal that consumers are best served by allowing market forces to determine fuel prices.

“Government policies that minimise interference in the free market system are the best course to ensure adequate supplies,” added Neesome. He explained that while many people assume wholesale or retail regulations protect consumers from higher prices,  he said that more often than not such market distortions undermine service, supply and reliability by encouraging gasoline consumption and discouraging investment, but above all the government would not prevent international price variation from impacting local prices.

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