Archive for January 15th, 2009

Sculpture Garden planned

| 15/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands has announced plans to open the first formal public sculpture garden in Cayman. The major project, which has received significant financial support from Deutsche Bank, will feature a number of landscaped brick walkways meandering through permanent and temporary sculpture exhibitions by Caymanian artists. Benches are also to be installed, enabling visitors to rest whilst in the garden.

Due to be officially opened in 2010, the Sculpture Garden will measure more than 2,000 square feet and access to it will be free for visitors.to the National Gallery, according to a release from Deutsche Bank. The Sculpture Garden is to be created in order to ensure that the National Gallery can stage outdoor visual art and design exhibitions in their natural environment, to complement what is already on show indoors.

Nancy Kirkaldy-Barnard, Director of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands,welcomed the proposed plans for the Sculpture Garden. “We are very excited to be the future home of the first formal public sculpture garden in the Cayman Islands. The garden will take up a substantial area of the land at the site and we hope that Gallery members and all of our visitors alike will visit it often. We appreciate the support that we receive from our longtime friends at Deutsche Bank and their sponsorship of this wonderful aspect of the new Gallery,” she said.

A global supporter of the arts, Deutsche Bank has built up its own collection of more than 53,000 works of art, housed in 921 buildings and 28 museums around the world. As well as being accessible for employees at Deutsche Bank, these artworks are also exhibited for other artists and the public in the various locations the Bank has a presence in.

Janet Hislop, Chief Country Officer, Deutsche Bank Cayman Islands, added, “Deutsche Bank believes passionately in art as a source of inspiration and enlightenment and continues to strengthen its partnership with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Our support of this major initiative builds on the Internship and the Scholarship schemes already in place and will give locals and visitors alike the opportunity to engage with sculpture work by Caymanian artists. I am looking forward to seeing how our contribution will help as this unique space develops and makes visiting the new National Gallery a really rich experience.”

Photo: Left to right: Janet Hislop (Chief Country Officer, Deutsche Bank), Nancy Kirkaldy-Barnard (Director, National Gallery), and David Dyer (Director, Deutsche Bank), with an artwork by Caymanian artist Al Ebanks

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Grand Cayman gets greener

| 15/01/2009 | 12 Comments

(CNS): In a major step to the introduction of renewable energy in the Cayman Islands, CUC customers will soon be able to use solar energy panels and wind generators and sell the energy generated but not used back to the power company, following the approval by the Cayman Islands Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA). CUC expects to be able to connect customers and commence billing by mid to late March.

Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) will allow customers in Grand Cayman to connect renewable energy systems to CUC’s distribution system and to reduce their monthly energy bills by generating their own power from renewable energy while remaining connected to CUC’s grid.

Jonathan Tibbetts, Manager of Cayman Brac Power and Light Company, which provides electricity to both Sister Islands, said that the CBP&L licence does not allow for CORE.  However, he said they were looking into it.

According to a CUC release, the CORE program will also provide for customers to be credited for self generated, renewable energy, whether consumed by the customer or used by CUC for other customers, through the existing transmission and distribution system.

CORE is energy generated from a technology such as small scale solar systems or wind turbines. Such renewable energy options will have a positive impact on the island’s environment and also help to reduce its dependence on fuel oil, diversify its power supply, lower sensitivity to fuel price fluctuations and to help limit further increases in air pollutants including greenhouse gases, says CUC.

Customers wishing to obtain further details or wishing to participate in the program may sign up immediately by contacting CUC’s Customer Service Department at 949-4300. CUC expects by mid to late March to be able to connect customers generating power from renewables, and customers can begin to reduce their monthly bills through sales to CUC at that time.

This programme is available to customers as the result of approval being given by the ERA to the terms and rates. Kendal Ryan, Chairman of the ERA, noted, “The ERA is pleased to approve the CORE programme, in furtherance of the recently passed ERA Law (2008 Revision), and CUC’s new licences issued in April 2008, in which there is a requirement to encourage clean renewable sources of power. We encourage consumers in a position to install renewables to assess their options for doing so.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of CUC, Richard Hew, said, “We are pleased to facilitate this important step in establishing renewable energy in Grand Cayman. Customer-generated renewable energy will have a positive impact on the environment. This plan offers consumers who generate energy through renewable means that may not be continuous, the opportunity to interconnect with and benefit from the reliability of CUC’s electricity distribution system.”

CORE participants will receive a credit (CORE Credit) for energy generated through renewable means. The CORE Credit equates to costs which CUC avoids by purchasing CORE generation, such as fuel and lubricants plus an allowance towards other avoided variable costs. The CORE customer will be billed monthly at the normal retail rate for their total energy consumption and credited at the CORE rate for the output of their generation. This billing arrangement will ensure that infrastructure costs required to operate the transmission and distribution system for CORE participants will not be subsidized by non-CORE consumers.

If the net energy for the month is negative (CORE generation exceeds consumption), then the surplus energy will be banked for that consumer to use against net positive consumption in the future.

A CORE Credit agreement between the consumer and CUC will set out the terms under which services, connectivity, metering and billing credits will be governed. There will be a limit of 10 kW of capacity or the peak load of customer’s premises if less than 10 kW, for each residential CORE installation to avoid over-sizing of the CORE installation, and the CORE program will be in place for a trial period ending December 2010 after which time a review of its operations will be undertaken.

The CUC release says the CORE program provides an excellent opportunity for both CUC and its customers to participate in protecting the environment. By utilizing renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to generate electricity, CUC and its customers will be able to reduce exhaust gas emissions, reduce the use of natural resources and contribute to the overall protection of the environment both in Grand Cayman and globally.

CUC provides electricity to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, under a non-exclusive Electricity Generation Licence expiring in 2029 and an exclusive Electricity Transmission and Distribution Licence expiring in 2028. Further information is available at www.cuc-cayman.com, or the Electricity Regulatory Authority site www.caymanera.com.

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Governor stands by Bridger

| 15/01/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Members of the local legal profession are still waiting for a formal public statement from the Governor, Stuart Jack, that he has confidence in the wider Cayman Islands Judiciary. However, Jack has attempted to defend his own actions on a local radio talk show in the wake of damning criticism from the judiciary over Operation Tempura and the actions of SIO Martin Bridger in the unlawful arrest of Justice Alex Henderson.

Despite questions to the governor’s office regarding the recent comments over the need for him to support the Cayman judiciary and calls for the removal of Bridger, CNS has still not received an answer. However, Stuart Jack did mention at the end of an unannounced and suprise appearance on Crosstalk, a public radio phone-in show on Rooster 101.9, that he felt the wider public and the business community could have confidence in the local judiciary and he was very pleased that Henderson was back on the bench.

In the face of Sir Peter Cresswell’s emphatic recent rulings on what were described as SIO Bridger’s very fundamental and serious errors in arresting Henderson for an offence that did not exist, the governor again commended Bridger whom he said was an excellent professional police officer.

Evading any direct answers about the entire affair surrounding Henderson and Bridger’s part in the judge’s unlawful arrest, the governor said that everyone makes mistakes and the community should be more forgiving, but he recognized that he had ultimate responsibility.

He said Operation Tempura was all about a police force that the country could trust, but he could not say more because the lawyers had advised him not to. He said that it was hard for him to keep the public informed even though he wanted to, and added that the same applied to the democratically elected members of Cabinet.

Addressing criticisms and complaints from them that he was not telling the elected officials fundamental things regarding the investigation, he said he did not want to take issue with his Cabinet colleagues given the constraints of what is under investigation and what is before the courts. But he did say that he thought it best that the democratically elected members were not directly involved in police matters, otherwise Cayman could become like the former Soviet Union where he served in the past.

“We have tried to keep them as well informed as we can,” he said. “We have a constitution at the moment that does not actually provide a lot of scope for involving the government in police matters and fundamentally my view is that is right,” Jack stated.

He did, however, note the sticky issue that Cabinet was fundamental in appropriating the funds he needed to continue the investigation.

However, CNS has learned that in recent cabinet meetings the elected officials have made it very clear they are not prepared to appropriate any more funds for Operation Tempura. At issue is the unknown sum for Henderson’s judicial review, which not only includes the justice’s claim for damages, which is said to be in the region of $2.5 million, but his costs as well as Bridger’s expenses for attempting to defend the judicial review. This included an incredible team of legal experts, barristers and QC’s from the UK.

The auditor general is now conducting an investigation into the expenditure of this whole 16 month investigation,which has yet to reveal any serious corruption or misconduct. It is estimated to have cost anything from CI$ 4-10 million, which will come out of the Caymanian people’s pocket. Even if the elected officials refuse to appropriate the neccessry funds, the governor will be able to use his reserve powers.

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