Archive for September 24th, 2012

Imported case of dengue confirmed in Cayman

| 24/09/2012 | 2 Comments

Dengue.jpgCNS):  Public health officials have confirmed a local case of imported dengue fever by a returning resident. While outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease persist across the region, there have been no locally transmitted dengue cases reported in the Cayman Islands so far this year. Last year saw a total of two confirmed cases, one of hwich was imported and a second had no travel history. Although the species of mosquito which commonly carries dengue fever is present in Cayman, the insects here do not carry the disease but officials are advising people to take precautions against being bitten.

“While dengue fever is not endemic to the Cayman Islands, as there is no sustained transmission of the disease, it is always wise to avoid mosquito bites by covering up during the late afternoon when the dengue carrier, the Aedes aegyptii mosquito, is at its peak,” said Dr Kiran Kumar, Medical Officer of Health.  “While we need to be alert, and take preventative measures, we need not be alarmed of one case. For Aedes mosquitoes to transmit dengue they must bite infected persons, otherwise they can’t become infectious and transmit the disease,” he added.

People who develop dengue symptoms within two to three weeks of having returned from countries with dengue are advised to consult their physician and explain their travel history

Dr Kumar reminded the public that they can help reduce the Aedes aegyptii population locally by clearing yards of containers that can hold water, as these are favourite breeding sites.

So far this year there have been over 1,500 confirmed dengue fever cases in the region, with 17 of 23 Caribbean countries reporting incidences of the disease. According to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) Surveillance Report, as of August 2012, Belize, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica and Curacao account for approximately 87% of the casesreported in the region.

For more advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.

See fact sheet below.

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Bush collects world travel gongs for Cayman in TCI

| 24/09/2012 | 29 Comments

mac tci.JPG(CNS): The Cayman islands won three gongs earlier this month at the regional round of this year’s world travel awards held in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Cayman scooped the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Dive Destination’, while the Grand Cayman Beach Suites won ‘Cayman’s leading Hotel’ and the Ritz Carlton the ‘Caribbean’s leading Hotel Residences’. Premier McKeeva Bush was there in person, along with Shomari Scott, the director of tourism, to collect the trophies at the ceremony. “In these austere times the tourism industry has had to make tough decisions, rethink the way we do business and work harder and smarter to ensure we provide our visitors with exceptional value,” Bush stated at the glitzy event.

“Receiving awards such as these positively validates those efforts, underscoring that our collective vision and strategy is on the right track. I wholeheartedly commend and applaud our tourism industry partners for their accomplishments on behalf of their organisations and the Cayman Islands tourism product.”

Echoing the premier’s sentiments, Scott said he was delighted to have attended the WTA and proud that Cayman was on display as a winner.

The WTA awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ by the global media, highlights and rewards those travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry over the past year.

Across the region St Lucia won the coveted title of “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”, Coco Reef Resort (Tobago) picked up “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel”, while Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island (British Virgin Islands) was voted “Caribbean Leading Private Island”.

Buccament Bay Spa & Resort (St Vincent) nudged ahead of The Hotel Chocolat (St Lucia), Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro (Dominican Republic), The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort (Tobago) and Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort (Dominican Republic) to win “Caribbean’s Leading New Hotel”.

Jamaica’s continuing rise up the global tourism order was acknowledged after it was named “Caribbean’s Leading Destination”.

WTA president Graham Cooke underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across the Caribbean region. “Our winners are also drawn from the breadth of the Caribbean & the Americans and reflecting the strength and depth of the region’s travel and tourism sector. “I am sure these organisations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on December 12.”

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Judge raises concerns over timetable for rape trial

| 24/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A visiting judge raised his concerns on Friday over the scheduling of a rapetrial involving a young witness. Acting Justice Michael Mettyear asked the crown to seek an earlier trial date when he learned that a man accused of seven counts of rape on a young girl would not face the courts until July next year, despite there being a young witness involved. The judge said it was undesirable for a young witness to be left hanging for so long before having to give evidence in such a serious case. Carlos Tibbetts from Cayman Brac is charged with seven counts of rape that took place over a four year period.

According to the particulars of the case, Tibbetts is accused of raping his victim for the first time when she was only 12 years old. The young girl is now 16 and the judge noted that there was a need for the case to be brought forward.

As a result of the packed trial agenda in Grand Court, defendants not in custody currently have a more than ten month wait for trial dates. However, in this case the judge told crown counsel to contact the listings officer and seek an earlier date because of the sensitivity of the case. In the meantime, Tibbetts, who pleaded not guilty to all seven counts of rape, was bailed to reappear for his five day trial, which is currently set for 8 July 2013.

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Local clinics comply with standards say officials

| 24/09/2012 | 7 Comments

patient care.JPG(CNS): Patients should have seen the emergence of a number of improvements at their local healthcare facilities in recent months following the implementation across Cayman of National Standards, officials said this week. Since Inspections began in May 2010, all registered healthcare facilities have undergone inspections and are now compliant with the standards. To date there have been 238 inspections. Patients can look for the health care facility registration certificate, which is required to be on display, to ensure their local clinic is up to date and still in compliance.

TheNational Standards (NS) were developed by the Health Practice Commission with a view to regulating a level of quality in health care for the Cayman Islands. The main themes are patient-centered services, the security of patient information, accountability, consistency, safety and quality assurance.

The commission found that, while practitioners are trained to focus on patient-centered services, most were not familiar with the extensive body of research regarding the issue. Government officials stated that although during the inspection process practitioners admitted clinical staff were not familiar with the latest research on “patient-centered” care, the requirement to write a policy on it drove positive changes and has improved quality of care.

Deputy Director Lyria Josephs, deputy director at the department of health regulatory services, said the work of the department is a “precursor to the upcoming health conference that is focusing on patient centered care.”

Officials also noted that trust is such a huge part of the relationship between health care practitioners and patient’s clinics are to secure patient records either electronically or physically.

“Some local clinics have had to install locked cabinets for hard file copies, while others have ensured that their electronic database is password protected with back-up facilities overseas,” officials stated in a release.

The standards also cross reference with other government entities such as planning and the fire department to ensure compliance with the relevant laws and codes. Government departments have worked co-operatively to bring health facilities into full compliance, officials said, ensuring all staff are trained in fire response procedures and that facilities are in compliance local building codes.

“This is a success story of Government departments working together for the public safety,” states Health Inspector Barrie Quappé. “We asked these departments for their assistance, and they have been there even in this climate of limited resources.”

Mark Scotland, the health minister, said the health of the people was Cayman’s primary asset. “Healthcare Facilities are vital in the delivery of patient centre care. I am pleased that this initiative which is a collaborative effort between my Ministry, the DHRS and other agencies has confirmed that our healthcare facilities are in compliance, and we will ensure that they continue to remain in compliance with the standards established by the Health Practice Commission.”

For more information on patient-centered care or National Standards see the following links:

Why the Nation Needs a Policy Push

The National Standards Checklists (Revised Nov 2009)

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Disclosure problems continue for defence attorneys

| 24/09/2012 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Former tourism minister, Charles Clifford, has become the latest local criminal attorney engaged in a battle with the crown to access what he believes is critical information for his client's defence. Following a court order regarding disclosure in an arson case last week by a judge, giving the prosecution only seven days to respond to the lawyer involved, the court heard Friday that the crown had complied. However, in a separate case relating to a rape, Clifford revealed he was having difficulties gaining access to telephone records that are important to the defence, among other issues.

In the arson case last week, Sven Connor’s lawyer, Nick Hoffman, revealed that, despite a series of requests, he had still not received critical information about the accusations against his client, who is charged with two counts of arson and endangering life. On Friday Hoffman told the court that he had received most of the documents he needed and the crown had complied with the order issued the week before by acting Justice Carol Beswick and the trial was set for November.

However, Clifford, who is representing Shane Connor regarding an accusation of rape, asked acting Justice Michael Mettyear to issue an order to the telephone service provider to give him access to phone records. The former politician stated that time was running short as the trial was scheduled for November and all he had been offered so far was access to raw data at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Clifford had also listed several more problems where he was seeking information from the crown that had not been forthcoming, including the tapes of the interviews his client gave to the police.

The judge made an order for the release of the tapes but held back on issuing anything regarding the telephone service provider. Justice Mettyear told Clifford to wait until after his visit to the DPP’s office scheduled for that afternoon and, depending on the results, make another application if necessary.

Related article:

Crown ordered to disclose

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TCI introduces new law to check corruption

| 24/09/2012 | 8 Comments

tci.jpg(CNS): The UK interim government in the Turks and Caicos Islands has implemented legislation in the territory that could see politicians jailed for breaching procedures relating to the county’s House of Assembly as well as corruption. With the territory’s constitution to be reinstated next month ahead of a general election in November, the British government has introduced a set of measures designed to limit opportunities for corruption and to prevent parliamentarians from misleading the public when speaking in the Assembly. A breach of the new ordinance could attract three years jail time or a fine of $50,000 for future MPs. 

According to the local press, the governor denied that the House of Assembly Powers and Privileges Ordinance would muzzle future members.

Recently the governor was lauding the work of the UK in the territory since it suspended the islands' constitution back in 2009 in the wake of revelations of serious corruption in the local government. He said that reform in TCI was the most far-reaching in any UK Overseas Territory.

The new House of Assembly law is one of three pieces of legislation passed by the interim administration ahead of the elections that sets out a range of procedures and details the privileges and immunities of MPs and their general conduct. 

“Although likely to be amongst the last pieces of legislation enacted by the Interim Administration, these bills, along with the bills on the Public Service and  Government Procurement, contribute not only to meeting the milestones but also to the goals of modernising thelaws of the TCI, providing TCI with the positive legacy of a more effective public service, with significantly improved control of its public finances, and better functioning institutions,” Governor Ric Todd stated last week following an Advisory Council meeting .

The Assembly law states that a person is guilty of an offence if they present a false document to parliament, or if they give false evidence before the House or a committee, if they offer a bribe to a member or to an officer of the House, or offer a fee, compensation, gift or reward to promote or oppose a law or matter submitted to the Assembly.

Todd said that the new provisions would ensure that the House is conducted in a more efficient and less trivial manner. He denied that it was meant to limit the freedom of expression of future MPs but said it would govern on the basis on how those issues should be discussed. Under the new law, he said, parliamentarians would not be allowed to mislead, abuse or seek to bribe or corrupt parliament without facing certain consequences.

“I think everybody wants a House of Assembly which can work honestly, openly and in the interest of the people of the Islands,” Governor Todd stated.

He told the local media that the law would give the people of the TCI a parliament which is open, transparent, where members display high standards and are treated with respect.

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Mac heads to frozen north

| 24/09/2012 | 68 Comments

tomii_p02_tph (265x300)_0.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier is travelling to chillier climes — over 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle —  this week as he heads to the Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU forum being held in Greenland on Tuesday. Before heading to the icy territory, McKeeva Bush was in London last week, where he reportedly met with the new OT minister Mark Simmonds. Bush was headed for Greenland Monday after a stop in Denmark, where he is understood to have attended an extraordinary meeting on Sunday of the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council (COCTC). The Cayman premier is currently vice chair of the regional organisation, which was established in April.

A statement was reportedly issued to the Caymanian Compass by the premier’s office relating to some of Bush’s travel plans to northern Europe. However, requests from CNS for details of the premier’s itinerary since he returned to work following personal leave remain unanswered.

It is understood that Bush took some annual leave at the beginning of September after the budget was passed through the Legislative Assembly, but since then he has spent only a few days in Cayman. There have been various sightings of Bush in other locations over the last few weeks, including reports from the Turks and Caicos where Bush was present to receive the awards Cayman won at the World Travel Awards.

However, the issue of the whereabouts of the premier continues to be a controversial issue because of the reluctance of his office to reveal the details to the public. Bush has been criticised by opposition politicians and the wider community not just for what many consider a significant amount of travelling but the mystery that often surrounds the premier’s destinations, as well as questions about who is travelling with him and the purpose of the trips.

There are no details on the OCT-EU website regarding the forum which is being held in Ilulissat, in Greenland, a territory of Denmark. The premier of Greenland, Kuupik Kleist, is the current chair of the organisation.

According to a report from the British Virgin Islands, the current status of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Programme approved in August will be one are of discussion at the OCT Forum but it is unclear what other issues will be on the agenda during the three day meeting.

There is no information or agenda available on-line regarding the COCTC meeting, which took place Sunday, and the organisation does not yet appear to have its own website.

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Government officials enjoy peaceful day

| 24/09/2012 | 0 Comments

peace-hands.jpg(CNS): Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, led the Peace Day observance by civil service on Friday when he signed a pledge and demonstrated his support for the international peace day and Cayman’s participation for the first time.  “I am very proud to make the pledge,” Manderson said, encouraging all civil service staff to join in and do their part to fulfil the pledge. “I hope everybody takes some time to reflect on the purpose of this day,” he added.

Along with Chief Officer Eric Bush and staff representatives at the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs the deputy governor signed the pledge at Government Administration Building on Friday morning. Throughout the day government officials organised events to promote peace in part of a celebration where countries are asked to be part of a global truce by celebrating peace through education, raising public awareness on active non-violence and strengthening ideals of peace among people of all ages.

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Cayman sailors miss medals by a whisker

| 24/09/2012 | 0 Comments

Team 'Just Leaving' execute a smooth mark rounding in the 2012 J22 World Championships (238x300).jpg(CISA): The 2012 J/22 World Championships took place this year in Crouesty Arzon Yacht Club in Brittany, France, from June 26-29 2012 and the Cayman team just missed out of the medals by finishing an impressive 4th place out of 24 boats. The Cayman Islands were represented by the team of Mike Farrington, Matt Diaz and Tomeaka McTaggart. With conditions ranging from wet and windy to light and fickle, the team’s abilities were tested for all weathers. After a relatively slow start and a few cancelled races due to lack of wind, Team ‘Just Leaving’ got a better understanding of the tidal waters and finished 2nd and 4th on day two of racing.

Day three and four saw the winds getting stronger peaking on the last day at 20+ knots with a large ocean swell coming in different directions, making downwind sailing a fast ride and upwind, very wet and bumpy.

With only two races scheduled on the last day the Cayman team ‘Just leaving' had a 4th and 3rd, putting them comfortably in 4th position overall, behind Jean Queveau of France and two Netherlands teams in second and third. Mike Farrington said, “It was a great team effort, I would like to thank the Crouesty Yacht Club for their hospitality and hosting a great sailing event.”

Jean Queveau and his French team of Pierre Laouenan, Damien Iehl and Pierre Le Clainche dominated the event with nine first-place positions in 11 races. Teams from France, The Netherlands, Germany and the Cayman Islands participated in the championship, which featured 24 boats and the first five results were as follows:

1. Jean Queveau (France) – 15 points
2. Wouter Kollmann (Netherlands) – 33 points
3. Ivo Kok (Netherlands) – 35 points
4. Mike Farrington Cayman Islands) – 50 points
5. Serge Raphalen (France) – 80 points
In March of 2012, the Cayman Sailing Club held an annual invitational regatta attracting teams from all over the world. A team from Germany skippered by Peter Karrie, reciprocated the Cayman hospitality and helped to support the Cayman team during the regatta. The team is very appreciative of Mr. Karrie, of Karrie Construction, for their assistance as well as the Cayman Islands Olympic Association which donated clothing to sail in and luggage to transport all of the team’s gear to France. 

Team ‘Just Leaving’ is looking forward to representing the Cayman Islands at the 2013 J/22 World Championships in Newport, Road Island. Newport is the birthplace of the J/22 and this event, held from October 1-5 2013, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the class.

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Port releases Safehaven marina plans

| 24/09/2012 | 6 Comments

IMG-20120825-00224 (221x300).jpg(CNS):  Following the success of the legal action taken by a group of local boat captains to put a stop to work at the Safehaven Marina before their issues have been sorted out, the Port Authority has finally released a document containing the plans for the re-development of the public marina by the former owner of the Ritz Carlton. Michal Ryan is undertaking a refurbishment as a result of a land swap and fill deal with government relating to the proposed Dragon Bay site. Port officials said Friday that it hoped the delays to the new marina because of the injunction would be kept to a minimum and reminded the public that the site is private property and access was not allowed.

However, the captains still have access following the stay and the actual ownership of the area remains in question. It is still not clear if the land now belongs to Dragon Bay Limited, the current company owned by Ryan or other companies owned by the developer that have been seized by the hotel’s creditor or if the land is still crown land and public property.

The problem for the boat captains, however, is that the temporary site that was designated for the tour operators while the work is underway does not fit their needs. They say that it is too small for some of the vessels used by the captains — which they say is a problem with the planned new marina as well.

While some operators in Safehaven have moved to the temporary site, others won an injunction last week to remain at the Safehaven dock, a place where some of them have been working from for 25 years.

In a statement released Friday evening, the Port Authority stated that the new public marina was being constructed for the authority by Dragon Bay.

“The marina will provide enhanced launching and docking facilities, and ancillary amenities such as public toilets, parking and seating areas, in addition to providing a more attractive access point to the North Sound,” it said. “During the construction process, temporary berthing sites have been designated for the commercial tour operators in the area who will have access to the new marina when it is completed."

In addition to the problems with the temporary and the new site being insufficient for some of the operators' needs, there are concerns that they have no guarantees of continued access to the new marina. They have said that if and when the marina is completed, they feel they could be pushed out, which means they will have nowhere to operate from in future, putting an end to their livelihoods.

Related article:

Captains get stay over Safehaven marina

Release and report from Port Authority below.

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