Archive for January 20th, 2010

Earthquake strength revised

| 20/01/2010 | 14 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman earthquake(CNS): Yesterday’s initial measurement for the earthquake which shook Grand Cayman around 9:20am on Tuesday 19 January, some 32 miles off the coast of Bodden Town, has been increased by the United States Geological Survey. After reviewing the information and measurements, Hazard Management Cayman Islands said the specialist organization has revised the magnitude upwards from 5.8 to a 5.9 magnitude event. The quake reportedly lasted for around 8 seconds and there are still no reports of any structural damage across the island.

The only evidence left behind was the appearance of a major sinkhole in Pirates Lair at South Sound, which was being filled on Tuesday. There were, however, a number of other reports of sinkholes emerging along the shore line and beach in South Sound as well, believed to be as a result of the various caverns and fissures in the rocks underground in that area.

According to HMCI, the earth tremor was not a ‘strong’ event; it was a ‘moderate’ earthquake of very short duration. Director of Hazard Management McCleary Frederick determined that, based on the magnitude and parameters of the event, the likelihood of structural failures to homes and offices was very small. Some 35 minutes after the event the likelihood of a damaging aftershock was sufficiently low that the risks were effectively in the ‘normal’ or ‘near normal’ probability range and residents were given the all clear to return to offices and homes.

The Cayman Islands are located along an active fault zone, and from time to time earthquakes occur. Unfortunately, these occurrences cannot be predicted, but residents are encouraged to learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake and thereby reduce the risks associated with earthquakes.

In the wake of the event, debate has still continued about earthquake drills over the ‘triangle of life’ theory, which has been discredited by many official agencies. HCMI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advocate current best practice which is to "Drop, Cover and Hold on" — duck under a strong piece of furniture, cover your head and hold on until the shaking subsides. HCMI said that Doug Copp’s assertions that everyone is always crushed if they get under something, is incorrect.

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Haiti faces new 6.1 quake

| 20/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(AFP): A powerful new earthquake shook Haiti on Wednesday jolting celebrations for miracle survivors ranging from a three week old baby to an elderly woman who were hauled out after seven days under the rubble. Residents poured onto the streets fearing a repeat of the January 12 quake said to have killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people. The US Geological Survey estimated the new tremor at magnitude 6.1. The epicentre was west of Port-au-Prince, which was razed by last week’s devastating 7.0 quake. Witnesses reported a low vibration and then a thunderous rumbling but there was no immediate sign of significant new damage.

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French & Brits fight over Madoff yacht

| 20/01/2010 | 1 Comment

(Bloomberg): The ownership of Bernard Madoff’s $7 million yacht which is registered in the Cayman Islands and was seized in the south of France is causing controversy between the UK and France. Investment firm Financiere Meeschaert say it should be decided in the French courts but it is currently being handled in London. The yacht, called “Bull,” was seized by French authorities last year at Meeschaert’s request which had invested “large sums of money” in the “Ponzi scheme operated by Madoff.” The firm then brought a lawsuit in France seeking control of the yacht to return money to its clients, according to the lawyer.

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West Bay man denies male-rape charges

| 20/01/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Leonard Ebanks has denied committing a sexual assault on a 31 year old man stating that the police are trying to frame him. News 27 is reporting that when Ebanks (39) of West Bay appeared in court on Monday (18 January) he said the allegations were hideous and that he was out drinking with friends on the day of the incident but the police have not checked out the alibi. Ebanks was denied bail and has been remanded in custody to Northward prison. Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden (left) said this type of rape case was unusual. “This is the first time we’ve had a male adult complainant say they have been raped by another male adult,” he told the TV station.


Ebanks has been charged with rape, threatening violence and disorderly conduct. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service say that on 9 January officers received a report from the 31-year-old man that he had been attacked and subjected to a sexual assault in Joseph Drive, West Bay. Police said that enquiries conducted by local CID officers resulted in the arrest of Ebanks and enquiries continue.

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Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Shades of prejudice

| 20/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(New York Times): Last week, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, found himself in trouble for once suggesting that Barack Obama had a political edge over other African-American candidates because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Mr. Reid was not expressing sadness but a gleeful opportunism that Americans were still judging one another by the color of their skin, rather than — as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose legacy we commemorated on Monday, dreamed — by the content of their character.

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Cayman business community to look in to future

| 20/01/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Hundreds of people from the offshore sector will be looking into the future of the financial world tomorrow when the industry players and pundits gather at the Ritz Carlton for the annual Cayman Business Outlook conference. Premier McKeeva Bush will open the conference before financial experts offer their insight into the industry’s, and in particular, Cayman’s future. In the afternoon the police commissioner, the auditor general and a local pastor will join with local finance experts to pitch in on a panel discussion covering crime & politics as well as future jobs & prosperity in Cayman.

Experts say that the coming decade is going to be characterized by much less financial leverage, much more government regulation, slow job growth and a shift away from US consumption as the global engine of growth. Speakers at this year’s CBO will be examining questions such as what will the post recession business, geopolitical and economic landscape look like? What do individual, companies and nations need to do to boost productivity, fuel growth and squeeze out a profit in this restructured world order?

The Chairman & CEO of the main sponsors, Fidelity, Anwer Sunderji promises guests that they will be informed, educated and provoked as they examine the marked impact that recent global financial events have had on the world’s economy.

“Toxic assets on banks’ balance sheets, high levels of credit card debt, collapsed home values and sharply eroded pension assets, will shackle theUS economy, and much of the developed world, for years to come,” Sunderji said. “This will have a profound impact on the rest of the developing world and particularly smaller Caribbean based economies dependent on the US economic engine. Having dodged the Great Depression, and endured the Great Recession for a limited time, we are now in a period where the dismantling of the Great Credit Boom of the 90’s is underway with aggressive deleveraging taking place as consumers and banks repair their balance sheets.”

He said the world was unlikely to see a great recovery as consumers in the developed economies the US in particular, appear unwilling to, or simply cannot, revert to their debt fuelled spending habits that underpinned global economic prosperity in the last decade. “Such a dramatic reduction in consumer spending in the US will result in an extended period of slow to moderate growth, which will be the basis for the “New Normal” – a culture of thrift and an age of austerity,” he added.

The CBO 2010 presenters have all made frequent appearances on financial channels and news programmes and are regular print and web columnists. Keynote speaker, Simon Johnson, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the financial sector and economic crises and a former International Monetary Fund chief economist while give his presentation, Grave new world at 10:25

Registration is at 8:00am and the conference takes place on Thursday 21 January at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman.

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Quake causes chaos at school

| 20/01/2010 | 76 Comments

(CNS): Following a morning of misinformation and confusion as parents, teachers and students reacted to Tuesday’s earthquake, as well as an incident in which a student at John Grey High School allegedly attacked the principal and had to be restrained, there was a deafening silence from Education Minister Rolson Anglin or Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues. Other than two brief announcements from GIS that schools remained open, the ministry failed to reassure concerned parents about what was happening at the schools or quash rumours spreading via email and talk shows that schools were closing following the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Grand Cayman around 9:20am. (Left: JGHS principal Aldin Bellinfantie)

The non-reaction by the ministry echoed the lack of information following a violent incident at the George Hicks campus in November last year that led to a 13-year-old student being flown to Jamaica with head injuries, reportedly after rocks were thrown at him. Despite assurances from the ministry that an account of the incident would be provided to the media, none ever appeared.

While official information as to what caused the apparent chaos at schools yesterday (19 January) was woefully lacking, an eye-witness told CNS that students at the John Gray High School were evacuated into the bus parking lot after the earthquake. They were then encouraged to vault over the fence and leave the compound without permission from the school by adults who arrived at the campus, and some students did so.

With rumours swirling that the schools were closing and even that children were being sent home without informing parents, panicked parents arrived at the school and may have fuelled the morning’s disruptions.

CNS has also learned that a student at JGHS was detained by police following attempts to hit the new school principal, Aldin Bellinfantie. Police confirmed that they did attend a disturbance at John Grey but no arrests were made.

“Earlier today, Tuesday 19 January 2010, police liaison officers were at John Grey High School when they had occasion to restrain a 15-year-old male pupil who had attempted to strike a member of staff,” said Superintendent Adrian Seales. “No arrest was made and enquiries into the incident are ongoing. “I can confirm that a complaint has been received by RCIPS about the police action and a full investigation into the circumstances will take place.”

Officials at the Department of Education Services said they were not free to give a full explanation of the day’s events. However, Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler did say that, while some parents came to collect their children, they had been encouraged to leave their children at school. At no time was there any announcement that the schools had closed, and when CNS talked to her mid-morning, Wahler said that classes were back in session and that calm had returned to government schools and any confusion had been resolved.

The CEO said that each school had been given an initial inspection and there appeared to be no damage but that facility officers were conducting detailed check at each campus.

Related article: Ministry keeping mum on school violence

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