Archive for January 26th, 2009

Road deaths cause alarm for new commissioner

| 26/01/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): With 10 road deaths in Cayman during 2007, 11 during 2008 and another fatal car crash occurring on the Brac some three weeks into the New Year, Acting Police Commissioner James Smith said he has significant concerns about the death rate on local roads given the size of the jurisdiction. Crashes on Cayman’s roads are continuing to increase with 1,470 in 2008, 160 more than those recorded in 2007, despite efforts to police drivers.

“It is of concern that in the last year eleven people lost their lives on the road. For me that is a very high figure for what is a small jurisdiction,” said Smith. “We are working with partner agencies and looking at strategies to regain some ground on road deaths.”

He said that road safety is everybody’s business and the police would be working hard in 2009 to tackle the problem.  “Police have continued to make their presence felt on the roads and although total offences detected have shown a decrease from 12,135 to 8,790, more serious offences, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, have risen. Enforcement on the roads will continue. Safety must become a concern for everyone. While we work hard to identify and address areas of concern, we cannot make the roads safer alone. We need assistance from partner agencies as well as the entire community,” Smith added.

He said that there was a cultural problem that had to be addressed around drinking and driving and the more severe the penalties the more likely the culture would be eventually be changed as was the case in his experience in the UK.

“We can’t relax for one minute on this as we have a culture of drinking and driving and bad driving that we need to change,” added Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis. “We need to push the message that those driving recklessly or under the influence will lose their licence, and anyone caught driving while disqualified risks going to jail.”

Ennis noted said that 232 drivers had lost their license and been disqualified from driving during 2008. 


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Deloitte adopts Dot

| 26/01/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Better known for balancing the books than conservation, locally based financial firm Deloitte is turning its attention from the bottom line tothe environment and has adopted a 215lb female Green Sea Turtle as part of a conservation effort in partnership with Boatswain’s Beach. A breeder turtle, ’Dot’, as she is now known, was chosen by Managing Partner Ian Wight, who explained that the firm’s support of Dot will form part of its latest environmental project.

“Turtles are an important part of our history,” added Wight.” At Deloitte, we feel there is a need to preserve this part of our heritage for future generations. We want our children and their children to always have the opportunity for unique turtle interactions."

For many years, Boatswain’s Beach, home of the Cayman Turtle Farm, has run a captive breeding programme for local consumption and the release of some young turtles back into the wild.

“Corporate support is a vital part of the continued success of our research and conservation programmes,” said Joey Ebanks, CEO Boatswain’s Beach. By extension, our corporate partners play a role in the very survival of these wonderful species. We are proud to have Deloitte partner with us and look forward to working with them,” said Ebanks.

Deloitte Consulting Partner, Taron Jackman, said that over the past 2 years, Deloitte has worked closely with the management and staff of Boatswain’s Beach on a number of projects.

“The more we learned about their conservation programme, the more we wanted to be involved somehow. During 2008, we focused on the environment with recycling at the office, school tree plantings, beach cleanups, and other activities. This year, ‘Dot’ will be the centrepiece of our environmental activities,” Jackman said.

Deloitte Cayman Islands has a yearlong programme planned around ‘Dot’. The focus of the programme is two-fold; conservation and education.  

"Dot was selected to be a part of the breeding programme at Boatswain’s Beach and we hope she will produce many offspring. When that happens, we plan to work with the research staff to preserve and protect her eggs. You will certainly hear more from us when we have our first hatchlings!”Jackman added.

“The Corporate programme at Boatswain’s Beach includes turtle releases and this is a very exciting part of the programme for us at Deloitte. We plan to incorporate the turtle releases into annual staff events, which will certainly create a unique experience for our staff.”

Another part of the programme is a school outreach campaign where Deloitte plans to work with schools to raise awareness and to reinforce the importance of Green Sea Turtle conservation through classwork and homework activities. “We will organize class activities in selected schools around themes such as conservation, environmental protection, and the turtle breeding programme,” Jackman explained.


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Mulch for gardeners

| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s green fingered can take advantage of free mulch next week when the Department of Environmental Health offers free Christmas tree mulch to all residents from at 8:00 am on Saturday 31 January, at the George Town cricket pitch. The mulch comes from community efforts to recycle natural Christmas trees to cut down on waste. The DoEH said the mulch will be distributed on a first come, first served basis, and residents should bring their own containers and shovels.

 The mulch can be used as ground cover for flower beds, pathways or even mixed into compost. Despite myths about pine needles significantly changing the ph level of soil most professional gardeners say this is not the case and the mulch will make little impact on the acidity levels with the other benefits of the breakdown out weighing any potential slight ph changes.

For further information on collecting mulch, contact the DEH solid waste office at 949-8793 or Tania Johnson on 244-4152.

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Recruiter starts offshore blog

| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With the internet being CML Offshore Recruitment’s primary tool the firm has started a new blog to help offshore job seekers it has said. An offshore recruiter for the legal, accounting and IT industries the firm said that its rapid growth and success had been underpinned by its embracing of the internet as a primary recruitment resource.

Responding to requests from candidates around the world for news commentary, real-life candidate success stories and tales of offshore life CML said the blog includes posts from candidates moving offshore as well as useful hints and tips on relocating and living offshore.
"The quality of our website is one of the things that sets CML head and shoulders above the competition as an offshore financial services recruiter,” said Steve McIntosh, CEO of CML (above).“We’ve tried to make it as informative, fun and interactive as possible.  As well as information about our offshore recruitment locations we have live job listings, live webcams and even a virtual tour feature which gives visitors a Google Earth rendered aerial tour of the offshore islands and cities for which we recruit.”He said that professional candidates considering an international move have an appetite for information.  “They want to know what offshore life is really like.  Once they have secured a job, they want to follow industry developments so that they’re not in the dark when they arrive.  Our blog gives us yet another way to communicate with candidates and add informative, fun, relevant content to the website."
The blog can be found at

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Minister calls for more public input on port

| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following the extension of the consultation period regarding the terms of reference for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the port development, Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford is encouraging everyone citizens to make submissions before the end of the month. The EIA, which is being carried out by CH2M Hill, will study the possible environmental, social and economic ramifications of the port expansion.

An initial list of 14 terms to be covered in the EIA was compiled by the Department of Environment; these will be revised following the public consultation period. 

Clifford said it was this is the first time in Cayman’s history that such an extensive environmental impact assessment has been included in a development project, and it demonstrated the government’s commitment to changing Cayman’s past of unplanned development.

“The EIA is not a mere formality as some may believe. The government remains committed to striking that delicate balance between our development goals and preserving the environment and the way of life of the Caymanian people,” he said. “This port expansion project has the future prosperity of Cayman and Caymanians at its heart and as such we must do it right.

Having said that however in a recent public meeting it was made very clear that the public wanted to see other locations explored for the cargo port but Clifford has said he will not be extensive the terms of reference to including other sites. 

He has defended this in the face of opposition by citing the fifteen-year-old, 1994 Master Port Development Plan which proposed George Town as the most appropriate location for the port expansion project. He did however state yet again that if the EIA indicates that unavoidable and irreparable damage will be done to the Seven Mile Beach area as an example, the project will not go forward.

He said the development was important for a number of reasons not least securing the country’s cruise tourism earnings.

“What many people may not realize is how big role cruise tourism plays in the Islands’ overall economic health and well-being,” Clifford added. “Cruise lines pay to make calls to Cayman. These funds go directly into the national coffers to support projects and programmes in all three islands.” 

To his critics he also stated that the development is less about increasing the number of daily visitors to George Town and more about improving their experience, so they will continue to choose Cayman as a holiday destination.

“There is already a provision that no more that 6 ships or a maximum of 15,000 persons may disembark at any one time and this remains in effect. The key difference this port will make is that it will improve visitor experience,” he noted.

The public is being invited to add their views on other areas of concern that the EIA should take into consideration that are not already included in the DoE’s list of concerns which include:Ø 

-Sediment transport within the influence of the project

-Wave energy under worst case and typical conditions and potential shoreline impact

-Water quality including potential for generating turbidity during and after construction

-Effects on existing coastal ecosystems and resources within the footprint and adjacent area of the project

-Effects of any construction blasting should it be required

-Effects on the existing operations of the port and other maritime-related stakeholders

-Effects on adjacent historical/archaeological resources

-Extent and scale of impact on adjacent waterfront business district

-Effects of proposed near-shore berthing and operation of ships at berthing facility

-Effects of the proposed cargo facility on road network

-Hazard vulnerability due to flooding, hurricanes, and storm surge

-Socio-economic analyses to identify possible negative economic impacts of project with respect to its initial funding and operation

-Analysis of alternatives to the proposed project

-Identification of possible measures to prevent or reduce significant negative impacts both during and after construction.

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The F*A*C*E of GIS

| 26/01/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): After four years of service, GIS Information Officer Cornelia Olivier has been acknowledged for her hard work and exemplary service as one of five recipients of this year’s Governor’s FACE awards. According to her colleagues and those who use her services, Olivier has an easygoing disposition and is a conscientious worker who takes service to clients and colleagues very seriously. "Cornelia really deserves this level of recognition,” said GIS Managing Editor Wosila Rochester.

“What makes her standout is her overall approach; she demonstrates so much enthusiasm and commitment to getting the job done to the client’s satisfaction. And going the extra mile is what she does as a matter of course. Clients have come to rely on her dependability, they know she will listen carefully but they also accept her advisory role, respecting the fact that her professionalism will sometimes see her stating contrary perspectives.”

A native of South Africa and a graduate of Potchefstroom University, Cornelia is described as a consummate team player who never hesitates to pitch in and assist colleagues or otherwise benefit the unit or her clients.

Assigned to a number of major projects, Olivier has been GIS’ lead communications specialist on projects such as the Constitutional Review, Freedom of Information, the European Union Forum, and much more.

FOI Unit Co-ordinator Carole Excell, for whose unit Cornelia has provided communications support since its inception two years ago, said she was really proud of the honour bestowed on Olivier and the award was justly deserved.

“She has assisted us with just about everything, including our publications and the development of a communications strategy. She also sits on our committee and assists in planning the annual Sunshine Week as well as many other items which are not even in her job description,” Excell added. “I have found her to be an out-of-the-box thinker and her contributions have certainly helped to give our unit the success it has enjoyed to date.”

Another client who has used Olivier’s services said that she is exceptionally helpful, intelligent, efficient and supportive.

“She is one of the few persons who really seems to understand the immediacy of the modern media and the need to get information promptly,” said a member of the press.

As someone who likes to stay in the background so her clients can shine, Cornelia admits to finding the attention generated by the FACE award “wonderful—but just a little scary."

“It has been a real honour to serve my clients and the people of Cayman," she said, adding that she’s somewhat amazed to receive recognition for just doing her job to the best of her ability. “I do enjoy the opportunity to provide my clients with effective and efficient service as my goal is always to make them feel that they can approach me with anything.”

Olivier attributes her tenacity and discipline, traits well-known by her colleagues, to her athletic drive; she is both a marathon andtriathlon competitor, as well as a scuba instructor, which she also balances with her family life. On Friday 23 January she celebrated 10 years of marriage to husband TJ and is also the proud mom of two boys, Dominic, four, and Julian who is two.         




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| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

Having one’s home burgled is a surefire way to bring one’s attention back to the problem of crime.

(My wife’s laptop computer was the biggest loss for us last week. If any reader has just bought an almost-new HP Notebook from someone at a bargain price, we might want to buy it back from you.)

Cayman doesn’t seem to have an overall strategy for dealing with crime, does it? The police have their priorities, the FCO has its, the MLAs have theirs. The Financial Secretary, the Attorney-General and the Immigration Department all have separate agendas. There’s no coordination. It’s a mish-mash.

We the general public have our own priorities and agendas too. We pick and choose, don’t we? Often, it depends on who we are. Everyone dislikes crimes of violence. Burglaries are bad only if the victim is someone we know, otherwise we shrug them off. White-collar crime is naughty, but most of us don’t take it personally even though we know we’ll pay for it in higher prices.

Fundamentalist Christians save their anger for homosexuals, whom they would like to see rot in Northward in this life, and in the bottomless pit of Hell in the next.

Many native Caymanians believe the worst criminals are those who flout the Immigration Law. Illegal immigrants should be shot out of hand; employers who favour expats over Caymanians should be shot after a fair trial. All the expat communities have zero respect for the Immigration Law, and obey it only reluctantly.

Some of our politicians hate marriages of convenience and same-sex marriages, while tolerating far more corruption than is good for Cayman. The whole crony-system is based on corruption, and it has never been more popular than it is now.

What about money-laundering? How many offshore practitioners and regulators disapprove of it, really? Many Cayman Islands firms have made fortunes by condoning dodgy practices. The off-balance-sheet subsidiaries of US and European publicly quoted companies keep our tax-haven reputation in the toilet.

For low-paid migrant workers, the most despicable criminals are those who exploit them. Domestic servants are the main victims of bosses who steal their workers’ pensions-contributions and legitimate overtime money. Yet the migrants’ problems are blatantly ignored by our law-enforcement agencies. The protection of the law is not for the likes of them. Our justice is for the rich.

And for everybody who despises some type of crime and its criminals, there is somebody who doesn’t care. Usually, there is another somebody who actually defends both the crime and the criminals. Probably half of all my writings address crimes of exploitation either directly or indirectly. And it’s always surprising to me how many critics believe those crimes to be legally and morally acceptable.

The critics imply that low-paid Jamaicans, Latinos, Filipinos and Indians are all fair game – sub-humans, essentially, who deserve no civil or human rights. If they don’t like being exploited here, let them go somewhere else to live. It’s what oppressors tell the Palestinians today, and told the Jews of earlier days. Anybody who speaks up for our poorly paid immigrants is anti-Caymanian, and they can go home too.

No wonder our islands’ crime is getting out of hand, when public criticism of law-breakers is frowned upon. Why should it be off-limits? Why should public policy allow certain laws not to be enforced when the victims are poor migrant workers? That’s not how The Rule of Law is supposed to work.

Here is a core question. How can we hope to succeed in combating crime, when the written laws of our land are not all enforced? It can’t be done. Our core question is a rhetorical question.

A core requirement is to change the situation on the ground, so that our written laws coincide exactly with the enforced Laws. We have to get rid of all provisions in our written laws that aren’t enforced, and stop enforcing rules that aren’t contained in the written laws. That would require drastically reducing the discretionary application of our laws so that no criminal is protected from them. Put time limits on prosecutions for criminal offences. This is a tiny territory: either the evidence is available or it’s not. Don’t pretend it can’t be found.

The more delay there is in bringing someone to trial, the more opportunity for evidence to go missing and for witnesses to be deported. Those things are what have largely destroyed our trust in the law.

It is widely believed that family influence can sway our Prosecution Service towards a lesser charge (or the wrong charge altogether), or a dismissal for supposed lack of evidence. This has been the case for as long as I’ve lived here and no doubt for many years before that. What does it do for the reputations of the police, the Attorney-General’s Office, the Immigration Department and the rest of them?

It’s high time our rulers – in London as well as in Cayman – took action to change the way we deal with crime. Leave Mr Bridger’s team to do its thing; it has little to do with everyday crimes and criminals. The action I have in mind borrows heavily from the Vision-2008 exercise and its sixteen topical “strategies”.

Details next week.

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Iceland government collapses

| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Iceland’s coalition government has collapsed as a result of an escalating economic crisis. Prime Minister Geir Haarde announced the immediate resignation of his cabinet, after talks with coalition partners broke down. Iceland’s financial system collapsed in October under the weight of debt built up during years of rapid growth. The currency has since plummeted, with unemployment soaring. The economy is forecast to shrink by 9.6% this year.  Go to article

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Calls for investigaiton on peers for sale

| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(Times): Two inquiries will begin in the House of Lords today into claims that four Labour peers were ready to accept money for amending laws for clients. There were calls last night for a police investigation intothe alleged actions of the four peers, amid suggestions that such activities would be corruption. The allegations are potentially the most serious about parliamentary conduct since the cash for questions affair in the 1990s. Go to article

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Local dive pioneers to be honoured too

| 26/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS):  Some of Cayman’s own divers will also get a moment in the spotlight next week during the annual International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) Dinner and Induction Ceremony. Stuart Freeman (right) owner of Eden Rock and Ollen Miller (left) owner of Sundivers, will both be honoured for their achievements and outstanding contributions to the sport on Thursday. 

The Department of Tourism said that every year, in addition to the international inductees, the Ministry of Tourism honours Caymanians and pays tribute to the invaluable role they have played in the process which has transformed Cayman into the premier dive destination that it is today. All awards will be presented by the Minister of Tourism, Environment, Investment & Commerce, Hon. Charles E. Clifford. "Both individuals have been trailblazers in Cayman’s dive industry," said Clifford.  "I congratulate them for having passion and foresight and for dedicating their lives to the sport of scuba diving."

Since he was born Ollen Miller has always had an instinctual love of the sea and has been diving since he was13 years old as a young teenager he dedicated his days to the ocean and became a certified dive instructor by the age of 15.Miller’s diving career officially began in 1979 as an instructor at Bob Soto’s followed by Don Foster’s. During this time period he was one of only three Caymanian scuba instructors on the island, despite there being some of the world’s best dive sites located just offshore. By the late 1980s Miller recognized a need for more personalized one-on-one dive operations in Grand Cayman and he decided to open his own dive shop, affectionately dubbed "Sundivers".

Miller has always placed a strong emphasis on customer service, which is why he chose to be at the helm for all aspects of his dive organization. For several years, he acted as both dive tour leader and boat captain, allowing him to get to know each of his guests and ensuring that they had an overall cherished experience while diving with him. Miller has lived in Grand Cayman his entire life and his nomination applauds his love of country and personal thirty year commitment to diving. "This is the first honour that I have received and I am truly thankful for the recognition," he stated.

Stuart Freeman has dedicated 40 years to the sea and to the watersports industry. In 1969, as a young man in England, Freeman started out working as a commercial diver on the Brighton Marina project and as an instructor for the Branch Diving Officer Club. In 1973, he relocated to Grand Cayman and started working at the Sunset Divers Shop, where he became an instructor for the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and an advanced instructor for the British Sub Aqua Club (BSCA).

Ten years later he turned his passion for diving into a business and, alongside his wife Magreta, established "Eden Rock Diving Centre" on SouthChurch Street. Over the business’ 26 year history, Eden Rock has become one of the most successful full-service dive shops on Grand Cayman and a highlight for many who have ventured out on a dive to the famous "Eden Rock" dive site that the business is named after.

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