Archive for November 9th, 2010

PPM criticises Mac over treatment of young leader

| 09/11/2010 | 46 Comments

(CNS): The opposition has taken the country’s premier to task for the way he addressed the leader of the youth branch of its party at a recent public meeting. Describing the apparent gender bias displayed by McKeeva Bush as unseemly, the PPM says he failed to answer the question she posed. The PPM said the country’s leader should not have berated Denise Miller, the president of the young progressives or others at the meeting who asked questions in the manner he did regardless of the party they support but should have answered the “pertinent questions.” (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, the opposition party states, “The PPM notes the unfortunate manner in which certain members of the public, including the President of the Young Progressives, Denise Miller, were addressed by the Premier at the Town Hall Meeting in Bodden Town, on the night of 2 November.”

On the night in question the premier was dismissive of both Miller and former radio talk show host Carolina Ferriera and referred to them as “darling” and “sweetheart” and noted that the young women were "just PPM” during the open mike session of the meeting.

The PPM pointed out that meeting was held in public, broadcast on radio and television as well as reported on news internet sites, giving the premier’s behaviour a wide audience.

“The PPM believes that no matter what view the Premier holds in relation to Miss Miller, the PPM, or any of its supporters, it was very unseemly for him to berate and display apparent gender bias towards Miss Miller and other members of the public in the manner that he did that night,” the opposition party stated. It said that they had asked pertinent questions which the premier failed to answer.

“The political leader and other parliamentary members of the PPM hereby stand behind Miss Miller in her pursuit of truth, and call upon the premier to observe and practice standards of decorum which are befitting of his high office. To do otherwise does not only a disservice to the Office of the Premier, but also inflicts damage to principles of Open Government and Transparency. The premier should be encouraging young people such as Miss Miller to continue to participate and be involved in national issues. We commend Miss Miller for standing her ground under immense aggression and incivility from the Premier.”

A recent Viewpoint published on CNS by a member of the founding committee of the Crisis Centre and the chair of the Special Advisory Committee on Gender Violence also noted the inappropriate behaviour of the premier. Len Layman said that Bush’s comments were delivered in a “disrespectful, offensive, condescending, gratuitous, and unbecoming” manner, not just of a premier but of anyone.

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Bird strike damages CAL aircraft

| 09/11/2010 | 19 Comments

(CNS): A bird strike to Cayman Airways flight KX201 bound for Grand Cayman from Tampa minutes after the plane took off from the airport caused the aircraft to be grounded yesterday. After the bird hit the plane the crew immediately requested emergency clearance to return to Tampa’s runway, and landed safely without incident about 10 minutes after departure on Monday, 8 November at 3:25pm. Maintenance inspections on the ground in Tampa after landing, indicated minor damage to the aircraft, resulting in the aircraft being removed from service for repairs and the cancellation of flight KX201.

Cayman Airways Acting Vice President of Flight Operations, Captain Adrian “Rex” Miller commended the crew’s response. “The swift and professional response of Cayman Airways Captain Perry Panton, assisted by CaptainLeon Missick, is testament to their training and competence, which ensured our passengers’ safety and comfort throughout the event,” he said.
The airline said it had accommodated all passengers affected by the cancellation of flight KX201 by rerouting them through Miami where they connected with Cayman Airways flights to Grand Cayman.

Acting CEO Fabian Whorms said, “The safety and security of our passengers is our ultimate priority and we would like to thank all passengers involved for their patience and support. Additionally, we sincerely apologise for any inconveniences that the delayed arrival into Grand Cayman may have caused our passengers.”

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Cops close case on bones found in George Town

| 09/11/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The human skeletal remains found in a wooded area off Bobby Thompson Way earlier this year have been identified as a man who disappeared some seven years ago. Police confirmed on Tuesday that the investigation launched following the discovery of the bones, which had been in the place where they were found for several years, has now been completed and the case has been closed. The police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the 38-year-old man. Following extensive forensic testing, police are now certain who the man was but at the request of his family did not reveal his name.

Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden, the officer who led the investigation, confirmed that the file was closed and the family of the deceased had been informed. “We have established that the deceased was a male, now known to authorities,” Bodden said. “The deceased was reported missing in June of 2003, when he was aged 38 years. Despite extensive enquiries carried out at the time by the police and his family, the deceased was never traced. Over the past 7 years his family have been left wondering what had become of him.”

Bodden said that in respect to the family he would not comment on his death but there were no suspicious circumstances.

According to reports in the Caymanian Compass, the body is allegedly that of Keith Augustus Balkaran, of Jamaica, who wasbelieved to have gone missing around 8pm Saturday, 31 May 2003. His disappearance was later reported to police and he said to have was last been seen earlier that evening at an address on Fairview Road, George Town. 

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MLA appears in dock

| 09/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The backbench UDP representative for Bodden Town made his first courtroom appearance this morning over charges relating to an assault at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites in May. Standing in the dock with his co-defendant, Joseph Minzett, Dwayne Seymour faced Magistrate Margaret Ramsey Hale as his defence counsel, Steve Mcfield, asked for a continuance, saying he had just received the evidence against his client from the crown. Both men were bailedto return to court on 30 November. Seymour is facing charges of common asault and attempting to pervert the course of public justice. The elected official has denied the charges and recently claimed he was suprised to have been charged so long after the incident.

Seymour and Minzett have been charged in connection with an incident which occurred at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites on Saturday, 1 May. At the time of the incident, Florida based personal trainer Garrone Yap claimed he was assaulted by Seymour and another man outside the hotel. All three men were arrested, but Yap was released without charge.

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New Firefox add-on protects you against hackers

| 09/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNN): If you’re concerned about using open Wi-Fi networks because of Firesheep, the highly popular new hacking tool, you should check out BlackSheep, a Firefox add-on that makes surfing on open networks safe once again. Firesheep came onto the scene not too long ago. It’s a bit of code that allows just about anyone to access your web accounts via session hijacking. Basically, anyone browsing on a non-password-protected Internet connection, such as a Starbucks network or even an airplane, has been at risk for having their accounts accessed by a total stranger. One way around this issue is using a VPN every time you log on via an open network. But let’s face it: For the average Internet user, this kind of work-around is a hassle, and most people care more about convenience than security.

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Study: Girls take more chances during first sex

| 09/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNN): Even though teenage boys are known for their risky behavior, it’s girls who are more likely to engage in unprotected first sex, according to research presented Monday at an American Public Health Association meeting in Denver. Nicole Weller, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, analyzed government data and found adolescent girls were 30 percent more likely than boys to have sex without contraception during their first sexual encounter. Weller said that surprised her. “It does because of the history of boys engaging in risky behavior across the spectrum and then seeing that females are having first unprotected sex is telling a different story,” Weller said.

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Internationally renowned author to visit Cayman

| 09/11/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): One of the world’s most famous modern writers, Salman Rushdie will be visiting the Cayman Islands this month. Described by organisers as a “once in a lifetime opportunity to meet one of the most celebrated and controversial writers of our time,” Cayman’s readers will be able to join the number one New York Times bestselling author and “Best of the Booker” prize winner for a discussion and signing of his new book Luka and the Fire of Life. The event will begin in Gardenia Court, Camana Bay on 19 November when Rushdie will treat the public to an intimate presentation and reading before taking questions from the audience. The discussion will be immediately followed by a book signing at Books & Books.

Rushdie’s fame as a post colonial writer is not just as a result of the quality of his work but because of the international controversy it has stirred. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, lead to accusations of blasphemy against Islam and the Iranian leadership issued a fatwa against Rushdie in1989 – effectively a death sentence – forcing him into hiding under the protection of the British government. The fatwa was lifted in 1998.

Since Satanic verses Rushdie has gone on to write a serious of novels, non-fiction books and screenplays. Midnight’s Children which was his first work and one of his most famous, was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981, the Booker of Bookers in 1993, and, in 2008, the Best of the Booker.

His latest work Luka and the Fire of Life is described by critics as a “thrilling, delightful, lyrically crafted fable for the young and young at heart,” which begins one beautiful starry night in the land of Alifbay.

Luka’s father, Rashid, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, falls suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one can rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the world of magic with his loyal companions, Bear (the dog) and Dog (the bear). Together they encounter a slew of fantastical creatures, strange allies, andchallenging obstacles—all in the hopes of stealing the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly treacherous task but one that must be done in order to save Luka’s father’s life.

Written for his youngest son, Milan, Luka and the Fire of Life is a companion to Rushdie’s earlier novel, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which he wrote for his eldest son, Zafar. The story is a classic quest myth exploring the relationships between fathers and sons, life and death, the real and the imagined, freedom and authority. Filled with frolicking wordplay and unexpected twists, and fueled by the power of words and the imagination, this is Salman Rushdie at his best.

“It has been my aim, in Luka as in Haroun, to write a story that demolishes the boundary between ‘adult’ and ‘children’s’ literature. A child may read these books and, I hope, derive from them the pleasures and satisfactions that children seek from books. The same child may read them again when he or she is grown, and see a different book, with adult satisfactions instead of (or as well as) the earlier ones. Luka and the Fire of Life has been the most enjoyable writing experience I’ve had since I wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories.” – Salman Rushdie said of his latest work.

This free event is open to the public on Friday, November 19 at 7pm. It is part of the Books & Books International Visiting Author Series and is generously sponsored by Ogier.

 

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No help for merchants

| 09/11/2010 | 26 Comments

(CNS): A proposal to try and boost sales for local merchants by requiring developers given a duty waiver to ‘buy local’ has failed. A private members motion brought by the independent MLA for North Side was altered so much by government in the Legislative Assembly that it removes any obligation on the part of those given the waivers to buy from Cayman dealers. Ezzard Miller had called on government to use the duty waiver as a way of assisting local traders who were struggling to keep their doors open and in some cases laying off staff. In his motion, Miller asked that anyone given a duty waiver as a carrot to encourage development must purchase goods locally in order to access the waiver.

However, rather than voting ‘no’ to his motion the government submitted a private members motion amendment via backbencher Ellio Solomon, changing Miller’s original proposal from a legal obligation to buy local to get the waiver to the possibility of getting a higher discount on the duty if they chose to buy locally. It was not clear however, how that would work for those developers given a 100 percent duty reduction.

Rolston Anglin the education minister described Miller’s original proposal as “fatally flawed” because not all goods are available on island and developers would have to source many things they needed overseas.

The independent member for North Side pointed out that in such cases the developers would simply not get the duty – which was the point of the motion – and that he had worded it carefully to ensure that it had the guts to properly assist the local merchants. “This change will be of no benefit to them,” Miller told CNS after he was forced to vote against his own motion that was “hijacked by the government and neutered.”

Miller said he was disappointed and could not understand why government did not just vote ‘no’ if they did not agree with him. However, he said if nothing else the debate had revealed the fact that prior to the motion government did not have a policy to encourage developers to buy locally at all and at least now they were offering some encouragement.

The problem he said, however, was that the merchants were still left trying to scrape a living in tough times while the major developers who were purchasing materials and goods for their projects were simply by passing the local economy and despite getting the duty benefit were not spending their money in the Cayman domestic economy.

Miller pointed out that in some circumstances when developers simply ignored local retailers the point of the waiver to encourage development was lost. When government is deriving no revenue as there is no duty and the merchants are not benefiting either it was hard to see who other than the developer benefitted.

As well as trying to assist struggling traders Miller said that if more of the major developers were obligated to buy locally then the merchants themselves would be able to reduce their prices as they would be able to buy in bulk and access better prices which would in turn benefit everyone.

During his presentation in the House Miller had pointed to local developer Frank Hall who specialises in low cost properties as an example as he always buys his material through local traders. The independent member from North Side pointed said if Hall can do it when constructing homes where cost is significant and profit margins small, the larger developers selling units for millions of dollars with much greater profit margins would find it even easier to shop locally. “They must be made to have a social conscience,” Miller added.

Facing what he called the “Ellioanisation” of his motion Miller said he had done his duty by the people who had made representation to him that local businesses needed help and said his motion had been drafted to assist people. In difficult times, Miller added that he believed government should assist the people but that this altered motion would be of no substantial benefit.
 

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East Enders will fight dock

| 09/11/2010 | 42 Comments

(CNS): Over 150 people came out to a meeting regarding proposals to develop a commercial seaport in East End on Monday night and few, if any, were in support. The district’s elected representative Arden McLean told the people he was prepared to lead the opposition to the project from up front but the people would have to raise their voices and stand against it as the government had already revealed its support for the proposal. Prior to the public meeting demonstrating the considerable opposition in the community, the premier had said on Monday morning that few developments were ever supported by everyone and this one had the potential to bring in tremendous revenue. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

At the meeting in his constituency McLean made it clear he opposed the development from a personal position but wanted to know how the people that elected him felt, and it was apparent from the response to his presentation that the audience agreed with his opposition. McLean revealed what he knew of the proposed development by Joe Imparato, with whom he had recently met.

McLean listed the various concerns from the belief that the canal to accommodate the ships would lead to contamination of the fresh water resources in the district by the eventual seepage of sea water into the underground lens, which would eventually deplete the area’s forests.

He spoke of the loss of several key dive sites in the area, as well as long term major environmental damage, the pollution, the quarrying on the fill (the main purpose of the development), the undermining of the local quarrying business, the dangers of the extensive flooding that would be caused in storms, the loss of the scenic road into East End, the cost of new roads which would have to be paid for by the public purse, and the probability that East Enders would be unlikely to derive any benefit.

McLean pointed out that during the first few years of the project as the developer excavated the fill from the area there would be no more than a handful of jobs, and that by the introduction of a specialist corporation to construct the port the developer would be able to by-pass the normal planning and other regulations.

"We have to stop this now," he said, warning that as a member of the minority opposition, if the proposal gets as far as the Legislative Assembly then he could not stop it. "I am here to lead you right up front and we need to send a message and we need to say it loud enough."

Answering McLean’s questions in the Legislative Assembly on Monday morning, McKeeva Bush made it clear that government was waiting to see the developer’s business plan, an economic impact assessment and an environmental impact assessment (which he is commissioning himself) but it believed the proposal had the potential to bring in “tremendous revenue”. Though he said at this stage the government knew no more about the details than what had been revealed in the public statement by Imparato recently. he said, “The developer has submitted a concept; that’s as far as it goes,” adding that it was one he believed in.

The premier did state, however, that he believed that a cargo port should not be in George Town. He said he had had always supported the notion of a commercial port in the North Sound, as he believed it was a natural harbour, but he could not get a proposal or the support for that. However he did support this idea for East end and, if it had started when he was in office the last time, it would be finished by now and be bringing in revenue.

He said he believed in the future financial viability of the project and there was money to be made in transshipment and the other proposals the developer had for the facility. Although others have doubted the viability of Cayman becoming involved in the shipping sector, Bush has said he believes it could be a source of money for the islands. He said he remained to be convinced that a commercial port couldn’t generate “tremendous revenue” for the country and had it already been constructed government would not have had to introduce all the recent fee increases.

Despite the opposition to the idea, he said that people generally come around to things once they have been finished and saw how good they were. The premier said that everyone had said that the Ritz-Carlton and Camana Bay were the worst things in the world when they were proposed. “I have never seen a project go that everyone supports,” Bush added. “They call you names and then ten years alter they say what a good thing it is.”

The premier accuse the member for East End of making opposition to the project but when everything was in hand he would go and talk to the people of East End about the proposal. He said the project had to be to the satisfaction of Cabinet before it would get support from government.

Bush confirmed that Imparato was currently drafting a proposal for special legislation that would create a similar development zone to that created for the London Docklands Development in the UK, ring fencing the facility from existing legislation regarding permits and zoning issues during its development phase. He said that government would be happy to pass the law if it was satisfied with the project once the assessments were confirmed.

The planned public meeting in North Side to be hosted by Ezzard Miller has been postponed until 7 December as a result of problems at the district civic centre.

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DEH urges lunchbox safety

| 09/11/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Department of Environmental Health (DEH) staffers are reminding parents that when it comes to preparing school lunches it is vital to follow good food-safety practices to help prevent their children from catching food-borne illnesses. These include keeping food-preparation areas clean, washing hands with antibacterial soap and warm water before handling food, cleaning cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot water and a sanitizer or antibacterial soap. The DEH also advises against allowing pets to jump on kitchen counters, and reminds parents to return perishable foods, like cheese, deli meats and mayonnaise, to the refrigerator promptly after preparing lunch.

“We can do much to keep our children safe from food-borne illnesses if we only observe the following safety guidelines,” advised DEH Senior Food Safety Officer Gideon Simms:

The DEH says to pack lunch in the morning, not the previous night, to ensure that cold foods are cold before packing them in a lunchbox, keep food in insulated lunchboxes at a safe temperature until it’s time to eat. They also advise using icepacks for sandwiches made with items such as luncheon meats, cheese and tuna salad so they will be safe to eat, even after two to three hours outside of a refrigerator. Pack a frozen juice box or an ice pack in the lunchbox to help cold food stay cold. Keep hot foods hot, such as soups or stews. In the morning, bring to a boil and then pour into a hot, clean vacuum bottle (bottles can be disinfected with boiling water). Use food within the recommended ‘use-by’ dates.

At school tell your kids to store lunchboxes in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, place dairy products such as milk and yogurt inside a refrigerator, and remind them to always wash hands before eating and never to eat food that tastes or smells ‘funny’.

Lunch foods that can be eaten at room temperature include peanut butter, jams and jellies, breads, crackers and cereals, washed fruits and vegetables, dried meats such as beef jerky, and baked products such as cookies and cakes. Canned meat or poultry products can also be eaten immediately after opening.

For more information on food safety, please contact DEH at 949-6696.

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