Archive for June 15th, 2011

Bush visits Golding during Jamaica trip

| 15/06/2011 | 78 Comments

(CNS): The country’s premier is returning to the Cayman Islands today following a short visit to Jamaica, where he dropped in to visit Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Although no official comment has been released from the premier’s office about why McKeeva Bush was in the neighbouring country, Chinese Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, the firm which is now understood to be developing the cruise berthing facility in George Town, is currently working in Jamaica. When he called on Jamaica's leader Bush said the “usual strained relations between Jamaicans and native Caymanians” were good. Bush also told Golding about the plans for the cruise facilities.

According to a CARICOM release, the Cayman premier and tourism minister told the Jamaican prime minister that business was doing well and that there were development plans to expand the tourism product with the construction of the deep water harbour to accommodate mega cruise ships.


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High tax fuels Jamaican poverty, reveals study

| 15/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(Jamaica Observer): Jamaica’s ranking among the highest taxed countries across emerging economies and the wealthiest G8 countries could be one of the reasons for the country's low standard of living and economic competitiveness. In a study, researchers from the global accounting and consultancy network UHY found that the disparity between 19 high-taxed and low-taxed countries across its international network accounted for differences such as standard of living and economic competitiveness.

According to the UHY tax professionals, many of the wealthiest countries, including Dubai, the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan, use tax policy to attract and retain high-earning taxpayers as an important engine of economic growth and source of revenue.

The data also indicates that the countries, like Jamaica with the highest taxed workers, are among the poorest, with lower standards of living, social security and economic advancement. It also showed that in these countries, the highest income earners that is those persons who earn US$200,000 ($17 million) annually, are taxed more than twice the lowest earners, those who earn US$25,000 ($2.12 million) annually.

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Sun heading for hibernation, say experts

| 15/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(National Geographic): When our star drops out of its latest sunspot activity cycle, the sun is most likely going into hibernation, scientists announced today. Three independent studies of the sun's insides, surface, and upper atmosphere all predict that the next solar cycle will be significantly delayed—if it happens at all. Normally, the next cycle would be expected to start roughly around 2020. The combined data indicate that we may soon be headed into what's known as a grand minimum, a period of unusually low solar activity. The predicted solar "sleep" is being compared to the last grand minimum on record, which occurred between 1645 and 1715.

Known as the Maunder Minimum, the roughly 70-year period coincided with the coldest spell of the Little Ice Age, when European canals regularly froze solid and Alpine glaciers encroached on mountain villages. "We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don't understand the association," said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Also, even if there is a climate link, Pesnell doesn't think another grand minimum is likely to trigger a cold snap.

"With what's happening in current times—we've added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," said Pesnell, who wasn't involved in the suite of new sun studies. "I don't think you'd see the same cooling effects today if the sun went into another Maunder Minimum-type behavior."

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LA to begin budget debate

| 15/06/2011 | 17 Comments

(CNS): The members of the Legislative Assembly will be debating the content of the government’s 2011/12 budget this afternoon when the House resumes at 2:30pm. Following the late night presentation by the premier on Friday night, the opposition leader is expected to present his response followed by the independent member. The budget documents, which contain the full financial details, were delivered to all members of the country’s parliament over the weekend, and despite the reported cuts and a predicted surplus, government expenses still outstrip last year’s figure. However, government is expecting to collect over $18 million more in revenue this coming financial year to cover its increased spending.

The overall public spending for the coming year, including government companies and statutory authorities, is predicted to be more than $703 million but government hopes to collect more than $707 million in revenue, leaving an overall public surplus of more than $4 million.

The public sector salary bill, despite reported cuts, the roll back of the cost of living allowances and a moratorium on recruitment, remains high. The bill for government personnel has risen to almost $330 million compared to the budgeted figure for 2010/11 of over $318 million.

Check back to CNS later today for more details on the budget and the LA debate.

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Maples ‘rains’ supreme

| 15/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CRFU): The Summer Touch Rugby League started in earnest last Monday amid dark clouds and heavy rains.  Ground staff at the South Sound Rugby Ground worked tirelessly to get the pitch in playable condition and they were rewarded with some great rugby. The Champions, Maples1, were pitched against the League’s new kids on the block, Team LIME.  However Team LIME were unable to hang tough and it was Maples1 who came up with the right stuff to run out winners 8-2.  The conditions required short passes and straight running and Maples1 had to use all their experience to eventually rollover their opposition. 

A hat-trick from skipper Marty Livingston was the stand out performance.  Team LIME showed great heart and ran in two good tries to open their account. In drier conditions they will pose a threat with some notable speedsters in their team.

Genesis Five Nations turned it on again as they found their form from last year and steamrollered PWC 7-2.  They play a “follow you, follow me” style using quick snaps from dummy half to keep the opposition back pedaling.  Roger Priaulx, like a fine Merlot, full bodied and red of countenance, just gets better with age and took the plaudits with a vintage performance as Most Valuable Player.

High scoring Appleby continued their good form from Seeding Day with another seven try haul against Ogier.  Although great going forward they need to work on their defence as Ogier replied with seven tries of their own, including smart work from James Waters and Ben Blair with three tries a piece.

 The final game saw newly promoted Walkers Blue Iguanas given a salutary lesson on life in the rarified atmosphere of the top division.  DMS, with fine performances from the triumvirate of Kehoe, Henshaw and Rossiter ensured the sun wasn’t shining anymore on the Walkers team.

In drier conditions on Wednesday, Division 2 teams kicked off their respective campaigns with tries galore.  The going was good to firm and this allowed for better handling and more incisive breaks.

The stand-out performance came from the Trident Titans.  In an entertaining game with Harmonic, their slick movement and passing interplay led to a try threat from all over pitch.  Orchestrated by Sharlee Henshaw, Stu Miller and Matt Smith the team shared seven tries amongst six different players. 

Maples2 won a tight game with Campbells.  Captain Andrew “Dogga” Dean turned in a star performance with a couple of tries whilst KPMG1 beat Happyfish Ticklers comfortably in the end 6-3, and UBS won a high scoring 7-5 game against DART. 


Player of the week

The first award this season goes to Stephen Chin of DMS.  Bringing a touch of the NFL to touch rugby he made the Play of the Week by intercepting a pass on his own 5 metre line and then ran three-quarters the length of the pitch, finishing off with two classic spin turns to avoid the desperate lunges of rapidly retreating defenders. 

This year will be showing a selection of touch rugby games each week.  Fans can also become friends of Cayman Rugby on Facebook to see player profiles, interviews and get an inside look at the world of touch rugby.


Round 1 Results
Division 1       
Maples1 8 v 2 Team LIME
Genesis 5 Nations 7 v 2 PWC
DMS 6 v 0 Walkers Blue Iguanas
Appleby 7 v 7 Ogier
Division 2       
Campbells 1 v 3 Maples2
UBS 7 v 5 DART
KPMG1 6 v 3 Happyfish Ticklers
Harmonic 5 v 7 Trident Titans


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Crews restore water with repair to GT main

| 15/06/2011 | 4 Comments

(CNS):  Update 10;30 – The local Water Authority has stated that water has now been restored to its customer's effected by this morning's burst main. The Water-Operations crew is currently cleaning up the area and once this is completed,  Elgin Avenue and Louisa Llewellyn Way will be re-opened. "The Water Authority thanks all customers effected as well as the motoring public, for their patience and understanding," the authority said. The broken water main on Elgin Avenue in George Town near the intersection of Louisa Lewellyn Way caused traffic havoc this morning as crews identified the damage and began repair work.

Parts of Elgin Avenue and Sheddon Road were closed to facilitate repairs and drivers were asked to avoid what is normally one of the busiest areas of the capital during the morning commute.


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Government begins search for health data

| 15/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): As part of the battle for a healthier country local health officials have begun the preparation for a nationwide health survey. The Ministry of Health’s Non-communicable Disease Risk Factor Survey Coordinating Committee completed a two-day planning session recently, to come up with a plan to collect baseline data on health issues in the Cayman Islands. “Relevant, current and localized statistics are key ingredients in successful national prevention and treatment programmes, and this committee is about closing the information gap for us,” said the health minister, Mark Scotland.

Spearheaded by the ministry of health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation the survey will give public health workers the data they need to understand non-communicable diseases in the local population. Ten years ago, CARICOM estimated that diabetes alone cost Latin America and the Caribbean a staggering US$65 billion. However, those costs are now set to dramatically grow: World Health Organisation predictions suggest that by 2020, metabolic diseases will account for sixty percent of illnesses.

“The work enables us to focus our resources for targeted interventions……if we do nothing, heart disease, cancers and diabetes – will spiral out of control,” Scotland added. “Cayman already some six percent of our population suffers from diabetes and twelve percent have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. These are serious figures and we simply must address these issues as a matter of urgency.”

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Children’s ward receives much needed donation

| 15/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Hospital paediatric ward will be purchasing a much needed heart defibrillator to replace the wards old machine which is some 25 years old thanks to a donation by the local corporate community. Gill Barlow, the nurse manager on the children’s ward, explained that while the staff hopes the defibrillator is not used very often, it is a “must-have” item, especially when children suffer an irregular rhythm or cardiac arrest.

The donation was made by the Cayman arm of Facing Africa, a UK-based charity dedicated to assisting children in Africa who are afflicted with Noma, a devastating flesh-eating disease affecting the face. The local branch also raises funds to help local children in need. The initiative is organised each year by charity director Jane Wareham, an independent legal consultant and Ken Krys, Managing Director of Krys Global who recently delivered the US$16,500 cheque.

“Once again, the corporate community of Cayman has recognised the importance in charitable giving by kindly helping to raise enough to purchase this much needed piece of equipment.  The purchase of a state of the art defibrillator will hopefully help to alleviate some of the distress that affects families when their child requires resucitation,” she said.

Last year, Facing Africa (Cayman) raised enough funds to enable the children’s ward to purchase a Billi-Bassinette for children re-admitted to the hospital for jaundice and a Broselow colour-coded emergency kit. This year’s donation could prove even more significant.

“The defibrillator could mean the difference between an air ambulance or being able to remain with family on island. It is reassuring to know that the George Town Hospital is equipped with well-qualified medics and the latest machinery should any child be in need,” Wareham added.

Krys Global, Maples, RBC Wealth Management, dms Management and Stuarts Attorneys all raised funds for the donation through various events held to benefit Facing Africa (Cayman) over the previous year including Off the Beaten Track and a wine tasting with Gaia Gaja at the Ritz in February.


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Primary kids ‘Smile’ for Africa

| 15/06/2011 | 0 Comments

(FacingAfrica): Primary school students at Cayman Prep School have once again demonstrated how important it is for them to show support to those in need –  both here in Cayman and overseas.  For the second year in a row they have raised awareness and funds for children in Africa who have been affected by a disfiguring disease called NOMA, by supporting a by local organization called Smile Africa. Smile Africa was created by 9 year old Tiggi Kohl, a student at Cayman Prep, to raise funds for a charity called Facing Africa which arranges for plastic surgeons to visit Africa and treat the children that have been affected by NOMA. 

Tiggi’s mother, Jane Wareham, is a director of Facing Africa Cayman.

Tiggi recently gave a presentation on Smile Africa to the entire Primary School.    In her presentation Tiggi explained that “The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of 6 that live in extreme poverty and suffer chronic malnutrition.  She described how Facing Africa can transform lives by talking about two African girls who have been helped by the work of Facing Africa”

Tiggi, with the help of her fellow students, organised a ‘civy-day’ for the Primary School which raised almost two thousand dollars and all the money raised will be sent to the Facing Africa organisation. 

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Cayman may save daylight

| 15/06/2011 | 113 Comments

(CNS): Speaking after dark on Friday, the premier revealed that a committee is to be established to examine the question of introducing daylight saving to the Cayman Islands. During his budget address in the Legislative Assembly, McKeeva Bush said that following representations from the business community, government would be looking into the possible advantages. The Cayman Islands does not change its clocks throughout the year, as does the United States, which means that the Islands are in sync with Eastern Standard Time for only part of the year.

Bush said there had been discussion in recent months about the benefits of introducing Daylight Savings Time, and the Chamber of Commerce, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and Cayman Finance had all indicated their support

He said that should Cayman adopt the time change, the financial services sector would be in sync with its major New York client base. Bush also pointed out that arrival and departure times from US airports to Cayman would remain in step year-round and cruise ships would stay slightly longer in port during summer months.

The “extra hour of daylight” could also encourage more outdoor physical activity in the evenings, the premier said. “These are only a few of the benefits that are more commonly discussed, but there are others,” he told his legislative colleagues. Daylight saving time does not, of course, produce an extra hour of sunlight but merely shifts the clock around in order to capture the sunlight in the evening rather than the morning.

“In order to fully appreciate the benefits and draw-backs of adopting daylight saving time, I intend to set up a committee to explore this possibility and to make a recommendation to Cabinet on the matter,” Bush revealed.

Although long debated the issue has not been on government’s agenda as a priority move but with more the tourism sector in particular suffering a down turn and a number of people in that industry convinced it could help the issue has been discussed more frequently recently.

Earlier this year local businessmen Kevin Doyle and Noel March, who have been spearheading the campaign, told local news channel Cayman27 it was a simple solution to get Cayman in sync with everyone else. "With all the businesses that depend on cruise tourism we are losing an hour of overlap to be on the same time would mean we bet an extra hour,” said March.

Currently cruise ships arrive in port when it’s 8 o’clock on board but only 7 o’clock here. “Tourists are coming on to the streets to walk around but there are no stores for them to shop in as businesses don’t usually open until 8 or 9 o’clock.”

The Bahamas and Bermuda have already made the switch but many other Caribbean islands, like Cayman, have resisted the change, and while those working in tourism are increasingly supporting the idea, not everyone is eager for an extra hour of daylight in the evening.

Some say stretching the sunlight would see air-conditioning bills increase as the heat of the day stretches later into the evening. Farmers and fishermen would also be starting their days in the dark. CNS understands that an attempt was made to make the time change back in the 1970s but the plan was short lived as a result of the impact on the agricultural and fishing communities.

Vote in the CNS poll: Should Cayman adopt Daylight Savings Time?

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