Archive for October 10th, 2010

NHC predicts potential of 16th storm in Caribbean

| 10/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Update Monday 1:15pm – The national hurricane centre is giving a weather system located to the south-west of the Cayamn Islands a near 100 percent chance of becoming tropical storm Paula this afternoon. Satellite images, surface observations and data from an air force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that a tropical storm may be forming with advisories likely to be issued this afternoon. Heavy rainfall is possible over the Cayman Islands as well as portions of Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba the NHC said. The system is currently moving northwestward at around 10mph.

 
The local weather forecast calls for extensive cloudiness and showers over the Cayman area today in association with a surface trough. Showers may be locally heavy at times with some flooding in low lying areas expected. Temperatures will rise to the mid 80’s. Winds will be southeast 10 to 15 knots. Seas will be moderate with wave heights of 3 to 5 feet. Gusty winds and rough seas are expected in heavy showers. Tonight there will be more cloudy skies with a 30 % chance of isolated showers and some thunder.  
 

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Foreign workers face bio-tests

| 10/10/2010 | 96 Comments

(CNS): Foreigners hoping to work in the Cayman Islands will soon have to give a range of bio-metric information to officials in order to enter the country. Government plans to introduce a system that goes way beyond the anticipated finger printing which could include collecting palm prints, face and iris patterns, and even DNA for the purpose of identifying all work permit holders. This data will be held by the Immigration Department and will also be used by the police in conjunction with a new Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The plan to introduce of a new RCIPS finger print system and the immigration biometric enrolment was revealed with the publication of an invitation for bids on the Central Tender’s Committee website on Friday.

According to the Request for Proposal, the winning bidder needs to provide the Immigration department with “Biometric Enrolment, Verification, and Enforcement Hardware and Software,” and the police with Law Enforcement Automated Fingerprint Identification to upgrade the existing system.
 
“The Cayman Islands Government wishes to integrate the capability for biometric enrolment and verification of identity for work permit holders into the existing Immigration System (IMSS), and upgrade or replace the existing Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s (RCIPS) Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs will be spearheading this project,” the request states.
 
The request indicates that the RCIPS wants an Automated Fingerprint Identification System that would allow police to print suspects in a variety of circumstances and integrate those prints with the police mug shot database. The portfolio is also looking for a system that would allow immigration and the RCIPS to search each others’ identification systems. The RFP asks for a system that would “allow integration and controlled access between the AFIS System and the Immigration System,” the document reveals.  
 
The goal is to provide immigration with the ability to biometrically enrol work permit holders allowing accurate verification of work permit holder’s identity when they are entering or exiting Cayman, during immigration enforcement activities, and at other times and locations as required, the documents say.
 
The new AFIS system in turn is expected to provide, “sufficient performance, capacity, accuracy, and enhanced functionality to support current and future police operations including the processing of subjects in custody at RCIPS locations, during mobile police field operations,” as well as integration with existing records.
 
 
The portfolio said it is inviting submission of tenders “from interested eligible firms” by 12 noon on 19 November. Those firms will need to possess a verifiable past record, equal to or superseding the project’s size and complexity, of providing the proposed equipment and/or software to a local, state, or national government entity. Government will retain one or more companies specializing in the field and firms can bid on all or part of the products and services specified in the RFP.
 
 
 
 

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National count launched

| 10/10/2010 | 50 Comments

(CNS): After many months of preparation the national census 2010 gets underway today as the Economics and Statistics Office rolls out its almost 300 strong army of enumerators. Starting from this evening, which is census night, workers will be visiting each and every home across all three Cayman Islands until the end of November, when the count ends. Organisers are asking the community to welcome the census worker and ensure they can recognise the staff when they come to their homes. All residents in the Cayman Islands are legally obliged by law to take part in the count but the ESO hopes everyone will join in without coercion.

“We are ready, we are excited and we hope the entire country will support this important national exercise,” Economics and Statistics Director Maria Zingapan said. The project aims to count every single household and interview one member from each home to gain an accurate a picture as possible of the current number and position of the country’s population.
 
Cayman’s church leaders have also backed the exercise and Cayman Ministers Association Chairman Pastor Bob Thompson Jr and Secretary Rev. Nicholas Sykes joined with Seventh Day Adventist CI Conference President Pastor Eric Clarke to acknowledge the need for full participation.
 
“We understand how important this single biggest statistics-gathering exercise is for our country and all our people,” Pastor Thompson said. “Without accurate population and housing data and other current statistics to guide us, all our forward planning will be unbalanced. We need to base our decisions on sound facts.”
 
Rev. Sykes  said he has participated in a number of censuses and said that, knowing how they work, he has no hesitation in confirming that all personal information is kept confidential in the census database. Pastor Clarke added that people mattered and for the sake of accuracy no one should be left out. “We therefore need to welcome census workers and provide truthful answers to the questions,” the church leader added.
 
Some local church leaders may be surprised by the results as a worldwide campaign, started in 2001, asking people to cite Jedi or Jedi knight as the religion in international censuses has gained momentum. In Austria 0.37% people claim Jedi as their faith, while 1.5% did so in the New Zealand census. In the UK 0.8% said they were Jedi in England and Wales, making it the fourth largest reported religion. After  21,000 Canadians put down their religion as Jedi Knight in that country’s census, government said it was a rationale for making the census form voluntary.
 
Although the campaign has been described as merely a global practical joke, it is also seen as a  political protest about the inclusion of religious questions in a compulsory census. In the UK census it is the one question that those being interviewed are not obligated to answer under the law.
 
Census Manager Elizabeth Talbert warned members of the community to make sure they identify workers who visit homes: “They will wear a blue or yellow Census 2010 T-shirt, they must have a Census 2010 identification card, and they will most probably carry a clipboard and a black Census 2010 bag,” she said. “It is your right to ask them for proof of their identity before you invite them in.
 
Talbert added that all enumerators signed an oath of confidentiality, ensuring that Census 2010 information will be kept safe and secure and offices have been established in each district that will be open 12 hours per day. “Our enumerators have been trained well and they will help people with every question. People don’t need to figure the questionnaire out by themselves. We want everyone to feel comfortable with the census and we encourage them to ask questions,” Talbert said. “If at any time you have a problem or are hesitant, please give us a call,” Talbert added.
 
District offices will be open weekdays and Saturdays: 8:30am to 8pm and on Sundays between 1pm to 6pm. They are located at:
George Town: Paddington Place, 946-5107 (Daisylyn Chin or Selbourn Christian)
West Bay: Centennial Towers, 914-7864 (Nicole Emmanuel-Jones or Theodore Thompson) Eastern Districts: Countryside Shopping Village (Adolphus Laidlow or Michael Godfrey)
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman: 948-0940 (Chevala Burke). 
 
For more information go to www.census2010.ky or www.eso.ky

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Man receives serious injury in late night incident

| 10/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A man believed to be suffering form mental health issues caused himself serious harm late Saturday night when he tried to break into the National Museum Office in Passadora Place. It is not clear why the man was trying to gain entry to the office but in his efforts to smash the glass door, witnesses say, he received a serious cut. Although police have taken the man into custody officers on the scene did not seem to think this was an attempted burglary or necessarily a deliberate act of criminal damage but my have had something to do with the man’s state of mind.  An ambulance was called to the scene and the man was taken to the nearby George Town Hospital as he was believed to have lost a considerable amount of blood.

 
Details have not yet been confirmed however, as the RCIPS press office is closed until Monday at 8:30am.
 
I f you have any details about this or any other news incident/crime please contact the CNS twenty four hour crime desk where you can leave an anonymous message or speak to the crime reporter. crimedesk@caymannewsservice.com

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Bermuda to send mental health inmates to UK

| 10/10/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Reports in the Bermudian press this weekend have revealed that the government there will be sending prisoners with severe mental health problems to England for treatment as part of a new agreement with a UK hospital trust. The Bermudian Government and the Bermuda Hospitals Board signed a "statement of intent" on Friday with the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), the Royal Gazette reported this weekend. The Trust will provide care for the prisoners at its Reaside Clinic in Rubery, West Midlands. Mentally ill inmates are said to make up 12 to 15 percent of Bermuda’s prison population.

Although there are no official figures regarding the percentage of prisoners at HMP Northward suffering mental health problems, it is believed to be at least as much as 15% and possibly more. The Cayman Islands, like Bermuda, has no proper mental health unit for those who are a danger to themselves or society.
 
The announcement in Bermuda follows the suicide of a 28-year-old paranoid schizophrenic at the country’s Westgate jail after battling for six years to secure specialist overseas treatment that experts said he needed. Robinson was incarcerated on the grounds of insanity after stabbing an American tourist in the back with a six-inch blade on Front Street in 2002.
 
Health Minister Walter Roban said, "I am very pleased to be signing this statement of intent, which takes us one step closer to providing services for Bermudians in prison who have severe mental health needs.  This was a key deliverable of the Mental Health Plan launched in June this year. It is good news that we have taken such a decisive step towards a permanent solution and I look forward to this agreement being formalised in the near future."
 

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Estella foundation urges people to ‘say something’

| 10/10/2010 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Following the passage of the Protection from Domestic Violence Law 2010, which allows third parties to apply for various protection orders for people who are victims of violence in the home, the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation is launching its second annual campaign, “Silence Hurts: If You See Something, Say Something”. Throughout this year-long campaign, the foundation hopes to encourage people to speak up when they know violence and abuse is taking place as the law now enables people other than the victims to apply for protection orders. “With the simple act of speaking up, each member of the community can help to eradicate domestic violence,” a spokesperson said.

The campaign begins on 17 October in a public ceremony at the Harquail Theatre at 5pm, marking the second anniversary of the tragic death of Estella Scott-Roberts, an activist and advocate in the fight against gender violence and inequality. Scott-Roberts, who was herself violently murdered on 10 October 2008, was passionate and dedicated to eradicating violence and abuse against women and children.

“The main message of the foundation is to end gender violence and to speak out against issues such as domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality,” said Rayle Roberts, chairperson of the foundation and Estella’s widower. “While these social ills are most-often visited upon women and children, it will take all of us, men and women, to end this abuse. The theme this year is ‘Silence Hurts’ and as a result we are reaching out to everyone; if you see domestic violence occurring, say something. ” he said. “We implore people: Do not be afraid to speak out. The only way to stop the violence is to address it, to make sure people understand that there is never a justification or an excuse for gender violence.”
 
The law is also now on the side of those who speak out since they can begin the process of protecting themselves against their abusers, and other people who know of friends and family who are being abused can instigate the process of gaining a legal protection order for those they know are in danger.
 
Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, who said that lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter, Roberts said he captured the corrosive effect of social ills, such as violence, not only on its victims but on everyone that does not try to stop it. “We cannot hope to attain a peaceful, caring, and harmonious society if we remain silent about domestic violence; it affects us all,” Rayles said. 
 
The foundation is encouraging everyone to speak out and to speak up wherever they find the problem, whenever they see it. Domestic violence knows no economic, social or class boundaries and it is the responsibility of all members of this community, as neighbours, as parents, as spouses, as friends, as men and women to stop it.
 
Roberts appealed to anyone who suspects that violence is taking place to tell someone trusted — a teacher, a church leader, a coach, a counsellor, another family member, friends, police, or social workers — as they can now begin the process of gaining legal protection for those who are suffering.  

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