Archive for February 14th, 2011

Local artist secure art therapy for Sunrise clients

| 14/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Additional art classes for ten Sunrise Adult Training Centre (SRC) clients for an hour every week have been secured as a result of the support of a local artist a service club and an ar supplies shop. Art Eccentrix’s Nikola McCoy-Snell, a former special education teacher, spearheaded the project, donating her studio space and time, securing art supplies valued at $2,600 and the loan of chairs from the Cayman Islands National Gallery. McCoy-Snell, who engaged the participants in print- and collage-making for their first two classes, says she has all sorts of fun activities planned for the group. She will include instruction on textured-art pieces and will take her students on field trips to acquire objects such as shells, boxes, sand and soda cans.

“Sunrise Centre has a very limited art budget so we’re extremely grateful for this exciting addition to our curriculum,” said SRC Director Roberta Gordon. “It follows last September’s addition of a music therapy programme, so we’re planning a combined spring concert and art show for May. That will give our clients a chance to showcase their work and development in both areas. Some of their art-work will also be sold and the proceeds will go right back to the centre’s art programme.”
Gordon said the centre was grateful to Nikola, the Rotary Club and The Hobby Shop for their generosity and for making this learning experience possible.
“But to continue with the classes we will eventually need additional donations. As such, we would also welcome the kindness of others,” she added.
Items like old magazines, glue, paints and brushes, paper, plywood, and balloons would all be useful for the class. Gift certificates to hardware stores, as well as loans of tables and chairs would also be helpful. To donate, contact Ms. Gordon on 949-3330 and Roberta.Gordon@gov.ky, or Mrs. McCoy-Snell on 927-2076 and Nikola@arteccentrixgallery.com .
 

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Columnist to talk business success with local women

| 14/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Author, entrepreneur and nationally-syndicated columnist in the US, Rhonda Abrams, will be the keynote speaker at a specialist business conference for women next month. “Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs” (IWE) is in its fifth year and is held annually during ‘Honouring Women’s’ Month’ by the Department of Commerce and Investment. Abrams has started three successful companies and has spent more than 15 years advising, mentoring and consulting entrepreneurs and small business owners across the United States. Currently, she is President and Chief Entrepreneur of The Planning Shop, a publishing company creating content for small businesses.

The conference begins at 4:30pm on 3 March at The Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and aims to encourage women to consider or retain business ownership. The programme includes a mini expo for the first hour, two presentations from local speakers and then the key note address and a panel discussion. Corporate sponsors are Cayman Airways, Cayman Immigration Consultant Services Ltd., National Building Society of Cayman, Cayman National Bank, Cayman Islands Development Bank, Wiggly Pen, Beyond Basics Medical Spa and Admiral Administration. Tickets cost $20 and are available for sale at the DCI’s office located in Cayman Corporate Centre at 27 Hospital Road. Interested persons can call 945-0943 for additional details.
Abrams weekly newspaper column, “Small Business Strategies,” is the United States most widely-read column about entrepreneurship, reaching more than 20 million readers through 130 newspapers, USATODAY.com, Inc.com, and Costco Connection magazine. She is also the author of more than a dozen books on small business and entrepreneurship. Her books have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into over 30 languages and have been adopted by more than 600 business schools throughout the US – including UCLA, MIT, University of Arizona, Cornell, University of California, Berkeley, USC.

 

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Unregistered health providers face hefty fines

| 14/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): With the implementation of the National Standards for the registration of health practitioners which were published in April last year unregistered or failed health care providers who continue to practice without a certificate now face a possible $50,000 fine with a further daily fine of $10,000 for each day a facility operates without a certificate. The Health Practice Commission said that there has been a good response from practitioners regarding compliance but the public should ensure thatthe health facilities they visit are registered.

“To date, we have had a very good response from our health care practitioners and we hope to see full voluntary compliance,” said Cayman’s first Health Facilities Inspector Barrie Quappé. “Members of the public can check whether a health care facility is registered by looking for the facility certificate. This document should be on display in every health care facility. Any facility which does not possess a certificate is either not in compliance with the National Standards (as outlined in the Health Practice Law) or the facility has not registered and/or been inspected.”

According to sections 5, 6 and 7 of The Health Practice Law (2005 Revision), facility owners must apply to the HPC for their certification. This requirement applies to any facility “at which health services are provided by a registered practitioner”. Failing to do so can attract large penalties as outlined by section 15 of the law.

The National Standards were published in April 2010 after thorough stakeholder consultation and include provisions for building safety and sanitation. As such certain aspects of the inspection involve the Fire Services as well as the Planning Department. This document is available here. For further information on the Health Practice Commission and the inspection process, log on to www.dhrs.ky
 

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Obama to employ 5000 to chase offshore tax cheats

| 14/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): President Barack Obama proposed increasing the budget for the Internal Revenue Service by 9.4 percent to hire more than 5,000 new employees, most of whom would pursue tax cheats. The president’s fiscal 2012 budget released today sets funding for the tax-collection agency at $13.3 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion from 2010, the last time a full appropriation was made for the IRS. Almost half of the increase – $460 million, would support the agency’s tax-enforcement programs. Under the plan, the IRS would focus on fighting tax evasion through the use of offshore accounts and cheating by corporate and high-wealth taxpayers. It also would seek out fraudulent tax preparers.

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Efforts ‘bear fruit’ in agriculture sector

| 14/02/2011 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Government goals to reduce food imports and make the local agriculture sector self sufficient are bearing fruit – literally, according to government officials. A release from GIS on Monday said that across the country farmers are increasing their crop yield, beefing up livestock holdings, and using technology to efficiently maximize production. Minister of Lands and Agriculture Juliana O’Connor-Connolly says her ministry intends to lease crown land in East End for farming purposes as she strives towards future food security. “This will enable us to reduce food imports and costs, while generating income for farmers and the wider economy,” the minister said.

“We aim to advance the sector to a point where, even after a natural disaster like Ivan, we can still have at least seven days supply of food on-island to meet the population’s needs. With that in mind, I am also keen to see the widespread use of backyard farming contributing to Cayman’s food security,” she added.

The minister emphasised that there is hope for the industry. “I am pleased with the growth that I see taking place in this sector. When I compare what I saw on last year’s tours to now, it is clear that things are progressing rapidly,” she said in the official release from GIS. She pointed to an emerging group of young farmers who are holding their own among the veterans, along with entrepreneurs who are also engaging in farming.

The minister said young goat farmer Nicholas Ebanks was an example of the new generation of farmers as in just one year he had expanded his livestock holdings from a few animals to several hundred.

Farmers have made great strides in animal and crop care, she added, using advanced techniques, including reverse osmosis (to convert salt water to fresh), drip irrigation, greenhouse technology, and other modern technologies.

“I saw cutting edge systems when I visited Kent Rankin’s farm; he is currently constructing a bio-digester which will help convert pig-waste to energy for use on the farm. Gone are the days when farmers regarded their work as a hobby. It is now a full- fledged business that is significantly impacting the country,” O’Connor-Connolly stated.

The minister attributed the growth in local farming not just to the farmers’ initiatives and passion but the assistance given by the ministry through the Department of Agriculture (DoA). That help includes technical support, aid in crop production and animal care, clearance and preparation of land for cultivation and overseas training, government officials said.

Departmental Director Adrian Estwick said activity in the Islands’ agriculture sector had intensified, with the visible evidence comprising increased production, greater investment by farmers and extra demands on his department’s services.

As a result of the sector’s expansion, the DoA is planning to establish an Agriculture Sector Market Information System to compile data on agricultural production. This will enable the country to collect more accurate performance data. Estwick added that the information system would be a key step in helping the DoA identify the marketing needs for agriculture products and how both the department and the ministry should deploy resources.

Farmers now have more outlets for their produce, with the Lower Valley’s Market at the Grounds concept now being adopted in other parts of the island.

Cayman Islands Agriculture Society President Errol Watler, who owns Sparkies Farm, said there was a growing understanding among farmers of the importance of modernisation. “Farmers who are doing well are those who have embraced technology and new ways of doing things. The strugglers are the ones who continue to do things the old fashioned way,” Watler said.

Goat farmer Nicholas Ebanks said that his goal was to see the agriculture sector be on par with tourism relative to national importance and the level of investment. In the last few weeks, government officials said, O’Connor-Connolly has visited eleven farms across Grand Cayman in East End, West Bay, Bodden Town and Spotts Newlands.

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Cayman to host annual regional hurricane meet

| 14/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands will be playing host to some of the region’s leading extreme weather experts next month when the 33rd session of the Regional Hurricane Committee is scheduled to take place in Grand Cayman. This year’s annual meeting will be hosted jointly by the World Meteorological Organisation and the Cayman Islands Government through the CI National Weather Service (CINWS) and more than 50 experts from North America, Central America and the Caribbean are expected to attend. Besides discussing preparations for the forthcoming hurricane season the weather delegates will also be selecting and retiring hurricane names for future seasons.

Alongside representatives from the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, a number of Tropical Cyclone research scientists as well as a delegation from the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva will be coming along to the meeting .

Fred Sambula, CINWS Director General, said that the purpose of this event, that takes place annually under the chairmanship of the Director of the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, is to enable regional experts to get together to review the region’s early warning technical and operational plans prior to the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

“This entails looking at the capacities of the national weather services in countries within this hurricane belt and seeing how they can be assisted with improving their handling and regional coordination of hurricane watches and warnings in the coming season,” Sambula said.

He also explained that names will be reviewed to ensure ones that have been associated with destructive storms are taken off the potential lists. “If a hurricane has caused significant damage and or loss of life, that name is normally retired. This was so with Ivan, Paloma, Gilbert and likely Tomas this session, as have been other storms that brought devastation to this region,” he said.

During the conference there will be a Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop held on Monday, 7 March before the five-day meeting which is being held at the Ritz Carlton from the 7 until 12 March, begins. Chaired by Dr Maryam Golnaraghi, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at the WMO and entitled Strengthening Regional Cooperation to Support Forecasting with Multi-Hazard Approach, the workshop is aimed at national weather services, emergency management agencies as well as other organisations in government and private sector.

Sambula said that on Friday, 11 March it is hoped a half day workshop on Hurricane Preparedness and Business Continuity will also be scheduled. “This is aimed at assisting businesses to improve plans in order to minimise damage to life, property and the subsequent impact on the bottom-line. We will share sound mitigation and preparedness methods that will allow for quick recovery hence reduced time of interruption to business and other services at local and international levels,” he added.

In an official release from GIS, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly the government minister with responsibility for weather, who is currently in Spain at a telecoms conference, said she was pleased to host the meeting in the Cayman Islands. “Our local businesses and government services can benefit from the expertise which this gathering will bring,” she said. “Even though we are currently building our own capacity with the planned establishment of the weather radar, we are still keen to see what we can learn to strengthen our disaster risk reduction, as it relates to warning and watches,” she said.

 

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Local musician wins Grammy with Eminem

| 14/02/2011 | 35 Comments

(CNS): Caymanian musician Jason Gilbert (known as JG) hit the music big time last night when he became a winner at this year’s Grammy awards. The 27-year-old singer/songwriter from George Town, (left at the Grammy Awards) who divides his time between the US and the Cayman Islands, was part of the production team nominated for two awards for Eminem’s best selling Recovery album. JG not only worked on the production of Recovery which won Best Rap Album but the local musician wrote the song WTP (White Trash Party). JG ended up on the winning team having come to the internationally renowned rapper’s attention after sending several of his self-penned tracks to Eminem’s management team a year ago.

The move, orchestrated by fellow producer Supa Dub’s manager, resulted in JG’s song WTP becoming track five on the 16-track Recovery album, which has been high in the charts since it was released in June.

JG, who also fronts the Caymanian band ThE iZ, and had a hit with Summer is Over on his 2007 solo album attended the 53rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles last night where he got to meet Eminem for the first time.

Although Eminem who performed live during the show had been nominated for 10 Grammies he ended the night with two.

See JG on Youtube just before the ceremony

Visit Grammy.com for more.

 

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PPM to fight all 18 seats

| 14/02/2011 | 94 Comments

(CNS):  Full Report — The opposition intends to field 18 candidates in the next election, the new leader of the party has announced. Making his maiden speech as leader of the People’s Progressive Movement at Saturday’s party conference, Alden McLaughlin said the PPM would be putting up members in every constituency in the 2013 poll. Although two years and three months away, the new opposition leader said the election campaign had to start now as he promised to bring the PPM back to the people. He said that while the party was perceived as being on the side of right, it had been labelled as weak against a party seen as “wrong but strong”. McLaughlin said the PPM would become the party that was both “right and strong”.

Despite the various issues concerning the current government that he said were of concern to the people, from the government’s failure to implement a national plan to address crime to unlawful behaviour regarding procurement and freedom of information, McLaughlin said the PPM must not assume it would be returned to office.

“By any standard the government must get a failing grade,” the new opposition leader told the audience of around 250 people but he warned that its failure would not mean an automatic vote for the PPM next time. “The PPM is not the automatic choice of the people as they now say they don’t trust party politics,” he said. However, McLaughlin said, this owed much more to the politics of the parties and not political parties themselves, which, he said, had been around since the 1950s.

The PPM leader said the party had to reconnect with the people and regain its original reputation of being the party of inclusion. He said members had to be prepared to fight harder for what was right and to represent the views of the people, and as an opposition McLaughlin said the PPM would have to prove itself. “We will need to push and shove and agitate for what we want. We can no longer be sidelined as mere observers. We haveto become involved in the action,” McLaughlin said.

He noted that whatever the criticisms of the previous administration, it was clear that its record in office when it came to integrity was impeccable as he noted that, had there been even the remotest hint of any impropriety, the premier would have found it. The fact that after more than two years McKeeva Bush had found nothing was evidence of the PPM’s clean record, he said. “Most people believe we are the good guys. But in the same breath they usually say they don’t believe we are fighters.”

That needed to change, the party leader said. He noted that voters should not have to choose between “wrong and strong” or “right and weak” but said the PPM must become “right and strong” as he called members to action.

“We have allowed other people to define who we are,” he lamented as he pointed to policies associated with the party which were misconceptions. He said it was a myth that the PPM was anti-expat as the rollover policy was a creation of the UDP in response to the 3000 status grants. He said that with an expat chairman the PPM had never pushed anti-expat policies or sentiments. “There is no bigotry in the PPM; the only thing that we are ‘anti’ is poor governance.”

He called on people to join the PPM from all walks of life to help shape the party. McLaughlin said he wanted to start a national conversation in which everyone was invited to the table to express their views — expats and locals, old and young.

While he promised that the core principles of the PPM, as established under the leadership of Kurt Tibbetts, would remain the solid foundation of the party, McLaughlin said the party needed to engage with the politics that affects young people in particular and fight for their needs.

He noted that although the voices of disquiet were increasing and getting louder and many more people had found their voice in recent times, too many people were still suffering in silence. The recession, he said, had brought many issues to the forefront, such as the fundamental structural social problems throughout the community that had to be addressed. Promising to make the PPM the true representatives of the ordinary people, he called on the people to join the party and share the vision.

See more on CNS tomorrow from the PPM party conference.

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Murder trials postponed

| 14/02/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The trial of the man accused of murdering Jeremiah Barnes, which was due to start next month, has been delayed until August. As a result of a change in legal representation, Devon Anglin’s (26) trial over the fatal shooting of the 4-year-old boy at a West Bay gas station last year has been delayed by another five months, despite recent pleas to the court by the child’s mother for the case to be expedited. Anglin’s new attorney, Lucy Organ, who only took up his case last week, has been given time to find leading counsel and prepare his defence after Clyde Allen, who had been representing Anglin, came off record last month. With the court docket full, the first available date for the three week Grand Court trial was August, the court heard Friday.

Raziel Jeffers (27) has also had his Grand Court trial for the fatal shooting of Marcus Ebanks postponed, though a new date has not yet been set. Despite facing several serious charges, Jeffers has no legal counsel after rejecting two different lawyers since he was first arrested last year for the shooting, which took place in Bonaventure Road. Jeffers currently faces three murder charges. In addition to Ebanks, he is charged with murdering Damion Ming, who was shot and killed in his yard in the Birch Tree Hill area of West Bay in March last year, and Marcos Gauman, who was gunned down in Maliwinas Way, also in West Bay, in the same month.

Jeffers said that he was trying to find representation but his previous lawyers were not “doing what they were supposed to", he told the court on Friday, adding that in all the time he had been on remand he had only seen legal counsel for 35 minutes and it was the lawyers that had got him in the situation of being unrepresented. The defendant also claimed there were issues regarding disclosure of important phone records in his case, a point which crown counsel denied and stated that all relevant material had been served on Jeffers’ previous attorneys.

Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop, who was presiding over Friday’s proceedings, instructed Jeffers to find counsel before he returned to court next week for a further mention but agreed to vacate the current March trial date in order to give him time to find a new lawyer. "The court cannot wait forever for you to secure counsel,” she warned, adding that he had already been given a reasonable opportunity.

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CITA calls on community to ‘give up’ criminals

| 14/02/2011 | 6 Comments

(CNS): As the number of crimes against visitors and businesses related to tourism continue to increase, the president of the local industry body has called on the community to help the police and reveal who is committing the crime. As the Cayman Islands Tourism Association board of directors, joining the growing chorus, expressed its concerns about the erosion of safety and increasing crime levels in Cayman, CITA President Harry Lalli called on the people to step up and help the police stop the criminals and stop turning a blind eye. In the wake of two recent violent incidents relating to visitors, growing unconfirmed reports of bag snatches around the cruise terminals and bag thefts on the beach, CITA noted that one of Cayman’s biggest selling points was being eroded.

“We can place blame on many doorsteps — the police, the economy, a decrease in family values — but at the end of the day it is everyone’s business,” said Lalli. “Crime affects all of us, from taxi drivers to tour operators, hotel workers to restaurant servers, from professionals in our financial industry to the core infrastructure of civil servants and utilities. We the people must now stand up against this behaviour and effectively communicate information that can help resolve, apprehend and stop these criminals. We can no longer look the other way, as this problem is not going to go away by itself.”

Having raised the issue of crime on a number of occasions, the association warned that it is having a direct impact on tourism. “One of our island’s biggest selling points as a tourism destination has been safety. This is one driving marketing approaches in order to differentiate ourselves and compete against other Caribbean islands. The Cayman Islands have always been able to offer a safe environment in addition to geographic beauty, and now it seems our reputation as a safe destination is beingcompromised,” the industry body warned.

“No amount of advertising can reverse the effects of bad PR due to crime. As a country where our economy depends on the success of tourism there is a need to explore ways to combat this in a robust manner. The CITA offers its full support of every effort to decrease the incidence of crime on our islands, to solve the crimes being committed, and to prosecute the offenders to the full extent of the law in order to protect Cayman from the unfortunate criminal activities,” the directors said in an official statement.

In a recent meeting with the business community organised by the Chamber of Commerce as part of its ‘Be Informed’ series the police commissioner, David Baines, had delivered a mixed message when he said that Cayman was not, as the media would have everyone believe, going to “hell in a hand basket” and that crime was still relatively low.

At the same meeting, however, Baines spoke about how police resources were being stretched, that Cayman was becoming a centre for serious drug trafficking, that crime, like everywhere in the region, was increasing in Cayman and the RCIPS was struggling to tackle the rise in robberies in particular because some were very well planned, and with no assistance from the community they were difficult to solve. 

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