Archive for September 14th, 2008

Melting Arctic ice alarming

| 14/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(In the News):  An "alarming" downward trend in summer sea ice in the Artic has led the WWF to predict there will be less ice this winter than during any other year. In response the conservation organisation is calling on the government to take note; reducing carbon emissions accordingly. Dr Martin Sommerkorn, senior climate change advisor at WWF International’s arctic programme said WWF was expecting 2008 to be the lowest or the second-lowest year in terms of summer ice coverage. Go to article

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Cigar bars exempt from ban

| 14/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The revised tobacco bill has, contrary to the wishes of health advocacy groups, given cigar bars an exemption from the smoking ban that the government has been proposing to introduce and has also left beaches as smoking zones. Presented to the Legislative Assembly last week, the long-awaited revised bill has changed significantly from the legislation that was first proposed.

 Although the Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS) and the Cayman Heart Fund have welcomed the bill itself, they say they both have concerns, especially with the exemption of cigar bars, which the organisations say have not been properly defined.

“While wewould have liked to have seen stricter controls on the display of tobacco products, we are particularly concerned with the exemptions to the prohibition of use of tobacco products in certain public places,” said the CICS in a statement. “We are concerned that we will see a sudden increase in the number of cigar bars. In some jurisdictions, to be classified as a cigar bar a certain percentage of an enterprise’s revenue has to be derived from the sale of cigars. We fervently hope that action will be taken to avoid an increase in the number of businesses licensed as cigar bars.”

The society also noted that from a health perspective cigars give off greater amounts of secondhand smoke than cigarettes, with many of the same toxic and carcinogenic substances as cigarettes but in higher concentrations. The exemption for cigar bars is dependent on a smoke extractor or ventilator system being installed, but the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has said the only means of effectively eliminating health risks associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.

“No other engineering approaches, including current and advanced dilution ventilation or air cleaning technologies, have demonstrated or should be relied upon to control health risks from ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) exposure in spaces where smoking occurs,” ASHRAE said in a policy statement  in 2006. The CICS noted that ventilation systems can remove the smell and sight of tobacco smoke but cannot remove the toxic substances in the air.

The health advocacy groups also said they were disappointed that outdoor bars and restaurants are exempt provided they designate no-smoking areas within the facility. As research suggests that non-smokers can still be affected outside when sitting a few yards from a smoker, the society said it hoped provision would be made for the smoking and no-smoking sections to have a buffer of a minimum of ten feet. CICS added that while “parks” are listed in the schedule of public places where smoking will not be permitted, it had noted the omission of beaches.

“Both parks and beaches are places where persons, including children, gather and in this regard we believe that if parks are to be included in the schedule then beaches should likewise be included,” said CICS.

Despite these various concerns, the society and the Heart Fund both acknowledged that the bill appears to comprehensively address issues relating to minors and the labelling, promotion, sale and distribution of tobacco products.

“We are pleased to see the legislation moving forward, despite the fact that it is not as comprehensive as we would have desired,” added CICS. “We hope that our elected officials lead Cayman in the direction of many of the world’s nations and pass the proposed bill into law without further delay. It is time for Cayman to have such legislation in place.”



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Mac wants public talks

| 14/09/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Leader of the Opposition has said he is happy to meet with the Leader of Government Business prior to the arrival of the London delegation regarding Constitutional talks. McKeeva Bush said that no matter what happens, he will be at the table to talk to FCO representatives as that is more important, but he said he is willing to meet with Kurt Tibbetts and the other local delegates in a public forum next week.

“We propose to talk to the government on 22 September along with the other NGOs. We can have four days to talk and we should do it where the public can listen,” said Bush, proposing somewhere in the Legislative Assembly building as a good place to meet. LoGB Kurt Tibbetts has called on Bush to meet with him on several occasions  to "close the gaps" before meeting with the NGOs and church groups and prior to the arrival of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office team on 29 September  to begin the constitutional negotiations with the UK.

Speaking to the people of North Side on Thursday, 18 September, about Cayman’s proposed new constitution, Bush said only a fool can’t change his mind and he is willing to listen to ideas, though he did not see which areas the two parties could agree on. He emphasised that the important thing was not to close down potential negotiations with the UK and to present the case from the point of view of the Caymanian people.

The meeting saw all of the Grand Cayman MLAs present as well as the party chair, Billy Reid, and was one of the UDP’s first public gatherings designed to find out what the people were thinking about the government’s proposed constitutional ideas and what they really wanted to see in any new constitutional document.

Bush said that while it had been an uphill struggle for the UDP to get their discussion paper out to the people because they were not given any financial support,  it was apparent once the government cancelled the referendum that its proposals were not necessarily what the people wanted.

He criticised the government for creating an official Secretariat, employing a professional constitutional consultant and spending money on pushing its political position on the constitution, for which they failed to gain support, while not even giving the UDP the $50,000 or so they asked for to get the opposition position paper circulated.

“The UDP has never had a preconceived position. We have always believed it should be shaped by what the people want,” added Bush. “On the contrary, the PPM have pushed what they want, which is all about their deep-rooted desire for power.”

He said the UDP would not be rushed over the constitution because, he said, the people still did not know for sure exactly what the implications were and what the changes would mean. Above all, he said there was no support for the government’s proposals. Bush said the people of Cayman wanted to maintain the relationship with the UK and that they were concerned over the government’s desire for more power over the police and to take powers from the Governor’s Office.

“It would be a sad day if they get this power. I don’t see anybody ready for that power. If they got it, we would be no better than a banana republic. We will not support power grabbing,” he added, saying the people of Cayman would not stand for it either. He said that the PPM was becoming nothing but a sinking ship with a drunken captain, whereas the talks needed to be sensible and sober.






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UDP says government should take responsibility

| 14/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Claims from government about its inability to influence the outcome of various political crisis are a result of poor governance, according to the Leader of the Opposition, McKeeva Bush. He condemned the PPM administration over recent attempts to remove themselves from a range of serious issues, including the so-called helicopter fiasco, the UCCI situation, and the extensive arrears in filing of financial statements of several high profile government bodies.

The Leader of the UDP said in a press statement on Friday, 12 September, that comments made by Kurt Tibbetts, Leader of Government Business, as well as other elected Cabinet ministers, regarding their failure to accept responsibility were not acceptable. “They have been elected by the people to serve and impart whatever influences they can on all parties involved, and this is what they should be doing,” he added. 

“What I find most disturbing is, not only are we witnessing a range of serious mishaps within the government, but we are consistently hearing from the elected members of the PPM government that they have no control or authority to deal with or to prevent these things from occurring.

“Why did they not ensure that adequate due diligence was carried out even taking into account Mr Kernohan’s advice on the helicopter? Where was the pressure from them on those responsible to ensure that the financial statements were filed?” he questioned.

He also asked why there has still not been a full and proper report on the situation which led to hundreds of thousands of dollars being stolen from UCCI, and he said the financial fiasco relating to the $1.5 billion in missing accounts demonstrated mismanagement of the country’s affairs. He also noted that Cabinet minister Arden Mclean recently claimed that he was misled on the million-dollar contract with Matrix.

“Yet to date there has been little acceptance by the PPM government of their political responsibility and accountability to the people of the Cayman Islands,” Bush added. “This is simply not acceptable. Holding your hands up and saying how disappointed you are is not leadership. Deflecting blame on the Governor and UK whenever possible … is not leadership. It is time for the Government to stop blaming others and accept full responsibility for not paying attention to the country’s affairs.

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Forbes awarded ‘Elite’ status

| 14/09/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Cayman’s 110 metre hurdler Ronald Forbes (left) was welcomed into the elite athlete’s programme on Friday night at an award ceremony honouring Cayman’s Beijing Olympic team. Forbes, along with CydonieMothersill, Shaune and Brett Fraser were also given financial assistance with their training and education from government.

The Ministry for Education Employment and Sports hosted the special event at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman to welcome the athletes home and congratulate them on their achievements.

Cydonie Mothersill who along with Charles Whittaker and Kareem Streete-Thompson is already an elite athlete was given a financial contribution towards her training and the Fraser brothers whoa re still amateur swimming athletes were told that the ministry was making a contribution towards their tuition at the University of Florida. Forbes was also given a direct donation towards his training but was also welcomed into the special athlete programme which brings with it other financial benefits and support on an annual basis from government.

All four Olympians (left) also received a specially designed Olympic trophy and certificate marking their achievements at the diner in front of friends, family, well-wishers and government dignitaries. All the athletes made personal and nationals best time s during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Forbes made the semi-finals and Cydonie became the first Caymanian athlete to compete in an Olympic final.

The Governor, Stuart Jack (also left),  the Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and the Minister for Sport Alden McLaughlin all paid tribute to the Cayman Olympic competitors.

“Having competed with the world’s best athletes you have experienced the heat of Olympic competition, only you know what it is like to carry the hopes of a small nation where victory is measured in 100ths of a second,” said McLaughlin. “We are all extremely proud of you.”

The evening and awards ceremony was hosted by the Chief Officer in the ministry Angela Martins.

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CUC says profits cut to wire

| 14/09/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): As fuel factor surcharges reached the highest rate ever on customer’s bills this month Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) said to absorb anymore of the increased operating costs would undermine the viability of the firm.  “CUC has been absorbing increases in all other costs which have been rising significantly since 2002 as rates have been frozen,” said Richard Hew President and CEO.


“In addition we gave rate reductions in January of this year. To absorb further costs would seriously erode the financial viability of the company and its ability to meet its obligations to serve our customers reliably,” said Hew in the wake of published explanations for the very high fuel surcharges in September.

Last week CUC said that the fuel cost factor for September which reached an all time high of 27.28 cents per kilowatt-hour was based on the price of fuel in July when prices had soared but the firm said the rate would come down for October’s bill.

Encouraging customers to conserve energy because of the ever fluctuating price of fuel which dictates CUCs charges Hew said that he believed  that while fuel costs have recently been at all time highs there is still no proven technology that can replace diesel engines to provide reliable electricity at lower costs.

Until the recently re-negotiated contract with government CUC was not obligated to seek out alternative energy sources. Moreover, the firm’s previous licence effectively prevented the public from seeking their own alternative options such as solar panels as customers could not power share. AS a result Cayman still depends entirely on diesel to generate its electricity. Under the new agreement however, CUC must now find ways to generate power through sustainable means and is seeking partners to work with them on alternative projects.

“We are currently seeking parties interested in installing wind turbines, and will shortly be accepting customer owned renewable generation on the grid which will likely facilitate small scale wind and photovoltaics,” Hew said.


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MASH star visiting Cayman

| 14/09/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): One of America’s most acclaimed actors will be appearing at Books and Books in Camana Bay next week. Signing copies and reading from his memoir Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, Alan Alda is likely to generate plenty of attention, so this is a ticket only event.  Alda will be discussing his book from 7:00 pm on Wednesday, and the tickets are available with the purchase of Alda’s new book, or his previous memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, which are both available in paperback editions.

Alan Alda is one of America’s most recognizable actors – the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. He is also a star on the stage and big screen having been an Oscar nominee for his role in The Aviator.

Picking up where his bestselling memoir Never Have Your Dog Stuffed left off – having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile – Alda offers an insightful and funny look at some impossible questions he’s asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? — And what does that even mean?

Alda listens in on things he’s heard himself saying at critical points in his life – from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of 11 September and beyond.  Reflecting on the transitions in his life he says that “doorways are where the truth is told".  In a book that is described by the critics as candid, wise, and as questioning as it is incisive, Alda meditates on questions great and small.

Having played Hawkeye Pierce for eleven years on M*A*S*H, Alda has acted in, written, and directed many feature films, and has appeared often on Broadway. His avid interest in science has led to his hosting PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years. He is married to the children’s book author and photographer Arlene Alda. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Alda is a guest of Books & Books with the support of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.


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Quin gets official nod as Grand Court Judge

| 14/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): After almost a quarter century in Cayman’s legal arena Charles Quin, QC, has been appointed as the country’s fourth Grand Court judge. Quin signed the instruments on Thursday, 11 September, following the announcement by Governor Stuart Jack, although Quin has been acting as judge since May of this year.

 “It is a very challenging position,” said Quin. “I look forward to assisting the Chief Justice and the other Puisne Judges.”

Prior to the appointment, Quin was senior partner of law firms Quin & Hampson (from 1992) and Mourant (Cayman). He has served on the bench before and has been an acting magistrate of the Summary Court since 1993.

He also has held legal positions in other regional countries. He served as a crown counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers in Bermuda from 1981 to 1984. He also acted as Attorney General of Montserrat, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004.

The Chief Justice, Hon Anthony Smellie, said he is very pleased to welcome Justice Quin to the Grand Court. “Having been acquainted with Justice Quin for the past 25 years, I am confident that his very diverse experience in many areas of the law and his knowledge and understanding of the Cayman community will enable him to respond appropriately to all matters coming before the Court,” he said.

Educated at Southampton University and the Queen`s University of Belfast, Quin was called to the bar of Northern Ireland in 1978, where he practised law until 1981. He was admitted as an attorney of Grand Cayman’s Grand Court in January 1985 and was called to the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean in September 2005.

Quin was president of the Cayman Islands Law Society from 1999 to 2000, and again in 2006-2007. As an attorney, he has appeared before higher courts in Ireland, Bermuda, Eastern Caribbean, and Grand Cayman, as well as the Privy Council.  He also has been involved in negotiations with international financial bodies as part of Cayman’s team, such as to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1999.

His notable presentations at overseas conferences include at the Commonwealth Lawyers Association in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2007 on corporate governancein the Cayman Islands. Quin is currently Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Cayman Islands Cricket Association.


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Market makes final sale

| 14/09/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Customers said a fond farewell on Friday to Fort Street Market when it closed its doors for the final time after almost ten years. The closure is as a result of the expiration of the lease on the building which the firm opted not to renew. According to teh store’s parent company Foster’s Food Fair IGA, the decision was a “difficult one” but Woody Foster, the firm’s MD, said it was an opportunity not to be missed.

“When Foster’s Food Fair IGA was presented with the opportunity to focus on its core business, it was an opportunity that could not be missed,” Foster said in a release. He also explained that each of the staff from the market were given the opportunity to relocate within the Foster group.

“We realize our staff plays an important role in the success of our business and we are happy to have the staff of Fort Street Market join Foster’s Food Fair IGA team,” added. Foster.“Even though we are saddened to have to close Fort Street Market, we look forward to new opportunities for both the staff and Foster’s Food Fair IGA.”

Foster also extended his thanks to all those who had patronized the store over the years and has confirmed that the group will be concentrating on its main grocery stores and will not re-open the market elsewhere.

Above the store in the 1,500 square foot offices who may now also be forced to look for a new home is the team from Scotland Yard who are currently conducting an investigation into alleged corruption in Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. However, Martin Bridger, Senior Investigating Officer and head of the team said recently that having to leave the office would not mean his investigation was over.

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Watery cardboard antics return to Pirates Week

| 14/09/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following its debut appearance last year at the Pirates Week festival, and not to be confused with the Million Dollar Run, Cayman’s Cardboard Regatta is back. Once again organiser Russell Linford of Build Cayman Ltd is looking for talented sailors who are good with cardboard to pull together a race line-up for what certainly proved a very entertaining event. Sponsored by Caybrew, the event will raise funds to build Cayman’s first playground for children with disabilities.

“Last year was a big success and we look forward to this year’s event in November,” said Linford. “This is a great event for company team building or, if you wish to enter more than one boat, some interdepartmental friendly rivalry.” He added that the funds he hopes to raise with this year’s event, combined with last year’s money, should guarantee that the much-needed special playground will be finished in 2009.

A pre-race social is planned for 29 October, and the race itself takes place on Saturday, 15 November, starting and finishing at Harbour Beach, George Town. The challenging route takes competitors around Rock Island, where several craft came a cropper last year.  As well as the prestige of winning, there will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, Best Costume & Best Boat combination, Most Spectacular Sinking and others.

The current cup holder is the Red Sail Sports crew and the Beach Rampage, which swept to victory far too easily last year, but Best Boat went to the planning department’s Plan 2 Win.

Corporate and private teams are welcome, and anyone interested in taking part should contact Sophie Snape on 949 0471 or


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