Archive for January 10th, 2013

Cayman selected to host regional vet’s conference

Cayman selected to host regional vet’s conference

| 10/01/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands will be welcoming hundreds of animal doctors and experts in 2014 when it hosts the 2014 CbVMA Biennial Conference in the Cayman Islands.  The announcement that Cayman will be holding the next conference was announced at the 27th Biennial Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association (CbVMA) Conference which was held in Trinidad in November. Along with the news that Cayman will be host for the specialist conference the local delegation also heard that Dr Nigel Elliott of the Cayman Islands was elected as Assistant Secretary/Treasurer to the association’s Executive Council. Dr Alfred Benjamin also received a special award to acknowledge his many years of support to the conference. 

At the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Conference, the Cayman Islands received the CbVMA Ceremonial Mace from the Trinidad and Tobago Veterinary Association.  The Ceremonial Mace is a new tradition for the CbVMA to be passed on to the country which will be the next CbVMA Biennial Conference host.  The mace will be kept on display at St. Matthew’s University.

Dr Alfred Benjamin also received a special award at the Closing Ceremony to acknowledge his many years of support of the CbVMA conference. 

A spokesperson said the local veterinary medical association was looking forward to hosting the 2014 conference which is a first for Cayman’s veterinary community
This conference boasted over 200 participants from the Caribbean, Central & South America, the USA, Canada, and South Africa.   The Cayman Islands delegation included Dr. Alfred Benjamin, Dr. Kanyuira Gikonyo, Dr. Brandy Darby, and Dr. Brendan Lee, all of whom are active members of the Cayman Islands Veterinary Medical Association.

Most of the conference was dedicated to academic sessions for veterinarians, providing continuing education in the areas of companion animal, food-producing animal, equine and marine animal medicine and surgery, veterinary public health and more.  There was a strong emphasis on animal welfare issues, as well as promotion of the One Health concept, which is essentially a multi-disciplinary approach to solving global health issues.

This was also the first CbVMA Conference to provide continuing education sessions for the veterinary technician.  The TTVA received accreditation from the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) as a provider of Continuing Education (CE) thereby allowing the participating veterinarians to receive internationally recognized CE credits.


Continue Reading

Mac disputes opposition job

Mac disputes opposition job

| 10/01/2013 | 87 Comments

loo.jpg(CNS): McKeeva Bush suggested on Thursday that he should be the leader of the opposition, given that he leads a group of four, as does the PPM leader. Speaking for the first time in the country’s parliament since his government was removed from office via a no confidence motion in December, the former premier found his voice in the chamber again after remaining silent at the last meeting. Bush goaded the PPM leader, Alden McLaughlin, whom he described as the member who was “purporting to be the leader of the opposition,” following McLaughlin’s criticism of him for his failure to consult on legislative amendment. McLaughlin implied it was Bush’s fault that legislators were having to deal with eleventh hour emergency bills for the offshore sector.

While the former premier’s seat may have changed it was very clear that his opinion of the opposition leader had not. Speaking from his new position on the opposition benches he claimed that McLaughlin should not have the audacity to criticise what he did as the financial services minister after the opposition leader had got Cayman on the OECD grey list when he had responsibility for the sector while in government.

Bush questioned whether McLaughlin had the right to be the official leader of the opposition as he only led four members in the same way that Bush now led the four remaining UDP members in the Legislative Assembly. “I don’t know if he is the leader of the opposition or whether I am, as I have four members,” the former premier and first elected member for West Bay said.

The opposition leader who was addressed as such by the speaker said in a later debate that the issue raised by Bush was a constitutional matter. McLaughlin said the proceedings couldn’t go on when a question remained over who was actually the leader of the opposition. He pointed to section 68 of the constitution where it defines the opposition leader as essentially the person who commanded the most support from a combination of members outside of the government. He implied that he was that person and was therefore not in an unconstitutional position. However, he invited anyone who believed he was to read the document.

The speaker noted that she had received nothing from the governor, whose remit it was to appoint that position, to suggest that the current opposition leader wasn’t in the role constitutionally.

The row regarding who was the real opposition leader came about during the debate on one of three pieces of emergency legislation. The bills relating to Cayman’s offshore sector were brought by Rolston Anglin in his new position as the minister for financial services. Alden McLaughlin pointed out that the amendments were a result of the previous premier’s failure to properly consult with the offshore sector.  Although he said the opposition was supporting the bills, the legislators ought not to have found themselves rushing legislation through the House to meet an important OECD deadline of 21 January.

He said there had been a clamour of representations to the governor’s office when the original amendment laws were passed last August, objecting to the bills and berating the lack of consultation. He pointed out that Cayman was in danger of falling foul of the latest OECD peer review if the laws weren’t amended with haste, and the jurisdiction could fall short of meeting regulatory global compliance standards.

“I would have expected that the former premier, the first elected member and who had responsibility for these, would have taken the opportunity to explain what went wrong,” McLaughlin said. In response, Bush angrily denied that anything had gone wrong and began goading the opposition leader about his job.

He said he had not planned to speak on the issues regarding the amendments to the financial services laws but as the third elected member for George Town had used the opportunity to take him to task for something he didn’t do, he was going to speak. Bush said that despite saying he was going to be consolatory he wasn’t going to be berated and allow people to tell lies on him. “When it comes to legislation that was needed in this country I followed my advisors,” he said pointing to the financial services secretariat and financial councils he had set up. He denied being at fault over the emergency legislation and stated that his record in office spoke for itself, as he was the one who had restored confidence to the industry. He said that despite everyone ‘running to the governor about everything’, the good he had done for the country and his record in office could not be erased.

He said the person purporting to be the opposition leader should be the last one to get up and talk about problems with financial services legislation, adding that it was McLaughlin who had previously caused Cayman to be on the OECD grey list. He said that when he was premier he was forced to travel extensively to get Cayman off it, and he had been “criticized, cussed and blamed,” as he improved Cayman’s standing in the financial world while his predecessor had lost the country business. “And he has audacity to come here this afternoon to try to chastise me,” he added.

Bush said that as far as he understood there had been lots of consultation but people would always complain. He said that with what else that was going on, he did not know everything about who had approached the governor to say what, but they appeared to have gone to him about everything else, hinting at his arrest before Christmas and his stated position that the governor is behind the conspiracy against him.

Bush was bailed in December by police and is expected to be questioned further in connection with several criminal investigations in February.


Continue Reading

Voter register may reopen

Voter register may reopen

| 10/01/2013 | 28 Comments

(CNS): Caymanians who are qualified to be voters but who missed the 2 January deadline to register for the May 2013 general election are expected to get another chance if the governor agrees to extend the registration period to the end of this month. In her first motion as the country’s new premier, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly presented the proposal to the Legislative Assembly Thursday and gained the support of the entire House. She told members that after discussions with her Cabinet she had written to the governor asking him to re-open the registration process for a few more weeks and he had said he would consider the request if there was consensus among all of the legislators.

O’Connor-Connolly said that while there had been a last minute rush with almost 1000 people registering on the last day it was understood that there were still at least 3000 potential voters in the community who, for whatever reason, had not made the deadline. She acknowledged that some people may have elected not to register because they do not want to serve as jurors or even for religious purposes, but she said government was of the opinion that this was not the case for all of them.

As the deadline had come very close to the Christmas and New Year holiday she said some had missed it because they were not able to get the necessary documents together in time and give representations made by members of the community to the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). She said every effort should be made to give everyone a chance to register.

Congratulating the elections office, which she described as one of the best in the world, as well as campaigners who did lots to get several thousand new voters on to a register expected to be well over 18,000 by 1 April, O’Connor-Connolly said an extension could see more people register. The premier said it was a very important part of the progression and development of a democracy that as many people as possible were empowered to fully participate.

She gained the backing of the opposition whose leader, Alden McLaughlin, said his members had received representations about people who missed the deadline and added that, provided that the necessary amendments could be made to the law, the PPM was fully in support.

He said assuming the governor agreed, he urged everyone who is entitled to get on the voters register for what would be an important general election.

Speaking on behalf of the two independent members, Arden McLean offered his support and said he had raised the idea in another recent debate regarding the elections law. He said with improvements in technology it would not be that difficult for the register to be properly updated in time for the May election. He reminded everyone however, that the responsibility lies on citizens of the country to register and there were many provisions to help them. He said serving as a juror should not be a barrier as that should be something Caymanians are proud to do.

On behalf of the UDP the former premier offered his backing as well, noting that it had been extended for the 2009 election as well. McKeeva bush said it would be worth it as it could attract another couple of hundred new voters. He said getting on the register was very important no matter where those who were entitled came from. “We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone so we will support the extension,” he added in his new capacity as leader of another opposition party.

The motion asks the governor to extend the registration period until 31 January, readers should check back to CNS for details of when the register will re-open.

Continue Reading

Short film released about turtle farm controversy

Short film released about turtle farm controversy

| 10/01/2013 | 18 Comments

turtle feeding.jpg(CNS): A short film has been released by the UK based environmental affairs magazine The Ecologist highlighting the controversies surrounding the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm. The short feature comes in the wake of an independent review of the farm commissioned by the farm’s management following the publication of findings by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) that indicated things at the facility were less than ideal. The review has not yet been published. Animal rights and conservation activists have launched an international campaign to persuade the local authorities to turn the Farm into a real conservation facility and put an end to the farming of sea turtles.

Alongside the film and the campaign by the WSPA, whose own damning report alleged overcrowding, disease, injury, poor husbandry conditions and a catalogue of other problems, some UK MPs have also filed a motion in the British parliament with the backing of some 65 members from across the political spectrum, calling for action on the WSPA findings.

The film published on Thursday by The Ecologist, which was founded in the 1970s and is the oldest conservation and environment related publications in the UK, examines the WSPA findings and talks to the local department of environment and the farm’s director.

The Cayman Turtle Farm, which costs local tax payers some $10 million in subsidies every year, is the last of its kind in the world and is now undergoing international pressure to change its model.  Undercover footage shot by the WSPA, which is featured in the film shows some of the issues at the heart of the campaign. As well as the welfare concerns the film highlights the risks to human health, financial costs and the alleged failures in its conservation mandate.

Since the WSPA first turned its attention on the Farm, officials there have persistently denied the allegations of cruelty. The farm has defended the conditions, its history and its research and conservation programme, stating the farm is a facility the Cayman Islands 'can be proud of'. It has also accused activists of attempting to undermine the farms revenue base whilst at the same time stating they want to work with the farm.

A review was carried out at the Farm in December and officials said that results of that review were expected this month but it is not clear when it will be released to the public.
The film includes comments from the farm’s MD Tim Adam, Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the environment department’s director as well as local marine personality Guy Harvey and local restaurant owner Isley Ebanks among others.

Go to short film

For more info visit:

See related stories on CNS:  Cayman-turtle-farm-undergoes-review

Continue Reading

Law interns cut their teeth at Mourant

Law interns cut their teeth at Mourant

| 10/01/2013 | 0 Comments

interns.gif(CNS Business): Eight young Caymanians recently completed internships with leading law firm Mourant Ozannes after cutting their teeth on the world of offshore law. The students, who are now returning to their studies, gained valuable insight into various legal practice areas including funds, finance and commercial litigation, working with the firm’s corporate services, compliance and accounts departments.

Mourant Ozannes says it is committed to supporting bright young talent in the Cayman Islands and offers internships to students who meet the firm’s criteria. Managing Partner, Neal Lomax, said, "Mourant Ozannes is committed to the development and progression of Caymanians.  Our intern programme helps us to identify promising individuals who may be offered the opportunity to progress to our scholarship and articled clerk training programmes.  We are pleased to be able to provide this experience to several students each year."

All eight interns were A-Level students about to begin or already undertaking their university studies.  Alicia Thompson is now at the Truman Bodden Law School, Asha Wilson is now at UCCI, Rashana Singh is at the University of Sterling in the Business and Social Studies honours degree programme, Taylor Clarke-Wint is studying Marketing at Southampton Solent University, Aaron DaCosta is at the University of Kent in an honours LLB programme, while Haymond Rankine has graduated from the University of Tampa with a Bachelors of Science with honours in Business Management. Elizabeth Wauchope is currently completing A-levels at The Kings School Canterbury in the UK, and Clare-Louise McGrath at Cayman Prep & High School.

Continue Reading

Local Hockey tournament raises funds for Cancer

Local Hockey tournament raises funds for Cancer

| 10/01/2013 | 0 Comments

Street-Hockey.gif(CaymanHockey): Hockey fans around the world are rejoicing with the recent news that the 113 day NHL lockout is now over. Whilst the season won’t start for another ten days, fans of the sport can get their hockey fix this weekend as the CI Youth Roller Hockey Club hosts the 3rd Annual Cayman Hockey Fights Cancer Youth Street Hockey Tournament. Taking place beside the ARC at Cayman International School on Saturday, January 12th, this tournament is designed to help grow the sport of hockey but more importantly raise funds for the Cayman Cancer Society.

This year, fifty percent of the proceeds raised will be donated directly to the Cayman Cancer Society with the intention of funding a special project to build a new chemotherapy unit at the George Town Hospital. The other fifty percent will be injected back into youth hockey with the hopes of further developing the programme and getting more and more kids participating in the sport.

Aaron Knapik, one of the volunteer tournament organisers is grateful for the support the event continues to receive year after year. Mr. Knapik said, “Once again we are very pleased that the community continues to rally behind this event and our efforts to raise funds for such a worthwhile benefactor – the Cayman Cancer Society.   We are thankful for the support of our main sponsors, Camana Bay, Ernst & Young and the Dart Foundation.  We also wish to thank our junior sponsors, Mourant Ozannes, Greenlight RE, Re/Max and Willis Global Insurance.  Most of all we wish to thank the kids, for coming out and experiencing a fun day of hockey whilst raising funds for other kids who due to cancer, may not yet be able to experience such a magical day.”

Jennifer Weber of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society said, “The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is grateful for all the donations we receive from the generous community in which we live.  When people choose to give to the Cancer Society, they are helping us help others in Cayman.  Donations earmarked for special projects like a new chemotherapy unit will help us create a new state of the art facility in partnership with the Health Services Authority.  These large scale projects come with large costs but the benefit to the community, the patients and families is priceless.”

With the majority of players gaining their hockey experience from Kings Youth Roller Hockey League, one component of the tournament is to have one member of the team not be in the league. This caveat is to help introduce kids to a new sport and help grow the hockey programme in Cayman.  Roller Hockey is a relatively new sport to Cayman that has caught on quickly. There were 160 participants in the Street Hockey tournament last year and even more players are expect to register for this year’s event. There is also a category for interested ‘Hockey Moms’ in addition to age divisions covering 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U and 15U.

Street hockey requires minimal equipment. It can be played in running shoes and in most cases with a plastic hockey stick, making it an inexpensive activity that can be done in drive ways after school or on weekends.

The tournaments of the last two years raised funds in excess of CI$20,000 for local charities, including Cayman Hospice and UNICEF Cayman Kids. The CI Youth Roller Hockey Club expects to raise more funds this year through additional sponsorship and increased registrations.

Although registration is closed, the tournament remains a fun spectator event for those not playing and the organizers encourage all those who need a little hockey fix or enjoy watching a great sport to come down to Camana Bay (the road in front of CIS’s athletic facilities) this Saturday. The tournament is scheduled to start at 9am and will last for most of the day. For more tournament information please contact Aaron Knapik at: or call 345-323-0898.

Continue Reading

Christmas Rugby tradition alive and well

Christmas Rugby tradition alive and well

| 10/01/2013 | 1 Comment

box3 (300x293).jpg(CRFU): The Cayman Rugby Union membership joined together to celebrate the festive season with their annual Boxing Day “President’s vs. Captains” match on Saturday 26 December at the Rugby Club. The Boxing Day game, played in Cayman since the Cayman Rugby Union’s inception, has been an opportunity for players of all ages and abilities to get a social run around and enjoy the lighter side of the sport of rugby… namely the camaraderie (whilst still keeping some semblance of competitiveness at the back of their minds).

With the Cayman Rugby Union providing complementary champagne and a full Christmas buffet it was a wonder why the players did not forgo sweating it out under the lovely Cayman sunshine to enjoy the food and booze but tradition won over and the game went ahead.

A young looking President’s XV (barring the presence of CRFU President Derek Haines playing at Hooker) took on an experienced Captain’s XV and the vigour and youthfulness of Derek Haines’s team won the clash 50-37.

Whilst the score line didn’t show it the game was a close affair in the early stages before Haines’s troops started to show their greater fitness and speed over the Captain’s XV

Only 3 days later the Rugby action continued at the South Sound Ground on 29 December with a U25 vs. U19 New Year’s game. The U19’s, starting their preparation for their 2013 Caribbean Championship campaign took the opportunity to field their overseas players home for the holidays and the very entertaining game was won by the U25’s. The U19’s showed bright moments in attack but the overall defence was showing some holes for the older more experienced players to attack.

Continue Reading

CAL drops Panama flight for summer 2013

CAL drops Panama flight for summer 2013

| 10/01/2013 | 0 Comments

cayman-airways-image-598x300.jpg(CNS Business): Despite the much celebrated introduction of a flight to Panama by Cayman Airways, what was meant to be a seasonal gateway has now been axed by the airline. The much heralded new route lasted for less than three months before it was cut after government spent more than $71,000 on a two-day promotional event and party in Panama City last May. However, Dallas in Texas, a gateway requested by the tourism sector, has proved to be a great success and will become a year round gateway. Even though Department of Tourism officials indicated that when the Panama flight was cut in September itwas merely a seasonal change and that the route would return to the schedule, this has not been the case. Read more and comment on CNS Business

Continue Reading

Cayman sneezes through 300 cases of flu in 2 weeks

Cayman sneezes through 300 cases of flu in 2 weeks

| 10/01/2013 | 5 Comments

sneeze.article.jpg(CNS): Health Officials issued a warning about a seasonal peak in flu cases Thursday after 303 cases were reported in the last week of 2012 and the first week of 2013. Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar, said the increase in influenza cases in Cayman was similar to the situation that is presently being widely reported in the United States of America (USA). In the Cayman Islands, flu season usually runs from October to March, and peaks in December and January.  During the last week of December 2012, cases of flu-like illness reported to Public Health authorities reached 148, and in the first week of January 2013 they reached 155.

Similar numbers were reported for the same period in the 2009 pandemic, with the number of cases reaching 160-170 per week. 

Up to mid-December the 2012 season had been very mild compared to 2011, with an average of 80-90 cases reported per week.  In an average year, 40 cases are reported per week during the summer, and about 80-90 cases per week during the flu season, with cases rising to more than 100 per week during the months of December and January.  With the country in the midst of peak flu season, Kumar advised the public to follow preventative measures to avoid contracting the disease:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (throw the tissue in the trash after you use it); wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze (if soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub may be used); avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth otherwise germs may spread; try to avoid close contact with sick people; if you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over.

Members of the public who did not yet get their flu vaccine are urged to get the shot as soon as possible, as it will still help for the rest of the season. The vaccine is only effective for one season. Dr Kumar emphasizes that the World Health Organization (WHO) is strongly recommending for all pregnant women to be vaccinated. The flu vaccine is being offered for free to all residents and no appointments are necessary.

All persons 6 months of age and older, should get the flu vaccine. It is especially important for people at high risk for complications from influenza, and those who live with or care for them to be vaccinated early each year. High-risk persons include the following:

Young children 6 months to four years of age, but especially those under two years; pregnant women; people 50 years of age and older; persons of any age with weakened immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart, kidney and lung diseases and diabetes; and people living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Persons who did not yet get their flu vaccine are urged to get their flu shot as soon as possible, as it will still help for the rest of the season. The vaccine is only effective for one season. Dr Kumar emphasizes that the World Health Organization (WHO) is strongly recommending for all pregnant women to be vaccinated. The flu vaccine is being offered for free to all residents and no appointments are necessary.

Flu shots can be obtained at the following locations:

The General Practice Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital; Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac; All District Health Centres from 2pm to 4pm. Monday through Friday; Little Cayman Clinic.

Residents of Little Cayman should contact the clinic to make arrangements.

Continue Reading

TCI authorities deny Misick’s arrest is unlawful

TCI authorities deny Misick’s arrest is unlawful

| 10/01/2013 | 2 Comments

misickarrest.jpg(CNS): The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) attorney general’s chambers has denied that the former premier, Michael Misick, has been unlawfully arrested or that he is being treated any worse than any other British prisoner held in custody in Brazil. The islands’ legal official also stated that the former leader was being offered consular assistance by both the UK and the Brazilian government. In a statement released on Wednesday the TCI authorities said that the request for his extradition would be submitted this month and if it is not contested Misick will be ‘speedily’ returned to TCI to face questioning.

Misick has already declared publicly that he wants to return to his native country and that he will not contest the order.

Misick was arrested in Rio last month and has since been held in a high security prison in Brazil in what are believed to be particularly uncomfortable conditions. Misick has not yet been charged with any crime but he fled TCI more than two years ago in the wake of a corruption scandal in which he was implicated and which led to a major investigation and the suspension of the islands’ constitution by the British.

An international warrant was issued for his arrest last year and executed by the Brazilian authorities in December. Misick had been in the country for some time where he had applied for political asylum but had recently been refused.  

"Michael Misick is the subject of an extradition request made lawfully and properly, in accordance with the relevant treaty in place between the UK and Brazil, asextended to the Turks and Caicos Islands,” the TCI Attorney General’s chambers said Wednesday in the wake of written complaints by Misick from his jail cell and from his family, which were posted in the local media in TCI this week.

“As such, he is currently being held in accordance with the terms of this Treaty, under a provisional warrant of arrest. The Treaty requires that the full request with supporting documentation is to be submitted formally within 60 days (following his arrest on 7 Dec 2012). It is intended that this request be submitted in Jan 2013. Following this, Mr Misick will have the opportunity to consider whether he wishes to contest his extradition,” the TCI legal office stated.

“If he does not contest the extradition, and there are no other outstanding issues, then everything possible will be done by Turks and Caicos authorities, in collaboration with his legal advisors and the Brazilian authorities, to ensure his speedy return to face questions in relation to alleged crimes during his time in office and to face trial in accordance with our laws,” the office added in the release.

Misick has already made it clear that the UK does not need to go through the extradition process and he is ready and willing to return immediately. He has also claimed that his human rights are being violated and the family states that he is being held in terrible conditions in the high security prison.

“We have received assurances that during his time in custody Mr Misick will receive consular assistance from the British Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, who will work to ensure that Mr Misick receives the same level of treatment as other British prisoners in Brazil, and is treated in accordance with international minimum standards,” the attorney general’s spokesperson said, adding, “The consular staff in Rio will provide the same level of consular assistance offered to all British Citizens in Brazil.”

Continue Reading