Archive for June 3rd, 2011

Man dies after chopper rescue

| 03/06/2011 | 62 Comments

(CNS)Updated Monday 10am – A man who was airlifted from East End in the police helicopter Friday died despite the air rescue. Officials said that Daniel Hamilton was from Indiana in the US and was only 21 years old. He had arrived in the Cayman Islands one week ago to work as a volunteer with the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP). Police enquiries are ongoing but a spokesperson stated that there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances about the death. Daniel  was pursing a science degree in wildlife and officials from the project, who were shocked and saddened by his death, said he was an outstanding volunteer.  The police helicopter had been deployed for the first time in a local on land airlift medical emergency in an effort to rescue Daniel,  who had collapsed while working out in the bush .

The police received the report that he had taken ill, possibly from heat exhaustion, around 2:15 Friday afternoon about a mile to a mile and a half inland from the East End public beach. Due to the location, vehicles from the ambulance, fire and police services were unable to reach him so the RCIPS Air Operations Unit was deployed with a medic on board.

Machetes were dropped down from the chopper to his friends on the ground, who cleared the bush for the helicopter to land.

Paramedics had abandoned their ambulances and had walked for 20 minutes into the bush to reach the man, who was unconscious and unresponsive. They stabilised the patient and then assisted the man's friends to help cut down enough vegetation to accommodate the helicopter.

Once the chopper landed it was able to take the sick man, who was suspected of suffering from heat stroke, on board and immediately airlifted him to George Town. The helicopter then landed at the Cricket Field, where an ambulance was waiting to transport him to the Cayman Islands Hospital.

A statement released from the Blue Iguana Recover Programme said that Daniel had been pursuing a Bachelor of Science  Degree in Wildlife at Purdue University, Indiana. He had spoken of a lifelong fascination with reptiles, and that from the moment he first saw the Blue Iguanas at an exhibit in the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago he knew he wanted to play a part in their rescue.

Daniel's volunteer application was outstanding and he had done fieldwork with salamanders in state forests in Indiana, had learned techniques like radio tracking, tagging and navigation, and his enthusiasm sparkled in his communications as he prepared to come to Grand Cayman, the release said.

"In his short time with us, Daniel launched himself wholeheartedly into the work of the programme, first at the captive breeding facility in the QEII Botanic Park, then at Salina Reserve inland from the Queen's Highway, and finally in the new Reserve in Colliers, East End. There, he and two other international volunteers were preparing for this year's release of Blue Iguanas, scheduled to take place in July," BIRP stated.

"The staff and current volunteers with the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and the Council and staff of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands are deeply shocked and saddened by Daniel's unexpected passing and extend their heartfelt sympathy and condolences to his family and friends. Thanks and recognition are also extended to the emergency services who did everything possible to save Daniel."

Expressions of condolence can be sent via email to: or posted on the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme Facebook page and BIRP will arrange for these thoughts to reach Daniel's family.

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Two more suspects charged in bar drug dealing case

| 03/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Another two men have been charged with drug offences in connection with a police investigation into drug dealing at local bars. The two Caymanians aged  29 and 23 years appeared in court yesterday (Thursday 2 June) to face five offences including the supply of ganja. The men have been remanded in custody and join four other men who were charged last week with a total of some seventeen drug related offences. Two of the four men who appeared in court last week are also from Cayman while the other two were from Surinam.

The men are accused of  selling  cocaine, ecstasy and ganja at a number of different restaurants and bars in George Town and along the West Bay Road between January and May this year both on and off the premises.

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Help on the way for learning disabled adults on Brac

| 03/06/2011 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A new non-profit organization is aiming to raise $150,000 by 1 September in order to provide a place for learning disabled adults on Cayman Brac to socialize during the day and learn life skills to make them more independent of their caregivers. The Harmony Learning Centre already has government permission to use the Creek Youth Centre to begin operations, but organizers are also hoping that once established they will raise enough funds within three years for a purpose built residence and community centre for those who need it on the island. Angela Fawkes, one of the founders of Harmony, says there are about 28 learning disabled adults on Cayman Brac and Harmony will be able to provide help initially for up to around eight clients

The HLC will offer a recognised curriculum through the charitable organization ASDAN to give them lessons in such activities as arts and crafts, baking, growing fruit and vegetables, selling and raising chickens and raising eggs.

The inspiration for the centre, Fawkes said, is her sister, 52-year-old Paula Malone (above), a high functioning disabled person who has been through these courses in Canada and not only benefited greatly but also very much enjoyed taking them. While the project is ambitious, Fawkes has confidence that they can raise sufficient funding to make the day centre a reality. “By the grace of God this is going to happen,” she said.

The registered non-profit organization has already received a donation of $10,000 from another charity, IamCo, which is based in Grand Cayman and helped rebuild East End after Hurricane Ivan. However, much more is needed to provide sufficient funds for a full time director and an assistant, as well as money to pay for the courses, to start the programme off.

While the aim of Harmony is to assist the learning disabled on the road to more independence,Fawkes said that the project will also provide support for their caregivers too, many of whom are elderly parents who currently receive no help from the government in regards to ongoing education for those in their care once an individual has graduated from high school. The curriculum offered will be tailored to the needs of each individual to help them reach their potential, become more self-sufficient andwill even assist with job placement for those who are able.

Fawkes and her fellow organizers have had help and advice on this project from Roberta Gordon, director of Sunrise Learning Centre in Grand Cayman, and she said they are grateful to government for giving them permission to begin operations in the youth centre. However, they are looking at this as the first step towards what is actually needed, which is a built-to-purpose facility that provides a residential home for our clients that need one as well as a day programme, with a zero entry pool among other features, and staff that includes a speech therapist and a physiotherapist.

Harmony Learning Centre founders are Angela Fawkes, Linda Kilby, Sharon Thompson, Greg Lipton, Dot Japal and Laura Brandon, and more information about the NGO can be found at or by emailing

Donations can be deposited to CNB, account Harmony Learning Centre, CI Savings 012-38044 and US Savings 022-24045.

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War on drugs not working, says global commission

| 03/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(Guardian): Governments should decriminalise drug use, according to high profile panel, including Kofi Annan and Richard Branson. The global war on drugs has failed and governments should explore legalising marijuana and other controlled substances, according to a commission that includes former heads of state and a former UN secretary general. A new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy argues that the decades-old "globalwar on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." The 24-page paper was released on Thursday.

"Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.

The 19-member commission includes former UN chief Kofi Annan and former US official George Schultz, who held cabinet posts under Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Others include former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, the authors Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, the businessman Sir Richard Branson and the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou.

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GIS boss to take on finacial services challenge

| 03/06/2011 | 1 Comment

(CNS): After a dozen years working with the governments marketing and communications department, Angela Piercy, has been appointed Head of Communications and Public Affairs, in the Financial Services Secretariat, where the marketing veteran will be taking on the challenge of Cayman’s financial services image. Piercy’s move from GIS will involve communication support for policy and legislative initiatives, market development activities and the overall reputation of the country’s financial services sector.  “The move to the Financial Services Secretariat provides fresh horizons for me, and the chance to focus my efforts on one of the country’s most vital industries,” Piercy said.

Although she said she enjoyed her time with GIS, and will miss many aspects of her work and colleagues she was looking forward to her new job. “I will miss my GIS colleagues,” she added. “I have been fortunate to work with a great team, as well as some very dedicated persons across the civil service.”

Orrett Connor the Cabinet Secretary who has oversight for GIS said, “Working with Angela in her capacity as CIO has been a pleasure and her presence will be missed,” he said. “It is therefore good to know that the Cayman Islands Government will still benefit from her expertise.”

Piercy joined GIS in December 1998 as an information officer and was promoted to Manager of Information and Public Affairs in January 2006. Last year, her appointment as Chief Information Officer was made retroactive to September 2009.

She holds a master’s in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York.

Gained over more than two decades, Piercy’s broad media experience includes extended periods as a journalist and newspaper editor, both in the US and locally.

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Local money store closes as remittances decline

| 03/06/2011 | 23 Comments

(CNS): Reports in the Jamaican Gleaner Friday revealed that Capital and Credit Financial Group (CCFG) has now decided to close its Cayman Islands subsidiary, Express Remittance Services by mutual agreement with its partners. The firm which operates the Reggae Money Express stores cited declining business and high operating cost. The company also said the robbery in January at its Elizabethan Square branch aggravated but it did not reveal how much was taken. The RCIPS have since charged four people in connection with the holdup which they believe was an inside job. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

"The decision by Capital & Credit to cease business in Cayman was taken due to the increasingly unfavourable market conditions in that territory, which has seen significantly declining remittance numbers, increasingly higher operational costs, and was further aggravated by the recent robbery of the ERS offices in Grand Cayman," spokeswoman Michelle Wilson-Reynolds told The Gleaner.

CCFG, which owns 40 per cent of the company, had initially attempted to sell its stake. Wilson-Reynolds said the negotiations to sell fell through and that the owners of the remaining 60 per cent of the company were not up to going it alone.

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Gas station robbers fire gun

| 03/06/2011 | 41 Comments

(CNS): Three masked men made it clear that at least one of their weapons was real when they fired the gun into the air before robbing the Texaco gas station in Savannah last night. Police say that just after 10:30 pm on Thursday, 2 June, three masked men, all of whom were armed with what appeared to be handguns, entered the Starmart gas station store across from the Countryside Shopping Village. Witnesses say one of the suspects fired a shot into the air when staff refused to hand over cash. The men then ordered the staff and customers to lie on the floor. No one was hit by the gunshot or injured during the hold-up. The men made off from the scene with a cash pan containing an undisclosed sum of money.(PhotoDennie WarrenJr)

The police have not yet confirmed how the robbers made their escape from the store or in which direction or if the heist was caught on CCTV.

Although the men were wearing dark masks, described as ski masks, and gloves, the police have released the following descriptions. The first was said to be around 6 ft 2ins in height and ofslim build, wearing long dark-blue jean pants and a black long sleeve shirt. The other two suspects were slightly shorter in height and were also of slim build both were wearing dark clothing.

Anyone who has information about the crime should call Bodden Town CID or the confidential crime stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Cops call for car phone ban

| 03/06/2011 | 85 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police service is still calling for a legislative ban on the use of cell phones while driving as concerns mount that their use is fuelling the islands’ high road accident rates. As police prepare to join forces with Streetskill to encourage the community to put down the pone when driving, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell has said the police have made recommendations to the ministry for legislation. However, so far no ban has been introduced leaving cops to depend on careless driving laws to try and deter people from using their phones while on the road.

Although the new traffic law is expected to come before legislatures when the country’s parliament meets sometime this month, it is understood there is no prohibition on phone use in the new law.

While ideally the police would like to see all cell or mobile phone use while driving, entirely prohibited, CI Howell said that a realistic proposition would be to have a law that provides for their use with a ‘hands free kit.’ This would at least allow people to talk on their phones while driving more safely as they would have both hands free. “We have to be realistic and realize it is going to take time to change behaviour,” Howell added.

The RCIPS don’t yet have statistics on how many local accidents are caused by cell phone use; the Chief inspector said that the system is being changed in order to capture that information in all traffic investigations. She said that evidence had been collected indicating a driver was using a cell phone when at least one collision occurred. According to international research drivers are five times more likely to crash while using the phone and are 9% slower at hitting the break.

At present the police can draw on laws relating to dangerous or careless driving, or driving without due care and attention. If police can show evidence that the drivers were careless or dangerous at the time of an accident because a driver was texting or on the phone then that person can be liable under the traffic law depending on the circumstances. However, the police cannot stop drivers and give them a ticket before an accident happens because they are on the phone.

With a number of unofficial complains and criticisms that police officers themselves can often be seen driving and using their phones in patrol cars, Howell said a policy has now been introduce to banning officers from using their phones while driving police vehicles.

This weekend officers will be joining the Steetskill team, a combination of agencies campaigning against bad driving, to sign a pledge against cell phone use and to encourage people across the driving community to put down the phone when they are behind the wheel. The officers will be at Kirk’s Supermarket on Saturday from 11:30am.

Meanwhile, new research from the World Health Organisation is again warning that radiation from cell phones could cause cancer. Although the research is controversial, WHO experts say radiation levels emitted from cell phones could put them in the same category with other cancer-causing agents such as lead and chloroform — otherwise known as carcinogens. As mobile phone technology is still new however, it may be many years before the effects from them is known.

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Rotaract Blue seeks nominations for caregivers

| 03/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands will host its 4th Annual Open Arms Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 2 July, at Ristorante Pappagallo at 7:00pm. The ceremony will be a heartwarming event which will honour caretakers, teachers and others throughout the Cayman Islands who have assisted individuals with special needs. The event will also recognize persons who have excelled in their lives despite their disability. The Open Arms Program has been created to build awareness and education about various forms of disabilities while helping to integrate those who are differently able into the community.

The Rotaract Blue Open Arms Program is founded on the belief that people who are differently able deserve equal opportunities to learn, grow and be respected within our society.

Members of the public who know someone who has gone above and beyond with assisting disabled persons in our community and should be recognised for their hard work and dedication, can complete the nomination form and submit to Nomination forms are now available on The deadline for submission is 17 June.

Tickets for the award ceremony cost $50 and includes a 3-course dinner, entry for the drawing for fantastic raffle prizes. Proceeds will benefit organisations such as Lighthouse School, Sunrise Adult Training Center, Maple House, Special Olympics and other Rotaract Blue Open Arms initiatives.

“The Open Arms Program is a unique program in the Cayman Islands. Rotaract Blue is passionate about highlighting the needs and celebrating the success of persons in our community living with disabilities as well as those who make a difference in their lives on a daily basis.” says Director of Community Service Marzeta Bodden. She continued, “I hope that the Cayman Islands community will embrace the cause of this program and support Rotaract Blue by attending the Open Arms Ceremony.”

For additional information on the Rotaract Blue Open Arms Program or if you wish to purchase a ticket, become a sponsor or volunteer, email or Your generosity will allow the club to focus on making a difference in people’s lives.

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Nicole wins Miss Teen Cayman Brac

| 03/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Sixteen-year old Nicole Martin was crowned Miss Teen Cayman Brac 2011/12 in front of a cheering crowd at the Aston Rutty Civic Center on Saturday 14 May, while Josanda Scott took the title of 1st runner- up, Caitlin Connor was 2nd runner-up and Evelyn Ebanks was 3rd runner–up. The judges made their final decisions based on the night’s show and points awarded in the categories of Talent, Awareness, Casual Wear, Costume, Gown, Photogenic, Stage Presentation and response to the Interview question during the formal wear.  The show included the sections, casual wear, costumes depicting the four elements of nature, swimwear, talent, formal wear and an interview question. 

A pre-show interview also took place where the girls were asked questions testing their knowledge and awareness of current local and global issues as well as their ability to communicate clearly and effectively.  According to committee chair Lion Ventisha Conolly, the Talent segment seemed to have been quite a challenge for the judges. “There was quite an array of talents ranging from poetry, vocal music, instrumental music and dance”, she said.

Appearances throughout the night were also made by the newly crowned Little Miss Cayman Brac Kassandra DaCosta and Junior Miss Cayman Brac Lori Parchman, as well as Miss Teen Cayman Islands 2010, Leanne Ritch, who entertained the audience with her rendition of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb.  MCs were National Gallery’s Mona Lisa Tatum-Watler and Deputy District Commissioner, Lion Mark Tibbetts.  Nicholas DaCosta, Derri Dacres, La Femme and Koalition Dance groups, brothers Tushaun and Tafari Young, and Deandra Watson also provided entertainment which had the crowd of some 400 Brackers cheering throughout the show.

According to Conolly, “The girls all performed well and provided a challenge for  judges  Derri Dacres (Deputy Chairperson of Miss Cayman Islands Committee and former Miss Teen Cayman Brac), Chantal Whittaker, Alta Solomon and Melissa McLaughlin”.

In the end, Caitlin Connor took home the Cecily Rose Community Spirit Award and $1000 tertiaryeducation scholarship courtesy of Cleveland and Celina Dilbert.  She also received the People’s Choice Award, Miss Congeniality and Most Aware. Josanda Scott walked away with the Best Talent, Best Costume and Best Gown awards while Nicole Martin took Miss Photogenic.

The Miss Teen Cayman Brac committee noted that the not all sectional prizes contributed to the final points used for selecting the winner and runners up.  People’s Choice award was voted on by patrons at the show and did not count towards the final points.  Likewise, the girls decided on Miss Congeniality through a voting process and this too was not used towards the final points. 

The Cecily Rose-Conolly Community Spirit Award was introduced a few years ago in honour of the late Cecilly Rose-Connolly who was a stalwart in community service.  The recipient is decided on by the Miss Teen Committee based on the girl’s contribution to the community through various groups or institutions.  This sectional prize is also excluded from the final points used for selecting Miss Teen and runners up.

The Miss Teen Committee along with the board of directors and other members of the Lions Club of Cayman Brac wishes to express sincere gratitude to all the sponsors, judges, entertainers, the MCs,parents of the girls, members of the Leos Club of Cayman Brac, patrons who attended the show, all others who helped in one way or the other and the general community for their support.  Committee Chair Lion Ventisha said, “Together, we can make a difference in our community and the Miss Teen Contest is just one way in which we help to build that positive image among our young ladies”. 

For more information on Lions Clubs service activities or information on how to get involved, visit our blog at or email us at (Photo below: Miss Teen Cayman Brac Nicole Martin seated, standing L-R Evelyn Ebanks, Josanda Scott, Caitlin Connor and Miss Teen Cayman Islands 2010 Leanne Ritch)

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