Archive for April 29th, 2013

Marine centre gives record number of scholarships

Marine centre gives record number of scholarships

| 29/04/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The CCMI has will be awarding with 85 local students with scholarships this year to attend programmes run by the marine institute based in Little Cayman. These include fifty Ocean Literacy and eleven Young Environmentalist Leadership Course full scholarships as well as ten Sea Camp scholarships this year. Officials from the CCMI said it provides a variety of education programmes to train a new generation of leaders, researchers, policymakers and resource managers about the marine. Courses are offered at the Little Cayman Research Centre to provide unique opportunities for hands-on experience in a pristine marine ecosystem and interaction with resident educators and scientists.

With this year’s One Ocean One Planet competition, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and programme sponsors KPMG, CNB and the Department of Tourism, offered all government primary schools the chance to win a class trip to Little Cayman with CCMI for two days.

The competition was part of our Ocean Literacy programme which works towards ensuring children in the Cayman Islands are ocean literate by the age of twelve. ‘Fantasea’ of George Town Primary were 2013’s winners of the Little Cayman trip, closely followed in 2nd place by Red Bay Primary, who were awarded a special expedition on the Nautilus guided by CCMI staff.

There were also fourteen Ocean Literacy Scholarships given to students from Cayman Brac for a residential course in Little Cayman.

CCMI’s Young Environmental Leadership Course, sponsored by Foster’s Food Fair IGA and the Rotary Club Grand Cayman, aims to introduce students to the role of the environment in our everyday lives, especially as a precious business commodity. Last year the pilot course gave six students the opportunity to learn directly from CCMI scientists and researchers at the Little Cayman Research Centre. This year, scholarships went to eleven students who will complete the two week course, including work experience opportunities, an introduction to conservation in practice and dive training up to rescue diver level with the added option to enroll on the PADI Professional Development Course with GoPro for free.

Each year CCMI gives Sea Camp scholarships to local students and this year, ten students will be awarded the chance to take part. The Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp gives 14-18 year olds the opportunity to benefit from lessons and frequent interaction with experts in marine ecology including resident graduate students and researchers. Divers and non-divers are accepted into the programme, but it is intended for students who have an interest and some experience in marine ecology and conservation. This programme is CCMI’s longest running education course.

“Over and above the fact that CCMI is a non-profit institution, dedicated to providing increased knowledge on marine biodiversity and marine protection, we are in a fairly unique position to help educate people (both young and old!) on emerging scientific trends and information,” said CCMI Director of Development and Communication, Kate Pellow.

“Education, whether it be formal or informal, is reliant upon continuously engaging people and updating them with the facts. CCMI provides support for both scientific research and education – helping to bridge the divide between these two pillars. This position ensures we can provide interactive, relevant and poignant support to the local community.

“The further development of our scholarship programmes aims to provide access to the information we have by reaching all spheres of the local community, especially those younger generations who will have to pay greater attention to the marine environment in their lifetimes.”

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Voters asked to take election pledge

Voters asked to take election pledge

| 29/04/2013 | 21 Comments

images_44.jpg(CNS): As the local authorities continue to press the message home about election corruption, voters are also being asked to take a pledge not to sell their votes. In addition to the Elections Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission’s public education campaign reminding voters and candidates that any attempt to buy or sell votes in the 2013 election could lead to hefty fines and time in prison, they want registered voters to go further and are encouraging them to actually take a stand against corruption by taking the pledge and affirm that they will not engage in corrupt practices during the 2013 General Elections.

Although rumours of vote buying have been common in Cayman for many years, with candidate accused of bribing voters with everything from marl and electric appliances to turkey and alcohol, no one has ever been prosecuted. In addition, despite the belief that gifts for votes are common, whether voters' decisions are actually swayed by the bribes is impossible to tell as the ballot remains secret.

Nevertheless, with the continued speculation that nothing has changed in 2013, and despite the advent of anti-corruption law, voters are still being offered favours, gifts and even cash in exchange for their support on polling day. However, the authorities are stepping up efforts to at the very least raise awareness that election corruption undermines democracy and economic development.

The deputy governor and all the chief officers showed their support for the initiative by being the first to take a stand as they pledged to act against corruption. Members of the public who are interested in participating in this initiative are encouraged to download the pledge from the Elections Office Facebook page at or contact the Commissions Secretariat at or 244-3685.

Any individuals or groups that send in pictures with a copy of the pledge will be uploaded to the Facebook page.

See pledge posted below.

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Children’s law leads to reform of family justice

Children’s law leads to reform of family justice

| 29/04/2013 | 10 Comments

(FamilyLaw.jpgCNS): New rules for the protection of children came into effect Monday as a result of the passage of the Children Law last July. Officials from the courts said the newly issued Children Law Rules and Allocation Order form a part of Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s proposals to reform the family services offered by the courts. The rules and forms will help to ensure that the interests of all parties are properly taken into account and decisions are made on the basis of the best interests of the children involved, the court stated. At present the initiative is led by Justice Richard Williams, who has been asked by the CJ to serve as judge for the case management of all family and children cases coming before the Grand Court.

“Regrettably, here in the Cayman Islands like everywhere else, there are a significant number of divorces as well as many children born to parents who are not married to each other,” said Justice Williams. “The biggest single factor in a child’s adjustment to the parents’ divorce or separation is how well the parents restructure their relationship to continue to meet the needs of the child; overall the Law and the Rules focus on what children need and how parents can be helped to better meet these needs during and after relationship break down.” 

The new provisions are designed to help all parties find the most appropriate and suitable arrangements. Another concern that the new provisions seek to address is the way a child is being cared for and when it may be necessary to consider the child’s care outside of the family. 

Provision is also made for cases in which it may be necessary for the family to be required to change the way they live in order to make sure that the child’s needs are properly met. 

The Law, Rules and Forms aim to make sure that children’s and parents’ interests, as well as those of the wider family who are involved in the care of the child, are properly considered.  In some such cases, the court can appoint an independent guardian to help it decide what is in the best interest of the child.

Chief Magistrate Nova Hall liaises with Justice Williams for the management of the cases which come before the Summary Courts. This will harmonise the work of the Grand Court and the Summary Courts and provide a specialised forum for family members to seek legal address in all family-related disputes, officials explained. Later this year, Family Division Judges and Magistrates will be supported by a Family Unit within the Civil Registry, which will process applications for family-related cases whether they relate to child care, maintenance or disposition of property.

A Family Division of the Grand Court was identified in 2009 and the intention is to work towards setting up a Family Court when the new court building is available. The Family Court will then have a wing of the building dedicated to the conduct of children and family cases under the administration of dedicated judicial and other support personnel.

The public may access the Law, Rules and Forms on the “Court Rules” page on the judicial website. The website also has a guidance section which explains what applications can be made, how to make them, and what to do if served with an application. This information will also be available from the court.

The Law and the Rules make major changes; important issues that they seek to address include:

  • giving non-resident parent’s relationship with a child the importance that it has in practice in the lives of many children;
  • the emphasis placed on the relationship between the child and relatives in the wider family;
  • speeding up procedures to identify issues of child safety and making them more effective;
  • making proceedings less adversarial and more about seeking settlement – an adversarial approach often inflames the acrimony that often exists between separating couples, making things worse rather than better;
  • alleviating the feeling of some parents that contact with children was allowed by the court in a way that put their or their children’s safety or well-being at risk;
  • treating resolution as an ongoing process at which parents needed to work over the long term rather than as a one-off event that ended with the court’s decision;
  • giving the court enhanced powers to enforce orders for contact, avoiding the need for cases to go back to court repeatedly and increasing the likelihood of cooperation.
  • The reforms are wide ranging and are designed to:
  • introduce timetables to deal with cases involving children so that proceedings are not delayed more than absolutely necessary;
  • provide better arrangements for the children of separating or divorcing parents;
  • keep parents who are separating or divorcing properly informed of the alternatives open to them and, indeed, helping both parents to help their children;
  • ensure that parents are treated equally in respect of the children and that both parents accept responsibility for their children;
  • minimise animosity among parents;
  • give grandparents rights (including situations where the child is “in care”);
  • overhaul the powers to protect children from abuse or neglect;
  • provide a more modern, framework for ensuring financial support for a child.

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Government spends $600k on new cemetery

Government spends $600k on new cemetery

| 29/04/2013 | 34 Comments

bt cemetery.jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has purchased two parcels of land in Bodden Town for CI$600,000 and applied to the Central Planning Authority for planning consent to develop the property as a cemetery to address the shortage of burial plots in the district. The property, which totals just over four and a half acres, is located on Bodden Town Road near Lake Destiny Drive (Block 43D and Parcels 8 & 75) and includes 0.8 acres on the ocean front and 3.75 acres on the land side. The plans are to construct 16 vaults immediately in the first phase on the landside, with a potential to develop up to 924 vaults on the acquired land in three phases. 

Premier Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, who has responsibility for Lands, said that acquiring this land was a step towards addressing the concerns of the people in Bodden Town who want to be buried near family members who are already buried in the existing cemetery.

“The last thing we need our people to deal with when they are grieving is where they are going to bury family members. It has taken some time to get to this point, but I am happy that we have found a solution," she said.

Dwayne Seymour, the recently appointed cabinet minister in the minority government who is running for office on the PNA ticket, said he was pleased that government was “able to get the funding for such a worthy project, especially in these hard financial times.”

Using the opportunity to take a dig at the previous PPM administration and engage in a little electioneering, the minister added that it had been required for a long time but the and former elected members did not think it was a priority, even after being warned about the lack of space at the site. “I am happy to be one of the representatives who saw it necessary to get this done for the people of Bodden Town so their loved ones don't have to be buried in Prospect.”

Mark Scotland, who is also hoping to be returned to the district, echoed his fellow PNA running mate’s sentiments.  “What we have done by acquiring this site is to ensure that we continue to provide affordable burial plots for residents in Bodden Town. This is something we have said we were going to do and we have. We wanted to try and do it on existing government land but we weren’t able to achieve that," he added.

Despite government’s extremely tight budget, the PNA cabinet was able to find the significant sum at the eleventh hour before the 22 May election. However, with no sign of a law to allow cremation in Cayman, which could cut costs for all, the issue of burying the deadwill continue to be a pressing and expensive issue for any future government at a time when it needs to cut spending.

See proposed plans for the cemetery below.

Vote in the CNS poll: Should government continue to buy land for cemeteries or build a crematorium?

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Child abuse victims need more support and justice

Child abuse victims need more support and justice

| 29/04/2013 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the HSA have warned that Cayman must offer more support to young victims of sexual abuse and deal appropriately with offenders as more cases come to light. “Over the last few years I have seen victims of sexual abuse ranging from as young as 4 years through to 17 year olds who have experienced both contact and noncontact forms of abuse primarily alleged against individuals familiar to them,” said Sophia Chandler, the child psychologist at the Health Services Authority. “Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons, we have not seen a corresponding assignment of culpability.

“While on the surface it might be tempting to say there is an increase in incidence, what might in fact be happening is that the taboo or discomfort with making initial reports is decreasing and more cases are reaching the attention of the authorities,” she added.

Chandler said authorities must be ready to act to provide support for victims as well as the appropriate responses to the offenders.

The HSA also needs more resources to tackle the problem and Hedge Funds Care (HFC) Cayman said it is doing what it can to support the resources needed to address the issue.

The charity said it is currently funding a number of programmes providing education, support, and treatment for Caymanian residents regarding child abuse and neglect. Over the last 8 years HFC Cayman distributed over CI $1.3 million in 40 grants to Caymanian organizations that are preventing and treating child abuse.

“In order to ensure that Caymanian children receive the protection they deserve, HFC Cayman has partnered with a number of both governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations," the charity stated.

The Ministry of Education, Training, and Employment provides child sexual abuse prevention training in Caymanian public, and now private, schools.

The Department of Counselling Services is preventing abuse from occurring in the first place by providing services to adolescent parents and fathers. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is training its police officers to properly investigate abuse cases while the Health Services Authority is providing therapy and treatment to children who have been abused.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Center provides a 24-hour toll free crisis line and an emergency shelter for abused women and their children. Through such programs, HFC Cayman and its grantee partners are committed to preventing child abuse and protecting all of the Island’s children and families.

If you would like to get involved with Hedge Funds Care Cayman, please contact David Wolfenson at

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Lionfish lose badly in fishing tournament

Lionfish lose badly in fishing tournament

| 29/04/2013 | 8 Comments

Derek-Team-Teal-Tigers 1004 (208x300).jpg(CNS):  Nearly 600 lionfish were culled in the Foster’s Food Fair Earth Month Lionfish Tournament over 24-hour period this weekend. Eight culling teams, which were sponsored by restaurants across the islands and 48 people took part in the marathon attack on the fish throughout Cayman waters. Tukka in East End was the winning restaurant as their team, the Teal Tigers, brought in 198 lionfish. 75% of the catch from the teams went to the restaurants while the remaining 25% was delivered to Foster’s Food Fair for sale in the seafood section. In total 587 fish were caught weighing a collective 438lbs.

The public can now enjoy the weekend’s haul of lionfish at the restaurants listed below where chefs will be creating some new lionfish menu items or the lionfish can be bought fresh at the seafood department at Foster’s Food Fair to be cooked it at home.

The tournament is just one of many initiatives continuing in Cayman to try and control the invasive species. As DoE officials have noted over fishing has worked on many of Cayman’s own native fish. They hope to have the same impact on the Lionfish and prevent its spread by encouraging everyone to catch and eat the fish to halt the negative impact on the local reefs where they are eating smaller fish and competing with other larger fish for food. With no natural predators of their own here in the Atlantic the native of the Pacific Ocean is just one more threat to the diversity of Cayman’s marine environment.

Cobalt Coast Resort
Greenhouse Café
Guy Harvey’s Grill
Rum Point Restaurant

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C4C candidate won’t pick sides as election nears

C4C candidate won’t pick sides as election nears

| 29/04/2013 | 12 Comments

mervin (226x300).jpg(CNS): With just over three weeks to go before the general election, Mervin Smith said he would not pick sides when it comes to stating ahead of Election Day which of the two parties he would support to form the government. Along with most of the candidates who are not with one of the two political parties, Smith, who is running for a seat in West Bay on the Coalition for Cayman ticket, was not prepared to say if he would support the Progressives or the United Democratic Party if neither of them gained a majority. Smith also said that he would not be asking the West Bay voters to support anyone else with their remaining votes except for his C4C running mate, Tara Rivers.

As the clockticks towards 22 May there is an increasing likelihood that the two parties will still hold the most seats on the morning after. It will then be a fight on 23 May for the leaders of the PPM and the UDP to recruit independent candidates to help one of them form a government. Smith, who has voiced his opposition to the UDP on a number of occasions, still refused to commit to assisting either party to form a government.

“The electorate will decide who will serve in the House.  If elected I will maintain my independent status while working with persons I believe are the best representatives to lead this country,” he said.

Although voters in West Bay have four votes, Smith said he would not tell the voters how to use their 3rd and 4th votes. “I am running as an Independent. I will not promote any other candidate other than my fellow independent, Tara Rivers, in the district of West Bay. I urge the West Bay voters to educate themselves about all the candidates that are running in this election for the district of West Bay.” 

Given his reluctance to support a party, if he is elected, Smith is unlikely to find himself as part of the next government. But like all back-benchers, if he can find one other person he has the right to a private members motion to the Legislative Assembly for debate and government consideration if he can persuade a majority to support it. The West Bay hopeful said he would use the opportunity to bring a proposal regarding government procurement and expenditure to institute clear lines of accountability.

“Our people are simply struggling too much for the government to continue its wasteful spending through the procurement process. I will also push for enforceable criminal charges for those who misuse government funds,” Smith told CNS as he spoke about his aspirations for office.

Although a staunch advocate of keeping the West Bay Road open, Smith said he hoped that the legal proceedings against the road’s closure and the NRA agreement would end with the best result, but did not indicate whether he would attempt to use his seat in the Legislative Assembly to change the current situation.

With significant unemployment in Cayman and in his district in particular, Smith’s campaign has focused heavily on addressing unemployment and Smith takes the position that the current immigration law has to be enforced. He explained that work permits should only be approved if there is no qualified Caymanian for a post.

“That is the existing law of the land and it must be enforced,” he said. “The current structure does not link the work permit approval process closely enough with the Labour Department. This must be done if we are to see any decrease in unemployment.  I also believe that the use of seasonal work permits should be encouraged in industries with seasonal work so that our own people are not the first to be laid off during the slow season. I have also proposed an incentive system to return Caymanians to the tourism industry,” Smith stated.

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Genesis sink a few Heinekens

Genesis sink a few Heinekens

| 29/04/2013 | 2 Comments

wk4b (441x500)_1.jpg(CRFU): Match Day 4 of the KRyS Global National Mixed Touch Rugby Championships 2013 turned out to be a day of history, mystery and suspense at Cayman Rugby’s South Sound Ground. It produced the game of the season so far and also the joint biggest winning margin of the season. There were some flashes of supreme touch rugby and more than a few moments of sublime comedy too. The game of the day saw the never-beaten Heineken Brew Crew take on an ever-improving Genesis Trust. Heineken have labored in their efforts this year showing only glimpses of the swagger they had last year. Genesis Trust was the first opponents they have faced this season that could realistically unseat them and so it proved.

Genesis Trust 5 Heineken Brew Crew 4

In a pulsating game the result was never certain until the final whistle. Genesis opened the scoring with an Alex Pineau try involving a fine jumping one-handed catch high above his head. It was worthy of the NBA and he managed to get it down for the first try.
The omens did not look good for the Brew Crew-ers as Genesis dominated with wave after wave of attack. The ball was moving nicely across the line and tries seems inevitable until critical errors were made at key times and the ball spilled. They must have been rightly anxious as we have become all too familiar with Heineken’s ability to score from the unlikeliest of plays. And so it proved. Mark Westin leveled the scores and although Pineau put Genesis in front again, tries from Steve Henshaw and Paul Westin gave Heineken a surprising 3-2 half time lead. 

As the second half progressed, General Neil Montgomery started to dictate the plays with his now famous pitter-patter running style, jack-knifing side-step and majestic ball trickery. Nippier than an attack on Pearl Harbor, Montgomery exploited the space provided by a tiring defence. He was more ubiquitous for Genesis than Phil Collins in the mid-80’s, appearing everywhere Heineken didn’t want him to be. A sublime back-of-the-hand pass and equally impressive one-handed take (again) from Pineau leveled the scores before Monty himself gave Genesis the lead with a typically dashing break.

Still Genesis kept the pressure on and Sharon Stainrod is worthy of mention for her efforts in her first season back in touch rugby for a few years. A calm head under pressure and sure hands make her a valuable addition to the roster.

But for all their chances Genesis could not stretch their lead. Now, I know the RCIPS are very busy these days investigating all manner of crimes here in Cayman but some time must be given to the worrying “Case of the Missing Magic Gloves”. In Genesis’ last game Jerry “Mr. Glover Glover” Beck rattled in five tries dazzlingly bedecked in his porcelain-white sports gloves. These gloves possessed such magical powers that the ball would stick to them like the proverbial [fill in the appropriate euphemism here]. But it would appear that a person or persons unknown have secreted away these gloves and replaced them with a fraudulent copy, a counterfeit so accurate in appearance that they mock the wearer.

Beck seemed cursed as his balls dropped to the ground more than once and his day of torture was complete when he put the ball down believing he had crossed the try line only to find he was five metres short. He isn’t the first person ever to do this, nor will he be the last but in a game as tight as this it could have been a costly error. What price the ransom for these magic gloves? I do not now but pay it man and get them back unharmed with all fingers and thumbs intact.

Back again came Heineken. Like a satisfying belch after an over-sized gulp of the eponymous ale Mark Westin leveled the score with a fine solo effort to make it 4-4. There was still plenty of time on the clock.

The decisive break came from no other than Genesis’ Ruler-in-Chief himself, Roger “Grand” Priaulx. This man is a phenomenon. He is a wonderful husband, amazing father, trusted friend, successful entrepreneur and sporting leviathan – a giant of a man in every aspect… except height, in that he’s just above average.  And he needed all these attributes to break through the massive gap afforded to him by the Heineken defence. He put on the afterburners and headed for the corner with 30 metres between him and glory. Not every forty-something can get away with wearing bright orange boots (these are usually reserved for younger athletes with a few less miles on the clock) but Priaulx showed why he can just about get away with it as he outpaced the defence and dived over the line with all the elegance of Shamu the Orca soaking the punters in the Splash Zone at Sea World.

The end of the game could not come quick enough for Priaulx. He must have felt like he was in the third level of Inception-time as the seconds dragged by. Heineken’s Paul Deegan nearly stole the headlines with a fine break but was touched just short of the line. As the final whistle blew everyone realised they had witnessed history. Heineken Brew Crew’s first ever defeat in touch rugby. But more importantly they had seen a fine game of touch rugby, the season’s best so far. Well done to all.

wk4c (500x403).jpgSteppingStones 14 KMPG 0

I guess “The Fabulous Raftopolous Show” sounds like a mid-morning light entertainment show on Greek National TV. With an ardent viewership of housewives, the unemployed and students, it could well have mildly amusing pieces on how “black” is, for the eight hundredth year running, still the couleur du jour for any fashion-conscious elderly Greek matriarch, or give you killer recipes for moussaka and taramasalata, or even tell you how to operate asuccessful late-night mobile kebab business called Jason’s Doner-van but it is in fact a description of the sensational performance by two of SteppingStones’ South African touch rugby titans Simon and Vangie Raftopolous.

Playing against a KPMG side bereft of player options, SteppingStones spluttered and stumbled in the early exchanges and looked far from the tournament favourites that international Asian betting rings allegedly have them hotly-tipped. KPMG put in 110% for effort but lack quality at vital times. SteppingStones have quality coming out of their ears but found motivation hard to find. The win was, in effect, a guarantee but they made hard work of it early on. It took an opening try from Captain Scott McCarty to settle the nerves and then Morgan Shelver put in a top shelf performance with great running lines and a rolling body swerve akin to a French high-speed TGV train hurtling through the Gallic countryside. He corners so smoothly that you could balance a cold one on top of his head and not spill a drop. More than once Simon Raftopolous played wingman to Shelver’s squadron leader. Always in the right position to support, time and again Raftopolous gratefully gobbled up Shelver’s final pass to run in unchallenged. By the games end he had scored not one, not two, not even three tries… but six. Six of the Best. No-one in the National Touch Rugby Championships has scored more in one game.

But this was not a one-man show because just as influential was his better-half Vangie Raftopolous. As the game wore on her impact became more pronounced and she bagged a couple of fine scores herself. The standout moment though was her interception of a wayward KPMG pass 10 metres from her own try line. With nothing in front of her she set off at a fearsome pace across the dusty plains of the SSG. Could she make it all the way to the try line in the distance? The crowd was on its feet as she covered the terrain with her long stride. However, in pursuit was fellow Saffa Matt “Sticks” Volkwyn. Standing at six foot five, with legs that are five foot six long, the scene reminded me of a slender female Springbok being hunted down by a ravenous baby Giraffe. As the gap closed, the crowd were willing Vangie to score but just as she got to the line Volkwyn made the desperate last ditch try-saving touch. His triple fist pump as he made the kill was probably a bit excessive as SteppingStones scored immediately from the next phase of play. Sadly, the rest of his herd had not retreated with quite the same degree of urgency he had shown and they were hopelessly outnumbered in the wide areas for an easy score to SteppingStones.

A final score of 14-0 was what is technically known as a “pasting” but KPMG will re-group and come out next time and give it their all. In addition to Simon’s six and Vangie’s two, the Weders, Rudolf and Marcia scored three between them, with Jacqui Davies, Wiki Hitchman and Scott McCarty adding the rest.

Walkers 6 DART 4

The opening game of the day pitted Walkers Blue Iguanas against DART. Walkers are a solid team and even without top try scorer Paul Smith, they have enough guile and skill to cause problems to their opponents. Lacking numbers for the third game in a row, DART toiled with the barest of squads. It has become a familiar refrain for them but absences whether through injury or unavailability are hard to combat. DART have a good team on paper however touch rugby is played on grass and they fell to their third defeat in a row.

Walkers opened the score through Vikki Piaso. DART’s Andy Childe equalized with a fine jinking, swerving run that resembled a man weaving his way down the sidewalks of West Bay Road late on a Friday night. Rumours that Childe was practicing those self-same manoeuvres the night before have been discredited. After this, Walkers had an extended period of dominance and raced into a 6-1 lead with tries from Rolf Lindsay, James Melen, Rupert Bell, Emily Vaka-uta and new arrival Elaine Kerr. Kerr’s contribution was telling and she was increasingly involved in Walkers brighter moments. She definitely adds to a fine triumvirate of female talent.

DART had a couple of blistering runs from little Mickey Mulligan. Suffering from bruised ribs, these lung-busting runs left him sucking fumes but showed his commitment to the cause. No-one begrudged him his enumerate extended comfort breaks after that.

DART did receive a boost halfway through the second-half when team captain Stacy Ottenbreit arrived. Falling foul of the difference in time zones between the Rugby Club and the rest of South Sound her belated arrival, along with that of Ruan Van Vuuren, changed the complexion of the game. Suddenly DART started to exert some pressure. Scott “Spaghetti-Man” Murray was as elusive as that last string of pasta in the bottom of the bowl and he and Childe racked up three quick tries. Had the game been ten minutes longer or had DART had a full complement of players from the start the result may have been different. We’ll never know as the final score of 6-4 to Walkers is all the history books will record.

Photos by Caroline Deegan


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FOI under resourced but Cayman battles on

FOI under resourced but Cayman battles on

| 29/04/2013 | 4 Comments

dilbert.JPG(CNS): The Cayman Islands information commissioner is not alone in her battle to deal with a mounting workload in the face of declining resources. Jennifer Dilbert and her team joined 33 other offices around the world in a survey recently undertaken by the Centre for Freedom of Information based in the UK. The research found that many commissioners believe they are under resourced. According to the results, 58% said their financial and staff resources were insufficient, while another 19%, including Cayman, reported that its resources were ‘not at all sufficient’. Nevertheless, Dilbert said Cayman had made great strides despite the resistance to the law.

“When looking at the overall results of the survey, it is evident that the Cayman Islands legislation and enforcement holds up well with respect to time taken to deal with appeals, the completion of appeals within statutory timeframes and the powers of the Commissioner,” Dilbert said. “Unfortunately, in terms of capacity to deal with current and projected workloads, Cayman falls into the 19% of commissioners who believe that their financial and staff resources, are not at all sufficient.”

Dilbert added that the survey demonstrated that Cayman should be recognized for the strides it has made over the past four years in the area of access to information. She said she was proud to report that, despite the challenges she faces with respect to resources and resistance to freedom of information, Cayman continues to be an example both regionally and internationally of a small island state where access legislation is making a difference in the lives of many people.

The Centre for Freedom of Information is a joint venture between the School of Law, University ofDundee and the Scottish Information Commissioner and focuses on the implementation, interpretation and enforcement of laws which provide rights to information globally.

The main results of the survey found that 76% of commissioners expect the number of appeals which they will receive this year (2013) to ‘increase substantially and none expected the number to decline. 77% of said their resources are insufficient.

The reported time taken to deal with appeals varies significantly from country to country. The shortest reported average time taken to dispose of cases is 3 days and the longest time is 380 days.

See full survey below.

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More PPM signs vandalized

More PPM signs vandalized

| 29/04/2013 | 78 Comments

ppm board (279x300).jpg(CNS) Updated Tuesday 9am: Folllowing the vandalism of PPM signs in George Town at the weekend, more of the party's signs have been torn down, not just in the capital but in Bodden Town as well. In the latest act the PPM posters were ripped from a board, which was pulled out of the ground and then tied to a UDP sign. Although a banner for one Coalition for Cayman candidate was stolen and Ezzard Miller’s poster was subject to lighthearted graffiti, the PPM boards appear to be the subject of more deliberate and ominous vandalism. Despite pleas by the Elections Office for a fair fight and sportsmanlike conduct from all those involved in the campaign, the targeting of the PPM is becoming increasingly sinister, the party leadership said Tuesday.

tied to udp signed (300x186).jpgIn the first instance the signs were slashed along thecandidates’ throats, while this time they were ripped from the display boards. The Elections Office and the police have been notified and an investigation is now underway. The opposition leader said he was saddened by the vandalism but urged the party’s supporters not to react.

“I am very disappointed by the measures resorted to by our political opponents and urge everyone to understand that the billboards and posters are part of the legitimate campaign process and they should be respected,” he said, as he urged everyone associated with the campaign to engage in a fair fight. “I urge Progressive supporters not to retaliate, as that is not what we are about, and leave it to the police to investigate."

Although vandalism of signs during election campaigns is nothing new, the PPM believes that the targeting of their signs and the level of destruction suggests the vandalism goes beyond childish pranks and is deliberate and politically motivated.

photo 2 (3).JPGKenny Bryan, one of the PPM’s six George Town candidates, pointed out that with election observers set to arrive in Cayman in just a few weeks, this was embarrassing for the whole country. However, he said the party would not be deterred in their determination to return to office and begin restoring confidence in government.

“The democratic process is very important to the Progressives and we want to see the process kept at a very high standard,” he said. “These actions will not deter the Progressives from their goal of putting the Cayman Islands back on a steady track to prosperity for all Caymanians."

There are other issues surrounding campaign billboards, with a number of questions raised in both the CNS comments and other local media about the size and location of some of the boards.

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Political signs do not need planning permission but they should be located at least 12 feet from the road. Any signs on crown land that are too close to the roadcan be removed by the National Roads Authority. A UDP board placed in a church yard in the swamp area and sitting on the shoulder of the Easterly Tibbetts Highway appears to be less than 12 feet but election officials said that, as it is posted on private property, there is nothing they can do about it.

Following the official confirmation that a delegation of observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Organisation, the Elections Office has welcomed their planned arrival but has advised the governor’s office that they need to come the week before the election in order to be present for mobile voting and to ensure that have time to speak with the office and candidates. Plans for the team to come on the Sunday before the 22 May Election Day were too late, they have advised.

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