Archive for November 18th, 2008

Back to school for Brac Years 11 & 12

| 18/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Work is progressing to re-open the Cayman Brac High School later this week despite a temporary loss of power caused by a blown transformer. Notwithstanding this setback, students from years 11 and 12 are expected to be able to return to school on Friday, and it is anticipated that students in all other years will return during the course of next week.

After initially re-establishing power to the school on Saturday, workers from Cayman Brac Power & Light are once again working diligently to replace the affected transformer which blew sometime on Monday. The replacement transformer is expected to arrive in Cayman Brac tomorrow (Wednesday) and power is expected to be fully restored on Thursday.

Commenting on the progress made, Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler stated that the Department of Education Services is pleased that students from years 11 and 12 can be accommodated and look forward to having all students back in school as soon as possible.

To this end, all teachers in Cayman Brac are to report to work on Wednesday 19th November and are asked to contact either their principal or Acting Learning Community Leader Tammy Banks-Dacosta on 916 6287 if they have any questions or concerns.

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Cayman’s Revolution on TV

| 18/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(Forbes): A TV series that explains the origins of the financial crisis is being sponsored by sponsor: the Cayman Islands. A new show that aired in Britain on Monday claiming to unravel the mysteries behind the global financial crisis,is a six-part television series on Channel 4 titled The Ascent of Money. It is the DOT said, Cayman’s first-ever TV sponsorship deal and worth "a six-figure" sum.  Go to article

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Kernohan sacked

| 18/11/2008 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan, who has been the subject of a mystery special police investigation for some nine months or more, has been terminated from his post by the Governor. “After reviewing all the circumstances, of Mr Kernohan’s conduct as it relates to the terms and conditions of his employment including his continuous unauthorised absence from the Islands, I am left with no option but to accept that he has unilaterally severed his contract,” Jack said in a written statement.

Following the release to the media on Monday 17 November of an open letter sent to the Governor in October from Kernohan’s legal representatives requesting his reinstatement, the Governor released a written statement  on Tuesday afternoon, 18 November, saying that he was personally disappointed that Kernohan had published what the Governor described as private correspondence sent when there was potential disciplinary acts against him. 

“Not only was this an inappropriate action but the letter also contains groundless allegations which I categorically refute,” Jack added in the written statement.

However, the letter from Campbells Attorneys was marked as an open letter and focused on the Chief Justice’s ruling suggesting no crime had been committed and indicated that there was no evidence that Kernohan had done anything wrong. (See CNS Kernohan accuses Governor)

The Governor said in his written statement, however, that having reviewed the circumstances, Kernohan’s behavior amounted to a severing of his employment with the Cayman Islands Government, and he therefore was treating that employment as at an end. He said that he was “advised that the termination of the contract does not in any way affect the ongoing police investigation against Mr Kernohan, whom I understand the police intend to interview shortly.”

Jack stated that he had set things in motion to recruit a full time replacement. “In acknowledgement of the critical role of the Police Commissioner for these Islands and in particular the morale of serving officers in the RCIPS I have instructed the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs to immediately commence the recruitment process for a new full time Commissioner,” the Governor said, adding that he would continue to ensure that the public was kept up-to-date as developments take place.

A number of significant developments regarding Operation Tempura have taken place in recent weeks, however, to which the Governor or the SIO of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) Martin Bridger have yet to respond. In particular, there has still been no response to the clearance of Justice Alex Henderson, the fact that the warrants acquired by Bridger were ruled unlawful or the acknowledgement by Sir Peter Cresswell, who presided over Henderson’s Judicial Review, of the legitimacy of the Chief Justice’s ruling in February of this year that no crime had been committed with regards the alleged entry into the offices of Cayman Net News, which was said to be the cause of Kernohan’s suspension.

Kernohan’s spokesperson David Legge said a statement will be issued by Stuart Kernohan shortly. Check back to CNS for that update. 

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Aid for Brac business

| 18/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The first loan approved by the Cayman Islands Development Bank (CIIB) under the previously announced Post Paloma Relief plan was to a car rental agency on Cayman Brac. The owners advised the visiting party that their vehicles’ windows and lights were severely affected by flying debris and required replacements even though the fleet of vehicles were protected from flooding. And a CIIB hotline has been set up as a comprehensive source of information for small business owners in the Sister Islands.  Minister Charles Clifford said the need for reliable information was paramount.

The toll free number is 1 800 534 0004.

The idea for the hotline came about after last week’s joint visit by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Investment & Commerce and the Cayman Islands InvestmentBureau to hurricane ravaged Cayman Brac.

Minister of Investment & Commerce, the Honourable Charles Clifford says the need for this single source for information was evident, “The need for timely and reliable information is paramount especially during times of crisis. The telephone system is one of the few reliable communication tools in the Paloma affected areas. By bringing together this diverse range of information the CIIB is providing an extremely valuable service to the people of the Sister Islands. We can assure the people of Cayman Brac that the Investment Bureau will continue to look for innovative ways to service small businesses as well as the wider community.”

Minister of Commerce Charles Clifford, along with the Chairperson of the Board and General Manager for CIIB recently paid a visit to Cayman Brac. Included on the agenda were meetings with small business owners to determine levels of assistance required to facilitate their operational needs, a release from the Ministry said.

Minister Clifford underscored the value of the CIDB visit to the sister Islands, “In this time of dire need it was important for the CIDB to reach out to its affected customers and potential customers in the Sister Islands. It is also important for us to understand first hand the challenges those businesses face as they rebuild.”

Sister Islands Representative Mr. Moses Kirkconnell was very appreciative of the CIDB and their plans for support, “We are very grateful for the assistance from the CIDB. As in all economies, the vast majority of businesses on the Sister Islands are small businesses. While small businesses are the ones most vulnerable to catastrophic events, such as we experienced here on the Brac; they can more dramatically benefit from loans and financial programs such as those offered by CIDB.”

CIDB General Manager Ralph Lewis was pleased to be in a position to assist, “Our relief plan announced last week is in place and financial assistance has already been provided for some of our clients on the Sister Islands. We are happy that we could address our customer’s request for assistance within 3 business days in order to allow him to be fully operational in the near future.”

As well as meeting the owners of the car rental agency, the group also met the owners of a bakery located in Spot Bay. These customers had requested assistance with the expansion of their facility to meet increased demands, being the only operational bakery on the Sister Islands. To assist this customer, an order has been placed with an overseas vendor for delivery of additional equipment for the Bakery.

According to Minister Clifford, “We understand that small businesses are the lifeblood of an economy, and the Sister Islands are no exception. Where those businesses need help the CIDB will be there to provide financial assistance and to help them get back on their feet.”

Existing business customers and potential customers are encouraged to contact the CIDB for an appointment to discuss their financial needs during the Bank’s weekly visit.

For more information on the Hurricane Relief programme and to make an appointment to meet with Mr. Lewis and other CIDB representatives in Cayman Brac, please contact the Disaster Coordinator, Rhonda Conolly at 814 6262 or Mr. Lewis at 814-6269.


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Little Cayman itches to open

| 18/11/2008 | 1 Comment

(CNS): As more of Little Cayman is restored to the main power grid, it is expected that the island will be open for tourists by Thursday. While the smaller Sister Island was far less affected by Hurricane Paloma, the main issue for resorts and residents was the large number of downed power poles. With a CUC crew now on Little Cayman to assist the 2-man CB Power & Light team stationed there, the pace of power restoration has now speeded up.

The privately owned Edward Bodden airstrip was undamaged and the first plane after the hurricane landed Saturday afternoon, 8 November – a few hours after Paloma passed – to pick up portable landing lights for the Brac airport. The bay for the fire truck on Little Cayman was destroyed and the airport still has no power or water but the Fire Service is operating normally.

Following the power outages caused by the hurricane, the Little Cayman Clinic was left without a generator for ten days until Monday, 18 November, which was an impediment to reopening the island for tourists, resort owners were told. Until it was hooked up Monday night, the island’s nurse was operating out of the hurricane shelter, which is in the same building, CNS has learned.

Southern Cross Club (SCC) has had power and water since the Tuesday after the storm, said the resort’s owner, Peter Hillenbrand. Both the SCC docks were damaged during Hurricane Gustav in September, and while the dive dock is fully repaired, the fishing dock still needs some work. However, Paloma left little mark on the resort and it was ready to open by last Sunday, Hillenbrand said.

The SCC has now been inspected and passed for electricity, environmental health, fire safety and tourism. “At this point we are itching to get going,” he said.

Paradise Villas Manager Marc Pothier said that the resort would be ready for visitors within 24 hours of power being restored. He had refunded three people who had had to cancel but all other guests who had booked over this period – about 20 people – had rescheduled.

At the Little Cayman Beach Resort (LCBR), Manager Jason Belporte said the 16 rooms that they had recently renovated would be open as soon as power returned, and he was hopeful that that would happen today (Tuesday). Guests were booked and ready to come on the 22 November and his staff had been working hard so that when mains power was restored, the resort would be ready to receive it. In the meantime, they were using a 45 kilowatt generator, rented from Alba Electrical Contractors in Grand Cayman, which was enough to power both guest wings, the dining area and the lobby, though none of his staff accommodation had electricity. The LCBR dock, which had been repaired after Gustav, was 100% intact, he said.

The Conch Club Condominiums and The Club, which Belporte also manages, would remain closed for now. The Conch Club, which was still undergoing repairs from Hurricane Gustav, should be open for 60% occupancy by 1 December, while The Club would probably be closed until just before Christmas, he said.

Gladys Howard, the owner at Pirates’ Point Resort, said she had been promised power by the end of the week. However, when power was restored to the LCBR she could use their generator to run the compound and work on recovery. She had been toldby the Department of Tourism (DoT) that she could not receive guests until the resort was back on mains electricity, despite the fact that Pirates’ Point had run on generator power for six years before the Cayman Brac Power & Light had begun operations on that island, and Howard said she did not understand the DoT rule. One couple who had booked for Thanksgiving had stayed at the resort 24 times in 22 years, including the six years of generator power and she knew they would not mind, she said.

The resort had lost part of their roof over the club house, office, store room and game room and she and her staff were working very hard to clean up. Other than that, apart from the loss of trees, lots of rocks to move and the pool to clean up, the resort was fine. “We have never had to go through an approval after a hurricane before,” Howard said. “I think we’re self-governing enough that we would not open if guests would be compromised.”

Pirates’ Point had had some cancellations because Cayman Airways had told people that they could not travel to Little Cayman. However, Howard said that Acting Director of DoT Shomari Scott had assured resort owners at a meeting on Monday that he would be working with CAL to make sure the right information was disseminated to guests.

Little Cayman residents were also left without supplies until the barge last Saturday – one week after the storm – and several residents told CNS that, while they understood the greater need of those on the Brac, they were frustrated by the lack of support for Little Cayman, which did not receive any aid or any of the donated generators sent to the Brac.

However, bookings for Christmas and New Year are very positive for Little Cayman, with several resorts saying they are full over the holidays. However, as Hillenbrand pointed out, while bookings in the short term look solid, the long-tern outlook could be affected by the downturn in the global economy, especially in the US.

“We’re keeping an eye on it – it seems prudent to play it tight to the vest. The fear is that tourism will have a tough high season, but hopefully the US and world economies will improve by next spring,” Hillenbrand said.

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A taste of Cayman’s best

| 18/11/2008 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Expected to be a cacophony of gastronomic entertainment the 21st Taste of Cayman Food and Wine Festival gets underway at 5pm on Saturday, 22 November at Camana Bay, featuring live entertainment, fireworks, prizes and something for everyone.The main Paseo at Camana Bay will become “Cayman Court” for one night where the Market at the Grounds will be bringing the market to Camana Bay with an ole time cook-off and an abundance of local delicacies and crafts.

The heart of the Taste of Cayman Festival on Market Street will see Cayman’s finest restaurants presenting a sampling of their best dishes including local and international cuisine selections. Professionals and amateur chefs will compete to create the Best Traditional and Best Contemporary Caymanian dish. Prizes are awarded to the competition winners. From Champion House to the Ritz Periwinkle the food will be cooking till midnight.

Gardenia Court will be transformed into the wine tasting Luna del Mar Lounge the perfect setting for adult guests to relax after making the culinary rounds or to taste and discuss wines and even to cut loose and dance. Guests will be able to taste a wide variety of wines from around the world in a variety of settings. This year’s event is looking forward to hosting over 20 different vineyards featuring hundreds of exciting wines, with all proceeds benefitting the Cayman Islands Tourism Association charities.

Meanwhile for the youngsters Jasmine Court comes alive with Butterfield’s Kid’s Corner, filled with many exciting activities such as mini tennis, face painting, jewelry making and even a blue iguana craft making activity. The area will be centrally located around the interactive water feature, which is already famous with the little ones. This area will tie together the experience for the whole family by offering an outlet for kids to experience “The Taste” while enjoying all of their favorite elements. The Butterfield Kid’s Corner will also feature ice cream from Dairy Queen, Popcorn, Snow cones and of course pizza.

Proceeds benefit the Lighthouse School, the Pines Retirement Home and many other local charities. In addition, the event raises money for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association Scholarship Fund, which assists Caymanians to pursue a career in the tourism industry.

Tickets for the Food and Wine Festival at Camana Bay are now on sale for $40 prepaid or $50 at the gate, which gives patrons admission and entry into the raffle. Admission only tickets are $25 each for adults and $10 for kids under 12. Kids under 6 are free.

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Appeal Judges join CI court

| 18/11/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three new judges have been appointed by H.E the Governor Stuart Jack to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. The Right Hon. Sir John Chadwick, Dr The Hon. Abdulai Conteh and The Hon. Geoffrey Vos QC who the Governor said bring a wealth of commercial experience that will prove invaluable to the Cayman Islands.

Sir John Chadwick, formerly a Lord Justice of Appeal of England and Wales (1997-2007), will be President of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal was formerly and appeal court Judge in Jersey and Guernsey (1986 – 1992). He was appointed a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales (Chancery Division) in 1991 and currently holds judicial office as a Lieutenant Bailiff of Guernsey and a Judge of the Court of the Dubai International Financial Centre. 

Dr. The Hon. Abdulai Conteh has been Chief Justice of Belize since 2000 and is trustee of the Caribbean Court of Justice. He has served as both Attorney General and Minister of Justice in his home country of Sierra Leone. 

The Hon. Geoffrey Vos QC, a leading member of the English is also a Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey, sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in England and Wales and was Chairman of the Bar Council in 2007. 

The Governor expressed his gratitude for the commitment and hard work of the Rt. Hon. Edward Zaccaand of the Hon. Justice Martin Taylor as President and Member of the Court of Appeal respectively. He said with Justices of Appeal Ian Forte and Elliott Mottley continuing, these three new appointments will bring the complement of the Court up to five. 

The formal swearing-in appointment of Sir John Chadwick and Dr. Hon. Abdulai Conteh will take place on 11December 2008, when they will visit the Islands for familiarization purposes; and that of Justice Vos, who will be sitting for the November to December session; will take place on the morning of 24 November 2008. The panel for the November to December session will therefore be Hon. Justice Ian Forte as acting President, along with Hon. Justices Elliott Mottley and Geoffrey Vos. 

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