Premier names radar after former ministry boss

| 27/04/2013

DSC_0337_0.jpg(CNS): The new Doppler Weather Radar, which was officially opened on Thursday morning, will be named after the former chief officerin the ministry responsible for weather, Kearney Gomez. The radar in high rock East End was formally commissioned on Thursday and is scheduled to become operational ahead of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season once the final testing is completed. This radar will fill a gap in the existing regional network, allowing for a more complete early warning system across the Caribbean. The radar was funded with a €4.16 million grant from the European Union.

The 49-foot Doppler Weather Radar Tower was constructed by Island Builders Company, Ltd, a local construction company which won the contract valued at CI$1.448 million. German radar company SELEX System Integration won the tender to manufacture, supply and install the radar, antenna and a 35-foot dome at a cost of €1.427 million. A further €135,690 was paid to SELEX for an extensive stock of spare parts. Technical support to the project was tendered and won by ICON Institute, a German consultancy company.

With a range of 250 miles, the Doppler Radar will provide weather surveillance for all three Cayman Islands and the surrounding maritime areas. This technology is expected to enhance weather forecasting, allowing local and regional meteorologists to accurately observe, track and study heavy rainfall events, waterspouts and other unusual weather activity.

Once operational, it will link with weather stations across the region and issue real-time weather data to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami. The NHC will create a composite of radar information for the region whenever there are severe weather threats and will facilitate a greater degree of preparedness. Meteorologists will have the ability to be more precise when issuing aviation forecasts as they will be able to provide enhanced reporting of wind shear hazards to pilots prior to landing and takeoff, officials said in a release about the new radar.

The Cayman Islands National Weather Service will also share its interpretation of the data from the feed with the relevant emergency response agencies including Hazard Management of the Cayman Islands (HMCI) and will also disseminate the information to other stakeholders in the regional as well as the community. This data will be extremely beneficial to HMCI and the aviation and cruise industry, as well as the boating fraternity, fishermen and farmers as the feed will be accessible in real time via the internet.

Ambassador, Paola Amadei, head of the EU delegation for the region who came to Cayman for the official ceremony, said the grant demonstrated the EU’s commitment to partnering with the people of the Caribbean to address disaster related challenges.

“The work that has been done and for which we have all gathered here today, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of the Cayman Islands and its partners to putting in place appropriate systems that reduces risks and limits theimpacts of disasters on its people,” she said.

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the premier and minister with responsibility, said the Early Warning Station will boost the region’s ability to prepare for natural disasters and adverse weather. “It will help minimize loss of life and damage to property and by extension will promote the social welfare of the people of the region. The Cayman Islands Government is indeed indebted to the European Union for this generous grant and on behalf of our people I extend our sincere appreciation for this gesture,” she said.

Kerith McCoy, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority, which over saw the project, said it was a most welcome addition to the resources of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service. “Its service to the aviation industry and will be immensely beneficial during times of severe weather which may impact the operations of our airports.”

Meanwhile, Fred Sambula, Director General of the Weather Service explained it would be operated by in-house meteorological technicians who will ensure that it remains functional at all times.

“A powerful, dual-precision Doppler Weather Radar is particularly suited to the extremely heavy rainfall and thunderstorm activity in the tropical oceanic regions and we are excited that it will be in service by the start of the Hurricane Season on June 1, 2013,” he said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "Chief Officers" are now reduced to glorified, overpaid, empire-building, career-blocking "Yes men and women".

    Mr Vassel, Ms Annie & Mr Desmond must be rolling over!

  2. Fo wha says:

    Why can’t we name it after our first premier Mac bush… Full of hot air………

  3. Bug Itch says:

    What's next, Hurricane Kearney?

  4. Anonymous says:

    They should have named it: John Tibbetts
    He was one of the few person to spear head the weather service in these islands!


  5. Peanuts says:

    Statues and Edifices named after you are dead.

  6. Just Commentin' says:

    Why is it that  just about every public facility just has to be named after some living or dead public figure?  Seeing as how most are named after dead ones, if I were Mr. Gomez, I would either be very frightened or highly insulted.

    According to sources on Cayman Brac,  I understand that Juju plans to name one of the crappers ("public sanitary facilities" for the polite among us) after none other than the first Premiere of the Cayman Islands. Seems very appropriate to me. I can think of no better choice for the honour.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nothing says "small minded little islander jurisdiction" more than name EVERYTHING after someone.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can I suggest that we wait till someone is dead and gone before putting their name on anything? 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Gomez, a very hard working and dedicated individual over his extensive career in Government. Most of the negative comments under this story are from bandwagon people following others who do not actually know Mr. Gomez themselves. Remember people, jumping on the bandwagon is what got the UDP in power last time. Speak from knowledge, not from hear say. Congrat Mr. Gomez again., thoroughly deserved!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is a funny old world. We do not have any wind power turbines on Grand Cayman. Reason? The only place where the wind pattern is consistent enough is at East End. And guess what? Wind turbines cannot be permitted there as they would interfere with this new radar.

    Tim Ridley

    • Anonymous says:

      Can this station predict the wind of change that will mean all these so called politicians can kiss their a$$es goodbye?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, we need some more ugly towers and poles.

  11. Truth says:

    Why not just name it "Honorable for life" radar?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why can it not just be called the Cayman Islands Doppler Weather Radar?

    • Anonymous says:

      Julianna's praising of Kearney for having served her faithfully is paved with good intentions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Very clever 10:29, but I wonder how many people will realise what you are getting at since there was a lot of hush hush stuff went on in the civil service to cover up the naughtiness that cropped up when the paving of a certain driveway was exposed.

        • Anonymous says:

          We got it.  How stupid do you think we are?  Don't confuse us with UDP/UDP lite voters.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I hope the images are available for all to see.. many members of the public are weather fanatics. If it was paid for from the goverment purse we should all have access to the images.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone will have access to the images as they will be placed on the Government weather website.

      • SSM345 says:

        And judging by governments incredibly efficient manner in updating their websites….the hurricane will have come and gone by the time they post any picture of an impending storm.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What is she going to name for Paul?

  15. Anonymous says:

    At the meeting last night by Scotts Dock, Julie promised to raise the Seamans grant to $900,00. If that promise could be fullfilled before election then the seamen could believe it. Why didnt she raise it since the last 4 years , why wait till now. Looks likem she had to find another avenue since the church grants hasnt worked. Where are the people that is looking at the election gimmicks. They really need to have good ears and eyes. Julie will stoop to anything for power. Where will that money come from ? Perhaps she is going to reduce the Premier and Politicians salarys. How devious can that woman get. Maybe she is dreaming up all this stuff.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds about 900 dollars too high. Thie entire program should be abolished.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pure vote buying. Next we'll hear that the civil servants are getting a raise. Bet she did not say much about the road that she is having buith for the DDC and herself.

      • Anonymous says:

        No mention of that! Most Brackers are not even aware of that road! Wake up people see that is going on in Cayman Brac! Look at how many parking lots are nicely paved while the public roads are left either undone or patched up! Shameful!

    • Anonymous says:

      Has this been approved by the FCO? Didnt she say @ the forum that the country is under FFR? And also that the Government is not in the busiess of manufacturing money? Isnt the Government being pressured by FCO to reduce spending? Where is this money coming from? Don't continue to be fooled by these experienced politicians who are experts at making empty promises to get relected. Its baffling that these experienced politicians have created the mess the country is now in, have ignored the people for the past four years but now they suddenly have all the answers to fix all the problems. DONT BELIEVE THEM! VOTE THEM ALL OUT!

    • Anonymous says:

      This can't be true. Ms Julie is premier now and she could raise the seamans grant now if she wanted to.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is just an empty election promise to get the seamen to vote for her. Someone please get to the seamen and warn them not to get their hopes up. Its all a scam, preying on the elderly, she should be ashamed of herself.

      • Anonymous says:

        What dont you think that she is not going to raise it now? Of course she can and will be smart enough to give that raise now before the election. She gave jobs to the Public Works Department so all she need to do now is to give the seamen some more money. Then comes June she will increase the duties on something.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Should have been called the Angela Merkel radar station

  17. St Peter says:

    Kearney has worked hard and deserves recognition!

    On another matter – speaking of naming things,  I just got a lovely blood-hound puppy and named her after my last ex-wife…

  18. Anonymous says:

    A good decision to name a weather device after a man that was full of hot air all his career.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Great idea…Kearney has been a stalworth of the Cayman Islands civil service. A critical and focused part of the Election machinery and so much more…..what better than to name an all seeing, 24 hour a day machine after him….Gongrats Kearney.

  20. Anonymous says:

    More importantly, will the public be able to access the doppler radar image to view it? As done in every other country on earth; or will we be sticking to the usual Cayman way of "keeping it for a few" only?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Oh, give me a break. Mr Gomez had a long career but weather was been under his ministry for 2 years. This radar didn't happen because he was the chief officer. It happened because the person who has been leading the weather service for the past 20 (TWENTY) years has been pushing and pulling and lobbying for it. If she wanted to name it after someone it should have been named after FRED SAMBULA.

  22. Anonymous says:

    And is it going to be available on the Internet or are they going to ‘HOG’ it to themselves?

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is certainly a very welcome addition especially with hurricane season looming. It is also nice to know that the EU and the UK is doing something positive for us. 

  24. Anonymous says:

    What is this? Must be pay back time. What about the name beingFrank Roulstone. No wonder Kelly cant vote in the Brac.

    • peter milburn says:

      I certainly would support naming it after Frank Roulstone who led the way in weather reporting as far back as I can remember in the early sixties at least.Launching of the weather ballons and gathering the data was the forerunner of what we have today.Please reconsider your naming and Kearney decline the offer and suggest MrFrank Roulstone.It would be a fitting honour and a nice gesture while he is still with us all.

      • Anonymous says:

        Frank has made quite a contribution to weather in the Cayman Islands, but Fred Sambula is the mastermind being the creation of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service. By comparison what Frank worked on is a part of the larger service. Sambulas problem is as someone said he is not the chief officer and Kearney has played a role in the weather service. Afterall it was under his watch that the weather service was created.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why can't it be used for our surveillance as well or will it be another white elephant?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Say wha?!!!! As a civil servant in Gomez's ministry, I have to say: "say wha!?", If I say more CNS wont print it.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Lucky his office did not declare any PNA candidates disqualified from being elected, due to US citizenship or anything like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont worryju ju pays for what she get and what she want. Even the seamen she say will be getting $900 per month when she is elected. Apparently she already knows what portfolio she will get. Dont be too certain gal, you will be elected as second elected but you will have to eat alot of vomit to get an executive seat. You can say good bye PREMIER. You will remember your 91 year old grand aunt whose pension was taken away, as God dosent like ugly.

      • Anonymous says:

        She needed the pension money for the church donation.  Appaarently threats have been made to some church members to take away  their pensions too becuase their church refused the money that SHE gave them.

      • Anonymous says:

        What? Take away a 91 year old's pension? And spend $45,000.00 to go Dubai with Paul in tow to collect a BRONZE medal? Something is very wrong here!

  28. Anonymous says:

    It is very unusual for a Minister of Government in Cayman to name something after a (retired) civil servant. I suppose congratulations to Mr Gomez are in order. Let us hope the weather station gives us truthful information.

    • Anonymous says:

      No kudos have been deserved in this case – believe me brother!!!!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I'm hoping that this new Doppler Radar Station will have some direct link to "Cayman Weather – 5 Day Forecast", which can be very inaccurate at times.   

    • Anonymous says:

      That depends on which 5 day forecast you are talking about. Afterall you have the Cayman islands National Weather Service, you have the weather channel, you have accuweather, you have Z99 and Archer. Lots to choose between.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Jesus did indeed weep. I presume the decision to name it after Mr Gomez came from JOCCO who was always a big fan of Mr Gomez.. Far far more was done for weather and diaster related events by Kirkland Nixon and Donovan Ebanks, whose efforts Mr Gomez routinely minimised by not showing up formeetings. I hate to sound grudging but really this is a most unfortunate decision.

  31. Hon. Dr. Anonymous M.D. says:

    Sweet Jesus, what in Gods name is wrong with these people?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Why does everything in Cayman have to be named after someone?

    • The Rt. Hon. Anon. says:

      Because (as any fule no) it's an unwritten law that Caymanians must have their egos stroked at every opportunity. Attaboy Kearney, GOOD JOB! You DESERVE it! Yay…..

      But ultimately Juju deserves something much bigger and more visible for herself. I propose the new Govt Dump in Bodden Town be named the Juju Dump in esteem of our current beloved leader.  


    • Another Anon says:

      More of that self honouring bullshit by the current Administration.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can't wait to see the oil refinery and the permanent manned Caymanian space station get named!


  33. Unnalookya says:

    Warm congratulations to Mr. Kearney Gomez for having this facility named after him.  It is well-deserved.  He has served our country well, and continues to serve in leadership of our Elections Office.  It is good to see a Caymanian of his caliber permanently recognized in this way.


    Thanks also to the European Union for donating the €4.16 million grant for the radar system

  34. Anonymous says:

    And it could have accomplished the same if it were placed in Cayman Brac, creating more opportunity for that Island which needs it most, and giving us an extra 100 miles of data on hurricanes approaching us from the East ( where they tend to come from) and all without PERMANENTLY preventing us from generating electricity by using windmills in East End.

    However, otherwise congratulations KG – you are a good guy whose contributions are too often unrecognized.

    • Rorschach says:

      Talk about shooting yourself in the foot…if you had just left off that last sentence..your post would have been perfect..

    • Anonymous says:

      The weather office is not in Cayman Brac.