Archive for January 23rd, 2012

Shetty says he will partner with American hospital

| 23/01/2012 | 29 Comments

DrDevi1_1.jpg(CNS): The Indian heart surgeon with plans to set up a medical city in the Cayman Islands has told the Indian press that he intends to tie up with a US hospital chain that will be the investor in the project. Dr Devi Shetty told the Business Standard said that the American firm’s doctors would treat the patients at the hospital while his Narayana Group would partner and provide the low-cost model of running a health care system. “We have a model to demonstrate — that with only a fraction of their total cost, we can get the same outcome that they achieve with huge investment,” Shetty told India’s leading business paper.

“(The) Cayman Islands is close to the US. We want to change the way the US deals with health care,” the renowned surgeon added.

He pointed out that the Cayman Islands is the only country that recognises an Indian medical degree as a result of the recent changes to the health practitioners’ law. “So, we can take Indian doctors there,” added Shetty when he explained that there would be opportunities for ordinary Indians to train and learn medicine.

In the interview Dr Shetty talks again about the way the current system of training doctors and medical staff around the world increases the price of health care because it creates a shortage of staff.

“It is time for the world to come together and tackle this problem,” he said as he spoke about his idea for global health training. “We are proposing a medical education system outside India, using the best from curricula across the world, and trying for recognition from global universities. There is no Indian way of removing pain and a French way of removing pain. There is only one way. So, there is no conflict.”

Shetty recently visited Cayman to push forward with his goal to develop a medical centre in Cayman starting with a 140 bed hospital on the site in East End. He said at the press briefing that he would now be focusing on patients from the regional market and Latin American market. His local partners said the first phase would start this summer if the planning applications, re-zoning requirements and other processes all went according to plan.

Meanwhile, a 74-year-old man from the United States is recovery in one of Shetty’s hospital after he became the first American to undergo heart surgery at the Narayana Hrudayalaya without a blood transfusion.

Although the man opted for the bloodless surgery because of his faith (he is a Jehovah’s Witness) the surgery has advantages. One of the members of the medial team, Dr Praveen Kumar, said it is cheaper and it diminishes the possibility of infections that occur during transfusion. However the doctor from Shetty’s group said the challenges are immense. "While operating, we use heparin, a medication that prevents blood clotting. And during the surgery, we have to be immensely watchful of the patient losing blood."

See full Shetty interview here

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Dart to get 3700ft of WB road

| 23/01/2012 | 106 Comments

DSC00250 (429x500).jpg(CNS): Despite claims that government is swapping 2,500 feet of the West Bay Road with Dart Realty, the three groups trying to preserve the public road say the people of Cayman will actually be giving up over 3,700 feet of crown land when the road closure goes through. At a West Bay meeting on Thursday evening hosted by local activists, measurements taken by members from Governors Way to Yacht Drive show that the length of road that will be given to the developer is well in excess of the amount claimed. Alice Mae Coe from the Concerned Citizens Group along with Dr Edward Caudeiron used a wheel-measure and discovered that Dart, in contradiction to claims, will be getting 3,731ft in the swap with governments. (Activists measure the length of the West Bay Road due for closure)

“So who is misleading whom?” Coe asked, saying that the entire population of the Cayman Islands had been misled as she pointed to the undisclosed road length.

The developer has stated consistently in its documentation and at various meetings and presentations that around 2,500 feet of road will be closed to vehicular traffic as part of its planned redevelopment of the former Courtyard Marriott site into a four or five star beachfront resort. This crown land will be given to the developer in exchange for land in Barkers, the development of the extension and related roads, a cash donation of around $20 milllion and the redevelopment of the Seven Mile public beach.

DSC00232 (430x500).jpgAccording to the proposed plans in the ForCayman Alliance deal between the Dart Group and the Cayman Islands Government, the road will be closed at Governor’s Way, where clearance work has now started, and traffic will be diverted on to the Esterley Tibbetts extension. The existing West Bay coast road will then be closed to traffic until beyond Yacht Drive, where drivers will have the first opportunity to return to the West Bay Road, more than 1,200 feet further than has been claimed.

Dart has recently began work on preparing the land for the extension following an agreement with the National Roads Authority. This coupled with comments by the premier indicate that the opposition to the road closure has not yet had any impact on government’s intention to move to the full ForCayman Alliance deal. The crown land has not yet been handed over, however, and the activists are hoping that they can still stop this part of the deal.

Although disappointed that their petition given to the governor in December which contained over 4,100 signatures was immediately passed to the premier by Duncan Taylor and then dismissed, the activist are now planning a full scale demonstration.

During Thursday’s meeting the groups began organising a rally in Heroes Square, where they intend to have at least five hundred supporters present.

Bolstered by analysis of the petition to government, the groups also revealed to the audience of more than one hundred people at the meeting that more than 2,300 signatures belonged to registered voters. The activists denied that they mislead people who signed or that there were significant anomalies in the petition, as had been reported in a local newspaper. Given the revelations regarding the length of the road, Coe said it was not the activists that were misleading anyone.

During the meeting she explained that all of the duplicates were accounted for and in the final analysis there were exactly 4,116 unique signatures.  Only 8 belong to children under the age of 18 and 1,652 of those who signed lived in the premier’s constituency of West Bay,  while 1,223 signators lived in George Town and 873 were from the other districts.

Only 368 signatures were from visitors to the island, though the activists said they believed those people had a right to express their opinion on the issue as well, especially owners and frequent vacationers to the island.

Dr Caudeiron gave an impassioned speech to the audience about the need to fight to preserve the road and to oppose the deal until “the bitter end”, as he described what was happening as a disgrace. He said that despite the premier’s comments that the signatures were “idiots”, the petitioners were simply voicing their opposition to the closure of the road and a deal that was fantastic for the developer but not for them. “You must not insult the people,” he told the premier as he warned that would only rile them up more.

Captain Bryan Ebanks, one of the leaders of the Save Cayman group, asked the people of West Bay what they were prepared to do now the petition had been ignored. He said that the only power the premier has is that given to him by the people. “We are taught to wait four years to express our feelings, but we cannot afford that," he warned. “Until you use the power that you have, you serve the politicians,” and not the other way round, which is how it should be, he said, adding that politicians were meant to work for the people.

As the meeting drew to a close, the activists managed to extract commitments from more than fifty people who said they would bring at least ten people to the rally when the Legislative Assembly is in session. Capt Ebanks said that “warm bodies on the street” was the only thing he believed the premier might take some notice of.

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Cayman tops Scuba mag’s destinations list

| 23/01/2012 | 7 Comments

reef.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands has bagged itself a clutch of accolades in a leading scuba magazine’s annual awards. In the Top 100 and Gold List by Scuba Diving Magazine Cayman tied for the top spot with Bonaire for best destination overall. For the past 19 years, the Cayman Islands have placed at or near the top in several categories and this year it grabbed top-five awards in eight categories. Individual dive shops and dive resorts were also recognized in the Gold List with Grand Cayman's Ocean Frontiers rated as the best dive shop in the Cayman Islands, followed by Divetech.  Sunset House rounded out Cayman's success ranked as the best Dive Bar with their much loved 'My Bar'.

Cayman's Dive Resorts also made the list with Compass Point Dive Resort, followed by Little Cayman Beach Resort taking the top spots as best dive resorts in the Cayman Islands. 

Other accolades on the Gold List include Best Wreck dive with the Capt. Keith Tibbetts in Cayman Brac, Best Animal Encounter with Stingray City, Best Family Destination, Best Beaches, Best Night Life and Best Wall Diving were all credited to the Cayman Islands. Cayman also took top honors for Best Photography.

Since 1994, Scuba Diving Magazine has asked readers to rate dozens of destinations to determine Scuba Diving’s exclusive Top 100 Readers’ Choice Awards and Gold List.  Thousands of their readers and subscribers took trips to their favourite destinations to reveal what they think is the best the dive world has to offer today.

The 2012 awards

1-  Best Destination Overall = Cayman Islands #1 (Tie with Bonaire)
2-  Best Macro Diving = Cayman didn't place
3-  Best Advanced Diving = Cayman Islands #2
4-  Best Big Animals = Cayman didn't place
5-  Best Beginner Diving = Cayman didn't place
6-  Best Wreck Diving = Cayman didn't place
7-  Best Photography = Cayman Islands #1
8-  Best Shore Diving = Cayman Islands #5
9-  Best Marine Environment = Cayman Islands #3
10- Best Marine Life = Cayman Islands #4
11- Best Wall Diving = Cayman Islands #2
12- Best Destination for Diving = Cayman Islands #4

A full list of all the awards can be found in the January / February 2012 double issue or online here


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Cubans make bid for freedom

| 23/01/2012 | 18 Comments

IMG Cuban A-  0112 -20120122-00525 (322x500).jpgB - IMG Cuban 0112 -20120122-00524 (333x500).jpg(CNS): Updated Tuesday –Two Cuban men who were being held at  the Cayman Islands government’s detention centre in George Town who escaped at the weekend are still missing officials confirmed Tuesday. Rafael Hidalgo Figueredo and Fernando Figueredo Corrales were discovered to be missing on Sunday 22 January, by guards at the facility, which is located on Fairbanks Avenue. The public are asked  to be on the lookout for the two Cuban detainees, who are both in their 30's but the authorities said the men should not be approached.

A warning was also issued to the public at larged that it is a criminal offence to assist the Cubans who were picked up by the authoritiesafter they ahd entered Cayman waters and sought assistance.

Since the escape, officials said, enhanced security measures have been introduced at the facility, which houses the latest refugees to arrive in Cayman.

Anyone seeing or having information on either man should contact 911, or immigration authorities, as soon as possible. Contact Officer Scott at 526 0433, or Officer Thomas at 526 0488.

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Cayman’s boxers leave Jamaica top of card

| 23/01/2012 | 0 Comments

BOXING-2_w445.jpg(CNS): Although Devon 'Concrete' Moncrieffe made light work of Cayman’s  Lloyd 'The Punisher' Smith in the feature boxing event in Jamaica at the weekend the Cayman Islands came out on top in the seven-bout amateur card at the Barbican Beach the Jamaican press reports. in the undercards Saturday night, the visiting Cayman team came out 4-3 winners. Cayman’s Diego Rodriguez opened the night with a win for Cayman when he defeated Shavon Lindon for the Junior Flyweight title. The second win came in the Light Welterweight contest after Tafari Ebanks skilfully decimated Toriano Nicholas for a comfortable win.

Cayman's next victory in the Super Heavyweight match came by virtue of disqualification, after Richard Walker, twice at the end of the second and third rounds, hit his opponent Gino Brown after the bell went.

In the final amateur bout on the card, Dariel Ebanks edged Jonathan Hanson in probably the closest match of the evening.

See full report here

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