Archive for December 7th, 2010

Port protest moves north

| 07/12/2010 | 26 Comments

(CNS): Following the successful launch of the petition against the proposal to construct a commercial sea port in East End by the opposition MLA Arden McLean on Saturday, the campaign moves to the district of North Side tonight. The independent MLA Ezzard Miller will be hosting a meeting spelling out his objections to the proposed port which is also likely to have a direct impact on his constituents. Miller has been clear in his opposition to the port from the start and has said the developer Joseph Imparato has no proper business plan for the project. Tonight Miller says he will be pointing out the numerous shortcomings of both the proposal and the recent study by Deloitte.

Miller said the first and most obvious criticism of Deloitte’s economic report is that the excavation cannot possibly support the level of workers suggested. “Evidence from our own existing full time quarry operations indicate the real level of manpower that would be employed and it is a long way from the 200 or so cited in that report,” Miller said.

The meeting will be at the North Side civic centre this evening at 8pm and Miller is expecting a significant turn out. The meeting hosted by his fellow MLA McLean last month in East End attracted hundreds of people for across Grand Cayman none of whom appeared to be in support of the project.

Although government has not yet given official approval to the plans submitted to Cabinet by Imparato, the premier has said on numerous occasions that he is in favour of the development. Support for the project from the UDP administration is likely to be boosted too in the wake of reports that negotiations with DECCO the potential developer and the government over the length of the lease have collapsed and governmenthas moved on to talks with the second bidder.

Last week the premier’s press office issued a statement on behalf of McKeeva Bush who was travelling in the United States at the time asking the people to “become informed about the proposed East End Seaport” as the country needed a long term plan for a cargo facility.

The issue about the country’s need however, is exactly one of the reasons why Miller, McLean, Charles Clifford and other politicians are objecting to the port as no proper assessment of the cargo needs for the country have been done. “Rather than a business plan, what we have is an often controversial investor who, having bought large tracts of essentially useless land, has now decided he can make money by quarrying the rock and shipping it over seas,” the statement said. “The people should make sure they have the facts on the proposed port before making up their minds about it, and all the facts are not known yet.”

The developer who has previously been involved in condo developments on Seven Mile Beach recently announced is proposal for a commercial seaport, the details of which are now available online at eastendseaport.com. The developer proposes to create a Commercial Cargo Port, home porting for cruise ships, a trans-shipment facility, a mega yacht marina and Hydrocarbon Storage Terminal ie gas and oil.

Besides the potentially catastrophic environmental impact on both the upland landscape and the ocean in the area, there are also very real concerns about the contamination of the local fresh water lens with sea water as a result of the channel and basin the developer proposes to construct. The developer says he plans to cut a 1,600 ft long by 600 ft wide channel to 55 ft below tide level and a basin area in land of 4 million square feet. This has also raised alarm among local mariner experts with regard to storm surge during future hurricanes.
 

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UK police arrest WikiLeaks founder on sex allegations

| 07/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks is expected to appear in a UK court today after his lawyers said he would meet police to discuss a European arrest warrant from Sweden relating to alleged sexual assaults. As the legal net continued to close around the whistleblowers’ website and the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said he had authorised "a number of things to be done" to combat the organisation, Assange appeared to be reconciling himself to a lengthy personal court battle to avoid extradition to Sweden. Jennifer Robinson, a solicitor with Finers Stephens Innocent, which represents the Australian freedom of information campaigner, told the Guardian: "We have a received an arrest warrant [related to claims in Sweden]. We are negotiating a meeting with police."

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Lack of channel lighting blamed for boat hitting reef

| 07/12/2010 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The captain of the boat which struck the reef this weekend after a fishing trip is happy to be alive but has revealed that he and the six other people aboard the boat who were rescued on Saturday night could have avoided their ordeal if the channel was properly lit. The RCIPS air and marine units rescued 4 adults and 3 children after the 28-foot boat they were in ran aground on the reef in the South Sound area around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Leighton Rankine told Cayman27 that some of the channel lights were out and have been for sometime, as he offered to help raise money to repair them. The Port Authority has confirmed that the lights have not been working since the summer as a result of high seas.

Sgt Clive Smith from the Marine Unit said the boat had hit the reef instead of coming through the channel because lights were out, which was not uncommon when there has been bad weather as it is hard to keep them working.

See Cayman 27 video

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Driver escapes sinking car as cop campaign continues

| 07/12/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): A 23-year-old woman had a lucky escape after her car ran off the road into a dyke in the early hours of Sunday morning. The driver reportedly lost control of her vehicle on the Newlands bypass near Prospect Primary at around 3:53am. She managed to get out of the car before it became fully submerged and swam to the bank from the vehicle, where a passing motorist called 911. The accident came at the end of the second week of Operation Rotate, a campaign by police to crackdown on poor driving. This was one of 56 accidents between 29 November and 6 December reported across the Cayman Islands.

The female driver suffered a slight hand injury and was wet and cold when the emergency services arrived and was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital for treatment. No one else was in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Police said that further enquiries are now being made and any witnesses are asked to contact Traffic Management on 946-6254.

This is not the only near miss this week. Police are also investigating another incident where a driver managed to mount the roadside barrier along the east-west arterial road, also near the Prospect Primary roundabout.

Over the past week police have conducted ten road blocks as part of the Christmas and New Year campaign. As officers have highlighted drinking under the influence as a particular concern, they have conducted 67 breath tests but arrested only five drivers for DUI. However, over the last seven days officers have issued 61 traffic tickets and 43 speeding tickets and have arrested six for other traffic violations, including two people for driving whilst disqualified and another driver, who is accused of displaying licence plates with intent to deceive.

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