Archive for March 31st, 2009

Murder case at critical point

| 31/03/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Two weeks after the brutal murder of 21-year old Sabrina Schirn police issued a statement today saying that a dedicated line of enquiry was being pursued. “Officers are extremely pleased with the progress of the investigation, which is at a critical and sensitive juncture, and advise the public against speculations that might interfere with the desired outcome of the investigation to bring Sabrina’s killer or killers to justice,” the RCIPS said.

The Investigation is being led by Inspector Kim Evans and includes an experienced team of detectives and other specialist support officers who have examined several critical leads and are pursing a dedicated line of enquiry, police said adding that a further update on the progress of the investigation will be issued later this week.

A post mortem on the body of Schirn by a forensic pathologist from Miami revealed last week that she had suffered multiple sharp force and chop injuries. Sabrina’s body, was found in bush land in East End on Tuesday 17 March by friends and family less than one mile from where the car she was last seen driving had been discovered by a local farmer on Sunday 15 March.

“This was clearly an act of extreme violence which resulted in the tragic death of young Sabrina,” said Detective Inspector Kim Evans last week. “Our condolences go out to her family and friends.”

Anyone who can assist is asked to contact the Major Incident Room at Bodden Town police station on 947-2220 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.


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Kids get into books and books

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Forty children from three local schools enjoyed a new reading experience during a field trip to Cayman’s newest town, Camana Bay. Students from Red Bay Primary, George TownCayman’s newest book store. Accompanied by Anne Briggs, Literacy Coordinator for RedBay Primary, the children enjoyed a tour around the shop before they were taken out to Gardenia Court for a story reading and arts and crafts session.

The children listened as Anne Briggs read Honestly, Mallory! by Laurie Friedman, a book that has become extremely popular since it was chosen for Maples and Calder’s Whistling Duck Awards, which are held at Books & Books.

Afterwards the children dove into their crayon boxes and explored their artistic sides, creating wonderfully colourful drawings to take home to their parents.  The afternoon was such a success that a second field trip is being organised.

For up to date information on all Books & Books events in Grand Cayman, visit:

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Chamber backs recycle bags

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite the recent controversy over its support for the dolpinariums the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its annual Earth Day and parading its green credentials once again. The Chamber will be continuing is collaborating with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office initiated in 2008 to draw attention to the effects of plastic bags on the environment and to encourage residents to stop using them and move to recycle bags which have been designed for the event.

Thousands of plastic bags end up in our landfill each month. But everyone has a choice whether to use plastic bags or reusable cloth bags. It should be everyone’s responsibility to make the most ecologically aware, and sound decision whether to use a bag that will take 1,000 years to disintegrate in a landfill or a bag that reduces our carbon footprint,” said Chamber President Stuart Bostock.

The Governor Stuart Jack said his office along with the FCO were pleased to be working with the Chamber again towards a cleaner environment in the Cayman Islands. “I would urge everyone to play their part by using these bags and by helping to clean up our beaches and roadsides,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce 12th Annual Roadside and Beach Clean Up will take place on Saturday, 25 April. This event presents a great volunteer opportunity and a way to give back to the community. The Chamber is seeking residents, schools, businesses and community organisations to participate in the clean-up effort.

The time commitment is in the morning (7:00 am – 11:00 am) to focus on an area in need of clean-up. For this community service activity, clean-up means choosing an area that has been designated, or suggesting an area not on the Chamber’s list and picking up trash. The Chamber will provide bags and gloves for the task. The first 1,000 volunteers will receive a free Earth Day T-shirt and recyclable shopping bag. For more information on the event please contact Kennedy Powery on 949 8090 ext 124 or go online to

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CI hockey team heads north

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Breakaway hockey team, sponsored by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, were back in Canada for another shot at winning the cup at the annual World Pond Hockey Championships, a widely popular 4 on 4 tournament played each year on outdoor rinks in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, attracting teams from around the globe. En route to the tournament, the team stopped off in Ottawa – the nation’s capital and a major hockey town – to share their love for the game and their island home of Cayman.

The team, consisting of Bill Messer, Norm Klein, Joe Stasiuk and newcomer Patrick Agemian — all Canadians now living in Grand Cayman full time, made appearances on various broadcast stations in Ottawa including Live 88.5, Rogers Daytime Ottawa and CBC Morning Ottawa radio, a release from the Department of Tourism said. After departing Ottawa, the Breakaway met up with CBC again in Plaster Rock, appearing on the nationally syndicated CBC News: Morning and the annual CBC Hockey Day in Canada broadcast. The team also had an opportunity to play hockey and mingle with CBC Hockey Night in Canada hosts, Ron McLean and Kelly Hrudey.

“People are fascinated with why we would choose to leave beautiful Seven Mile Beach in Cayman for the bitter cold of Plaster Rock, but the truth is our love of hockey and the camaraderie at the tournament is what makes this a major highlight for us each year,” said team captain Messer.

With no ice rink to practice on, the team, assisted by the DoT, hitches a ride to Tampa with Cayman Airways several times a year to get in shape at the Tampa Bay Lightening facility. Unfortunately the practice didn’t get them to the finals this year, but the team has enjoyed the opportunity to represent the destination through the years. Out of five games played at the tournament, the Breakaway won two and lost three.

“If you’re a Canadian, no matter where you live, hockey still runs deep,” said Messer. “And we’ve got the best of both worlds: we get to live in paradise and play hockey the way the game was meant to be played. You can’t beat that.”

With astingray fittingly serving as their mascot, the team chose the name "Breakaway" to both evoke images of the most exciting move in hockey and a Cayman Islands warm-weather escape. So popular is the jersey, it made history several years ago by being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Hockey players take to golf

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A family fun and fundraising event, hosted by the Cayman Islands Youth Roller Hockey Club, attracted 30 families (teams) including 60 children, many of whom play in the CI Youth Roller Hockey League at Kings Sports Centre. The golf tournament was a simple, fun 3-ball scramble format which appealed to most players, some of whom actually used hockey sticks to make their shots. In addition to the unconventional equipment, some players wore their favourite hockey jerseys and imitated the famous movie character Happy Gilmore (a washed up hockey player turned professional golfer).

According to a release from the club, teams played 6 holes in addition to longest drive and team putting competitions. Held at Britannia on Friday 27 March, the event was followed by dinner and prize-giving, featuring the always entertaining Master of Ceremonies Andrew Bacon, who volunteered his time and sound equipment for the event.

Hockey player, parent and coach Dave Champoux first had the idea as a way to raise money for the Club. Champoux, also an avid golfer, stated, “We were looking for a novel way to bring many hockey families together for a fun evening as well as raise awareness about youth hockey in the Cayman Islands. The tournament was a huge success as many families got to know each other a little better outside of the usual excitement at their children’s hockey games.”

Champoux organized the event with a great deal of support and assistance from Britannia Golf Professional Dave Johnson, in addition to several volunteers with children in the hockey program, including hockey parents Sharon Galloway, Nigel Windsor, Robert Cummings, Christine Maltman and Nicola Agemian. Following the tournament, Agemian said, “This was one of the best family fun events I have ever attended and it is quite ironic that the sport of youth roller hockey brought us together to play golf. This definitely has the markings of an annual event, only if Golf Pro Dave Johnson is willing to host 60 children and their parents again.”

Tournament Results

Event Winners
1st Prize (Team) Derksen/Messer & Stainrod Families
2nd Prize (Team) McGregor & Ribbins Families
7u Girls – Long Drive Competition Kendall Brooks
7u Boys – Long Drive Competition Daniel Champoux
10u Girls – Long Drive Competition Jayde Solomon
8u Boys – Long Drive Competition Joe Purton
9u Boys – Long Drive Competition Alex Agemian
14u Girls – Long Drive Competition Emily Ribbins
12u Boys – Long Drive Competition Chris Messer
Men’s Long Drive Competition Dave Champoux
Women’s Long Drive Competition Glenna Black

There were also prizes for team putting and bestHappy Gilmore impersonation. Families putted using golf putters, hockey stick and pool cues! David Walker got an honourable mention for his golf course billiard skills when he sunk a putt from 15 feet with a pool cue. Tynan Klein won the Happy Gilmore contest by using a hockey slapshot-style golf swing on every drive. All in all, the event was a huge success both in terms of fundraising but more importantly by bringing so many families together for a fun and relaxing game of golf.

The CI Youth Roller Hockey Club is a non-profit group comprised of volunteers, mostly parents who have children in the youth hockey league. The club’s mission is to develop and promote youth roller hockey in the Cayman Islands, including the opportunity to participate in recreational roller hockey and to provide community based programs which allow a player to participate in an environment for fun, physical exercise and fair play. The club insists on good sportsmanship, correct and proper behavior on and off the rink, respect for authority and team play among all players, coaches, managers, members and parents associated with the Club. Funds raised by the club, including the proceeds of the golf tournament will be earmarked for coach and player development programs, such as visiting coaches, training equipment and other skills oriented materials.

The CI Youth Roller Hockey Club would like to thank all parents and children for their participation in this event (which the Club hopes to host annually). Club co-founder and Treasurer Patrick Agemian said, “The club has been incredibly fortunate to have a volunteer parent base that has stepped in and supported our children through these early years of their hockey skill development and more importantly, the life skills that are acquired through participation in this ultimate team sport. We are now getting to a level, where we would like to augment parents’ coaching abilities as well as encourage other parents to get involved.”

For more information about the Cayman Islands Youth Roller Hockey Club, how to become a sponsor and/or volunteer please contact David Champoux or Christine Maltman

The Club works closely with Cayman Sports Authority which is a sister company to Kings Sports Centre where all league games are played. For more information about the league and other sports, go to or contact Kings Sports Centre Athletics Director Ray Singh on

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Time running out for Cayman’s environment

| 31/03/2009 | 16 Comments

(CNS): While admitting to her disappointment that the National Conservation Bill failed to make it to the Legislative Assembly during this administration, Gina Ebanks-Petrie, Department of Environment Director, said what is more important is the vulnerability of Cayman’s natural resources and the fact that the limited opportunity to embrace sustainable development will soon be lost. Without a legal framework to protect Cayman’s environment her department is struggling to address the myriad environmental issues the islands face, she said .

Despite a push by government in the last days of the LA’s final session and following numerous commitments by the Minister responsible for the Environment, Charles Clifford, that the bill would come before the house, the National Conservation Bill was nowhere to be seen. As a result Cayman’s environment, along with all its endemic, unique and endangered species remain completely unprotected.

“People don’t realise that nothing, even our most endangered species, is protected by law,” Ebanks-Petrie said. “From mangroves to bats — our only endemic mammals — none of them have any protection at all.”

She explained that on a daily basis her department receives calls from concerned people reporting environmental damage, expecting the department to be able to curtail a development or put a stop to someone pulling up mangroves. However, they are unable to act, she said. “Without a comprehensive legal platform from which to address the growing range of environmental issues, there is nothing we can do to address these concerns,” Ebanks-Petrie lamented.

Even the legislation that is in place can in fact cause further problems since the Animal Law protects all iguanas, which means that the invasive green iguana is threatening the incredible work undertaken by the Blue Iguana Programme to bring Cayman’s own unique species back from the brink of extinction. “The problem is that the Animal Law is so old there were no green iguanas here then, so because the law says ‘all iguanas’ we now have a real problem which is undermining our ability to protect our own endangered species.”

She said that without any legislation it is impossible to establish protected areas for sensitive habitat. For example, Ebanks-Petrie explained that without protection for beaches, the few remaining turtle nesting sites are all at risk. Currently, the only land that has any protection is that owned by the National Trust, which is only a tiny fraction of the sensitive environments.

The DoE director noted that there has been considerable talk in recent times about sustainable development and there are aspirational rights within the new constitution regarding environmental protection. “Without legislation, however, neither of these goals can be achieved,” she said. “Sustainable development means giving equal weight to environmental issues as well as thesocial and economic issues that are considered before developments are undertaken.”

 She explained that the NCB made provision for Environmental Impact Assessments which would give meaning to the concept of sustainable development and ensure that the DoE would have to be consulted and inform the decision making process about the impact to the environment. If sustainable development was to be more than catch phrase, she said Cayman needs the law to enable the EIA to become part of the legal process.

“If we are not going to close off this opportunity to make a commitment to sustainability we need this law. We really are close to the edge and time is running out to defer the management of our environment,” Petrie added.

The bill has received some opposition but Petrie says judging from the feedback her department has received since the bill was first drafted, not to mention the daily ongoing concerns that pour into the office, there is far more support. “People are linking the loss of natural resources to Cayman identity,” she said. “There is an incredible amount of support for this bill as people see their natural environment disappear. However, those supporting the bill have not been as vocal as those who oppose it.”

Lamenting the opposition to the bill, Petrie said it was on a paradigm that is outdated seeing the bill as environment versus development. “What we need, however, is sensitivity to the environment. Opponents see this as the death knoll for development and it is not. It is about a more realistic and managed approach to how we continue to develop. People need natural spaces to experience a quality of life as well as development.”

She said fears that vast tracts of land will be parcelled off from ever being developed were groundless. “Only land owned by the Crown can be designated as a protected area, so it will have to be negotiated and paid for. What will happen is that all development will be subject to an EIA so the impact on the environment can be weighed alongside all other considerations equally when a planning application is made.”

Ebanks-Petrie also stated that there will not be a swath of new bureaucracy as the DoE already works with planning and offers its recommendations on most developments. The issue at present is that there is no legal obligation for environmental issues to be considered.  The bill would also have given the DoE enforcement officers proper recognition under the law and enable them to directly intervene to protect endangered species.

She added that the NCB is a comprehensive and very workable way of moving Cayman forward while recognising the importance of our rapidly dwindling natural resources that is long overdue.

“It is almost a quarter century since Cayman has done anything to protect is natural resources,” she said, referring to the amendments to the Marine Conservation Law. “Cayman is lagging seriously behind in the Caribbean region when it comes to dealing with environmental issues and we really are running out of time.”

Speaking at the press briefing last week, Clifford said he was disappointed that the bill which has been in the drafting process for so many years did not make it to the House. He said there were still concerns and from a government point of view it made sense to consider the justification of these and bring the bill after the new government is sworn in on 27 May.

 “We are pleased we have been able to guage where support is and where it isn’t,” he said. “One thing is clear that the youth fully supports this bill.” He also denied that the legislation would stop people from developing their land. Despite the years of consultation, the minister said further dialogue was needed to make sure all concerns are addressed.

“Some years ago when marine parks were first introduced there was huge controversy, but the people who objected then would be the main supporters today.” Admitting the government had not done as good a job as it could with education regarding the bill, he hoped the government would be returned to get it passed. 

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Watch out for sea itch!

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Significant amounts of Sea Thimbles have been reported in the waters around Grand Cayman and swimmers should be aware of the increased possibility of encountering sea itch, sea thimbles or other jellyfish while in Cayman waters in the near future, the Department of Environment has said. While sea itch can be comprised of many different species of stinging microscopic planktonic marine larvae, research has shown that outbreaks of sea itch are often associated with significant amounts of thimble jellyfish larvae.

According to the DoE, while it is not possible to see the larvae and the presence of adult jellyfish does not necessarily correlate to the presence of their larvae, the abundance of thimble jellies recently reported to the department raises the possibility that sea itch outbreaks may also be observed at this time.

It is impossible to predict the occurrence of sea itch, but the DoE says it wishes to pass this information along to the public so that they may make informed decisions about their recreational activities.

Encounters with sea itch, sea thimbles or other mildly toxic jellyfish can be treated with simple medication available from local pharmacies. Naturally, anyone experiencing severe allergic reaction, extreme discomfort or pain after any marine creature interaction should seek medical attention immediately.

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Tax havens in spotlight

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(IPS): This could be the moment when a fatal blow is delivered to the world’s tax havens. Or it could be another largely cosmetic change that allows offshore financial centres such as Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Liechtenstein to deflect attacks on the system by sacrificing the few tax miscreants that governments catch in their nets. Decisions at the G20 government leaders meeting in London Apr. 2 will set the direction. Financial centres with bank secrecy laws are blamed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents 30 developed economies, for hiding some 5 to 7 trillion dollars offshore so the profits they produce evade taxes.

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Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off Libya

| 31/03/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): More than 200 African migrants are feared dead after their boat sank off the coast of Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says. The boat carrying around 250 people is reported to have capsized 50km (30 miles) north of the Libyan coast in stormy seas and high winds. Libyan officials say 21 people are confirmed dead and about 20 rescued. A second boat with around 350 migrants was rescued, an official from the IOM told the Associated Press news agency.

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G20 worries Cayman Islands

| 31/03/2009 | 10 Comments

(BBC): The tiny Cayman Islands are the world’s fifth biggest financial centre, where hundreds of billions of dollars flow through the economy. But the global economic downturn has put the Cayman Islands and other offshore financial hubs in the spotlight. On Thursday, when leaders from 20 of the world’s most powerful countries gather in London for a summit, regulation of offshore tax havens will be on the agenda, and that is causing concern on the Cayman Islands.

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