Archive for December 17th, 2010

2010 Bacardi Laser National Championships

| 17/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CISC): Perfect conditions greeted all sailors for the 2010 Bacardi Cayman Islands Laser National Championships, held at the Cayman Island Sailing Club (CISC) in Red Bay over the weekend of 27 and 28 November. For the past few years the class has been steadily growing and this year was no exception, with a record number of entries.Eighteen sailors battled it out for two days and seven races to see who would be the Laser Champion for 2010. For the first time a Laser Radial division raced for a separate title.

This is an exciting prospect for the future of the Laser fleet in the Cayman Islands and a complement to the efforts of the sailing club to establish such a fleet. Both the Laser Standard and Laser Radial are current Olympic classes, and offer all sailors the opportunity to compete in the Cayman Islands or abroad.

The forecast for Saturday was for lighter conditions. Nick Taylor the current champion, Raph Harvey (CISC Head Coach) raced intensely for all three races that day. Taylor finished the day holding a one point advantage over Harvey. Ten points back was the chasing pack of Rob Jackson, Charlie Grover and Chris Delaney. Also in the running was CISC legend, John Bodden who won this regatta back in 1992.

In the Laser Radial division Tomeaka McTaggart dominated the class with three wins from three races and showed her class and speed mixing it with the faster Laser Standards for the majority of the races ( typically finishing 4-6 on line overall).

Sunday was scheduled for four races with a forecast of stronger breezes. The heavy weights were licking their lips at the opportunity of powering over the light weights in the class. In the Laser Standard Taylor won the first race of the day establishing a two point advantage over Harvey, who then went on to win the second and third race of the day, which locked the scores up going into the final and deciding race of the competition. Making the most of the conditions and moving quickly up the fleet was Mike Farrington finishing with a couple of handy thirds. This tied up third place overall going into the final race with Charlie Grover.

In the Laser Radial division Tomeaka McTaggart continued her form from Saturday collecting another three race wins, which gave her an unbeatable and perfect regatta score of six points. Not needing to sail the final seventh race she became the first Cayman Island National Laser Radial Champion. In winning style she also took out the final seventh race in the Radial division.

Race seven, standard fleet. All cards were on the table, first place was up for grabs and so was third. All sailors were tired from the physical four and a half hours of sailing beforehand. It was going to be tight as were all the previous races. The bodies were empty and the minds were close to broke. In another forty minutes the 2010 podium places would be decided. All boats got away to an even start. Harvey led Taylor by half a boat length around the first mark. Harvey had held an advantage all regatta on this leg but Taylor was closing that gap with every race. At the next mark Taylor led Harvey by three boat lengths. Then they battled into the wind which had been Taylor’s strength during the regatta. Taylor opened the distance to six lengths halfway up the leg. Harvey dug deep and pulled back to within three boat lengths by the second to last mark. Downwind Taylor then again opened it up by another three, while being closely covered by Harvey. Both sailors put the pain behind them and blasted their way up the final leg to the finish. Taylor crossed first closely followed by Harvey.

Taylor won the title by one point from Harvey. As Taylor said, “today was really hard work, we were never greater than three lengths apart all day for four races, constantly passing each other all the way round, it was a real battle, Raph put in a superb effort”.

All the sailors would like to thank Peta Adams and her support crew for putting on two days of perfect racing and course management, Bacardi for sponsoring the event and for the great prizes, and the Cayman Islands Sailing Club for managing and organising another successful Laser Nationals.

To learn to sail Lasers or to compete in regular weekly racing please contact Rick Caley at the CISC.

2010 Bacardi Laser National Championships Results:
Laser Standard
1st Nick Taylor (8pts), 2nd Raph Harvey (9pts), 3rd Charlie Grover (27pts), 4th Mike Farrington (29pts), 5th John Bodden (29 pts)

Laser Radial
1st Tomeaka McTaggart (6pts), 2nd Dave Stephenson (12pts), 3rd Ken Holland (17pts), 4th Jo Richards (25pts), 5th Ben Williams (33pts)
 

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Signs of life at Clifton Hunter campus

| 17/12/2010 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Over a year after the general contractor walked off the school projects there are now finally signs of life on the Clifton Hunter High School site. According to government officials the site will be back to full capacity by February but around 90 tradesmen and supervisors are currently working on the site. Concrete work continues as roofers work on five of the school’s seven buildings and window installation is underway on three. Tom Jones International walked off the job in November 2009 over a $3million payment dispute with government. Since that time only limited work has been undertaken.

“It feels good to finally visualise some of the changes we have had to make, as the Ministry, Department of Education Services and school staff have continued to work on plans and preparations,” the minister Rolstin Anglin said on a recent visit to the site.“They will have a huge impact on teaching and learning. Given the challenges we’ve faced, I’m happy with the progress. It excites me that we’re talking about potentially occupying the site in September 2011.”

It is understood that the new minister has made changes to the original plans and designs of the school which were based on a modern concept of teaching and learning envisioned by the previous minister who had said past exam results demonstrated traditional teaching methods were not working in Cayman and saw the need for change. However, in a move to put his mark on the new high schools Anglin has made changes reverting back to a more traditional school model.

Although the sites have been idle for the most part since the departure of the general contractor the minster said some work had continued including the manufacture of the category-five windows and a large percentage of the mechanical and electrical works.

The suspension of the project saw a considerable number of local people laid off but with work now back on track Anglin said this was having a positive impact on the local construction industry. “It’s great to see and interact withthe number of young Caymanians working on the site. Their employment is crucial to our economy. I’m especially happy for the smaller contractors who’ve won small-works projects,” “Anglin added.

Education Ministry Project Manager David Benoit said a total of 32 contracts have been awarded and another 15 tender packages are active. An additional 12 small contractors are supplying material and equipment to the site.

On completion, the Clifton Hunter High School will provide amenities including an indoor gymnasium, 25-metre pool, a performing arts building and a vocational and technical education building for some 750 students, organised into three academies. The school catchment area will be for students living east of Spotts Newlands Road.
 

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Government sets out future plans for e-business

| 17/12/2010 | 21 Comments

(CNS): More than two decades after the worldwide web took off as a place to do business, increase efficiency and share information, the Cayman Islands Government has established an advisory board to lay the framework for a an e-government initiative. At present very few government services can be accessed on line but government hopes to come up with a strategic plan for the next decade to realize Information communications technology as a toolfor economic and social development. According to a release from GIS, the board will review government services and recommend which of them can be offered electronically as well as promote the overall concept of e-business in the private sector.

Last week a seminar brought together representatives from public agencies such as Computer Services, the Department of Education Services and the Information Commissioner’s Office, along with some private sector representatives to discuss the plan. The E-Government Advisory Board is chaired by George Town MLA Ellio Solomon.

Commonwealth Secretariat ICT Adviser Tony Ming, a key player in the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum, told the Cayman officials, “On a global scale, the priority is implementing national information communication technology strategies and e-government.”

Ming said that in a 2006 World Bank ICT survey of 40 countries almost all listed e-government as the major priority. Other top-ranking areas were e-education, e-business and e-health.
He noted that this critical public sector development would serve to build capacity and promote the effectiveness and efficiency of public institutions, while strengthening the capacity of areas critical to good governance and sustainable development.

ICT also ties in to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Millennium Development Goals 2015, which include the reduction of extreme poverty, universal education, improved environmental sustainability and building global partnerships.

In Cayman the goals are to establish a platform for the development of ICT and update legislation, to manage ICT through a statutory authority, to deliver state-of-the-art telecommunications at competitive prices and improve computer literacy amongst the population, to list a few.

Government also said it wants to encourage the use of on-line technology for businesses in the private sector and to encourage economic diversification by promoting the local and international growth of e-business.

However, one of the main stumbling blocks to the expansion of online trade in Cayman is the banks reluctance to offer accounts that enable people to shop on-line. Despite promises from the other retail banks, so far Butterfield remains the only one offering the merchant account with internet payment facilities.

Officials also hope the public sector can use IT to improve customer service and efficiency and allow easier public access to information, while at the same time protecting personal information and electronic data.

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Country music comes to 7MB

| 17/12/2010 | 25 Comments

(CNS): A local lawyer will be bringing country music to the heart of Grand Cayman’s tourist district after being granted a liquor licence by the board. Following an extraordinary meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board to hear applications as a result of the temporary suspension of the moratorium, Buck Grizzel was given the go ahead for a bar and restaurant with a country music theme in Seven Mile Shops. Grizzel was one of a number of people applying for new licenses during the brief window of opportunity. President of Cayman’s Culinary Society Chef Vidyadhara Shetty was also granted a license for a new fusion restaurant in the new Fidelity Centre on West Bay Road.

William Baldwin was the first applicant to be granted a new license during the lifting of the ban on new liquor licenses, following the board’s regular quarterly meeting on the 9 December, for two tour boats. The other new applications were, however, deferred to a special meeting, which took place on Wednesday afternoon when the board heard four different applications.

Grizzel told the board that he planned to bring the country music theme into the heart of the tourist district, and although there were no plans for bucking bulls, he said there were plans to feature live Caymanian acts as well country DJs and Karaoke against the backdrop of a country music themed bar and restaurant that, he said, would become the place for country music fans on island.

Chef Shetty, who has been in Cayman for more than 17 years, where for the most part he has been the head chef at the Hyatt, revealed his plans for a new Indian-Euro fusion restaurant using fresh local foods. He said that for years people have been asking him to open his open restaurant and the opportunity had now arisen, so he was ready to do it. Promising to train more young Caymanian chefs in his kitchen, Shetty said the restaurant, which would be in the unit at the Fidelity Centre, needed a liquor license.

While Grizzel and Shetty were both given the green light, two other applications for package license were deferred until the New Year.

Eric Vagniez, the proprietor of Cayman’s Finest, which is a wholesale importer of gourmet and speciality foods, mostly from France, applied for a package license so he can add speciality wines to his list of products.

Meanwhile, Duane Ebanks, the owner of ‘Memory Lane, formerly the Inferno Club in West Bay, requested a package license in order to sell some speciality souvenir Cayman liquors in one of his shops at the location. Aiming to create a number of localised spirits for the tourist market, Ebanks says he has come up with some unique ideas and does not intend to sell a full range of liquor but just his own products.

The board also lifted the abeyance of the license at Archie’s Place on Sheddon Road, and Neil Bryington was granted a variation to his liquor licence in Caymana Bay to allow him to cater for functions off the premises of his Abacus restaurant in and around the new town centre. 

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Nativity causes scene at state capital

| 17/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(Sun Herald): A privately funded Nativity scene is on display this year inside the Mississippi state Capitol. Justin Barnard, chairman of the Mississippi-based 9/11 Remembrance Foundation, said Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant asked if the foundation would sponsor the display. It features a 4-foot-tall barn with figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. The scene is displayed on the first-floor rotunda at the center of the Capitol. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-chair of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said her Wisconsin-based group wants to erect a sign near the display in Mississippi that says, among other things, “Religion is but myth and superstition.” Bryant, who’s running for governor in 2011, said: “I think it’s ridiculous for anyone to find this offensive.”


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Local beer brings home the gold

| 17/12/2010 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Cayman’s local brewery has won the title of the number one beer in the Caribbean thanks to Caylight. With over 45 different brands of beer made in the Caribbean, top contenders made their way to Barbados for the Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival last month to vie for the 2010 CAB (Caribbean Alcoholic Beverage) Awards. The Cayman Islands led a delegation to the event in hopes to showcase one of the few products manufactured locally in the Cayman Islands. After two days in which the public could taste Caybrew, Caylight, and Ironshore Bock Beers, all made in Cayman, as well as the other Caribbean beers, the results were decided in a blind taste test.

The four judge panel, which included Mark McKenna, author of McKenna’s Guide to Caribbean Beers, picked Caybrew Light above much larger and more long standing beer brand names.

Caylight, produced at the Cayman Islands Brewery, was named the 1st Place Gold Winner of the Caribbean Alcoholic Beverage Awards. Caybrew, the original brand launched by CIB, also scored with an impressive 3rd Place Bronze win in the 2010 CAB Awards, beating out competition from larger brands such as Red Stripe, Heineken, Piton, Banks, Carib and many others.

“We are very proud with this impressive win,” said Matthew Leslie of the Cayman Islands Brewery. “The Cayman Islands should be proud that their own brewery has won such a prestigious award to become recognised as a top beer brand in the Caribbean. Our emphasis on quality has definitely paid off.”

Commercial Manager of the Brewery James Mansfield, who headed up the delegation, was equally happy, stating that the festival was well attended by many and the attraction to the Cayman Islands booth was really a great experience.

“Many people did not even realise we made our own beer here in the Cayman Islands,” said Mansfield. “I guess they do now.”

The future remains bright for the brewery with plans for further expansion in the North American market and the Caribbean region. The brewery is gearing up to expand its facilities and is now looking forward to introducing a Caymanian into the world of brewing as its new apprentice brewmaster. “Maybe our new Caymanian brewmaster will develop us a winner for 2011,” Mansfield added. 

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