Archive for October 16th, 2012

PPM berates Mac’s travel

| 16/10/2012 | 79 Comments

luggage (480x600).jpg(CNS): The opposition party has attacked the UDP government and in particular the premier for leaving the islands in limbo while he is on world excursions and not explaining the details of his frequent trips. The PPM's executive committee released a statement Tuesday describing McKeeva Bush's travel as unacceptable, especially given that the deputy premier was also away when the premier took off to Asia earlier this month. The PPM pointed to the recent headline on CNS which questioned who was in charge that generated close to a hundred comments, very few of which were in support of the travelling.

Despite making enquiries regarding the details of the latest trips taken by the premier and the deputy premier, including the reasons for the trips and who went with them, few details were forthcoming. As a result CNS has now submitted FOI requests regarding the full details and costs of the official travel of both the premier and the deputy premier. It is understood, however, that the premier, who is currently in Asia, is not expected back in Cayman until 28 October.

The Executive Committee of the People's Progressive Movement said it was deeply concerned with the ongoing absence of the premier from the country.

“Not only has the Premier been frequently absent for long periods, at times with the public not being advised of the reasons for his absence from the Islands, but recently we also see that the Deputy Premier was at the same time visiting Qatar for a Postal Union conference,” the opposition said in the statement.

In the face of the concerns raised by the public about the usefulness of the globetrotting by the UDP given the costs, the party said that as Cayman continued to face the results of the economic mismanagement of the UDP Government, the country needed all hands on deck at home to resolve the many challenges.

“The ongoing regular absence of the key leaders in the UDP Government, particular the Premier, in part explains why the Cayman Islands seem to be regularly adrift, or on autopilot but going around in circles. The fact is that no major decision can occur while the leadership is away,” the opposition added.

Pointing to government's failure to address the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility or the changes to the country's political landscape, as required by the constitution ahead of the General Election, for the addition of three new seats in the Legislative Assembly, the PPM said these were just two of many issues that were stalled while Bush was absent without leave.

“We cannot continue to accept the many instances of bad judgment and bad governance that Mr Bush and his Government has surrounding them," the PPM said as it called on the UDP to explain the whereabouts of the leadership and ensure that important matters received due attention.

Related article on CNS:

No word on who's in charge

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Teenager to face trial over jailhouse fire

| 16/10/2012 | 0 Comments

fire_2.JPG(CNS): A sixteen-year-old boy will face trial in February next year over a fire he set at the George Town police station. The teenager has admitted to lighting the fire but has denied that he intended to harm anyone as a result. Despite efforts by his attorney to negotiate the charges, the crown is insisting that the teenager intended to ‘endanger life’ when he set fire to a mattress in his cell. The teen has also pleaded guilty to arson following a fire he set in the West Bay lock-up a few days before, but despite his admission the teenager will now go to trial. The teenager, who had been arrested and was in custody at the time, was only fifteen when he set the two fires. 

Representing the youngster, defence attorney John Furniss explained that the trial would boil down to the very narrow issue of whether his client was merely careless or whether he intended harm by his actions, which the teenager has denied.

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Cayman teams face Honduran teen footballing elite

| 16/10/2012 | 0 Comments

imgres_4.jpgCNS): Teenage players from a long standing professional football club in Honduras will be sending a team to face the best the Cayman has to offer in two matches showcase matches this weekend. Officials from the West Bay Sports Foundation said they will be hosting the Under 15 youth football team from Club Social y Deportivo (CD Vida) based in La Ceiba, Honduras, on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21 in its efforts to improve youth football in the Cayman Islands. The Honduran teenagers will be pitted against a West Bay Select team and then Cayman’s Under 15 champions Academy SC.

October marks 72 years of CD Vida’s existence and involvement in football in Honduras. In 1964, CD Vida won its chance to represent La Ceiba in the professional Honduran Major League Soccer. From 1965 to 1975, CD Vida enjoyed a successful transition from amateur football to the professional ranks always finishing in the top four in the Honduran professional league. Throughout the years, CD Vida has provided numerous players to the Honduran national team, including a few key players who represented Honduras in the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

“We continue to assist with the development of our young footballers by inviting top opposition from within the region and around the world,” said West Bay Sports Foundation founder Ardin Rivers. “We are thrilled to welcome the youngsters from Honduras and encourage everyone, especially the Honduran community, to come out and support the games. Our local teams will benefit greatly from these types of games and we wish them all the best. Special thanks to all the sponsors who have made this event possible.”

On Saturday, kick-off is at 6pm at the Ed Bush Sports Complex in West Bay then on Sunday the game stars at 5pm at the Annex Field in George Town. Sunday’s game will precede the CIFA 2012 Charity Shield between defending Premier League champions Scholars International and Premier League runners-up Elite SC at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday’s game are $7.00 per person and on Sunday tickets are $15.00 per person. The $15.00 covers admission to the Under 15 game and the Charity Shield. Tickets are available at the gate for both nights and children under 12 are free.

The CD Vida visit is made possible by the West Bay Sports Foundation, the sports ministry, Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) and a number of sponsors including Shamrock Heights Development, CMEC Cayman, Management and Engineering Co, AMB Construction, Adare Investments Ltd, Paint Pros, Island Electronics Ltd, Hyde Agencies Ltd, Cayman Armoured Courier Services Ltd and King Imports.

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West Bay’s young footballers retain title

| 16/10/2012 | 1 Comment

swindonvswbselect140312 024 (246x300).jpg(CUC-PFL): In almost perfect weather conditions, Sir John A Cumber Primary triumphed at the re-scheduled 2012/2013 CUC Primary Football League (PFL) Opening Rally this past Saturday at the hallowed T.E. McField Sports Complex (Annex Field) in George Town. Reaching their second final in consecutive years, the boys from the west claimed the first silverware of the young season by defeating Cayman Prep 3-2 in a dramatic penalty shootout. The final was a hard-fought encounter with most of the play taking place in midfield. Both defences were called into action many times throughout the game and each stood strong, repelling their opponents attacking forays with pinpoint tackles end excellent goalkeeping.

Sir John A Cumber’s standout midfielder Barry Dre Tibbetts worked tirelessly up and down the park but could not find that “killer pass” for his forwards to finish. Likewise, Prep’s Jude Reynolds, David Pitcairn and Aaron Jarvis battled on but were largely held in check by the resilient Sir John A Cumber backline and poor finishing.

Goal-scoring opportunities were squandered as both sets of forwards could not find that elusive goal that would set their teams on to victory. Both goalkeepers were excellent between the posts, throwing their bodies at everything that came their way. With the score locked at 0-0 after fulltime, 10 minutes of overtime was played and still there was no winner.

The 2012/2013 final would need penalties to decide a champion and there was no shortage of drama. After the dust had settled following the first round of three penalties, the score was still level after each team had missed one penalty. Up stepped Sir John A Cumber’s fourth penalty-taker who buried his shot in the corner of the net. With the pressure on, Cayman Prep’s fourth penalty-taker could only find the body of young Ike Bush in goal and the game was finally over. Sir John A. Cumber were champions.

With that key save, the young goalkeeper from West Bay disappeared in a sea of red as team mates, classmates, parents and supporters mobbed the day’s hero. For his heroics in goal, young Mr Bush would later collect the Final’s Most Valuable Player award at the trophy presentation.

Beaten finalists a year ago, Sir John A Cumber Primary had turned the tide, reached the final again and were crowned 2012/2013 PFL Opening Rally champions. As Zone C winners, Sir John A. Cumber’s road to the final on this day began with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over aresilient Cayman International School in the quarter finals thanks to goals from Cam’ron Solomon and Jeremy Manderson. Ben Taylor had put his CIS team up 1-0 in the first half.

In the semi-finals, the boys from the west defeated neighbours Grace Academy 2-0 on penalties. Grace Academy’s journey to the semi-finals started with a 2-1 quarter final win over defending Rally champions George Town Primary thanks to two goals from Gunnar Studenhofft.

Zone A winners and finalists Cayman Prep moved straight into the semi-finals as quarter final opponents Northeast Schools were unable to make the journey to George Town for the tournament. In the semis, Cayman Prep defeated St. Ignatius Prep 2-0 with goals from Jude Reynolds and David Pitcairn.

St Ignatius Prep had advanced to the semi-finals following a 2-0 quarter final win over Red Bay Primary with Corey Smith netting twice. In the third-placed game, Grace Academy defeated St Ignatius Prep 2-0 on penalties after a 0-0 fulltime score.

The PFL Committee thanks the players, coaches, parents and supports of “the powerful game” for their participation and support. Special thanks to officials Bruce Blake, Chastine Rankine, Gary Whittaker and Ronnie Roach who handled all the day’s games.

With the Opening Rally finally in the history books, we set our sights on the regular season, which begins this coming Saturday, October 21 with a number of games scheduled at primary school venues across the Island. The 2012/2013 CUC PFL season is off and running and judging from the talent on show at the Opening Rally, we anticipate a great season ahead.

 

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Woman dies in ETH crash

| 16/10/2012 | 97 Comments

IMG-20121016-00104 (240x300).jpg(CNS): Update 1:25pm — The Esterley Tibbetts Highway is now open for traffic. Part of the road was closed this morning following a crash in which a woman died. Police say a man was arrested following the crash. About 6:07am a Nissan box truck, which was traveling towards George Town, and a Hyundai van, which was travelling towards West Bay, collided on the ETH, close to the AL Thomson roundabout. Police say the female driver of the Hyundai died at the scene. The male driver of the truck was not injured and has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and suspicion of DUI. 

IMG-20121016-00108.jpg

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Photographer presents a ‘wormhole’ to the past

| 16/10/2012 | 15 Comments

Jr gallery (238x300).jpg(CNS): A new photographic exhibition at the National Gallery presents a new and interesting take on Cayman with a merging of the old and the new. In "Now & Then" Courtney Platt takes archive photographs and merges them with modern day shots taken from the same perspective. The result goes beyond nostalgia and is haunting in its recollection of the ‘islands that time forgot’ and its way of life. Schooners merge with helicopters and modern offices push their way into quiet street scenes. Platt describes the unique pictures as "wormholes to the past" and the creation of the exhibition as an incredibly moving experience.

“Past and current landmarks, buildings, events and generations of people blend together in a surreal and at times haunting mixture of imagery, “ said Natalie Urquhart, the gallery’s director. “They evoke a way of life that is rapidly becoming confined to memory and remind us of the importance of preserving our unique heritage before it is lost.”

The exhibition uses archive footage from the Cayman Free Press Steinmetz Collection and is open at the Gallery on Esterley Tibbetts Highway until 11 December.

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Crown taking steps to find missing ex-bar manager

| 16/10/2012 | 36 Comments

(CNS): The office of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) has said that it is taking steps to try and locate Arthur Screaton, a Canadian national and permanent resident of the Cayman Islands who absconded before his trial, leaving a $10,000 bond. The 53-year-old former bar manager is accused of stealing around CI$10,850 from Rackhams in downtown George Town through false accounting back in 2010. Having pleaded not guilty in March of this year, Screaton was due to be tried last month but was given a bail variation and allowed to travel to the United States. The crown did not object to the bail variation as a result of the bond and because Screaton was said to have close ties to the community.

However, Sreaton missed a court appearance just ahead of the trial and failed to turn up on the morning of 17 September when his case was set to be heard. The trial was vacated and a warrant issued for his arrest, but the crown says it is now seeking ways to have Screaton returned to Cayman.

Although it is not clear where he is, crown counsel told the judge Friday that the DPP was exploring various possibilities. Screaton could be in his native Canada but it is not known if the Cayman Islands has an official extradition treaty with the North American country, leaving his forced return in question even if the crown can locate the fugitive. The crown has not yet stated if it will try Screaton in his absence if he cannot be located or returned to Cayman.

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Machete robbers hit WB shop

| 16/10/2012 | 12 Comments

(CNS): Two masked men armed with machetes held up a local grocery store in West Bay, just after 8pm on Monday evening.  An RCIPS spokesperson said the heist took place at Leta’s Plaza on Watercourse Road. The two suspects entered the shop and demanded cash from the lone cashier working in the store. The men took an undisclosed sum of money then fled the store on foot and were last seen running towards Boatswain Bay. The first armed masked man was described as being around 6ft” in height with a dark complexion and the 2nd was about 5’5”, slim built. Both men were wearing black long sleeve shirts and black long pants.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and has any information that can assist with the investigation is asked to contact the West Bay Police Station at 949-3999, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477(TIPS).

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CTF evidence “watertight”

| 16/10/2012 | 75 Comments

1012822 (285x300).jpg(CNS): The global animal protection group calling for the Cayman Turtle Farm to alter its model and become a conservation facility rather than a farm is standing by its report, saying it is based on “watertight evidence”. Following a statement released by the Farm on Friday criticising the WSPA and denying the findings, the activists have said their claims are based on “photographic evidence and peer reviewed scientific analysis”, which revealed many welfare issues, including overcrowding, disease, cannibalism and unnecessary prolonged suffering. The WSPA said it has tried to work with the CTF and only in the face of its failure to act has it gone public with the damning report in the hope that it will move to address the concerns raised by the research.

“Our claims against the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) are founded on evidence gathered during a comprehensive, 18 month investigation into the treatment of the sea turtles at the CTF,” the World Society for the Protection of Animals said Monday in a statement released to the press. “This evidence is the basis for our compelling arguments against the CTF and is in the form of footage and photographic evidence and peer reviewed scientific analysis. WSPA does not initiate campaigns such as this without watertight evidence.”

1012855 (500x333).jpgThe activists explained that the investigation was carried out following a number of complaints made last year by scientific experts and visitors to the CTF, relating to the animal welfare conditions.

“To verify these concerns, we conducted our investigation in association with a number of research partners, and received two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests directly from the CTF,” a spokesperson for WSPA stated. “Our findings validated these concerns and have provided clear evidence of a range of different welfare related issues including but not restricted to: overcrowding, unsuitable captive conditions; disease; cannibalism; and unnecessary prolonged suffering.”

However, in the face of the damning report the CTF released a statement in which it denied the accusations claiming, despite the photographs to the contrary, that there was “no evidence of the kinds of injuries or defects among the turtles” shown in the report and the charity was on a “quest to shut down sea turtle farming.”

Although the organization has extensive footage of diseased and injured turtles, the Farm said that it had “succeeded in maintaining the health and well-being” of the turtles through veterinary treatment protocols and methods.

In its statement on Monday the WSPA added that the evidence generated by its broad investigation demonstrated that the Farm was not only a potential threat to wild turtle conservation efforts it was also a potential threat to human health as well.

1012821 (300x225).jpg“Independent experts and leading scientists from institutions such as the University of Oxford, Murdoch University and the Emergent Disease Foundation have reviewed and endorsed our evidence. Furthermore, well established conservation bodies such as the Sea Turtle Conservancy, and Caribbean conservation organizations’ such as YWF-KIDO Foundation in Grenada (which is also part of WIDECAST) and FAADA (Spanish Foundation for the Protection of Animal), are also in support of our recommendations to the farm,” the WSPA added.

Acknowledging that the CTF has released some 31, 000 sea turtles since 1968, only 11 of the 200 sea turtles nesting on local beaches this year had Turtle Farm tags. The Farm also admitted in documents released under the FOI law that the number of animals released is falling, with an average of only 27 turtles per year over the last five years. The FOI request also showed that the extremely poor welfare conditions at the CTF are causing a high degree of sea turtle mortality. Over the last five years at least 300 green sea turtles have died on a yearly basis. This means that between 2007 and 2011 alone 2,299 green sea turtles have died at the farm outside of those slaughtered for meat.

1012818 (289x300).jpgWSPA said it is not calling for the CTF to shut down all of its operations but to operate as a rehabilitation release, research and education facility that can still draw tourists. It recommends a shift away from commercial production for human consumption to conservation, but said the Farm should “immediately halt the inhumane public handling of turtles due to the animal welfare concerns associated with this activity.”

The charity said it first contacted the farm in May to express concerns. “We met with relevant CTF stakeholders in July 2012 to explore ways to collaborate; agreed a two month consideration period when it was made clear that the issue needed to be considered by senior politicians and subsequently provided a five week extension when the CTF failed to meet the agreed deadline,” it added.

Although the CTF claims to be taking the evidence seriously, as it has commission an independent review for December, the WSPA said that because of the repeated inaction despite its attempts to work with the farm aswell as the recent tragic incident loss of 300 more turtles after a tank failed during a leak repair, it had come to the conclusion that the Farm has little interest in working with it to find a solution to the animal welfare issues.

“This has left us with no option but to share our concerns with the general public, which we hope will encourage the CTF to address our concerns,” the charity stated.

It is clear that the organisation intends to push ahead with the campaign. Since going public with the report last week and creating a website at the weekend, which includes the visual and scientific evidence it uncovered during its research at CTF, some 8,800 people have signed up to join the campaign. Although the Farm has faced international criticisms in the past, this is the first time it has faced a campaign of such magnitude backed by scientific and visual evidence and spearheaded by a well-known and well respected global organisation.

See full  statement from WSPA below and  more details at www.stopseaturtlefarm.org

Related article on CNS story along with government statements.

Report slams turtle farm

Photos supplied by WSPA.

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