Archive for May 11th, 2009

Alicia Keys to perform at Jazz Fest

| 11/05/2009 | 48 Comments

(CNS): This year’s Jazz Fest has received a boost with the confirmation of international R&B superstar and nine-time Grammy award winner, Alicia Keys, as the headlining performer. Tourism Minister Charles Clifford announced today (Monday 11 May) that Keys will be performing her extremely popular signature style of singing and jazz piano on 5 December, the final night of the 3-day festival. Additional performers at the sixth annual Cayman Jazz Fest, to be held December 3-5, include two-time Oscar and Grammy award winner Peabo Bryson, jazz saxophonist and singer Kirk Whalum and popular R&B and soul singer Keith Sweat.

Minister Clifford said, “The signing of Ms. Keys, who is at the top of her game and launching a new album this year, along with the other seasoned international performers, takes Cayman jazz fest to the next level and should prove to be a big draw for visitors and local residents. This, coupled with the fact that we are only just in May and our travel packages are already in place, will enable us to get an early start on promoting the festival in order to maximise visitation. Local artists will also be confirmed in June giving them greater time to prepare their performances for what is shaping up as Cayman’s best jazz fest ever. I can assure everyone that jazz fest this year will be an amazing event.”

Acting Director of Tourism Shomari Scott added that the Department of Tourism is finalising the rest of the line-up and will provide additional updates in the weeks ahead.

Cayman jazz fest is a partnership between the Department of Tourism and BET Event Productions. Paxton Baker of BET commented, “This is a big year for BET and Cayman. BET is launching a new network in October called Centric, which will be distributed in 45 million homes, and with Alicia Keys as headliner for this year’s event, the Cayman Islands and Alicia will be a prominent part of our Channel launch. Our television campaign will be extensive including a partnership with Alicia’s record label to promote the Cayman Islands, the festival and Alicia’s 2009 CD release.”

To receive updates on Cayman jazz fest, visit


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Senior beaten in his home

| 11/05/2009 | 13 Comments

(CNS): UPDATED 12:30pm — A 67-year-old man suffered serious injuries on Sunday after he was allegedly beaten in his East End home by two robbers armed with a baseball bat. The victim was taken to hospital and has been admitted to the Surgical Unit suffering from serious head injuries and injuries to both arms. In a separate incident, West Bay police have charged 27-year-old, Jonathan Mellard, of Willie Farrington Road, with one count of robbery after an incident in which a man said a robber put a razor blade to his throat and demanded he hand over the alcohol he was carrying. Mellard will appear before magistrates today, Monday 11 May.

Detectives in Bodden Town are investigating the East End robbery, which was reported to police at 10:30pm Sunday, 10 May. The 911 Emergency Communications Centre receiveda call from a member of the public reporting that a man had been assaulted in Sea View Road. Officers responded to the scene and found that a 67-year-old man had suffered some serious injuries. He told officers he had returned home and found two men in his house. He says the men assaulted him with a baseball bat, took his wallet and ran from the location.

Scenes of Crime Officers processed the scene and some items were recovered, including the suspected weapon involved. Detectives would like to hear from anyone who was in the Sea View Road area who may have seen the two offenders. Anyone who can help should contact Bodden Town CID on 947-2220.

In West Bay, police arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of robbery following an incident at the Batabano Plaza on West Church Street. At around 8:30pm on Friday, 8 May, the victim called police and stated that he had been approached by a man outside the plaza who had put a razor blade to his throat and demanded he had over the alcohol he was carrying. The man, was not seriously hurt in the incident, said he gave the offender some bottles of beer. Shortly afterwards, police arrested the suspect on suspicion of robbery and recovered the suspected weapon used. He remains in police custody at this time.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station 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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Garden snails are evolving slower metabolisms.

| 11/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Natural selection is favouring snails with reduced metabolic rates, researchers in Chile have discovered. It is the first time that evolution has been shown to select for this trait in individuals of any species. Snails with lower metabolisms are at an advantage because they havemore energy to spend on other activities such as growth or reproduction, the researchers say in the journal Evolution. Roberto Nespolo and Paulina Artacho of the Southern University of Chile in Valdivia examined a long standing biological hypothesis known as the "energetic definition of fitness".

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Foster’s takes green steps

| 11/05/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): In an attempt to reduce its environmental impact on the local landfill, Foster’s Food Fair IGA has secured a contract with a US-based Cox Sales And Service Inc to recycle its used shopping carts. On 17 May, with the support and assistance of Seaboard Marine and Cayman Island Port Authority, the company will be shipping a 40-foot container of used shopping carts to be refurbished and reused in the United States.vTypically the life span of a shopping cart is approximately 4 years, after which the shopping carts are generally destined for the local landfill.

A release from Foster’s Food Fair, says it is the first major supermarket on island to initiate this type of environmentally progressive program.

Upon arrival in the United States, the shopping carts will be cleaned and stripped down, dipped in duplex Nickel coating to prevent corrosion, plated in Chrome or Zinc then finished and restored to be resold to smaller stores at a reduced price.

“We are excited about this new initiative. We recognize we can adopt new practices to make our company more environmentally friendly and this is another step. This is one more way we can show “We Care” and we are looking at alternative measures to help” stated Woody Foster, the Managing Director of Foster’s Food Fair IGA.


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Rotary Central Annual Science Fair

| 11/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A range of projects covering all aspects of science including life sciences, food/health, physics/chemistry and earth sciences was on display at the annual Rotary Central Science Fair, held on 2 May in the auditorium of the Cayman Prep and High School. There were 16 competitors representing 5 schools. The overall winner for presenting the best project was Brandon Johnson, aged 13, from Leading Edge High School, who received a cash prize (held in trust towards his future college education) of $3000 and a laptop computer.

Kelly Sun from St Ignatius, Diarra Hoyte from Leading Edge, Evan Forth from Cayman International School, and Michael Sun from St Ignatius were all also awarded first prizes of $3000 in trust, according to a Rotary release.

The Science Fair will be back next year to encourage secondary school pupils to take a personal interest in science and the world of work that science supports.

Rotary Central would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of this event including all their sponsors and their project mentors. Special thanks to Rotarians Walt Mustin and April Lewis who organized the event.


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Preparing for hurricanes

| 11/05/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Public Works Department (PWD) and National Roads Authority (NRA) will be carrying out their annual hurricane preparedness drill on Wednesday, 13 May, in preparation for the 2009 hurricane season, which will include putting up hurricane shutters going up on numerous Government buildings and hurricane shelters in Grand Cayman. “This exercise duplicates the activities that will take place in the event of a real hurricane,” PWD Director Max Jones explained. “Most statutory authorities are also participating in the exercise by securing their own facilities.”

All PWD employees and several NRA staff members will take part in the exercise. Organised into teams, they will shutter and protect more than 100 government complexes, buildings and shelters. Standby generators at shelters and key government buildings will also be evaluated and started. Cistern water levels will be checked and topped up where needed.

On completion, inspectors will assess the shelters and buildings to ensure that the facilities are adequately secured.


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“Bring back the Brac” clean-up

| 11/05/2009 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Around 100 people on Cayman Brac gave up their Saturday morning this weekend to take part in the Chamber of Commerce annual clean-up on the island most affected by Hurricane Paloma in November, called “Bring Back the Brac”. The volunteers tackled some of the mess left by the storm, on land and sea, as well as discarded beer bottles, cans and trash along the roadside. James Moses, Project Coordinator for Phoenix Construction, who organised the Brac clean-up, said this was a community effort, with volunteers aged between 7 and 70.

An anonymous expat donor pledged $1000 to the Cayman Brac High School (CBHS), to be used at the discretion of the student volunteers, if 30 or more high school students participated in the “Bring back the Brac” project, and at least 35 showed up for work Saturday. Each of them will receive a certificate of good citizenship and appreciation.

Also participating were members of the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac and two political candidates – Moses Kirkconnell and Lyndon Martin. Volunteers came from all walks of life and from many nationalities that live and work on the Brac with the common goal of improving the community they live in.

“I believe every person involved not only worked hard, but they also enjoyed the work they were doing and in the end were also proud of the effort,” said James Moses. “We cleaned up the island, promoted community responsibility, and everyone relearned the value of not polluting.”

Volunteers from local dive operations removed garbage from the sea, while others got busy on land, from east of the Coral Isle Club all the way to the western end of the island on the south side, and from Cotton Tree Bay to the Old Airport on the north side.

After the clean up, Moses Kirkconnell provided lunch for the younger volunteers at Scott’s Dock, while Captain’s Table Restaurant and several individuals laid on a mid-afternoon lunch for the adults. Other sponsors include Fosters Group, Caybrew, Scott Development, All Pro Engineering, Reef Divers, Indepth Watersports, Department of Environmental Health, Kirkconnell’s Market, Billy’s Supermarket and The Market Place.


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Secretary says Levers wrote “Net News” letters

| 11/05/2009 | 6 Comments

(CNS):  During the third day’s hearing of Justice Priya Levers’ tribunal her personal secretary accused the judge of not only being the author of letters to the local press which contained serious criticisms of senior members of the local judiciary under a pseudonym, but of speaking ill of her judicial colleagues and of coveting the role of the Chief Justice. When quizzed, Elizabeth Webb told the tribunal she had reached her conclusions for a number of reasons including the content of the judge’s private correspondence that she had read and copied, and because she saw a fake signature on a hand written letter on the judge’s desk.

On Saturday morning, Timothy Otty QC (above), representing the tribunal, took Webb through the various statements she had submitted accusing the judge of being the author of letters to Cayman Net News but in particular the one signed by a Leticia Barton, which appeared in an edition of the paper in July 2007. Otty also asked Webb, who has been an employee of the courts for some 14 years and was previously a secretary to Justice Sanderson, to explain what she meant when she stated that Justice Levers had spoken badly of her judicial colleagues.

Webb told the tribunal that Justice Levers would criticize Justices Sanderson and Henderson for smoking and drinking coffee on the street, that she complained about the expense of bringing a judge to the jurisdiction from Canada, and that Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale would sometimes go out drinking and have to be taken home by one of the court marshals. When asked where the exchanges took place she said they were between the two of them in the Justice’s chambers.

Moving on to the question of the letters, Otty asked why Webb had concluded that Justice Levers was the mystery author. Webb said that Justice Levers had asked her to make a folder and keep a copy of the letters that were being published and that she began taking a greater interest in Net News when the letters started to appear. She then explained why she believed Justice Levers had written the particularly damning letter by Leticia Barton.

“It was about 2:30 and she was talking to her son on the phone and asking him to type a letter while handing it to me as though she wanted me to scan it,” she said, explaining that afterwards the judge had put the letter back on her desk, saying that each time she asked children to do something they did not want to do it and went to bathroom, and she then asked Webb to call someone.

Webb said that while making the call she saw the letter in the justice’s handwriting addressed to "the editor" and at the bottom it was signed Leticia Barton. “I was nervous when I saw it as I couldn’t believe what I saw, I couldn’t believe she would be publishing that in the newspapers,” Webb said she then began thinking how to get a copy. Otty asked if Webb had seen the content and she said no, so he questioned how she was able to form the view that it was about the judiciary. Webb explained that she suspected that it was because of the previous letters and that it had a fake name.

Otty then asked how when the letter was published she was certain it was the letter she had seen on Justice Levers’ desk and how she had seen it, as according to other witness statements very few copies of that paper ever made it to the news stand because the issue was pulled. “I am sure I saw it,” she said.

When questioned by Stanley Brodie, QC representing Justice Levers, Webb revealed that after this event with the letter she began copying the judge’s private correspondence whenever it contained information about the judiciary to give to the chief justice, including the contents of Justice Levers’ last wishes.

Brodie asked if Webb felt it was a breech of confidence for her to copy a confidential letter written by Justice Levers to her colleagues about arrangements for her funeral and in the event of her dying. “Did you not regard this as very private in nature?” Brodie asked. In response Webb said: “But there was stuff in it about certain people in the judiciary, so I had a right to copy it.”

Brodie continued: “She was saying there were certain people she did not want at her funeral, do you accept that was a breach of confidence?” Webb appeared to indicate that maybe it was. Brodie also questioned why she had taken photos with a mobile phone of notes made in a small pad which Webb said she had found in Levers’ car. Webb said she believed the notes were made by Justice Levers as a result of a psychic reading making predictions about her future.

“When I first started working with her she told me she believed in card readers and she showed me a note that she was going to work with someone named Webb,” she said. She also revealed that Justice Levers had told her the psychic had predicted she would get a kidney from someone in a red car and Webb said she believed the note to be another revelation. “When I saw this note it had CJ on it so I copied it.”

Brodie explained that the note was not a recording of a psychic reading but merely reminders tothe judge to do certain things — one of which was to inform the Chief Justice (CJ) that she needed to take leave to visit her husband in Jamaica as he was unwell. He asked Webb if she copied the note because she believed Justice Levers was after the chief justice’s job and Webb said she had. “Yes, I still think that,” she added.

Moving to the letters written to Net News and in particular the one supposedly penned by Leticia Barton, Brodie questioned how Webb had reached the conclusion she had given because at the time the name would mean nothing to her, only gaining significance in hindsight. He also produced sample letters on several pages which Justice Levers had written on the same size paper as Webb had said the letter she had seen had been written on. The sample letters showed it would not have been possible for the judge to have written the same letter as published in Net News on one sheet in the manner Webb had described in her statement. Webb however, insisted she had seen a single page letter signed as Leticia Barton.

He said that given her admission she had only seen the words ‘the Editor’ and ‘Leticia Barton’ and not the content he failed to see how she, at the time, could know what it was and then to relate to her colleague Yasmin Ebanks that the next letter to appear in the newspaper saying bad things about the judiciary would be signed this way. He said it was more likely that she concocted the story after the publication of the letter in the newspaper. “It is a complete fabrication,” said Brodie. “None of your evidence makes any kind of sense.”

As the proceedings concluded for the Saturday session Brodie informed the tribunal that he would continue questioning Webb on Monday morning.

More on the tribunal:

Court staff behind allegations

Tribunal hears prosecutor’s complaints of Levers

Stenographer paints “terrible” picture of court

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Financial assistance for pre-school kids

| 11/05/2009 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Following government policy which ensures that all Caymanian children have the opportunity to attend pre-school, the Ministry of Education is advising parents of children born between 01 February 2005 to 31 January 2006 who would like their children to attend pre-school but are unable to meet the costs that they can apply to the Department of Education Services (DoES) for financial assistance.

This policy, which that has been in effect since 1992, ensures that no Caymanian child of 4 years of age whose parents wish him or her to attend pre-school would be disadvantaged because of the parents’ inability to pay. The policy ishowever, limited to parents whose combined income falls below the certain limits specified on the application forms.

These are available at any pre-school, as well as from Room 2 at the DoES Building on Thomas Russell Avenue or from the Education Offices at Countryside Savannah. The completed forms should be returned no later than Wednesday 30 June to either of the DoES offices and all requested documentation must be attached. Parents are asked to note that the department will be unable to process any application received after this date.

Parents are advised to contact Kate Marnoch, Head of Early Childhood Services, on 244-1815 if they have any questions.

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