Archive for July 1st, 2010

Class of 2010 passes leadership course

| 01/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Following six months of a unique type of learning experience the first 28 people graduated from the inaugural Leadership Cayman class on Monday. Organised by the Chamber of Commerce the course focused on seminar based learning designed by the Leadership Planning Committee, chaired by Jeffrey Brandes (left). LC is a programme is an intensive, and interactive six-month experience examining local social, economic, business and political issues. The Chamber said that applications for the 2011 class are now being taken.

2010 Class members interacted with diverse, high-level community leaders and decision makers by organising and attending a series of seminars and retreats in areas ranging from business, government, education, media, social services, criminal justice, diversity, the arts and more. A trip to the Sister Islands also introduced the group to some of the unique issues facing Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
“What is particularly special about LC is the caliber of speakers made available to the group. From political leaders, CEOs and other community heads; participants are able to hear them speak openly and frankly about the many issues that are affecting us all, and question them afterwards about their own thoughts and views,” the LC organizers said.
The opportunity of such a broad spectrum of topics, speakers and experiences is very unique to the LC programme. One particularly special aspect is the Community Service Class Project. Each year, LC class members will select a local non-profit organisation from applications, and design a project to benefit that organisation. 
After the planning and fundraising, class members join together on ‘Project Day’ to create immediate and tangible results for their chosen charity. This year’s project was the repainting and ‘refresh’ of the Bonaventure Boys Home. The group painted the entire interior of the building, replaced one of their doors, and power washed the exterior of the building making everything cleaner, fresher and a much more inspiring environment for the young people living there.
Meeting typically every other Thursday of the month (5:00 – 9:00 p.m.), the LC group forged strong friendships during the journey
Each graduating class will be invited to join the LC Alumni Association and use it to network both here in the Cayman Islands and also with similar overseas programmes. This year’s class celebrated their graduation at Ristorante Pappagallo with family and friends. Each graduate was awarded a certificate and plaque that spoke to the significance of their accomplishment.
Garth A. Arch; Patricia Bell; Jarard Blake; Stuart T. Bostock; Jeffrey P. Brandes; Sandy Cram; Joanne Diaz-Berry; Chris Duggan; Jeana Ebanks; William P. Ebanks (Billy); Brenda L. Gadd; Simon Garnett; Shayne Howe; Philip Jackson; Ghislaine Lewis; Najah Lewis-Brown; Madhavi Mathura; Jim O’Neill, Christopher M. Orlandini; Gary Rankine; Wil Pineau; Sheridan Robinson; Natalie Urquart; Stacey M. Vandevelde; Lydia C. Warren; Brad Watts; Ben Webster and Melissa Wolfe. 
The LC committee members are   Adam Geldard, Stefan Duchene, Matthew Tibbetts, James Tibbetts, Paul Tibbetts, Norma Williams-Seymour, Melissa Wolfe, Andrew Gibb, Joanne Diaz-Berry and Wil Pineau.
For anyone interested in applying for the 2011 LC Programme contact Joanne Diaz-Berry on 949-8090 ext.123 or email joanne.berry@caymanchamber.ky More information can also be obtained from www.leadershipcayman.ky

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Volunteers need help to feed baby owls

| 01/07/2010 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Local wildlife volunteers are calling on the public to help them in the rescue of two baby barn owls. Last week the two young birds were handed over to local non governmental organisation Cayman Wildlife Rescue by a member of the public.  Unfortunately the caller had the babies for two days before calling CWR so the team was unable to reunite them with their parents. The barn owlets have now been set up in a “Hacking Box”, which will be their new home for the next 2 or 3 months and are being fed by CWR volunteers nightly.  Although they are doing well, the volunteers desperately need money to help feed them. (Photo by Rogerio Pitta)

“They are doing very well and should take their first flight early next week, but they need your help,” said Alison Corbett, the volunteer Program Manager for Cayman Wildlife Rescue. “Frozen mice have to be shipped in via air cargo, which is very expensive – it is estimated that their care will cost around $600.”
Donations can be made to “Cayman Wildlife Rescue” and mailed to PO Box 31116 KY1-1205 or dropped off at the National Trust Office, please include details that you wish your donation to go towards the owls and provide your name and address.  Donations of $50 or more will receive a beautiful photo of the owls along with a certificate of appreciation. 
Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a program of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.  This project is staffed entirely by volunteers with other full time jobs, and is financed 100% by donations from the public.  If you would like to help by donating funds or volunteering time, please contact Alison Corbett at caymanwildliferescue@gmail.com.

What to do if you find injured wildlife – Call the LIME Sponsored Wildlife Emergency Hotline at 917-BIRD(2473). Cayman Wildlife Rescue has a team of experienced and trained volunteers ready to assist in wildlife emergencies. The public are reminded to NEVER attempt to care for a wildlife animal themselves as they required special diets and veterinary care.

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School sports stars get on their bikes

| 01/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): At least eight kids won’t be spending the entire summer playing video games this year as they all have brand new Huffy bikes to enjoy during the school holidays. The bikes were gifts from the school’s sports committee and five community members. They were presented to students who were recognised as being John A. Cumber’s outstanding athletic achievers. During the 2009/10 school year John A. Cumber’s teams won the CUC Pre-season Boys Football Rally; the LIME Inter-primary Cricket League; the Inter-primary Girls Football League; and the CNB Girls Inter-primary Basketball League.

 
In addition, their teams made first runner-up in the CUC Inter-primary Boys Football League; the Inter-primary Schools Sports Meet and the Inter-primary Netball League. The school’s B team also placed fourth in the Inter-primary Netball League.
“The selection criteria go beyond athletic performance,” the school’s Physical Education Teacher Harcourt Wason explained. “Students must perform both on and off the field. They must demonstrate good behaviour and sportsmanship, as well as excellent attendance at practice sessions. Moreover, they must have participated in at least two sporting disciplines for a minimum of three years.”
The Year 6 students – Deandra Kelly, Casey Ramos, Alyssa Connor, Kayla Mitchell, Kareem Murray, Steven Rivers, Ashante Jackson and Akeem Hyde – beamed as they accepted their rewards for contributing to their school’s sporting achievements.
West Bay community member Bridgette Kirkconnell and the school’s sports committee each donated two bikes, while Education Minister, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks, JP, John A. Cumber alumni Melony Jackson and the Williams family each donated one.
Three teachers – Principal Wallace, Football Coach Coles and Cricket Coach Griffith – also received airline tickets. These were donated by the Hon. Premier McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP; West Bay MLA Cline Glidden Jr.; and John A. Cumber alumni Pilar Bush.  
The gifts were solicited by self-appointed ‘School Father’ Floyd Bush, who has voluntarily assisted the school in several capacities for nearly 25 years. The community awards programme has been a mainstay of the school calendar and a project of his for thelast decade.
During the 2009/10 school year John A. Cumber’s teams won the CUC Pre-season Boys Football Rally; the LIME Inter-primary Cricket League; the Inter-primary Girls Football League; and the CNB Girls Inter-primary Basketball League.
In addition their teams made first runner-up in the CUC Inter-primary Boys Football League; the Inter-primary Schools Sports Meet and the Inter-primary Netball League. The school’s B team also placed fourth in the Inter-primary Netball League.
With all of the islands’ government schools now closed the summer vacation has officially begun and details of all government summer camps can be found at www.gov.ky
 

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Better health care a priority says minister

| 01/07/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The minister for health has said that one of the priorities of the government is to develop a sustainable, high quality, healthcare system in the Cayman Islands. A major part of that goal will be increasing access and continuity of care for government patients. Given the local prevalence of a number of non-communicable, chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, government will also focus on health education, promotion and prevention. In two recent statements in the Legislative Assembly, Mark Scotland announced a number of policy plans, including the launch of a new programme called CayHealth and government’s intention to conduct a population based health risks survey.

Scotland said CayHealth was founded on the concept of evidence based healthcare and will improve access to healthcare for all patients. “The CayHealth initiative is specifically designed to take the pressure off emergency and acute care services by focusing on implementing preventative healthcaremeasures and providing primary health care,” Scotland told his legislative colleagues last week.
 
Health Service Authority patients will get access to a preferred primary care physician under the new plan, who will also coordinate their access to specialists and overseas care, if required. Scotland added that patients would get more personal care, and allow the general practitioners to work productively with patients to improve their medical condition. CayHealth is also intended to bring health care to the people in their districts.
 
“Instead of travelling to the Cayman Islands Hospital, under CayHealth patients will have the convenience of accessing all the available healthcare services at their respective district health centres,” the health minister said. “This will reduce wait times and improve access to quality health care – two of the most important healthcare issues highlighted by Health Service Authority users.” Residents will also be able to fill their prescriptions at the district health centres.
 
The Public Health Department will also be undertaking education classes and health promotion activities coordinated with other agencies.
 
“The new CayHealth initiative is just the beginning of a journey that will shape health care for future generations,” Scotland stated, announcing that the programme will be piloted with the clients of the Department of Children and Family Services.
 
“Representatives of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Health Services Authority have been meeting over the past months to plan the implementation strategy and develop the programme parameters. These will be outlined in a public outreach campaign starting this week, including community meetings and briefings with various stakeholders,” he added.
 
On Wednesday Scotland presented another statement reviewing the progress of his whole ministry since he took up office and also spoke about future plans, including the development of a five year strategic plan and better financial management of healthcare.
 
He said that government spent $90 million annually on healthcare, which was around 20% of the public sector budget and was unsustainable. Aside from the development of a new hospital by Dr Devi Shetty, which Scotland predicted would save government a significant amount spent on overseas healthcare, his ministry would also work with CINICO to ensure Cayman was getting value for money for the overseas care it paid for.
 
He said the HSA was making great strides towards better financial management and was expected to make a profit of $1 million this year after years of heavy losses. With the arrival of a Cayman based cardiologist and an oncologist, more patients would be treated here, also reducing costs.
 
Scotland also revealed plans to focus on preventative care and announced the need for a population based survey on risk factors for the biggest killers in Cayman, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, hypertension and cancer.  “In order to plan appropriately for the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable disease and to allocate resources adequately, there is a need to conduct a population based survey on the risk factors for these diseases,” he said. “This information will also facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of any of the interventions which are initiated to combat these preventable diseases.”
 
The risk factor survey will be undertaken this year in partnership with PAHO, CAREC and WHO and the results would be a valuable tool, the minister observed.
 
Changes to legislation, including the Health Insurance Law, succession plans to Caymanize the HSA, adoption of evidence based practice, more access to high quality care for all, improved customer satisfaction and improved delivery of sustainable high quality healthcare, were all part of the forthcoming plans, the minster told the Legislative Assembly in his statement.

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Junior jewel thieves strike in daylight grab

| 01/07/2010 | 27 Comments

(CNS): Police are appealing for information after a group of young jewel thieves swiped a collection of earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces from a George Town store on Monday afternoon. Police said that a group of girls and boys two of which were wearing school uniforms grabbed the jewels and fled from the Edward Street store at about 3pm. Police said that while some of the group engaged the saleswoman in conversation others suddenly grabbed the Swarovski jewellery from a display stand and were last seen running towards the Thompson building and into a black four door Honda civic.

The saleswoman was not injured in the incident and no weapons were used and the suspects are described as being a group of young males and females, two of them were wearing John Grey High School uniforms. Inspector Dane Pinnock is appealing for anyone who has any information about the crime, or who is offered any of the stolen items for sale, to contact the police.
“I would urge business owners and sales staff to be on their guard,” said Inspector Pinnock. “We call these types of incidents ‘distraction thefts’; that means that the perpetrators will work in teams and while some of the group distract the salesperson through conversation or by causing an incident in the store, others commit theft.
He asked managers to e work with their in-store security to ensure that staff members are safe and that a watchful eye is kept on any valuable property.
“Try to make sure that property is kept in locked display cases and that during busy periods you increase staff numbers, particularly if you have high value items on display. Finally, ensure that your CCTV cameras are working and are placed in the right locations,” he said.
“ We have increased or patrols in the centre of George Town and the golden rule is that if you are suspicious of anyone then please contact the police. Anyone who handles stolen goods could potentially face14 years behind bars – remember that if you are offered a cut price deal on a shiny new piece of jewellery!”
Anyone with any information about the theft of the property, the suspects, or who has been offered jewellery for sale in last few days, is asked to contact George Town police station 949 – 4222 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS)

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Illegal aliens given chance to leave with no fuss

| 01/07/2010 | 15 Comments

(CNS): With the immigration amnesty now underway, foreign nationals who are in the Cayman Islands illegally are being given a one-month opportunity to leave without fear of prosecution. Any illegal alien who leaves between now and Sunday, 1 August can do so without being arrested. Local employers who are also holding work permits for people with no work will also be free of legal repercussions if they cancel the permits during this period and arrange for the individuals to leave. The Immigration Department said recently that there are more than 250 over-stayers currently on island and the amnesty comes ahead of a planned clamp down on immigration offences.

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said this opportunity gives employers the chance to regularise their affairs with staff and those who are here illegally time to depart without fear of prosecution before a beefed up enforcement operation begins in August .
“Persons whoare caught then will face being prosecuted or being administratively fined,” she explained. “In either case it would hamper their ability to obtain further work permits from the boards. For the more serious offences, prosecution will be sought and possibly deportation.” 
The maximum penalty for overstaying is a fine of CI$20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, and the penalties for work permit offences range from fines between CI$5,000 and CI$15,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
The department has had amnesties in the past but it is almost six years since the last one. It was decided that now would be an appropriate time to offer an amnesty before a planned joint operation with other law enforcement agencies starts in August with the goal of clamping down on immigration offences.
Over-stayers who turn up during this month, at either the immigration headquarters or the ports and inform the officers that they are taking advantage of this will be allowed to depart without fear of prosecution. The amnesty applies to work permits of convenience, persons holding valid work permits but not sufficient work, and illegal landing aliens. When employers cancel work permits for employees that they do not have work for, the employee in question will thenbe expected to leave the territory before the expiry of the amnesty.
The Immigration Department is asking people who are not sure of their Immigration status to go to its Enforcement Section, where checks will be carried out to determine their legality.
 “I urge those who are in a position to take advantage of this amnesty to do so. Those who forego this opportunity will be making a serious error of judgment and can expect to face serious consequences,” Evans said. “Every day we hear countless complaints about immigration offences being committed and the effect that this has on our territory. This is a golden opportunity for Caymanian employers to play a part in reducing immigration crime in their country and I expect that they will act responsibly and turn in work permits for employees that they no longer can provide work for.”
Department of Immigration officers have posted signs in public places to announce the immigration amnesty and the public can call 244-2028 or visit the Department of Immigration on Grand Cayman or the District Administration Building on Cayman Brac for more information.

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Turks & Caicos bail out costs UK £10 million

| 01/07/2010 | 19 Comments

(Belfast Telegraph): The UK has been forced to provide a £10 million emergency bail-out to the corruption-hit Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), Parliament has been told. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the short-term loan would be used to pay the salaries of police, medics and teachers in the UK overseas territory. Mitchell told MPs the financial crisis in the islands meant immediate UK support was needed. The £10 million loan will be followed by a package of financial support agreed with commercial banks. "The financial situation in TCI has worsened to the point where it was not possible for its government to meet its June financial commitments, including payment of public sector salaries,” Mitchell said.

 
"Without immediate UK support, TCI would fall further into economic crisis," Mitchell added. "Following discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office I have decided to provide a temporary package of financial support."

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Mac accuses media of hostility

| 01/07/2010 | 178 Comments

(CNS): The premier took aim at most of the local media in a statement delivered to the legislative assembly on Wednesday when he accused the press of hostility, bias and sarcasm, as well as twisting the government’s message. McKeeva Bush questioned who the reporters and owners of the media in Cayman were, where they had come from, their political leanings and their qualifications. Describing the local press core as an unelected elite that were “certainly not elite”, Bush criticised the power he believed the media was wielding and said it should not be the “other political party.” He challenged the media to form an association and to create a code of ethics for journalists.

Pointing the finger at CNS, the Compass, CITN, the Rooster talk show hosts and an unnamed member of the press that he said had tried to blackmail him, Bush said he paid particular attention to the media because if it was left alone it would continue to “mislead and befuddle” people.
He accused reporters of demonstrating their disapproval and doubting the veracity of government through the expressions on their faces, the sarcasm of their voices and their writing. “An inflection of the voice asking questions as it is done on CITN and Rooster, a caustic remark in a story as is very often done on CNS and the way it is presented will raise doubts in the minds of our people,” the premier stated.
He suggested that the media was rewarding some politicians with exposure while deliberately ignoring others, twisting stories and leaving out important parts, as they wielded a free hand in how they interpreted what government was saying.
Calling the press a “gaggle of commentators”, along with a small group of PPM rabble-rousers, Bush suggested that reporters seemed to have an instant right of rebuttal to everything he said.
The premier accused the press of distorting what was happening in the Cayman Islands and painting a picture that depicted Caymanians as embittered against foreign nationals, that had no regard for their country, living among lawlessness and violence that was the rule rather than the exception.
He suggested that the majority of Caymanians lived in a quiet spirit of understanding while the loudest and most extreme views were “tearing down the place” on CNS and Rooster.
Asked what Caymanians knew about the owner of CNS and its reporter he questioned what their politics were before they came here and asked if they were conservative or democrat or "hardcore" liberals “where everything goes”. He said journalists did not have to pass any kind of test and questioned the media’s sense of responsibility with its biased reporting suggesting they were not trained and did not do anything to educate the public.
Once again he asked the media to form an association and develop a code of ethics. He laid an example of a press council from Bermuda, based on the UK’s National Press Association, on the table of the LA and asked the local media to consider it. He pointed out the council was not enacted into law in that jurisdiction as he said the press there had agreed to form its own voluntary body. Bush also said that he was examining the idea of a media awards ceremony.

 

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PPM objects to new LA trend

| 01/07/2010 | 19 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): Following a number of statements made by the current education minister severely criticising him, the former education minister objected to the trend emerging in the Legislative Assembly that denies the opposition the opportunity to reply. Rolston Anglin has taken Alden McLaughlin to task over the DER, UCCI and the scholarship system, not in the process of debate but in statements delivered on the floor of the House that, according to LA rules, allow only for clarification questions but no right to reply. McLaughlin raised this point with the Speaker on Wednesday, 30 June, calling the trend “cowardly” as the minister had failed to engage in the budget debate and was now abusing the privilege of the LA. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

After the third statement from Anglin, this time criticising the George Town PPM member for the poor administration of the scholarships department, McLaughlin raised his formal objection. “The minister for education did not seek to debate these issues during the budget and he is now, in a most cowardly manner, raising them in the context of statements, to which we can’t respond,” McLaughlin said. “It is an abuse of privilege. I should not have to be forced on to defend the issues on a radio talk show.”
Outside of the chamber the former Cabinet minister told CNS that the trend emerging from the government of making lengthy statements was wrong.
“The ministers declined to debate the budget and throne speeches and outline their policies and plans. Now they are doing so in the form of long statements, which are also severely critical of the previous administration. The statements are not open to debate, there is no opportunity for scrutiny or defence in the House by those not on the government benches. It is undemocratic and inequitable. We should not have to be forced to respond to these matters on the talk shows,” he added.
McLaughlin said this was the second budget presentation in which the government members had not engaged in debate about their policies and plans and he never seen it before. “They don’t want to be subject to scrutiny,”the former education minister said.  
The PPM member’s comments on the heels of criticisms raised by his colleague Arden McLean, who accused the UDP administration of “truncating” and undermining democracy when the premier raced through the Finance Committee last week.
As a result of the government presenting its budget so late in the year, Finance Committee was forced to sit in the early hours of the morning and ministers were therefore answering questions about the appropriations without the support of their civil servants. McLean had angrily raised his objections and accused the premier of trying to silence the opposition and preventing them from asking questions about government spending.

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US commends Jamaica on Dudus handover

| 01/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(Jamaican Observer): The US State Department has commended Jamaica for what it described as the swift and safe handover of alleged drug lord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke last Thursday, just hours after he waived his right to an extradition hearing. The commendation was made during a press briefing at the White House in Washington last weekend. Just four hours after deciding not to fight his extradition during a special sitting of the magistrate court at the Mobile Reserve headquarters along Camp Road in Kingston, Coke was flown to New York to face trial on gun and drug running charges.

The extradition of Coke, the former strongman of the West Kingston community of Tivoli Gardens, ended nine months of strained relations between Washington and Kingston, which was triggered by an extradition request from the US on August 25, 2009.

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